Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Weird Al Yankovic's New Video - White & Nerdy

Well after reading my friend Jin Lee's recent blog post about the possibility of a Michael Jackson comeback I was emailed "Weird Al" Yankovic's newest music video and song "White & Nerdy."

First thing I have to say is that it certainly brought back memories from my childhood listening to Weird Al with my mother. She used to have his album and would listen to his songs often enough in the car and around the home that I never forgot him. Honestly, who couldn't forget the classic "Amish Paradise" from his 1996 Bad Hair Day album?

It looks like it was posted up on YouTube just over a week ago so I am a little behind but I have to say this has to be one unexpected comeback. Might it turn into a Mariah Carey type thing? I certainly hope so.

Either way, the online reviews read that others such as myself are enjoying his play on stereotypes, words and beats as much as I am and as much as they ever have. Hopefully this video is one of more to come--poking fun at modern pop-culture.

- Mitch G

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Engine Power in Relation to Size

This came up today on the www.bimmerforums.com "7 series" forum I am a member of. The question asked: "why can some 6-cylinder engines make the same or more power as 8-cylinder engines or 12-cylinder engines?" I was getting fed up with half-asses answers or answers that just confused the question more so I wrote my own and felt this should be shares abroad because in today's world of high output 4-cylinders and comparatively low output 8-cylinders others might be curious as well.

It looks as if we are straying a bit from the original question. The bottom line is that the number of cylinders has NO universal effect on horsepower or torque. What DOES have an effect is the size of the pistons and bore of the combustion chamber along with the length of the stroke of the engine, all other things being equal.

An example is the old Jaguar XJC's (1985 or so) with the 12-cylinder 5.3L engines. To get 12 cylinders into their 5.3L package the pistons had to be very small with little individual displacement. Make those bigger and you have more torque, make the stroke shorter and you gain more horsepower in proportion to torque.

Same idea for a 4-cylinder engine. If you have massive pistons and a short stroke you will have torque and horsepower and depending on size and stroke can easily equal that of a 6, 8, 12-cylinder engine and vise versa.

Again all things being equal, the more pistons you have the smoother and quieter the engine will be. Hence why supreme luxury cars use mainly 8-cylinder or 12-cylinder V configurations for their cars because they are smooth and quiet. BMW could certainly have opted for a short stroke big bore 4-cylinder but you would clank down the road and barely be able to keep your espresso in your hand.

Another 'for instance' is my 1982 SeaRay 192 shore-runner boat with the old MerCruiser 470 sterndrive. The engine is basically just half of a Ford 360 big block and produces 180 horsepower and 260 ft lbs of torque from a 1982 4-cylinder engine! The pistons are enormous with a relatively moderate stroke but the thing is loud and rattles your bones.

Here is my last example of the role of size and layout to power: In regards to the high horsepower small distribution INDY cars they are like an oversized superbike motorcycle engine. They have a short stroke allowing high RPMs thus allowing for high horsepower and small pistons that allow the car to get to those high RPMs but in turn give it little torque. That is ok because torque isn't as important in those cars because they rarely drop to low speeds and weigh nearly nothing when racing so high amounts of torque is not necessary.

Basically just remember cylinder count has little to nothing to do with horsepower or torque it just affects how smooth that power is delivered.

- Mitch G

Sunday, September 03, 2006


*WARNING: This is NOT a date movie, do NOT take a date to this movie.*

When it comes out on DVD it looks as if this movie will go straight on the shelf as another "WTF" DVD, if it even makes it to my house. I can't say I truly hated the movie as it kept me there the entire time and I never looked at my watch but I do remember constantly thinking to myself, "when will it be over?"

Jason Statham is a fun and appealing action/martial arts actor and I went to see the movie just for him, as many movie goers probably will. He did his best with the screenplay that was given but unfortunately it seems as if he is desperate for a gig because the writing in this movie was quite horrific. I do not know what the fancy is with directors these days and the first person, hand-held filming style and unbalanced cinematography but the realism they are trying to achieve is lost on me and flat makes me sick to the stomach.

Lionsgate Films who produced the movie tried to do what they could with very little however I am not sure why they picked up the script in the first place. The purpose of the movie as I understood it was for an hour and a half of sheer "adrenaline" and constant action which is exactly what I got and like I said, kept me there for the entire length and successfully gobbled up my $9.50.

The best part of the movie was Statham tearing new a**holes and the brief skimpy scenes with Amy Smart. Again, the entire purpose and draw of this movie.

My suggestion: If you have money to burn, have already seen everything else and have nothing better to do on a Wednesday night, check out this movie. If any of those terms do not apply then please save your money, wait for it to come out on DVD and pick it up as your free second rewards film Monday-Wednesday at Blockbuster Video. I give this movie a D+ because it filled time when there was nothing better to do and didn't leave me completely bored, albeit close.

- Mitch G