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The misadventures of a pint sized man.

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The Pony Wars of Gen Y

Posted by Bill Prosperi on February 17, 2011

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Detroit is in the midst of a revival.  The auto industry that some had left for dead, pulled a ‘Monty Python’ of sorts and proclaimed ‘I’m not dead yet’.  It seems they may have been right.  After quite a few years of some lack luster offerings, the Big Three are flexing their American Muscle that we all knew was still there. They just needed to go on a diet and shed some of that excess fat that was hiding that toned body.  While not quite chiseled at the moment, there is a glimmer of hope starting to shine through.

I have always been a fan of American Muscle.  There is just something to the battle of the Mustang vs the Camaro. Let us also not forget Dodge has rejoined the picture with the Challenger. Every year they trip over themselves trying to out do each other. But things now are different. These beasts not only compete for top horse power but also try to nudge the other in the now ever present battle for best in class mpg and tech amenities. I always thought the purpose of these machines was to get somewhere fast and as brutal as possible, regardless of what it took. I know, they still do that but the mpg argument and tech brings a chuckle to me. They still are machines of brute force.

Which brings me to my main thought, what will Gen Y have for this purpose when they become sad thirty somethings in need of a hobby? The industry now is all about how much tech can be crammed into a small shell that can get a million miles per gallon. Is that bad? No. I am a tech geek for all intensive purposes. With the route Gen Y is taking, could horsepower change to RAM? Will we see a battle not betwen engines or halo cars but what mobile operating system their PEV is running? Social media is now a top priority it seems. Many will chat via text, Twitter, or Facebook instead of going down the street to just chat on the front porch. All I had as a kid was a phone attached to a stretched out twenty foot cord. Al Gore had not yet blessed us with this internet fad thingy.

To meet regulations, many manufacturers are subplanting their lineups with various subcompacts, hybrids, and plug-in electrics. Couple that with the lack of desire in younger generations for things like a good halo car, what type of battles could we see on the streets in the future? Will the music of a well tuned engine be replaced with some futuristic spaceship sound on a PEV? How about Windows vs Android vs iOS instead of Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge? With the ever evolving role of technology and the push away from the internal combustion engine in our daily drives, these are valid arguments.
There hopefully will still be the pockets of enthusiasts who will find something and mod to within an inch of its life. Maybe the new war will be the subcompact battle between a Fiesta, Spark, and a rebadged 500. I am sure they can pack a massive hard drive to sync up to their pear pods. The kids still do that right?

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DEFINITION OF ACCELERATION

Posted by Bill Prosperi on February 16, 2011

Via an email I received this morning from the one and only Don Zielke.

(Source yet to be determined but will update once that is known)

DEFINITION OF ACCELERATION

One top fuel dragster 500 cubic inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower than the first 4 rows of stock cars at the Daytona 500.

It takes just 15/100ths of a second for all 6,000+ horsepower of an NHRA Top Fuel dragster engine to reach the rear wheels.

Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes 1-1/2 gallons of nitro methane per second; a fully loaded 747 consumes jet fuel at the same rate with 25% less energy being produced.

A stock Dodge Hemi V8 engine cannot produce enough power to drive the dragster’s supercharger.

With 3,000 CFM of air being rammed in by the supercharger on overdrive, the fuel mixture is compressed into a near-solid form before ignition.

Cylinders run on the verge of hydraulic lock at full throttle.

At the stoichiometric (stoichiometry: methodology and technology by which quantities of reactants and products in chemical reactions are determined) 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture of nitro methane, the flame front temperature measures 7,050 deg F.

Nitro methane burns yellow… The spectacular white flame seen above the stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, dissociated from atmospheric water vapor by the searing exhaust gases.

Dual magnetos supply 44 amps to each spark plug. This is the output of an arc welder in each cylinder.

Spark plug electrodes are totally consumed during a pass. After halfway, the engine is dieseling from compression, plus the glow of exhaust valves at 1,400 deg F. The engine can only be shut down by cutting the fuel flow.

If spark momentarily fails early in the run, unburned nitro builds up in the affected cylinders and then explodes with sufficient force to blow cylinder heads off the block in pieces or split the block in half.

In order to exceed 300 mph in 4. 5 seconds, dragsters must accelerate an average of over 4G’s. In order to reach 200 mph (well before half-track), the launch acceleration approaches 8G’s.

Dragsters reach over 300 miles per hour before you have completed reading this sentence.

Top fuel engines turn approximately 540 revolutions from light to light! Including the burnout, the engine must only survive 900 revolutions under load.

The redline is actually quite high at 9,500 rpm.

Assuming all the equipment is paid off, the crew worked for free, and for once NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run costs an estimate $1,000.00 per second.

The current top fuel dragster elapsed time record is 4.428 seconds for the quarter mile (11/12/06, Tony Schumacher, at  Pomona  ,  CA  ). The top speed record is 336.15 mph as measured over the last 66′ of the run (05/25/05 Tony Schumacher, at  Hebron  ,  OH  ).

Putting all of this into perspective:

You are driving the average $140,000 Lingenfelter ‘twin-turbo’ powered Corvette Z06. Over a mile up the road, a top fuel dragster is staged and ready to launch down a quarter mile strip as you pass. You have the advantage of a flying start. You run the ‘Vette hard up through the gears and blast across the starting line and pass the dragster at an honest 200 mph. The ‘tree’ goes green for both of you at that moment.

The dragster launches and starts after you. You keep your foot down hard, but you hear an incredibly brutal whine that sears your eardrums and within 3 seconds, the dragster catches and passes you. He beats you to the finish line, a quarter mile away from where you just passed him.

Think about it, from a standing start, the dragster had spotted you 200 mph and not only caught, but nearly blasted you off the road when he passed you within a mere 1,320 foot long race course.

…… and that my friend, is ACCELERATION!

Posted in Auto | 2 Comments »

A Post for My Wife…

Posted by Bill Prosperi on February 14, 2011

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How many people can say that they have known the Love of their life since they were five years old? Unless your parents arranged it with the neighbors when you were growing up, probably not many.  Most people usually meet the person they will spend their life with way after high school.  I meet mine in Kindergarten, granted at that point she was full of cooties and other gross girl stuff.
Somehow, after knowing me for all those years, she still agreed to go to that Home Coming dance with me our Senior year in high school.  Even with my many ‘not so thought out’ decisions through college, she held out hope that I just might not be a complete dork. (I am still at least 50% dork, just ask our daughter.)  After college was over, she agreed to walk down that aisle with me and make that promise to be my wife.

Now we have a home in the ‘burbs with two (still debatable) wonderful children who, while test us everyday, prove how much we still love each other after all these years of knowing each other.

We see days like Valentine’s day as just another day. A Hallmark holiday is not needed to show each other how much we appreciate what the other does for each other.  Well, that is how I feel.  Frankly, when someone stays up late to make you a brownie like this, you must be doing something right.

(I think the double exclamation points means I double cool!)

Happy Valentine’s Day Rachelle.

Love You.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Rotary + Redneck = Goodness

Posted by Bill Prosperi on February 2, 2011

As a Mazda fanboy and a part-time redneck, I needed something to fulfill both sides of my heart.  One fine summer day, I took a trip out to the Googles and found this awesome RX-7 over on some list by this guy named Craig.  Cousin Earl had an extra lift kit from his failed attempt to raise his Wrangler tall enough to climb some rocks out in the dessert.  I told him I had a plan and we would put it to use.  I knew this would land me some hotties in no time.

We worked hard all summer long.  That dude Craig and his list found us some big lights we could mount on top for whens we go ‘coon huntin.  Them rascals ain’t going to out run us in this.  Cousin Earl and me, well I ain’t one to brag, but we is the fastest mud boggers in the tri-county area. All them boys and their oversized trucks can’t touch our rotary goodness.  I thinks they all are trying to compensate for something (if you know what I mean).

The cooler full of Iron City fits good in the back but now I just need to figure out how to mount the gun rack.

Posted in The Other Side of Life, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

The Tires are Not the Only Wheels Spinning…..

Posted by Bill Prosperi on January 29, 2011

It is January 29, 2011. A Saturday this year that brings the beginning of something special for me, the start of the 2011 racing season.  It is not just special because I am a motor sports junkie, but the fun of watching Little Man sit in awe as the cars fly around the track.  Today is the 24 Hours of Daytona, a race we both look forward to since the time the last races took place back in October and November.

Currently the previously mentioned monster has two Hot Wheels and is running around the living room, cars on the hardwood floor, shouting out race commentary and anxiously awaiting the start of the race.   I sit here in front of a computer to quickly type out a bunch of thoughts streaming through my head.  Motor sports and cars are ingrained in my DNA, I believe.  As a young kid, I have vivid memories of watching NASCAR with my father and grandfather on Sunday afternoons as our entire family invaded my grandparent’s house for Sunday dinner.  There were the stories of my Uncle Junior who was a local drag strip ‘champion’ when he was in his youth.  I never made it to a race as a kid but the time spent with my father as we watched them was just as awesome.  The time I spend now with the kids as we watch is as equally awesome.  Kid Kid is now more into more girly things and does not sit with me anymore to watch but she does do a good job pretending to care. Little Man knows that I am a big fan of Mazda a will root for them with me but if there is a McDonalds sponsored car, its all over.  (If the that car was white and green like their sweet and sour sauce packets, he would probably rip the hood off and dip his chicken nuggets in the engine. )  With the rule of thumb being to try and do one better than what you had as a kid, I hope to take Little Man to as many races as I can.  We have hopefully started a tradition of going to Mid-Ohio every year for the Emco Gears Classic where the Grand Am series races for the weekend.  The kids and I made it last year and it was a time I will never forget.  Now that I know which kid loves the races and which one does not, we plan on becoming regulars at Mid-Ohio and visit some of the many SCAA and NASA events that happen there.  First up this year, may be a large NASA Mazda meet in April. Time will tell though, it is still a few months away and anything can happen.

So while the wheels of the cars spin around the track, I can guarantee that the wheels in Little Man’s head (as well as mine) will be spinning with dreams of not just watching the race but being in the car.  The imagination of Little Man has a leg up on mine but I can still get it done.  So as we all sit around a TV at some point this year to watch a race, try to watch with the imagination of a 5 year old.  The fascination doubles and the excitement will go off the chart.  As an adult it is too easy to start examining why the Porsche was just passed by an M6 or why the RX-8 does not have the speed on the long straight as it did during hour 3.  That only takes away from the fun that this is meant to be.

Time to go, I am being told the race is about to start. Best of luck to all the teams but it’s all about the Zoom Zoom for me.

(The car featured above is the Mazda RX-8 of Riley Racing who competes in the Street Tuner class of the Continental Tire Challenge series, a Rolex Grand-Am series.  A.J. and Jameson are a couple of great guys who I enjoy talking to on Twitter and FaceBook.  Best of luck to them this season! )

Posted in Mis-Adventures of Little Man & Kid Kid | 3 Comments »

The Mind of a Five Year Old. Part Duex: Oh Shik.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on January 6, 2011

Everyone knows that kid that just says the craziest things.  I have the joy of living with that kid and I am sure many other parents would say the same thing.  It seems that at least once a night, Little Man will pop off with something out of the blue and completely catch my Wife and I off guard.  This particular evening, he was on fire.

When I got home from work, my wonderful Wife asked me: “What is shik?” With a perplexed look, I asked her to repeat what she just said.  I heard her right the first time and it was shik.   She would go on to explain to me that Little Man’s speech therapist was working on ‘SH’ words with him and shik came up.  The therapist would go on to ask him what he meant by it and he would go on to say that ‘it is the word that you say when something you don’t like happens’.  We assured her that he did not hear it at home and it must be one of the many bad things that both kids have picked up from the grandparents.

Recently we decided to move the old desktop computer out of our office into the play area of the basement for the kids to use as they wish.  Little Man was down there doing his thing and needed a potty break.  A little while later, he came up from the basement to get ready for his bath.  I tried to get him to race me up the stairs and see if he could get ready for his bath before I got up there.  I asked him to go upstairs and get his clothes off and go potty but he reminded me that he already went potty.  Then he would launch this nugget: ‘Oh, by the way, the toilet overflowed and all the water went on the floor.  But don’t worry, the next time you flush it, it will fill back up again.”   Awesome, the carpet is soaked in toilet water.  My head hangs a little lower.

After finally getting him through his nightly sanitary rinse and in the midst of getting him to get dressed, he would throw out one more pearl of wisdom for the night. ‘When Sissy and I are grandparents….(dramatic pause)…you and mommy….(more pause)…will be dead.’  All I could get out was a few words of agreement.  How do you respond to that one!   At least he would go on to do well with his nightly sight words that he is wanting to learn and then read me a book.  The little dude is very proud of himself as he has somehow picked up reading at a pretty nice pace.  As parents, we are pretty darn proud too but to figure out we will be dead when he is old?  That is just rough…and very humoring as well.

At least I did not find the wet carpet the hard way, his mother was the lucky one there.

Posted in Mis-Adventures of Little Man & Kid Kid | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Stupid Horsepower

Posted by Bill Prosperi on December 10, 2010

I saw a van last night (this was not it) that made me think of the days when I was involved in the flooring industry.  I met a lot of nice people and also a lot of really really dumb people.  One of the more annoying things to see was these particular citizens cry about how they did not have two pennies to rub together yet they had THE van.  No, they were not driving Honda Odysseys. (That is for us cool, kick ass parents.)

Everyone in this particular industry had some kind of work vehicle. Most of those were vans that had seen better days. Much better days. Most of the more intelligent (I use this loosely) contractors would use said van to haul their tools and other materials.  Others felt the need to get to the job site really really fast.  When you are carrying half a ton of tools and flooring materials, how fast does one truly need to go? Stopping might become an issue. Just maybe. None of them could give a straight answer as to why they needed a van that could kick serious ass in the quarter mile.  They would come in to the store that I worked at and brag about what was added here and there to boost performance.  ‘But will it ever see the strip?’ I would ask.  ‘It’s a work van, why would I do that!’ was always the answer.

While I enjoy lots of horsepower, does one truly need to go excessive for no reason.  Every time I read about the Bugatti Veyron, I think of these guys having something with enough power to rip the tail off a Diplodocus but never have a need for it. Just the ability to say they do.  Do not misjudge me. A super car with 1000 + hp that uses it correctly is a beautiful thing.  A van that is meant to haul 600 square foot of hardwood and the tools needed to install it, not so much.  It is still boggles my mind that they have no idea why they could not make a decent living while others managed to.

Oh, the van I saw. It was a GMC Safari that looked like it was hit by the van pictured above.  But it did have a sweet exhaust and lots of cool stickers.

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The Mind of a Five Year Old.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on December 6, 2010

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Little Man has recently turned five. How they grow up so quick. It amazes me the memory that he has at times. Very early that morning, when the two neighbor boys and he woke up, they were trading ‘war’ stories that put more holes in the space-time continuum than imaginable.  All I could do was laugh as they were born when they were six, on Tuesday. (None of them are that old.)

The thing that got me was the Hot Wheel he just acquired VIA trade. A green Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggara LP 570-4. He knew it was a Lamborghini and he remembered seeing one just like it over the summer at the Italian Festival.  His words: ‘its like the one we saw but had clocks all over it.’ He was absolutely correct. How the hell did he do that. I can not even remember what I did last week!

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Posted in Mis-Adventures of Little Man & Kid Kid | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Why I Do Not Grow a Stache for Movember

Posted by Bill Prosperi on November 29, 2010

While October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, November is often known as Movember to draw awareness to Prostate Cancer in men. During October, Pink is the theme and for Movember, men grow out their mustaches.  Thanks to an unfortunate event in my young life, I grow two half mustaches that are not a pretty sight, due to a scar that goes from my lip to my nose.

It was the summer before my eighth grade year and we went camping. This was not just a family outing, it was a trip to our Church’s Young Womens outing.  I was a teenage boy going through puberty surrounded by like age and older teenage girls.  This was supposed to be a week of fun. It was not.  The second day of this week long event turned out to be one of the most physically painful days of my life.   While everyone had gone off to the beach, I decided to stay behind at camp. I soon got bored and decided to ride my bike to the beach.   On route to the beach was a long downhill descent. A very long steep downhill descent. At least that is what it seemed to me and I was ready for the challenge and the speed I was about to reach.  The movie American Flyers was playing in my head.  Then my head hit a minivan. A Chevy Astro van.  To this day I do not remember coming down that hill or ever seeing that van parked on the side of the road.  All I remember was hitting it at full speed and just missing putting my head through the rear driver’s side window.   Escaping with no broken bones, I did split my upper lip, severely sprain my right wrist and shoulder, which still bother me, took the skin off both my shoulders and took lots of tissue off the top of my left hand.  I was hurt pretty good and wisely just went back to camp to seek treatment.  How did I get back to camp? The van with the girls from the camp we were in, was on its way back.  Pure luck.

The truely lucky part was that I was able to eventually walk away and live on with out much issue.  That is not always the case for those that these two months are meant to support.  Cancer is no stranger to my family. I have lost many loved ones to this undiscriminating disease, one recently being an uncle to prostate cancer.  One of the most emotionally painful days in my life came just a few years ago, November 24th, 2003.  That day I was a pal bearer in one of the hardest funerals I have ever sat through.  My young cousin, Kayliegh, lost her battle with nueroblastoma.   My Grandmother also lost her battle with cancer around Thanksgiving several years before that.  I almost did not bother with the trip back home from college that year.  I was glad that I did, cause I was able to see her one last time before she passed.

So while I do not grow a mustache to show support and raise awareness for Movember, I do try to do many other things to show my support for such worthy causes. I do believe that one day science will grant us the elusive cure for cancer but until then, it is up to us to do what ever we can.  To all those that do take the time to grow a mustache, my hat is off to you and thank you.

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Easy Way to Pay Down the Deficit via Campaign Ads

Posted by Bill Prosperi on October 15, 2010

It’s that time of year again. I only wish I was talking about college football or the kids going back to school but I am not.  It is election season and the craptastic commercials are in full swing.  I soooo enjoy turning on the television to be berated with thirty second segments of pure spam.  Isn’t that what email is for? Over the last few cycles these ads have only got worse.  Rarely does one see an ad that actually comes close to saying what this numb nut running for office is truly standing for.  Mostly these ads are nothing more than a half minute of why their opponent should not be in office.  Fair enough, but why should you be in office? All I have to go on is why not to vote for anyone. At this point, that works fine for me.

So my crazy mind has come up with some groundwork to use these ads as a way to pay off our Nation’s debt. If you think about it, these idiots ran up the tab so why not make THEM pay it down.  It is a very simple plan, if your campaign runs an ad, a contribution to the deficit is made. We will play nice for the small guys running for County and Township offices since they rarely run ads and are running on shoe string budgets anyway.  I am mostly talking about the State and National level. These are the ones that take up every single commercial block during the month of October and now that is creeping into September.  It’s overload.

In all honestly, none of us really care for the ads, from either side.  One of the things I love right now about having to watch most prime-time tv is that I have to dvr it and wait till a later time to watch it.  That means I get to fast forward through the mindless drivel.  But I’ll be damned if I want to watch the news in the morning.  Every cycle billions upon billions of dollars are thrown away on these ads, so why not put some of that to real use.  Even if the ‘contribution’ is just a few thousand, just imagine how much that will add up to over all the ads run throughout the country every day and every night.  At the rate they are dumping these things on us now, we could in theory pay down the debt in a few cycles.

Every election cycle seems to put people in fear of how these figures are going to take away our freedoms, raise our taxes, ship our jobs to China, and on and on and on. China must really love us when it is election time.  My first thought was this: If you run a positive ad on what you will do in office and how you plan on changing YOUR past behavior, you will contribute the smallest ‘donation’. The more negative the ads get, the more the ‘donation’ rises.  If a corporation runs the ad for the candidate, they get to contribute as well since they are helping to fuel the fire.  Special Interest groups you are not off the hook either.  I do not care who you are but if you are running an ad for a political candidate, you are just as guilty for stoking these flames that is quickly dividing this county.   The vast majority of us see through your smoke and mirrors and we are tired of it.

My hope is that just maybe this may help these goobers start working together and get something accomplished and not start running for the next term as soon as they get in.  It seems as soon as one cycle is over, those that lost start to stump and campaign against those that got in.  Can we just let them attempt to do their jobs first instead of spend every day defending themselves from a bunch of bogus ads and speeches?  The negatives are not helping anyone and right now that is not what we need.  But at this point, I do not have a lot of hope and do not see an end anytime soon.

I know this is just a thought and ways around this will be found but I needed to get it off my chest.  Thanks for listening.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »