Saturday, July 26, 2014
Friday, July 25, 2014
The Birmingham Small Arms Company was founded in England in 1861 with a logo of three stacked rifles.
True to their name, they made firearms and ammunition, but they also made one sweetheart of a motorbike.
By 1880 they were manufacturing their first bicycles and by the 1960’s their 650 Lightning was a legend.
Beloved by professionals and enthusiasts alike, the 1969 650 BSA Lightning was the moto-rockstar of its day.
Two cylinders, four speed gear box, a claimed 52 horses and a top end of 112.
But it would wobble in hard turns and you almost had to make an appointment to stop, so lame and unresponsive were the brakes.
And forget rain, the electrical system by LUCAS--also founded in Birmingham in 1860--- sucked so hard that a cloudy day could make the spark plugs sputter.
Plus, the vertically split crankcase guaranteed you’d oil the sidewalk before long.
But it sure was hip.
A gold one saved James Bond’s life by firing rockets in Thunderball.
Alas, that same year the Japanese launched the HONDA CB 750, a four cylinder machine (two more!) with more horsepower, an electric start, five gears instead of four, 13 more MPH on top and a disk brake at the front that actually stopped it.
And somehow it all managed to cost less; the beginning of the end for British bikes.
BSA faded and by 1987... they had tanked.
Have a safe weekend!
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
The City of San Jose, California, increased their minimum wage by 25% in a single jump, back in March of 2013.
It went from $8 to $10 overnight with a cost-of-living increase every year after that. The restaurant business was assured they would see no meaningful impact.
So how are they adapting a year later?
Most are not.
Two out of every three, 66% raised their prices and sales dropped.
Almost 45%-- nearly half, cut their employees hours so they could not earn more take home pay.
The real damage was in staff: more than four out of every ten restaurants affected laid people off.
Some who had a job at $8 now have no job at all.
San Francisco announced it intends to follow, but to $15 instead.
At $15 an hour plus insurances and sick leave, a new mini is paid-for in less than 19 hours and then all the rest, year-in year-out is profit.
A law can’t simply demand restaurant patrons pay more... unless there is another law requiring you to buy.
If raising wages were an effective way to address poverty we would just raise minimum wage to forty bucks and eliminate poverty altogether.
In other news, California places 7 in the top 10 worst air-polluted cities in the country.
Bad air apparently makes it tough to think.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Sunday, July 20, 2014
News, reflection worthy, out of Ukraine.
As you know, Malaysia Flight 17 crashed there after being targeted by a surface to air missile, spreading debris over a long 10 mile swath of countryside.
But you might not know local authorities were unable to secure the site in time.
So the locals stripped luggage and the bodies of their valuables, mostly cash and phones and credit cards.
Said a photojournalist on the scene:
"There isn't a single cellphone, wallet with money or camera to be found in any handbag or on the bodies. It's like they all mysteriously disappeared overnight."