Category Archives: Sports

Urban Living on 2 Wheels – The Motoped

I Could Get Used To This

The Beach Cruiser that wants to be an Urban Cruiser

The Beach Cruiser that wants to be an Urban Cruiser

Helmets are no longer mandatory in Michigan.  There are clearly two sides of this development – I hesitate to call it an Issue – because many people who have never ridden a motorized 2 wheeler should not really be making or influencing laws regulating the activity.  That is like a man saying he knows how to give birth.

Enter:  The Motoped.  It’s not a Moped.  It’s a motorized bicycle.  They are about 1 year old in production and come in kit form (currently) but I foresee a bigger market in areas where you don’t have to shovel snow more than 5 months annually.

This is not an advertisement.  I just happen to appreciate practicality.

I prefer calling the model pictured as a classic urban cruiser, myself.  The rear mono-shock and large tires will make those potholes in Grand Rapids a lot easier to “stomach.”

What do you think?  Send me a comment

Auf Geht’s Deutschland!


Eh……….How come everybody has to make bad jokes that are clearly referring to World War II?  Has everyone forgotten that Hitler was Austrian?  No wonder things went the way they did – German families were still getting over the ravages of the first war and then comes der Führer who proceeds to divide the populace with a platform for progress that was both good and very bad depending on your position on the ladder.


Truth be known, what was accomplished by the Third Reich was a testament to hard work and dedication to a common cause.  The fact that it nearly worked is the big lesson in the whole scheme of things.  The teamwork and relentless commitment was what saved the world by the Allies – but it was made necessary by the same kind of concentration to a goal.


So………let the French have their snails and their frog legs.  I’ll bet you never saw that many white sausages together in one place before.  This is a factory in Bavaria making Weißwurst.  Please pass the sweet mustard………….

The Spirit of the Games

Everybody who actually makes the journey to Russia gets there with the intent to sit bundled up in their colors and waving a flag to cheer and yell, ” We Won!”

Olympic Opening

Olympic Opening

The truth is……….the athletes win, not the spectators nor the family nor the coaches nor the ones who came in 4th place or worse.  The Winners are adorned with a huge gold medallion which is valued around $10,000 (taxable) AND the TV networks and advertisers and the travel industry and the “hospitality” services around this Black Sea resort town in southern Russia.  For a city about the size of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti combined (with a population of 250,000 with its environs) it has become the oddest venue in recorded modern times since the torch was carried on a chariot.

sochi-incomplete-3No matter that this has been in the works since before Obama was President.  Sochi was awarded the Winter Olympics in 2007.

Sochi Incomplete

Sochi Incomplete

Somebody finally realized they were running out of time about a year ago and the largest arena was barely marked out in the dirt with a stadium shovel.  Work and more work was everywhere to be had and this became a hornets nest to get close to finished.  And it is still not really done as was planned.  Oh sure – it was over budget (planned) and supplies were delivered (planned) but the general management and project were sorely lacking.


But back to the original premise:  The Spirit of the Games.  The welcoming crowds (not) and the throngs of well-wishers (not) and the fairness and convenience of home (not) that we all expect in an international spectacle. Some of the athletes were “inadvertently” locked in their bathrooms – the security planning worked – and the travel options were stressing an already bad situation to begin with.  (cue the chariot again)

You’ll have to convince me a lot harder that this whole experience was worth the outlay of discretionary funding (sung to the tune of a 1 year old used car) and additional glee of airline screening and customs checks and having to read the morning Glubnok looking for word on the local rebels plans to disrupt the proceedings with a terrorist attack.
I wonder if Nyquil can handle it?

The Joy of Competition

Ashley Wagner expresses joy at the Sochi Olympics

What the Groundhog Does Not Tell You

It May Seem Silly But It Could be Religious – Or Just Sex

Puxatawney Phil

“Nice view from here!” ~ Phil

Marmot is the real name for large squirrels (of which there are 15 varieties) that include the species better known as groundhog.  Marmots mainly eat greens and many types of grasses, berries, lichens, mosses, roots, and flowers.  (Jolly Olde England, eh?)   That may explain why much of the following is extracted from The National Geographic (see link below) and references mainly Great Britain and the Isles off coast.  However, the Murmeltier is widely known across mainland Europe and is celebrated in Germany and all mountainous and rocky regions as well.

Groundhog Day (Feb. 2nd) marks approximately halfway through Winter.  It also marks 40 days past Christmas – those celebrating a male birth – as well as an observance for the Purification of the Virgin and the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.  This year it is a coincidence that it is on a Sunday, which coincides with other things like, say…….the Super Bowl.  It is also the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple as well as the Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.  It’s a holiday for many reasons (or excuses) to celebrate.

**The reported origins of Groundhog Day are various, but the concept is thought to be linked to the Germanic tradition of Candlemas Day. In Europe, however, the animal used was generally a hedgehog or a badger. How it wound up being the groundhog’s responsibility in the United States may have been a bit of a fluke.

“When the Europeans came over here, they didn’t have any hedgehogs or badgers to lay the blame on, so I think the groundhog got it by being here and being a good size,” speculates the Smithsonian’s Thorington. “He became the one to prophesize whether winter would come or not.”

Groundhogs have to know just when to emerge from hibernation to mate so that their offspring will have the best chance of survival.

“Most matings happen in a ten-day period in early March,” says Zervanos. “If [the offspring] are born too late, they can’t get enough weight for winter, and if they’re born too early, the female doesn’t have enough food to feed them.”  In other words, the window of opportunity is very small and the wily woodchuck has to get it just right.

**Source:  Stefan Serucek – National Geographic

No Super Bowl This Year??



There is always the Puppy Bowl if you don’t care to watch the most viewed television spectacle in the world.  This year marks the 10th Edition of The Puppy Bowl which airs on Animal Planet this Sunday at 3pm EST.  They are several times more fun to watch than cats, who are pretty much self-centered snots.