Archive for Uncategorized

US Trade Rep. drops motorcycles from tariff plan

This press release from the AMA says the Office of the US Trade Representative has dropped small-bore motorcycles and scooters from a proposed tariff plan aimed at retaliating against European bans on US beef.

According to the AMA its members, the Motorcycle Industry Council, individual manufacturers, dealers, and others had contacted the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative opposing the idea of the tariff.

In a statement released on Jan. 15, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab noted her office late last year sought comments on which of more than 100 European goods should be subject to the tariffs.

“Approximately 600 comments were received by the requested due date of Dec. 8, 2008,” she said. “An interagency committee of trade experts and economists reviewed the public comments and provided recommendations to the USTR with respect to modifications (to the list of products subject to additional duties) that would result in a more effective action, while taking account of effects on the U.S. economy, including consumers.”

There’s no such thing as a free market, and every government engages in putting up trade barriers for all sorts of reasons. Most of them do far more harm than good. This particular idea was worse than most. Good riddance to one small bit of governmental meddling.

I found my gloves

I found my favorite alpinestars street gloves today. I’ve been looking for them since the weather turned nice in the spring and I started riding with vented gloves again. I knew they weren’t “lost” inasmuch as they were just misplaced. I knew they were in the house somewhere, but I couldn’t find them.

So I went out shopping for replacement gloves in the spring. Alpinestars doesn’t make the Alloy model anymore (naturally) and none of their current gloves fit like I wanted. Neither did anything else, so I bought a pair of Frank Thomas gloves from Cycle Gear. They fit ok, but not great, and are not nearly as nice as the alpinestars Alloy model I had.

I’m really particular about the way gloves (all my gear, actually) fit, and I always have a hard time finding a pair that I like. It doesn’t matter how much they cost — I find the $150/pr gloves just as uncomfortable as the $50/pr, so when I find a pair that I like I try to hang onto them until they are worn completely out. I’ve been wearing the same pair of ragged Fox Dirt Paws off-road gloves since 1997. They’re shabby, but they fit.

Today I was looking for something else and I found the gloves stuffed in a drawer in a nightstand. I have no idea why they were there — there wasn’t anything else motorcycle related in that drawer. Maybe I put them there. Maybe someone else did. I don’t know. But we’re reunited and it feels so good…

New Ham KJ4HFJ

I got my call sign assignment from the FCC yesterday — KJ4HFJ. That seems a little unwieldy to me, but maybe I’ll get used to it. Kilo-Juliette-4-Hotel-Foxtrot-Juliette. For $12 I can get a vanity call sign (a bit like vanity license plates.) I might do that and get something I can remember like K4TWF — Kilo-4-Tango-Whiskey-Foxtrot.

Miss Malaprop should work on her English skills

I have raised this issue before and there may be people who disagree, largely because of the girl’s looks. But Erin Bates is an awful pit reporter. She continues to mangle the English language. Honestly. I was watching the “lites” race from Southwick on SPEED, Bates was interviewing Villopoto, and once again she starts throwing out big words but she doesn’t know what they mean. She sounds like some big, dumb football player or a blinged-out rapper with a third-grade education. It’s just insulting.

It’s far more than just this one instance. Bates routinely spews gibberish. She’s the George W. Bush of motorsports and sounds like she learned grammar from a bad video game. There are plenty of female sportscasters, several of them in motorsports, who make Bates sound like an uneducated hick. Those girls look good, too.

This is a matter of laziness. It’s not a matter of smarts. It’s an issue of a girl trading on her looks and refusing to put in the work needed to get the job done. Bates needs to get with the program. She needs to get her on-mic performance up to the same level as the other guys and girls in motorsports or go back to selling insurance. Frankly, she’s an insult to people like Krista Voda and Jamie Little, and even RacerX Show pit reporter Erin Normoyle.

I can’t believe she’s gotten a pass on this for so long just because of her looks. Hell, even Jillian Barberie had to get her on-mic banter up to pro level and she was way hotter than Bates in her heyday. I don’t know why Bates gets a pass on this. I just know it makes the sport look a little stupider and needs to end.

Google Blogger version of MuddyWatersMX

I just created a Google/Blogger version of MuddyWatersMX. It’s an abbreviated version, just teasers really, with links back here. I created it because several of the blogs where I like to post comments (including Sarah Smile and EternalTwoStroke) are hosted on Blogger, and when I post it’s easiest to use my GoogleID, which is just a link to my Google profile. But my Google profile was blank, so I needed to put something there. My solution was to put up a skeleton version of this blog so people could get a sense of what’s here.

It’s a bit of a hassle to manually add all the posts to it, so I doubt I’ll add everything. Probably just links to the more popular posts. But we’ll see.

The front flip – I’ve been waiting for this

jim_dechamps_front_flip.pngEver since I saw the first BMX freestyle rider do a front flip on a bicycle I’ve been waiting for someone to try it on a motorcycle. To be honest, I didn’t think the physics of a motorcycle would allow it. But, as is often the case, I was wrong. Check out Jim DeChamps practicing front flips for X Games 14. I am speechless. I think I’ve seen everything now…

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Cool paper dirt bike model YZ450

dirt_bike_modelHere’s another cool paper model — this time of the Yamaha YZ450FM. I don’t know who created it, but it looks like it comes from Japan. Someone obviously has real love for Yamaha motorcycles.

I found this via Dirt Bike Blogger. There are eight separate files to download for this model, so check out his post rather than my re-listing them all here. There are good articles on the site, but it’s got too many ads for my taste. I’m all for trying to make a buck, but if he’d tone it down a bit I’d be inclined to spend more time looking around.

Email and privacy for registered users

Note: In 2009 this website moved to WordPress and the system referred to in the post below is no longer in use.
New MuddyWatersMX reader Chris Wilson recently asked the following question:

The code used on this site exposes the email address of the registered commenters. In the item in the right-hand margin that says “Logged in as X”, the name inserted as “X” is a direct email link to the address used when registering to comment. That means that any email harvester crawling this site will be able to collect my email address.

Can you confirm or deny and/or fix?

I thought this was a good opportunity to explain how the system works for everyone. First, let me put your mind at ease. The content system used for MuddyWatersMX has been around a long time and its privacy features are quite robust.

The link you see in the right-hand column that says, “Logged in as YourNameHere” is only seen by you – and only when you are logged in. It’s just a link to your account settings, which are tracked by your e-mail address. No one else can see it. And no harvester can get to it. If you logoff the site you will see that your name and account info disappear.

The only place that your e-mail address is ever exposed — and this is exactly the same as Yahoo! and Google Groups e-mail lists — is in the FROM: address when your posts go out to the MuddyWatersMX mail list.

But we even give you control over that. The MuddyWatersMX system provides a completely anonymized FROM: address in outgoing list mails for any registered user who wants it. You can change this setting in your preferences.

I hope this clears up any confusion and thanks to Chris for prompting me to write it.

YZR M1 50th Anniversary US edition

pic_002Now here is something cool, a complete paper model of the YZR-M1 50th Anniversary Edition made for the USGP in 2005. Get your full color PDF download here and make your own with the kids while your watching TV.

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The worst motorcycle movie ever

You’re probably thinking “Sidewinder“, the really bad ’70s motocross flick with Marjoe Gortner. Gack! That was awful. But you’d be wrong. Yes, the worst motorcycle movie ever has to be “Torque“, which I just suffered through on FX.

It’s horrendous. Abysmal. So bad that it would have to get better just to suck. And not even in that Mystery Science Theatre way – but really, truly, hard-core miserable, lower-than-a-snake’s-belly kind of suck. Take a plot-line that was rejected by all the video game companies because it was so stupid; add in a bunch of blatant, pandering, overbearing product placements (which have to be the only reason they made this movie); pour in 5 cups of poorly staged sport biker stunts that defy not only the laws of physics but look like they’re riding on a merry-go-round , hideous special effects, and really bad acting. Now stir thoroughly with a final dose of cheesy dialog and you have Torque. Unless you’re under the age of 14 I can’t imagine you won’t be insulted by this movie. It’s just sloppy. Even if the stupid stuff were intentional – like it’s all supposed to be a big joke – it’s not funny. Just very, very sloppy and insulting. The kind of thing people should be ashamed to be associated with.

It was so bad I couldn’t watch more than about 5 minutes without having to flush my eyes, so I had to keep going to the bathroom. This movie sets some sort of new low, but I’m not sure what kind. It’s that bad. It might even rival Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 From Outer Space“.