Philosophy and Motorcycles

Philosophy and motorcycles are two of my favorite things in life. This blog will be bits of wisdom gleaned from a misspent youth and an adventurous dotage. People who like/love wisdom or motorcycles, classic or modern versions of either, are welcome to visit and comment.

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Location: Wisconsin, United States

I have been married to the same lovely woman for decades. We have one son, two cats, and live in rural Wisconsin, USA. I ride and rebuild motorcycles, and I am semi-retired. Favorite bikes are Yamaha XS650, FJ1200 and Ducati 900SS. My wife is a home care nurse. I am a Myers-Briggs INTP. She is ESFJ. Our son works at the Apple store in downtown SF and is teaching English as a second language in San Francisco, no grandchildren.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Crito schism

The final argument of Socrates against leaving prison to escape death is that his action would offend the law itself. In doing so he would be contributing to the downfall of the very society to which he had dedicated himself. It would be an insult to the values he had promoted his entire life. What a tragic difference there is between that heroic example and the current state of thinking in our own government. Not only has the current administration offended the law knowingly and willingly there is not yet a strong example of any other branch of government or group of citizens able to bring accountability to the administration. The current example is that of flaunting the law by wire tapping without warrants, a crime and an example of contempt for democracy. Now the senate has joined the open war on American law by voting to grant immunity to the phone companies that went along with this illegal insult to our constitution. I don't support the idea of suing the phone companies for personal enrichment. I do support suing the phone companies to enlist their cooperation in bring to justice those who coerced them into illegal acts, if they were in fact coerced. The terrorist threat mentality has been used repeatedly to rationalize a destruction of the human rights that have represented American freedom since our founding.
I am not surprised that people who show contempt for democracy seek power. I am surprised when that contempt becomes public and they are not called to account for their actions. I am shocked when elected officials vote immunity for the phone companies thereby giving tacit approval to the action. Such actions are a cowardly failure to stand up for the principles they were elected to uphold.

I am not opposed to special powers being given to government in time of crisis. I am opposed to giving any group special powers with no oversight and no input from the people directly affected. Those who show blatant contempt for democracy should not be in positions of trust in a democracy. Power without accountability is and does corrupt both the people who wield it and those who fail to speak out against it. We are acquiescing ourselves into servitude when we allow unchecked power to steal our right to know what our government is doing and to seek our approval to do it. LN

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Excess XS

I found what appears to be a great '71 Yamaha XS1B. Thank goodness for ebay. Over the years I have bought and sold a number of items on ebay. I've had good success in general with only one negative experience.
Ebay has made a significant difference for people like myself. I live in a rural area and don't have access to a lot of specialty shops without going into the nearest big city. Since it's a bit inconvenient to go there I don't do it very often. It would be very difficult for me to work on the vintage machines I rebuild without a good source of parts. When working on a Yamaha DS7 I found a piston in New Zealand. I'd never have known about that, nor would he have found a buyer in rural Wisconsin, had it not been for the internet.
So now I am waiting for my friend to deliver a 1972 Yamaha XS2 he rebuilt to the east coast. He will pick up my new machine on the way back. Mark, my friend, restored a '71 XS1B and it is beautiful. I like the red and white '72 but not as well as the drum brake earlier models. For me the honey and white '71 is the most beautiful of the lot. Second best I like the blue/gold '77D. My D is original and far from a show bike. It's a great rider and I use it quite a bit. Actually it isn't all original. I have Sportster mufflers on it and have converted it to dual disc front brakes.

I have a '71 that I got from a burned house years ago. Things happen and I ended up selling it. Later I had a chance to get it back. I had gotten it to run and painted it when I had it but had never thought about doing it original. It's yellow with kanji symbols for Ya Ma & Ha on the tank. It has wrong gauges and switch, an incorrect year seat and tail light. It's a driver but not much to look at. When I saw Mark's '71 finished I fell in love. Because of its condition and it's history I don't really want to restore the '71 I have. Long story but I like it as it is.

I have attached a picture of Mark's '71. My new project has a long way to go before it gets to look so tasty. Luckily Mark is only 9 miles up the road and always a good source of conversation. His shop/studio (he's a professional artist) is one of my favorite places to hang out when I'm in town. Between us we may eventually have one of every year of the XS roadster. Luckily we have tolerant wives.