Friday, February 27, 2009

Whatever happened to shame?

There was a time when the thought of being shown in a compromising light would have been so overwhelmingly humiliating that to even consider the possibility of being caught in that light would cause one to shudder.

Now, its a badge of honor and a book deal. Or a consultancy position.

And don't worry about paying your tax bill. If you're caught just pay it and say, "I'm sorry. My mistake."

Whatever happened to humiliation? Whatever happened to shame?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Papers Please

In an Associated Press interview, President Obama's new transportation secretary says taxing how much we drive may replace gasoline tax.

The current tax process, taxing the gasoline we buy, is not generating enough revenue to cover all of the money that has been promised to the states, because the cost of gasoline limited how much we bought and drove. Electric vehicles are also making headway in the market which is also reducing consumption and thus, revenue.

The article posted on indicated that officials are looking at GPS technology to track a driver's mileage and calculate the tax bill.

UPDATE: President O nixed the idea on Friday. If the President is the sum of all of the people around him, why does he have people like his transportation secretary suggesting dumb stuff like this?

I guess some states have already tossed this idea around amidst a great deal of clamor from the public.

What do you think?

Have your politicians suggested something like this in your state?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A little over 23 years ago, my wife and I brought our daughter Nicole, a beautiful, happy, and energetic baby girl home. Since that blissful day, Niki has repeated the simple act of bringing things home, too. Cats, dogs, and people seemed to be the most common collections. For the most part, these were things that we expected and, if not welcomed, they were accepted as a part of life.

Last night she brought something home that was both welcomed and almost expected:

I say that it was almost expected only because her now official fiance and I had a short discussion a few days earlier. Al is an ASE Certified mechanic and works in the municipal garage of one of the many suburb communities outside of Columbus.

This past weekend, he and I were changing the alternator in my Civic, a difficult job for anyone with hands larger than peach pit. The job took a couple of hours and I got an insight into what this young man was about.

I already knew that Al was courteous and well mannered. But this weekend I realized he has a pretty good head on his shoulders and a fair amount of common sense, which is often not so common these days. He has dreams and goals and a plan and I think the determination to make them a reality. I found myself really liking him.

After completing the job and picking up his tools, Al paused and said he'd been meaning to talk to me about something. He then proceeded to ask permission to wed my daughter and I smiled and said, "That depends on how good a job you did on the alternator."

The details of our talk are something that will be left between just the two of us, but in the end, speaking very solemnly, I told him I would give my blessing to the union. Although I never showed the emotion I felt to Al, on the inside, my mind was screaming, "Yipeeeee!!!!!"

Now, having seen the evidence of his sincerity on Niki's hand, I started looking forward to the day when my home becomes my own again. My thoughts drifted towards ways to decorate her soon-to-be-empty bedroom and plotting methods to seize ownership of the space from my dear wife and... and... calculating the costs associated with a wedding. Reality check!

With the economy in the toilet, does it really make sense to spend a whole lot of money on a wedding? Probably not. I'd rather opt for a simple ceremony and a big party. But it's not my wedding or party.

So, prudence suggests that we forgo the California bike trip (Teresa wasn't all that excited about it anyway), and focus our efforts on an October wedding.

In the mean time, I think I'll submit my Fathers Day/birthday/Christmas wish list early: A 24 foot extension ladder, tall enough to reach Niki's bedroom window.

Or maybe something along these lines...

Ride Safe!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Last Friday, for the first time in too long a time, I rode to work. My commute is about an hour long and the pre-dawn temps, around 26º F, were low enough that I needed to stop about half way to my destination for some warmth in the form of some Tim Horton's coffee and a doughnut. I got some strange looks from a group of 4 retired looking gents talking commercial real estate prices.

The ride home later that day was much better and easier. The sun was in full brilliance and the temps recovered to about 45º F. I saw 2 or 3 other riders in and around Columbus on the outerbelt. We all acknowledged each other's presence with a wave.

When I reached Granville, about 5 or 6 miles from home, I passed a group of 10 or 12 Harley riders heading the opposite direction. A grassy median strip separated us but even though my arm was outstretched, not a single wave returned. Oh, well. No accounting for attitude, I thought.

Saturday morning I sat down with a cup of coffee and the day's paper perusing the dismal news reports on the front page. I opened the page to the local news and realized why none of the Harley riders returned my gesture: The group I saw was part of several hundred riders that followed Bruce "Dog Bite" Hamilton to his final resting place.

Bruce was a former Zanesville chapter president of the International Bikers Association and these riders were honoring him. I bet they would have ridden with him even if the weather had been less than favorable.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

There are days when the economic news is so dismal that you just can't find anything to smile about. Riding offers a short respite from concerns about issues which we may have little control. But if you can't ride, watch this...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Panoramic Inauguration Photo

This post has nothing to do with motorcycles.

A friend sent me a link to a gigapixel panoramic photo of the Obama inauguration the other day. More accurately, the photo is a GigaPan photo with an effective resolution of 1,474 megapixels. Click the photo below and zoom to your heart's content.

The photographer is David Bergman and you can read how the photo was made here. It's even more amazing when you read that the photo was compiled from 220 pictures from a Canon G10.

Like I said, nothing to do with motorcycles, but it did distract me from the lousy riding weather for a few minutes.

Friday, February 6, 2009

What's a poker run?

I'll admit that short of a public motorcycle ride I had no idea what one was until I looked it up on Wikipedia. I'd seen lots of T-shirts but was too lazy to type it in Google and find out.

Anyway, Micah from Lucas County Choppers is helping to put together a charity poker run event in northwest Ohio at the end of May. Most of the riders I travel with don't need much of a reason to ride, but this event is to help a young girl who had a heart transplant so if your gonna ride why not spend a dollar or two for a good cause. I plan on keeping that weekend open in case I can participate.

Here's an image of Micah's flyer promoting the event. If you click on it, you'll go to his blog and can get details about the run.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Warm and Dry Weekend
Central Ohio had some great weather this past weekend - above normal temps and dry. I however, was not out riding. I spent the time nursing a wrenched back from a fall on a slippery spot. Besides, I have about 3 blocks of snow and ice covered roads before I see any pavement.
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Ground Hog Day
Puxatony Phil, the renown Pennsylvania ground hog, will determine whether we have an early spring today. I wonder if Phil takes bribes?
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Super Bowl Sunday

Last night the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl Championship for a record 6th time. My allegiance was divided. I like the Kurt Warner story, going from college ball, being skipped in the NFL draft, to working in a grocery store, then playing a couple years in arena football, and finally being picked up by the St Louis Rams about 10 years ago.

Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is QBed by an Ohio native, Ben Roethlisberger (I think most motorcycle riders remember when Ben crashed his Suzuki Hayabusa (June 2006) when a car turned in front of him) and a former Ohio State Buckeye, Santonio Holmes caught the winning touchdown pass. It was an entertaining game to the last second.

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State and Federal Taxes
I plan on starting our tax prep tonight. Every year my goal through out the year is to plan our payroll deductions, IRA deposits, and charitable donations so that we break even when tax time comes. While most of my co-workers celebrate $1000+ tax refunds, I pat myself on the back if I owe (or receive) less than $100. I'm willing to pay my share but I don't see the sense in loaning the government money interest free. I should know tonight how well I calculated.

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Win a New Motorcycle!
I received a sweepstakes offer in the mail last week: Win a New Harley-Davidson motorcycle! It came with an offer for several motorcycle magazines including Easyriders and V-Twin. I checked the "No Thanks, but enter me in the sweepstakes" box and put the card in the return envelope while my wife watched.

She asked if I ordered a magazine and I responded, "Yep. Easyriders." For that, I got a disapproving scowl. I smiled and then she knew better.

Ride Safe!