Car Knowledge Quiz Made By An Idiot

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While browsing Facebook over my morning coffee, I saw a friend of mine share his score on one of those online knowledge quizzes.  This particular one intrigued me, because as a lifelong car guy, I figured hey, I ought to smoke that “What do you know about car engines?” quiz.  Little did I know when I started the quiz that it was put together by someone who clearly doesn’t know what the hell they are talking about.

I’m sure I am not the only car guy out there who absolutely fell in love with Marisa Tomei’s character, Mona Lisa Vito, in “My Cousin Vinny,” especially after this scene.  Sadly, the “car knowledge quiz” I am talking about is filled with similar “bullshit questions.”

If you are a mechanic by profession, do yourself a favor and do not take the quiz.  If you are a serious car guy, I also recommend that you don’t take it.  If you are at all like me, you will just get annoyed by how poorly the questions and answers are worded.  It starts very early on in the quiz, and sadly, they get progressively worse as the quiz goes on.  I finally started taking screen captures of them…

If you plan on taking this quiz, let this serve as a spoiler alert as I am not only going to post some of the more annoying questions, I am going to discuss why they are annoying.


First of all, the starter relay, or starter solenoid, does not start the freaking car.  The starter motor, more commonly referred to simply as “the starter” does.  The starter relay, or solenoid, is between your starter button/ignition key and is what causes the starter motor to engage the engine.  Some cars have the solenoid on the starter while other cars it is completely separate.  So, is this question about the starter motor, or about the solenoid/relay?  Based on the answers given, the only reasonable answer is Electromagnetic principles (and this was the right answer), but this question is horribly worded.


The Wankel engine, or rotary engine, is unique in many ways, and specifically it is unique in two ways that are both answers to this question.  The Wankel engine has neither valves nor pistons.  So, which do you choose?  I chose pistons, and that was the correct answer, according to the creator of this quiz, but since there are two valid answers and you can only choose one, it is yet another bullshit question.


So, I get to this question and again, I’m befuddled.  The Honda Civic is not an electric car per se, although there have been electric versions made and it is also available as a Hybrid.  The Toyota Mirai on the other hand is a hydrogen fuel cell car, also not an electric car.  Sadly, in this instance I chose the wrong option.


Okay, so what honing are they talking about?  I assumed they meant the cylinder walls, but even making that assumption, the first three answers are all correct.  A properly honed cylinder wall helps with lubrication of the piston, it allows the piston to smoothly travel in cylinder, and it helps the piston compression rings seat in properly ensuring a tight seal.  I got a number of their bullshit questions right using a process of elimination, but in this case, that only drops one of the four answers.  To the creator of this quiz, proper lubrication was the correct answer.


Radiator thermostat?  I know what a radiator is, and I know what a thermostat is, but I have no idea what the hell a “radiator thermostat” is.  That said, the correct answer is easily chosen (it opens), but again, the wording is utterly ridiculous.


Uh, what?  A harmonic balancer is not a tool, it is an engine part.  There are some tools that are used to remove the harmonic balancer, but installation, at least in my experience does not require any special tools.  For those who don’t know, the harmonic balancer is a part that is designed to help balance (hence the name) the crankshaft in engines that are not internally balanced.  The harmonic balancer mounts on the end of the crankshaft.  Again, the answer is easy to choose (crankshaft) but the question was obviously written by someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about.

There were some other equally stupid questions in this quiz, but I only included a few of them.  It just goes to show you, any moron can put together an online quiz.  Just because the quiz exists does not mean anything in it is legitimate.



Theoretical Expertise vs. Practical – Which Is More Valuable?


So, I was reading the pictured LA Times article about an officer involved shooting which just recently occurred in which a SWAT officer, presumably one of their snipers, shot an armed suspect from the air.  In reading the article, which includes a photo of the scene from the air, it is the perfect example of a situation where a shot from a helicopter is not only reasonable, it was best option.

Although not totally related to the point of this blog post, let me provide a quick rundown for those who are not familiar with the incident.  A home invasion occurs, suspect arms himself and barricades the home.  The home is located on a hill, is isolated (no other homes immediately nearby), and is surrounded by brush and debris.  The suspect is forced from the home by tear gas, and when he exits he starts shooting at the cops from his high ground (a huge tactical advantage).  The SWAT officer was in the helicopter overhead and neutralized the suspect who was actively engaged in a shootout with officers on the ground.  After being shot, the suspect’s body rolled down the steep embankment, the steep embankment which was the reason that the helicopter was needed.

Overall, even considering this is the LA Times, the article was not too bad, until I got to the comment provided by “Samuel Walker, a retired criminal justice professor and policing expert.”  According to the article,

Walker “called the LAPD’s move ‘reckless,’ saying the movement inside a police helicopter increased the risk of a dangerous mistake. Even if there are strict policies in place, Walker said he did not believe officers should fire their guns from the air.

‘I just worry that it sets a bad precedent,’ he added. ‘You can have some other departments saying, “Well, if the LAPD can do it, we can do it.”’”

That statement seemed a bit odd to me, even, dare I say reckless, and since I was unfamiliar with their so-called “policing expert” Samuel Walker, I decided to do a little digging.  It turns out Mr. Walker is a proud former hippy, anti-war protester, and an academic.  From his biography on his own website, there is no mention of ever working a real job of any sort, let alone any experience in law enforcement, tactical training, self-defense, or firearms.  In fact, his bio reads like that of a liberal college professor, not one of a “policing expert,” and that is because that is exactly what he is (was).  Based on the “issues” that Walker has chosen to list on his website, it would be far more accurate to refer to Walker as an “expert critic of policing” as opposed to a policing expert.

2015-11-13-Samuel_Walker_expert_1447439694833_26761864_ver1.0_640_480Based on his background, I would hazard a guess that Walker has never fired a modern sporting rifle at all, let alone a  precision rifle, let alone trained with one on a consistent basis, including firing from a helicopter.  I can guarantee that the LAPD SWAT officer who took that shot has.  I know for a fact that my own department has trained our SWAT guys to shoot from our helicopter, and I would be surprised to hear about any agency, with both a helicopter and SWAT team, that has not also trained for such a situation.  To fail to do so would be irresponsible.  In law enforcement, we train to deal with all conceivable scenarios, that way when the odd situation presents itself, hopefully we have a plan to deal with it, or at least one that can be molded to work.

It is no different than the average person carrying a concealed firearm.  You do not carry one because you are planning on getting into a gunfight; you carry one on the off chance that something might happen that requires a firearm.  If you knew you were going to a gunfight, you would wear body armor, be armed with a rifle and have with plenty of spare ammo.

Just to clarify my contention here, being educated in any particular topic, no matter how highly educated one may be, does not in fact make one an “expert” in that field.  Education is only part of the equation for being an expert, experience is the other.  For example, I could study brain surgery in an academic setting extensively, for years.  I could read every book on the topic, take classes from professionals in the field, watch videos on the topic, I could totally immerse myself in the topic, but until I go hands on and actually perform some surgeries, successfully, I would not be considered a brain surgeon, and I would absolutely NOT be an expert in the field.  The same can be said about being a pilot, or a mechanic, or a plumber, or a welder, or a veterinarian, or a motivational speaker, or a (fill in the blank).

It seems the world understands that education alone does not an expert make in almost every field, except for law enforcement.  Politicians and the media are perfectly content to point to people without an ounce of real world experience in law enforcement, and call them an expert.  Theoretical knowledge of a subject is all well and good, but without experience applying said knowledge in the real world, one is hardly an expert.

Before placing too much credence on the words of an “expert,” one should first know if they are in fact an expert.  Do not assume that just because the media or some politician is holding a person up as an expert that they in fact are one.  Verify their expertise.

Gun Control Proponents Predictably Show Their Ugly Side

It has barely been 24 hours since Bob Owens died and already the anti-gunners have set forth in what I sadly predicted would follow.  They seem to be cherishing in the fact that a Second Amendment rights proponent has taken his own life with a gun.  What kind of a horrible human being does that?  Hell, as a cop, I don’t even do that when a cop shoots a bad guy in a 100% justifiable shooting.

I guess that just shows you the true character of the people who want to take away our rights.

The first example of this that I stumbled upon was Sandy Phillips, whose Twitter account describes her as “Daughter killed in Aurora theater massacre. Speaker on gun violence in America. Opinions are mine. I block Nuts & Bullies” when she Tweeted this:

Apparently, she also blocks people who call her out for being a horrible human being because I was instantly blocked. Then there are lots of folks dragging up a 2013 Daily Kos article about bob, while commenting that he has died.

Then there is this sorry excuse for a human literally celebrating Bob’s death.

Not to be outdone, the real assholes stepped up their game.

And of course, the Violence Policy Center has to chime in in typical anti-gunner heartless fashion.

In their minds, this is a gun epidemic, not a suicide problem.  Despite the fact that there are many countries, even first world countries, where guns are completely illegal to own, yet they still have much higher suicide rates than the US.  The US is in 48th place, and many of the countries higher on the list have far stricter gun laws, if not a total ban on private gun ownership.  In fact, here in the US, while guns do hold 1st place as method of suicide, suffocation holds second, with almost half as many suicides by suffocation.  What is next, calling for rope, belt, string and plastic bag control?  The guns are not the problem, they are but the means. Sadly, as the day progresses, so does the display of human depravity.  If my career has taught me one thing, it is that a great number of people SUCK!  Time to step away from the computer for a bit.

Update: Well, I tried to get away.  Even took the long, twisty route to work on my motorcycle, but when I sat down my notifications on my phone alerted me to the following.

Apparently, calling out a person who is making fun of a person’s death in order to push their political agenda makes me the jerk…

Loss of a Friend and Compatriot


About an hour ago, I was sitting at the dinner table with my wife and kids enjoying a nice meal when I got a message from a friend of mine.  A man with whom I was friends online but had yet to meet in person, a man I respected for his honesty and integrity, a man with whom I shared interests and passions, a man whom I figuratively stood beside in the constant fight to maintain our rights, especially our Second Amendment rights, that man reportedly took his own life today.

Bob2That man was Bob Owens.  He will be greatly missed.

In addition to our rights, he was also an ardent supporter of law enforcement.  He and I often spoke about LE shootings that we were both defending.

I feel like I just got punched in the gut, then kicked in the nuts.

Bob and I had many mutual friends, many of which knew him far better than I.  One of those people is Tim (MAC) here at Full30.  Sadly, I got to be the one to break the news to Tim.

While Tim and I spoke, he immediately started doing the same thing I was already doing; playing back all his recent conversations with Bob to see if there was something he said, something he should have said, or something he missed that Bob said, a clue or hint that could possibly have prevented this horrible event from happening.

One thing I have learned in my 20 years as a cop, unless that person said “I’m going to kill myself” and you failed to act, there is nothing you could have done.  But that does not stop us from second guessing ourselves.  If you find yourself in the same boat, take some solace in knowing that what happened is not our fault.  It was a decision made by a grown adult, a decision I will never pretend to understand.

It is absolutely acceptable to grieve, to be sad or angry.  It is absolutely okay for you (me) to feel what it is we feel.  But it is not okay to blame yourself.  Don’t do it.

I feel absolutely horrible for Bob’s family and for his close friends.  The unexpected loss of a loved one is a very tough thing to deal with, especially when that person took their own life.

But in Bob’s case, I feel even worse for his family and friends because I know what is practically guaranteed to happen as soon as the anti-gun crowd finds out about this incident.  Bob’s poor family will not only have to deal with their loss and their grief, but they are likely to be victimized by the very people who claim to care about people who find themselves in the situation Bob found himself in.  I won’t pretend to know the specifics, but it is apparent that he was facing something that was bad enough in his mind, that death seemed the better option.

On that same line, I feel guilty and angry, because in the back of my head, I am concerned that what happened today is going to be used as ammo by the very people Bob battled on a daily basis in the fight against us.

I’m angry at Bob for giving them that.  I’m angry at myself for being angry with Bob.  I’m sad for his loss.  I’m sad he felt he had no other way out.  I’m angry at myself because even though I know I didn’t, I feel like I must have missed something.  I’m so freaking conflicted.

Suicide freaking sucks!

It victimizes the family and friends of the person who killed themself, and most times it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Please, if you are contemplating suicide, reach out to someone for help.

National Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-273-8255

To Bob’s family and close friends, please know you have my most sincere condolences.


If you are the giving type, a GoFundMe account has been set up for Bob’s wife and two young daughters.

(This blog post was originally written for Full30 but due to some technical problems, I have been unable to post it there yet.)