is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Jason has a book out now, Ad Nauseam: A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture
. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is a tinkerer and artist
and writes for the Onion News Network
. He lives with his partner Sally, five animals, too many old cars, and a shed full of crap.
I've always been fond of VW Beetles, and any real Beetle lover should set aside a special place in their gas-fume-smelling heart for one particular Beetle, the Black Widow
. The Black Widow started life as a 1955 oval-window Beetle, boasting a small stable of 36 horses for power. Then, the kooks over at Turbonique
, makers of some truly bonkers small jet engines for daredevils and other fun-loving loons, put one of their engines in the Bug, along with the VW/jet engine transaxle
they developed. The result was a Beetle that made about 850+hp and weighed about, oh, half of a modern Honda Civic.
The Black Widow was an absurdly fast car; and by the nature of the rocket-type engine used, it had no warm up at all-- one button push and you had full thrust, making it a real hit to drag-racing crowds. In one especially notable race, the Black Widow put Tommy Ivo's Showboat
-- a similarly insane dragster with 4 Buick V8 engines-- over its rounded fenders and spanked it, but good; those are pictures of the race shown to the right here.
Like anything truly insane, the Black Widow's life was fast, wild, and short. Apparently, the stock 1955 Beetle's shape is only aerodynamically sound up to about 183 mph-- only about 110 or so mph more than the stock engine could ever push the car-- at which point it, full of false confidence, takes flight. Which the Black Widow did, but even then the fast little bug was put to good use, in this ad
Upon rereading that ad, I realized that the Black Widow's driver, Roy Drew, must also have a great story. I mean, he's a drag racer with the nickname "Mr.Pitiful." It just doesn't get any better than that.
Facebook gets a bad rap, but where I live, it has brought neighbors together, and it started because of the things I didn’t want to share.
When the Congressional Science committee wants to talk about the cold weather, and when NASA has to defend their budget by explaining why NASA is important, it can make people who believe in facts… a bit tense.
Acting is a crappy business, but the world needs actors, and since we live in a time when digital production and distribution has democratized filmmaking, anyone can be a casting director. Exhibit A is a new tumblr, Casting Call Woes, which has netted a foul-smelling collection of ripe ones from the sea of DIY casting […]
You’ve heard the news: cyber security is the new and very scary frontier. Hackers are out there just waiting for you to relax for a second and let them in. But that’s not going to happen to you. With a lifetime premium subscription to ZenMate VPN, you’re completely protected from anyone out there who wants […]
Remember back to the time when people thought java was just a hip way to talk about coffee? Or you vaguely remembered from geography class that it’s an island in the South Pacific? We’ve come a long way since then and now that we’ve rocket blasted into the tech future, you’re going to need to […]
Plastic is so 2013. You don’t want to buy something only to throw it away or lose it and barely care. You like nice things and want to hang onto them. The Plazmatic lighter here is a high quality, high tech alternative to the typical cheap, plastic lighter you get at the old gas station. […]