Classic Bike Profiles – Suzuki Gs 750

Another great classic bike that you can find on today’s market place for very low prices is the Suzuki Gs 750. The Suzuki Gs 750 was a fantastic mid-range bike produced from 1976 to 1983.

The I’m quite the fan of the old Suzuki’s, they may not be the most powerful or modern (for their production time), but they sure are fun to ride. The Suzuki Gs750 was introduced with an air-cooled DOHC 4 stroke engine that turned out about 63 horsepower. Not enough to break the speed of sound but plenty of pick-up for a sport bike this size.

There are several models available starting with the 750 in ’76-’78, GS750E in ’79-’80, GS750L also ’79-’80, and finally the GS750G and GS750GL in 1981. All had a 5-speed gearbox and a front disc rear drum brake setup.

One thing about Suzuki Gs motorcycles I am particularly fond of is their ability to handle abuse and provide good reliability. Especially for a rider today who wants to enjoy the classic style of a Gs750 yet doesn’t want to spend every waking moment tuning the bike and making adjustments.

In fact the Suzuki Gs750 is a perfect candidate for restoration or customization as well. There are several Cafe kits available for those looking to relive the days when these bikes used to fly at crazy speeds down race tracks and many also go the bobber/chopper route as well. These bikes are very simple and easy to work on so customizing one to suit your tastes is something that can be tackled even by the somewhat inexperienced mechanics out there.

Now on to the ride.. The Suzuki Gs750 is a particularly stable and well handling bike that is capable of handling and stopping the power it puts out with ease. I still feel the brakes leave a little to be desired but that is fairly common of all older sport bikes.

The best part about these Gs750’s is that they are not only abundant still today, but you can pick up very clean examples for under $3,000 dollars and decent running bikes for $2,000. At those prices why not add one to your collection?

Curb Detectors / Finders

Curb detectors first started off as curb feelers (or known as curb finders), which are springs or wires installed on a car and acts as “whiskers”. It is installed to warn drivers that they are too close to either the curb or other obstructions. These curb feelers are still used on some of the hot rods to achieve the 1950s look. It is also especially popular for cars that are using whitewall tires – because these tires easily lose their white coating when they come in contact with the curb or obstructions. Some of the curb feelers have a single wire (or spring), and other have two to increase the contact surface. Often times, curb feelers are only found on the passenger side of the vehicle.

This is because the passenger side is mostly the side that is near a curb during a parking situation. Other times, these curb detectors are added only on the front wheels. There is no restriction of car models when it comes to installing curb detectors – any owner can install more than one curb detector if they wish. They can be installed on the front and rear, and also on both sides of the car. Through technological advancement, there are now similar use curb sensors (or parking sensors).

The name differs accordingly to the usage. Though the system has changed, the usage is still the same – to warn drivers of obstruction or curbs. The only difference between the traditional and the modern detectors is that the modern sensors work in terms of proximity of an obstruction, whereas the traditional detectors work when it comes in contact with the obstacle. Curb sensors are usually installed on the bumper of the car to warn you when you are getting too close to objects. The sensors will emit an alarm or sound when they detect obstacles (like a curb), and some have a digital display to show you the distance that is left before making contact with the said object. On the other hand, there are also parking sensors – built in sensors installed at both the front and the rear end of your car. When the driver starts the car, the front sensor will be activated – and the rear end sensors will be activated when the driver engages in the reverse gear.

There are ultrasonic radio waves being sent out from the control unit of the wireless parking system to the sensors attached to the vehicle. The control unit’s computer will measure the distance between the obstacle or curb and your car. This is done through measuring the time it takes the radio waves to bounce back to the car, from the obstacle. As mentioned above (and through the entire article), the detectors function as a warning system. Wireless parking systems (curb/parking detectors) will warn the drivers as they approach an obstacle through either audible, visual, or both means. Some visual systems will display the distance between the vehicle and the car when it is within four feet from the front, or six feet from the rear.

On the other hand, the audio system will emit a warning, beeping sound when the vehicle’s front (or rear) is below two feet from the obstacle, or the curb. Through technology advancement, there are also many choices of warnings that could be chosen from. Some of the vehicles will emit a continuous tone to alert the driver, or some models display the word “stop” when the vehicle is within a foot away from the curb. Do a Google search to check for an aftermarket system that can be installed on your classic. Some new and sophisticated cars even have back cameras to help them see the distance between their cars and the curbs.

Too many car owners, especially the ladies, this has proven to be very handy indeed as with any restoration of Mustangs you must take the necessary time to hit every detail including the angle of the reverse camera. Owners should also take note that the different types of sensors function differently, so always understand the function that you wish to install. Installing something that you don’t need is certainly a waste of money.

Reading Flannery O’Connor In A Pseudo-Modern Age

For anyone who took modern literature or a creative writing class, you most likely read Flannery O’Connor’s, A Good Man Is Hard to Find. It’s an American Classic, written by one of the world’s greatest storytellers. O’Connor’s dark and often grotesque characters distinguish themselves as soulless and morbid, whose actions are often cruel, violent and immoral. Yet her character’s, regardless of what path they take, are touched by salvation and Divine Providence.

O’Connor’s stories take place in the South and the reader is taken to a time and in a place in American history when the Civil Rights movement was at its peak. Flannery O’Connor’s stories were, and continue to be criticized for using derogatory language towards African Americans. Whether O’Connor was a racist herself is still being debated among literary circles and scholars alike. While race is a focal point in some of her stories, Flannery O’Connor did not take an apparent stand on the Civil Rights movement that was underfoot. She wrote the South as it was, and her character’s emulated racial remarks in their dialogue as her contemporary common-folk did.

Many people reading O’Connor for the first time don’t realize that all of her works are rooted in Catholicism. She comes from a school of Catholic writers at the time which includes, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day and Walker Percy. At first glance, most of her works make no mention of her Catholic beliefs. In fact, one might question her value system, because, quite frankly, her characters are highly unchristian-like. However, all of her stories are embedded with symbols of Divine Providence and the roots of Catholic thought.

A History of Early Catholicism in Four Paragraphs

In order for us to understand the inner-workings of O’Connor’s stories, we must understand the inner workings of the Catholic Faith:

In 313 AD, Constantine the Great legalized Christianity, moving the center of the Roman Empire to Byzantium. This would eventually give rise of the Byzantine Empire. With Constantine living in his newly appointed city of Constantinople, he gifted Rome to the pope to help oversee his domain. This was a final blow to the Roman Empire, creating a domino effect that would eventually collapse the Empire. In time, ancient Christianity split into two separate entities: Eastern Orthodox Catholicism of the Byzantines and Roman Catholicism. This split was caused by two centers of Christian thought separated by two locations on the map.

Bear with me for a second, as this move in history lays the foundation of Western culture and the beginning of Catholic philosophy, in which O’Connor’s stories were based. While very similar, Eastern Orthodox Catholicism focused the scriptures on the Holy Trinity: The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit; while Roman Catholics founded their biblical philosophy on the Incarnation of Christ himself, the idea that God had become human to suffer and die for our sins.

Members of the Early Eastern Orthodox were Greek oriented, and in the footsteps of Socrates and Plato, they created a philosophy around the Holy Trinity. They questioned the faith: If Jesus was both God and man, did he know he was God? In the flesh, was Jesus was capable of sinning? As man, was Jesus all knowing, or limited in his knowledge?

The focus of the Incarnation of Christ in Roman Catholic belief made God human. According to the Roman Catholic faith, Jesus was all knowing and through his crucifixion, Jesus saved humanity. Since God had become present in the flesh, God could intervene in human affairs through Divine Providence, the very foundation of Flannery O’Connor’s stories.

The Short Stories of Flannery O’Connor

Of all forms of fiction, the short story is the most difficult to both read and write. The short story in itself is highly condensed. Take O’Connor’s story, The Life You Save May Be Your Own, where O’Connor’s protagonist, a nomad of a man, Mr. Shiftlet, a carpenter whose first notable gesture is raising his arms up toward the sun, “his figure formed a crooked cross,” strolls up to a house and is greeted by Lucynelle, an old washed up woman with no teeth, and her mute, innocent daughter, also named Lucynelle.

Upon talking, Mr. Shiftlet notices a broken-down, black, rusted-out car sitting in the yard. The old woman tells him it hasn’t run in fifteen years. Mr. Shiftlet and the old woman talk all afternoon, as the sun sets upon the three of them, a symbol of things to come. In time, Mr. Schiftlet is welcome into the house, where he fixes up the place in return for lodging and food. He eventually repairs the broken-down, rusted out car.

The old woman convinces Mr. Shiftlet to marry the young Lucynelle, her only prized possession. Mr. Shiftlet agrees to this arrangement and they arrive at the courthouse to get married. The old lady to give him seventeen dollars, so he can take his innocent Lucynelle to a motel for their honeymoon.

The two married couple drive off into the afternoon. They continue, driving into the night, where they stop at a diner to get a bite to eat. The young Lucynelle, tired, falls asleep at the counter. The boy working the counter says, “she looks like an angle of Gawd.” In response, Mr. Shiftlet responds, “hitchhiker,” and gives the boy money for food when she wakes up. Mr. Shiftlet leaves, abandoning the mute Lucynelle in the middle of nowhere.

Divine Providence of O’Connor’s story takes root as Mr. Shiftlet drives off into the night, toward Mobile, Alabama. Along the way he see signs reading, “Drive Carefully. The Life You May Save May Be Your Own.” After driving along, he picks up a hitchhiker, a boy-another symbol who tells Mr. Schiftlet to, “go to the devil!” The boy jumps out of the car. The story ends as a turnip cloud passes him and it begins to rain.

The Life You May Save May Be Your Own is based off of Matthew 5:45 which states, “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Literary analysis of this satire is stunning. There is symbol after symbol: there’s the heart Mr. Schiftlet talks about in the beginning of the story in relation to the turnip cloud at the end of the piece, the descriptive color of Lucynelle, making her the symbol of the Virgin Mary, and of the colors of the newly painted car have to be carefully examined. All of this symbolism paints another story-a truth of the human condition and free will in relation to the divine order of the world.

Reading O’Connor in a Pseudo-modern Age

Reading O’Connor at the foot of the twenty-first century not only takes us into the history of the deep south, at a time when black men and women were fighting for equal protection under the law, but her stories force us to face the ugly truths and flaws of ourselves. This demonstration can’t be more apparent than in her story, Everything That Rises Must Converge.

This is a telling story of the social and racial changes the south was facing in the 1950′s, and integrates it into a self transformation, in which the protagonist, a young Julian faces from the sudden death of his mother, which symbolizes the freedom African Americans. His mother’s death emulates the realization of a new era in which has come over the South.

As a pseudo-modern society, we are at a turning point ourselves. Within the wake of global communications, we see the world as it is-as O’Connor saw the south. We see poverty, war, revolution, famine and disease filtered into our news headlines on a daily basis. For most of us we walk aimlessly, drinking a frothed-up coffee beverage, attached to our mobile devices and 3G networks, unknowingly aware that half of the underdeveloped world is looking toward us to save them. O’Connor’s stories all comes down to salvation and the possibility that Divine Providence might touch our lives in a way we least expect.