Showing posts from September, 2008

In which Ella Bella gets bit by the bug.

This is our middle kid: Ella. (aka Ella Bella, Smella, and Miss Ella Vator). She is a chef and she has been wanting to learn to ride a motorcycle. Who am I to stand in the way of such a wonderful thing. This past Sunday we went to a local elementary school with a pretty good sized parking lot and lots of green space. We took Newt, my '82 Yamaha XT550, which is a great learner bike on account of the relatively light weight, dual sport ability, and the fact that I only paid $650 for it so even if she totaled it - how bad could it be?

We outfitted her in one of my deluxe extra helmets and a pair of her mom's boots and the lesson began. Ella drives a manul shifting car so it was a matter of re-assigning which hand/foot did what on the bike.She admitted that she was a tad nervous, but it really didn't show. She started off nice and slow in the parking lot - learning first and foremost how to stop the bike. Then she started weaving around a bit and took it into 2nd gear.
Here she…

Elephants & donkeys:The parties at play.

When are we going to realize that the two major political parties are laughing all the way to the bank? They play us like the chumps we are. That is why the Libertarian folks look better and better to me all the time.
Hmmm, staunch elephants were hesitant to hand over any financial aid to the victims of Katrina in New Orleans. After all, those people CHOSE to live where they live and it is below sea level and dang it all what do they expect? The same Republicans are now oh so willing to dole out BILLIONS to help huge Wall Street firms who have run themselves aground with business practices that resulted in total chaos in the money markets? Okay, so welfare is a bad thing when it helps someone who lost his house and furniture, but hell yes lets write the check when it is AIG, Bear Sterns, etc. etc.?
What happened to the "it is a free market - it will correct itself" philosophy that gave us all the deregulation and freedom for these companies to do what they did? Now all of the …

So, you wanna be bailed out, eh?

Do I really need to say anything about these pieces of news? Do we really need to subsidize the bastards with our tax money? How can an executive of a failing company POSSIBLY get a ^%$# bonus?

They want to be bailed out? Okay - then RETURN the bonus money.

From 2/21/2007 NEW YORK, Feb 21 (Reuters) - "Bear Stearns Cos. BSC.N said on Wednesday it has created maximum bonus pools of $305 million for 12 top executives if the investment bank beats the upper range of performance targets in 2007."

From 4/4/08 NEW YORK (AP) - "The chief executive of American International Group Inc., the largest insurer in the U.S., received compensation the company valued at about $13.9 million in 2007, nearly half of what he earned a year ago.
According to a proxy statement filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Martin Sullivan received the same base salary of $1 million for both years. But his cash bonus was cut substantially to $3.6 million from $10.1 million in 2006.

Fun at Berlin Raceway in Marne

Having gone to Berlin Raceway since I was a wee lad, imagine how thrilled I was to find out that as a member of the media I could take a ride around the track with one of their drivers in the Sobe Adrenalin Rush 2 seater. Hot Damn!

Got to climb in through the window like a real race driver. My only mistake was not wearing my own dang helmet - as you can see this one was a tad small for my melon. We got to wear a flame suite like the big boys, too.

One of the other drivers was nice enough to help me get all strapped in. The directions were simple enough - they put them on the dash for all passengers to see. As you can imagine, my smile was huge as we zoomed around the track. Oh man, sure did whet my appetite to try driving it myself. Guess what? I got that wish a few weeks later when the track hosted a bunch of us media types one afternoon to try our hands at driving. This time I wore my own helmet. They took us around the track a couple of times in a pace car to give us an idea of the …

Good times at Grattan Raceway.

Lil Amy is riding on the back of my first BMW. We are taking a couple of laps around the track at a very low speed (that is why we are in shirtsleeves, not jackets). I think we paid $5 to follow a pace car around for 2-3 laps.
Here we go now! 2 years later. This was taken during a Track Daywith Sport Bike Track Time. was a great day of learning the limits of a big ole Beemer.
Here is Bob Demetrius giving me some last minute instructionsbefore taking me on a couple of laps on his sidecar. What a rush!I forgot to breathe for 3/4 of the way around the first lap.Bob told me we were at about 100 mph in the straight.
Coming out of turn 12 and heading into the straight.I am moving into the correct position for the straight.Crouched down on my knees as small as possible.

Some of my published work.

Some of the published works of Cliff Yankovich

Advance Newspapers - Jenison, MI
* Writing for them since 2002
* Weekly column, "Cliff's Riffs" 2004 to present

Alternative Press
The Paper - Grand Rapids, MI 11/01
San Antonio Current - San Antonio, TX 06/02
New York Press - NY, NY 05/02

BMW Motorcycle Owners of America Owners News
Glossy monthly - 30,000 plus subscribers US and abroad
12/02 - Exercise and Riding
09/03 - Motorcycle Insurance Rates
05/04 - Cortech Gloves
10/04 - 10k mile Review of 2004 Rockster
12/05 - Tomahawk Tires
12/07 - Aerostich Combat Lite Boots
02/08 - Olympia Phantom Riding Suit
10/08 - Jett Vest

Rider Magazine
Glossy National Monthly
06/08 - Rounders (
05/09 - AHMRA story from Grattan

Others (various articles over the past 6 years)
Grand Rapids Magazine
Lowell Ledger
Monthy Guest Column in The View - Belleville, MI (Heritage Newspapers)
On the Town Magazine - Grand Rapids, MI
About Town - montly column Greenville, MI
Capital of Nasty - electron…

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) and acid reflux (heartburn).

About 4-5 weeks ago I was snooping around on the net looking for natural cures for heartburn - aka acid reflux. I would find myself eating a Tums or two several times a week. I read several articles that explained how much potential damage the acid in my throat could do to my body.
Did a search and starting reading about ACV (apple cider vinegar). Holy smokes - it looks like this is good for lots of things. The website(s) all recommended using raw, unfiltered ACV for the best results. Being the sceptic that I am - I decided I wasn't going to spend the money for the raw stuff = especially since we had some regular ACV in the house that Julie was using to can veggies.
I started making myself a tonic with 2 tsp of ACV in water. I would drink it in the morning with breakfast and in the evening with dinner. Wow - noticed the effect on my acid reflux immediately. I used the regular ACV for a couple weeks just to make sure that it really helped. It did.
So I went to Harvest Health (http://w…

Sublingual B vitamins.

I have been using sublingual B vitamins for several years with great results.
Let me back up to winter about 4 years ago. I would wake up in the morning feeling like I shouldn't be waking up. I am a pretty much high energy guy - I like to feel on top of my game and keep positive as much as possible.
This went on for weeks. Lethargic. No spring in my step. Not really depressed but close to it.
One night I was channel surfing and came upon the infomercial for the Tri-Vita sublingual vitamins. The guy was describing me to a T. The cool part is they let me try a 30 day supply for free. I was pretty sceptical, but figured I had nothing to lose so I began to disolve one the tablets under my tongue per the instructions every morning on the way into the store. It took about 4-5 days, but I began to notice a real difference. More energy, I didn't feel like I was under a black cloud. This stuff works.
I began to order them from Tri-Vita and took them every day. After a year or so I tried ou…

Battery powered Jett vest makes for warm rides!

Jett vests make you look years younger!

Here is what you get - the vest, controller, and charger - battery, too.

This is the inside pocket where the rechargeable battery goes.
The temperatures here in Michigan as I write this review are not the kind that makes you think of putting on a battery powered Jett heated vest. However, since I know my fellow MOA members are the type of people who love to plan ahead, let me offer you my impressions of the Jett vest because colder weather is coming.
First a bit of background and explanation if I may. While my 2004 Rockster SE has a very nice place to plug in electric clothing, I never wanted to get a plug-in vest or jacket liner even though I ride all 12 months of the year (yup, I am a Rounder). The Rockster is my main bike, but when the temps are in the teens and there is snow in the air, I usually make my commute on my “winter bike”, which is a 1982 Yamaha 550XT. I did not want to spend the weeks of late fall and early winter in electrified co…