The Real Bridget

In yesterday’s Comments, Reader Darwin pointed me to his “review” of the Bridget, revealing an unashamedly-retro yearning for sports-car driving of yore. And I’m in full agreement therewith.

Of course, somebody already made the Bridget: it’s called the Caterham 7 Sprint, and I want one so badly my toes are twitching:

Read both linked articles, if you want to know what kind of car man I am.

My only gripe with the Caterham (and for that matter, the Bridget too) is that once seated therein, one’s ass would be mere inches off the ground. That means, in my case anyway, the assistance of one of these to get me out of the damn thing:

Other than that, I’d already have one of the Sprints. Or the Bridget. Or, if Honda ever decided to restart production, the S600 (which the Bridget resembles, according to Reader Darwin), or… don’t get me started.

Mind The Gap

…or rather, mind the passengers on the Paris Metro:

A man was stabbed to death on the Paris metro as witnesses filmed and posted photographs on social media instead of helping, it has been claimed.
Andy Brigitte, from Martinique, was knifed in an attack at the Châtelet-Les Halles RER station in Paris after a row with another passenger.

Just so we’re clear on this: Châtelet-Les Halles is not some little craphole in the northeast (see below); it’s the Parisian equivalent to London’s King’s Cross or New York’s Times Square stations. (It’s also a rabbit warren if you don’t know where you’re going; a buddy once spent two hours down there trying to change trains.)

But that’s not the point. As one commenter acidly noted: “Oh ok. In 2018, we die in front of a camera without any help.”

Disgusting. I can understand (a little) why people wouldn’t want to get involved in a knifing, because that’s how you become a co-stabbee. But just to take happy snaps of the occasion?

Still in Paris, the linked article has some more cheery news:

Paris metro drivers are refusing to stop at some stations in the capital amid fears over crack-fuelled violence, it has emerged.
A number of train operators have opted not to stop at stations in the city’s north east in order to ‘protect passengers’, according to union bosses.
Some stops are increasingly being used as places of business by crack dealers with Marx Dormoy on line 12 and Marcadet-Poissonniers on lines 12 and 4 said to be among the worst hit.

So if you’re going to Gay Paree in the near future, you’ll want to avoid those two stations, at least.

Unfortunately, there’s no way of avoiding Châtelet-Les Halles because it’s so central a hub. Be careful out there.

It sucks, because the Paris Metro is one of the best subway systems anywhere, and I love using it.

Blast

Last week Doc Russia and I went off to the range for a “Welcome Home” shooting session with our handguns (to celebrate the fact that Over Here we can do such a thing as opposed to in my erstwhile host country of Britishland, where shooting and ownership of handguns is streng verboten).

As always, I took my Springfield 1911, while Doc brought, in addition to his 1911 in 10mm, a SIG-Sauer Model Something in 9mm.

Dear Readers, I got hurt. Badly hurt. Not from a gunshot wound or anything like that; but I regret to say that after 100 rounds, the heavy (230gr) .45 ACP rounds were beating up my arthritic old wrist something fierce. Worst of all, the pain was giving me an uncontrollable flinch. Even a padded shooting glove didn’t help. At that point, I quit and shot the SIG instead. And I discovered that with the Europellet, my wrist didn’t hurt at all.

Shit. Time to rethink what I’m shooting.

Before anyone gets all upset and starts hooting ‘n hollering, let me reassure you that I’m not going to dump the old 1911 warhorse yet, oh no. First, I’m going to try shooting the lighter 185gr boolets, just to see how that works out. I’ve ordered some experimental ammo from our friends at Ammo.com (see my Blog Roll for a link), and if that works then I’ll replace all my .45 ACP 230gr ammo with the lighter stuff. (“Replace” means just giving all the 230-grain stuff to Doc, of course, and ordering a couple-three thousand rounds of 185s.)

From a  self-defense perspective, I don’t think there’s much difference between the two rounds; the 185gr bullet is lighter but it arrives a little quicker than the 230gr, so anyone at the naughty end of the shot is going to be just as dead. But I will need to shoot a lot of practice 185gr rounds to make sure that I get accustomed to the lighter bullet, after over four decades of shooting the 230gr loads almost exclusively.

I don’t need this shit in my life, but needs must. As one of my friends said, “This getting old stuff isn’t for sissies.”

I just hope that the lighter .45 ACP ammo does the trick. The alternative is just too ghastly to contemplate — and I think y’all know what I mean.

Dept. Of Righteous Shootings

So (via a link sent to me by my Reader Brad) a local choirboy sees an old codger working in his garage and decides it’s time for a little undocumented wealth redistribution. He breaks in through the window and threatens said old codger, demanding money.

Having no sense of humor about this kind of thing (we old codgers generally don’t), Our Hero pulls his gun and wastes the little fucker.

And because this happened in the United States of America and not in California, Massachusetts or New York, the old codger is not going to face any charges from the Gummint.

You can all stop that cheering, now. Me, I’m going to do a Happy Dance even though it’s 15 degrees Fahrenheit outside. I can always warm my hands on the AK-47’s barrel.

Bloat

As one who succumbed to the so-called “middle-age spread” long before I actually reached middle age, one would think that I have little room [sic] to talk about bloating. But I can, because I’m not talking about people here, but cars.

Let me get this right out of the way first: I don’t like big cars. I’m not just talking about Cadillacs or SUVs here, which is a whole ‘nother rant; I’m talking about how ordinary, nay even small cars, seem to have ballooned out of all proportion — turning what was once a small car into something close to a medium-sized one. And cars were small back then; here’s a late-1950s Alfa Romeo Giulietta next to its owner (who looks like a giant, but only by comparison):

…and a 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 ditto:

Alas, those lovely little cars are long gone and out of production; but others are still with us, albeit bloated versions of their former selves. Allow me to post a couple of pics to illustrate the point.

When Britain introduced the Mini to the world, it was a brilliant small car not only for its design but for its utility. Tiny, nimble and quick (even with its teeny 850cc engine), the Mini was the perfect city car for the time (1960s and 70s), and the ads and pics reflected the car’s ethos to a nicety. Note this one, featuring a very Swinging Sixties sex symbol, Charlotte Rampling:

Note its setting: some backstreet mews in (I suppose) London, maybe even one near the iconic Carnaby Street.

But look at what the German BMW-spawned Mini has become, by comparison to its predecessor:

Now I know that a lot of the bloat has come about because of the Nanny State’s insistence on airbags and similar safety features [25,000-word rant deleted] and the fact that in today’s obese world of fatties and such, only anorexic supermodels could get in and out of the old Mini without needing the Jaws Of Life. I know all that, and I don’t accept the excuse, because back in the 1970s I knew a 6’11” tall man who used a Mini as his daily driver, and I , at ~230lbs, used to hell around with him when clubbing and so on. Was it a tight fit (as the actress asked the bishop)? Sure it was: but we weren’t driving thousands of miles either, so temporary discomfort was quite acceptable.

Here’s another example of bloat. After WWII, FIat came up with a cheap, tiny car with an even smaller engine (479cc, later 499cc) than the Mini’s: the fabled Quinquecento (500) — the later version of which, the 600, was actually marketed as a family car despite being if anything, slightly smaller than the Mini was. Like the Mini, however, the 500/600 was mostly marketed as a single person’s car (and especially for young women):

Unlike many, I have actually driven one of these pint-sized creations — no small feat in that I was a 50-gallon-sized guy, even back then — and my gripe was not about the dimensions but about the crappy little engine.

I have since driven one of the new Fiat 500s, by the way (Daughter has one) and I love it despite its crappy little engine — some things never change* — but again as with the Mini, the new one is a bloated fat cow by comparison:

And note the not-so-subtle change in Fiat’s marketing:

Are the New Fatties better cars than their tiny predecessors? Of course they are. Times have changed, and engineering has improved. But with all that improvement, some character — okay, a lot of character — has been lost along the way, and I, for one, lament its passing.

I seem to do that a lot these days. Gah.


*I’ve been in the Fiat 500 Abarth, by the way — Longtime Friend Knob drove me around Monaco in his a month ago — and it is a monster: it’s like a pocket-sized Ferrari. And don’t get me started on how Ferraris have got wider and fatter either, or we’ll be here for a week.

Update: Patreon

More than a few people have written to me to tell that Patreon limits pledges to only $1.

That isn’t so, by the way: according to Tech Support, who investigated it when I asked, you have the option of raising the pledge amount (the $1 is just a starting-point because they don’t deal with any amounts less than a dollar).

At any time, you can go back and change the amount, so if any of you want to do that, please do.

For those who’d prefer to make annual donations, Tech Support is looking into it.