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Showing posts from August, 2009

One If By Land, Two If By Sea...

The world is too much with us.

How's that? Two poetry citations before the blogging begins? Wait. I'll come back to them.

I haven't posted for several days.

Why?

Simple.

I have nothing much to say.

How is that possible? So much information. The Brits have let the Lockerbie bomber go. The Taliban have picked new leaders. Dick Cheney says that we're not safe. The Eagles signed Michael Vick. H1N1. K-Fed took the kids to the zoo. There's just so much going on.

And of course, that's the problem. There's SO much stuff going on, so much to know. But how much do we REALLY know? Nothing, really. We are AWARE of so very much, but we haven't digested any of it. We haven't reflected on any of it. The stuff just lies there on the tops of our brains until it's swept away by new stuff. I mean, really. If we had two seconds to think about it, would anyone outside of an Alzheimer's unit spend more than two minutes with Jon and Kate?

My response has not been to cu…

Scooter Diary Part 3: Size of Motor

Americans have traditionally described their cars in terms of displacement by cubic inch. That Chevy that the Beach Boys sang about was a 409 cubic inch monster. More recently, American carmakers have given in and used metric measures. My minivan has a 3.3 liter motor.

On the other hand, motor scooter motors are categorized by displacement in cubic centimeters (cc). That 409 works out to over 6,700cc and, for the metrically challenged, I can report that 3.3 liters is the equivalent of 3,300cc. Is it any wonder then, considering that until recently they generally maxed out at 250cc, that scooters have never caught on in the USofA? They are so darn small.

Motorcyclists have long been aware that you can squeeze one heckuva lot of fun filled performance out of small motors, and whether they like it or not, motorcyclists are first cousins to scooterists. We’re all brothers on two wheels. Sisters, too. But even American motorcyclists have succumbed to the high displacement disease. It is not …

Scooter Diary Part 2 - Region of Manufacture

Scooters come in all different sizes, shapes, prices, and packages. They can, however, be grouped into a discreet number of categories, first by region of manufacture, then by size of motor, then by body style, and all by price.

Keep in mind. This is not meant to be a definitive, scholarly, side-by-side comparison of every brand of scooter. These are merely my impressions and opinions.

REGION OF MANUFACTURE

Scooters are manufactured in Japan, China, and Europe. Yes, you can argue that Taiwan is not China, but let’s not quibble.

• JAPAN
The major Japanese scooter builders are Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki – the motorcycle folks. Their scooters are uniformly more expensive than a Chinese scooter of comparable engine displacement, but may be less expensive than European counterparts. More on price in a subsequent post.

Simply put, the engineering, fit, and finish of Japanese scooters is on the whole superior. The term ‘bullet proof’ applies. Not that there aren’t occasional operational quirks to …

Diary of a Motor Scooter Enthusiast: Part 1

I’ve been riding two-wheeled motorized vehicles for most of my life.

As kids, we stood milk crates on end, fit wheels on the bottom connected up to lawn mower engines braced inside, and putted around local country lanes until the contraptions fell apart.

When my wife and I first married we couldn’t afford to keep two cars, so we bought a used, street-legal Suzuki 185cc dirt bike. When one of us needed the car, the other took the bike. Cheap, reliable, economical transportation.

Years later, perhaps experiencing a second childhood, I purchased an older, gently used Honda CB500. After riding that more powerful machine for a couple of years though, I realized two things. First of all, I’d never learned to ride a motorcycle slowly. The object of the exercise seemed to be to run up through the gears as quickly as I could in order to go as fast as I could until I had to stop, then start the process all over again. Secondly, as I approached 50 years of age, my reflexes weren’t keeping up with…

Healthcare Reform: Simple Truths

For those of us who believe that healthcare reform is vital to our personal health and our national security, and for those of us who believe that a single-payer option is not only desirable but necessary, it is time to display our passion. It is time to expose the bumper-sticker attacks on healthcare reform with bumper-sticker truths of our own. And to those who complain that my truths are incomplete and cherry-pick statistical information, I say, “So what? Why should the rules that I play by be any different than yours?”

TRUTH #1: GOVERNMENT DOESN’T RATION HEALTH CARE. INSURANCE COMPANIES DO.

What is managed care? Rationing. Why not cover pre-existing conditions? Rationing. Why do 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance every day? Rationing.

On the other hand, Medicare and Medicaid are portable, affordable, and cover pre-existing conditions.

So if you qualify for government healthcare, you are not subject to rationing. If you own private insurance, you are.

TRUTH #2: SINGLE-PAYE…

Back in the Blogging Business

As some of you who are in the blogging community know, Yahoo has recently discontinued support for Yahoo 360 blogs. I've archived my original blog and I'm beginning this new one. You can click through to my archived blog by visiting my website: www.southfrancerental.com.

I'll be blogging on any number of issues. France will be a major focus for sure. But since we're still a couple of years from retiring there permanently, and we only visit once or twice a year for a couple of weeks at a time, I'll broaden the scope and write about whatever comes to mind...healthcare, motor scooters, food and drink, whizbangs and crackerdoodles, whatever.

So stay tuned.