29 November 2008

What IS an "American"?

This thread over at Armed Polite Society got me to thinking. Y'all know, this is NEVER a good thing!

Anywho... I'd like to pose a question to anyone reading this. It may seem like a simple question, but I think the answers you'd get out on the street might surprise you.

The question? "What IS an American?".

Not talking about a legal definition. What do YOU think would be the defining characteristics that say "Joe is an American"? Every nationality has something: what's ours?

After some responses, I'll address my thoughts on it. I'd like to see what others think...

25 November 2008

The Tale of the Hondapotomus

Ok… you’ve all heard me mention my bike, the illustrious Hondapotomus. You’ve heard me curse it, and all the troubles I’ve had with it. You’ve read the stories of all the places it’s taken me. And you’ve seen the pics of it resting in the ditch after my lil’ accident. Maybe now, it’s time for me to tell it’s story (so far)…

After I had been riding for a couple years, Spoon decided she wanted to actually have her own bike. I was, at the time, looking at upgrading from the Kaw, since it’s kinda on the small side. So the plan was hatched: I get a bigger bike, and Spoon takes the Kaw (which she, Squeaker, and many others have learned to ride on)…

A friend had a bike for sale, and I wanted it. Actually, I desperately wanted ANY new ride: I developed a serious case of new bike fever. Unfortunately, my friend sold the one he had available before I could come up with the dough. Actually, I got the money roughly a week after he had sold it. So I had a grand, and a SERIOUS jones for a new scoot…

I started checking the classifieds, for ANY bike in that price range. And a guy in Valders had listed a ’76 Goldwing for around $1100. I made contact, looked it over (through rose-coloured glasses), and talked him down to $900. After I got it home, I started finding the problems…

First off, the stereo wouldn’t work right. I pulled it out, finding that it’s power supply was via an ungrounded extension cord, and that one of the speakers didn’t even have wires. Then we decided to check fluid levels: we were good until we got to the front brake reservoir: it was filled with transmission fluid (which I, mechanically declined as I am, recognized as a bad thing right away)…

So… a little electric work, clear the front brake lines, and we should be good to go. Drove it over to the DMV, and got a plate. We’re on the road!

But wait: a friend of mine wanted to take it for a spin. He was gone for less than ten minutes when he called: it wouldn’t go anymore. It was still running, but it wasn’t moving. Seems the universal joint on the drive shaft had broken.

Trailer it home, take it apart, and start looking for a replacement. The local Honda dealer could get one for a couple hundred: the local salvage yard had one for $100. Let’s hear it for used parts! But the joy was short lived: no, it didn’t break again, but we should have taken video of the process: could’ve won some money. But hey… we’re on the road again, right?

Nope. Wasn’t more than a month later, and the temp gauge went stratospheric after the bike warmed up a bit. Which was odd: the engine was still comfortable to touch, but the gauge was claiming that it was hot enough to melt rock. And the fan was NOT kicking on. Off to the shop, where THEY couldn’t figure it out either. But the handy mechanic took care of the problem: he hooked the fan up to a toggle: under 45mph, turn fan on. Over 45, turn fan off. Right AT 45? Flip it on and off constantly. But we’re good now, right?

Well… for a little while. See, the starter switch (the “make it go” button) was having… issues. And one day, shortly into the next riding season, it too gave up the ghost.

By this point, motorcycle repair via 12 ga rifled slug was sounding VERY attractive. But I came up with a novel solution: I pulled the wires out, ran ‘em into the fairing, and hooked up a simple toggle switch (to this day, that’s how you start the beast). NOW, we’re good to go… right?

For the most part, yes: until a few months ago. See, the back tire was getting, well, let’s say, “long in the tooth”. And EVERYBODY has taken great joy in pointing out that they TOLD me not to ride it without changing that tire. But, me being me, I went ahead.

And promptly had a blow-out at 75. I’ve already talked about this, so we don’t need to go into details.

So then I spent a couple days trying to get the Beast back up: check the rim, replace the back tire and tube, come up with a new system for tail light and tag. And, for the most part, she’s back on the road. Of course, the electrical decided to cause some more troubles: had everything working fine, shut the bike off, started it back up, and everything on the ass end went crazy. But it served through the rest of this season.

Before next season, I’ll be replacing the old girl with either a Harley Tour Glide, or a Triumph T-Bird (depends on what I find). The ‘Potomus? She’s being passed on to my VP and her hubby-to-be.

So… that’s the story of my love/hate relationship with a bike that’s almost as old as I am. Have to admit, she’s been a learning experience!

13 November 2008

To quote Law Dog:

Sweet Shivering Shiva! When did I get enough interest generated to find 15K hits?

Wow... the intertubes must be VERY dull lately!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes! (V2)

OK... we're undergoing some refitting here aboard the Privateer. Nothing TOO major...

Hopefully, the changes will result in more content for the three of you... ;)

12 November 2008

Gearing up for BACA National

Well... looks like it's that time again: registration for the BACA National Convention has started.

I'll be in St Louis MO from 14 Jan through 18 Jan. Kinda busy during the days, but anyone in the area is welcome to contact me and make arrangements to meet up in the evenings.

Squeaker will be with me, as will Tact (and of course, all my other brothers and sisters). Should be a hoot!

04 November 2008

Election Liveblogging from Wisconsin

Ok… live from Manitowoc County Republican Headquarters!

Starting this shortly after Ohio got called by Fox for Obama. The current mood is “we’re screwed”. Gotta love that possitive attitude!


Roughly 2130: talk here is about how to endure an Obama Presidency. Always want to laugh at the folks that talk about revolution at these times: like Joe Sixpack is going to revolt so long as there’s Monday Night Football…


Side note: I have GOT to remember not to wear my colors at these things. BACA’s not supposed to have any political affiliation…


Ok… somebody explain to me how they can call a state one way or another with less than 10% or the precincts reporting?


Just a little comparison: last cycle, I spent time at the Republican Headquarters. Then, it was a larger space with a LOT more people. This time, we’re in a smaller space… and it’s almost empty. Kinda sad, actually…


WAY too much doom 'n' gloom. So Obama is winning. All that REALLY means is that conservatives go from being in charge to being the loyal opposition. C'mon folks... presidents come and go...


Fox just declared the election for Obama: current time is 2202...


And it looks like folks here have given up: closing down the shop...

Suffering Electile Disfunction

Yes, I voted: walked over to City Hall, and cast my ballot for Beelzebub. Hopefully, he and the lady can pull enough electoral votes to defeat Asmodeus tonight.

Maybe I'll head down to the local Republican headquarters, to catch the results...