Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Says James, in my opinion, there's nothing in this world
Beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeveses won't do
They don't have a soul like a Vincent 52
He reached for her hand and he slipped her the keys
He said I've got no further use for these
I see angels on Ariels in leather and chrome
Swooping down from heaven to carry me home
And he gave her one last kiss and died
And he gave her his Vincent to ride
Oh, what the hell, here's Richard Thompson too.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Looking for some light summer reading, I went to the bookshelf and pulled out an old underlined copy of Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I was a third of the way way through when this showed up on the literary horizon. It looks like I may have a lighter pull for my follow up.
"Stumped by a starter motor that wouldn't work, he eventually met a mechanic named Fred Cousins, who ran a few tests before quickly diagnosing the problem. "Then Fred gave me a succinct dissertation on the peculiar metallurgy of these Honda starter-motor bushings of the mid-70s," Crawford writes in his newly published book Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work (Penguin Press, 2009).
In his book Crawford argues for a fresh view of skilled labor, especially that of the traditional trades. Go ahead, he's saying: Get your hands dirty. Own your work.
His book mixes descriptions of the pleasures and challenges of diagnosing faulty oil seals and rebuilding engines with philosophical views of work — he draws upon Aristotle, Martin Heidegger, and Hannah Arendt, among others — and economic analyses for the decline of skilled labor. He laments in particular the recent demise of high-school shop classes, which gave many young men their first manual skills. (Crawford points out that his arguments apply equally to women and says he hopes one day to work on a 1960 Volkswagen bug with his two young daughters.)
Skilled manual labor is far more cognitive than people realize, Crawford argues, and deserves more respect. That is especially true during tough economic times, when an independent tradesperson can make a decent and dignified living, and — this is important — can't be outsourced. (You can't get your car fixed in China.) "The question of what a good job looks like — of what sort of work is both secure and worthy of being honored — is more open now than it has been for a long time," he writes.
Crawford believes that Americans, in their frenzy to send every kid to college in pursuit of information-age job skills, have lost something valuable. "My sense is that some kids are getting hustled off to college when they'd rather be learning to build things or fix things, and that includes kids who are very smart," he says in an interview.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
And for those of you who find that the angle of the bars or rack is "awkward", I submit this, a 1947 Daniel Rebour drawing of a Rene Herse. It is amazing how often the old boys had it right. Anyone want to step forward and challenge Monsieur Hearse, the frickin' le Parrain of touring bikes? Huh? Huh? I thought not.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009
The Clearwater Hot Club, with the Kid, Sam Miltich, who walked out of the woods north of Grand Rapids, a full grown musician. Accompanied by his father and a guy they pulled out of a polka band. God Bless Minnesota.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Just strumming on the old banjo.