Thursday, October 14, 2010

One of the things that amuse me greatly about the United States

is the amount of crackpots we generate.

Now the term 'crackpot' seems to invision mental pictures of nutcakes in laboratories to many people. It doesn't to me.

It make e think of a people that think out of the box and experiment on their own.

On one website I frequent there is a guy that likes to experiment with firearms and he often tries to dispel somme of the myths that seem to run through the firearms community.

For vary short money he seems to constantly get pretty close to the same results that places like the FBI crime lab and independent test facilities do. He's generous and freely shares his results with people via his website.

I also have followed the adventures of some guy that built an Old School hot rod and took it to the Bonneville Salt Flats with hopes of breaking 175 mph.

He broke 150, but then ate a valve and threw a connecting rod.

I like people like these because to me it is a part of wwhat America is all about.

The guy with the hot rod probably knew he wasn't going to get nationwide recognition or set a new World Land Speed record, but he set a goal for himself and went for it.

He failed this year and probably tralered his hot rod home driving in a somewhat preoccupied manner thinking about what he was going to do so he could try and meet his goal next year.

I won't be surprised to see him eventually break his 175 mph goal if he keeps after it for a while.

One has to think that there are a lot of things that have grown into common use that have come out of the garages and basements of this country.

While Bill Gates didn't invent the computer, he did invent the concept of software ownership and made the computer into what it is today along with getting very rich. I believe he got started in a garage and things grew.

It's not so much the Bill Gateses that I admire, but the guys like the hot rod guy and the gun guy that simply get an idea in their head and, knowing full and well that they are only doing it out of curiosity of the desire to live a dream proceed to chase their dreams.

This is a wonderful country for people like that.

When I lived in Alaska there were a larger percentage of these kind of people. They were always interesting to talk to. I remember a guy that found a WW2 submarine periscope somewhere and mounted it in his living room so he could check out what was going on downtown without leaving his living room.

There was another guy that was constantly doing interesting stuff, much of it based on surplus equipment. A chat with this guy always left me grinning because he was just chock-full of half-baked ideas, many of which he actually made happen.

My favorite was when he went crab fishing with an old Navy surplus floating dry dock.

He covered the deck with web to entangle the crabs, wove dead fish for bait into the web and sunk the dock and let it soak a while. When he raised it, he simply clambered aboard, gathered the crabs, stick them into his holding tank and headed straaight to the cannery. I heard he turned a reasonable profit until something happened, probably a rule change by Fish and Game. I forgot what it was that made him stop doing this.

I think that if you go to, say, Europe that you will find out that garages are used to store automobiles in for the most part. In this country maybe the majority of garages serve the same function,, but the percentages of gagages that are used for other purposes is a whole lot higher.

You can drive through neighborhoods with garages and notice the number of cars parked in driveways and look in the garage if the door is open and see that quite a few of them house some pet project or another.

Maybe there is a wood shop in one, a boat being built in another or maybe you can see the work in progress of some automotive project. A few are used by people for sideline jobs. I had a timing belt installed on the Miata by one of these sideline job guys working out of his garage. He did a good job and fixed a couple of other things for free, too.

I think I am going to dedicate this post to The Ameriican Crackpot.

May he continue to follow his dreams and pursue his passions in his garage or basement forever and help make the country what it is today.

As for the hot rod guy? I'll be waiting to find out if he breaks 175 next year.

This post has been edited to add a hot link to another crackpot that figured out a way to launch a video camera and an Iphone into near space and take some pictures.
At least I hope the link is hot.

If the link isn't hot, I guess you can cut and paste. Thanks go to a reader that shared it with me.

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