Author Archives: Shirley Vandever

The one industry in California that is thriving…

There has been no shortage of articles bemoaning the burden of regulations on business.  Over-regulation hurts competiveness, discourages hiring, and it a bottom line cost to businesses, not to mention just being an intrusive quagmire of red tape that can baffle the most determined entrepreneur.  The problem is so evident that even the White House is determined to address the issue (yeah, we’ll see).

Nowhere is this more aptly demonstrated than in California.  The quintessential nanny state has so poisoned the business environment that business are literally leaving in droves:

Companies are “disinvesting” in California at a rate five times greater than just two years ago, said Joseph Vranich, a business relocation expert based in Irvine. This includes leaving altogether, establishing divisions elsewhere or opting not to set up shop in California.

This is obviously not good for The Golden State, which in July was second only to Nevada in unemployment:  a whopping 12 percent.

There is one industry in California that is thriving.  With budget cuts affected the San Jose Police Department, the prostitution industry has in effect become totally deregulated.  Business for the street-walking entrepreneur has never been better:

Two police sources told NBC Bay Area that prostitutes have even been traveling from as far as Oakland and Fresno to take advantage of San Jose’s less scrutinized street corners.

So California, through its own mismanagement has unwittingly unfettered the happy hookers, who are now freer to ply their trade without the interference of the local gestapo, who may have more important things on their mind.

Hayek would be proud.


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Filed under Culture, Government Spending, Human Sexuality, Survival

Ya Just Never Know….Maggie Valley Road Trip, August 2011

“We all set out
walking to Salty Dog’s and James must’ve ran up there, ‘cuz by the time we got
there, he

was already well on
his way to hangover city. He had a drink called a, “Quaalude” when I saw him and it must’ve been doing
its job. By the time I got my broiled fish platter eaten, he was ready to
stumble on

back to his room. That was the last we saw of him
’til the next morning with his bottle of Early Times.”

Click here for pics, videos, and the rest of the story.

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Issues with Hannum’s HD – by Chainsaw

An acquaintance of mine that has been riding the touring family bikes for quite a few years, told me that he had taken his Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic into Hannum’s Harley-Davidson of Chadds Ford,PA. for service, and his wife’s Heritage Softail for a tire, and that a bike wash was tossed in for free that resembled more of a detailing job than a generic bike wash, and he suggested that if I needed any service work done, that I should give Hannum’s a shot, instead of hitting one of the other four Stealerships in the area.

Sometime during the week of May 23rd – 27th, I called  Hannum’s Harley-Davidson of Chadds Ford and made an appointment to have the Cam Chain Tensioners  evaluated, as our 2005 Ultra Classic   had recently flipped the 30,000 mile mark .

I didn’t realize that I would have to keep a diary of this experience, until I went to pick up the bike.

It went something like this:

An appointment was confirmed over the telephone for May 31st for a Cam Chain Tensioner evaluation and replacement.   On May 31st, I showed up at Hannum’s Harley-Davidson of Chadds Ford Service Department’s  back door at10:00 am.  As the Service writer gathered my personal information, out of curiosity, I requested and received a quote for the Gear to Gear option  that came to $1,091.50 including parts and labor.

On June 1st, I was contacted by the Service department about installing the Gear to Gear option. I declined, and told them that I merely requested a quote for the installation of the Gear to Gear option, and told them again to  replace the Cam Chain Tensioners with OEM parts if it was needed.

I was told that they’d contact me with the evaluation.

No return call was received that day.

June 2nd, three days after my original confirmed  appointment, I called Hannum’s Harley-Davidson of Chadds Ford Service Department  and inquired as to the progress being made. The Service Department confirmed that the Cam Chain Tensioner Shoes replacement  was required.

I told them to get with it.

I assumed after the call that they had began work on the Cam Chain Tensioner replacement, but they said that they’d call when the job was complete.

No return call was received that day.

The morning of June 3rd, I called Hannum’s Harley-Davidson of Chadds Ford Service Department to inquire as to the progress being made.

I was told that I had, “lost fluids” during the Cam Chain Tensioner replacement and should the Service Department go ahead and change oil and  filter. I said no, that a complete 10,000 mile service had beendone at 29,715 miles – approximately 300 miles previously. I also inquired as to the progress being made, and was  told that I’d be called back.

No return call was received.

I called the Service Department at approximately 12:00 pm, and was told that  motorcycle was out being test ridden then, afterwards would be brought back in to be washed and they’d call back.

I inquired as to what the bill would be and was told it was $752.42

No return call was received.

I got fed up with the, “no communication” crap,  and called Hannum’s Harley-Davidson of Chadds Ford Service Department at approximately 5:45 pm, and they said it had been ready since 3:00 pm!

When the Hannum’s Harley-Davidson of Chadds Ford Service Department’s representative, Steve P. rolled the bike out through the service bay door, I took advantage of the daylight to inspect the Cam Gearcover, and not only discovered the part that they worked on was still greasy and smudged, and had to wipe it off myself, but there were 4 deep gouges in the top left flange of the Cam Gear cover chrome,  that resembled tool markings, or someone had dropped the cover.

I brought this to the Service rep’s attention.

He and I both took digital pictures of the gouges, and he ordered a new Cam Gear cover and gave me a receipt, balance due: $0.00, to be installed upon its arrival.

We paid the bill of $752.42 and cranked up the bike, and I noticed it seemed a little louder than normal on the ride home.

On June 4th, I fired up the bike to go on a Saturday ride, and I heard what sounded like an exhaust leak from the rear pipe.  As the day progressed, so did the sound.

That afternoon I called Hannum’s Harley-Davidson of Chadds Ford Service Department and told them that I could live with the gouged Cam Gear cover until the replacement arrived, but the exhaust leak we were left with could not be tolerated.

I was told that the pipe had not been taken off.

I knew better.

Hannum’s Harley-Davidson of Chadds Ford Service Department Representative Steve P. told me to bring it in the next day, Sunday, June 5th and he’d listen to it.

Sunday, June 5th, I rode the bike up to Hannum’s Harley-Davidson of Chadds Ford Service Department so that Steve P. could listen to the exhaust leak, and he confirmed that it was the rear pipe gasket that was misaligned and leaking, and that if I brought the bike in Tuesday, June 7th at 10:00 am that it would be repaired while I wait.

Tuesday, June 7th I showed up at Hannum’s Harley-Davidson of Chadds Ford Service Department’s door and let the bike’s pipes cool off and  walked inside to get with Steve P. about it, but he already knew what I was there for, so he got a technician to come outside and have a look and listen to listen to the exhaust leak.

As soon as the technician looked up at the end of the rear pipe where it goes into the exhaust port, he knew what the problem was.

The technician said that he had forgotten to put anti-seize on the exhaust stud bolt, and without a doubt he also forgot to check the torque specs on the nut, because it was obvious that the nut was missing.

So, when I picked up the bike June 3rd, not only had the pipe been loosened and moved to get the Cam Gear cover off, the stud bolts weren’t tightened and torqued to factory specs, and had no anti-seize on the  exhaust stud bolt, which easily vibrated off on the ride back home.

Sitting outside while the technician did his thing, I got the lowdown on where the gouges in the Cam Gear cover originated.  It seems that once the technician had all of the bolts out of the Cam Gear cover removed, the cover, torqued by factory specs, didn’t want to come off.  The technician went on to tell me that he enlisted two other “techs” with dead blow mallets, and steel ball peen hammers, in  an attempt to remove the Cam Gear cover.

The technician claimed that it was the Factory’s fault  that it was so tight, but I wasn’t buying into that.

We’ve taken the tour through the York Final Assembly  Plant, and their air ratchets are preset to a factory torque spec setting so that a monkey  could work on the assembly line.

I could’ve fixed the exhaust leak myself, had I the desire  to look up into the area where the exhaust port was, but that wasn’t the point.

I took an expensive machine to a dealership that is  supposed to employ certified Harley-Davidson Technicians, to have what surely  had to have been a routine, mechanical maintenance issue and repair, only to  have some Trunk Monkeys whammin’ and bammin’ on a part that is made of cast  aluminum, covered in chrome, with hammers.

I can’t wait to see what they screw up next when the new  Cam Gear cover comes in.

And by the way, about the wash job resembling a detail job, I can clean a touring bike and the trailer we pull behind it, better than Hannum’s Harley-Davidson of Chadds Ford can, with one hand in my back pocket.


Filed under Customer Service, Life

Chainsaw opines on the “Harley Death Wobble”

There are two things you don’t want to hear in the same sentence:  “Harley” and “Death Wobble”.

I came across this story from KPHO Phoenix which describes the phenomenon:

A camera mounted on a Georgia state trooper’s police-issued Harley shows Officer Richard Barber traveling 90 mph along an interstate. His 2007 Harley Electra Glide begins to shimmy and wobble. Eventually, Barber is able to stop the bike safely.

 But a Raleigh, N.C., police officer was not so lucky. In 2002, 30-year-old Charles Paul was thrown from his Harley Electra Glide after it began to wobble. He died, and his family later settled a wrongful death suit with Harley-Davidson in 2008.

KPHO’s video on the topic can be found here.

Uh, really ? It gave me some pause since we ride a 2005 Ultra Classic, but not being versed in the ins and outs of the whole thing, I asked my resident expert Chainsaw.

As usual, I got a thorough answer, though perhaps more than I bargained for.

Here is his reply, written as only Chainsaw can write it:

You don’t ask the easy questions, do you?

There are a lot of things at work here, and I’m gonna tell ya more than ya expected to know.

In 1980 there were only 2 bikes that had rubber mounted motors.  The earlier models were bolted through a motor mount boss welded onto the frame, through a corresponding cast aluminum bolt hole in the bottom end or engine cases that housed the flywheels, crankshaft, piston rods and oil pump.

The one and only touring bike at the time, the FLT, was rubber mounted, and the one and only rubber mounted FX, was the FXB, or the “Sturgis” model, and it was the 1st belt drive bike.

By 1985 all models, except maybe Sportsters, were rubber mounted motors, and the Shovelhead engine had been replaced by the new “Evo” or 80 inch (1340cc) Evolution engine.

That’s when the “overnight sensations” and yuppies began to appear on the roads because the Evo motor was proported to be as tight as a thermos bottle, and wouldn’t leak oil. That was appealing to the morons that just wanted to ride and show off that they owned a Harley.

Well, I’ve dropped a thermos before.

Evos were a tight motor, and still are today.  Some folks still swear by them, but they don’t last long on an 800+lb touring bike, and these are the bikes that I am going to refer to as they have in the story.

Since the 90’s, the motors and transmissions have been “rubber mounted” with massively dense rubber bushings to the frame and swingarm in the FLH family of bikes:  Road King, Street Glide, Electra Glide Standard, Electra Glide Classic, Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Road Glide, or any bastardization of those models, either for Police use, a Custom Vehicle Operations bike  which usually have a 103″ – 110″ motor on the frame, slinging massive amounts of torque to the motor mounts and swingarm mounts.

The motor bushings do wear out after a bunch of miles and normal service.

Sometimes the bikes come from the factory poorly assembled and they wobble around 80 mph, but you turn right around and go back to the dealer and tell them to shove the piece of shit up their ass, and tell them to get the paperwork out and rewrite the deal on another bike.

Then there’s the final key piece to this puzzle that Harley-Davidson won’t admit to being a factor in the “Wobble Syndrome.”

Anyone that has gotten down on the ground and looked at how the motor and transmission are mounted on the bike, or is a mechanic, will see that the transmission is not solid mounted to the frame per se, it is mounted through those dense bushings that do double duty as engine mounts and swingarm mounts.

That is the weak link in the whole scenario.

A little bit of physics knowledge will tell you that the swingarm is for the rear suspension or shocks,  for up and down vertical travel, not side to side horizontal travel, yet the motor and transmission are hard mounted together, and the rear of the  transmission mounts to the swingarm pivot point.

That’s why when I kept saying a while back that the front and rear wheel on our ’05 Ultra didn’t seem to track along the same line, it’s because the back wheel had thrown a wheel weight, and when I got a new tire put on and they balanced it, that shit was gone.  Just that little bit of that weight being thrown on changed the physics and performance of the pivot point rubber mount on the swingarm.

We’ve not had any issues with the “wobble syndrome” because of the way that I ride – I feel the bike, I listen to the bike, I become part of the bike, and if something is not quite right, I know it immediately, even when the bike is loaded down, pulling a fully loaded trailer.  I can feel the horizontal forces, but I ride accordingly.

There is a part on the market that solves the horizontal effects on the swingarm pivot point, and that is all that is required to give that particular set of bushings a gazillion miles of dependability and service.   You’ll notice on their website, a picture of someone laying hard into a corner. That’s what this is all about, the sideways, lateral forces that put the load on the swingarm bushings. At their products link, the year models of applications correspond to the beefiness of the product as the year model of bikes go up in motor size and horsepower – factory horsepower that is, not hot rodding a motor to unreasonable cubic inches like Checkered Bob’s 124″ desires.

The thing that people, and the goddamned media don’t realize  is that the laced wheel or spokes were not designed to carry the weights that touring bikes carry now -You have the weight of the bike itself (approximately 800 lbs), the rider and passenger weights which can vary anywhere from 350lbs to 500lbs…. add that together with the kinetic force of real time riding, and the swingarm pivot point bushings are performing under the pressure of over a ton.  Factor in the dainty (but cooool looking – not in my opinion) laced spoke wheels and you have a 2nd issue that can spell disaster.

That’s why Harley-Davidson and the report made mention of, “added on parts.”  You’ll also notice that neither one mentioned what add on parts they were referring to.

It’s the laced spoke wheels, or anything that adds weight to them is when the dangerous natural lateral forces come into play.

The reason that “other” manufacturers’ bikes don’t do it is because of initial standing weights and the motor mounting and drive trains are completely different.

You can’t compare apples to oranges.

The Police bikes that they referred to that went out of control needed a  steering damper,  not so much the tru-track motor/tranny/swingarm brace, as the damper is used for speed and stability.  The tru-track may have helped, but what would’ve helped out more would have been a tighter maintenance schedule as those bikes get the bejesus beat out of them and if your machine’s key components are held together with rubber bushings, they will wear faster.

This article got me pissed off.  It shows how naive the general riding public and media are. 

Hell, I’m done with this subject, I gotta go take a dump.


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I remember momma…..

Ellen Elizabeth Hoover was born June 19, 1928 in Progress, PA, youngest of four children. Her father Lancaster was a mailman, her mother Tressa a homemaker.

Things my mother taught me: If you go to London and see the Queen waving, she is waving just to you.

To her nieces and nephews, Ellen was called “Aunt Duck”. She got that name because as a child growing up in the 30’s she was quite afraid of the junk man and the ice man who patrolled the streets selling their wares. “Duck under the table !” she would say when she heard their clacking in the street. And duck she did. The moniker stuck with her. Not sure she was all that happy about it.

Things my mother taught me: You can make a soup with anything on hand.  Never throw a pot or pan out, there is always good use for it.

Ellen fell quite in love with the handsome Harry, and they got married lickity-split. He sure looked sharp in his uniform. Guess they made the right decision…they were married for over 50 years. Harry had to do his duty with the Army, but as soon as he got back they started their family and built their house with their own sweat, which still stands today.

Things my mother taught me:It is OK to hurt and swallow in misery for a bit, but only for a bit. I remember seeing her in the hospital after her masectomy. It was the only time I ever heard her say, “It hurts”. With weird tubes coming out of a chest that was no longer there, she said that it hurt. That is all.

Ellen and Harry had five children, four girls and a boy. The little neighborhood was full of kids and pools and adventures and gardens and forts….many laughs and tears that are the normal course of life.

Things my mother taught me:  That little roll that develops around your belly in middle age isn’t fat: it’s a pillow.

I don’t ever think I saw my Mom without a book or a piece of knitting in her lap. Alas, unlike my father, she did not have a green thumb: we would say a silent prayer for any bit of greenery she would attempt to nurture.

Things my mother taught me:  Watch out for the icy patches, even in July.  That’s when they can really sneak up on you.

Mom left us way too early and way too suddenly in June of 2003.   In an instant, she was gone.

Things my mother taught me:  Life is like a card game: it can all change in one hand.


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I have been rereading some old classics, and recently finished George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. These are the books you read in high school and kinda sorta remember them, but then again you’ve forgot everything about them.

Both works have settings that involve a certain sort of controlled society. The societies are very different: Orwell’s is grey, monotonous, and sexless. Huxley’s is bright, inviting, and sensuous.  In both cases, however, there is some omnipotent force or bureau or commission or government setting the stage.

There is another thing they have in common. In both Orwell’s and Huxley’s worlds there is is an underlying current, mentioned not as a primary point of the plot but rather as an aside that the reader is assumed to just take for granted and not question. In both worlds there was some sort of opiate always in the background, mentioned casually in passing. An opiate, if one thinks on it, that was designed to placate the masses.

For Orwell in 1984, it was Victory Gin:

Unbidden, a waiter came and filled his glass up with Victory Gin, shaking into it a few drops from another bottle with a quill through the cork. It was saccharine flavoured with cloves, a specialty of the cafe.

For Huxley in Brave New World, it was soma:

…that second dose of soma had raised a quite impenetrable wall between the actual universe and their minds.

Victory Gin dulled one’s senses. The grey world was still grey, but it didn’t much matter. One became resigned.  Soma sent one into blissfullness or dreamless sleep. It induced a feeling of well-being and peace and happiness. One couldn’t care much about anything else in that state, could they?

Karl Marx had another word for Victory Gin and soma. He called it religion, the opiate of the masses:

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.

In both 1984 and Brave New World, people had indeed given up on their illusions. They had, they were told, Marx’s “real happiness”. It was defined, not to be questioned.

It seems to me that though we would scoff at the notion that today we are being surreptiously treated with Victory Gin or induced into oblivious submissiveness with soma, that there is indeed an opiate permeating our society today.  It is less obvious but insidiously more seductive.

It is the common good.

While I am quite certainly common, possessed of no great talent nor wealth, I sense a kind of euphoric and nearly orgasmic tendency of the so-called progressive left today to leave no stone unturned to ensure my safety, stability, and happiness. I think it is quite proper as a function of government to provide, a safety net for those less fortunate or who are through an act of nature unable to take care of themselves.

But I asked for none of this for myself.  I resent these menial intrusions telling me what to eat, how to drive, what is safe or unsafe for me to do.  I can decide that for myself.

No, the opiate today is not Victory Gin or soma. It is the self-satisfied smugs of politicians who telling us they are doing us a favor.

And we buy into it. They are taking care of us, so all is good and all is well. And they are so very happy to be of service to us.

But who is serving whom ?

Confident of their benevolence, we vote them into office again and again. Their smiles are are so damn infectious as they look upon their placated masses.

Do you see the connection ? No, we are not fed Victory Gin nor are we supplied with soma.

We are being given so so so much more. Do you think they will suffer our clingy neediness for too long ? They, with their mysterious powers of laws and regulations are making sure we are not only safe, but well-behaved.  Then they have to get us to stop whining.

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face–forever.

2+2=4 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Filed under Culture, Laws Have Consequences, Life

Trust the soup

Feeling a bit down in the dumps and in desperate need of a kick in the ass, I took the suggestion of Instapundit and downloaded the free Kindle version of author Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work.

I’m not usually a fan of “self-help” books, as they usually tout the feel-good mantras currently in vogue.  And after all, it seems to me that “self-help” should be exactly that.  By one’s self.  In the bootstrap kind of way.  Pressfield’s book is a little different.  It is more like a slap in the face instead of a smiling, toothful coddling.  The author outlines the barriers to getting started on a project and what we can do to fight, nay destroy them.  It is kind of like being at war with oneself, but with a positive outcome.  He does not dismiss failure, but rather embraces it.  I highly recommend if for those whose lives may seem to be stalled for whatever reason.

Early in the book, he mentions the phrase trust the soup.  Trust the soup ?  Ne’er heard of such.  He doesn’t explain it much, except to refer to it as kind of listening to and hearing one’s Muse:

When an artist says “Trust the soup,” she means lettiing go of the need to control (which we can’t do anyway) and put your faith instead in the Source, the Mystery, the Quantum Soup.

I have an idea of what he means. It is the mysterious guiding essence that hovers around each of us. To some of us, it is God. To others, a spirit.
Being somewhat a literal-minded person with perhaps less imagination than others, I took the phrase to refer to soup itself. An actual pot of soup, simmering on the stove.

If you’ve ever lovingly prepared a batch of soup in the dead of winter, you will know what I mean. Little by little you add your ingredients of choice and slowly allow each addition to mingle in the pot. The vegetables and herbs explore each other. They may alternately fight and embrace. The whole drama is played out in the smells permeating the kitchen. You have to coach the soup with a stir now and then. You may add a new herb or spice, then taste and reflect.

No two soups are the same. Each one, even using an identical recipes, is always somewhat different from the time you made it before.

A pot of soup is an experiment.

So, too, are each of our lives an experiment. We have lots of different ingredients simmering in our brains. They combat each other at times, each one competing for prominence in our psyches. Sometimes we will make a mistake. At other times, listening to the soup we find that we have found the perfect combination. Sometimes we are wrong, but when we are right it is heavenly.

But we have to trust the soup. We have to hungerly grasp at it, explore it, defend it, chastise it. Everyone’s soup is unique. Life is the constant refining our own ingredients, relentless in that search for the perfect pot.

Trust the soup.


Filed under Life