Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Wisdom of Insurance

We're told repeatedly that its entirely irresponsible to not buy insurance. Well... one of the things we do... well... apart from the drinking and smoking... is challenge that which others take for granted. So lets get to it.

A commonly accepted rule of thumb is... the average person has a 1 in 16 chance of being in a car accident in any given year. Now... Obviously is far more complicated than that... but lets just take it at face value otherwise we end up lost in minutia.

So... how much does that accident cost you? It may cost you a few hundered dollars... or it may cost you hundereds of thousands depending on the injuries and lawyers involved... but the greater the cost of the wreck... the lower the odds of it happening.

We give insurance companies thousands of dollars each year... and we've done so our whole lives. How much have we actually gotten back though? I can only speak for myself... I've filed 1 claim in my whole life.


It was for a repair that cost roughly 5000 bucks. Not a very good return on my money.

Ya know what this is? Its bloody gambling. We're spending all this money... betting that we're going to hit the big one and need it. I want you to think about this...

We spend 300... 400... sometimes up to 2000 bucks a year on a insuring a single vehicle... and we actually have 3 or 4 of them. Over 20 years someone might pay as much as $40,000 bucks... and odds are he will only have been in 1 accident which may not even have resulted in a claim. Theft doesn't even factor in because the odds of having your car stolen is something like 1 in 150.

Fact is if you'd saved all that money you'd be able to afford to pay for any repair yourself... plus you'd be earning the interest off the investment... instead of giving it to a company to invest for itself.

Its a bloody scam.

When you play the lottery... you give someone money... betting effectively that you'll win and get some back.

When you buy insurance you're give a company money... betting effectively that you'll lose and have a car wreck... and be covered.

The money doesnt' work out though. If insurance wasn't more expensive than necessary by its very nature... the company's wouldn't make money. A responsible individual would be better off saving enough money to pay for an accident himself.

Ah.. but what about the big one? What about the every looming lawsuit?

May I suggest that without the lure of the deep pocketed insurance agencies the lawsuits would be far more rare? Don't get me wrong... they're already rare. The odds of you being in an accident and being sued for over 50 grand are extremely low. Not like winning the lotter low... but extremely low none the less... and if the blood sucking lawyers had no hope of pulling hundreds of thousands out of wealthy insurance companies they wouldn't be so trigger happy. I mean what are they going to get from little ol' you? The people suing you couldn't afford to pay them and they wouldn't get enough from you in the settlement to justify their time.

Ya know now that I think about it... I think I prefer casino gambling to our insurance system... after all... cops don't throw you in jail for not going to Vegas.
Dead Yankee Day

JAC posts video evidence of our tests and trials on the mountain roads. Pity us.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Biker Gang Democracy

We were sittin' on a rock wall at this unbelievable overlook on Highway 28 in North Carolina when Irony road up on a Harley Roadking. The Irony in question turned out to be a big bald dude named Train Wreck... who apparently was the President of the Enforcers of Orlando.

Now... Obviously biker gangs have fallen a long way if they've resorted to electing presidents... but that's a discussion for another day. Train Wreck turned out to be a well spoken, polite, and down right useful fellow. Turns out he and his ol' lady were out for a ride, and were following a path laid out in a book called Motorcycle Adventures.

Bikers.... following tourist books?


Like I said... biker gangs ain't what they used to be.

Anyway he told us they were going to see a waterfall that you could ride under. Which sounded pretty cool to us... and we had no idea where we were going... so we figured we'd try to find it.

Turns out we beat ol' Train Wreck there. Even after taking a wrong turn and stopping for a lengthy Carolina Barbecue. Ah well.. I tell ya... its not an adventure until ya get directions from some cat named Train Wreck... even if he was a "president".
Fed Admits to Losing 9 Trillion Dollars

This is among the most amusing videos I've seen in some time.

Pay particular attention to the exchange 3 minutes into the video.

Senator: So what I'm asking you is, if your agency has extended 9 trillion dollars in credit, which by the way works out to about 30 thousand dollars for every man, woman, and child in the country, I'd like to know, if you're not responsible for investigating that... who is?"

Inspector General (complete with deer in the headlights look): no... umm.. well... we... actually... have responsibility for the Federal Reserves programs and operations... conduct audits and investigations in that area... in terms of who's responsibile for investigating... umm... would you mind repeating the question one more time?

After the senator repeats the question 3 times... she finally admits that she not able to respond to the question and has no idea who would be. At that point... the hearings should've been adjurned... and at that point... all three branches of government should've gotten together and completely dismantled the Fed.

If you looked at your banker and asked him where 9 trillion dollars of your money went... and he gave you that answer... you'd probably shoot him... and rightly so. Firing them seems pretty damned merciful at this point.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Motorcycle Saftey Rules

1) ATGAT: All the gear. All the time. That's a full face helmet, motorcycle specific gloves, motorcycle specific boots, motorcycle specific jacket and motorcycle specific pants. An adendum to this is your preflight check. Always give your motorcycle a walk around before you ride. Check the tire pressure... lights... everything. Its a ritual that is of great importance.

2) Ride like you're invisible. You can never assume the driver of a car sees you. They will look right at you and pull out anyway... then claim they never saw you.

3) Make yourself conspicuous. Hi Vis yellow is dorky... but it also works. Ride with your brights on. Add more lights to your bike.


5) At any given time... God should be able to stop time and give you a pop quiz. If He asked you the color and type of each and every car around you, you should always be able to tell Him. You should be able to describe the drivers in your immediate vicinity in detail.

6) Every time the road goes blind... you slow down. That means hill tops... blind corners... you should ride like there probably is a monster in the road just over the hill waiting to crush you... because there might be.


8) Its safer to pass than to be passed.

9) Brakes are not your first option in accident avoidence. The throttle is.


11) When in doubt lean harder and give it more gas. The bike will almost be more capable than you think it is. Lowside washouts are extremely rare.

12) Lowside = walk away. High side = ambulance ride.


14) Avoid gravel if you can but If you hit gravel or dirt in the road... change nothing. Trust the bike. 99 times out of 100 it will save you. Don't brake. Don't swerve. Roll straight through it and trust the bike.

15) Don't be an idiot. Don't take chances. If you want to test your limits... go to a track day event.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ceremonies and Old White Men

The trip began as so many do... blasting up I-40 at reasonable if not legal speeds. The new RT and I were not yet close friends... more like co-workers... at least at this early stage. That would all change.

After fighting our way through Nashville things loosened up and I had time to experiment with her farkles. With the touch of a button her automatic windshield rotates up to the perfect position. While moving at 80mph on an interstate... I feel no wind blast... and instead have a mild pressure from behind... like a strong tail wind. God those krout engineers are amazing.
On the interstate the is an subtle seperation between the rider and the road. Because of the tail wind effect... and the electric smooth motor... and the magicly effective suspension... one gets the feeling he's flying. Weightlessness is the only way I know how to describe it. A backrest of pure wind supports you... and the corbin seat below is pure Heaven. I made knoxville in no time.
I met JAC off the by pass and we grabbed some eats while we formulated our plan of attack. We decided we'd slay the Dragon first... bed down in Robinsville and then roll for Savannah the next day. Well... we were partly right.

After a scenic tour of the UT campus and downtown Knoxville... complete with a view of the Body Farm, we hit 129 south and made for the Tail.

Now I've blogged about the Dragon extensively. No reason to repeat it all here. Suffice it to say that it still has 318 curves in 11 miles... and they are all still banked perfectly.

Before long we found ourselves in Robinsville... eating country cookin' like you may never have seen. The fine lady actually went so far as to take a huge ham steak and throw it on the grill like a damned ribeye and grill it for me. That's livin' boys.

Now JAC has blogged well on the second day of the trip... you can read it here.

Friday... now Friday was the day... maybe the best day I've ever spend on asphault. I'm about out of time... I'll add more to the post later... until then... just more pictures.

Wow... check out that rock face..
Hey... is that a water fall over there?
Hey... lets ride under it!
Mountain Road Rules

After spending a few days riding in the mountains I've decided to share some wisdom. I've come up with some basic things to remember. Pay attention.

1) You may be driving the speed limit... you may be being ultra careful... that doesn't mean you're driving safely. Statisticly speaking serious motorcycle accidents always involve another vehicle... and that vehicle always has more than two wheels.

2) Motorcycles were not considered when speed limits were pulled out of the air.

3) Your safe speed and a motorcycle's safe speed are completely unrelated.

4) Well riden motorcycles often double the posted limit on curves. If it says 20... we go 40. That doesn't mean we're driving crazy. It doesn't even mean we're particularly trying hard. We're just riding. We're perfectly in control. You're the problem.

5) Let me repeat that. You are the problem.

6) No street legal car can keep up with a well ridden motorcycle. I don't care what you have. I don't care if its a Corvette z-06 or a Lotus or a Vanquish. A good rider on a modern bike will blow you away. That doesn't mean you're not a good driver or your car isn't fast.

7) Do not be insulted when motorcycles pass you.

8) If you drive in your own little world... oblivious to the traffic jam you're causing behind you... motorcycles will start passing you illegally... and the longer you keep it up... the greater the chances they are going to be willing to take. Like it or not... that's your fault. Because...

9) Driving safely means not being an asshole.

So to sum up...

10) If a motorcycle pulls up behind you on a twisty mountain road.... pull the hell over and let him go.

We spent countless hours behind idiot cagers tooling along at 5 and 10mph on these roads. The fury that creates is akin to what you would feel if you were on the interstate and two morons were driving side by side 20mph below the speed limit.

Hrm... How about one more rule...

11) Cagers suck.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Then He Returned!

and provided a link to an awesome new blog. Hide the women and children.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bless Their Little Hearts

Inocently strolling about the world wide web today... and lo and behold... I am accosted! Some scientists in New York have found the Missing Link! I'll be damned. We now have solid irrefutible proof that we descend from Monkeys. We have fossil evidence of a "transitional" species.

They couldnt' possibly wrong though. I mean its not like they've been wrong about this before or anything.

If you'd like to read about the hoax... I mean... missing link... you can read about it here. Oh... I suppose you may want to know why I think its a hoax. Well... note how much was paid for the "fossil".

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Eight Belles Part II

As Johnny Cash once sang... I'm a very worried man.

If you've been under a rock the last couple weeks you are probably un-aware... but otherwise surely you know that yet another promising filly will run with the boys in a triple crown race. Just two weeks ago Rachael Alexandra won the Kentucky Oaks by 20 lengths.

Now you have to understand... that doesn't mean she wasn't trying. She's special. She knows one speed... GOOOOO! Before the Oaks she frequently fought her training riders. She simply has to run. Deep down inside... she has a burning desire to run flat out... and she will run... until she dies.

Just like Eight Belles in last year's Derby. She was would beat Big Brown or die trying. We all saw how that ended.

Now... on just two weeks rest... Rachael Alexandra will trot out against the boys.

The media crush has been unbelievable. Bo-Rail has shunned the Derby winner to ride her. That's something that has never happened before. She's the only horse anyone is talking about.

Now keep that media glare in mind when you consider this... there is a towering mountain evidence that clearly states the folly of running a filly in amongst a group of males. The pheromones skyrocket... and it clearly freaks the girls out.


What happens when the whole world is watching... and the famous and glamorous Rachael Alexandra is put down on the track after she ran herself to death trying to catch the bursting Mine That Bird?

I'm very worried. I'm very very worried.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ode To Carlos Torano

On a breezy overcast day I found myself strolling the streets of the Ancient City. A familiar urge was bubbling up from the darker places of my soul when I happened upon a great convenience... one of the few benefits urban society has to offer.

I had found a purveyor of combustible delicacies the likes of which a rural man can only peruse on the modern miracle we call the World Wide Web. A tiny shop to be sure... but appropriately... the vast majority of it was taken up by a massive humidor which was filled to the brim with the names of all my beloved friends... Romeo y Julieta.... that most famously awesome duo... and over there was their neighbor Mr Padron. And off in the corner sulking all alone was Excalibur itself. The mind whirled... choices... choices and decisions of terrible consequence. What to do?

One may find it hard to believe but the moments in that humidor were the most stressful I've experienced in many days... At last though... as one must... a girded up my loins and sought out the fine manager. She kindly provided me with 2 boxes of matches and threw in a complimentary cutter for good measure. God bless her... for I feared I should have to profane my tasty acquisitions with butane...

Butane... that most profane of fumes... who's fire is fit only for cigarettes and small felines. Any who see fit to expose fine tobacco to such a rude fire should be relegated to the pillory... if not the Iron Maiden herself. The thought crossed my mind... you know they have one of those here.

At any rate... Cigar smoking is like prayer. One must assign time to it. Serious prayer is not for the spur of the moment.... its not something one just fits in to their busy schedule. One sets aside time to do it properly. Cigars are the same way.

Often I choose my particular cigars based on the time I have available to experience them. Today my judgement lead me to the under appreciated Mr Torano... an Exodus 1959 label... dark and dangerous. It positively wreaked of cocoa. It took several matches to wake it up... not entirely because the fretful tobaccoist kept the humidor at something like 98% humidity. The ocean breeze didn't simplify things at all... but alas we don't complain... even if the lighting was the second most stressful event in the last several days.

I would tell you that I don't have the words to describe the glorious taste... but that would be a pathetic triumvirate of falsehood, cliche, and misjustice.

The cigar is... tobacco colored. Its dark and dusky... its powerful and complex. Its a taste that changes rapidly and makes you think. Its earthy... and yet there are fruits... its smooth... with a proper bite at the finish. Ahh.. Mr Torano... A man of less impressive breeding would've given in to his temptations, extinguished the fiery delight, and eaten it whole.

I was strong... and stuffed that wretched desire and chained it down deep where it belongs.

It was a fine smoke friends... and I sincerely hope you get to have one yourself. As for me... fret not... for I have two more offerings to tide me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tales for the Hammock

It is my sincerest hope that this particular visti to my blog finds you well. If you are not surfing the web from a hammock with a tastey beverage in your hand... then by all means take the time to rememdy that situation.

As for us... well... you can see we're doing well. The boys are pirates at heart. Just like their father. And thus whenever we find ourselves at the beach they'll spend literally hours just standing in water letting the waves pound them... and giggling while the sand rushes out from underneath their feet.

Its definately a bit of a stretch to call this camping.... I mean... a 40 foot RV with solid surface counters with more square feet than the average new yorker's apartment can't really be called roughing it.
Now for those wondering its mid-80s around here... but the sun is beating down like Mjolnir itself.
We'll be doing some of the touristy stuff later on in the week. For those of you that don't know St Augustine is considered the oldest city in America. The first Mass was held here. Also... the real Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum is here. The ones you see elsewhere are just copies. The real stuff is on display here.
Of course... something's stay constant even on vacation. For example someone is still always laying traps for daddy.

Well anway... as you can see we're havin' a big time. Hope y'all are to.
And to finish a thought for once...
No... it ain't exactly camping...
But's damned sure vacation.
We'll see ya around.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Well.. Uncle Welldigger took my boys fishin' today. Eli caught a blue gill and a large mouth bass. Not to damned bad for a 4-year-old.

Worms and bobbers for them what are interested. Fish probly would've eaten bare hooks if we'd been ornery enough to throw 'em in there.

Tough to be a day in the sun with your boys castin' a line. Not impossible mind you... but tough.

In related news... we're rollin' out for St Augustine, FL tomarrow. I'll be bloggin' from the RV of course.

Y'all enjoy your week at work.
Haloscan Returns!

And there was much rejoicing...


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Island of Freedom

For the second time in as many weeks... someone was perusing my library... and remarked about a collection I happen to have. Apparently it seems odd that the works of John Donne (pronounced dun for them what don't already know) should reside upon my shelf amongst the 100 Greatest Books Ever Written... at least according to the Franklin Library.

I've never bothered to defend the man... as I know quite well that those who lampoon him are at least familiar with him.


I don't much think there is any reason at all to debate the issue... The man constructed a line so powerful it improved the standing of an entire language.

"Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

Well? Where did you think Hemingway got it?

Monday, May 04, 2009

See Ya!

I realize in this times of gloom and looming destruction and chaos I should be on the front lines... blogging and sounding the alarm.


Piss on it... I'm goin' for a ride.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Dreams Really Do Come True


I am now the owner of a BMW R1150 RT. Its hard to believe that after all these years I am finally the owner of a BMW. As my elder brother so wisely stated... "its about damned time... you've only been talking about them for 10 years."

Of course he's exaggerating. Neither of us were riding motorcycles 10 years ago. Like most Americans who've never ridden a motorcycle... we liked Harleys.

See... its only after you learn something about motorcycles that you finally realize how badly Harley sucks. And it wasn't until about 2004 when I really started appreciating these BMW's. The engineering is ridiculous. I could go on and on... but the best way to put it is... this is best bike out there for the long distance riding that JAC and I do.

And I would be greatly remiss if I didn't point out that it was my beloved and beautiful wife that convinced me to buy it. Pay attention there boys. I didn't convince her. I didn't do it in spite of her. She actively persuaded me. There were less expensive bikes. There were other options. She was adamant that I get this one... because she knew this is the one I really loved.

Now if you'll excuse me... I'm going to go sit on it... and watch the power windshield go up and down.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

From the Master's Hand

“And now he stands beneath the rose escarpment above the flash and glare of the magnesium and the whirring film of celluloid immortality. This is the moment, the peak, the pinnacle; after this, all is ebb.” - William Faulkner, May 1962; Louisville, Kentucky

In years gone by Sports Illustrated sent William Faulkner to the Derby to write about it for them. Such a shame we get nothing of the sort these days. An old timer recalls driving Faulkner around to Lexington the week prior to the Derby to visit the farms. Ol' Bill fell asleep on the way back... but near Bardstone the old timer swears Faulkner woke with a start...

"I'd never mistake that smell! There's distillery around here! Close!"

He didn't say if they stopped or not.
The Pick:

The heart says Freisian Fire...

The head says Musket Man.


And now you know... if you watched... why the Derby is still... and always will be... the Most Exciting Two-Minutes in Sports. Mine That Bird. The damned track announcer didn't even know who that horse was that ran off and left the field. 9500 dollar horse.... ate their asses alive. I've seen it all.

Well... I know I usually hype it more... I know I usually break down the contenders... but I've been distracted this year.

IWantRevenge was the horse folks... he really was... but he broke his ankle and he's been pulled. That leaves it open for Pioneer of the Nile. If he makes the transition to dirt... he'll tear this field up. If he doesn't... its Musket Man. All the speed is inside.... and Pinoneer has been working REALLY really well.

I believe he's the horse to get it done.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Bug Out Bikes
I know I know... took me long enough.
Well I've had a couple request for a utility motorcycle post. Apparently folks are thinking two-wheeled transportation may be a good option should the proverbial excrement meet the oscillatory cooling device. Fair enough. But why? And what type of bike would work well?

Well... look... you don't need a Goldwing folks. You may as well ride around in a civic as one of those things. What you want is called a "dual-sport". Its a bike that's very capable. You can ride it offroad or on. In general they are light, quick, and get great gas mileage. They tend to be simple and bullet-proof reliable.
Here are two options to seriously consider:

Kawasaki KLR 250: Simple. Reliable. 100mpg. You don't need cartridge forks and a ultra modern suspension. You need a bike that's good on gravel and good on trails. This is the one. They can be had cheap, and the seat heights are manageable. The bike in not indestructible... but as a matter of practicality... you can treat it like it is.

Honda Ruckus: Its small... its insanely reliable. It gets 100mpg... and its an automatic. You can carry stuff through the muck and mud. You can go places no one else can. You can raise all manner of hell in the Wal-mart parking lot. Just looking at it gives me evil thoughts. The best thing about the Ruckus is the fact that it has a huge support system. Lots of bag options and such... and you absolutely must be able to carry stuff.

Now... all of the jap manufacturers make something comparable to the KLR... so if you want a Yahama or a Suzuki or a Honda... they are out there. You can ramp up the displacement to 650 if you want but you'll be giving up a lot of mileage and you'll be getting a less capable motorcycle in my opinion. You need to think small and light.
These bikes can be had for less than 2000 dollars... probably for something closer to 1500... you'll not find a more useful tool for that amount of money.
And for crying out loud... stay away from chinese shit. The bikes are not reliable and parts are not particularly available. Buy Jap.