Friday, April 15, 2022

Isaiah's Prophesy for Today?

I recently quoted a few verses from the prophet Isaiah on my FaceBook page, along with a challenge for others to post their thoughts on a modern-day application of the verses.  The verses were as follows:

And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbor: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honorable.  - Isaiah 3:4-5

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate. - Isaiah 6:8-11

I received only one response, but it was a good one. Troy, a brother from down in Iowa said this: “Wars, and rumors of wars. Defiance against that which is true. Denying natural law, God's Law. Wandering ignorantly into certain decline, and demise. Our eyes have lost sight of the way. Our ears refuse to hear what is true. Our feet carry us away from peace and honor. It is all ancient prophecy, yet through arrogance, we the children refuse to yield to these words.”

I would just add this:

First of all, here’s something to consider when looking at this passage.  Where the Bible says, “children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them,” notable Christian commentaries of yesteryear seem to agree that this refers not just to physical age, but includes those with the understanding or mental capacity of children.  Hmmm. I think I can come up with a least a couple examples of so-called leadership that fit that quite well. 

Further, the LORD God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah prefaces verse 3 with, “I will give…” In other words, everything from the reduced mental capacity of the rulers, the people oppressing each other, the insolent children, right on down to the brutish men acting arrogantly against the honorable, …these things are the punishment, not the reason for the punishment!

The reasons for the punishment?  Think – murder of innocent life (Exodus 20:13) (63.5 million babies since Roe v Wade in 1973). Think – calling evil good, and good evil (Isaiah 5:20). Think – celebrating and encouraging sinful acts (Romans 1:32). And we could go on.

But then we read about God’s further judgment in chapter six, we see that there would come a time when people would hear, but not understand what they heard, they would see but not understand what they saw.  And terrifying as it may seem, this too would be an act of God such that they would NOT repent.  God is exceedingly patient and merciful, but eventually there comes a time when there will be no more place for repentance, but only for judgement.  Now, for the nation of Israel, to whom this message was given, the final result of this judgement (… the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate – Isaiah 6:11) would occur in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman general Titus in 70 A.D. in what was one of the most brutal episodes in history.

Now, remember that this prophesy was specifically given to Israel.  It’s not a prophesy about what will happen to our country, but that does not mean it doesn’t describe this country.  What should put the fear of God into each one of us is the blindness that accompanies the point where repentance is no longer an option.  Is that time past for our nation?  We all see friends and relatives who vote for the destruction of our country and with it, their own destruction.  They vote to continue the murder of the next generation in the womb. They vote for the continuing invasion by drug dealers, sex traffickers, terrorists, and other law breakers.  They vote for policies that will inflate prices until their life savings will soon have the buying power of last week’s pocket change. They vote for energy policies that will likely result in the starvation of untold numbers while others freeze to death in their homes, all the while rejecting God’s gift of fossil fuels. They vote to have their grandsons castrated and their granddaughters mutilated, with the resulting psychological destruction. As proud members of the culture of death, they continue to vote for death and they don’t even seem to understand they are doing so.

Is all lost then?  Is our nation doomed to suffer the same fate as ancient Israel?  Perhaps, …but even if our nation as a whole is on an unstoppable trajectory, there is still time for individuals to call out to the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy and forgiveness.  And though I have identified the spiritually deaf and blind by how they vote, don’t for one moment think that voting against those wicked policies will give you any sort of righteous standing before God.  There will be plenty of conservatives, libertarians, and Republicans who will one day hear the dreadful words of Christ, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:23) There is no salvation in any government or any political party.  Salvation is only to be found in Jesus Christ.


Friday, January 7, 2022

An Election With More Rigging Than a Five-Masted Clipper Ship

You’re right.  I can only dream of being such a master of prose as to have come up with that title. But it doesn’t matter because I am here to direct you to the one who is that master of prose, namely, Doug Wilson.  If you are a conservative, and especially if you are a conservative Christian (if that’s not redundant) and you don’t follow Pastor Wilson’s writing and/or his readings of his writings, then the question is … why not?  He is on of my trusted sources for commentary on current issues in our “one nation under siege” (not 100% sure, but I think I just coined that phrase ... or else I have forgotten where I heard it before).  Oh sure, you might wonder why a Baptist such as I would promote a Presbyterian Pastor’s work, but that’s any easy one.  Doug is one of the old-style Presbyterians.  You know, the kind who believe the Bible, believe the gospel, and are trusting in the blood of Jesus for salvation.  So what if they misunderstand baptism; I trust that if that misunderstanding rises to the level of sin, then that too is one of the sins that Jesus paid the penalty for (and I am sure he would grant me the same grace).

This short video is just a small sample of what you can expect to hear for Pastor Wilson. This particular video is actually his book review of “Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections” by Mollie Hemingway.

So, here is a painless way to find out if the book itself is something you want on your shelf, perhaps to keep as a record of what really happened once history has been fully re-written (as is being attempted as we speak).  Or maybe you want a free synopsis of the book to save you the purchase price.  Either way, its worth a few minutes of your time.

BTW, I personally prefer Doug’s writing to his reading of his writing.  I think it may be the cadence of his voice.  However, listening while I work in the shop does allow me to try to keep the shop at least close to profitable. You can find much more of Doug’s work here: Blog and Mablog (if you are not a Christian you might miss the play-on-words type reference to Gog and Magog from the Bible’s book of Revelation).

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Racing Into the Past, Part 4


Time flies when you’re having fun, as they say.  I certainly did not anticipate taking so long to get back to relating the saga of prepping the replica of the 1987 version of The Beast for last 4th of July’s Humboldt race.  When I left off (with a race report intervening) I had filled in some of the details on the frame and crankcase modifications.  At that point there was no more time to write as all my time was taken up with finishing the bike in time. So, back to the build …

Due to my inherent streak of being a cheapskate, I did not order the flywheels from Truett and Osborn when I should have.  Yes, sticker shock.  It turns out that the 5-1/4” stroke I wanted, made them a special order adding to the cost of the quite reasonable price of their normal 5" wheels.  Now, I could have just gone ahead and built the motor with 5-inch wheels as a 114 inch, like the original, but my drag racing philosophy has always boiled down to building as big a motor as practical and put it in as light a chassis as practical.  Besides, my preliminary calculations with rod length, cylinder length, and the compression height of the pistons that I had on hand showed that the 5-1/4 wheels would put me where I wanted to be for piston deck height. Once I finally decided to bite the bullet and place the order, it was nearly too late given the normal delays that happen in manufacturing.  But T&O came through and I had the flywheels in my hands with about 30 days left to finish the motor.


They really were in the mail!

Just what the doctor ordered


Did I say, “finish the motor”?  Sounds easy, doesn’t it?  Truth is there are a lot of items on the motor build that depend on the flywheels.  For instance, I needed an initial mock up to see how much the flywheel diameter would need to be reduced in order to clear everything.  As it turned out, the wrist pin ends of the stock length Evo rods that I intended to use would not clear the wheels at bottom dead center, which was not a surprise. That required reducing the flywheel diameter by .420”, which in turn, required building up the flywheel scraper in the crankcase to compensate. With that done I could finally add an oil shedding coating to the flywheel and gearcase compartments.  But with those details attended to, there was still much to do.  Once the crank could be mocked up to rotate in the crankcases, there was still the matter of insuring that the pistons would work with the heads before they could be weighed in order to balance the flywheels.  That turned out to be just as difficult as I had foreseen.  The domed pistons that I had on hand were a used set from a previous drag motor, probably from the latter half of the 1980’s.   

I had two sets of heads to choose from.  One set was actually from the original 1987 version of the Beast and the other from my last attempt at a serious drag bike which was nicknamed the White Knuckle Express (can you guess what color the bike was?) which I often abbreviate as WKE. It didn’t take me long to make the choice.  The Beast heads were missing the valves and guides, and had quite small ports to boot.  The WKE heads on the other hand were complete just as I had run them last in the mid 1990’s, not to mention they had generously sized ports to go along with their 2.100 inch intake valves (compared to the 1.94’s on the original) and highly reworked exhaust ports. However, the more highly modified heads did provide one unique challenge.  The WKE employed a centrifugal supercharger, so I had welded in the sides of the combustion chamber a bit to get some squish from its flat topped pistons.  Being unwilling to start grinding out the welds, thus undoing my many hours of labor from 30 odd years ago, I set about modifying the pistons to match the combustion chamber shape.


30 year old chamber mods


I began by making a cardboard template of the chamber perimeter and “tracing” it on to the pistons as closely as possible, followed by some careful carving on my antique mill.  Then it was it was matter of mocking the engine up more times than I can count as I crept up on removing the minimum amount possible from the sides of the domes while still attaining enough clearance to avoid contact when running.  So, with the mocked-up engine finally able to be rotated, I should have been ready to balance the flywheels, right?  Well, I admit that with time running short I did consider calling the pistons good and settling for whatever compression ratio was left.  But my desire to make the motor as fast as I reasonably could won out.  I set up one of the pistons in a cylinder and used my trusty 100cc burette to measure the dome volume.  Just what I had feared, the dome volume and the resultant compression ratio was significantly lower than what I had hoped for (under 10:1, if memory serves).

Once again, I found myself welding up the tops of piston domes.  Its not a practice that I would normally recommend, but what’s a guy suppose to do when money is short and time is even shorter? So, trusting in the ceramic coating that I would add to the domes when finished to compensate somewhat for the metallurgical mistreatment of my welding, I set about adding aluminum until the domes came to a peak.  I like to keep an old wrist pin in the piston while welding in the hope of keeping distortion to a minimum.  It assume it helps, but I can’t be sure since I haven’t tried it without. When finished the pistons seem fine, though I will add that you want to remove the wrist pins before the pistons cool completely or they are liable to stick in the pin bore.  Incidentally, this particular set of pistons had received a “Teflon” type skirt coating back in my serious racing days by a friend who does industrial coatings. That same coating not only survived whatever torture test I put them through in the 1980’s, it came through the welding on the domes with flying colors as well.


Modified piston domes with ceramic


After a bit of shaping to the fresh welds, the dome volume revealed an acceptable 13.75:1 compression ratio (and no easy place to find any more).  After a bit of lightening on the inside of the pistons under the dome, an oil shedding thermal dispersing coating was added there, and the balance weights could finally be computed.  No surprise that all of the extra weight on the crankpin half of the flywheels had to go. Finally, the flywheels were balanced, assembled and trued! Even with time running out to make the July 4th deadline, the rest should be relatively simple though, right?

Not quite. 

With the finished lower end firmly bolted into the frame, the first mock up of the heads revealed even more last-minute work to do in the short time left.  I knew the pipes would require some fairly major revamping due to the chosen heads having had the exhaust ports radically re-positioned, not to mention being rectangular in shape.  Pressed as I was for time, my backup plan was to install the short “zoomy” style pipes from the White Knuckle Express that still hung on the shop wall.  The were too short and probably too large of diameter, but at least they would bolt onto the heads.  That was not to be, however, despite how much time they might have saved.  The difference between the three rail Truett frame of the White Knuckle Express and the position of the front down tubes on the stock FX frame meant that those pipes were nowhere close to fitting The Beast.  So, I went back to the original plan of installing a set of vintage 2” FUBAR exhaust pipes that I had saved for just such a possible project. They were a dead ringer for the pipes used on the 1987 Beast, but due to the new port location about the first 12 inches of the pipes had to be cut off with new bends and flanges fabricated in order to miss the frame rails. Apparently the Lord was not trying to tell me to abandon my quest to finish in time for the Iowa race, because I managed to scrounge just enough mandrel bends from a box of miscellaneous tubing I had stashed under a workbench.


Rear Exhaust Port


Front pipe modified and installed


The intake side of the heads did not prove to be any easier that the exhaust, though it did catch me completely by surprise.  A month earlier I had ordered a couple chunks of aluminum from which I planned to fabricate adapters to transition the 44 Mikuni carbs to the oval ports on the heads (the width of the oval being taller than the height).  What I had not foreseen was that the angle at which the ports entered the heads would have put a good portion of each carb in a space that would be need to be occupied by the other.  That had not been an issue on the WKE since it had employed electronic fuel injection with the throttle body before the blower and the injectors (4 of them) just before the plenum style manifold that attached to the heads. 


Rear head as run on White Knuckle Express


Back to the drawing board.  I would need to fabricate curved adapters so that the carbs could nestle side by side as God intended and the laws of logic demanded.  The same box of odds and ends that supplied the pipe to finish the exhaust came through with a couple short sections of curved steel tubing that matched the inner diameter of the carbs well enough.  I was able to shape the inboard end of the adapters into an oval so that the height matched the heads, but that still left the ports in the heads wider than that of the adapters by more than I could tolerate, so I broke out the porting epoxy to fill in the sides of the ports in the heads. With time running out to have the bike ready for the 4th, I resisted the natural urge to put the heads back on the flow bench to see exactly how the impromptu port shaping had affected things.

Curved carb adapter in place


With less than a day to go, I was finally ready to bolt the heads on – or was I?  The final squish distance of .037”, piston to head, was based on no base gaskets (a light coat of sealer) and no head gaskets. The now vintage Axtell cylinders sported a groove so I just knew that all I needed to do was install a copper wire into the groove, add a little “Copper Coat” as insurance, and torque them down as I had done many times in the distant past.  Oops.  Turned out that these cylinders, being the last that I purchased (nearly 30 years ago) had what was then the latest technology, meaning the groove was the correct dimension for a Viton o-ring rather than copper wire. Needless to say, it had been decades since the last time I had a set of these o-rings in stock.  But with time fleeting, I took a few measurements and found that early inner primary to crankcase o-rings were the correct thickness, though I had no idea if they are of a suitable material.  Since the heads had previously been lapped to the cylinders, I didn’t waste any time second guessing myself and went ahead and installed primary o-rings shortened with a diagonal splice.

On Thursday afternoon we were able to do the initial fire up on The Beast, with time left over in the evening to load everything and still get a bit of sleep before the trip to Humboldt and time trials on the next day.  So I guess that overall, you might say that getting the replica Beast finished up in time was just another routine build for the average drag racer.   


Or, how we got from this ...


... to this