Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Is Anders Behring Breivik Really Insane?

Is Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian shooter, really insane, as many people have said? I think there is a very fine line between insanity and right wing ideological militarism. But the line is clearly crossed when you start pulling the trigger and killing innocent unarmed people, whether they are Muslim or Christian. That's what separates Anders from a right wing militarist like Mark Stein, for example. Mark Stein will write about killing (or is it "culling") people, while Anders Breivik goes out and does it. One is sane and paid big bucks to write in MacLean's Magazine, the other is insane and goes to jail.

However, Anders sincerely believed that the killing needed to be done. According to his manifesto, it was to stop the liberals in Europe from letting the Muslims take over. Furthermore, he believed that he needed to kill a lot of people in order to have his message be effective. I saw on the news that Anders was a bit disappointed when the number of kills reported by the press started to decrease. (It turned out that the police had double counted some bodies in the original carnage scene.)

So I have devised a thought experiment, kind of unorthodox, to see how insane Anders really is. Here is what you do. Ask Anders how many children he needed to kill to make his message known. Let's say his answer is 90 kills. Tell him that he only managed to kill 85, but that in the interest of supporting his cause of Norwegian Independence, you will give him a chance to kill 5 more to make sure everybody gets his message. Then give him back his gun, secretly loaded with blanks, and take him up to a room with five children tied to posts and give him the opportunity to shoot them. Would he try to shoot them or would he admit that killing more people is not going to help his cause?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Norwegian Terror and the Death Penalty

I don't have time to look up all the relevant information, because I'm not supposed to sit for very long, but I want to express an opinion on the Norwegian killer.

This morning on TV I heard the statement made that Norway had a 21 year maximum sentence, and that the alleged killer (see, correct use of the word alleged) would be out by the time he is 53. This was not an opinion from an interview, but it was part of the written script for the newscast. Apparently, even though my doctor says I should limit my sitting down time, I still do more research than a professional editor for a TV news program.

The truth is that Norwegian law has qualifications about people who are a public danger, so it's unlikely he will ever be released.

But more interesting is the implication that American justice is better then Norwegian. After the analogous Oklahoma bombing, Timothy McVeigh was executed. But that did not satisfy the survivors who felt that one execution was simply not enough to give them closure. They managed to execute another random person who had nothing to do with the bombing, just to send a message to the bad guys.

The other execution came about because the Oklahoma survivors went to Washington to pass a new law to put an end to delaying tactics being exploited by death row inmates. Once this law passed, and the first death row inmate was executed under the speedier provisions, they were satisfied that justice was really done.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Subliminal Message of Get Smart

The Get Smart movie, starring Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway and Alan Arkin, was released in 2008. Although it is just a comedy, there is a hidden liberal and anti-torture message in the movie. Before reading any further, this is not a movie review, it is an analysis of the hidden meaning of the movie and will contain spoilers.

At no time during the movie was torture used or mentioned by anyone, yet the plot of the movie is the classical torture argument. Terrorists have set an atomic bomb to go off in Los Angeles, and you have limited time to figure out where it is. Is it right to torture people to find out where the bomb is? And a secondary consideration: will torture work to save the city? So, except for the fact that the movie at no time mentions or uses torture, otherwise it is the classic scenario used in the pro-torture argument.

The hidden message of the movie is that torture does not work and is not necessary. The person who knows where the bomb is set to go off is a giant hulk, seemingly immune to any kind of physical pain. But Agent Maxwell Smart is able to befriend this giant terrorist, and find out that his marriage relationship is causing him psychological pain. In the end, before the bomb blows up, the giant sends a coded message to Max to warn him where the bomb is, and so the threat is averted.

Making torture even less likely to work in this case, the CONTROL bosses (i.e. the good guys) think Maxwell Smart is a double agent for the enemy, and therefore Max himself is the most likely candidate to be tortured, should they decide to do it. But because Max knew nothing about the bomb, torture would have been pretty much wasted on him, while the city blows up anyway. This possibility is something never mentioned in the pro-torture argument, where it is always assumed that you are "interrogating" the correct person. Instead, Max escapes custody, finds the bomb and defuses it. Obviously, if Max had actually been tortured, the city would have blown up.

A running theme through the movie is the CONTROL director (played by Alan Arkin) having less then cordial discussions with the Vice President (I assumed to be Dick Cheney) about how intelligence is supposed to be gathered. The CONTROL boss thinks the best intelligence comes from people with hunches, while the VP wants satellite data. Again, apparently no mention is made about torture, but everyone knows Dick likes torture, although he tries to not use the "T" word. Ironically, the title of the film, "Get Smart" could also be understood as a request aimed at people (like Dick Cheney) who think torture is the only way to go for intelligence gathering.

I'm not sure how popular this movie was, but I did find it in the 2 for 1 bin at my local used DVD store. So I'm not sure that many people "got" the hidden message. But even without the hidden message, I think it was worth more than the three buck I paid for it. I had a few laughs (actually laughing is not good because I'm recovering from an operation), and the next time through I had even more laughs because there are alternate joke scenes, some of which are even funnier than the original movie. For example, Agent 99 is going to chase the bad guys on a Vespa scooter, and Max is supposed to jump on the passenger seat, but instead says "wait a second I have to get some helmets and reflective vests". That made me laugh more than the original joke.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Heartwarming Story of the Wal-Mart Greeter

Forwarded email, the true gift that keeps on giving: Here is the latest one I received and it is almost enough to make me see Walmart in a new light.


You just have to appreciate this one. Young people forget that we old people had a career before we retired......

Charley, a new retiree-greeter at Wal-Mart, just couldn't seem to get to work on time.

Every day he was 5, 10, 15 minutes late. But he was a good worker, really tidy, clean-shaven, sharp-minded and a real credit to the company and obviously demonstrating their "Older Person Friendly" policies.

One day the boss called him into the office for a talk.

"Charley, I have to tell you, I like your work ethic, you do a bang-up job when you finally get here; but your being late so often is quite bothersome."

"Yes, I know boss, and I am working on it."

"Well good, you are a team player. That's what I like to hear.”

“Yes sir, I understand your concern and I’ll try harder.”

Seeming puzzled, the manager went on to comment, “It's odd though your coming in late. I know you're retired from the Armed Forces. What did they say to you there if you showed up in the morning so late and so often?"

The old man looked down at the floor, then smiled.

He chuckled quietly, then said with a grin, "They usually saluted and said, ‘Good morning, Admiral, can I get your coffee, sir?"

Now for the reaction of the Lost Motorcyclist to this wonderful story:
I have to admire the luck of the Walmart people, to have such a heartwarming story to tell as this. Imagine: A well respected, retired admiral who thinks so highly of Walmart that he will spend his retirement years promoting their store for minimum wage, while being scolded by his much younger bosses. So cute.

I guess it's possible that a retired Admiral could find nothing better to do with their time than greet Walmart shoppers, or that financial circumstances could force him to keep working until his health fails. Especially in the USA, where older people can be bankrupted by health care issues, and may be forced to work on into their seventies. (Although in the USA this does not usually happen to military retirees, who have the Veterans hospitals to care for them.)

I personally might prefer to see an older person have enough financial security to stay active by working for voluntary organizations that promote international justice, or protect the environment, or make the world a better place in some way. Instead of being forced to work at minimum wage for Walmart whose main goal seems to be to drive local stores out of business, by selling slightly cheaper Chinese made goods.

But to get back to reality, I actually used to avoid shopping at Walmart for many reasons, one of them was that I didn't like being greeted at the door by those poor old people. But with this nice story, maybe my whole slightly negative outlook on Walmart will change.

Picture: I wonder who took the trouble to dig up the pics to go with this heartwarming story? Isn't it amazing how different someone can look out of uniform. Or should I say in a different uniform with even more medals.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Motorcycle Trip in 1977 to See Star Wars

A few days ago, I was kind of bored. My doctor says I can't ride my motorcycle for another three weeks, so I went out and bought the "Star Wars Trilogy" on DVD. Watching the first Star Wars movie brings back memories of a motorcycle trip I made in 1977.

I was reading my dad's copy of the May 30 1977 issue of Time magazine shortly after it arrived in the mail, and I badly wanted to see the new movie called "Star Wars" featured in this issue. The only problem was, the closest English speaking movie theatre that I knew of was in Montreal, 700 km away. So I waited until my summer vacation.


On Wednesday, June 29, I had just finished grading the Literature and Composition exams (I was a high school teacher). My wife and I were going to see the movie by riding to Montreal and back in three days on my Yamaha 250. My motorcycle was 5 years old, but it was ready for the trip with a new blue paint job, new Koni shocks, and new fairing. It had rolled up 38,500 miles (62,000 km) since I bought it, mainly driving out west a couple of times. We loaded it down with our tent and sleeping bags again and started out for Montreal and a movie. And come to think of it, I don't remember checking to see that the movie was still actually playing.

"The Lost Motorcyclist's" first mechanical problem came later in the morning, when the right baffle ejected itself from the muffler. I found it laying in the road about a hundred metres back, but could not find the missing bolt. So I used the cotter pin from the front axle nut to hold the baffle in.

Weather was the big story of the day. We had sunshine, fog, warm and cold air, rain and lots of wind. We finally found a campsite 35 km from Montreal and set up our tent for the night.

Early the next morning, we drove to the Longueil Metro parking lot, parked the bike, and took the subway to downtown, where the big movie theatres were located. We found out that Star Wars was playing at a theatre at the Hotel Bonaventure, starting a little after 12 o'clock noon. So we killed some time shopping at English book stores, which was another reason to travel to Montreal. At the first showing, not all the seats were full, but there was a huge line-up when we got out. We immediately started back to the motorcycle, planning to get as far from Montreal as possible that afternoon, as rain was in the forecast. We made it all the way to St Jean Port Jolie before we had to stop and set up our tent for the night.

Next morning, we made it to Rimouski by 10 AM, where we found out the ferry was leaving at 11 AM. Because the ferry terminal was still 100 km further, it seemed that without a hyperspace jump, we would need to maintain a 100 kph average through traffic to get there. I was actually 2 minutes ahead of schedule with only 40 km to go, when we came up behind a police car moving at the speed limit. This mind boggling delay continued for 20 km until the cruiser pulled off the road and I was free to maintain my forward momentum again. I reached the ramp to the ferry at the stroke of 11, ran in to buy the tickets, and drove on to the ferry.

Every motorcycle trip I made, I did some innovating. Looking back on this trip, I find it hard to believe that this was the first motorcycle trip where I used ear plugs. Now I can't ride without them. It was also my first trip carrying something that became another essential item: a credit card!

In those days we didn't have DVDs or even VCRs. Watching that movie again today on DVD, I can still remember why it was worth the 700 km drive to Montreal.

Harley's Old "Live By It" Ad Was Also Pretty Bad

After my blog on the new Harley Davidson "No Cages" advertisement, I just happened to be browsing a few older Harley Ads on Youtube, and came across this one "Live By It"


Harley Davidson - Live By It

1 We believe in going our own way no matter which way the rest of the world is going.
2 We believe in bucking the system that is built to smash individuals like bugs on a windshield.
3 Some of us believe in the man upstairs, all of us believe in sticking it to the man down here.
4 We believe in the sky and we don't believe in the sun roof.
5 We believe in freedom.
6 We believe in dust, tumble weeds, buffalo, mountain ranges and riding off into the sunset.
7 We believe in saddle bags and we believe that cowboys had it right.
8 We believe in refusing to knuckle under to anyone.
9 We believe in wearing black because it doesn't show any dirt or weakness.
10 We believe the world is going soft and we're not going along with it.
11 We believe in motorcycle rallys that last a week.
12 We believe in roadside attractions, gas station hot dogs and finding out whats over the next hill.
13 We believe in rumbling engines, pistons the size of garbage cans, fuel tanks designed in 1936, freight train sized head lights, chrome and custom paint.
14 We believe in flames and skulls.
15 We believe life is what you make it and we make it one hell of a ride.
16 We believe the machine you sit on can tell the world exactly where you stand.
17 We don't care what everyone else believes.
18 Amen.

So it seems to me this new "no cages" ad is actually an improvement over the older "Live By it Ad", which because of it's self important tone is great anti-Harley joke material and is probably embarrassing to most Harley owners. Anyway, here is what I see wrong with this ad, line by line. But especially line 16.

1. Nothing wrong with the first line, probably should have stopped the ad here, but noooooo.
2. This line would be great if it was still 1968. But it isn't, and people who believe this usually didn't buy Harleys anyway. Most Harley customers today consider themselves patriots, not system buckers. Keep up with your customer base!
3. This line about the "man upstairs" is the only line that wimps out from "We believe" to "Some of us believe". The "Stickin it to the man" comment is another 60's misfire, for the same reason as the previous line.
4. Fact: Many Harley riders own pickup trucks, and so "not believing in sunroofs" seems to imply more about the how they order their four wheel vehicles than it does about their choice of a two-wheel lifestyle.
5. This might as well be "We believe in Apple Pie" except that apple pie was a Canadian invention.
6. "Buffalo"? Ever tried to ride a motorcycle in a buffalo herd?
7. "Cowboys had it right"? Weren't they the ones who killed off the buffalo? (see line 6)
9. Wearing black has proven to be more dangerous on the road. But I agree, it does not show dirt. Not black dirt, anyway. However, believing that any other colour shows weakness? Come on.
10. "The world going soft", could refer to the disappearance of kick starters. But Harley went soft along with almost every other motorcycle at least thirty years ago.
11. This is just funny. We like rallies that last a week, apparently we don't believe in rallies that last 6 days or 8 days, though.

I won't go after every line, but I must comment on how line 16 conflicts with the theme of the ad.

16. "The machine you sit on can tell the world exactly where you stand" is the worst line of the ad, why? Because it cancels out the main idea of the ad. To me, "Live by it" means "how you live" is supposed to tell the world where you stand, not the stuff you buy.

I guess it's not surprising that Harley dumped their old ad agency. Even though the "no cages" ad was not that great, the "Live by it" was really embarrassing. Message to the Harley Davidson Motor Company: "Next time you decide to run an ad, prescreen it with "The Lost Motorcyclist". First consultation will be free.

What Can We Learn From Monty Hall?

There is game show called "Let's Make a Deal". Although this show has no pretensions of intellectualism, it has created a logical puzzle that fools nearly everybody. I heard about this puzzle on TV a few days ago, where a university professor presented the problem, and gave the correct answer, but he did not have time to explain fully. I was sure he was wrong, and continued to try to figure it out most of the night. By the morning, I was even more convinced he was wrong, so I decided to look it up on Wikipedia. You can find it in this entry "The Monty Hall Problem."


This entry goes through several different mathematical proofs, only a few of which I understood. And now I realize I was wrong. I had thought it didn't matter, but when Monty offers to let you change to a different door, you should always take the offer.

But why do well educated, mathematically trained humans almost always get fooled by this problem, when apparently even a pigeon can typically figure it out with time? In my opinion, the deceptive part is that Monty Hall is consciously trying to help you, while every normal human instinct would be to fear that he is trying to beat you.

Here is the problem. You have three doors. One door has a car, the other doors have gag gifts. First you are asked to choose a door, and you can win what is behind the door you choose. Monty then opens a door with a gag gift, and offers you the choice of switching to the remaining (still closed) door. Should you switch or not?

Most people (including mathematical wizzes and "The Lost Motorcyclist") instinctively figure that the odds of winning the car are exactly the same, whether you switch or not. Au contraire, your odds of winning are 66% if you switch, and 33% if you don't switch.

This is all explained, with several different proofs in the wikipedia entry. If you wish to figure it out for yourself, take a few days before continuing to look at the answer.

Now are you sure it doesn't matter whether you switch or not? This is an explanation of why you should switch in my own words. You have a 33% chance of winning when you pick your door, but that leaves Monty with a 66% chance of getting the car behind one of his two doors. Then Monty gets a chance to look behind the other two doors, and he eliminates the gag gift. Then he offers you the chance to switch with his best door, even though it contains a car 2/3 of the time. That's why you should take it.

What I think we should learn from Monty Hall is that strangers are not always out to win. In some extremely rare situations, they want you to win. But it's probably pretty rare, so most of the time you'd still be better off being suspicious of "generous offers". And that includes leasing a car vs. buying, in case you don't win the car on "Let's Make a Deal".

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Harley Davidson's NO CAGES Ad Campaign for Dummies

Harley Davidson has released an advertising campaign with the slogan "No Cages".

The problem is, that "cages" had a meaning to true motorcyclists and bikers alike, and the ad does not use that meaning. Here it is from the motorcycle dictionary:


"Cage - A car, truck, or van. The sworn enemy of motorcyclists, more commonly known as automobiles. The name stems from being all cooped up inside a closed shell, with no contact with the outside air."

"Cager - A person driving a car, truck, or van. Cage operator, or driver."

A motorcycle is not a "cage", also neither is a bicycle, or a person walking or jogging for that matter.

In this ad, the word "Cage" has been usurped to mean any restriction on your freedom of consumer choice. And while the ad does put a "cage" around car drivers, it also places a cage around people who are simply walking or jogging.

Any true motorcyclist would understand quickly the original meaning of the biker term "cage", and so would take this ad to be a blunder by an ad agency that does not really understand motorcycling. It often happens, with ad agencies that are filled with people who do not ride motorcycles, instead riding cars, SUV's and pickup trucks. So it would be a natural mistake.

The slogan "No Cages" could be insulting to many people I see parking their four wheeled vehicles at the Harley dealer. Also, to Harley owners who regularly use their pickup trucks to carry their Harley Davidsons. Because obviously, they are using cages, and the slogan clearly says "NO cages" as if to discriminate against them.

Harley Davidson is actually already linked to "cages", as they have a marketing relationship with Ford Motor Company to produce a "Harley Davidson" (TM) branded version of their F150 pickup truck. I don't know if this campaign will make Ford happy with the relationship.


Maybe the No Cages campaign was to neutralize the word "cage" before Harley Davidson's truck loving ways backfire on their hardcore image. So while I often see "Harley Davidson" stickers on the pickup trucks of wannabe Harley owners (or actual owners), please let's not have any "No Cages" bumper stickers on these same trucks.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Speed or Distance can be Dangerous

Everybody knows that speed is dangerous when driving. Of course, some people will speed anyway. I guess they make a mental trade off, where the benefit of speed equals the added risk of crashing. Probably everybody from speedsters to slowpokes make this decision at some point, and comes to their own particular compromise between safety and speed.

There is another factor similar to speed, which is probably less feared but also works the same way. It is distance. The further you go before resting up, the more danger of something going wrong. Of course, anybody can have a crash at any time, even pulling out of your own driveway, but I am convinced that putting on high mileage in one day can be an additional risk.

Here is a story that illustrates the situation. A person sets out to do an Iron Butt "Butt Burner 1000" which is a documented 1000 mile ride, which can be done on your own, in one day. All you need to do is send documented proof to the Iron Butt Association, and you get a certificate saying that you accomplished this mission. A 1000 mile ride is not easy to do, and so according to my theory, you should be extra careful. Especially of the last 500 miles. In this case, the person crashed at mile 997.


As the rider states, no accident can be considered all on its own. It is usually a series of decisions or failures. He then concludes
"The cavalier attitude I had to the whole trip was the root of the accident. I'd done it multiple times, so why not just wing it?"
Contributing factors, as I count them:
1. Rain prevented stopping to check route and mileage
2. Not knowing that the trip odometer would reset to zero at 621 km.
3. New bike, unfamiliar road (maybe that should count as two factors?)
4. No tank bag to display route map
5. Lightning storm knocked out power
6. RR crossing sign was down (maybe due to a previous accident)
7. RR crossing surrounded by 10 ft. of metal plate
8. RR crossing on a curve
10. Going around this curve with the surface invisible under a pool of water
11. Going around this curve in the dark.

So as I understand it, he was going to follow a known route to rack up 1000 miles, got confused by the odometer into thinking he was 21 miles short of 1000 miles, then without stopping to recalculate, took a detour to add more miles, then late in the 1000 mile long day, in the dark, on a little used unfamiliar road, after heavy rains, hit an unmarked curve that could not be taken at 40 mph because of the metal plate under the water.

I agree with the riders' assessment. Just because you have done 1000 miles in one day several times before, does not mean that you can do it again without the same amount of caution. Just like doing 250 km/hr several times before safely does not mean that the next time you can assume it will turn out OK, because each situation is different.

The one advantage I can see to riding farther instead of faster, is that the crashes tend to not be as harmful at slow speeds.

I have never participated in this kind of event, even though I sometimes have gone long distances in one day. I belong to the school of "riding to get somewhere" rather than the school of "riding to roll up the odometer", although, in some cases, the difference is so very slight.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ticky Tacky Motorcycles All Look Just the Same

The word of the day is ticky tacky. "The Lost Motorcyclist" came to this word by a fairly obscure route. First there was this so-called "Toyota Prius ad" on youtube: "You bought a Prius???"

So actually this is not an ad, as I found out later, but from a TV show called "Weeds", which I had never seen, about a widowed suburban mom who is forced to turn to a life of drug dealing in order to avoid simplifying her lavish lifestyle. The theme song of this TV show is "Little Boxes", a 1962 folk song by Malvina Reynolds, making a social commentary about suburban sprawl


The song refers to suburban houses as "little boxes made of ticky tacky, and they all look just the same."

Now that I am caught up again with pop culture, I am going to relate this back to motorcycling, where one of the great debates is about "ticky tacky motorcycles" looking all the same.

When Japanese motorcycle first came on the market in large numbers, it was about the same time the song "Little Boxes" was first written. And the general idea could also be applied to the cheaply mass produced Hondas, Yamahas, Kawasakis and Suzukis. Especially compared to the more expensive, more hand crafted bikes in limited quantities such as British, American, and Italian bikes. The BMW's, Triumphs, Harleys and Benellis were said to have more character than the Japanese machines.

The traditional motorcycles had a firm grip on the market, but it quickly began to slip for two reasons. First, the Japanese bikes attracted new customers to the market because they were easier to use and cleaner (as well as cheaper). So Honda and Yamaha did not have to win over the hard core bikers to stay profitable. Then finally the experienced motorcyclists caved in as the Japanese bikes established themselves with new dealers and new riders who fearlessly traveled the country without needing to overhaul their bike every few days.

Although by reputation, the Japanese bikes were "ticky tacky" (shoddy materials and construction), the truth was they were actually made of very good quality materials. Eventually all motorcycle makers had to copy Japanese design and manufacturing methods or go out of business.

But today the debate still rages on. The true building material for motorcycles is seen to be iron, chrome, steel, rubber and leather. Plastic, aluminum, and vinyl are more "ticky tacky". You can see the difference right away in my mass produced Kawasaki Vulcan, which has chrome-looking plastic all over the engine. Also plastic fenders, seat base and other odds and ends. But it is about half the price of an equivalent machine with more character.

Let's face it, mass produced items are always going to come up a bit short on "je ne sais quoi", whether they are houses, or motorcycles. But the fact is, not all mass produced items are made of ticky tacky. Or, maybe ticky tacky can sometimes be more reliable and work better than old fashioned materials.

Picture. This motorcycle may have been considered a cheap mass produced item in 1958, but today is a rare and exotic classic. The 1958 Honda Benley C90 from this Honda website:

Zen saying: Wait 1000 years and see how it looks.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Scooters to the Rescue

Over the years I have had motorcycle rides of all kinds. I mean commuting, long distance touring, group rides, winter rides, rain rides, shopping errands. But yesterday I went for a memorable ride that was different from any other ride "The Lost Motorcyclist" (TM) has ever taken.

I used Mary Ann's Burgman 400 scooter. Usually I have several means of getting around: walk, bicycle, scooter, Honda 175 or Vulcan 900 motorcycle, or by car. Yesterday I needed to get around in the city and the only transportation that could work was the scooter.

The situation that eliminated every other means of transportation was complicated. The Toyota Matrix was in the shop all day for a recall on the ECU, so I could not use the car. The previous day, I needed to have a catheter installed, so I could not walk or bicycle easily. A motorcycle was no good because the foot controls were too complicated for use with a catheter. That left the scooter as my only choice.

The reason I needed to go out was also complicated. Earlier in the morning, I managed to drive my car to the Toyota garage and return on the shuttle, but then I noticed the catheter bag had sprung a leak, so I had to get a new one before the car was ready. I called around and found a place in Kitchener with replacement catheter bags for $10. It was better than checking in to the hospital emergency room again to get another exact same model bag with the leaky, and poorly designed valve. But now I needed transportation to get to the medical supply store without a car, and that's where the scooter came to the rescue.

It was a sunny, hot day, and frankly I was not terribly concerned about having an accident at that point. So I grabbed my new half helmet and headed out the door with no other motorcycle gear. The way I was dressed happened to include sandals, but I didn't notice that until later. The absolutely only motorcycle gear I was wearing was the helmet, and somehow it didn't concern me at all. I easily got to the address of 702 King St. West. As anyone familiar with our city will know, the "west" is the most important part of the address. Because amazingly, to newcomers, we also have a 702 King street east, north and south. Upon arriving and parking my scooter at 702 King St. W, I was informed that the medical supply store had moved to another location also in downtown Kitchener. This urban environment is where scooters are so great. They can go as fast or faster than the traffic, turn on a dime, fit in anywhere, park on the sidewalks if you don't care about consequences. So I left 702 King West, but had to make a left turn onto a busy 4 lane road with all the traffic stopped at a stop light, but the scooter can fit in anywhere there is 3 foot gap between stopped cars.

In the end, I got my new $10 catheter bag, much better than the free "Medline" bag I got from the hospital (Which by the way retails for $1.35 according to the internet) . Within an hour, the shuttle picked me up and whisked me out to Heffner Toyota where I picked up my car with new brakes, new Engine Control Unit, and rebalanced tires. Now I'm planning to get some rest until I see my doctor on Monday. No more scooting around with catheter bags, even though the weather is still perfect.

Today a new film is opening called "Larry Crowne", starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. This movie features scooters prominently and furthermore, shows the scooters in a positive light. I'd like to see it, but I think I'll see the doctor first.

The one down side of the scooter is that was was a bit painful over all the bumpy city roads, and I really need to take it easy now for a few days to recover from my scooter ride.

Picture: Kitten in a bag by Keith Kimberlin, because I like this picture better than a catheter bag, but if you really need to see a catheter bag, just google it.