Monday, June 29, 2015

Holscher's Hub: Boyce MotoMeter

Holscher's Hub: Boyce MotoMeter


Holscher's Hub: Images of flight

Holscher's Hub: Images of flight: Model A radiator cap.

The old and the new. A passenger jet passes in front of a Ford Trimotor





Thanks, but no thanks, and oh, why even bother. Wyoming rolls over on the UBE.

Two years I wrote this item about the unfortunate move by the Wyoming State Bar adopting the Uniform Bar Exam:
Lex Anteinternet: Wyoming Adopts the Uniform Bar Exam, and why that'...:     Wyoming Supreme Court in  Cheyenne. Students of legal minutia know that the phrase "to pass the bar", or "to be ca...
I made some predictions at that time, including that the net effect of the UBE would be to increasingly pass off Wyoming's legal work to lawyers in big cities in neighboring states, and that has become true.  Now both defense and plaintiff's work, in the civil arena, has become something in which out of state firms are increasingly involved in.  So litigants who have cases in Wyoming are increasingly, in some instances, using non Wyoming lawyers, and in some instances defendants are being defended by non Wyoming lawyers.  It isn't that these attorneys are better than Wyoming's lawyers.  They aren't.  It's that they are from large cities in some instances.  In my view, Wyoming is being hurt by this as lawyers who know Wyoming's law and live in the state aren't handling as much of this work as they should.

When the UBE was adopted by the Wyoming Supreme Court, a Wyoming component was added in the form of a CLE that new admittees had to take. The concept was that, in the course of a day, they'd be exposed to Wyoming's law. That was always a fairly absurd concept, as it takes years to pick up the nuances of Wyoming's law, and no CLE with topics ripping by in fifteen minute increments is going to do that.

In saying that, I should note that I was part of the process.  While I'm opposed to the UBE and particularly opposed to the reciprocity aspects of it, my very opposition to it ended up causing me to be asked to write for one of the CLE topics.  I agreed to do it, after being approached, as I felt I had little choice.  Having been asked to do it, I could hardly decline, particularly as those who asked me were well aware of my opposition to the entire process.

Due to that, in the most recent issue of the state bar's publication I see that I, along with the other authors of written material for the UBE, have been thanked.  The reason is that the Bar Examiners have now concluded that the CLE requirement isn't worthwhile, so we're just going to admit new members without a state component, other than an expanded introductory pathways requirement.  Those who wasted their time on the written CLE requirement programs, such as myself, have had the futility of their efforts publicly applauded.

Well. . ., thanks but no thanks.  The entire Uniform Bar Exam process is misbegotten and ought to be dumped, and it was always a poorly through.   All this is serving to do is to export Wyoming's legal work to the detriment of Wyomingites.  It's not too late to salvage the situation, but it will become so as fewer and fewer Wyoming lawyers handle substantial cases.  I can easily envision a near future when even the judges will be out of state lawyers who apply for those positions are deemed to be the only ones experienced enough in the topics to handle the tasks.

The Board of Law Examiners, by the way, dumped the CLE requirement as it was ineffective.  That should have been self evident from the get go, as it was quite evident to me, as one of the drafters of a section of it, that the time element of it was so short as to be nonsensical.  There was no way that anyone was going to learn much in that sort of CLE, and there was no test as a part of it.  It was just something a person had to endure.

In its place, the BLE is going to expand the Pathways to Professionalism, a mandatory professionalism course which will be expanded.  Well, quite frankly, programs on professionalism do not  enhance professionalism one iota.

In making this decision, according to the article I read, the BLE was conceding that the law of most states is all the same, and a person can just look it up on the Internet.  Oh really. Well, that's baloney, and anyone who has had the experience of out of state lawyers practicing in a complicated Wyoming case knows better.  Of course, if we persist in this path, it will become very similar to Colorado's law, as that's where the majority of out of state "Wyoming" practitioners live.

Indeed, recently I was in a case which had one such practitioner on the defense side and two out of state lawyers on the plaintiff's side.  The lawyer on the defense side had a practice heavily based on out of state work, and he commented that "he couldn't believe" that Wyoming allowed such simple CLE admission and that he'd think that Wyoming lawyers would resent it.  So, something that's pretty self evident to out of state lawyers practicing in the state apparently isn't to those who are supposed to be manning the gate here.

This entire situation has been a terrible shame.  The concept that Wyoming's bar exam was somehow fatally flawed was poorly thought out, and the Wyoming Supreme Court really bought a line of baloney in adopting the UBE sales pitch.  There's no excuse for it, and the situation should be reversed before the damage, which will take years to undo, becomes any worse.  It would be simple to repair.  Simply require that any applicant to the Wyoming bar take a test on Wyoming's law.

Wyoming has a lot of really good lawyers, still.  And we have a law school, still.  We can craft a Wyoming component and test those who wish to practice here on Wyoming's law.  We should.

If we don't, our current pathway will have a logical development.  Within a decade nearly all serious litigation will be handled by out of state lawyers, and Wyoming's lawyers will reduce in number and be reduced to minor matters and criminal matters.  The judges will start to come from out of state too, and our law will start to resemble Colorado's, whether we want it to or not. The law school of which so many Wyoming lawyers are graduates, will go by the end of the next decade, as the uniqueness of Wyoming's law will decline, and there will be no reason to have an institution that serves no state specific purpose.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lost Rail: The Past

Lost Rail: The Past:   In Gallatin County, MT, within the confines of 16 Mile Canyon lies Maudlow.  The Milwaukee Milepost here is 1417.2.  Like the railroa...

Old Picture of the Day: Cleburne Texas

Old Picture of the Day: Cleburne Texas: This is Horse and Buggy Week, and today's picture delivers up a LOT of horses and buggies. The picture was taken on the town squar...

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Farming: Finland, 1899


Quite the scene, from the then very agrarian country (which was part of the Russian Empire at the time this photo was taken.  Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Friday Farming. The basic unit.



"Forty acres and a mule".  The basic agrarian unit in the American east in the 19th Century, and hence the unit that freed slaves were hoping to obtain, with the basic animal necessary to work the same.

"Three acres and a cow."  The basic agrarian unit in the United Kingdom in the 19th Century and early 20th Century, and hence the slogan of land reformers and Distributists.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Today In Wyoming's History: After Appomattox. The Civil War's impact on Wyomi...

After Appomattox. The Civil War's impact on Wyoming.



We recently posted this item on the Civil War in Wyoming:
Today In Wyoming's History: Wyoming in the Civil War: I posted this item on our other blog, Lex Anteinternet, very recently for a variety of reasons: Lex Anteinternet: The Stars and Bars as ...
That's not where Wyoming's story with the Civil War ends, however.  When the guns fell silent at Appomattox (which of course didn't really end the war everywhere), changes kept on coming.  And indeed it was inevitable that they would, given the operation of Holscher's Fourth Law of History, War Changes Everything.  So here we'll look at that part of the history of our state, which
again is a very significant one we've heretofore overlooked.
More on the thread posted on Today In Wyoming's' History.

Redrawing the battle lines to fit modern sensibilities, and thereby doing violence to history.

I suppose I'm over-publishing on this topic, due to the recent controversy over South Carolina's continued flying of one of the Confederate battle flags (there were a variety of them).  I've already posted on that immediately below.

On that topic, tonight on the national news I saw a man yelling at the reporter interviewing him when that reporter associated the Stars and Bars with the cause of slavery.  He yelled back something to the effect that Southern solders "were never fighting for slavery".

Oh, yes they were.

Oh sure, a person can put any number of nuances on this.  Drafted men, for example, fight (sometimes) because they were drafted. But at the end of the day, the argument that Southern soldiers didn't know that the war was about slavery are fooling themselves and dishonoring history. No matter what else the motives of individuals solders were, and no matter how hard, and even valiantly, they fought, they knew that if they one, slavery as an institution was going to be preserved, and that's what had taken their states into rebellion.  Individual motives may have been, and likely often were, much more complicated than that, but that's the simple fact.

What's also the fact, however, is that there's a tremendous desire on the part of people to make combatants of the past, even the near past, fit their sensibilities.  People don't like to think that people who fought really hard, and who had some admirable qualities, let alone people who are related them, fought for a bad cause, and knew it.

So, let's see how some examples of this work.

"The lost cause" has been a romantic Southern perception since some point during Reconstruction, when Southerners ceased confronting what they'd fought for and reimagined it.  As they did so, something the opposite of what Americans did to their returning servicemen during the late 60s and early 70s occurred, as they began to imagine the cause as noble and every Southern soldier a hero.  This stayed largely a Southern thing up until film entered the scene, and Birth of a Nation spread the concept everywhere.  It's likely best expressed in Gone With the Wind, which no matter what else a person thinks of it, has a very racist and rosy view of the old South.  It well expressed the concept that every slave was like Pork, Mammy or Prissy, and ever Southern soldier was Ashley.  The slave holding South is presented as a romantic dream, and effectively. Heck, I like the film. But it doesn't express reality.

The reality of Southern secession was that the Southern slave holding states had such a hair trigger about slavery the election of Abraham Lincoln was too much for it to endure, simply because he expressed the intent not to let slavery spread.  Southern legislatures went out of the Union, or tried to, on that point.  

That doesn't mean every Union soldier was enlightened.  But it should be noted that Union soldiers fought for the more philosophical point of preserving the Union.  At one time, their service was hugely admired, but in recent years, somehow, the romance that surrounds the Southern cause is the one that tends to be remembered.  That skews history.  Sure, the individual motivations of Southern troops may be more complicated, but that's still a fact that can't 'be ignored.

It probably also shouldn't be ignored that a huge percentage of the Southern fighting force had deserted by the end of the war either, or that regions of the South were hostile to the Confederacy.  

Which brings me to Italians during World War Two, truly.

For some reason, Italians, who actually did fight pretty hard in North Africa and in the Soviet Union (you didn't know that they fought with the Germans in the USSR, they did) are regarded as cowardly as they gave up when it became obvious that Mussolini wasn't worth fighting for.

Now, exactly what's wrong with that?  That doesn't make them cowards, that makes them smart.

I don't know what that says about the German fighting man in World War Two, but whatever it is, it isn't admirable.  But here too there are apologist who would excuse the German soldier.

German troops fought hard everywhere right to the bitter end, and they did so for an inescapably evil cause.  That's not admirable, and I don't care if most of them were drafted.  Most Italian soldiers were drafted too, and by 1943 they were giving up where they could, including their officers.  Some German officers did rebel, but mot didn't, and most German troops fought on until late war.  They shouldn't have.  They shouldn't have fought for Hitler at all.

The Japanese have gotten more of a pass about World War Two than the Germans have on every level, and I do suppose that the fact that Japanese soldiers were largely ignorant of things elsewhere may provide a bit of an excuse for the barbarity that they engaged in, but only barely.  And the occasional confusion of Japanese Medieval chivalry for later day Japanese "honor" is bunk.  The Japanese were brutal during World War Two and the fact that they claimed to liberate other Asians and then acted brutally shows that they should have known better.

Speaking of chivalry, however, the recent trend to show the enemies of Medieval Christendom as primitive nobles and the forces of Medieval Christendom as baddies is also revisionism in need of a dope slap.  Crusaders who went off to the Middle East weren't on a confused mission, they were repelling an invasion, and the Vikings weren't admirable in their pagan state.

Speaking of mounted troops (chivalry) another odd one has been the modern tendency to view all native combatants as committed against the United States in the 18th and 19th Century, or even against all European Americans.  Many Indians view things this way themselves, but it doesn't reflect the complicated reality.  Many tribes allied themselves with European Americans in various instances, sometime temporarily and sometimes not so.  In the West an interesting example of this is the Shoshone, who were allies of the United States and who contributed combatants to campaigns of the 1870s.  In recent years I've occasionally seen it claimed that the Shoshone were amongst the tribes that fought at Little Big Horn, in the Sioux camp.  It's not impossible that some were there, but by and large the big Shoshone story for the 1876 campaign was the detail contributed to Crook's command against the Sioux.  I'll note I'm not criticizing them for this, only noting it.

Regarding the main point, the fact of the matter is that we admire those who fight for us bravely, and bravery is admirable.  It's hard to accept that bravery for a bad cause is admirable, however. That doesn't mean that all bravery serves honor.  Quite the opposite can be true.  Redrawing the motives of combatants doesn't do history any favors, and it doesn't do justice of any kind to the combatants on any side in former wars either.

Mid Week At Work: Whaling


Old Picture of the Day: Processing Whale

Old Picture of the Day: Processing Whale: Today's picture shows a whale being processed after being killed. The picture was taken around 1940. I see a lot similarity betwee...

Old Picture of the Day: Whale Hunt

Old Picture of the Day: Whale Hunt: Today' picture is really sad and it shows the outcome as whaling became commercialized and was done for profit. This picture was t...

Old Picture of the Day: Whaling

Old Picture of the Day: Whaling: Welcome to whaling week here at OPOD. We will be looking at that now extinct career of hunting and processing whales. This picture was...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Today In Wyoming's History: Wyoming in the Civil War

Wyoming in the Civil War


I posted this item on our other blog, Lex Anteinternet, very recently for a variety of reasons:
Lex Anteinternet: The Stars and Bars as viewed from outside the Sout...:As everyone is well aware, there's been a controversy over the Confederate battle flag, the Stars and Bars, brought about by the recent
...
In doing this, it occurred to me to link this item over here, as I mentioned Wyoming's role in the Civil War in the post. . .

The rest can be read on our post on the Today In Wyoming's History blog.

The Stars and Bars as viewed from outside the South.

As everyone is well aware, there's been a controversy over the Confederate battle flag, the Stars and Bars, brought about by the recent senseless racist murders in South Carolina.  The Confederate battle flag flies on the statehouse lawn, where it has of course since the end of the Civil War.

Except it hasn't.

It's only been on that piece of ground, more or less, since 1961.  The Stars and Bars started flying from the State House dome in 1961, in what was frankly an attempt at a poke in the eye at desegregation.  It was since moved to the lawn in 2000 as it became increasingly controversial, and it now appears that it will be removed, finally, from the grounds entirely.  It's long overdue.  Indeed, it shouldn't have been there at any time post 1865.

Chances are that it had never been there prior to 1961.  Contrary to common belief, the Stars and Bars is not the "Confederate Flag". That distinction belonged to another flag.  Rather, the Stars and Bars was the Confederate battle jack.  A flag flown by some, but not all, Confederate forces on the battlefield, principally because the first Confederate national flag (the CSA adopted three flags during the course of the war), was easily confused with Old Glory.  By the war's end, the Stars and Bars had appeared as part of two Confederate national flags, but it was not, itself, ever the flag of the CSA nor even of the entire armed forces of the CSA.

The Stars and Bars, recalling Scotland's Cross of St. Andrew (with perhaps a shout out to one of the more independent Southern demographics at the time) is striking, and perhaps for that reason, it's the one that sticks in peoples minds and it's the one you see around today.

But why?

I know that the flag is cited as being part of Southern heritage and pride, but let's be frank.  It was the flag of an army in full rebellion against the United States and that rebellion cannot be separated from slavery.  Those today who would claim that the South was exercising a retained democratic right can only do so if the ignore the fact that a huge, largely native born Southern demographic, blacks, was kept in slavery and there's simply no excusing that.  South Carolina is a good example, as the majority of residents of South Carolina in the 1860-1865 time frame were black.  It's not like they were given the vote on succession.

For that matter, most Southern yeomen were fairly marginalized politically pre war as well, which helps explain why, during the course of the war, there ended up being more than a little resistance to the war effort. So much so, of course, that Virginia split in half.

Anyhow, the Stars and Bars, where it appears on public or private display, cannot help but offend.  For anyone who is not a white Southerner, it's insulting to some degree.  For blacks, how could it be taken otherwise?  For South Carolinian's, for that matter, who are black, how could it not be.  It only showed up on state grounds when South Carolina's legislature balked at desegregation.  It was meant to send a message all right, and the choice of the battle jack sent one pretty clearly.

In recent years, the Confederate battle jack has been showing up a lot here.  I saw it just this weekend at a camp site some people had set up out in the sticks.  Their camp was flying the U.S. flag and the Stars and Bars, a real mixed message.  That probably was intended to send sort of an in your face, Southern pride, message, but this isn't the South.

Indeed, the only Southern fighting men in this region of the country in the 1860 to 1865 time frame were "Galvanized Yankees" who had decided they'd take their chances with the Union as Indian fighters in order to get out of POW camps.  They were probably pretty reluctant Federal soldiers, but their performance wasn't bad and there seems to have been no troubles in stationing them with men who'd volunteered to fight the CSA from Ohio and Kansas, but who ended up here instead.

I suppose the Stars and Bars, today, is intended by most who fly it to show pride in their region, and not to send a rebellious racist message. If so, some Southern states, South Carolina included, have really pretty state flags that don't feature the Confederate battle jack and which, in some cases, probably predate the CSA.  Most Southerners during the war more closely identified with their states than with the CSA anyhow, and a person who is so state pride inclined ought to consider that.  And it should also be considered that American blacks have a history in the South which is as long as any other demographic, save for Native Americans.  They're story is just as much the South's as anyone else's.  It'd do Southern pride more justice to consider that time frame that falls outside of the five years of the Civil War, or perhaps that twenty or so year period if we include the time leading up to the war and Reconstruction, and not focus so much on it. 

Southerns of that era, we should note, did not.  Figures such as James Longstreet didn't wallow in their former Southern military status but went on to work to rebuild as part of the nation.  Longstreet, one of the most famous of Lee's Lieutenants, went on to become a Republican politician.  Lee went on to be a college president and refused to march in step with his students.  One former Confederate cavalry general went on to Congress and then back into the U.S. Army, as a volunteer, for the Spanish American War.  Southerners only one generation removed from the war volunteered in droves to serve in the Spanish American War.  Apparently they at least partially got over it. And with that, perhaps too its time for the Stars and Bars to go, or at least not to be flown in other regions of the country where the message definitely won't be seen as pride but rather something else.

Victor Military Band – 1916

Victor Military Band – 1916

Random Snippets: How to tell you are really out of the mainstream and too history minded.

"Adrian Peterson finding a new normal with Vikings" read the headline on the net.

And, having not had enough coffee I read that and thought to myself "well, Peterson could be a Norse name. . . but wait, we don't have vikings anymore. . . ."

It took me a few seconds to wake up and realize that, of course, Adrian Peterson is a football player with the Minnesota Vikings.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday at the Bar: Courthouses of the West: Johnson County Courthouse, Buffalo Wyoming

Courthouses of the West: Johnson County Courthouse, Buffalo Wyoming:


 
Now no longer a courthouse, but it was at the time this photo was taken a couple of years ago.  A new courthouse has come into service since that time.   More details on Courthouses of the West, where this was originally posted.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

1870 to 1918: Jenny has passed away.

1870 to 1918:  Jenny has passed away. Hello to all readers of Jenny’s blog. Tragically Jenny has passed away. She was following her passion, hiking in the Smoky Mountains, and evidently she had an accident. She was located in one of her favorite hiking areas, Porter’s Creek / Lester Prong.
Very tragic news.

I really liked the 1870 to 1918 blog, and the author, Jenny, was a bit of a kindred spirit in some ways. This news is sad in the extreme.  Our sincere condolences.

Sunday Morning Scene: Churches of the West: First Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City Utah

Churches of the West: First Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City Utah:


Friday, June 19, 2015

A Bicentennial. Waterloo

"Scotland Forever".  A painting on the charge of the Royal Scots Greys at Waterloo.

Just yesterday we passed the 200th anniversary of one of the most significant battles in modern history.  They Battle of Waterloo.

At Waterloo, a coalition of European nations, defeated the forces of radical authoritarian French aggression in favor of the rule of law, and really, democracy in the long run, although it wouldn't have been seen that way at the time. 

Not everything about this is perfect, if broken down into minute details, but basically it's correct.  One of the high points of British history, and really one of the high points of modern history.

Orvis: Fly fishing on a budget?



I got an Orvis advertisement email that was captioned "Fly fishing on a budget?"

Oh, bar har har har!

Why yes, I am.

I really have to laugh at this.  I love Orvis' stuff, although its price deters me from buying it as a rule, but I was fly fishing way before fly fishing was cool, and for the original reason. . . to catch fish. . .which I eat.

Yes, gasp!  I view fishing the way the Indians did, heck the way stoneage man did, and the way generations of fishermen did before the gentrification and wussyification of things caused the PC fishing to be "catch and release".  Oh, I'll release, but only if the fish is too small to eat or below the legal size limit.  Otherwise, I'm eating the fish. Which is, no matter what a person might wish to fool themselves about, the point of fishing.

Now, I have nothing against the nice gear that Orvis offers, but not only am I fishing for primitive reasons (which is actually the reason that anyone fishes, no matter what they tell themselves) but I'm so low rent, that I look my primitive part.  I don't even own waders.  Not because I'm opposed to waders, but rather because as a short man who was a short boy I never was able to own a pair in a size that looked like it would fit, and now I'm acclimated to simply wading in while wearing old Army tropical combat boots.

Indeed, when I'm found on the trout streams (which isn't nearly enough), I'm typically found wearing blue jeans, a work shirt, a M1911 campaign hat (that doubles as my hunting hat) and my tropical combat boots.  Last year we updgraded to new fly poles and retired the really old ones that we were still using, which had been my fathers (and one of which is still pretty nice), but we didn't go high dollar by any means. Still, the new poles are really nice.

It's funny, however, how we'll actually get some odd looks from the fisherman on the Platte who are clearly higher rent than we are.  Indeed now people charter fishing guides and even fly in to fish here.  I guess seeing the rude primitives on the Platte sort of unsettles them and they don't like it.  Nonetheless, I suspect we're closer to the original and remaining core of the sport, and perhaps they should, in looking at us, look back in time, and back into the reason that people do this.

Holscher's Hub: Jeeping the Mile

Holscher's Hub: Jeeping the Mile




I love my 1997 Jeep TJ.

I wasn't too sure I'd be able to say that when I bought it.  I've owned Jeeps twice before.  Both prior times I was enthusiastic about my Jeep but my ardor cooled over time. This time it hasn't.

To be fair to those prior Jeeps, they were far from new.  The first one was a 1958 M38A1, which I bought in 1978 when I was fifteen years old and it was 20 years old.  Now, my current Jeep is nearly that old, but vehicles built in the 1950s just didn't have the staying power that ones built now do.  My second Jeep was purchased from a dear friend who was moving back east, and was a 1946 CJ2A.  It was a great Jeep, but any vehicle built that long ago turns the owner into a full time mechanic and I just  didn't have the time or the money to keep it going back then.  And, also, it was really tiny.  The 97 TJ isn't huge, but it's big compared to the 1946 CJ2A.

But more than anything, everything good about Jeeps has been improved in the series that have come out in the 1990s.  Fanatic fans of the CJ5 aside, the YJ and the TJ  are much better, and no doubt the ones they make now are better yet.

This one reminds me a lot of the M151A1s I drove while in the National Guard, except it isn't nearly as hideously dangerous as those Jeeps were.  And again, this Jeep is simply better, even than the M151.  The 6 cylinder engine is great, and the wider wheel base is nice.

I can't believe the Army doesn't use these anymore.

Lex Anteinternet: Let the whining commence

When I published this a few days ago. . . 
Lex Anteinternet: Let the whining commence: Pope Francis is releasing an encyclical on the environment. People have been complaining about it for nearly a year.  The encyclical, w...
the new Papal Encyclical on the environment hadn't even been released yet, but was already drawing controversy.  Now that  Laudato Si is out, it really is.

One thing that should not be missed about the encyclical is that it's probably the single most widely noticed essay on the environment that has ever existed.  Other environmental works have drawn widespread attention, Silent Spring comes to mind, but this is the first pronouncement by a single human being that's drawn this sort of attention.  It isn't as if prior global figures haven't spoken on environmental topics.  Al Gore did, of course.  Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has as well.  In terms of religious figures, Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamo famously has as wells, and for years.

But of these figures, perhaps only Gore drew really widespread attention.  The Dutch Queen's statements drew notice in Europe, but only briefly, and I dare to suspect that most Americans associated the world "Queen" only with the name "Elizabeth".  The Metropolitan's comments did draw global notice, but really only the sort of audience that subscribes to First Things or The New Republic.  The Pope, however, proves to be impossible for anyone to ignore.  It's an answer, once again, to Stalin's old question, "how many divisions does the Pope have"?  Well, quite a lot, it would seem.

So, not surprisingly, the encyclical is drawing praise and condemnation.  Perhaps somewhat ironically, and again, perhaps very much in its favor, some of the praise its drawing comes form quarters that desperately ignore or are even hostile to the Pope's Catholic faith otherwise, and whom are probably self consciously squeamish about seeing the mantle of conservationism retrieved from a species of pagan environmentalism, but whom are praising it none the less. And some of those condemning it are squirming in their seats as they otherwise would normally be fully behind elements of Catholic social conservatism.

All this is a good thing, as it refocuses this topic where it ought to be.  In human terms, not in pagan terms, and neither from the right or the left.

Now, I haven't read the entire document by any means.  Its very long. But one quote here should stand out:
The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.
Agree with the Pope on climate change or not (and only a portion of the document is on that topic), this is true.

And the Pope then goes on to criticize both the pagan nature of radical environmentalism and the tunnel vision nature of those who focus only on technology and the generation of economic capital.

In this, the Pope, it seems to me, has taken up the cause of  Rerum Novarum and set it out in modern economic terms.  Probably the only world leader who can do so, he's answering the question posed by Wendell Berry in What Are People For? and is reminding us that life is for the living, and a decent living, not just for the generation of work.  It is essentially, it seems to me, a document drafted in the spirit of the Distributist really, which of course makes sense as Rerum Novarum gave rise to that movement.

All the furor aside, and whether or not a person agrees with the science in the document, this is something that should cause people to think again about what people are for, and what sort of world those people get to live in.  That shouldn't be provoking cries from industry (and it really isn't), nor should it be provoking rejoicing in liberal camps who would otherwise ignore nearly everything that Pope Francis stands for.  By coming in from the middle as he has, he's really come from where most people instinctively live, and hopefully taken these topics out of the hard core left and right partisan camps where they seem to be residing these days.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Lex Anteinternet: Expatriates: Looking at it a bit differently.

 Father and son farmers, farming and ranching are one of the few local industries that's still often a family business.

I ran this item on the long running perceived problem  of Wyoming's youth leaving the state last Wednesday:
Lex Anteinternet: Expatriates: Looking at it a bit differently.: Okay, I know that this is a history blog, and it's now been running so long as research for a book, that it's becoming historical i...
 And I've run items on family businesses here before.

 Proprietor of family butcher shop, 1940s.  This industry still exists, but the butcher shop has yielded at least partially to the chain grocery store.  For people who like little clues from movies, the film "Marty" involves the story of a simple butcher who has bought such a shop from an owner who has no family.  The intrusion of the super market is actually mentioned in the film.

The two, it occurs to me, don't seem to be obviously tied together, but I wonder if in fact they aren't a bit.  And if they are, it reflects a long term change in the economy that, at least with our current economic model, we can't do a whole lot about.  Something could be done, of course, but I don't think it will be.

 British soldiers in World War Two overlook a man making a fish net in Sicily, an art that was done as a family enterprise at the time.

The concept of a "family business" is an old one. Beyond that, the idea of father's following their sons into their father's profession is an old one.  Interestingly, I'd note, recently I have seen quite a few examples of daughters going into professions occupied by their mothers.

 Drug store in Southington Connecticut, 1940s.  This family had a shop on this corner for about 200 years at the time this photograph was taken. Do they still?

Now, it's really easy to make too much of this, as this has never been a hard and fast rule by any means. Still, if you go back into antiquity, you find that it was so strong that at one time entire families would end up being named for the occupation that they generally held.  My last name, for example, stems from a Westphalian name (it also occurs as a Dutch name) which identified men whose occupation was making wooden shoes.  At one time, and that time was extremely long ago, most of my ancestors who bore that name did that for a living.  Thankfully, they don't now, as I wouldn't care for that much.

Cartoon of dancing, pipe smoking, Dutchman wearing wooden shoes, which my ancestors at one time made, and which I'm tankful I neither make nor wear.

Be that as it may, even relatively recently quite a few people followed a father into a business.  Some of my near relatives, for example, had a "drug store" in which the sons went to work for their father.  My same ancestors mentioned above, when they immigrated from Paderborn Westphalia, opened a general store that became classic "drug store" and which is still open and still owned by a member of the family that I'm distantly related too (the last member of my direct line who would have worked there would have been my great grandfather). 

 Family that was, at the time this photograph was taken, entirely engaged in the fishing industry.  This is hard work, and chances are you would never see such young laborers in it today.  Fishing remains a family industry in the US, although it's greatly imperiled. 

As noted in the earlier post on this topic, my grandfather owned a packing plant locally, amongst other businesses, and there was briefly enough of a family connection that one of his brothers went into the same industry, which he worked at until he retired in the Mid West.  My grandfather died when he was only in his 40s, which through the family into a crisis, and that ended up in the loss of those businesses.  I've sometimes wondered if he'd lived if the family would have continued on in that occupation.  I suspect so, which would have made, maybe, for a much different daily existence for me.  If he'd lived at least until his 60s would my father have followed him into that business?  My father has noted how the margin in that industry is very thin and while he missed his father greatly, I think for the rest of his life, he never indicated to me that he lamented the decision to sell the plant. At the same time, however, he never said anything really negative about the industry either.  My grandmother insisted he get a university education, and he did, but I also know that he wasn't independently inclined to do that, in spite of fairly clearly having a genius level IQ.  I suspect that, had my grandfather lived, he would have entered that industry.  And if the plant still existed when I graduated from high school, I very strongly suspect I would have probably pursued a business degree and entered that business as well.

Otherwise, obtaining a business degree is something I never would have considered and still wouldn't now.  One of my friends has lamented to me how often this degree is overlooked by people who feel that they must have a professional degree, and as he's done very well as a businessman, and loves it, I can see why.  Still, that pursuit sounds really dull to me (although, quite frankly, a law degree has business elements and I didn't find that dull). 

My point is that at one time this path, entering into a family business, was a fairly easy and obvious one to take.  And it's still one that people take today. And, and this is significant, it's one that was available to quite a few who didn't take it either.  At least part of the reason that this path is so less common today is because so many of those local enterprises just don't exist as local entities anymore.  People transferred their loyalty from a local shop or artisan to a big box entity or chain, and so many of those jobs are just simply gone.  Not all, but many.

Not that this is a new topic here. We've touched it before. The point is, however, that this is a significant aspect of our economy that's changed quite a bit in recent decades. We still hear, quite frequently, that the majority of jobs in the US come via small business, and I suppose that's true.  Supposedly a majority of business start ups also fail (which is sort of counter intuitive.  At any rate, we've certainly cut into this class of business enormously in recent decades and, when we look at the story of returning sons and daughters, the family business, if there would have been one, certainly isn't what it once was.  Americans have long held, as part of that really vaguely defined, if defined at all, concept of the American Dream that every generation should be upwardly mobile (although there's some evidence that this isn't the dream of the younger Middle Class anymore).  To some extent, the demise of the family business forces that decision, and departing the state, in a way earlier generations didn't have to face.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

“Lindbergh (The Eagle of the USA) / “Lucky Lindy” – Jack Kaufman 1927

“Lindbergh (The Eagle of the USA) / “Lucky Lindy” – Jack Kaufman 1927

Holscher's Hub: One of the old ones, still being used.

Holscher's Hub: One of the old ones, still being used.:




Studebaker pickup truck from the early 1960s.  Actually being used by a fisherman, much as it was originally intended to be.

The FDA to ban trans fats

Good.

Trans fats are a largely artificial fat.

 Margarine advertisement. This advertisement refers to it as Oleomargarine, and my father always referred to it as Oleo.

This blog, as we all know, theoretically focuses on historical matters.  In that context, we've occasionally touched on food

There isn't a shortage of fat in the food of the Western world, and there never really has been, save for periods of wartime.  That's not actually true of the entire globe, as there were some fat starved regions of the globe even relatively recently.  I doubt that's the case now.

Artificial fats have come about relatively recently.  Margarine was the big early one, and was an alternative to butter.  For some reason, and I don't really know what it was, my parents had switched to margarine when I was a kid and I grew up with it.  I didn't switch to butter until I was married, as my wife liked butter and it really is much better.   Anyhow, I understand margarine gained ground in the Great Depression, probably due to cheaper cost, and World War Two, when there were fat shortages.  I dimly recall butter being really expensive during the 1970s as well, which might be the reason that we went to margarine.

Now, we're such aficionados of butter that we buy Irish butter, which his super.

Anyhow, good riddance on industrial fat.  And perhaps that should lead us to ponder the nature of industrialized food to a greater extent.

Lex Anteinternet: Concepts of Race

Well, I simply can't help myself.

Back in November, 2014, I wrote this entry on concepts of race.
Lex Anteinternet: Concepts of Race:    The way that things ought to be, and at that age typically are.  But beyond that, chances are these two young girls are actually of t...
In that I noted that our concepts of race are actually quite phony.  Over time, what's considered a race at one time has changed and the same cultural demographic is not considered a race later on.  The Irish and the Italians, for example, were once actually considered to be another "race", but certainly are not now.

Well, this has come into the news, although not in the more analytical fashion that we addressed it here, due to the story of  Rachel Doleza.  Doleza was working, apparently fairly successfully, for the NAACP and representing herself as black. She isn't.  She isn't genetically anyhow.

In an interview she recently gave, she essentially claims a sort of "blackness" by way of "self identification".

This is a very curious recent development.  People have always self identified as things that they actually are, and which particularly matter to them.  So, for example, people have identified themselves as "Irish Catholics' or "Norwegian Lutherans" as these identifiers reflect a cultural and religious identity that matters to the.  But you can't really identify yourself as something you flat out aren't.  That's delusional.

But it's become interestingly popular, which says something about how phony the culture has become in some ways.  And here Doleza may be doing us a huge favor.

Delusional self identification has become enormously popular of late.  There are authors who will use a self identifier like those noted above when their own personal lives show those connections to be very thin.  Beyond that, I'm fairly certain that the positions of those who have same gender attractions has become such a cause celibre, no matter what you think of it one way or another, that there are those who self identify in that category who actually don't have the attraction.  And now we see men self identifying as the opposite gender, and vice versa, to the extent that they actually seek surgery to cause that appearance.  In northern Europe, that required a person to have to undergo psychological evaluation before such a surgery is performed, but in the US it does not, in spite of the massive level of severe depression associated with the surgeries and the fairly demonstrable examples of a change in the person's views upon receiving the psychological analysis.

This is really an interesting phenomenon in that in an era when things "natural" are celebrated, this is deeply unnatural. People who are supposedly unhappy with their gender still have the DNA that they were born with, and that's their natural gender.

Race is trickier, as in actually the genetic differences between "races" don't even exist in some circumstances and are purely cosmetic where they do. Race is more of a cultural identifier than anything else, but you can't really run around claiming an cultural identifier that's phony.  Can't be done.

And it's pretty darned insulting too.  Here, ironically, things were once so bad for American blacks that light skinned American blacks would sometimes attempt to pass for "white".  Those days are thankfully over.  But it sure doesn't do current blacks any favors when people run around trying to falsely claim that identifier.

Let the whining commence

Pope Francis is releasing an encyclical on the environment.

People have been complaining about it for nearly a year.  The encyclical, which will go under the name Laudato Sii, will concern the environment.  In the US, those on the political right have been unhappy about this since they knew it was coming out.  US Catholics on the political right have oddly been particularly unhappy, which might be because people have a disturbing tendency to inform their religious views by their political ones, when it should go the other way around.   But there's been a lot of that in the US to some degree in recent decades, in all areas of religion.

Another reason might be that Pope Francis is undoubtedly more "liberal" than his two immediate predecessors, and this causes concern in some quarters.  He's frankly not my "favorite" Pope, but I don't think his encyclicals, so far, have been off the mark.  And by encyclicals, I should say encyclical, as there's been only one so far. That one was   Lumen Fidei.

Lumen Fidei was pretty darned controversial in and of itself, in some quarters, as it brought up some topics that economic conservatives, or rather free marketers, were made uncomfortable by.  It didn't espouse free market economics, but then no Pope ever has, so that makes the controversy so very interesting.  People getting upset should have recalled that Pope Leo XIII made both socialist and free marketers upset when he issued Rerum Novarum, which criticized free market economics and socialism both.  Rerum Novarum was so hugely influential at the time that it gave rise to Distributism, the economic "third way" that's really more "free market" capitalist than the model we actually use.  It'd be tempting to look at the economic comments in Lumen Fidei as reviving those arguments, but people have not tended to do so.

What this does point out, however, is that Papal Encyclicals, which are simply writings of the Pope, and which do not bind anyone to agree with them in any fashion (i.e., Catholics and others are free to disagree fully with them), have tended to be pretty darned on the mark on the topics they address.  Rerum Novarum sought to explore, in part, economic justice in terms of the individual and the family.  Over a century later some similar themes still needed exploration, which shows how relevant Pope Leo XIII had been in the 1890s when he issued it.  

Right or not, it's well to remember that Popes haven't shied away from controversial topics and they've often made a lot of people mad with encyclicals.  Pope Paul VI created such a controversy when he issued Humanae Vitae in 1968.  This was such the case that it caused somewhat of a revolt in some Catholic circles and the conduct warned against has been largely ignored.  None the less, it's also often noted that the future warned against proved to be remarkably accurate.

In terms of ignored, we also have Pope Pius XI's  Mit Brennender Sorge (released in German, not Latin), released in March 1937 and aimed injusticies within Nazi Germany.  Things only got worse, of course, but as an international declaration, it's pretty darned early.  Most of the world didn't really get around to being fully appalled by Nazi conduct until Allied troops began to liberate the camps and the full nature of what occured became painfully evident.

Okay, so what's the point. Well, perhaps people need to consider what's written and ponder it, rather than resort to a political position first.  That doesn't mean that they'll agree, but sometimes pondering is in order.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Automotive Transportation III: Motorcyles


I started this series last summer, I think.  I started this entry on motorcycles months ago, and I'm only just finishing it now.  That probably reflects the degree of my knowledge on motorcycle, or perhaps where I place them in the story of transportation.

Weishaar Winner 100 mi. race, Norton, Kan. Oct. 22, 14. Time 2 hr. 1 1/2 min. World record.
Racing motorcycle, 1914.

Which isn't to say that I despise motorcycles or something.  I don't. And indeed, when I was young I used to occasionally find them fascinating enough that I thought of buying one, and I did know quite a bit about certain ones.  I was fascinated with Harley Davidson's in the late 1970s and early 1980s, in an era when they were still a motorcycle that was associated only with hard core motorcyclists (now they've become sort of the default bike for hard core motorcycle fans and men in their late Middle Age for some reason).  I also once had quite a fascination with BMW motorcycles, and even knew a little about Triumph motorcycles.  I still find Harleys and offroad/street combo BMWs very interesting, but I've gotten over really wanting to buy a BMW or a Harley Sportster.  And that's a good thing.  Motorcycles are really dangerous.

Anyhow, while motorcycle fans would no doubt dispute it, no means of engined transportation has changed less than the motorcycle.  This doesn't mean that they haven't changed at all, they most certainly have, but if you look at a motorcycle from a century ago, it's obviously changed less than the automobile, or about anything else.


Motorcycles were an easy transition from the Safety Bicycle, and even now there's a class of two wheeled vehicle that's a cross between the two. When the internal combustion engine came on, motorizing the safety bike was an obvious thing to do.  Commercial motorcycles arrived as early as cars, and were offered commercially in the late 19th Century.  Royal Enfield, which still makes a motorcycle, albeit in India rather than the UK where it originated, started making motorcycles out of its bicycle shop in 1901.  Triumph had one a year later.  American bicycle racers formed the Indian Motorcycle Company in 1901.  Two years later Indian's big competitor, Harley Davidson, was founded by William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson who operated out of a back shop of a friend.  As with automobiles, there were a lot of early manufacturers, which is particularly not surprising with motorcycles, as they were easy to make.

Motorcycles were also comparatively cheap to make and they were fast (and dangerous).  They therefore had, right from the onset, all of the attributes they do now.  They were cheaper than cars (or could be), they were very versatile and could go anywhere. They were fast.  And they were dangerous.  They appealed to many of the same people to whom they appeal now, and many of the same things we associate with them now, even racing, existed from nearly the onset.

They did, however, have a wider appeal in certain quarters than they do now.  This was the case for a variety of reasons, with a significant one being that cars were enormously expensive prior to Henry Ford depressing the price. Even Ford, however, didn't depress the price of cars uniformly and globally, so in some regions of the globe the motorcycle, in spite of its one passenger, open air, two wheeled disadvantages, became competitive with cars.  This was particularly the case in Europe, which caused there to be a lot of early manufacturers of motorcycles in  Europe.

 U.S. Army Harley Davidson's during the Punitive Expedition.

The fascination with motorcycles lead quite quickly to their consideration as a service vehicle, and even before World War One various armies began to experiment with them in this capacity and police forces adopted them as an alternative to horses and cars.  World War One saw widespread use of motorcycles, and while we don't think of the Great War in this fashion, World War One may really be the high point of the military motorcycle, as the vehicle was sufficiently fully developed to offer any advantage then that it would later, which was not true of the automobile. At any rate, all sorts of use, and experimentation, with military motorcycles was seen during World War One.

U.S. Army motorcycle with sidecar in  France, World War One.


Harvard, Military motor cycle squad 
Harvard Military Motorcycle Club

And of course the use of motorcycles by police came fully on in this era, and thereafter, as well.

 Motorcycle policeman, 1923.

Motorcycle policeman, 1932.

Just as with cars, motorcycles took a hit during the Great Depression, although that is somewhat surprising given that they were cheaper than cars. Also following World War One, and into the 1920s and 1930s, the American motorcycle began to take on a family form that it retains to this day, in so far as big street bikes are concerned.  Harley introduced its teardrop shape gas tank in 1925, and it's retained the look ever since.  Big V Twin engines became a feature of American bikes, with Harley introducing its 45 cubic inch V twin in 1929, where as other options were explored elsewhere. BMW, for example, introduced its legendary horizontal opposed twin engine bike in 1923.  BMW also introduced dampered forks in 1935, a true advance in the motorcycle which oddly wasn't copied in bicycles for decades.
 
 1922 Harley Davidson with sidecar.  Note that in 1922 Harley s had not yet acquired the archetypical appearance that they would shortly have.

World War Two once again saw a lot of motorcycle use, although its somewhat misunderstood.  The U.S. Army did use motorcycles, for example, as did the British, but it was really the European armies that were transportation challenged that made large scale use of them. The Germans, for example, were heavy users of motorcycles, but they were also heavy uses of horses.  The Soviets used a lot of them too, and in both armies they were really an alternative to horses or, in the German case, bicycles.  The Germans used motorcycles, really, as they didn't have the production capacity to make something like the Jeep in sufficient numbers.

 http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Gjc_X8qQibA/Ugj4zS8VoCI/AAAAAAAAMr4/DHPMcpV7dXI/s1600/2013-08-10+13.45.13.jpg
German, or perhaps East German, motorcycle and side car of the type used by the Germans during World War Two.  This design is unusual in that the sidecar had a powered axle.  This motorcycle was a hugely successful design and not only saw civilian application, but it was copied by the Soviets who made a basically identical version.  The same motorcycle was made in East Germany in a former BMW plant, under the BMW name, after the Soviets relinquished control of the plant.  A lawsuit ultimately caused the East German BMW to become EMW.

 Military Harley Davidson on display at the Pacific Aviation Museum in Oahu.  This type was widely used by the US Army during the war, but motorcycles have never seen the same extent of use in the U.S. armed forces that they have in other armies.

American motorcycles being used by the Australian army, 1943.  Its not immediately clear to me if these are Harley's or Indians.

Following World War Two when civilian production resumed, some interesting things began to happen. For one thing, and for the first time really, motorcycles in the US became associated with gangs. This was actually a direct byproduct of World War Two, as the early motorcycle gangs were made up of restless returning servicemen.  Indeed, the initial early appearance of the gangs reflected this, as surplus Army Air Corps flying jackets were pressed into service as motorcycle jackets.  The creation of the gangs proved to be enduring, and of course they are still with us.

Following the war, Harley Davidson dominated the American market for some time.  Indian ran into financial trouble immediately post war, and in 1950 it quit offering bikes.  Harley had the entire field to itself for a long time, in terms of American production.  It wasn't without competition, but the competition that did exist simply didn't offer a motorcycle that was really comparable.  Triumphs, for example, were imported into the US, but they weren't a heavy bike like the Harley Davidson.

 http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-d05vTBbCuD0/UiDP1H90ndI/AAAAAAAAM5U/bK0FvdYm6FM/s1600/2013-08-29+10.27.56.jpg
Triumph cafe racer, probably of 1970s vintage.  Harley Davidson also made a cafe racer, but you very rarely see them.

In the early 60s, however, a revolution in motorcycles occurred when Honda began offering their really light and really cheap motorcycle in the US.  A global standard, and aimed at the bottom dollar, the Honda really took off in the US as it was so affordable.  Purely a town bike, the bike inspired an immediate follow8ing and even an enduring popular song by a band named after the company and which was covered by the Beach Boys.

I'm gonna wake you up early
Cause I'm gonna take a ride with you
We're going down to the Honda shop
I'll tell you what we're gonna do
Put on a ragged sweatshirt
I'll take you anywhere you want me to

First gear (Honda Honda) it's alright (faster faster)
Second gear (little Honda Honda) I lean right (faster faster)
Third gear (Honda Honda) hang on tight (faster faster)
Faster it's alright.

The song pretty much nailed the Honda's appeal.

It's not a big motorcycle
Just a groovy little motorbike
It's more fun that a barrel of monkeys
That two wheel bike
We'll ride on out of the town
To any place I know you like

The Honda was the Anti-Harley, and its appeal was huge.  Soon thereafter the Honda was joined by other cheap Japanese motorcycles, and Harley found itself competing in the American market with motorcycles that were originally aimed at an impoverished Asian market.  Harley took a pounding and by the 1970s it was in serious financial trouble.

At about the same time, the Japanese strongly entered the field with the "dirt bike", a type of motorcycle designed just for off road use. Hugely popular, Harley's attempt to enter the field failed, even though a Spanish manufacturer, Bultaco, was successful at the time.  The dirt bike gave rise to the Enduro, a type of dual use bike.  In recent years, BMW and Triumph has expanded this concept into a new type of motorcycle that can be used for absolutely everything.

 All purpose BMW. Street, touring, off road, it does it all.

Just as with automobiles, the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers were not content to allow Harley to dominate the big vehicle market and by the 1970s Honda had introduce a really large touring bike. The Super Glide found itself competing with the Golden Wing, and it still does today.  

Since the 1970s, Harley has gotten back on its feet, and in doing so it operated to attempt to shed itself of an outlaw image that it had never courted.  It now not only makes its classic cruisers and street bikes, but it competes with the Japanese under the name Buell with their style of motorcycle. The really cheap motorcycle era has ended, save for Royal Enfield which really produces for the Indian market but which imports into the United States.  All of the major players since 1950 are still around and some new ones are as well, so Harely, which is doing well, now competes once again against some American manufacturers.

Technologically, motorcycles  bear a striking resemblance to the original product, although there have been advances in the engines and a belt  has replaced the chain, and there have been other changes as well. Still, they very closely resemble the original products.


___________________________________________________________________________________

Postscript

But wait, you didn't touch on motor scooters!  Aren't they motorcycles?

Modern motor scooter

I think they are, but as sort of a distinct category of the bike, apparently a lot of people don't.  At least in my state, you need a special license to operate a motorcycle, but not a motor scooter.  I have no idea why that's the case, but it is.  Somehow the authorities must not regard them as being as dangerous, although I'm sure they are or at least darned near are.

The scooter is a low powered motorcycle with a unique platform. They're just made for local transportation, not "over the road", as it were.  They date back to the teens, at least, and have a long history we really don't think of much.  

Cushman, a company that specialized in low powered vehicles, introduced a scooter into the American market in 1936.  It went on to produce one, the Model 53, that was designed for use by U.S. airborne troops during World War Two, although the extent to which they were used is something that I have no idea of.  Other Cushman scooters were purchased by the Army for local use in the United States.

Behind this military bicycle, a Cushman scooter is visilbe.


Another Cushman motor scooter, this one also showing World War Two colors for the U.S. Army.

It was really after World War Two, however, when we start to really think of scooters.  This is partially due, at least, to the introduction of the Vespa after World War Two. Somehow, a major reconsideration of the Italian culture in the US occurred in the 1950s, and the Italians went from being considered backwards and destitute to being the coolest thing ever.  This must have been a very odd experience for Italians, who went from being treated as cowardly peasants to the global standard setters for style in less than a generation, and who found that they were suddenly admired on everything, and this included their vehicles.  Vespas, a light scooter, were regarded as very cool.

Not too surprisingly, the Vespa craze died off, but it's revived in recent years and the popularity of scooters with it.  Now, once again, scooters are very common.  A while back on  a trip to Denver they were literally everywhere, although I'd personally live in fear of driving one in that big city.

While mentioning scooters, I probably ought to conclude with the other species in this genus, and there are  few.  Minibikes are one. These are simply miniature motorcycles that were designed for children.  These tiny motorcycles were hugely popular in the 1970s, but they've passed by the wayside now, and even though they still exist, they aren't as common as they once were, and I'm glad. They always struck me as really dangerous.

"Trikes", motorized three wheeled vehicles are also closely associated with motorcycles, probably because they were often originally built from one.  They're offered commercially now and you see variants of them around.  They're a vehicle I know very little about, other than that they've been around for quite awhile and are popular to some degree with those to whom motorcycles appeal, but who don't want a two wheeled vehicle.

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Related threads:

Automotive Transportation I:  Trucks and Lorries.

Automotive Transportation II:  Cars.

Air Transportation.

Horsepower

Riding Bicycles.

Rail Transportation

The Rise and Decline of the SUV

Water Transportation

Walking

Courthouses of the West: Federal Courthouse, Sheridan Wyoming

Courthouses of the West: Federal Courthouse, Sheridan Wyoming:




Now no longer a courthouse, but a private building.  Featured here on an earlier thread on that topic.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Overall readership


Overall readership here:

United States
57760
Russia
4948
France
2892
Germany
2423
Ukraine
1957
China
954
United Kingdom
923
Turkey
762
Poland
621
Canada
542

More people from the Ukraine have stopped in here than from Canada?  That's odd.

And Russia is a (distant) number two?

Hmm. . . sort of deflating statistics in some ways.