Category Archives: Tech

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Someone told me a while back that, of all the immortal Douglas DC-3s still in use in the United States, well over half are flying in Alaska.  I haven’t taken the time to confirm that but we do see DC-3s regularly passing overhead, sometimes two a day.  They’re great for small Alaska airfields:  Rugged, rough-field capable, dependable, and able to carry big loads.  I expect we’ll see them in use here in the Great Land for some time to come, which is pretty good for a model of aircraft which once carried the Old Man from Lowry Army Airfield, Colorado to Victorville, California, in 1945.  He described that trip in an Army C-47 as “being sealed in a tin can full of bolts and shaken,” but then, his sorties in B-25 and B-17 bombers in that time frame were very similar, or so he always told it.

Here’s a neat video of a startup and takeoff of a Swissair DC-3.  What a beautiful old bird.  It’s great to see them still in use.

Now then:

On To the Links!

Beer.  Is there anything it can’t do?

Elder Versus Newsom: Two Radically Different Views of the Soul of America.  That’s something of an understatement.

Amazon’s Answer to Delivery Driver Shortage: Recruit Pot Smokers.  Note to self:  Stop ordering snack foods from Amazon.

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving cackling harpy.

Up to 60% of Americans think President Biden(‘s handlers) should resign over the Afghanistan catastrophe.  Problem is, he has a great life-insurance policy, namely that nobody in either party wants Heels-Up Harris in the Imperial Mansion.

Joe Manchin steps up.

Ready… Fire… AIM!

Artorius rex!

Fuck off, slaver!

Savages gonna savage.

Why not just ditch the monarchy altogether?  Seriously, Brits, it’s way past damn time.

How Has Joe Biden Become So Unpopular?  Well, his constant incompetent fucking up may have something to do with it.

Well, this is amusing.

Timing Biden’s exit?  He may not have much say in it.  He likely isn’t coherent enough to have any say in it.

Wait, we don’t call them tornadoes any more?  Seriously, is there anyone left on the planet that can’t see that this guy is too far gone to blow his own nose, much less be President?

This Week’s Idiots:

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Slate‘s Dahlia Lithwick (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The New York TimesEzra Klein (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza is an idiot.

New York Magazine‘s Eric Levitz is an idiot.  Seriously, do none of these dimwits ever give a moment’s thought to what happens when the shoe is on the other foot?

CNN’s John Blake is an idiot.

The Atlantic’s Jemele Hill is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Tiffany Cross is an idiot.

Guardian‘s Lawrence Douglas is an idiot.

NY Daily News’ Paul Bledsoe is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Mike Nesmith is probably best known for his tenure with The Monkees, but the post-Monkee Nesmith did some… interesting stuff.  Among other things, he was one of the pioneers of the themed music video, along with his buddy Frank Zappa and the prescient David Bowie.

In 1981, Nesmith released a video album (on Laserdisc!) called Elephant Parts. It was odd, to say the least, but worth a watch.  Here, from that album, is the classic work Cruisin’.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Spring at the Casa de Animal.

Spring doesn’t last long up here in the Great Land.  Summer doesn’t, either.  But it’s great while it’s here.  Right now the birches and poplars are fully leafed out, with that bright green so characteristic of late spring and early summer.  We have ferns and wildflowers coming up all over, along with some irises and various other plants around the yard.  The greenhouse won’t get much use this year, as we don’t have seeds and equipment in time to get things started, but next year we’ll be making use of it.

After thirty years in semi-arid Colorado, it’s amazing how green everything is here in the Susitna Valley.  There’s a lot more moisture, obviously, what with all the snowfall and the frequency of wet, drippy days.  Still, like the old saying about April showers bringing May flowers, in Alaska it may be May showers bringing June flowers but it still holds true.  Things are pretty here now but in a few more weeks they’ll be really gorgeous.

There’s always something, though.  This shook the house for the better part of a minute.  No damage to the Casa de Animal or the surroundings.  My reaction to the possibility of future tremors?  Worth it.

And so…

On To the Links!

Corruption?  In New Jersey?  Really!?

Nobody’s going to watch your melodrama after you’ve killed off the villain.

What do you expect from a self-professed Socialist who owns three mansions?

Plastic-Driven Sperm Apocalypse May Not Be Nigh.  Also:  “Plastic-Driven Sperm Apocalypse” would be a great indy rock band name.

Florida Man Strikes Again.

A graduate of the Anthony Wiener School of Commercial Airline Pilots.

 Yeah, we’re fucked.


Here’s the problem with big proposals like this; if it were economically viable, someone would have already done it.  If government has to pay for it, we shouldn’t be doing it.  This one doesn’t pass the bullshit test.

Speaker Trump?  I’d like to see that, just to watch leftist heads explode.  Imagine President Biden mumbling and maundering his way through a State of the Union with Donald Trump sitting right behind him.  If that wouldn’t bring the lulz, I don’t know what will.

Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, presents us with the latest in a lifetime of whoppers.

It’s only wrong when Republicans do it.

Fuck off, slaver!

I love a happy ending.

Chicago continues its ongoing meltdown.

No shit, Sherlock.

Ever wondered what the hardest language is for English-speakers to learn?  Turns out Japanese is one of the toughest, which doesn’t surprise me at all.

Guess which states have the lowest unemployment rates. 

The Hunter Biden saga ain’t over yet.  Not by a long shot.

This Week’s Idiots:

CNN’s Chris Cillizza is an idiot.

The Week’s Ryan Cooper is an idiot.

CNN’s Eli Zupnick is an idiot.

The Nation’s John Nichols is an idiot.

Heels-Up Harris steps on a rake.

Juan Williams is an idiot.  I used to like Juan Williams; he seemed like a guy with principles, as opposed to politics, and I respect people with principles even if I don’t agree with them.  But these days Juan seems to have devolved into just another partisan hack.  That’s too bad.

Salon‘s Michael Camp is an idiot.

The New York Times’ Charlotte Alter is an idiot.

This “artist” is a con man, and the people who fell for it are all idiots.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Very few bands have ever matched the immortal Led Zeppelin.  This is one of the greatest of their works, one in fact used to great effect by director Taika Waititi in Marvel’s tongue-in-cheek Thor:  Ragnarok.

In 1978 or 79 – the exact year is a little fuzzy at this distance in time – I had the pleasure of seeing Zep live.  My buddies and I managed to work our way up pretty close to the stage and at one point were about twenty feet from Robert Plant, who was on stage, hair flying, wailing in his best Seventies rock-band fashion.  It was a neat experience.  Here’s The Immigrant Song.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Spring seems to be (finally) coming to the Great Land.  After weeks of prevailing winds blowing out from south-central Alaska into Cook Inlet, dragging cold air down from above the Arctic Circle, the last few days have finally dawned warmer.  By the weekend we should have temps in the low fifties and sunshine.

Sunset the other night.

That, of course, is a recipe for wet and muddy surroundings, but at least the new house is on high ground.  According to the folks who we bought the house from, who left us detailed notes, the slope keeps the yard and the upper driveway fairly dry during snow-melt.  Over the next few days, we’ll see for ourselves.

And yes, we still love it here.  More than we expected we would, and we expected we would love it a great deal.  Breathing the free air of Alaska is like taking a step into a new world.

On that note…

On To the Links!

Gee, I wonder why?

This is cool:  Possibly the earliest map in Europe.

Hungry?  Try slapping your meat.

Monkey See.

Monkey Do.

Fuck you, Joe.  And the horse you rode in on.  Also:  How can you tell President Biden(‘s handlers) is lying?  His lips are moving.

Governors push back – including here in Alaska.

Nuclear fusion by 2030?  Maybe, but that’s a song we’ve heard before.

How to woke-proof your kids.

Casting for Indiana Jones and the Nursing Home of Doom is under way.  Or will it be Raiders of the Lost Bedpan?  Kingdom of the Crystal Colonoscopy?  Either way, this is a franchise that jumped the shark on the last installment and needs to just drop.

Good point.  Markets aren’t always “fair” but usually get things right.

Equality and the Criminal.

Apparently being oppressed pays really well.

Letting Hunter Biden Off Is A Message To Us Peasants.  Indeed.

This Week’s Idiots:

Salon‘s Chauncey DeVega is an idiot.

Salon’s Dean Obeidallah is an idiot.  (Anyone else sensing a pattern, here?)

Governor Andrew Dice Cuomo continues to pursue idiot policies.

It’s not about safety, you idiots, it’s about control.  Relevant:

“Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

The Biden(‘s handlers) administration just seems to keep stacking stupid idea on stupid idea.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) responds to idiots.  Honestly, Senator, don’t bandy words with morons.  You’ve proved nothing when you’ve bested a fool.

Idiot David Hogg gets his comeuppance.  Haw haw haw!

The New York Times’ Jonathan Alter is an idiot.

And So:

Man, I had the hots for Debbie Harry back in the day.  Here’s a representative piece of her work, also from back in the day; this is Blondie’s 1980 hit Call Me, from the soundtrack of the Richard Gere – Lauren Hutton grenade American Gigolo, an execrable movie but not a bad song.  Best of all, Call Me featured a smoking hot lead singer, the aforementioned Debbie Harry.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Daily Electric Car News

Before we start, be sure to check out the latest in the Mystical Child series over at Glibertarians!

This just in:  No less an authority than Toyota is warning folks that moving to eliminate gasoline-powered cars isn’t a good idea.  Excerpt:

A senior Toyota executive will express skepticism before U.S. senators Tuesday about aspirations by rival automakers to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles, saying those goals must overcome many obstacles.

Robert Wimmer, director of Energy & Environmental Research at Toyota Motor North America, will testify at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

“If we are to make dramatic progress in electrification, it will require overcoming tremendous challenges, including refueling infrastructure, battery availability, consumer acceptance and affordability,” he will say according to an advance copy of his remarks.

He will say that while rivals have made aspirational statements, less than 2% of vehicles sold in the U.S. last year were battery electric. He will also note it took Toyota 20 years to sell more than 4 million U.S. gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles.

Toyota plans to begin selling two new electric vehicles in the United States next year, but also aims to keeps boosting sales of hybrid cars.

Many automakers and policymakers in Washington are eager for the U.S. government to take steps to speed the adoption of EVs.

The problem always comes down to energy density.  The same folks who agitate for all-electric cars, with their limited range and long recharge times, are the same nincompoops who agitate for windmills and solar panels.  These do not produce energy on the scale or with the reliability of natural-gas or nuclear plants, and will not maintain the energy requirements of an advanced technological society – but then, that may be a feature, not a bug, eh?

When these people start talking about building nuclear power plants to meet our electricity needs, then I’ll give them a listen on electric cars.  Not until.

As for hybrids, when someone builds a hybrid pickup that will carry a slide-in camper and tow a boat for 3-400 miles a day, on roads that pass through mountain ranges and into remote back-country destinations, then maybe I’ll give it a look.  But, as with so many things, color me skeptical.

Animal’s Daily Speech Suppression News

Before we start, make sure to check out my latest over at Glibertarians – this time, a preview of something you might find interesting.

I’ve been dabbling around on Parler (pronounced par-lay, from the French, meaning “to speak.”)  You can in fact see my Parler works by following the link on the left, although I confess most of my activity is just reposts from here.  But now Apple and Google Play are deplatforming Parler; fortunately the url works just fine.  Excerpt:

Twitter banned President Trump on Friday and prominent conservatives like Mark Levin have been encouraging followers to move to Parler, an app dedicated to protecting free speech. Now, cancel culture has enlisted Apple and Google in its fight to eradicate the left’s opposition. 

The New York Times reported that Apple and Google have removed the social networking app Parler from the companies’ app stores, preventing countless conservatives from finding an alternative to Facebook and Twitter. 

On Saturday morning, Parler was listed as the No. 1 iPhone app as millions of the president’s followers search for a friendlier alternative to Twitter and Facebook. Despite Parler’s popularity on the app store, Apple said it banned the app on Saturday. 

“We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” Apple said in a statement. “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety.”

Parler CEO John Matze responded to Apple’s decision.

“Apple, a monopoly, provides no alternatives to installing apps on your phone other than their store … big tech tyrants coordinate moves and work together to stifle competition in the marketplace,” Matze wrote in a statement.

This kind of deplatforming has nothing to do with “threats of violence and illegal activity.”  If it was, Twitter would have long ago banned AntiProfa and BLM activists.  This is speech suppression, pure and simple, and both Apple and Google wield enough power to make their suppression effective.

Honestly, I’m underwhelmed with Parler, which is why my contributions are limited to reposting.  The noise-to-signal ratio isn’t really any better than Twitter – in other words, awful – and I hate the text-limited, bumper-stick format.  When I feel strongly about a topic, I tend to go on at some length, and that platform doesn’t allow me to do so.

But here’s the thing:  All of this started with the moves to silence President Trump, and is now moving on to silence anyone with views to the right of center.  These aren’t the actions of people who are convinced of the rightness of their views.  These are the actions of people who are afraid.  They are afraid to let contrary ideas spread.  Why, do you suppose?

Maybe they understand that silencing people who are already angry is not the way to peace and reconciliation.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

One of the things I will miss about Colorado is the winters.  In the current Casa de Animal, on the high plains just east of Denver, we are routinely seeing temps in the fifties and sunny skies, even now in the first week in December.  At the site of our new Casa de Animal, in Willow, Alaska, this week has temperatures in the twenties and snow throughout the week.

I can live with that.  Aside from the more extreme daylight hours, the winter weather in the Allamakee County, Iowa of my youth was arguably no worse than southern Alaska, which has some benefit of warming from Pacific Ocean currents.  Those daylight hours, though; today, in Willow, sunrise is at 9:55AM, sunset at 3:44PM.  That’s not a lot of daylight for the inevitable choring required in a rural residence.  But, boy howdy, do the long, long summer days make up for it.

OK, then…

On to The Links!

I have no problem with this.

Ten hypocrites.

Turns out when you defund police, the crime rate goes up.  Who knew?

Would you miss it?  Seriously?

Hydroxychloroquine study finds that the drug reduced hospitalizations by 84%.

This was a census year, and redistricting is going to be… interesting.

No.  It was bad policies.

“If only we’d known about Hunter Biden!”

Well, how about that – Tokyo turns out for President Trump.

Fuck off, slavers!

Iowa Republican leads in recount results by… six votes. This, True Believers, is why no amount of election fraud is acceptable.

Well, duh.

The center cannot hold.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Pope (sorry, any Catholics reading) indulges in idiocy.

The New York Times’ Charlie Warzel is an idiot.

Paul Krugman is still a hack, and an idiot (this is getting to be a habit.)

San Francisco is still run by idiots.

These “kids” are idiots.

Rashida Tlaib (D-PLO) is an idiot.

And So:

When it comes to country music, you really only need two words:  George Strait. Unlike a lot of musicians, George is the real deal.  An Army veteran, George started out in music in rock & roll (!) before finding his feet as one of America’s greatest country & western performers.

George Strait is America’s Troubadour, and here, bearing that out, from his album of the same name, is his elegy Troubador.  Enjoy.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday (Seventies Edition)

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove, The Other McCain, Whores and Ale and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!  If these folks aren’t on your daily read list, they should be.

A conversation I engaged in a while ago while researching some info for work I’m doing in another quarter got me to thinking.  (I know, I know, that’s a dangerous habit.)  There has been a lot of talk among science-ey types about the extension of human lifespans, which is something I’ve written about in these virtual pages.  It’s something I find interesting and would cheerfully agree to – I could easily live a thousand years and never run out of bucket-list items.

But then you have the folks who like to gas about the Singularity.  That is, in its more optimistic form, a merging of human and artificial intelligence.  In its less optimistic form, it is the destruction of human individuality by humanity’s incorporation into some all-encompassing AI.

The ultimate expression of that latter path, of course, would mean the possibility of “uploading” your brain into a virtual world space.  That, unlikely as I think the prospect is, would rate a big fat “hell no.”

See, I could live a thousand years in my physical body.  And I suppose I could learn to see the appeal of some kind of virtual reality, on the condition that I could unplug whenever I wanted.

But two problems, as I see it, with the “brain upload” scenario:

  1. It wouldn’t be me.  What that set of data on some file server somewhere would be, is a computer simulation of me.  It might be a good one, but it wouldn’t be me.  I’d be dead.  Gone.  And as I don’t ascribe to Descartes’ concept of duality, I don’t see how any metaphysical “me” could somehow be uploaded.  And let’s be honest, this wouldn’t be an “upload” at all.  It would just be a file copy, a backup, so to speak.  Not a person.  Not a human, with continuity.  No self.  Not me.
  2. There’s so much about the physical world that just can’t be replicated.  I could live a thousand years easily if circumstances were right, but if it meant not being able to hold Mrs. Animal’s hand or see her smile, it wouldn’t be worth it.  There are physical aspects of the world, of our lives, our experiences, that I don’t believe can be duplicated.  If, somehow, that metaphysical “me” made the jump to a virtual space, I’d know it was fake.

While I can imagine living a thousand years and would love to have to chance to do it, I’m accepting the fact that it almost certainly won’t be possible in my lifetime.  And that’s OK.  My life to date has been great, with a great family and a happy marriage to a woman I love, and you can’t really ask for much more.  I’ve already been lots of places and done lots of things – for one, I spent a good portion of my youth running around with a pack and a rifle doing all kinds of screwy things, and for another, I spent most of my middle age globe-hopping as a consultant.  All in all, I’ve had a hell of a good time.  If I’m only to be allotted the traditional three-score and ten, well, then that’s likewise OK.

After all, going to the showers is part of the game, too.  One should accept that with a certain grace.

Animal’s Daily Fusion News

Before we begin – check out my latest over at Glibertarians.  This week we examine the life and works of P.O. Ackley, one of America’s greatest riflesmiths and cartridge developers.

Apparently there’s a problem with tokamak-style fusion reactors, which is known as “chirping” or, more specifically, Alfvén mode chirping.  Funny, but that’s not the kind of chirping I’m used to (fair warning – language!)

Now some physicists may have found a way to deal with this problem in fusion reactors.  Excerpt:

Researchers with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) of the Department of Energy have released a new paper documenting a way to help enable nuclear fusion reactors. They describe the scientific reasons for a phenomenon within tokamak reactors called Alfvén mode chirping.

Let’s race through some terms here. A tokamak is the donut-shaped great hope of nuclear fusion. (Its cousin, the stellarator, has great potential, but is less developed so far.) Inside, a stream of unfathomably hot plasma—as hot as or even far hotter than our sun—is contained by a powerful magnetic field that must be totally effective for the reactor to stay at productive fusion temperatures.

There’s a constant push-pull between the stream of plasma and the magnetic field, and the nature of burning hot matter means the plasma is swirling and circulating even within the stream. This is where and why “chirping” occurs. Researcher Vinicius Duarte explains it in a PPPL statement: 

“For any fusion device to work, you need to make sure that the highly energetic particles within it are very well confined within the plasma core. If those particles drift to the edge of the plasma, you can’t sustain the steady-state burning plasma needed to make fusion-powered electricity a reality.”

So, we’re now what, thirty years away from having practical nuclear fusion reactors?  Just like we were thirty years ago?  Just like we will be thirty years from now?

Look, True Believers, I’d dearly love to see practical fusion reactors become a reality.  It would be revolutionary; clean, cheap energy, and an almost unlimited supply of it.  But aside from the technical challenges, I’m afraid the political challenges will be insurmountable.  Look at hard it is now to pursue the one avenue of clean, cheap, abundant energy that’s already available to us now – nuclear fission.

Instead, we have a “Green” movement who thinks that a modern technological society can be powered by pixie dust and unicorn farts.

I hope these technical problems can actually be worked out.  This advance is one step in the right direction, and what remains of my personal optimism makes me think that one day we will have practical fusion for energy production.

But the political side?  I’m not optimistic enough to think we’ll overcome that.  Not in a nation that is day-by-day sliding further into insanity.  As of today, this early morning, I’m more inclined to think my grandchildren will end up burning stove wood to keep their homes warm, like my great-grandparents did in the late nineteenth century.

Rule Five Grand Theft Auto Friday

Only yesterday I reminded all you True Believers that today’s problems are solved with tomorrow’s technology.  Here’s another example of that happening in the last few years.  Excerpt:

Technology has made it very difficult to steal cars made after about 2000.  The old cars that can be stolen are not very valuable.  If it wasn’t for old Hondas retaining some of their value, auto theft would be down even further.  From the New York Times:

. . . 1990, the city had 147,000 reported auto thefts, one for every 50 residents; last year, there were just 7,400, or one per 1,100. That’s a 96 percent drop in the rate of car theft. . . .

The most important factor is a technological advance: engine immobilizer systems, adopted by manufacturers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. These make it essentially impossible to start a car without the ignition key, which contains a microchip uniquely programmed by the dealer to match the car.

Criminals generally have not been able to circumvent the technology or make counterfeit keys. “It’s very difficult; not just your average perpetrator on the street is going to be able to steal those cars,” said Capt. John Boller, who leads the New York Police Department’s auto crime division. Instead, criminals have stuck to stealing older cars.

You can see this in the pattern of thefts of America’s most stolen car, the Honda Accord. About 54,000 Accords were stolen in 2013, 84 percent of them from model years 1997 or earlier, according to data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a trade group for auto insurers and lenders. Not coincidentally, Accords started to be sold with immobilizers in the 1998 model year. The Honda Civic, America’s second-most stolen car, shows a similar pattern before and after it got immobilizer technology for model year 2001. . . .

Josh Barro, “Here’s Why Stealing Cars Went Out of Fashion,” New York Times, August 11, 2014.

Making it hard to steal cars undoubtedly matters a lot, but the drop in auto theft from 1991 to 2000 or 2001 is much larger than the drop from 2000 or 2001 to 2012.  However, the percentage drop from 2001 to 2012 (46%) is somewhat greater than the drop from 1991 to 2000 (37%).

Some years back, while I was working in Utah, I left the inestimable Rojito parked at the Salt Lake City Airport to fly home for a weekend.  On my return, I discovered I had left my keys at the house, and had to phone a locksmith.  The locksmith was able to make a physical key from a blank to open the door, but it didn’t work in the ignition; he ran the VIN number and discovered that my 1999 Ranger had an encoded key of the type described above.  Fortunately he had the right equipment to make such a key (it wasn’t cheap!) and his shop had the necessary licenses to get the required code from Ford with the VIN number.

Our newer vehicles, of course, all have such keys.

This isn’t something that it has occurred to me to look into in the last few years.  The fact that some cars are still being stolen, I think, we can probably attribute to carjackings or the opportunistic theft of a car left running with the keys in the ignition, which I have to say is a pretty dumb thing to do if you live in one of our major cities.

Read the original story, and look at the charts.  Larceny of all types has dropped in the time frame described, but auto theft has dropped dramatically more so.  And a big part of that is due to this technology.

Solving yesterday’s problems with today’s technology.  Ain’t it a wonderful thing?

Animal’s Daily Bronco Returns News

The new Bronco.

Ford has been dropping little bits of info about this for years, but as of Tuesday, the Bronco is officially back – but actual vehicles won’t be delivered until next year.  Ford is advertising it thus:

There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be discovered. To find it you have to break rules, push boundaries and climb over the barriers in your way. With its relentless toughness and durability, the all-new Bronco was built to carry outdoor enthusiasts to wherever the wilderness calls. Available in two- or four-door models.

I’ve had two Broncos.  The first was one of the originals, a 1974, painted a rather horrible nuclear-reactor green.  We called it the Green Machine, and it was a wonder.  I think that truck would go up and down trees.  It stuffed a 302ci V-8 into a fairly small frame, with 4:11 gears and manual everything.  The interior was all sheet metal and vinyl; at the end of elk season you could just take it into the car wash and hose it out.  It wasn’t without down sides, though.  In hot weather the floorboards got uncomfortably hot, and the low gearing and lack of overdrive limited it to about 50-55mph on the highway.

The second one was a 1992, one of the ones based on the F-150 chassis.  It had the all-black “Nite” trim package, so we called it the Dark Horse.

The Dark Horse in an early elk camp, some years ago

The Dark Horse wasn’t quite as tough off-road, although is was still pretty damn capable.  It used the same 302ci V-8 but the newer engine, with multi-port fuel injection, managed to provide plenty of power for the bigger truck.  It was better on the highway, being geared at about 3:55 (as I recall) but the automatic transmission had an overdrive gear, so it would comfortably tool along the interstate at 75mph with my tent trailer tacked on behind.

I used the Dark Horse a lot.  It saw hunting fields and off-road trails everywhere between Montana and the Mexican border, between the Mississippi and the Sierras.  It was a great truck, but eventually it just plain wore out, at which point I traded it in on the inestimable Rojito, which I still am using today.

Rojito in another elk camp.

The new Bronco looks the part, at least in the photos I’ve seen so far.  But I’m concerned all the same.  I prefer manual everything in a truck that I’ll be pounding on jeep trails.  The Dark Horse had power windows and door locks, both of which weren’t working very well by the end of its tenure.  The new Bronco appears to have all kinds of electronic gewgaws that, I am afraid, won’t last well under the kind of hard use that a hunting/fishing/outdoor rig frequently sees on the trail.

When the new Broncos arrive at the dealership we use, I’ll go look at them.  But I’m prepared to be disappointed.  We’ll see.