Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Edward Lear by W. H. Auden

Left by his friend to breakfast alone on the white
Italian shore, his Terrible Demon arose
Over his shoulder; he wept to himself in the night,
A dirty landscape-painter who hated his nose.

The legions of cruel inquisitive They
Were so many and big like dogs: he was upset
By Germans and boats; affection was miles away:
But guided by tears he successfully reached his Regret.

How prodigiuous the welcome was. Flowers took his hat
And bore him off to introduce him to the tongs;
The demon's false nose made the table laugh; a cat
Soon had him waltzing madly, let him squeeze her hand;
Words pushed him to the piano to sing comic songs;

And children swarmed to him like settlers. He became a land.

from W.H. Auden, Collected Shorter Poems 1927-1957,
London, Faber and Faber, 1966, p. 127.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Avenging Narwhal Playset

"Now, once a year, in a continuous effort to keep their enemies at bay, the Narwhal leave their homes to embark on a treacherous migration to Antarctica in the hunt for baby penguins and seal pups. Many will not return... Along their journey, they will spend time in Australia, swimming up stream to the inland habitat of the koalas, where they will actually leap out of the water to spear the deadly koalas from their perches high in the Eucalyptus trees."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Motomatic Watercooled Vespa/.....

Text and pictures courtesy Motomatic

Major Components
Vespa Grande: Frame & integrated Gas Tank
Honda Hobbit: Cases & Rear Wheel
Derbi Variant (Flat Reed): Crank, Clutch, Variator (TJT), Metrakit cylinder kit
Motomatic Exhaust: Destroyer
Motomatic Sub frame: Built by Nate out of thin walled 4130 steel tubing made to match a typical moped wheelbase of 44”.
Rear Shocks: Honda XR 75
Front Forks: Pit bike forks (last race used EBR race forks)
Front Wheel: 17” rim with a Motobecane hub with a pit bike disc affixed.
Rear Wheel: 16” rim with Honda Hobbit hub and GSXR 750 disc brake affixed.
Motomatic Powder Coating: Thank you Mike Rafter
Carburetor: OKO 21mm (changed to a 24mm)
Ignition: HP1 Puch ignition

The Assembly:
In addition to the assembly of these key parts much effort was put into how to get these parts to work together.
• The sub frame had to be offset to ensure the drive belt was aligned
• A special reed cage manifold was made to squeeze the largest reed cage (Gilardoni) within the stock mounting stud pattern and yet still have the reed pedal close as possible to the crank case and also direct flow directly into the transfer ports.
• The rear Honda Hobbit torque driver was modified so it can match the variation (movement) of the Derbi Variant Variator.
• The HPI ignition needed the taper re-machined for a good fit, the hobbit cases needed to be machined to fit the seals and Puch stator plate, and a stator plate base needed to be machined. 10 hours spent here.
• A custom seat had to be supported and fabricated. (Thanks to Nate)
• The 70cc Metrakit kit needed slight modification of the stud holes and small amount of epoxy was used on the cases to match the stock Metrakit base gasket shape. Also, a 1mm base gasket was used to keep 1mm clearance between the piston and head.

Road speed test with stock rear gears 69 MPH
Road speed test with Malossi rear gears 73.8 MPH

For more information and pictures check out the Motomatic post

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Maps from Books VII

Mistress Masham's Repose
by T. H. White

The Palace of Malplaquet based on Stowe School and Blenheim Palace.

"Tell me about the Horses."
"What about them?"
"Tell me," she said guiltily, "how they ought to be pronounced."
The Professor threw his head back firmly and began to neigh.
"Can you neigh?"
Maria tried, to see if she could.
"How did you do it?"
"Let me see, I kept my mouth shut, and I don't think my tongue moved, and I sort of kept on huffing out a wriggly squeal, through the back of my nose."
"You couldn't spell it very well, because you do it with your mouth shut. So there can't be any proper letters, really, not real vowels."
"Well, Dr. Swift used a 'hou' for the huffing part, and a Y for the squealy part, and N's and M's are the part in the nose, Houyhnhnm. It is what a horse says."
"It isn't very easy to pronounce in the book, not when you are reading aloud."
"It is only a question of practice," said the Professor grandly. "Practice and self-confidence." 
                                -From Chapter XXV

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Two tasty, soy bean fed yearling bucks on the evening of opening day:

Skinned, dressed and ready for butchering:

Saturday, November 7, 2009

It's Been A Hard... Day's... Night...

First, Laurence Olivier as Richard III:

And, Peter Sellers as Laurence Olivier as John Lennon...


Moby Dick - Chapter XXXII 
The word cloud was created using frequency of a word's use in the text to generate its relative size.

(click the image for more detail)

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Wicked Bible

Gandalf's resent penchant for defacing Bibles pointed me in the direction of the "Wicked Bible," now a valuable book published (for a short period) in 1631. It was intended to be a reprint of the King James, but owing to a crucial error in the composition of the type, omitted the "not" from the seventh commandment. Ooops... The error so outraged Charles I that he had the printers summoned to the Star Chamber where they were fined and lost their printing licenses.

King Charles's disgust with the event is made abundantly clear in this wonderfully nostalgic statement regarding the decline of the art of printing : "I knew the tyme when great care was had about printing, the Bibles especially, good compositors and the best correctors were gotten being grave and learned men, the paper and the letter rare, and faire every way of the beste, but now the paper is nought, the composers boyes, and the correctors unlearned." Oh what sad times are these...