2017 Honda CR-V, one year impressions

By Jeffrey the Barak. Usually when you read a car review it talks about specifications, quality, practicality and reliability. It helps you decide whether you should buy the same car. This is not one of those reviews. It uses my one year old car as an example to discuss how car design might have strayed…

Ten Album Covers

By Jeffrey the Barak.   In recent weeks, people have been posting ten album cover images on their Facebook feeds, with a varying comment that usually says something like “no explanation, just the cover”, and then they have to meet a challenge by nominating someone else. I was dreading being asked to be the next…

The Various Types Of Non-Believers

By Jeffrey the Barak. The Anti-Theist Anti-Theists don’t just look away from religion and beliefs, they stand up and speak out about how such beliefs are false and wrong. They feel strongly enough about it to be impolite or confrontational, not out of hatred or intolerance, but out of the desire for truth and logic…

Unimportant Subject Matter?

By Jeffrey the Barak. All writing is important, as are all subjects. One magazine or blog cannot solve the problems of the world. This is why the-vu expounds on subjects as diverse as drums, cars, scooters, abandoned highways and many other topics of specialized interest. Obviously, while we do this, there are criminals in charge…

Stop Damping Your Drums

By Jeffrey the Barak. When finally realizing that each part of the drum kit is a musical instrument, the common practice of damping becomes unadvisable. How many drummers take thousands of dollars worth of craftsman made drums and detune them, put on double-ply heads, slap yards of duct tape on them, shove pillows into the…

Tesla Model 3. Look where you are going.

By Jeffrey the Barak. Dangerous and complicated? Is it possible to form an opinion of a car without driving it? Yes, we can watch other peoples’ reviews of cars on television. And that is the extent of my experience with the Tesla model 3. This is a vicarious review, but still reasonable as you will…

The great 2018 decluttering

By Jeffrey the Barak. Painful as it may be to take a writer’s hard work and unpublish it, after 18 years it was time to look at this ancient online magazine with eyes of steel. Many old articles have been unpublished, including many of my own. Most articles on the subject of health have gone,…

Ojo Commuter Scooter Review

By Jeffrey the Barak. If Dr. Seuss were to illustrate a motor scooter, it might get skinnier and taller, and the wheels might get smaller, and it would probably look a lot like this OJO. For some strange reason, for a few days in January 2018, on the Best Buy website, the Ojo Commuter Scooter,…

The Wheat-Free Vegan

By Jeffrey the Barak. Where’s the steak? I am currently able to announce that I am a “wheat-free vegan”. Does this mean that I am being trendy, or latching onto the latest health fad? Well yes, but that is not why I am a wheat-free vegan. I have selfish reasons for eating this way, and…

Falling out of love with electronic drums

By Jeffrey the Barak. They were so good for while. What could be better? You make a tiny little sound in your apartment, and your headphones deliver a drum sound, as big as you like. any size drum, any amount of reverb, any tuning. A dream, yes? Well yes, but I have decided that they…

Mad about M.A.D.

  By Jeffrey the Barak. M.A.D. mandible advancement device. I have to admit that I was, and possibly still am, a bit of a snorer. When you get older, or fatter, the tendency to snore increases. It is not only inconsiderate to the person who sleeps next to you, and possibly also your neighbors, but…

The Nimble Urban Cargo Scooter

By Jeffrey the Barak. I wrote briefly about the Nimble Cargo Scooter after trying one out at the Dwell on Design Show back in June 2014. It was a great concept that placed a heavy cargo in front of the handlebars of a scooter and employed a steering linkage to turn the distant front wheel. But…

The Bialetti Moka Pot and Cafe Bustelo

By Jeffrey the Barak. The Bialetti Moka Pot and Cafe Bustelo, an Italian and Cuban-American collaboration resulting in beautiful coffee. There are many ways to buy a cup of coffee, and also many ways to make a cup of coffee at home. One device that you will probably find in any Italian kitchen is an old,…

NAMM 2016 – A quest for a compact multipad drum kit

By Jeffrey the Barak. Having the opportunity this year to attend NAMM, that is the National Association of Music Merchants Incorporated, show, in Anaheim, California, I decided to take a very selective approach and set off on a quest for a professional-quality, tiny, electronic drum set, that can be played with sticks. The Show Briefly,…

Sweetened Condensed Milk, Goodbye Old Friend

By Jeffrey the Barak. For the last thirty years or so, I have been slightly unwell. A constant pressure, bloating, inflammation. The ever present acid inside. I have taken pills and put up with it, and even become used to it except when it really flared up. I gave up wheat ten years ago and…

Flykly Smart Ped Folding Kick-Assist Scooter

By Jeffrey the Barak. Scooters. I am obsessed with them. I have so far owned at least sixteen human-powered scooters and three electrics. The Flykly scooter is something altogether quite new. It seems to have checked many boxes from the wish lists of the scooter fanatic community, and in doing so will have an appeal…

The Four Acceptable Man Bags

By Jeffrey the Barak. In today’s world, men carry as much stuff around as women. This is primarily due to electronics that did not previously exist, but modern men need more personal items as well. The days of stuffing money, identification and keys into trouser pockets and going out the door for a full day,…

Why does my Cappuccino keep changing?

By Jeffrey the Barak. The Cappuccino, the favorite morning pick me up for Italians that evolved into any any time of day drink for the rest of the world, was originally a single shot of espresso, with about the same volume of steamed milk, and about the same volume of milk foam on top. It…

Personal Transportation Devices for the 21st Century

By Jeffrey the Barak. A personal transportation device can be anything that gets a person around town, without a car. It could be the common, world-changing, bicycle, but we all know about those machines. This article introduces a passion of mine, personal transportation devices that are not bicycles. In many of my scooter reviews and…

Skujou, Electric Scooter startup in Hamburg

By Jeffrey the Barak. Recently in the-vu we reviewed the Zumaround Zum electric scooter and consequently we recently received a press release for a new German design, still in it’s capital crowdsourcing stage. The prototype Skujou Cruise looks great and the specs are excellent, so we introduce it here, although you cannot buy one just…

Zumaround Zum Electric Scooter Review

By Jeffrey the Barak. Fifteen years ago in this same magazine, in July 2000 to be exact, I wrote an article about electric scooters, as I had just acquired my second and was enjoying it quite a bit. Now, in 2015, things have changed, especially batteries and motor systems, so it is time to revisit…

The Hardwood Flooring Fake Warranty

By Jeffrey the Barak. When you buy a hardwood flooring, or engineered hardwood flooring system for your home, the flooring retailer will tell you with the tone of a stern and dire warning that in order for the warranty to be valid and effective on your floor, you have to glue it to the concrete…

Finding My Roots Through DNA

By Jeffrey the Barak. How my knowledge of my ancestry suddenly jumped from the 19th Century to tens of thousands of years ago. A couple of months ago a friend told me she had used an online DNA testing service, 23andMe, to research her ancestry. The ancestral history of her DNA revealed some unknown ancient…

Freestyle Pro-Scooters without the tricks?

By Jeffrey the Barak. Just lately I have been finding that riding a scooter for a few miles is too tiring to be all the fun it should be, so I have taken to using a bicycle for these intermediate to long distances. Now with a bicycle being a machine, it will give you about…

Half a century of scooting

By Jeffrey the Barak. I may have a few decades of life left, but with my 58th birthday coming this week I thought it would be fun to direct via the keyboard some reflections of riding scooters. This a hardcore scooter fanatic ramble that will only appeal to our splendid scooterholic minority, but here goes…

From a one foot hop to E-Bikes

By Jeffrey the Barak. How much do we want to exercise, and how much help do we want from machines and electricity? With electric bicycles, or  e-bikes, becoming more common, we can begin to wonder whether we are still pedaling bikes or if we are just gradually switching to quieter and slower motorcycles. Not that…

The Selfie, a decade before the Selfie

By Jeffrey the Barak. The world is obsessed with “The Selfie”. So many people have smartphones, and a desire to share themselves, that wherever you look you see a picture of someone taking their own picture, either alone or with a group. But here at the-vu, this started about ten years ago, thanks to a…

Sebago and Sperry, Breaking-In, Boating and Loafing

By Jeffrey the Barak. An American classic, the boat shoe is a fashion staple around the world. It is a shoe that a man or woman can wear in hot climates and is an alternative to the flip fop, and yet it is still very functional in it’s intended use, which is walking sure-footedly around…

The Nimble Cargo Scooter

By Jeffrey the Barak. The Dwell On Design Show is not about scooters, but among the pre-fab homes, bathroom fixtures and forward-thinking designs for the homes of tomorrow, you do occasionally see certain bicycles, and in this case a variation of a warehouse cargo scooter called the Nimble. The Nimble scooter is low to the…

Man Bags

By Jeffrey the Barak. Most men need a man bag despite some negative reactions from others. Until recently, it was difficult for men to be able to comfortably walk around in public with a nice bag for all of their stuff. But just like women, who need purses and handbags of various sizes to bring along…

Yes, cats do smell terrible.

By Jeffrey the Barak. Despite what you think, your cat stinks and so does your home. Any cat owner reading this will immediately dive into a state of denial. They will say, cats do not smell, they are very clean animals. but they are basing such assumptions on their own senses, and these are not…

Are we building the wrong way?

By Jeffrey the Barak. Most Westerners live in one of two types of house. Either it is masonry, solid, strong, but not much good in an earthquake, or they are in a wood-frame cage with the gaps filled in with drywall and stucco. High rise dwellers may instead be in a steel cage with concrete…

Scoot USC

By Jeffrey the Barak. Los Angeles is a better place to be than many cities when it comes to finding a nice place to scoot. But sooner or later the 26 mile beach bike path becomes so familiar that the urge to explore further kicks in. Google Maps has a bicycle overlay with puts bright…

The Mibo Gepard Kick Scooter Review

By Jeffrey the Barak. I have been waffling on in recent articles about kick-scooters about how much I miss pneumatic tires. Yes, the small solid tired folding scooters are convenient and portable, and in the cases of the Know-Ped and the KickPed are also reasonably comfortable at slower speeds on slightly rougher surfaces, but it…

A Night in Tunisia

By Jeffrey the Barak. February 8th 2013. As chaos ensues in Tunisia, a small North African country wedged between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert, and conflicts arise between the Islamist government and a mass of citizens who would have preferred that the Islamist party had not won the democratic election, it is worth…

Don’t buy jeans online, try on many pairs instead

By Jeffrey the Barak. Online shopping is amazing. It is so convenient and usually a great bargain too as sellers don’t have the enormous cost of providing a glass and granite palace to show you their goods. But some things do not fit in with the online shopping model. The most striking example is denim…

Kick Scooter Classifications

By Jeffrey the Barak. As you may have gathered from visiting the-vu.com, I am very enthusiastic about the simple and wonderful human-powered vehicle that we call a scooter, and far less enamored with the machines we call bicycles. But despite appearances to residents of the United States, where scooters are so rare you almost never…

KickPed and Know-Ped Family Reunion

By Jeffrey the Barak. A search for the word scooter on the-vu.com will reveal my passion and obsession for this type of vehicle. I much prefer scooters to bicycles, even though I have to admit I won’t be tackling a hundred mile charity ride on one. I have this year reviewed the KickPed, an amazing…

I used to be Hawai’i

By Jeffrey the Barak. __ I used to be Hawai’i I am the Detroit Tablemount. I am two and a half thousand meters under the sea. To my East is the West, Attu Island, the edge of the USA. To my North is the East. Ostrov Mednyy, the edge of Russia I used to be…

One-Piece Electronic Drums

By Jeffrey the Barak. March 2012. I have been a drummer since the mid 1960s, and now it is 2012. So not quite half a century, but a heck of a long time. I have had quite a few drum sets over the years, originally acoustic and recently electronic. I play mostly in a jazz…

Scoot Like a Pro!

By Jeffrey the Barak. The most popular scooters in the United States are the small folding kind. The fact that they can fold up and be carried makes them so much more versatile than the scooter that remains it’s full deployed size and is basically a bicycle without the seat or the drivetrain. While you…

L.A. Beach Bike Path, Part Three

By Jeffrey the Barak. Part one took us from Torrance to Manhattan Beach on the L.A. Beach Bike Path, and part two began in Manhattan Beach and ended as we arrived at Venice Beach. This article is part three so if you are starting here, you may want to navigate to parts one and two…