Thursday, June 14, 2007

Oviraptors, Aplomados and Avantis

Around the web. Darren reports on a new giant Oviraptor-- basically your near- Tyrranosaur- sized bird. And yes, it was probably feathered.

Carel gives us some welcome news about the return of the Aplomado falcon, with a gorgeous painting of a falcon "working" a fire as well. The Armendariz Ranch is in the southern part of my home ecosystem (i.e., within 50 miles) and I'll be looking. It's nice to know Ted Turner is good for something. I have a theory about the bird's historical decline-- actually Libby's idea-- in the comments.

Paul Boutin in Slate is lucky enough to own a classic Studebaker Avanti, and thinks, despite such luck, that "All old cars suck"--!

"To begin with, they're hard to start in the morning. The Avanti doesn't have computer-controlled injectors to squirt the exact amount of gasoline into each cylinder of its engine at the precise moment. It doesn't have computer-controlled anything. Instead, it's got a carburetor, a comparatively crude device that passively mists fuel into the engine's air intake."

Wow. I grew up with such primitive devices, and my only working vehicle, a nearly twenty year old truck, still has one.

It has almost 300,000 miles on it. Our newer car is not running because the (good) local mechanic can't debug the !@#$%^&&* computer that runs the fuel injection.

He is also afraid because it doesn't have airbags. Neither does my truck-- see mileage above.

Paul, we'd give it a home. And not worry about its breaking down, virtually unrepairable, when its non- existent computer dies twenty miles from the nearest town.

But I guess you don't have to worry about that in the Bay Area-- just... endless... expenses....


Chas S. Clifton said...

How long have I been hearing this lament about the Cherokee, a Jeep that you and both admire? Seems to be time to do one of these things:

1. Fire the mechanic and take it to a dealer. I know that you are loyal to the guy, and he is local, etc., but you need to be able drive it.

2. Or get a junked or after-market computer

3. O give up on that vehicel.

Steve Bodio said...

We are on 3. Can't afford the repair bill with a dealer (have checked) and are looking at a Chevy mini- truck from Booby (the repair guy) with half the miles of either of the old cars and a cap (previous owner someone we know well).

Literally every mechanic in Socorro county has failed on the Jeep computer-- Bobby installed a carburetor instead. Now more problems have developed. I am beginning to think that 87 WAS their worst year!

Steve Bodio said...

PS: The Chevy would cost us less than the repair estimate!

Heidi the Hick said...

On the car thing:

My ol man has been driving the same Ford truck (1955) for over 30 years...except for when he pulled it off the road for a frame-off rebuild. He hates my truck. It's too new. It's a 1989. He also owned two late 50s studebakers in his youth.

The mid 80s were a bad time for fuel systems. We had an 86 Capri with a computer assisted carb- it was awful! Apparently the next year was fuel injected and worked much better.

yes in many ways new cars are better. Our 03 Jetta is a great car. But yes little things are going out on us. Little power things that need to be fixed. Sure, old cars suck; they're cranky and imprecise and spartan. But they are cool just because of that.

I have to keep driving my truck because I can't sell it- I'll never get my $$ out of it! I'm sure I'll end up 40 years from now, bickering with a mechanic to keep my old truck on the road, complaining in my lil ol lady way that they just don't build 'em like they used to...

Anonymous said...

Ah! An Avanti! I aspired to an Avanti in my youth, but could only achieve title to a 1953 or '55 Studebaker President (memory fails, I can' recall the exact year) which was a truly impressive car in that or any other decade. I wish I had it now, and I'd still like the Avanti - I could fix the carb myself if it got temperamental. My funny black dogs would love that sporty, ahead of its time car as well ... sleekly sophisticated then and now!