Sunday, March 29, 2015

Black Betty's homecoming

The long anticipated arrival of the Honda Shadow VT 750 ACE happened today with the weather gods barely cooperating.

There was constant snowfall from Friday through Saturday morning with temperatures reaching down to -12C.  This morning we woke to sunny skies and -10C with a promise of +6C.  The promised high suffered a substantial discount because so far +2C is as much clemency as the sun could muster.

My poor Civic has been evicted. It's a case of one Honda making way for its two-wheeled cousin. Getting the bike into the garage meant riding through the snow that persists on the driveway.
The ride was uneventful, relatively speaking, and here are the numbers:
  • Kilometers ridden: 24
  • Times I stalled the bike: 6
  • Times I forgot to cancel the turn indicators: 2-3
  • Times I forgot to shift all the way to first: 0
  • Number of frozen fingers: 10
  • Times I needed to open the visor to dissipate fogging caused by nervous heavy breathing: 2
  • Times I dropped the bike: 0
  • Times I grinned ear to ear: 5
  • Times it occurred to me to listen to music on the Sena: 0
First ride impressions for the Honda Shadow:
  •  Nice torque at low revolutions, though I still managed to stall it more times than I should have.
  • Comfortable seat, stable ride at all speeds as far as I could tell.
  • Decent acceleration.
  • Balky turn indicator switch (got to check that, it might not be push-to-cancel).
  • Very loud exhaust, tolerable with earplugs, maybe not so nice for neighbours and bystanders.
  • Very good-looking, to my eye at any rate, though I could still do without the flames.
  • Good braking, front and rear.
  • Definitely needs a windshield and saddlebags to become a touring bike.
  • In my view (shocker alert), the Vespa GTS 300 i.e. beats the Honda Shadow hands down in the following ways:
    • Acceleration.
    • Comfort.
    • Highway performance.
    • Protection from the elements.
    • Suspension and ability to handle potholes, dips and bumps.
    • Ease of handling.
    • Overall fun.
And so the adventure continues, and a new chapter begins with the promise of great things to come.
PS: It looks like a managed to grab a narrow window of opportunity: Monday morning and it's snowing like mad. Sheesh!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cruise wear - Product review: Motorcycle House Angel Fire motorcycle jacket

Right off the bat I have to apologize to the women out there who were attracted to this post by the promising title.

It's quite alright to beat a hasty retreat and abandon this page, you've been lured here under false pretenses.  As a way of making amends, here are some handy  links to Pinterest, Simply dresses, and There's nothing to see here...

Unless you own a cruiser, that is.

Here is the long-awaited review of jacket number two, the Viking Cycle Angel Fire leather jacket from Motorcycle House.  Jacket number one was reviewed a little while back here.
Motorcycle House - Angel Fire men's jacket
It can't be said that it's the iconic biker jacket, but if you Google "Images of classic motorcycle jackets" you will see a very large number of precisely this type of jacket. Once you're on Google, click on the images link.  You see what I mean?

When Motorcycle House initially approached me, and asked me to pick any product I wanted to review, this was the item I picked. I've always secretly wanted a jacket like this.  To me it's the most quintessential among motorcycle jackets.

Oh, and ladies, if you've stuck around in spite of the slightly misleading headline, this riding jacket is available for you as well. Judging from the times I've seen this style of jacket in high-end fashion boutiques lately, it's not only an iconic choice for riding, but a contemporary fashion statement too. To my eye, it's also drop-dead sexy.
Motorcycle House - Women's jacket
Though I love the look of the classic jacket, I know myself, I won't wear something that's out of character for me.  I didn't know whether I could pull the look off on my Vespa, to be honest. But maybe, just maybe, it could work.  My Vespa is black, after all... but it's a stretch to be sure.

Before I move on to the review, I need to explore something that has been making me just a tiny bit twitchy lately.

On the spectrum of religious people, I am far off to the left of the scale.  To paraphrase Groucho Marx, I don't care to belong to any religion that will have me as a member.

Susan and I were musing just last weekend, oddly, that we might start a new non-religion.  The place of worship would be round, with lots of comfortable seating, and our preachers would offer Jerry Seinfeld-esque or George Carlin-esque twenty or thirty minute musings about life in general.  It would, like the Seinfeld TV show, really be about nothing. There'd be no ritual standing or kneeling, no prayers to memorize. The only expectation of the congregation would be to offer up the word 'exactly' whenever they felt that the officiant had said something that struck them as particularly pithy, witty, or wry.  That's it.

Why this segue to religion? Because there's something quite strange at work here that's actually affecting my life.  It's some form of sociophylic resonance.  That's the best way I can peg it.

It goes something like this.

I was drawn to motor scooters right from the start, not motorcycles.  A year or two ago, if someone had asked, I would have answered quite confidently that I would never own a motorcycle.  It's not that I have anything against motorcycles.  In fact I would have had to admit that I was intrigued, that I would have one day liked to learn to ride a motorcycle.  But on the whole, unlike motor scooters, there was nothing sufficiently compelling that would have justified the ownership quest.  Besides, more than 90% of my riding is urban commuting and that's the sweet spot for motor scooters not motorcycles.  The likelihood of ever owning a motorcycle seemed really quite remote.

Then Motorcycle House approached me.  Sometime late last summer if I recall. I saw that jacket.  Did I dare reach for it?  So desirable, but kind of out of character?

Yet the allure of the jacket was too much.  Besides, the threshold was very, very low.  All I needed to do was express an interest, and like magic, the jacket might land on my doorstep.  It's a little like those Faustian stories, where the prince of darkness approaches, all good-looking, suave, and debonair, like a soap opera actor, a nice guy really, and offers to make some far-fetched dream or fantasy a reality.  I felt a little guilty, in the way one might feel if placed in that position.  But what the heck, 'live a little' the figurative devil perched on my right shoulder whispered in my ear.

This is not the first time the little shoulder devil won me over, in fact, you wouldn't be reading this if the posse of shoulder angels had won that first tussle.   That's a whole other story.  I have Gary France to thank for coaxing that anecdote out of me a couple of years back.

In the meantime, the giant hidden gears of the universe continued to turn slowly, unseen and obscure, not making a sound, beyond my capacity to know or understand.  Then Sonja posed an innocent question, Michael offered to join me for a ride, one shoe dropped, after another, and very soon now, there will be a mean old black cruiser sharing the garage with my Vespa.

Now someone, please explain that to me.  What the heck does all this mean? Simple coincidences?  There are too many at play, it seems to me.  Could there be something deeper working its way out? Should those flames on Black Betty be a source of greater concern?  I mean really, can you tell me that this isn't the least bit peculiar, or the slightest bit strange?

What the devil does it all mean?
It only occurred to me once I was writing all this stuff down, that when I negotiated the price and signed the purchase agreement with the seller, it was in a downstairs den, heavily curtained against daylight, there was a fire flickering in a potbelly stove where the seller sat, the scent of smoke hung in the air, and the circumstances forced other thoughts to swirl in my brain that I can't bring myself to express here.  I had to double-check the address just now as I wrote this... thank heavens, no sixes.

With that minor but hopefully entertaining digression complete, as it happens, I now feel quite comfortable and entirely legitimate offering up my thoughts on the Viking Cycle Angel Fire jacket. It's no longer a stretch for me by any means.

First off, let me say this. I love the quality of this jacket.

How about fit and finish?

The jacket Motorcycle House sent me is a large. It fits me very well. It's snug and it just feels good. The jacket if fully lined with black quilted fabric which is not removable. The sleeves have zippered gussets that do a nice job of making the jacket easier to put on, and then zip closed to make the sleeves nice and snug and unlikely to ride up in a slide. This style of jacket is necessarily waist length. That's a safety consideration that I'll get to shortly.  All the zippers are YKK metal zippers that should keep things together and last a good long time.

In terms of functionality, this jacket scores well.

Let's talk pockets.
Motorcycle House
There are six  pockets of varying sizes and configurations. Four of the pockets are what you'd expect in any jacket:
  • two zippered side pockets. The side pockets have decent depth, are well-positioned, and handy as a jaunty place to stuff your hands. In my case, based on my use of the similar pockets in my other riding jackets, I'll use these pockets to hold the leather skull cap I use very effectively to ward off helmet hair (a leftover from a Bar Mitzvah I attended), earplugs in an earplugs holder, and the bike's ignition keys.  For full disclosure on the contents of my pockets, click here.
  • two inside breast pockets. These pockets are essentially the same as those in my non-riding leather jackets, except that those jackets typically only have one breast pocket on the left inside lining. With twin pockets this jacket provides that much more functionality. The only nit I can pick is that unlike my other riding jackets, these pockets do not have closures. I suppose that in a spill, these pockets might give up their contents. That said, you'll see that there are a two other very handy pockets that I find really useful in a riding jacket.
  • one small exterior pocket located in the centre of the jacket just above the waist. This pocket can be centered because the zipper closure is off-centre to accomodate the double breasted closure. The pocket is small but perfect for a cell phone. My iPhone 5S fits perfectly in that pocket. It has a flap with a dome snap closure that will keep your phone safe, yet accessible for when you need it.
  • finally, there is a more generous diagonal slash pocket on the chest with the opening running parallel to the folded lapel. There is ample room in this pocket for a passport (handy for crossing borders on a tour), or a wallet. No reason to fear for the contents because like the side pockets, there is a nice strong YKK zipper to keep the contents safe.
Another aspect of the jacket's functionality is protection from the elements on the road.

The off-centre zippered double-breasted closure is the design feature I love about this jacket and it's what gives the jacket it's signature look. This design is also highly functional and for me that's a big plus. Form that follows function is what really appeals to me.  The jacket is designed so that it can be fully closed.  Here's what that looks like in the case of the women's model.
Once zipped all the way up, the jacket is snug to the rider's neck, and forms a formidable wind barrier.  My first real ride on my original Vespa LX back in 2010 was in late March and it was a very chilling experience.  I wore a leather jacket that normally serves me well.  In this case even at a moderate speed, the cold air penetrated all along the zipper like a knife edge.  There is no such issue with the Angel Fire jacket as a result of the double-breasted design.
The potential downside to the large double-breasted lapels is that when the jacket is worn partially open (which is hopefully the way it will most often be worn), those big lapels could flap in the wind like a Pellican's wings. The collar presents a similar risk, though to a lesser extent. Fear not, there will be no unsightly batting about of collars and lapels, because that's what the dome snaps are for. With the jacket partially open, the otherwise loose leather is snapped tight and well battened down to withstand whatever wind your adventure may bring. That`s another way that form follows function in this jacket.

The jacket has epaulettes and they also have snaps. The snaps make the epaulettes functional, though for most of us, they will serve no purpose. I suppose you could secure the shoulder strap of a camera under an epaulette to prevent it from sliding off your shoulder for when you are off the bike and wandering about snapping photos. Active military types could use the epaulettes for their intended purpose of slipping on a sleeve with rank and other insignia, or as the Antiques Road Show often says, 'militaria'. But you would still be out of uniform, wouldn't you, so what would be the point? Basically the epaulettes are just there to complete the look. It's a nice touch though that they are actually functional, and not merely vestigial.

Although the jacket fits snugly, it never binds, because there are generous expansion gussets at the shoulders that really do a nice job making the jacket comfortable.
What does this jacket lack in functionality?  The obvious answer is that there is no venting (other than riding with the jacket partially open), and the liner is not removable.  If those features are important to you (and to most if not all riders they would be important features), they are available in the Motorcycle Club ("MC") model for a step up in price.

Speaking of price, and how can one not, this jacket is reasonably priced, very reasonably priced.  Comparable jackets cost hundreds more and up to six and seven times more at the high end.  For the money, this jacket might just be impossible to beat.

The final chapter has to be safety.

In the cruiser segment, safety is sometimes not the paramount concern, nor is it intended to be.

Abrasion-wise, the Angel Fire jacket is stellar.

In terms of abrasion resistance, leather tops the materials list. Kevlar takes a back seat to leather, and so does ballistic nylon. The first thing that struck me about this jacket was the thick feel of the leather. The Angel Fire jacket is made from cowhide and it seems appreciably thicker and more robust than other leather jackets I own. But is it? I couldn't resist the temptation to put some science up against what my senses were telling me.

Out came my micrometer.

I measured the thickness on the cuff on each of the three leather non-riding jackets I own. Let's call them jacket one, jacket two, and jacket three.  Then I measured the Angel Fire jacket. Here's how they stacked up:
Leather thickness
Jacket Measurement
Jacket one 0.0835
Jacket two 0.1110
Jacket three 0.1270
Angel Fire 0.1045
I guess we can't entirely trust our senses, can we?  I was expecting the Angel Fire to come out on top by a respectable margin.  So what does this mean?

Each of these jackets is made of a different hide, and at least one of them, jacket three, the one that measures thickest, is lamb and is the oldest of the jackets.  The differences between jackets two and three and the Angel Fire jacket are not at all as significant as they seem.  The difference between jacket three and the Angel Fire is about the thickness of two sheets of paper.  Given the remarkable abrasion resistance of leather, the difference is not, as securities lawyers are fond of saying, material (pardon the pun).

To provide some more meaningful context, consider that motorcycle competition leathers are generally three ounces per square foot.  Each ounce of leather per square foot represents a thickness of 1/64 of an inch.  This means that competition leathers are 3/64 of an inch thick (0.0469 of an inch).  Vanson competition leathers are a tad thicker than that (0.0591 of an inch).  The Angel Fire (0.1045 of an inch) is just a touch less than twice that thickness.  Competition leathers will withstand 2,600 revolutions to failure in a standard test, versus ballistic nylon at 817 revolutions to failure, Cordura nylon at 459, and broken-in denim at 168.  That means that the Angel Fire jacket will protect about twice as well as competition leathers.

That's one tough jacket, and I don't mean the looks.

Where the Angel Fire jacket must lose marks in the safety round-up is in the absence of  elbow, shoulder or back armour.  That, and the jacket is too short, ending at the waist with the potential to expose the lower back and abdomen to road rash in a slide.

This is a very stout, sturdy, and well-constructed jacket.

Overall, this is a jacket I am proud to own, and one that puts a smile on my face.
The Angel Fire jacket certainly provides decent protection, and should be more than adequate for the typical use I will put it to: cruising down Lakeshore Boulevard, at a leisurely pace, on a sunny summer weekend, with the other cruisers that parade along that route all summer long.

Once I've done that I'll write a ride review.

I can't wait.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

An interesting alternative for inter-continental travel

Word about the newest dimension of my life on two wheels has been slowly leaking out here and there for the past few months or so. I have been dropping hints, and a few fellow bloggers have been in the know. Sonja spilled the beans yesterday, or so. So it's time to come clean.

As many of you know, my life on two wheels began when I finally dared to fulfill a high school dream: owning a Vespa. In the five or so years I've been riding I've learned a whole lot about what it means to ride. In that time I've graduated from a great urban commuter Vespa, the LX150 model, to a grand touring Vespa, the 300 GTS Super i.e. I'm riding now. I went from commuting to work on slow and easy back roads, to being perfectly comfortable cruising on expressways and Interstates, at home, and on extended trips, in Canada, the US, and Italy.

For the past little while I've been wondering what it would be like to ride a motorcycle. Not that the Vespa GTS is not a motorcycle. At 330 pounds and 287cc's, it's more motorcycle than many of the motorcycles you see on the roads, and the law treats it as a motorcycle in every way. But it's not what comes to mind when I ask you to think about a motorcycle. You'll think of Harley Davidsons, BMW touring bikes, sport bikes from icons of the industry like Ducati and Moto Guzzi, and café racers like the Triumph Thruxton.

There are certain features that all motorcycles share. A frame, a center-mounted motor, a manual transmission, and a combination of hand and foot brakes. Most motor scooters, like modern Vespas, have a step-through body, enclosed motors closer to the rear wheel, automatic transmissions, and front and rear hand-operated brakes.

The biggest difference between a Vespa and almost any motorcycle, is the manual foot-shifted transmission. That and the look. There's no mistaking a motorcycle when you see one. Just like there's no mistaking a scooter when you see one.

What is it like to ride a motorcycle?

I finally scratched that itch in Florida late last February. They say 'go big or go home'. I went big.

There was more to that adventure than met the eye. As you'll now see, I really needed to learn to ride a shifty motorcycle.  A serious shifty motorcycle.

A few months earlier, my dear friend Sonja approached me for advice.

She said she wished to tour in eastern Canada and the US on a motorcycle but that rental costs were prohibitive. Sonja was prepared to buy a second-hand bike for the purpose, but ownership posed some interesting challenges for which she was seeking answers, and insurance seemed a key stumbling block.

Sonja knows I'm a lawyer, and figured I might be able to shed some light.

"I was wondering if you could be of any assistance in finding out what insurance I could obtain, and even better kindly give me your honest opinion about the whole matter. Do you think it might also be possible to insure the bike in another person of trust’s name, while I ride it around North America, in case I can’t get it insured?" she wrote.

I told her that I'd think about it and promised to get back to her. And think about it I did.

Insurance is a tricky thing. There are cast iron links between ownership, insurance and risk. You fiddle with those links at your financial peril. If a link fails, you can find yourself without coverage, even after paying all the premiums. Co-ownership of a motorcycle seemed like it might be a viable route for Sonja to explore. Assuming you could find an insurer to write the policy.

The first logical step was a call to my insurance broker. I warned him that I had an interesting hypothetical case for him to consider.

If Sonja, a dual Canadian and German citizen, resident in Germany, with a German motorcycle permit, and I, were to buy a motorcycle here in Canada, as fifty-fifty co-owners, could we both get insurance coverage in Quebec? I hastened to add that it was a hypothetical question, and that I didn't want to be a bother, and that there was no rush, because surely I had posed a real head-scratcher of a weird question, out of left field, so if he needed a few weeks to look into the matter that would be fine.

"Ya, sure, no problem" he said.

"OK, thanks I really appreciate that. When should I get back to you?" I said.

"No, you don't understand" he said. "There's no problem. All I need is a copy of the signed co-ownership agreement and a copy of Sonja's German driver's license with a valid motorcycle endorsement, and you're good to go!"

I was truly taken aback. "What?" I stammered. "Are you sure? Don't you want to do a little research?"

"We do this all the time" he said. "For motorcycles?!" I managed, still incredulous. "Well not really for motorcycles, this would be a first for me. But for sailboats, motor homes, yachts, snowmobiles, ATVs, ya, we do it all the time."

All right then. Sonja's unusual request, and my hypothetical interest, literally sprang from crazy theory to rock hard fact in one ten minute phone call. What about the premium, I asked. "Oh... let me see... under $200" he said.

"What?" I uttered, dumbfounded. "Don't you need to know what kind of bike?"

"OK" he said. Now I felt that I was trying his patience. "What kind of bike?"

A big bike I said. A big cruiser. Like a Honda Shadow 750cc. Huge, massive!

"Look, under $200, I'm positive. I'll look it up and shoot you an e-mail" he said. A few says later I got a voicemail message from him: "Hi, look it's me, I'm really sorry, I misled you, I looked it up, the annual premium for that bike will be $75, have a nice day!"

If I was dumbfounded earlier, I was, as the Brits are fond of saying, gob-smacked.

At that moment, I knew that Sonja was getting her wish, and that I was getting a motorcycle. A huge, massive, burly, bad-ass motorcycle. Spousal approval was quickly obtained on both sides of the pond. It no doubt helped that Sonja, Roland, Susan and I had met over dinner last year in Lucca. All we needed to do was find a suitable bike for the right price.

Partnership has its advantages. Sonja immediately set up the purchasing department. We lost one, but in no time we had a couple of hot prospects. Both Honda Shadow 750's, and both within easy range. Within mere days, the bike was seen, the price negotiated, and bingo! Just like that, Sonja and I became the proud co-owners of a 2003, Honda VT 750 American Classic Edition motorcycle.
It's not perfect, but damn close. Low mileage, in pristine condition, but... those damn flames.

And the Cobra after-market-loud-pipes-save-lives are just so look-at-me-I'm-a-greaser-Harley-wannabe! Sonja's take (and she gets the last word): "Who cares about the flames... and what's wrong with it sounding like a Harley??"

Sunday, March 8, 2015


One of the things I don't suffer from one bit, is being surrounded by boring people. Now that's not a nice thing to say, I know.  It's insensitive to boring people.

Who's to say that a person is a boring person? What makes a person boring? I suppose that being cast as a boring person, like everything else, is a relative thing. How far is far? Is red, red? Will the real red please raise its hand?

How bitter is bitter? Is dry Vermouth bitter? What about Campari? Is Campari bitter? Is there anything more bitter than Campari?

Is maple syrup bitter?  Anything but!

From that perspective, my dear friend Marc, is anything but boring.

Marc doesn't ride.

Well he does ride, he rides his bicycle.  And he does that a lot.  In fact, Marc logs more bicycle miles than anyone I know. Weather permitting, Marc rides here, there, pretty much everywhere in the greater neighborhood, prowling garage sales, going to the Beaconsfield shopping centre, over to friends' places, down old Lakeshore road and back.

Back in the day, Marc did ride, and he spent quite a bit of time ranging all over Montreal and surrounding cottage country on a classic Italian motor scooter.

A few days ago, Marc was tidying up and he came across a rare photo of himself and his scooter.  It turns out to be a 1950's Iso scooter.  Made in Milan from 1946 to 1964.  Similar to a Lambretta in design.  Iso is the same manufacturer that invented the Isetta bubble car that later continued life briefly as a BMW.  One of my relatives pulled up to our house in the burbs back in 1962 in an Isetta.  Easily the coolest car I had ever seen.  The single door was the whole front of the car, including the steering wheel.

When Marc e-mailed me the picture I knew instantly I needed a copy.  I needed to share it here, and I plan to take it to the office and scan it.  Most likely I'll print it and laminate it, stick it on the home office wall.  Amazingly, yesterday, you could still find an Iso scooter on e-bay for 600 pounds sterling, just waiting to be lovingly restored.  Today, that find is unfindable.
Marc has told me all sorts of crazy stories about his scooter summers.  From anyone else they'd be taken with a grain of salt or two, but with Marc, I know them to be true.  I can't really repeat any of them here, except in the vaguest most general way, because on the one hand I don't want to embarrass Marc (though, if you know Marc, that might be rather difficult to achieve, trust me).  The other reason is some of the scooter experiences might still not be sheltered by the statute of limitations or others' capacity to forget.  Suffice to say, some involved intimate contact with female pillions, and at least one involved taking the scooter off road, and into a restaurant, where clearly it didn't belong and wasn't welcome.

But that was a long time ago, back in 1961 when Marc was a young'un.  We've all been more interesting in our youth, less boring, shall we say.

So why do I say that Marc in particular is anything but boring?

Because Marc is different from most everyone I know.  If you have a challenge and you want it solved, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more creative problem solver than Marc.  He excels at pretty much anything he sets his mind to.  From riding a scooter, to skiing, to sailing, to building a log cabin with his then girlfriend (now his wife), to literally writing a book on sales and marketing, to delighting both his wife and me by buying my beloved and badly under-used Miata roadster as a gift for his wife.  And the list of his remarkable achievements goes on, and on, and on.

Marc is anything but boring.  And he never ceases to surprise and amaze me.

He is a living testament to the remarkable capacity of the human spirit.  Marc really knows how to live life on two wheels.

Monday, March 2, 2015


Nothing stays the same forever. Even Stonehenge and the Pyramids show their age.

When it comes to web sites, I'm generally not a fan of change.

More often than not, when a web site goes through a 'refresh', it's rarely an improvement. Stuff that was easy to find becomes impossible to find, stuff that should have clear links right on the home page becomes buried, making the user click repeatedly with growing frustration trying to find the thing that used to be right there.

Lately I've been prodded by my daughter Lauren to update the look, broaden the appeal, in a word, to 'refresh' the ScootCommute. Life on two wheels lends itself a little better to covering some of my other interests along with motorbikes. It's a subtle thing, but putting the emphasis on the blog's primary name, rather than the by-line, may lead to greater editorial freedom.

I followed with interest when Steve Williams went through a similar process, switching Scooter in the Sticks from Blogger to WordPress, and to a custom domain name. Steve is continuing to make changes, upping his game. Clearly making these kinds of changes isn't trivial. Getting the changes right, and by right I mean changes that most readers will appreciate, is a tall order.

I'm doing my homework, and taking baby steps. If you're the observant type (I'm not a particularly good observer), you'll see that the URL has changed. Hopefully it was more or less seamless, but some springs sprang loose all the same. I think everything has settled down now (crosses fingers).

Right now I'm looking at blogs to see what others are doing that I think works. My personal belief is that the container should enhance the content, not get in the way.

One ingredient is certainly fashion.

Often, fashion is what drives the changes to a website, and often the look is a killer look, but the functionality is also killer, the killjoy breed of assassin. The 1994 look based on primary colors, content in html tables, and Times Roman font for all text, is pretty much dead everywhere. Everywhere except RefDesk. The reputed go-to news and reference site Washington power brokers swore by has not evolved one little bit. Craigslist is another high-functioning dinosaur. Compare those sites to the Huffington Post which is the more modern graphic idiom. Then compare all of those to the TV network sites. RefDesk and Craigslist get more information into their dashboard home page using old-school web design than most other sites.

Don't expect this site to be emulating RefDesk or Craigslist any time soon.

Who knows, maybe there won't be change. But maybe there will.

Stay tuned.
The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.