Saturday, October 22, 2016

A love of riding

Everyone rides for a reason. For some it’s a lifestyle and for others it’s simply transportation. But few of us have a love to ride like Ron McLean.

57 years old, Ron lives in Edmonton Alberta and is a scooter rider. Due to a mental disability he is unable to get a driver’s license and so his entire riding world is his father’s driveway. But that has not stopped him from clocking nearly 10,000 kilometres on the two scooters he has owned.

Follow the link to a great story about a man and his passion. My helmet is off to you Ron McLean.

Photo: Honda Canada

Friday, October 21, 2016

My world is yellow…

… and orange and red and brown. Every year millions of photos and thousands of hours of film are shot of the fall colours here in the northeast. It is a spectacle that Mother Nature puts on every year as the trees hunker down and prepare for their long winter’s nap. This year there was concern about the quality of the show because we were in a drought for a large part of the summer, but those worries were unfounded. In fact this year has been one of the most stunning in my recent memory.


The other day I took a quick trip into town to run a couple of errands and to warm the oil prior to the seasonal oil change. I also mounted the GoPro on the bike hoping to catch some video of the remaining leaves before the forecast autumn winds and rain dash the last of them to the ground.

Like a gorgeous sunset or a star-filled night sky images on screen don’t do it justice but here’s a short video (click on link) of some of the beauty that we enjoy for a couple of weeks each fall.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Is it time yet?

Sugar maple for webThere are a number of things I love about this time of year but one I don’t is the uncertainty about the weather. For most of October and part of November we can experience anything from sunshine to rain to sleet to snow, and temperatures anywhere from 0 to 20C. And that can be from one day to the next, and often completely unpredicted by the weather guessers.

So the question then becomes: When do I put the bike away for the winter? If there’s a chance that next week might see some decent temperatures and a chance for “the last ride”, do I wait? Or do I say I’m done and get on with it?

Generally I don’t do much to put the bike to bed other than topping up the fuel and putting in some conditioner, changing the oil, and plugging in the battery tender, but this year there are some other jobs I need to do. The rear tire is worn out and both front and rear wheel bearings should be replaced. A new front-end clunk points to possibly worn steering head bearings that I also want to replace. And it’s time to replace the rear brake pads. So the bike will be up on a jack for a few days while all that is being worked on and I’d rather do it now so when spring comes I’m good to go.  At the same time I have the Kawasaki carbs to refresh, the S65 engine to finish rebuilding, and some suspension work on the Ford. And that doesn’t include any of the many other outdoors, electronics, and woodworking projects on the to-do list.

All of which is to say I have more than enough to keep me busy for the next while so I might as well get started. I guess it’s time to say I’m done.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

“Have your wages been garnished?”

Why yes they have. In fact last week’s paycheck was covered with mustard, relish, and some sort of pickle.


This quote is from a radio commercial I heard today advertising a financial planning/restructuring firm. I’m not sure I’d go to a financial expert who doesn’t know the difference between garnish (a condiment) and garnishee/garnishment (withholding of wages to satisfy a debt). What kind of financial management advice would they give? “Hold the mayo”? 

How often do you see people use the word breaks when referring to a vehicle’s stopping system, aka brakes? You can break your brakes, but you really can’t brake your breaks. The words sound the same but they are not interchangeable although it seems that 75% of the population think so.

And don’t get me started on the possessive/plural issue. When I see a sign like this I always wonder, drop-in’s what are welcome? What do drop-ins have that anyone would welcome, especially a hearing clinic? It’s confusing as hell.


Here’s another favourite: “Him and me went to the mall”. Say what???? Would you say, “Me went to the mall”? Of course not, unless you're (your/yore) trying to do a bad Tonto impersonation.

And it’s not just in common speech or local advertising you see these errors; it’s in media as well. The ‘amount’ (aaaaak!) of linguistic errors found in your local paper every day is appalling. If so-called professionals can’t be bothered to use the language properly what hope do we have for the great unwashed who take their cues from people who should know better.

Now I know that languages (language’s?) evolve over time but we’re not talking about spelling changes or new words entering the lexicon. These are basic structural elements to the language that millions of people speak every day and which deserve some respect. Years ago when I was hiring staff a resume with basic linguistic errors such as these went straight into File 13. If I were to do the same thing today I expect I’d have a hard time filling any position. Now, as long as a word passes Microsoft’s spell check, it’s fine.

It makes me crazy. (And a ranting pedant, but so be it.)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Got no dog in this fight

But is that true?

I’ve not used this blog to comment on the US presidential elections up until now but the more I see, and hear, and learn, the more I realise that we all have a dog in this fight, no matter where we are on the planet. Because the US is undeniably the most powerful nation on earth, everything that happens south of the border has a ripple effect right around the globe. We may not like the undue influence the US exerts in our daily affairs but it’s undeniably there.

So when I read the news and watch the debates and see a run for the presidency of the United States of America looking like a school yard campaign undertaken by an out-of-control 6-year-old running for 1st Grade Class President I despair. Not only for my American friends, many of whom are also watching in horror, but for all of us who have seen our politics become nothing more than a crass, cheezy reality show, ultimately destined for the dinner time slot on A&E.

It’s a disgrace that out of a population of 320 million people this is the best candidate the GOP could find to present to America and to the world. It’s a disgrace that it’s deemed acceptable to offer inducements (veiled though they were) to have your political opponent assassinated. It’s a disgrace that encouraging your enemies to meddle in an election is shrugged off by your spokespeople. It’s a disgrace that it is now acceptable to publically disparage women, the handicapped, war heroes, your neighbours, (it’s a long list) and be rewarded by your supporters for doing so. It’s a disgrace that otherwise sane Republicans are twisting their morals and ethics into pretzels to justify their support for this man. It’s a disgrace that this cringe-worthy caricature of himself has made what is arguably the most important decision Americans make every 4 years into a joke, little more than fodder for comedians and late night show hosts.

The world is fragile enough without an ill-tempered bully in the Oval Office, so I despair and hope for all of our sakes that sanity prevails in November and this is as close as he gets to real power.