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.

The Bane of My Existence

The 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GTS that is sitting in my driveway is not mine. It belongs to The Lovely Christine. Yet it taunts me mercilessly, mocking me for ever having gotten involved with it. It now symbolizes everything that is wrong with my life; everything that has gone terribly, terribly wrong. It is a hateful malevolent presence that corrupts everything it touches. Before last month, it was just a mildly irritating vehicle that Chris thought of as a sports car, and I thought of—when I thought of it at all—as something I’d like her to trade in for something fun. But circumstances forced me to become entangled with it, and it has made everything about my life worse. Well, that’s not quite true…it’s just one of the two things that have done so, recently. There’s a story behind it all, you see.

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Unjustly Unloved

2014 Mazda6 Grand Touring Sedan Review

The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry sell well. They aren’t bad cars, either, though they’re inoffensive and boring. Honda and Toyota sell quite a lot of them, too. They’re one of the bread and butter sedans you see on American roads. They aren’t the only choices, though. They may not even be the best choices. Even Toyota now seems to realize this, as this week, one of Toyota’s chiefs told the motoring press that Toyota has decided to start making cars that excite 10 people out of 100, instead of trying not to offend all 100. Still, the Camry is what it is, for now.

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Improvements: Hidden, But Real

I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but since Friday, the speed of the web site has improved tremendously, with much faster page loads. I haven’t been writing, but I have been busy. For many, many years—since about 1997, in fact, the web site has been hosted at the same place. In all of the incarnations it’s been through, my web host hasn’t changed.

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Backyard Photography

Chris and I were spending time in the backyard with the dogs, and I decided to pull out my Panasonic Lumix FZ-200 and take some pictures. The star of the show turned out to be—as it almost always is—our goofy boxer, Apollo. Click on the photos for the hi-res versions.… Continue reading

Always buy the KitchenAid

2014 Honda Accord EL-X V6 Sedan

Some cars are appliances. They aren’t exciting and massively powered. They don’t cosset you with sumptuous luxury. You just, you know, drive them, and they take you places. The Honda Accord is one such appliance. But the thing about appliances is that they aren’t all the same. In fact, some of them are quite good. You can buy a mixer from Hamilton Beach, and it’ll be alright, and do what you expect it to do. But, if you want a mixer that will not only do a fantastic job, but can be passed down to your great-grandchildren, you buy a KitchenAid.

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Middle Child

2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS

In certain parts of the country, the way you show your family and friends that you’ve hit the big time is to buy yourself a double-wide mobile home and a Chevy Camaro. In these politically correct times, it’s not polite to mention this stereotype, of course. But it’s so prevalent that it’s hard not to do so. For instance, I couldn’t even avoid it in the first sentence of this review.

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Your Craigslist ad sucks

Have you ever tried to sell a car or motorcycle on craigslist and wondered why no one called you? There’s probably a simple explanation for that: Your Craigslist ad sucks. Think about it. You’re trying to get a total stranger to come to your house and give you thousands of dollars. If you expect that to happen, you have to take the time to create an ad that provokes enough interest in your car or bike to make somebody at least give you a call. Show a minimal amount of effort, for crying out loud! Here’s a few tips.

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Bland Ambition

2013 Chrysler 200 Touring Review

Chrysler is a brand of cars that I just don’t understand. They only make four models of car, and, really, those cars are just rebadged Dodges. The mechanicals are all the same, and so are the materials used in the interiors. The only difference between the Chrysler and Dodge versions of a car is that the Dodge incorporates exterior styling that makes it look like it wouldn’t mind slitting a few throats if it got bored. Chryslers have softer exterior styling, and look a little less blue-collar than Dodges on the inside.

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2013 Orange County International Auto Show

Today was the first full day of the Orange County International Auto Show. Thankfully, I was able to free up my schedule to attend. So, what follows is a whole lot of photos of the show, along with my rather occasionally insightful—but mainly disrespectful—comments. Come for the photos. Stay for the snark. All of the photos are clickable, linked to the full-sized, hi-resolution originals.

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The Beast

So, the folks at KTM appear to have gone a bit loony. Today, they announced they will be producing a new naked bike, the 1290 SuperDuke R, which will have 180 HP. They call it “The Beast”.  There will be no fairing. No wind protection. Nothing, in fact, to prevent the force of air from pushing you off the rear of the bike if you open the throttle all the way, other than the death-like grip you’ll need on the handlebars to stay seated.

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Running With the Devil

2013 Ducati Diavel Carbon Review

Two years ago, Ducati apparently decided that making racing bikes and superfast hypermotards wasn’t enough for them. Perhaps they felt that the racing bike market was too limited for them. Perhaps they felt that people weren’t buying hypermotards because “hypermotard” is a stupid name that makes you think the motorcycle is developmentally disabled. In any event, Ducati wanted to break into the cruiser market, and more specifically, the power-cruiser market, which is dominated by the Yamaha V-Max and the…uh…well, the Yamaha V-Max.

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The Crushing Disappointment of Quality

2014 Ford Fiesta ST Review

When you review cars, the good cars are the worst. You see, bad cars allow you to get snarky. You get a chance to gleefully rip years of work by thousands of people into utter shreds. You can reach for colorful metaphors involving the incompetence, ancestry, and probable spiritual destination of everyone involved in the car’s production. You can make fun of the vehicle’s clownish face, and go on for paragraphs about turbo lag, slow shifting, bad suspension, and cheap plastic dashboards.

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