Thoughts On A Sunday

It is the first weekend of Motorcycle Week, the 101st gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts, with many of the activities centered in Laconia. Bikers started arriving on Friday and the numbers being seen on the roads and highways is increasing by the hour. It looks like the weather will be cooperating for the most part, though we did experience occasional showers interrupting the otherwise plentiful sunshine yesterday, and heavy rain this morning. It then started clearing up in the early afternoon.

There might be some thundershowers this coming Friday, but they certainly won’t affect the festivities for the most part...I think.


Yesterday was the first day of ‘full’ use of my new Linux miniPC which replaced my ancient HP Pavilion which ran Windows. The HP Pavilion has been decommissioned and is undergoing a thorough cleaning and adding the upgrades I mentioned in a previous post – more RAM and a new 2TB hard drive – and once done I will load Ubuntu Linux 24.04. Then the only computer I will be using at home that uses Windows will be my work laptop.

So far I am really liking a Windows-free existence at home, at least when I am not working.

I haven’t had any issues installing or using some of the Windows programs like LViewPro, an image editor that I’ve used for years that is easy to use for light picture editing jobs and has a number of neat features some others don’t have. (No, this is not a plug for program. In fact, it is now available for free from their website.) I have also installed PowerChute from APC, used to monitor and control the APC UPS I have for the miniPC, monitor, router, and a few other small peripherals and closes programs and shuts down the computer when the UPS has only a few minutes of power left before it shuts down. The other computers and the cable modem in the Official Weekend Pundit Office all have their own UPS’s running the same program. I’ve also loaded a couple of SPICE programs, used to simulate electronic circuit designs, and found they work better and faster on the new miniPC despite running Linux. There are a few more I’ll be trying out to see how well they work, but so far I have not been disappointed.


It seems SloJoe can screw up things in other countries, too. In this case his speech in Normandy on the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, some of which was plagiarized from Ronald Reagan’s speech 40 years ago and some of which he managed to politicize.

Other than being increasingly demented, he’s just as much of a scumbag as he’s always been.


I don’t know about you, but I know even the thought of buying a new vehicle, be it a car, SUV, or truck fills me with dread rather than excitement. I know I’m not the only one that feels that way. Even ignoring the costs of new vehicles, a lot of people just don’t like the changes that have taken place, particularly when it comes to how they work...or don’t work.

Many buyers are now surfing on waves of vehicle depreciation, picking up used and off-lease cars and trucks still under warranty for thousands less than new. That’s smart. Your Dutch uncle approves. But lately another, stranger element is showing up in the numbers: a motivated belief among consumers that automakers’ latest and greatest offerings—whether powered by gasoline, batteries or a hybrid system—are inferior to the products they are replacing.


In fact, new-car deniers form a broad coalition of the unpersuaded. Some fear that new, digitally connected vehicles could expose their personal information to the Chinese—or worse, to their insurance agencies. Other modern marvels people seem eager to avoid include stop/start cycling systems, which shut off engines to save fuel when vehicles are stationary, now all but mandatory in new vehicles; continuously variable transmissions (CVTs), commonly found in compact vehicles with small-displacement engines; and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), a post-combustion exhaust treatment that modern turbo diesel engines can’t live without.

Others are just trying to hang on to the good things they’ve got, like three-pedal stick-shifted manual transmissions, virtually extinct in new cars. Or built-in CD players. What unites them is the conviction that older cars are not just cheaper, but better—and that touch screens suck.

Touch screens do suck, particularly if you have to use them to control functions that used to be handled by switches, knobs, dials, and levers. If memory serves, a couple of GM pickups required use of the touch screen to turn on the headlights. That’s stupid...and dangerous. The same is true of a number of other functions that used to be controlled by the aforementioned switches, knobs, dials, and levers. It is something that requires a driver to take their attention from the road for something that in the past could be handled by muscle memory. Nobody I’ve talked to about this likes the shift to the touch screens for basic functions.

For full disclosure, my 2014 RAM 1500 has a 7” LCD touch screen, but it has limited control functions with most of them aimed at the radio/entertainment system. It controls the tuning of preset radio stations on AM, FM, and SiriusXM. It can link to and interface with my phone via Bluetooth so I can use my phone hands-free, something required in my state. It also allows use of a USB thumb drive to play music files. Oh, and you can set the clock! However, that’s as far as it goes. There’s no navigation function. No engine monitoring/diagnostics. And, if need be, I can actually shut off the screen.


Watts Up With That delves into an L.A. Times editorial about how to deal with California’s high energy prices.

I suppose I could delve into the various means suggested by the L.A. Times, but I can solve the problem with ‘one weird trick’: Leave California. So many others already have and found their energy costs have dropped considerably.


I have to admit that I am already getting tired of all the political rhetoric and it’s only June. I usually have more tolerance of the political B.S. that goes along with political campaigns, particularly of they are presidential political campaigns. That we’re also seeing show trials at the behest of the Democrat Powers That Be is making me even less tolerant than usual.

On the other hand, it pleases me to no end that those same Democrat Powers That Be are panicked because their puppet – SloJoe – is unraveling faster than the campaign calendar and they have no real replacement for him. Cacklin’ Kamala isn’t a viable candidate because even the Democrats can’t stand her. (SloJoe is a demented idiot while Kamala is just an idiot...and makes about just the same amount of sense as SloJoe.)

For the moment that level of insanity hasn’t infected our state politics, but I figure it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing that, particularly in the race for governor. But I’ll wait to become intolerant of that race until later.


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the roar of motorcycle engines increases every day, the vendor and beer tents are in place at Weirs Beach, and where it looks like the weather is going to cooperate this week...for a change.