The New DIN Units Of Measurement – How They Will Affect You

dscf5520For years we have been able to go to the DIN – the Deutsches Institut für Normung – for a series of standards with which to measure the world. It is associated with the ISO and has been active for nearly a century. Like other national and international bodies, the units of measurement that it has given us are basically useless when it comes to actually living a happy life.

An example would be the DIN A standards that we all adhere to when we use paper – you know, the A4, A3, A0 stuff. Have you ever tried to use A4 paper in the toilet? Slick, hard, and liable to get stuck to the bottom of your shoe at the worst time. You might as well use old SATURDAY EVENING POST covers with the staples still on.

Because of this, and worse, we have decided to establish an entirely new set of measurement units. It should allow us to circumvent the advertising agencies.

a. The Metric Gerbil – MG – is a basic measurement of light. 1 Metric gerbil is enough light to find a tub of leftover pudding in the refrigerator when the little bulb burns out. 2 Metric Gerbils are sufficient to find change down the back of the couch.

b. The Mixed Blessing -Mb – This is a fractional unit of measurement based upon the fact that when something good happens – the clothes all come in dry from the line – there is a downside – they are as stiff as boards and need to be folded with a sheet-metal break.

c. The Whew – Ww – This unit quantifies the sense of relief one feels when something ceases. For every 5 minutes of something you get 1 minute of not-something. But sometimes that 1 minute is enough to prise open a window and escape. This is frequently used at cocktail parties around election time.

d. The Smorgasbord – SGB – is the unit used to measure the degree of nutritional regret. It may be used to analyse meals taken or avoided ( -ve SGB or +ve SGB ) and is further broken down into courses. 3 SSGB ( soup  ) equal 1 DSGB ( dessert ). No SGB scoring is available for tofu.

e. The Imperial Sniff – Imp Snf – is used to rank members of the social elite who visit retail establishments. It is never used in single digits – these are the better classes, after all. Wealthier Sniffers can achieve 10X to 100X of the Imp Snf – nobility sometimes goes to 1000X, particularly if they are associated with areas of Europe that have regressed into the 16th century. Royalty are never measured for the Sniff – it being thought that they are obliged to be above it. Must make having a head cold a messy affair for them…

f. The Shaughnessy Index of Truth – SHit for short – is named after Hap Shaughnessy of the Red Green Show. It has the distinction of being the only negative index in regular use. Hap invented it while working with NASA on the artificial diamond venture. Ask him. He’ll tell you.

Finally, you may have been wondering how DIN could abandon their old standards so quickly – well, they haven’t…the DIN we were referring to is Dick’s Index of Niceness. All the measurement and none of the umlauts.



The Little World – The Pup

dscf5464Twenty years ago a small hardware store that was near my first surgery closed its doors – the owner had been offered a redevelopment buy-out and was ready to retire. As he had been a patient of mine and I had been one of his customers, he gave me a parting gift. From somewhere in the recesses of his old shop he pulled out a 1950’s or 60’s hobbyists kit –  A Picador Pup.

It was made in England to old designs and standards by a firm that wanted to help miniature engineers. The basic device was an adjustable grinding machine, wood-turning lathe, and miniature circular saw. It was configurable as a sanding machine and horizontal drilling machine.

dscf5465A friend found an ex-washing machine motor and rigged a couple of pulleys to drive it. In its first mounting it was noisy, smelly and frightening…but it did sharpen drill bits, sand accurately, and cut strip wood. It went out of commission for years, though, as there was nowhere to put the awkward mounting block.

This week I changed that. Our local hardware store sells a line of Chinese shelving units in modular form, and they are inexpensive and very well made. I had several components already so a few more struts and shelves gave me a way of making the Pup work correctly. It no longer groans as it works nor moves alarmingly. I can now saw strip wood for models…and if I can find even finer blades I’ll be able to stop buying the Artesiana Latina stuff at the hobby shop. Note: The stick with the duct tape is the pusher that keeps my fingers out of the blade.

All the twist drill bits in the shop are going to get a damned good sharpening. A man with a Pup is never at a loss.

Thank you, John Sweet, for such a kind gift.

The Awkward Mock Word


I’m always puzzled by the terms ” mock duck ” and ” mock chicken “. I’ve encountered them on menus in Canada and Australia and I’ve seen cans of something that calls itself ” mock duck ” in Asian grocery stores. As there are so many good things that you can do with real duck and chicken I have never felt the need to eat artificial stuff.

But past the culinary stage, the idea of mocking anything is generally frowned upon. We’ve always been told it is sinful to mock the afflicted, or downright dangerous to do so to some of the world’s snippier religions. And anyone who wants to mock their spouse does so at their own peril…

But you can still get away with it if you pick your target. A popular one right now is the United States of America. If you are British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealander, or any other variety of English-speaker you can use the mocking term ” ‘murica ” to refer to the country. It is an instant hit with the meme-takers of the world and presumably counts towards the kewl number within your Facebook circle or down the pub with the other second-year university students. It is derived, of course, from what the scornful imagine to be mumbled hillbilly slang. Fabulously kewl.

Well, fun comes in many shapes and sizes, and you can find it everywhere. If this sort of mocking is acceptable, I am sure that there are any number of sexual, racial, religious, and national slurs that can be resurrected and put into daily use on Facebook for a similar kewl effect. International readers of this column do not need a list of these – they can make one of their own.

If they happen upon someone using a term that targets their own ethnicity, religion, age, or some other aspect of their lives and seems to be both offensive and unnecessary, they can do what hypocrites have always done:

Blame the ‘muricans.


The New Paint Job

dscf5104Hot rod and custom car builders are more courageous than the average mundane motorist. They dream more and dare more.

This is seen in all the rat rods, street racer machines, hot rods, low-riders, and show cars. Every one of these is the labour of both a great deal of love and a great deal of money. And also a great deal of a patience dealing with the licencing authorities. As soon as any of the car enthusiasts thinks up the most modest of modifications – fitting a fighter plane engine to a family sedan for instance – they have to commence a round of grovelling negotiations with the joy-spoiling jobsworths at the vehicle department.

But one good thing that can be done is a coat of paint. As long as the re-spray is a simple modification of the original scheme, the official nay-sayers do not bother to take an interest. Perhaps even they have their limits…

dscf0397So that would likely explain the new coat of paint on UHN-661. It’s a Morris 1500 from the 70′ that was seen in the Big Al’s Poker Run of 2016 in the red and black scheme. The bonnet then had a wrap on it simulating a carbon fibre panel. A particularly specific look.

dscf5105Well, time has changed, and a year later has brough forth a retro look to the Morris – a metalflake paint job in dark bronze. It is a fascinating finish, and as an older car enthusiast, I must say I prefer it to the carbon fibre look. As with all show-car finishes, it has a real depth to it – not least because the actual metal flakes need more support medium to remain suspended in the finish.

dscf0400Now rodding a British-built car is unusual – I counted less than half a dozen on the field last Saturday. This is odd in a country that was sustained by the British car industry for longer and to a greater extent than that of the North American manufacturers. One would logically expect there to be more left-overs from the era that could be made into hot rods. It is unusual to see – as unusual as the use of Japanese cars for the same purposes. Even rarer are continental cars turned to the hot rod or custom side – any cars still extant are generally refurbished as veteran or vintage types.

dscf0399I hope that UHN-661 continues to be remade as the time goes on. I see she now has lakes pipes, though I have no idea whether they are connected to the exhaust or, for that matter, to a lake…Well, they look cool, nevertheless.


The Alternate National Day – Up Spirits!

unknownHere in Australia we have a national civic holiday on the 26th of January called Australia Day. Original aren’t we? It commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet of British ships in New South Wales in 1788. Some aborigines now say they are upset about it and some local politicians who want to benefit from this distress want to use their position to promote an alternate holiday two days later. It is all very sad, silly, and cynical…and ultimately just an exercise in publicity. The national holiday will go ahead as it has always done.

But another intriguing prospect has been suggested by a Facebook post: the use of the 26th of January to remember a military coup in New South Wales in 1808 by members of a British Army colonial regiment against the Governor of the colony. It was memorable for two reasons; the Governor was ” Mutiny On The Bounty ” William Bligh, and the whole affair turned to some extent upon rum.

The spirit was being used as currency in the colony and Bligh forbade it…as well as angering the moneyed classes by other rulings. Eventually, it all became too much and several officers led the New South Wales Corps to Government House  – with colours flying and band playing – to arrest Bligh. He was confined, shipped elsewhere, came back, went elsewhere again, and eventually was replaced. The mutineers were tried and very lightly punished and the whole embarrassing incident got over.

But what a fine way to give an alternative reading to the national day! I intend to buy a very good bottle of Barbados rum for the occasion and toast all parties involved.

Frightening The Horse’s*


One of the most damning statements regarding public behaviour used to be that it would frighten the horses. This was an excuse used to repress sex, violence, politics, and bright clothing. Considering the fact that I’ve seen a horse shy from a weed growing on the side of the road, it doesn’t really leave much leeway in anything. Perhaps a more interesting topic would be to find something that DIDN’T frighten 800 Kg of animal with giant hooves and big teeth…

Of course this worry has now been supplanted by admonitions not to cause offence or micro-aggressions. The horses are safe from these as they rarely engage in left/right politics, but there are plenty of humans who have pricked their ears up and whinnied encouragingly – it presents a wonderful chance for them to be poor injured creatures who get to complain loudly. As a power base it is wonderful – the solid fulcrum about which you can lever a university, school, business office, or local council.

You do need several things, though, to make it work well. I mean besides whining…

You need a set of ears in which to pour the complaints and a channel in print or over the air through which to berate your oppressors. While your voice may be monotonous, the vocabulary of complaint is a wide-ranging one so no matter who you are you will be able to select a series of words that trigger off angst and outrage. If it does not do so in the ears of authority or the general public, at least it will get noticed by your fellow whiners, and you can advance steadily in the ranks. Many a career has been made in the complaints industry and successful practitioners have been able to stay gainfully employed well past retirement age.

One thing, though – you need to be careful about yelling while protesting the micro-aggressions of the establishment. It frightens the horses

* No, it’s not a punctuation error. It’s perfectly in order. I just didn’t specify which part of the horse…delicacy…



Popped On Show


Pop would appear to have been spending the last ten years in worthwhile endeavour. The ten-year period is how long he has been engaged in building this Ford Anglia hot rod.


I encountered it yesterday on a trip to the local light-plane airport to take test shots for a camera review. A fortunate glimpse of his bright green car in the traffic lane a couple of hundred yards ahead led to a rather low-speed chase until he fetched up in a parking lot. To his credit, he was not at all nonplussed when I asked for permission to take pictures of the car. What a fortunate combination of opportunity and equipment!


It apparently was a rusty wreck a decade ago – he set the body aside and started to do research and restoration for the mechanicals. As you can see, there are quite a few well-known speed equipment names that have supplied different parts for the car. The combination of restored/bought/invented parts is one of the charms of hot rodding. No-one seems to make exactly the same decisions every time and the variety of goods used is amazing.


Well, the decade ground on and I daresay there were times when the project could have gone down several pathways. There are always going to be decisions forced on the builder by road rules and the necessity to have the thing approved by the engineers and the police. You are always going to see some form of wheel covers or fenders is WA as it is part of the road laws. You are always going to see efficient turn signals. You are always going to see hydraulic connections done well and brakes that stop and suspensions that suspend properly. I must say that sometimes you do not see things done as cleanly as you see here on POPPED, but then there are other rods that are deliberately presented in a grungy fashion. I am prejudiced toward the clean and neat look of this Anglia…as well as being prejudiced toward the colour.


“Why the colour?” I asked. Apparently it is a hue that is shared with his motorcycle. A brand colour for him, if you will. Plus it stands out in the rod show from the more common red or yellow. And it is a wonderful flash of colour in the white/grey/black mush of normal road traffic. Green cars show style and artistry and a driven by individuals…( Note to self: insert picture of my green Suzuki before publishing this…)


And a final note. We did not race through the back streets of Jandakot scattering pensioners and chickens. To start with there are no chickens…and in my experience the hot rodders that take their prized iron out on the road are the most conservative of drivers. Anyone who invests ten years of their life, $ 25,000 of their money, and every other knuckle joint they own is going to be very possessive of the final product. When the results are this good we can hardly blame them.


Please note the wonderful gentle lighting today. POPPED was at Gillam Drive last Sunday but the harsh contrast would have been murder on the colour pictures. We luck out some days…

PS: I knew I’d seen an Anglia somewhere before…Here’s POPPED at the Nostalgia Drags a couple of years ago.