Scorecard For The Fuzz

Try to keep up. There will be a quiz later.

So there’s this police station in Britishland where the concept of fraternization seems to be endemic, and a whole lot of pens are being dipped in the office ink, so to speak. Here goes:

1.) Head Cop (female) is bonking Constable #1 (male) in a full-time kind of situation:

2.) Firearms Instructor (male) is bonking the Phys Ed Instructor (female), also on a full-time basis:

So far, so good.

However, while these “long-term” relationships are going on, Head Cop is also doing some extracurricular bonking with Firearms Instructor, to whit:

“There are allegations of shagging in hotel rooms, shagging in police HQ and shagging in a police car. It’s crazy.”

But that’s not all. Head Cop was previously married to Another Constable (#2) in the same station, with whom she had three children but later divorced.

Amazingly, Constable #1 isn’t bonking Phys Ed Instructor (that we know of, anyway) and nobody seems to be bonking the ex-husband, Constable #2 — although given the nature of this police station, he’s probably having a fling with Desk Sergeant (gender unknown).

One wonders how they ever get any actual, you know, police work done amidst all that intramural bonking; the answer (as former PC “David Copperfield” from the much-missed Coppersblog will tell you) is that they probably aren’t. Doing any police work, that is. Hard to do when the loins are locking and the hips are thrusting pretty much 24/7.

My question is this:

Since when did small British cop shops get to have firearms instructors?

Gone For Good

That does it: Nigella Lawson has been officially terminated as An Object Of My Desire, following this appearance:

The Daily Mail, always ready for a little gratuitous flattery, describes her thus:

Posing for snaps, Nigella showcased her slender waist, in the form-fitting sweater, black leggings and comfy trainers.
She left her mahogany tresses to fall loosely around her shoulders and slung a casual purse over her shoulder, also in black.
Nigella injected a pop of colour to her pout by painting her lips in a salmon pink.
The presenter enhanced her natural beauty with deftly [sic] touches of make-up to bring out her eyes and highlight her youthful complexion.

Are you kidding me? She looks like she just got out of bed, pulled on any old stuff lying on the floor from a week ago, and stepped out without even washing her face or hair.

No, I’m sorry: there’s only so much a man can take. Nigella is dead to me now.

By the way, here’s what Salma Hayek looked like when she stepped out the other night:

‘Nuff said.

Unnecessary

Following a link from Insty, I was reading Car & Driver‘s review of the Audi A7 (not that I’ll ever own one, but reading about any car beats reading about Nancy Pelosi’s bullshit by about a dozen country miles). All went well: car drives well, is comfortable blah blah blah, looks good etc.

Then came the speed bump.

For us, the chief benefit of the 48-volt system is that it allows the auto stop/start feature to operate more smoothly and more often. Cleverly, that system can trigger a restart when the forward-facing radar sees that the vehicle ahead begins moving, rather than waiting for the driver to lift off the brake.

Of all the bullshit inflicted on us by the Glueball Wormening cult, this “auto stop/start” thing is one of the worst. I remember driving a rental car in Britishland not long ago, and while waiting at a red light, the engine died — this, in a car which had only about 1,200 miles on the odometer. Panicked, I punched the ignition button, the car restarted (phew) and as luck would have it, the light changed and off I went. All was well until the next light, when the engine died again. This time, however, I didn’t panic, realizing that the 1100cc engine was being governed by “auto stop/start” on the basis that a tiny engine idling for two minutes at about 200 rpm is going to cause polar bears to die of heatstroke or something.

Here’s my problem with all of this. A starter motor is an electro-mechanical device, and as such has a defined lifespan before it stops working. It doesn’t matter how well it’s made — the higher quality simply means the mean time between failures (MTBF) is longer than for a cheaper economy starter motor. It is going to stop working, at some point: and as with all motors, the more it is used, the sooner that point will arrive.

So let’s do the mathematics on this one. Let’s assume that a particular starter motor has a lifetime of 20,000 operations. Let’s assume also, for the sake of argument, that a typical week sees you operate the starter about five times per day, while going to work, stopping at a couple of stores, running errands and doing chores, then going home. That’s 365 x 5 = 1,825 operations per annum, which means that your starter motor is going to last 20,000/1,825 = 10.985, in other words, about eleven years. Now with “auto stop/start”, instead of five operations per day, you’ll be hitting nearly twice that number, assuming that each day you have to stop at a couple of red lights or wait for traffic before you can make a turn, and so on. All of a sudden, that 11 years turns into 5 years — or much less, if you live in an area with more than a few traffic lights or which has heavy rush-hour traffic.

The actual numbers aren’t important, of course; what’s important is that at some point, your engine is going to stop, and then not restart. This would be bad enough at a traffic light; it would be much worse on a congested freeway like L.A.’s I-405 or the Long Island Expressway (which, as any fule kno, is an egregious misnomer).

I know, I know: the stupid engine-killing device can be overridden, which begs the question as to why it should be there in the first place.

And don’t even get me started about the wisdom of having a device which “can trigger a restart when the forward-facing radar sees that the vehicle ahead begins moving“. Quite apart from the issue of involuntary forward motion (a topic all by itself), it means that in stop-start traffic you’ll go from 5 operations per day to 20 or 30. Do the math yourselves.

It’s a stupid, pointless device and we should do away with it. Other than for “saving the environment” (i.e. specious and untrue) reasons, it has no place in a car. And if one day we reach the point where it can’t be turned off, it would be a reason not to buy that particular car, wouldn’t it?

Just In Case Someone May Be Offended

Here we go again:

A leading art gallery is facing a furious backlash after taking down a Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece in a bid to “provoke debate”.
Hylas and the Nymphs, completed in 1896, depicts the ancient Greek warrior Hyalas being lured to his doom by a group of naked water nymphs in the myth Jason and the Argonauts — and has hung in Manchester Art Gallery.
It has been temporarily removed John William Waterhouse’s masterpiece in an attempt to rethink historical artwork that “presents the female body as either a ‘passive decorative form’ or a ‘femme fatale’.”

And it gets worse:

Postcards of the painting will also be removed from sale in the gallery shop.
Clare Gannaway, Manchester Art Gallery’s curator of contemporary art, said the debates around Time’s Up and #MeToo had spurned the decision.

Just so we’re clear on the topic, this is the painting in question:

I’m not a huge fan of Victorian art, but I do like Waterhouse, and this painting in particular.

Here’s what you need to know about Victorian art. Because of the age’s well-known attitude towards nudity and sexuality, artists of the time couldn’t paint or sculpt pieces that were graphic or sexual, with one important exception: if the artwork referred to a classical- or mythic theme (such as Hylas and the Nymphs), such depictions were allowed. Which is why you find so many Greek- and Roman mythical characters and situations in Victorian art which contained nudity. Here’s another example, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s A Favourite Custom:

…in which can be seen nude women, albeit chastely displayed, at a Roman bath house. (For anyone interested, here’s a decent book on the topic: Tell Me, Pretty Maiden).

As this is a weekend, I’m not going to rant about the Manchester Art Gallery’s idiocy because it deserves a Two-Minute Hate post. Next week, however…

 

 

 

Stupidity, Part 2

(For Part 1, see here.)

So I woke up In Socorro NM after the previous night’s harrowing near-miss with an empty fuel tank, and you’d better believe that before leaving Socorro I filled the tank up again (even from 7/8 full), just to be sure. Then I set off, heading west along U.S. 60.

The outside temperature in Socorro was about 25F (-4C for my Furrin Readers); cold, but I was in the southern United States, right? so I figured it would warm up as the day went on.

Wrong. As I crossed the Continental Divide (altitude about 5,000ft), the temperature was 0F (-18C) but the day was clear, with no snow falling or anything.

As I drove on, I was a little worried because with cold that extreme, a car’s parts can easily start to break — and I hadn’t seen another car (in either direction) for about half an hour. So I was a little nervous, even though all the gauges looked fine.

Then, about twenty minutes later… ice on the road.

At this point, the road was no longer the arrow-straight highway in the above picture: it had become twisty and hilly, and the shade thrown by the hills was preventing the ice from melting. I slowed down, gradually of course (I’ve driven on icy roads before), but even at 30mph, I felt the car slip occasionally — all-wheel drive doesn’t help on ice.

Now I was really worried. Had I gone off the road, and crashed into a roadside ditch (or worse, off the road into a valley) and the windshield had shattered, I would have been exposed to the elements — and at 0F, even with blankets and warm clothing, death from exposure can take only minutes — and with the paucity of traffic, there was no telling whether there’d be any chance of timely assistance.

As I’ve said, my phone had “bricked” (gone completely dead) the day before. I was, to all intents and purposes, completely alone and isolated. And the temperature fell still further, to -4F.

It was as nerve-wracking a drive as I’d ever made, and only when I was finally able to head north towards the interstate, along a straight road with lots of traffic, did my stress level start to subside.

And I never thought I’d ever say this, but I was glad when I finally got onto I-40 — ordinarily a terrible road to drive on — but on this occasion, something to be welcomed with open arms.

Two things: under such conditions, I’m never going to take a long road trip along back roads without either a companion or else an accompanying car. And if I do have to take such a trip alone, I’ll stick to the poxy interstate highways.

Dying under such circumstances is tragic. Dying unnecessarily is stupid. And I’m not a stupid man — at least, not in this regard, anymore.