Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Bad Boys Conference

Great Horny Toads! College football season begins in less than two weeks!

There is an idea I have been kicking around for several years now. Surely it's an idea that many have postulated before. After all, I am just a fair weather football fan who has ignored the whole sport in past years when my favorite teams were mostly losing. I am the sort of fan who gets really disgusted hearing about the Crimson Tide, the Rebels, and the Tigers of Death Valley year after year. I like underdogs and surprise plays that change the results of games. I would like to watch every game and wonder who might win. I would like to see much more shifting and revolving of teams throughout the seasons. I don't want to watch the New York Yankees win every Superbowl or the Dallas Cowboys win every World Series. I want more fun surprises in my college football!

Pardon my impertinence, but what I would like to see would be a college-level substitute for the draft system of pro ball. It is obvious why we cannot just adapt the draft to college teams, but there is something else we could do. Of course if this plan was implemented, there would be howls of protest. The red and white teams of Alabama and Ohio State would surely object, but I say let them fuss. My plan would still crown them the Kings of College Football much of the time, just not ALL the time.

I call my plan The Bad Boys Conference, but you could name it anything you want as long as the game results become more varied, season after season. The plan is simply to pull out the twenty strongest teams from the prior season, ten from the Western U.S. and ten from the East. These twenty teams would form the BBC East and BBC West for that season. With limited exceptions, these teams would not play anyone but other teams within their conference during the regular season. The point is that, as much as it could be feasible during each season, every one of these Bad Boys of College Football would be forced to sweat jock straps over the outcome of each and every game! There would be no more sacrificial lambs from the repeatedly weaker schools within their normal conferences. There would be fewer games of lesser importance in which practically every fan would know the result to expect even before the coin toss. No longer would the Bad Boy climb in the national rankings as the weaker team fell precipitously with damaged self esteem and little hope of season recovery. 

The BBC would shift with every season, of course. The officials selecting the BBC teams for each new season would begin with the previous rankings. If a previously top-ranked team had lost many of its key players to graduation or the draft, then that team could petition the selection officials to remain in their regular conference for the new season. The next ranking team would be considered first as a replacement. If there is some reason not to include that team, then the next choice would be examined. Of course you can imagine many ifs, ands, and buts that will clog up the selection process, but I am sure there are many who would gladly take on the job. You can also imagine that some teams will throw a tantrum to be included for one reason or another, while others will pitch a hissy fit just to opt out. I'm sure you can visualize the pros and cons of inclusion in the BBC. You will receive the best and most of everything from the television networks and sports journalists, while the season itself will likely include grueling punishment and defeats of the sort to which the Tide is not accustomed. 

The sports junkies will love the intense quality of the BBC games throughout the whole regular season. The bookies and gambling junkies will be challenged by more games. The TV executives will roll in dough and more stadiums will fill closer to their capacities for more games. No more of the typical murderings, annihilations, or blow-outs that bring small crowds to college stadiums all over the country early in each season, even with their accompanying low ticket prices. The fans of the multitudes of lesser college teams will attend more games when a relentless loss is not perennially inevitable.

Here are a few basic ideas I have kicked around the field in my head. Each BBC team will of course play twelve games in each regular season. The reason I have chosen ten as the number of teams in each conference is that a couple of slots should be left for each team to play its legendary rival or rivals, with a possible wild-card game with a team from wherever at the beginning of each season, much as we have now. The choice of the number ten is totally arbitrary. You know how much Americans like Top Ten things. The number in the BBC East and West could easily be lessened if necessary. The whole point of the BBC concept is to make college ball more like pro ball, with a revolving set of teams that over time offers much more variety for the fans. It would give at least a little hope to all the perennial losers out there. It would challenge the top-rated teams to play their very best in every game, less they be demoted back to their regular, not so exciting conferences for the following season.

What does Yosemite Sam have to do with the Bad Boys Conference? The Bulldogs of my alma mater are infamous for their cowbells, as well as being drowned by the Tide for most of the past century. If I were in charge, every time the TCU Horned Frogs scored, the voice of Yosemite Sam would loudly exclaim, "Great Horny Toads!!" 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Contractors of Corporate Crap

I used to say that I am an American first and a Texan second. In my youth I used to say that I was an American first and a Mississippian second. Now I just say that I am disgusted beyond belief with this country we used to refer to as America. Now I just call it what it is: Corporate Crap. There are many things that get my panties in a knot these days, but I am going to tell you about the one issue that is so galling that it occasionally makes me actually cuss out one of the little people. This is one of those things that I am loathe to do. There is no curse word worse than hell or damn in any of my eight books. When my wife gets aggravated at someone in the consumer business, I always try to calm her down and remind her not to take it out on the underpaid and overworked employee on the phone. Of late I have relaxed my standards concerning this issue. There is some Corporate Crap that simply goes too far!

Late last year I sent a $12 and something cents bill to our long-distance provider, Excel in Dallas. The next bill I got indicated that the earlier month had not been paid and a late fee had already been added. Rather than wasting my time arguing over a $5 late fee, I paid the full amount for both months, plus the $5. The following month I received a bill showing that the first check had been received, but now there was a Re-connection Fee added! Of course I hit the ceiling and called the toll-free Indian turd that I could barely understand as he babbled out the corporate spiel of why I now owed the Re-connection Fee. Of course this was not the sort of Indian who is native to Texas or any other state. I called him a few names appropriate for his status as a non-Texan Indian and slammed the phone down. Never one to jeopardize my credit rating over less than twenty bucks, I then mailed in the full amount demanded.

On the first Halloween in our current location in a decade at which we had some knee-highs in strange garb ring our doorbell, the front storm door locked shut. Fortunately for the knee-highs, this happened as the last one of the night rang our bell. Neither my wife nor I could go out our front door for more than six months after this incident! Would you like to know why? We were not aware of it at the time the door sealed itself shut, but Pella had quit making its own storm doors a few years after our house had been built. The storm door department had been handed off to Larson, who seemingly did not give a rat's ass how much aggravation it would become to countless Pella Storm Door owners to secure replacement parts for their storm door locks. Before Pella dropped out of the storm door business, they had begun outsourcing the manufacture of their latch mechanisms to an unnamed company in China. Do I need to tell you that the Chinese company did not care how cheaply they made their product or how difficult it would be to replace their cheap product?

Hold your panties snug. I have not even told you the really annoying part yet. Disassembling the latch mechanism and replacing it with a new one takes ten minutes. Locating the replacement latch you need takes ten minutes. Simply getting through to a person on a toll-free phone number at either Pella or Larson takes six months!! You have to talk to someone to learn the special trick to disassemble the door jamb to open the door to get at the latch mechanism that needs replacement. There is a special model number of the door hidden within the door jamb that tells you which replacement part you need. If you cannot open the jammed door to read the model number, you cannot order the replacement part. Here comes the fun part. It is nearly impossible to get a person on the phone who will tell you how to get the door open! You cannot get past the recording requesting the model number that you cannot get to without opening the door! After calling at least three numbers several times, I finally got an American human to tell me exactly how to disassemble the door jamb. After doing so, I ordered the replacement latch mechanism from another online supplier. You didn't think I would actually pay money for the necessary part to these buttholes, did you?

Here is my third and final episode for you to ponder. It occurred earlier today. I drove my wife to see an unnamed doctor late last June. We gave them the standard $10 co-pay as requested. A month later, as is sometimes the case, we received an additional bill for $10.39. This came from a five-digit post office box in Maine. Remember that where I live it is 100 degrees every day here in July and August. Maine is a long distance deep into Yankeeland. From The Weather Channel, it appears that those folks actually experience an overnight temperature that begins with a six! So I get a bill for $10.39 from a corporate entity that I know from personal experience correlates to a particular doctor my wife sees on a regular basis, and I immediately send them a check for $10.39 to another corporate entity, in MAINE, as requested. Then the annoyance begins. First my wife gets an email message that we owe $10.39 that is past due. My wife responds with an email that we paid the $10.39 to Maine weeks ago. Then a semi-local, but long distance, person calls that we need to pay the $10.39 at once. They have not received the $10.39. Today I have gone to the Medical Bills Paid file and pulled out the record of the offending bill for $10.39. When I gather all the paperwork together, I see that the person who called was from Austin, but the address I sent the first check to was in Maine, the home of Cabot Cove and Crabapple Cove. If you do not catch the joke, you need to read more of my books about the American Consumer Culture. Since I did not know which address to send the second $10.39 to, I immediately sent a request back to the email address that had apparently thought it so important that I pay this $10.39 immediately. I asked them to which corporate entity the second check should be addressed. Yes, I confess. I called them annoying jerks for instigating all this madness. I await their response.

I am a Trumpanzee. I do not particularly like Donald Trump, but I shall probably vote for him. If not, it will be either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. Johnson wants to legalize pot. He is right. He wants to support globalization. He is wrong. Jill Stein wants to change the economic future of the 99%. She is right. She wants to offer reparations to descendants of black people from descendants of non-slave owners. She is wrong. She wants completely open borders. She is wrong. Hillary Clinton is the devil. I am absolutely certain of this. Bernie Sanders may be an American traitor, but The Clintons, all of them, are devils. I have been a Democrat all my life. No more.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Cars, Boats & Little Motorcycles

Cars, Boats & Little Motorcycles

These three books in the Nonfiction in a Fictional Style Series form a triad of extensive research on popular recreational vehicles in America.  

Ker-Splash 2 is an update of the first Ker-Splash, published in 2002. A lot changed in the boating world between 2002 and 2010. All the information contained in the earlier volume has been updated and included in Ker-Splash 2.

The Tiddler Invasion is the complete story of how Honda and other Japanese motorcycle manufacturers transformed the American motorcycle marketplace in 1959-75. No other book, or motorcycle magazine, even from the '60s, has covered this subject matter in such detail.

Daydreams in the Wind (just released this month) is a sequel to Plastic Ozone Daydream, written in 1985-99 and published in 2000. Whereas the 2000 book was mostly about classic Corvettes, this latest release is so much more! For starters, it is in a larger format with about twice the word count and almost ten times the photo count. All the photos are much larger and the book is printed on higher quality paper. Daydreams in the Wind is the result of almost four full years of cumulative research, composition and editing. All the two-seat and 2+2 sports convertibles sold in the USA in a substantial production volume in the 1955-75 period are covered. Production numbers and significant specifications are detailed in numerous tables. This book would be an invaluable tool to take to any collector car auction. Not only is it full of facts and figures about the cars displayed on the auction block, this book is highly entertaining reading to boot! If you are considering the purchase of any of these cars, from any source or in any condition, you owe it to yourself to read this book.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Interview with Jay Leno

Jay Leno: Settle down now, folks... settle down. Our first guest tonight is noted author of books about cars and motorcycles, Floyd M. Orr. Let's welcome Floyd to the show.

Floyd M. Orr: Thank you, Jay! I'm thrilled to be here!

Jay: I'm glad I am finally getting to meet the author of The Tiddler Invasion: Small Motorcycles of the Sixties. That was one whopper of a book! A new era was created when Honda brought its first motorcycles to America in 1959. No book has better told that fun and exciting story from our youth when so many youngsters met the nicest people on a Honda! Some of our audience may not know that Floyd wrote an unusual, somewhat humorous, book about classic Corvettes back in 2000 called Plastic Ozone Daydream: The Corvette Chronicles. The book was a wild and crazy compilation of stories, based mostly on facts, about the ownership of older model Corvettes. Floyd, I understand you have just completed a new book for car lovers...

Floyd: That's right, Jay. It's called Daydreams in the Wind. It's something of a sequel to Plastic Ozone Daydream. The subtitle is Collectible Open Sports Cars of the Sixties and it covers a lot more ground, so to speak, than my first book. This is my eighth, by the way.

Jay: I love the cover. It has a nice shot of a light metallic blue XK-E Roadster. Of course you know I have my own E-Type and it's a very special car to me. 

Floyd: I bet you have more than one! Yes, Jay, the Jaguar E-Type is one of the models covered extensively in the book. Others include the Corvettes, of course, all the MG's, Austin-Healeys, Porsches, Mustangs, Camaros, Barracudas, Triumphs, Fiats, Alfa Romeos, Ferraris, and most any other brand you can name from the 1955-75 era. These include some you may have forgotten, such as Monteverdi, Intermeccanica, or Excalibur. As long as the top was removable and featured no more than 2+2 seating, all models are included. 

Jay: The book is only 540 pages. How could you possibly have covered so many facts, figures, and photos of so many models in that space?

Floyd: Well, something had to be sacrificed. I began this project four years ago and it took a while to settle on the final configuration of the book. It became necessary to cover only two-seat and 2+2 sports models with standard removable tops. Optional T-tops or sunroofs were excluded, along with all coupes, hardtops, fastbacks and hatchbacks. Fans with muscle car mania in their veins will have to look elsewhere for information on the zillions of Intermediate-based musclecar coupes.

Jay: You're referring to the Pontiac GTO, Chevrolet SS 396, Plymouth Road Runner....

Floyd: Yes, there were just too many of 'em! Too many produced, too many different models, engines, performance packages, and on and on. The pony car coupes presented a similar problem. They generally outnumbered their convertible equivalents 10 to 1. My decision several years ago was to concentrate on the cars I love best, which happen to also be the models that are generally the most sought after by enthusiasts and collectors.

Jay: So except for the closed models and the larger musclecars, every topless sports model from the 1955-75 production period is covered?

Floyd: Yes, and then some. Many models began production prior to 1955 and many others continued in production beyond that point. However, I cut off the book's coverage at 1990 for all models. All the cars in the book, as produced prior to 1991, are officially considered antiques in most states. I felt that was as good a cutoff point as any. The bulk of the material concerns that wonderful era so many car enthusiasts love-- between World War II and catalytic converters!

Jay: Is this a coffee table book with lots of pretty pictures in a large format?

Floyd: Not at all, Jay. It's just the opposite. It's a 7x10 paperback with over 300 B&W photos and more than a hundred large tables of data. The photos are there for information, not to drool over shiny paint jobs. Most photos include captions of pertinent information about the specific model being discussed. Daydreams in the Wind is mostly a reference book, although like my previous books, it offers pleasurable reading with stories and opinions, too. You could call it an ID Guide or an encyclopedia, but for enthusiasts, this stuff is just plain fun to read!

Jay: So what inspired you to devote four years of your life to such a project? Aren't there already countless books out on this subject... and oh, the Internet?

Floyd: That is precisely the problem, Jay. Most of the best books have been out of print for decades. The Internet? Give me a break. Don't you know that everything you read on the Internet is true?

Jay: Yes, there does seem to be that, shall we say, little problem. Sometimes an incorrect statement on a single blog can magically multiply into the gospel truth. You obviously know what I mean.

Floyd: I do, Jay, and that's why I felt compelled to complete this massive project. I have a large number of car books and magazines on my shelves, but I wanted to create the ultimate car book for myself. Much of my personal library has been out of print for decades. I have gray hair, too, and I have been retired for a number of years. Few writers want to devote their time to what is currently a shrinking market. Not only is the economy a disaster for many of us, but the the number of us who are old enough to remember the wonderful era of The Sixties is shrinking rapidly!

Jay: So where can people buy the book?

Floyd: It should be out within about a week, maybe less. The best place to get it is Amazon worldwide. The list price is $29.95, but Amazon may discount that price at certain times. You know how they are. After four years of meticulous research and editing, the price will justify itself. As far as I know, no book about sports convertibles of that era published for a U.S. readership has included so many production figures, specifications, and experienced opinions, all rolled into a single volume.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The 100 Greatest Classic Progressive Rock Albums of all Time

The 100 Greatest Classic Progressive Rock Albums of all Time
(In Reverse Chronological Order, 1959-1999)

(Only one entry per artist is allowed, defining this album as each artist's best work. The hard part is separating sales and personal favorites from the data. No chronological sorting within given years has been attempted.)

100. Audio - Blue Man Group (1999)
99. Club Chipmunk: The Dance Mixes - Alvin and the Chipmunks (1996)
98. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy - Sarah McLachlan (1993)
97. Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix - Various Artists (1993)
96. Boss Drum - The Shamen (1992)
95. Deep Forest - Deep Forest (1992)
94. Mixed Up - The Cure (1990)
93. The Best of the Art of Noise - Art of Noise (1988)
92. Horses and Trees - Ginger Baker (1986)
91. Oil and Gold - Shriekback (1985)
90. Zoolook - Jean-Michel Jarre (1984)
89. The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking - Roger Waters (1984)
88. The Jaws of Life - Hunters & Collectors (1984)
87. Purple Rain - Prince and the Revolution (1984)
86. Method in the Madness - Gardening by Moonlight (1983)
85. Touch - Eurythmics (1983)
84. Nocturne - Siouxsie and the Banshees (1983)
83. Desire - Tuxedomoon (1981)
82. Discipline - King Crimson (1981)
81. Ghost in the Machine - The Police (1981)
80. Rage in Eden - Ultravox (1981)
79. My Life in the Bush of Ghosts - Brian Eno & David Byrne (1981)
78. Sanctuary - New Musik (1981)
77. Masterless Samurai - Osamu Kitajima (1981)
76. Remain in Light - Talking Heads (1980)
76. Airborn - Michael Oldfield (1980)
74. Phantom Band - Phantom Band (1980)
73. Downwind - Pierre Moerlen's Gong (1979)
72. Force Majeure - Tangerine Dream (1979)
71. Rhapsodies - Rick Wakeman (1979)
70. Correlations - Ashra (1979)
69. Movies - Holger Czukay (1979)
68. 1994 - 1994 (1978)
67. War of the Worlds - Jeff Wayne (1978)
66. Van Halen - Van Halen (1978)
65. Flaming Hearts - Michael Rother (1977)
64. Go Live from Paris - Go (1976)
63. Fire, Water, Earth & Air - Jane (1976)
62. Live Bullet - Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band (1976)
61. Toys in the Attic - Aerosmith (1975)
60. Timewind - Klaus Schulze (1975)
59. Neu! '75 - Neu! (1975)
58. Equinox - Styx (1975)
57. Raindog - Stomu Yamash'ta (1975)
56. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway - Genesis (1974)
55. Illusions on a Double Dimple - Triumvirat (1974)
54. Autobahn - Kraftwerk (1974)
53. Fly to the Rainbow - Scorpions (1974)
52. Floating World - Jade Warrior (1974)
51. Cosmic Century - Wallenstein (1973)
50. The Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd (1973)
49. Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh - Magma (1973)
48. Yessongs - Yes (1973)
47. You'll Never Come Back - Thirsty Moon (1973)
46. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath - Black Sabbath (1973)
45. Future Days - Can (1973)
44. Brain Salad Surgery - Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1973)
43. Space Ritual - Hawkwind (1973)
42. For Your Pleasure - Roxy Music (1973)
41. Machine Head - Deep Purple (1972)
40. Foghat - Foghat (1972)
39. Eat a Peach - The Allman Brothers Band (1972)
38. Captain Beyond - Captain Beyond (1972)
37. Wolf City - Amon Duul II (1972)
36. Keyboard Tales - Michael Perlitch (1972)
35. Caravanserai - Santana (1972)
34. White Witch - White Witch (1972)
33. Brain Capers - Mott the Hoople (1971)
32. Passport - Passport (1971)
31. Chicago - Chicago (1970)
30. Live Album - Grand Funk Railroad (1970)
29. Absolutely Live - The Doors (1970)
28. Live at Leeds - The Who (1970)
27. Cricklewood Green - Ten Years After (1970)
26. Second Winter - Johnny Winter (1969)
25. Bless Its Pointed Little Head - Jefferson Airplane (1969)
24. Touch - Touch (1969)
23. Loosen Up Naturally - The Sons of Champlin (1969)
22. Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin (1969)
21. In-a-Gadda-da-Vida - Iron Butterfly (1968)
20. The Moray Eels Eat the Holy Modal Rounders - The Holy Modal Rounders (1968)
19. Electric Ladyland - The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1968)
18. Wheels of Fire - Cream (1968)
17. The Live Adventures - Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper (1968)
16. Cheap Thrills - Big Brother & the Holding Company (1968)
15. Love Is - Eric Burdon and the Animals (1968)
14. Days of Future Passed - The Moody Blues (1967)
13. A Taste of Honey and Other Goodies - The Village Stompers (1966)
12. The Real Donovan - Donovan (1966)
11. Blonde on Blonde - Bob Dylan (1966)
10. Revolver - The Beatles (1966)
9. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme - Simon & Garfunkel (1966)
8. Having a Rave Up with the Yardbirds - The Yardbirds (1965)
7. Out of Our Heads - The Rolling Stones (1965)
6. The Surfaris Play - The Surfaris (1963)
5. Drums Are My Beat - Sandy Nelson (1962)
4. Stormsville - Johnny & the Hurricanes (1960)
3. Walk, Don't Run - The Ventures (1960)
2. Elvis' Golden Records Volume 2 - Elvis Presley (1960)
1. The Music from Peter Gunn - Henry Mancini (1959)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


It has been a year since I have felt compelled to update this site with a new post. That's simply because I realized that no one gives a rat's ass. Like everything else in the USA, blogging has become just another stinking scam. If you post every day to a target audience, telling them exactly what they want to hear, no matter how many times you repeat the same message, your readership will grow. If you try to tell your readers anything new that will actually effect change, forget it! All the readers want to do is to read the same reassuring crap over and over again so they can convince themselves that they are right and everyone else is wrong.

The USA, soon followed by the rest of the world, will begin to rip apart at the seams no later than April Fool's Day, 2025. This is not an April Fool's joke. This will really happen. Why. because the USA lacks the political will to do anything to stop it.

I am a TeaProg. I am a strong supporter of Elizabeth Warren. I do not want to see her just continue to mouth off on TV. I want her to run for President, to challenge the Smirking Corporate Queen for the Democratic nomination. If Ms. Warren does not do this, she is either a coward or a con artist. I do not know which at this point, but if she does not run, she is one or the other. It could not be more clear that the Democratic Party desperately needs its own Tea Party, a new driving force within the party. Third parties offer no hope on a national scale. They only split elections. We are stuck with the two parties and we need to deal with it.

Hubert Humphrey started this stinking mess in 1968 and it is time he was properly blamed for it. He turned the Democratic Party into the Party of Minorities, while selling out Boardwalk and Park Place to the Republicans. He managed to do this under cover of the Vietnam War and the draft, the issue that was raging outside the Democratic National Convention at the time. That was then and this is now. The whole rotten, stinking mess has caught up with the Democrats. They have spent over forty years alienating the white males of America, the voting block that consistently votes in the highest percentages. They have institutionalized a gag order about race and socioeconomic class that has effectively paralyzed what has always been, and should continue to be, the party of the people. The Democratic Party should be the Party of the 99%, not the Party of Minorities.

At this point I do not expect much to change. The Huffington Post and Salon will continue to feature articles that exacerbate the problem. They will continue to publish what I call pornography for empowered women as entertainment and issues that hit the hot buttons of lower socioeconomic minorities. The former group will giggle and the latter will mouth off their frustration, but nothing will change.

The TeaProgs should absolutely be a faction within the Democratic Party. Any third party concepts should be immediately trashed. If they are not, a portion of the TeaProgs will relentlessly slap-fight over the results of the 2000 election. Did Ralph Nader cause the Democrats to lose? We shall never know, but the endless squabbling among left-wingers over the issue will never die, so any competition among Dems in the future should remain within the primary system.

A Few Notes from the TeaProg Platform

The #1 issue is to be income inequality that affects all Americans. The losing tactic of identity politics as founded by losing presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey should be forever de-emphasized by the party. The Democrats should return to being the Party of the People.

Return to the progressive income tax rates of the Sixties. Put a small tax on all stock trades. Increase the taxation on the estates of the richest Americans. Delete the distinction between earned and unearned income utilized by the IRS. Tax all income types at the same rates.

Reward corporations who employ Americans and penalize those who downsize Americans to move jobs elsewhere. Punish any corporation that utilizes a loophole in our laws to avoid paying American tax rates.

Place new restrictions on banking of all types. Add a reasonable ceiling to credit card rates and college loan rates. Increase the rates of returns on citizens' savings accounts and decrease the span between the rates banks pay on these accounts and the rates they charge for loans of all types.

Cease interfering in overseas conflicts without full Congressional approval.

Scale back the War on Drugs on a national scale. Begin by removing marijuana from the Schedule 1 drug list. Reduce sentences for all victimless drug crimes. Halt all unnecessary drug testing by corporations for employment in all low-level, menial jobs. Revoke all law enforcement privileges of the seizure of assets for as yet convicted drug trafficking suspects.

Reduce the powers of the NSA in its intelligence gathering of information on U.S. citizens not charged with any crime.

Provide full support for Social Security and Medicare for the indefinite future. Remove the income cap from SS taxes and increase the rates gradually over time. Also gradually increase the payouts to individuals over time. Support a change to a single payer health plan with a final goal of providing Medicare for all U.S. citizens.

A Little History Lesson

Hubert Humphrey entered the 1968 DNC without a single primary vote having been cast for him. In 1968 Humphrey was a very unpopular Democratic candidate due to his direct support of the Vietnam War, but the changes he led in the Democratic Party have had many more far-reaching consequences. The Democratic Party distanced itself from Zero Population Growth. ZPG was the leading organization in the Sixties that was trying to save the earth from all of us. The only reason the Democrats did this was to pander to the lowest level of thinking by certain minority groups. The human population is the world's #1 problem. It exacerbates global warming, peak oil, water supplies, food supplies, demographics, and the demise of all other species on Earth. The simple fact is that lower socioeconomic groups vote in tiny percentages. No demographic votes more reliably than white males, closely followed by white females. These are the very two groups that have been shunned by the Democrats for decades. If you want to change this fact, simply make voting mandatory. You don't like that idea? The alternative is to bring some of the white voters back to the Democratic side from the Republicans. This is not difficult to do. You only need to convincingly reach out to the millions of moderate Republicans. To do that you must abandon the identity politics that have infected the Democrats for decades while showing that the Democrats really stand for something. This means real issues that matter to the 99%. No more splintering of the party this way and that in order to just take the easy way out to gain votes in the short term. The Republicans have been taking voters from us for decades. It is time we took some of them back!

That Was Then and This Is Now

Voting is always good. Everyone should do it in every election. I have already voted in the 2014 midterms. Seniors can vote early by mail in Texas. Of course I voted for Wendy Davis, but of course I am certain she does not have a prayer. I would much rather vote for Wendy as Elizabeth Warren's VP. In this red state, the Republicans will simply label her Abortion Barbie and win easily. I voted for Hillary in the 2008 primary because I thought putting her in office first made a lot more tactical sense, and I still think that idea would have been the smart tactic to take. After eight years of President Chickennuts, things have changed. In fact, a lot has changed. The USA (and the world) cannot survive eight years of Hillary doing absolutely nothing to make our nation and the world a better place for all of us. If you believe she will do anything at all significant for the middle class or the 99%, you are simply delusional. Go do some Internet research. Bill and Hillary were the ringleaders of The Third Way, the very concept that made the Democrats the Party of Minorities while they sold the economy to Wall Street. The last real Democratic President of the People was Jimmy Carter! 

While you are researching history, take note of several patterns that have held true during most of our lifetimes. Most of the stock market crashes that led to recessions occurred in either October or the first quarter of a new year. The rate of occurrence of these crashes is accelerating. The last time we produced most of the oil we use in the U.S. was 1970. When we had that little gasoline scare in 1973, there were a lot more operating grocery stores and most of them were a lot closer to much of the population. Try to imagine an America in which many citizens could suddenly not drive to their local grocery store. Try to imagine the hoarding and the consequential panic that would ensue. There was no global warming or water crisis in 1973. Nor was there Fox News, CNN, or Rush Limbaugh to fan the flames of the panic. The key difference between the whole world is watching the 1968 Democratic Convention and the Occupy Movement was the draft. Like mandatory voting, I doubt that many of you would support bringing back the draft, either. So what are you going to do about it?

There can be only one answer. We are going to support, strengthen, and change the national Democratic Party with our votes. We are not going to support a third party concept that offers hope only of splitting the left wing voting block. We are going to vote in all primary elections. That is, after all, where the real damage by the corporate, lesser of two evils, Democratic leadership is done. Once we reach any general election, there is only one sane answer for the 99%. I cannot help it if many Americans are not sane enough to vote in their own best interests. What I can do is to support any movement that brings the smarter members of that voting block back to the Party of the People from the Party of the 1%. But first we have to create The TeaProg Revolution. We have to emulate the Tea Party Republicans' tactics, but with real American values of compassion and socioeconomic support for all. We can resuscitate The American Dream, but we must control the human population to do it. We must cease herding cats of many species, each with its own political agenda and embrace the wolf pack hunting tactics of the Republicans. We must publicly diminish our relentless playing of the race card, the gay card, and the atheist card. We can always support minorities without continually proving to the moderate Republican voters that that is ALL we support. We must return to being the Party of the People, not the party only of disparate types of people who rarely vote.

Remember the date of April 1, 2025. Write it down. It will be the beginning of the end, at least if it has not begun already by that time. This is my final date of prediction. The whole mess could begin crashing down tomorrow. Why not? It's October in an election year. The Republicans could see a golden opportunity and Fox News would be thrilled to spread the word. The other team has no interest whatsoever in doing the right things for 99% of Americans. It is up to us to do the job. Relentlessly voting for the lesser of two evils is not the way to accomplish this. Neither is voting third party. Neither is not voting at all just to teach them a lesson. Most of all, squabbling among ourselves is not the way to save the nation. The whole world will be watching again in 2016 and Hillary Clinton will be the new Hubert Humphrey.

To learn a lot more of the history and background of this story, read Paradigm Shift: The Palin Matrix: The Progressive Left Strikes Back! Thank you for your support.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Last Affordable Classic Vehicles from Our Youth

Let's begin with full disclosure. The author of this article's most recent book is The Tiddler Invasion: Small Motorcycles of the Sixties. The book is almost three pounds of 615 pages, 430 photographs, and 180 charts on the subject of this article. If you wish to read a lot more detail on this subject, you will find it there. This is obviously a subject close to my heart or I would not have spent years researching it. Now on to the big picture!

I have been literally obsessed with classic vehicles of The Sixties since The Sixties. I am a devoted fan of the motorcycles and cars of the period. The relevant point I wish to make now is that all the others have more or less been priced out of the reach of many ordinary Americans who would dearly love to own one of the nostalgic machines from this era. Have you priced a 1969 427 Stingray or 1970 Superbird lately? How about a Mustang 289 GT Convertible or a turbocharged Corvair Spyder? Even a nice Falcon Futura Convertible will cost much more than you might have dreamed twenty years ago!

Let's subtract a couple of wheels. You won't get much change back (if any at all) from $10,000 for a a nicely restored 1966 Triumph Bonneville or a Harley-Davidson XLH 883 or even a BMW R-69S 250, but have you considered a Honda or Yamaha from their early years? These tiny (by today's standards) machines were far more reliable than most anything produced during the period on either two wheels or four. We all know that the only way to hurt a typical Honda motorcycle of the period is to rear back and throw a brick at it! If you want to pay more for a machine that will likely increase more in value than the common Japanese machines, consider a small Harley-Davidson, Cushman, or Allstate. Of course the small Ducatis, BMW's, and Triumphs are always likely to increase in value. Even classic Vespas still have a significant following today.

In the postwar period up until 1960, the machines were all manufactured in the USA and Europe. Many of these have been continually considered classics for some time, and the prices have risen accordingly. The Japanese brands began to establish American distributorships with the arrival of Honda in mid-1959. Yamaha, Suzuki, Bridgestone, Hodaka and several others arrived up through 1964. It would be 1966 before Kawasaki got serious about the U.S. market, but by '69 the company was leading the high-performance segment. The Seventies were mostly a decade of refinement as the Big Four moved steadily up-market. The Eighties would bring at least a few models that would continue in production up through the present day. The Nineties would bring a revival of popularity for motor scooters from Italy, Japan, and elsewhere in the Orient. The latest trend, to the chagrin of some, has been the proliferation of no-name scooters from China, ordered off the Internet at fire-sale prices.

Although all of these types of machines are available to collectors and restorers, this article is about the central focus of The Tiddler Invasion, the common, highly reliable and practical plethora of small machines exported to the U.S. from Japan during the exciting Sixties of our youth. These are the models that still may offer some affordability and leave a little room for prices to inflate later on. The rarest of the rare can be excluded from this list because their price gains have long ago accelerated. These include the rare Hondas first imported in very small numbers during the seminal 1959-62 period and later high-performance classics such as the 1969 Honda 750 Four and 1979 CBX. The bargains in those departments are long gone.

An analysis of the early Japanese machines will show a few distinct periods. The earliest models were usually distinguished by their tiny tail lights, turn signals that were close together in the left-right dimension, and in some cases, low handlebars or rotary transmissions. The last item was popular in Japan, but not so suitable for the American market. Not many American riders want to find Neutral or First Gear immediately following the top gear in the shift pattern! The next period from approximately 1964 through 1968 brought more attention to models and designs created directly for the American buyers. With most brands, these were continued refinements of the '59-'63 models. After 1968, the performance race was in high gear and the emphasis slowly shifted away from the small tiddlers of the earlier years. Beginning with the Suzuki 500 Five, Kawasaki Mach III, Honda 750 Four, and Yamaha XS-1, the writing was already visible on the driveway.

Here are a few points to consider if you are looking for a classic tiddler to purchase or restore. Honda dominated the market like nobody's business, so there will always be a stronger market with far more parts availability for Hondas than for the many competing two-stroke brands. This does not make restoration of an early Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Bridgestone, or Hodaka impossible, but it certainly might slow down the parts scavenger hunt a bit. Consider that some particular models do have loyal fans who perpetuate a cult following. The restoration of some of these models will be somewhat easier to accomplish and the resale market could be a little stronger when completed. These include the Yamaha XS-1 650 twin, Suzuki X-6 Hustler, Kawasaki Triples, and several Honda models such as the Trail 70, Trail 90, Super 90, and the Hawks and Dreams. Although the cult may have yet to fully blossom, you will rarely go wrong with any Honda Scrambler, either. The Honda twins of the 1968-74 period are likely to continue an upward trend, following in the tire tracks of their Hawk and Dream predecessors.

Once the prices of the Japanese tiddlers have inflated, there will be few entertaining, affordable vehicles left from the classic era. Many of the smallest, most common machines from our earliest driving days are now in the over-$5000 bracket. The few remaining are quickly heading in that upward direction, too. If you wish to recapture that special era on two wheels, time is running out!