31 July 2012

Solo Suzuki!

First, a comment then question for other bloggers-
I'm so dismayed by what I see going on around me... Stockton, CA., Scranton, PA., that I'm having trouble blogging.
Disheartened, I have trouble thinking of positive things to write.
Obama claims he inherited a MESS. Imagine the MESS he will hand over to Romney!

Solo Suzuki?
When Suzuki first won the World Championship back in the '70's they started an advertising campaign which lead with the jingle, "Solo Suzuki... The champ of the Grand Prix!" That ditty runs through my head now anytime I ride the SV650. I received the handlebar kit and considering my schedule realized I had no time to deal with the installation, so I took it to my wrench, Don. He finished the job today, so I went over and retrieved the bike and rode it to work tonight. The kit, including bars, risers, cables and other hardware was $415. Don's installation cost another $206. But...
EUREKA! I rode the little Suzy to work tonight and for the first time was pain-free at arrival.
Now all I have to do is work on installing a top box on that useless pillion seat so I can carry my "stuff" to work with me.
The bike itself still knocks me out... silky smooth for a V-Twin and more power than I need, while getting over 50 mpg.
I LOVE it.

Now, let's hope the rest of the world recognizes what an evil man Rahm Emanuel is.
Only then will we start the healing process.

19 July 2012

Enough Money?

What's that?
How often have you seen an acquaintance retire, only to begin having health issues?
(And isn't that a SCARY possibility in this changing health-care world?)
For me, "retirement" will simply be a chance to work, (maybe for nuthin') for others.

I've been saving/planning for retirement most of my life...
For over 20 years I've contributed the maximum amount to a 403b or 401k plan.
How disheartening to watch that healthy nest-egg dwindle to less than half its value over the last four years!

I wanted to protect what was left. But in this screwy world, where could I put that money to work so it might actually reverse the downward plunge?
My search was depressing.
The stock market is idling along doing almost nothing.
Ditto bonds.
A 1% return is all we can expect in a guaranteed fixed instrument these days, and that won't cover the nasty effects of inflation.

A friend suggested annuities.
He even suggested a couple companies I might investigate.
One of those offered an instrument tied to the Standard & Poor 500, guaranteeing a 6.5% minimum return. If the S&P gained more than 6.5, I'd reap that benefit too.
Moody rated A-.
I researched that company and found it to be relatively small, conservative, and financially solid.
A month ago I moved 80% of my 401k moneys into an annuity with them.

Yesterday I read a report that said many companies that have been offering annuities would stop selling them...
Too much risk for the company in this economy.
Startled, I did a quick check on the company I invested with to find they still have an optimistic long-term outlook.
I breathed a (maybe temporary) sigh of relief.

But here's the REAL DEAL, folks-
If the U.S. Treasury continues "Quantitative Easing", (translation: Printing money as fast as they can),
my 6.5% minimum return will be meaningless because our currency will look good as wallpaper.
Ammunition would have been a far better investment.

Scranton, PA public servants were temporarily being paid minimum wage this week. How long will they continue to risk their lives for that compensation?
Thinkin' about retirement?
No... think about survival.

UPDATED: Here we go?

18 July 2012

Another Thing- Olive Drab In Color:

It's a maximum gross weight test.                                                                                                                        Hot/High.                                                                                                                                                         Density altitude- through the roof.
Yeah, these test pilots bend/break the bird, but... 
Watch how, even as it spins like crazy, they keep the rotor level so it NEVER makes contact with the ground!         
Great pilot skills in the face of VERY difficult circumstances.

12 July 2012


So, 83% of physicians have considered leaving medicine?
I'm not surprised. My physician friends are not happy campers.

Steven Green published a piece by a Doctor who senses even his patients seem to know "change" is coming, and it ain't a good thing.
Where are FlightFire and Rodolfo when we need them to assure us ALL IS WELL and is unfolding exactly as planned?

Buy ammunition... worth more than its weight in gold soon.

11 July 2012

Isle of Man TT

This piece will be of interest only to folks like me who love racing and particularly LOVE motorcycle racing. It's 11:27 long, and be forewarned... one of the competitors drops a couple "F-bombs".
But I think it does a pretty good job of explaining the madness and attraction of the I.O.M. TT:

09 July 2012

A Different World

My son was toddling.
We had little money... I was "between jobs".
We found our pleasures where we could.

One of our local stations started airing a program called "Hot Hit Videos"...
We're kinda bored with 'em now, but when these "mini-movies" set to music first came out, Sara Jean and I were fascinated with them.
We'd actually schedule our Saturday nights around this one-hour program...
Pop popcorn or buy chips and salsa to snack on while we watched.
This tune was one of our favorites from that time:

We look back at that time now with fondness.
No money? Who cared?!
We had one another, a healthy baby, good music, good eats, and smiles on our faces.
Who needed anything more?
How 'bout you? 
Did ya have a similar interest?
Share with us.

04 July 2012

"All Twins Vibrate."

That's what the guy said... "All twins vibrate. Some vibrate worse than others."
And he should know. In his garage were four BMWs and two Moto Guzzis. He was rebuilding a vintage BMW... it was on a lift table in pieces. He knew a lot about BMWs and Moto Guzzis.

I've since purchased and ridden three twins that vibrate less than most...
Two BMWs and the "Pizza Bike", (my Moto Guzzi).
And yeah, they vibrate. But there are vibrations, and there are V I B R A T I O N S !
Vibration levels on Pizza Bike are noticeable at certain engine speeds, but they're not annoying.
The BMWs vibrate at low RPM but smooth out quickly above about 2000 revs and their vibrations are actually kinda soothing.
The "new" Suzuki has an engine configuration similar to the Guzzi, but...
More on that later.

So pictured above is my new-to-me Suzuki... a 2003 SV650.
And I finally figured out what happened that confused me-
I shoulda known more about what I was buying.

The BAD?
-I went to eBay and entered "Suzuki VStrom" in the search block. When this bike appeared I didn't know enough about Suzukis to know an "SV" from a "DL"...
(The "DL" model designates the VStrom, the SV is the Sportbike from which the DL was derived.)
So I bid on and won a bike that was somehow in the wrong eBay section, different from what I really wanted. As I've said before, it is VERY UNCOMFORTABLE to ride more than a half-hour or so.

-It was only a four-hour drive away. We jumped in the Dodge/Cummins and drove the four hours, met the seller and consumated the deal, loaded the bike, went to eat dinner, then drove four hours back home and arrived just after darkness fell... quite a pleasurable experience.
-When we loaded it in the truck it had only 3492 miles on it. The seller bought the bike for his wife thinking she could ride it alongside  him. She apparently came to a stop and the bike began to fall to the right and she couldn't stop it, resulting in three small cracks/scratches in the right fairing adjacent to the headlight. It scared her and she quit riding. He actually put most of the 3500 miles on it just keeping the battery charged and the engine exercised. Other than the minor scratches on the fairing, the bike is like NEW.
- Although the seating position is uncomfortable, there is a fix...
I've ordered a kit to raise the handlebars and move them slightly rearward. I'm hopeful this will solve my main complaint with the bike because...
-The engine is a GEM.
Red-lined at 11,000 rpm, it revs easily, sounds GREAT, and the bike goes like STINK. (They also make this bike in a 1,000cc version, and I cannot imagine anyone being comfortable using that kind of power!)
Vibration? Yeah, I guess there is some. But it is so minimal I hate to call it that. I'm not exaggerating when I say this SV650 comes very close to the smoothness of my six-cylinder opposed 1500cc GoldWing. For a twin, it is SMOOTH!
-I'm still trying to figure out how to reset the tripmeter/odometer/clock in the dash display. The owner had lost the owner's handbook and I've been unable to find one online so far. My (possibly erroneous) calculations on my initial fuel mileage put it at a little over 50 mpg. I DID finally figure out how to zero the tripmeter on my last fillup, so I'll have an exact figure for ya later.

So, am I happy with it?
Not yet. But the handlebar kit and Go Cruise throttle control I recently ordered will, I hope, make the bike more comfortable when installed.

I'll let ya know.