I’m No Photographer…

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…but I’m not displeased with this one. Danger Girl on a cloudy Mid-Ohio Saturday afternoon, heading towards the Honda bridge. And I took it in “M” mode on the Rebel, setting everything but the focus myself.

When I see the results of my own “work” behind the camera, however, it reminds me how lucky I am to work with people like Andrew Trahan, Jamey Price, Sean Klingelhoefer, Evan Klein, Peter Dawson, Ryan Doede, Matt Tierney, Puppyknuckles Dave, and several others. The challenge that I have is writing something that will make you forget all that visual bullshit.

Just kidding.

Kind of.

Enjoy (what’s left of) your weekend, everybody!

In Which Your Author Loses An Afternoon Street Race To Another Honda

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I’d been watching the bike from inside the restaurant, hoping I’d get out before the owner did so I could get a photo of it and put the appropriate crappy vintage filter on it. And just for once in my life, all my dreams came true. It was the cleanest and nicest V65 Sabre I’d seen in my adult life. For those of you who weren’t paying attention to this stuff, the 1983 V65 Magna was the quickest production motorcycle in history on its debut, breaking into the tens with the infamous Jay Gleason on the throttle. The 1984 V65 Sabre that followed applied square-edged modern styling to the same template.

You’ve all heard of the 1985 Yamaha V-Max but the V65 Hondas were first to the table with 120-plus V-Four power. I’d honestly forgotten about them until automotive diarist Zach Bowman started writing last month about the experience of selling his father’s V65s. Needless to say, I was excited to see a real live one in the middle of a sunny Friday afternoon.

As I was firing up my CB1100, the owner came out and got on his Sabre. I flagged him down. We chatted for a minute. He appeared to be a college heavyweight powerlifter of some type; massive shoulders, ripped arms, clipped demeanor. I’d thought he might have come into Sabre ownership by chance but a quick conversation showed that he knew exactly what he had. We parted ways and I headed back to work.

Five minutes later, I was leaning through a long sweeper on the way back downtown when I saw the Sabre in my rearview mirror. He pulled alongside my CB1100. We looked at each other, we dropped to second gear, and we cranked the throttles.

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Battle Of The Dirt Cheap Ninja Network Stars

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It’s a (very bad) habit of mine to look through my local Craiglist to see what kind of interesting motorcycles are for sale. We’re now more than half-way through the traditional Ohio riding season of April to October, so people are starting to think about getting rid of bikes. This is particularly true for “starter bikes” or casual-use motorcycles.

The Ninja 250 is a perennial Craiglist bargain. It was more or less the same bike from 1988 to 2007, receiving a refresh in 2008 and another major rework in 2013. It will run a 15-second quarter-mile but most motorcycles, including Danger Girl’s 2015 Yamaha R3, will leave it in the dust. Still, they’re dirt cheap and they get 80mpg and you could do worse for a commuter bike.

I decided to see what was out there. My rules: had to be under $2000, couldn’t have any visible damage, and had to be in ready-to-ride condition or close to it. These were the contenders… but just to keep things interesting, I also threw in a Ninja 500 that almost met the same criteria.

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Finally, The First Amendment Gets The Second Amendment Treatment

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“When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles.” Most people know this quote from the Dune books, where it is retroactively attributed to Louis Veuillot. The attribution may or may not be true but the saying itself is a truth that has an echo in history all the way back to the dawn of man.

For the past twenty years or so, I’ve had a saying of my own: “If we treated the First Amendment like we treated the Second Amendment, it would only apply to Revolutionary-era printing presses and actual wooden soapboxes.” After all, the only firearms in this country that enjoy authentic Second Amendment protection are blackpowder muzzle-loaders. Your right to order a blackpowder muzzle-loader and keep it loaded by your bed is basically the only undamaged firearms right left. It even applies to felons, although felons may not have the cap primer that makes modern blackpowder rifles vaguely reliable. Every other kind of gun is subject to a Byazntine admixture of state, federal, and local laws.

Our Supreme Court has continually interpreted the Constitution as a “living” document. Which means that they’ve been free to whittle down the Second Amendment as they like, while expanding the First Amendment to cover everything from the airwaves to the Internet to public defecation “art” to the infamous Citizens United decision. The word “militia”, which originally referred to the “militia” that overthrew King George, has been redefined as the National Guard. Meanwhile, “speech” has been expanded to mean every form of communication imaginable plus money plus behavior. That expansion is the lever by which socially liberal people and organizations have reshaped America in their desired image. Without the freedom to carpet-bomb Americans with everything from freaky old titties at the Super Bowl to a coalition of media that lampoons and undermines traditional family life, we’d probably still be living in the early Sixties.

Whether this is a good or bad thing is a matter of opinion, or perhaps a matter of degree. I like having the freedom to read D.H. Lawrence but I’m not sure I would want my eight-year-old daughter, if I had one, to be exposed to a bunch of swinging dicks in bathrooms just because such a “freedom” is the current cause celebre in California. Regardless of the merits of America’s social transformation, however, you cannot argue that it could have been done without hugely liberal (in the classic sense) interpretations of the First Amendment. But remember that maybe-Herbert quote above, because it applies starting now.

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There Were Giants In Those Days

There’s just so much to like in this video. The introduction… full of yachts, B-body wagons, people having fun, pretty girls who are now in their late fifties and early sixties. Try not to think about that. Most of all, you have an absolutely crack band ripping shit up. Where’s my time machine when I need it?

Squid Waits For The UPS Truck

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There are times I think back to 1991 and just marvel at the relationship that Jill, my editor at Bicycles Today and I had. I can’t imagine any of my current outlets being willing to publish this kind of thing. To begin with, it’s fiction. And it’s depressing, quasi-modern fiction. And it makes terrible demands of comprehension on its audience… and yet a lot of people seemed to read and enjoy it…

To set the stage — this is a ‘Squid story’. This is the second Squid story; I’ve already published the first one and the third one. There were five Squid stories in all, written by me between the ages of nineteen and twenty-one, the last one being an R-rated novella published in the “Some Prefer Nettles” ‘zine. Anyway, this is set in the year 1987, and regards Squid’s struggles with self-doubt and the UPS schedule – JB

Somewhere, down the street, the muted but insistent basso rumble of what surely must be the UPS truck touches Squid’s ears and brings him up, swimming, from the reverie in which he has been engaged, depositing him none too gently on the blue couch of his family’s living room. Within half a second, Squid’s tentacles are up and weaving gently as he scrambles out of his couch to the window. The nature of his subdivision is such that every truck, heavy machinery being so unfamiliar to the groomed lawns and hopeful starter homes set back upon them, makes a distinct impression on the sonic fabric, and Squid’s ears are better than most, probably as a compensation for his inability to see anything past his nose without contact lenses.

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: Street Racing Edition

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We are out here running these streets, yo. Or at least these cul-de-sacs. It’s great fun. Makes me want to get a shifter kart and try to set fast lap around the neighborhood.

I still owe you a Weekly Roundup from last week. It was delayed because a few things were late to publish. But never fear, the recap of things done in the previous half-fortnight is here.

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Great Moments In Online Game

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There it was, sitting in a secluded directory of my soon-to-be-decommissioned server like a remarkably shiny time capsule or a sealed letter to myself postmarked December of 2012: just over two GB of encrypted backup files from the laptop that I decommissioned more than three years ago. It took just an hour to download but I had to sleep on it before I could remember the password and then my quad Core i7 current lappie still required thirty-three hours to decrypt the whole thing.

Most of it was stuff I still had, and most of the rest was no longer useful — blurry out-take shots from my CX-5 review, anyone? But there were a few instances of glitter among the dross. Photos from an SCCA National Solo event that brother Bark and I did a while back. Four irreproducible snaps of a raven-haired woman standing with her back to me next to my Town Car, holding a thin black dress down against the evening wind coming off Lake Erie. A video of my three-and-a-half-year-old son jumping up and down at the local trampoline-bounce place.

Last but not least, the above image, suitably redacted and presented here for your amusement.

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Your Chance To Buy The Knife That Almost Got Me Fired

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Massdrop is selling the Cold Steel Recon Tanto this week; in fact, they’re selling all sorts of Tantos. If you join Massdrop using this link then eventually I will receive free stuff valued at up to ten dollars. Thirteen readers have already done so; thank you!

I’ve been a Recon Tanto owner for more than twenty years. I love this knife to death. It can do all sorts of things. As my infamous pal Rodney can well attest, at least one of those things will get you fired — if anybody finds out.

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