I write stuff. A lot of it is about cars and motorcycles.

Dale Franks

Dale Franks is the former host of The Business Day, ”a daily, four-hour business and financial news program on KMNY Radio in Los Angeles. From 2002-2004, he was a contributor on military and international affairs for TechCentralStation.com. Currently, he a publisher and editor of the monthly political journal The New Libertarian, as well as an editor of the popular web log, Q and O. Dale served as a military police officer in the United States Air Force from 1984 to 1993, in variety of assignments both in the United States and Europe, where he also was assigned to the staff of the Headquarters of Allied Forces Central Europe. In addition to broadcasting, writing, and speaking on various topics, Dale has also been a long-time technical training instructor on a variety of computer software and technology subjects. Dale has also long been involved with information technology as an accomplished web designer, programmer, and technologist, serving as the corporate knowledge specialist for Microsoft Outlook at SAIC, the nation's largest employee-owned corporation. Additionally, he is the author of a number of software user guides used for classroom training by one of Southern California’'s premier computer training and consulting firms. His book, SLACKERNOMICS: Basic Economics for People Who Find Economics Boring, is available from Barnes & Noble.
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Buffaloed

VikingCycle Skeid Jacket

So, here’s the usual thing with gear and apparel reviews, when you write for a web site like this one: someone sends you an item to review for free, and which you get to keep. In return, you are obligated to write a review of it. Most of the time, it’s no big deal. They send you a mid-range bit of riding gear, you write a review with mid-range approval, because they almost invariably send you an item that does the job it’s supposed to do, at a reasonable price. I mean, nobody sends you a piece of suck, expecting you write about it glowingly. If you care about your credibility, you don’t want to give something a glowing if it isn’t, and you don’t want to come off sounding like a company fan-boy shill. But, what happens if you get sent an item you really, really like?

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Triumphant

2015 Triumph Trophy SE

BMW Motorrad has long had two boxer-engined motorcycles that were considered the top of their class: The R1200GS adventure bike and the R1200RT touring bike. Apparently, the Brits at Triumph Motorcycles found this enraging. Over the last century, the Brits have often found the Germans enraging, of course. Anyway, Triumph produced two bikes to compete directly with BMW’s offerings, the Tiger 1200 for the adventure crowd, and the Trophy for the touring rider.

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The Future That Never Was

Concept cars have been pretty boring in recent years. There are occasionally some interesting stylistic exercises, or some showcases of new technology, but for the most part, recent concept cars have been pretty dull. It wasn’t always that way, though. There was a time when concept cars were…insane.

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Pony Express

2015 Ford Mustang GT

Several months ago, I drove the 2014 Ford Mustang GT. It was…OK. The interior was cramped, and it didn’t feel as powerful to drive as you might expect from the paper specs. My knee also kept banging against the edge of the center console, which was painful and, eventually, enraging.

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The “Almost” Problem

2015 Acura TLX 3.5L

Soichiro Honda (1906-1991) was an automotive genius. In 1958, he created the Honda Supercub, about the least motorcycle you can buy, but which is still produced in many countries. There have been over 60 million Supercubs produced, making it the best-selling vehicle ever produced.  His Honda Civic and Accord led the Japanese charge in the 1970s to overturn the Big Four’s control of the American auto market. The company he created, Honda Motor Co. Ltd., is the world’s number one producer of internal combustion engines. In 1986, it became the first Japanese automaker to create it’s own luxury brand in Acura. Which brings us to the big push Honda is currently making for the all-new 2015 Acura TLX.

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Time Travel

2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS

Suzuki is best known for two motorcycles: the Hyabusa, long known as the fastest production motorcycle in the world, and the GSX-R750, a bike that provides nearly suberbike performance at the weight of a 650cc supersport. But, alongside those two motorcycles is a third model that holds a special place in many people’s hearts: the V-Strom.

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Outdoorsy Communism

2015 Subaru Outback

Years ago, the Subaru Outback was the car of bucolic rural types who needed a car with some hauling capacity, and the ability traverse muddy dirt roads. Somewhere along the line, the Outback was discovered by outdoorsy communists and ladies with short-hair and broad shoulders. Since then, it’s become an increasingly upmarket vehicle, probably because Trotskyites have always been a little hazy about financial matters, so they’re easier to fleece.

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Hash Tag Game

Tonight there was a hashtag game on Twitter called “Explain a Film Plot Badly”. I thought I would play the game for a while, but I think I got a bit carried away. Here are my entries to the game. How many of these movies do you recognize?

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The New Miata is Here!

In automotive circles, whenever you you talk about the best roadster, best small sports car, or best whatever, the answer is always Miata. It’s a wildly popular car among automotive enthusiasts and women. All of them are heartened today by Mazda’s unveiling of the brand new 2015 Miata.

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The Middle Way

2014 Buick Encore AWD

Driving a Buick says something about you. It says that you’re the sort of person who can’t afford a Cadillac, but not the sort of dirty, poor person who drives a Chevrolet. Buick is the brand for the middle class. While Chevrolet is the brand for the factory worker, and Cadillac is the brand for the factory owner, Buick is the brand for the senior software developer in the factory’s IT Department. Continue reading

Soul Searching

2014 Kia Soul Base

I wouldn’t have thought that Hamsters would be an effective marketing tool. Especially urban hamsters, with their hip-hop music and baggy clothes. I would, of course, be wrong, because that’s exactly how Kia markets the Soul. Apparently, the marketing works, because there seems to be a lot of them around. It works so well, in fact, that the Soul is Kia’s best-selling model.

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