Leave the Scooters to the Kids

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Scooters became popular when Marty McFly tore one in half in Hill Valley in 1955 and turned it into a skateboard.  Soon after that day, a couple of bike mechanics at Dino’s Chain on Cherry Street attached a spare chainsaw engine to the scooter and the self-powered scooter was born.  The popularity of the scooter took off like Menudo after it picked up Ricky Martin in the 1980’s.  However, in a recent survey, nine out of ten inmates on death row would take a pack of Marlboro’s over a scooter.  Let’s take a moment to dissect the current evolutions of the scooter and try to answer the question:  What happened to the basic child scooter?

Vespas

“Taste great.  Less Filling.”  That pretty much sums up these road nightmares.  If you want the worst of both worlds, horsepower and style, head down to small engine shop and pick up one of these glorified ride-on lawnmowers.  Sure, you get to park in the fuel-efficient spaces at Whole Foods, but you forgo any chance of landing a date ever again.  Here’s a little known fact:  When Motley Crue was shooting the music video for “Girls Girls Girls”, the production assistant nervously approached the band and explained “Nikki, Vince, Tommy, and Mick, I’m sorry the rental store was out of Vespas, do you think these loud, overbearing Harley’s will work or should we wait for the scooters?”

Motley Crue and Vespas
What could have been.

Scooters at Disney World

Who wants to walk the park when you can glide through it on a scooter?  There are so many scooters driving around the place people walking on their own two feet stick out like a Harvard Business grad selling gently used socks on the exit ramp of an expressway.  Standing in the middle of Main Street, you feel like you are in the final lap of the Indy 500 except the racecars all have severally restricted speed governors.

Train commuters

After dragging a collapsible version of their kid’s scooter onto a packed train, these people cruise to work down the same crowded streets as angry bus drivers, over-worked cabbies and tourists circling the block looking for available street parking that doesn’t exist.  Nothing says “I have abandonment issues” like riding on a toy to your job as a corporate attorney while wearing a suit, tie, and helicopter beanie.  We get it; you’re saving time and money by cutting through rush hour downtown traffic on your kid’s weekend toy, but save yourself your last bit of dignity and walk or take a cab.

Gopeds/Sedgways/Mopeds/Other Scooters

“Go Small and Stay Less Than Mediocre.”  These are like the marathon runner who spent the last six months training only to quit 3.1 miles into the race and say “I’m good.  I’ll just settle for the 5k”.  Five year olds never wake up and say “when I grow up I want to be the fourth string left tackle for Tampa Bay Storm arena football team”.  Why would you want to settle for the Ryan Leaf of scooter world?  Man up and get a motorcycle that can exceed 35 mph at full throttle.

Conclusion

Don’t succumb to the world of fly boy glasses, scarves blowing in the wind and the Mary Poppins world of the mini-motorcycle.  You’re better than that.  You need to believe in yourself and you too can avoid the trap of the scooters.

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How to Escape the Suburbs on a Friday Night

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Models and Bottles How to Escape the Suburbs on a Friday Night
Go Get Some.

He carefully covers himself in the tools of the night:  The Patek Phillippe knock-off watch, 7 jeans-scored at Plato’s Closet with only a minor Kool-Aid stain, and Calvin Klein underwear-simple head nod to the O.G., Marky Mark.  Grabbing the EZ curl bar, he knocks out at least 35 reps, but never over 58; crossing the sweat point yields another hour-long shower and primp session.  Finally the shirt:  a vintage 1998 Girbaud bought at a Kmart Blue Light Special.  He is now ready to leave the suburbs and take on the city this Friday night.

While wearing gloves, the shirt is carefully removed from the dry cleaner bag slowly put on to avoid any unnatural wrinkles in the fabric.  He turns up Tiesto in his room and practices his approach with a mannequin.  The Point.  The Wink.  The Double Wink.  The Point-Double Wink (this one is still in the experimental phase).  If only that mannequin were a real woman like in that movie Mannequin Two:  On the Move, he could work the club circuit strictly as a spectator and not a true player.

He grabs the keys to the Subaru Outback off the counter as his mom yells something inaudible at him.  He drives out of the sub-division only leaving a baby seat on the floor of the garage as any proof that he was there.

With track housing behind him, his transformation into “Stinger” is complete.  Now he is free.

Enter The Thunderdome (good-bye suburbs)

The crowd is starting to build at the door, but Stinger pushes through to the staff and slips the guy a twenty.

Once seated, Stinger leans back in his seat and lights up a clove cigarette.  Several patrons give him a look of disgust, but he waves them off with a twist of his hand.  A waitress walks over to him.  He cuts her off before she can talk to him.

“Bottle of Grey Goose.  Soda, cranberry and a large bowl of cherries,” Stinger says as he sharply looks away to avoid any follow up questions.  The server rolls her eyes in agony as she backs away from the table.

The waitress returns with a middle age man.  He calmly speaks as Stinger looks on, “We do not offer bottle service.  This is Chili’s.  However, we have a fine selection of island drinks.  Would you like to start with an Awesome Blossom to go with a Presidente Margarita?”

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The Real Wedding Gift Giving Guide

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Your wedding gift guide
It is the size of package that really matters

“Your best friend Harry has a brother Larry
In five days from now he’s gonna marry
He’s hopin’ you can make it there if you can
‘Cause in the ceremony you’ll be the best man”

It is Go-Time. Before you decide you’re going to go all Wedding Crashers on the event. Get to the real question:

How much should you spend on a wedding gift?

The Emily Post types will say, “Cover the cost of your plate as well as your guest’s plate when giving a wedding gift.” This is completely asinine.

If you are invited to wedding at the Ritz-Carlton in New York complete with dancing girls, twenty piece band and elephants parading the wedding party in, you are not expected to pay for your meal in the form of a wedding gift. “But they spent all this money on me, I need to reciprocate,” you say. When you are at a wedding where a majority of people at the rehearsal dinner are wearing plaid pants that is the sign that you are way out of your element. You are not on the Forbes 400 list and clearly the newlyweds don’t need the money to start their lives together. If this couple was rich and generous, they should be handing out thousand dollar gift cards to Aldi as late night favors, because Aldi is something us little people can relate to.

When your nephew gets married at your brother’s pig farm and the appropriate dress is “anything but camouflage or hunter orange”, it is time to max out the credit card and buy this couple as much of the stuff off their registry as you can afford. This bride’s biggest day of her life consists of a keg in the backyard next to the septic tank entrance. After you go back to running water and an indoor stove, this girl will still be slugging it out at the trailer park with Brittany Spears’ childhood friends. Yes, your child’s college fund may take a temporary hit, but do the poor couple a solid and write a check with multiple zero’s.

When do you give the wedding gift?

On or before the big day? Nope.  Traditional etiquette says that if the marriage doesn’t last a year the gift needs to be returned.  Are you really going trust a couple who is going to marriage counseling, working with a divorce attorney, and fighting over who gets the Betty Crocker Cookbook to mail you back the toaster you bought them nine months ago? Let’s get real; that toaster is gone forever.

Friendships should mend in time, but that crystal serving bowl you paid for will always look better in your china cabinet than in your best friend’s ex’s house being used as an ashtray. As any self-help guru will tell you, “Take control of your life.” As your guide in this section of life, I say, “Take control of your toaster.”

Instead of giving the wedding gift on or before their big day, make the couple prove to you that their marriage is stable before you send them the gift. On the 364th day of their marriage, go ahead and mail that gift. It will save everybody a lot of unnecessary stress of mailing back gifts, hurt feelings, and most importantly, your bank account.

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Skiing in Jeans

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Skiing In Jeans
You want this look, right?

When Olaf Norrison strapped on the first pair of fig trees in 4000 B.C., no one noticed.  In fact, he should have been in his basement because his parents had grounded him for taunting the Norwegians, but he crawled out through the window well, and made his escape skiing down the mountain while yelling, “I want my two dollars!” (if you are outside of the ages of 35-43, you will not get this reference).

“Do these pants look my butt look big?” Levi Strauss uttered after throwing on the only pair of boot cut jeans in existence in 1873.  Aside from several UCLA students wandering California on spring break looking for gold while doing keg stands and twerking, the biggest fashion breakthrough since the loincloth went unnoticed until the latter part of the 20th century.

Putting it together

In 1982, Henry McDougall, age 27, made a multi-faceted power move unseen until Napoleon attempted to eat the “Ziggy Pig” in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure by tossing on a pair of straight-cut, stone washed jeans and taking on the Bunny Heaven run at Wisconsin’s Wilmot Mountain (elevation: 325 feet).  McDougall opened up skiing to a world of people who had no right to be skiing.

Coated in a material that was constricting and prone to retaining water, the small world of the gentle slopes of southern Wisconsin were now owned by the newcomers flush with denim.  The highly specialized shops that lined the mountain selling custom-built skis bundled with an air of arrogance were replaced by rental ski stores that cycled through the masses like a lost chapter in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.  In a sport where dressing the part overtook one’s own skill level, the mountain view turned from a white mound of snow speckled in uniquely dressed individuals to a sea of blue so uniform in its front that it was now on par the world’s 37th most powerful army.

The annual pass skier headed to difficult terrain out West so he could remain with his own kind.  It was a land where only the finest breathable, wind-proof, and waterproof nylon was accepted.  It was unmolested by those who took to the hills using towropes armed with one-day passes only to snow plow their way from hilltops to their 1986 Dodge Caravans parked in the free lot.  And the skiing world was in harmony again.

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