Brutal


Websters  on-line dictionary defines brutal with a number of definitions; here are the ones applicable to this.

Cruel, cold-blooded

Harsh-severe.

I have a pretty good idea what the word meant but I thought I’d look it up and see how accurate my recollection of it is. Pretty close actually.

I  was watching a series of videos entitled “Brutal Cars.” Okay so we are asking ourselves this question, what is a brutal car? After all you can sit down in the things, on comfy cushy seats, cars these days will even talk to you. Push one button and the car starts up, air-conditioned, cruise control, power windows, on and on, seems the farthest thing from brutal. We are not talking bout cars like this. There is a Mr. Hyde side of the automobile world.  Indeed. There are cars that are not comfy, are hot, noisy, and require constant input, and supervision. The car in the movie that was touted as “brutal” was a turbocharged Porsche 911. The driver killed the car three times trying to get it rolling on the road course. Probably due to a competition clutch disk, which aren’t known for smooth engagements and the fact that the motor was probably still a bit cold. The rest of the car was pretty down to earth if you ask me. It behaved itself quite admirably after the driver got it rolling.

Really brutal cars are ones that won’t give the driver any quarter at all. They require that you A. know what you are doing when you start them, and B. that you know what you’re doing when you want the car to move.  Brutal cars brings to mind some forgotten cars of drag racing’s past. Cars like The Wingfoot Express, and Nanook, AA/Fuel Altereds.  Here’s a real handful for ya. Short wheel base, same engine that a top fuel dragster uses, with a higher center of gravity.  High horsepower with short wheelbase are a formula for disaster!  The cars react so quick that many times it’s faster than a human being can respond to.

Any time you can get a normally aspirated car to produce over six hundred horsepower with the same amount of torque rapidly places this car smack in the middle of the “Brutal” category.  Notice I said “normally aspirated.” To the non-gear head who may be reading this nonsense it means a motor that breathes on its own that doesn’t require artificial respiration that a supercharger or turbocharger produce.  Engines in the 600-700 hp range require fairly radical cam timing, some steeper than normal compression ratios and lots more initial timing than mom’s soccer van. All of which makes the engine a bit different to start-up. So much so that additional measures need to be taken to allow the motor to roll over with all that initial timing without bucking the starter that lots of ignition advance causes.

Here’s the procedure to start my 68 Olds Cutlass pro street car. First you have to turn on the master battery disconnect switch. Then after you manage to climb in over the roll cage bars without getting muscle cramps, strap yourself into the car with a 5 point harness, you take the number one fuel pump switch and hold it in up “prime” position until the fuel pressure gauge on the hood scoop registers 7 psi of pressure. You release the switch which is spring-loaded to the off position. You pump the throttle about 4 or 5 times. You insure that the “Kill-Run” toggle switch is set to “kill”. This kills the MSD box to the ignition system so the motor can crank without getting beat down with 34 degrees of spark advance. You hold the accelerator down just a bit, and depress the “starter” switch  and get the engine cranking real good. After this you reach for the “kill-run” switch and switch it to run. This will cause the MSD ignition box to fire and the engine will start. During cold weather there’s a real good chance it’ll die right away too. The carbs on the car have the choke butterflies removed. So you repeat the entire procedure until the car is running at a fairly fast idle around 2000 rpm. Don’t forget to turn the fuel pump switch on too!  The car is loud, and it vibrates right up thru the floor boards. The hood scoop stands up in the middle of the hood about a foot in height if not more. You can’t see a bloody thing on the right side of the car so you have to scan that real estate before you get to it.  Putting the car into gear (it’s an automatic) is no big deal really but if done cold can kill the motor.  The exhaust on the car is loud, it has to be that way due to the state of tune the engine is in. Back pressure is not nice to high performance engines.

Does my car qualify as brutal? Some might think so. I never even gave it any thought actually. Most people would not  put up with manners like this in anything they drive.  Why do I put up with it? Well because all it takes is one blast on the accelerator pedal and I could  make anyone understand the entire scheme of the car. It’s just a car that’s dedicated to going fast. It’s an all business deal. I like serious stuff. I like simplicity. This car is as simple as it gets. The only computer in it is a FAST air/fuel data logger. There are lots of fasteners on the car that I have engineered that don’t have nuts on their back sides. Why? Well it makes taking them apart easier and doesn’t require another tool for the nut, you don’t worry about losing the damn nuts either. It’s a fun car to drive once you get used to how “it likes to be driven.” Yeah it’s that sort of a car. Reminds me of a demanding female sort of.

Brutal can apply to other things too. Guns for example. I also like large caliber guns, imagine that? Hah ha. Well I’m like that.  Guns that kick you arent’ necessarily brutal, unless they leave a black and blue calling card on your shoulder.  I have a Sharps 50-140 3 1/4″ that qualifies at least in my book as brutal. It is the hardest recoiling rifle I’ve ever put to my shoulder, bar none.  I used to shoot a 460 Weatherby. The Sharps puts it to shame in the recoil department. This gun will actually torque you around when you shoot it. I like stuff that does this. You can keep all the .223s, and 30 cal stuff, I like stuff that shoots 1/2″ diameter projectiles.

Brutal can apply to relationships too. It’s how you relate to each other.  My last lady was what I’d call brutal. She would say things that were harsh, expensive to the heart,  and painful. I never did understand her. No loss to me actually I’m glad I don’t have that albatross around my neck any more. I’ve seen men who are brutal to their wives both physically and mentally, emotionally.

Pet owners are brutal to their pets sometimes. Shame on you for that. Humans are supposed to be smarter than their pets, lot of folks aren’t.

Music is brutal too. Yep. George Throughgood is a prime example of someone who is brutal to his guitar. All the yo yo’s who smashed speakers with their guitars in the flower power days were too. Leslie West guitar player for the band Mountain was a brutal player. His raw sound was bruising to listen to. Yeah sure I liked it.

The most brutal thing I can think of is not of this earth. Nope it’s not even anywhere close. We have a really big one in the center of our galaxy the Milky Way. A guy named Karl Schwarzchild started talking about them a long time ago. He talked about them so much and traded notes with other astronomers to the point that they started believing his whopper stories and outlandish ideas and started calling his idea “Scharzchild Singularities.” Then someone else started calling them black holes. Now the Discovery Channels and all the other pseudoscience peddlers love to throw that word around. It’s value from what was once a $1000.00 gem has been whored out to all the TV programs with these self-appointed, authors of one book, charlatans who mouth the two words like expletives. Stand around with their arms crossed like they really know what it’s all about,getting their pictures taken with smug smiles and smirks of “I know more than you do.”  Yeah piss on ya. Well moving on here, I have to laugh, I get a bit strung out on TV these days. Black holes are the cosmic dissassemblers par excellence. They are the true destroyers of worlds literally.

How’s this for a scenario?  A black hole is formed from the collapse of a massive star when its life time runs out. It is dependent upon the mass of the star as to whether or not it will form a black hole, do the super nova thing and be a white dwarf, neutron star, pulsar etc.  A feeding black hole will have a jet of high energy particles streaming out of its polar axis, close to the speed of light. It also has what’s called an event horizon. This is a field surrounding the entry into the black hole.  As matter gets within the event horizon it’s doom is sealed. Nothing can rescue it from its fate. As the matter reaches the perimeter of the black hole is torn apart and accelerated to almost the speed of light before falling into the singularity. As this is happening the matter radiates high energy particles out and because it’s not yet within  the singularity is converted into the two polar jets I mentioned earlier.  Talk about brutal!  Here’s something the size of the earth literally ripped down to its sub atomic constituents!

Dave