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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

L.A. Beach Bike Path, Part Two

By Jeffrey the Barak. Part one took us from Torrance to Manhattan Beach on the L.A. Beach Bike Path. This article is part two so if you are starting here, you may want to navigate to part one first. Google Maps has an overlay view of the L.A. Beach Bike Path at this link: Part Two: … Read more

L.A. Beach Bike Path, Part One

By Jeffrey the Barak. You have seen it on TV and in countless movies. The twenty-six mile bike path along the coast in Santa Monica Bay is a place that many a scooter rider is longing to try out. The bike path is quiet in some places and crowded in others, and some of it … Read more

My road to the KickPed

By Jeffrey the Barak. Most kick scooter riders and potential kick scooter buyers are thousands of miles from being able to stroll into a certain New York City bike shop called NYCeWheels, but thanks to the Internet anyone is able to choose to buy the scooter that I have personally chosen as my current favorite … Read more

Why choose a kick scooter?

By Jeffrey the Barak. Ah, the humble kick scooter. Often maligned as inefficient, or silly looking, but to those of us who know, it is the ideal vehicle for short-distance, low to medium speed transportation. True, if you need to go ten miles, then a bicycle of any type will get you there with less … Read more

KickPed versus Xootr, a scooter review

By Jeffrey the Barak. The KickPed is a custom Know-Ped, manufactured in the same factory in California, Patmont Motor Werks, but made to a lean and mean customized set of specifications, exclusively for one retail store, NYCeWheels in New York City. In some ways it is less of a scooter than the Know-Ped but the … Read more

The Nice Manifesto

By Jeffrey the Barak. In the story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, adults are persuaded to accept a false reality, which is eventually shattered by one little boy, who voices  a true observation that instantly makes the adults realize they were following a false path. I too have my little boy, the eternally young Lamb Borghini, … Read more

The Saddleback Briefcase Odyssey

By Jeffrey the Barak. I am a man-bag flipper. I like my personal luggage, be it a briefcase, messenger, pouch or satchel. I was never one for going around with no stuff, or stuffing my pockets, so a bag just makes sense for me. I always regret leaving the house without one, and I’ve carried … Read more

The Presbyopic Pirate

By Jeffrey the Barak. Novels and movies have glamorized the image of the pirate. We can imagine ourselves dressed in puffy shirts, with swords at our side, swinging on ropes between various high points of ship’s rigging, sailing to exotic lands full of treasure and beautiful women. Of course deep down we know that pirates … Read more

A 70’s dinosaur falls into eDrums.

By Jeffrey the Barak. Before I ever had electronic drums, I spent a couple of decades carrying around large, heavy drum sets and cymbals, which could only ever be played in rented rehearsal rooms, because they naturally made very loud sounds that would never be appropriate in a normal domestic setting. As loud as real … Read more

End of the Uh-Oh’s

I wonder if we will call this coming year twenty-ten or the more cumbersome two thousand and ten. I think we should have called 2001 twenty-o-one, just like they did in nineteen-o-one and eighteen-o-one. Personally I will from this day make that change, and no longer refer to twenty-o-four, as two-thousand and four. And what … Read more

How Art Almost Killed An Entire People

By Jeffrey the Barak. At times, we wander the galleries and see pieces of art that look as if they could hurt someone, or kill someone, but in a way this has actually happened. I refer to a place commonly known as Easter Island. This is it’s modern name, given to the place by Christian … Read more

Los Angeles, what are we standing on?

By Jeffrey the Barak. Geologists would say that the Los Angeles Basin is like a huge bowl of sand The geologic center for the Los Angeles Basin is the place where the Los Angeles River and the river known as Rio Hondo merge in South Gate. At this central point, sand, silt, clay and other … Read more

The hazards of imagining countries

By Jeffrey the Barak. Nomadic tribes move independently of each other and occasionally come together to interact through trade, war, sport, cultural exchange, intermarriage, murder etc. In the dense jungles of South America and Africa and Asia, the boundaries formed by geographical features such as ridges and valleys are all it takes to keep two … Read more

The least continental place

By Jeffrey the Barak Nake Islet, part of Millenium Island, formerly known as Caroline Island, now in the Republic of Kiribati, is the closest point of land I could find after moving the Google Earth globe around to a spot that showed the least land. The only significant continental land visible at the edges of this hemisphere … Read more

Station Wagon is a dirty term.

By Jeffrey the Barak Once upon a time, car drivers who occasionally hauled around a lot of stuff and/or large objects from place to place, bought station wagons. In Europe these were called estate cars, and still are, but in the United States, they were called station wagons, presumably because they transferred goods to and … Read more

The Urban Tango Phenomenon Explained

An interview with Makela Brizuela, by Jeffrey the Barak. In 2006, a very different dance performance was first presented in Venice California. Entitled “URBAN TANGO, The Agony and Ecstasy of Amateur Tango – In Search of the Elusive Embrace”, it was different in many ways and attracted the attention of many in the dance community. … Read more

Shaving – The Old Fashioned Way

By Jeffrey the Barak New things are better than old things and new gadgets are better than old gadgets, right? Wrong! Sometimes the impetus for tools and gadgets to evolve is not to make them better, it’s to change the marketplace to receive more expensive goods. There is no better example of this than the … Read more

Exion Scooters

Exion Scooters – Cees Bakker’s amazing home-built speedsters By Jeffrey the Barak Just one look at the carbon fiber creations above tells you, now those are some fast looking scooters! And fast they are. Designed for the racing circuit which exists in Europe, but not in the USA, these home built human-powered scooters make everything … Read more

We Don’t Need No Steenkin’ Gravity

By Jeffrey the Barak Far from the million dollar science grants and laboratories of Pasadena, and Los Alamos, in a village in Romania, and in the kitchen of a most unattractive apartment building, Gnelj stumbled across the secret of gravity control. Impossible you say? Isn’t the attraction of mass as inevitable as a slowing satellite … Read more

A Comparison of Giants

A Comparison of Giants – The Modern SUV versus the American Seventies Car By Jeffrey the Barak In the early 1980’s Americans bought little Toyotas, Hondas, BMW’s etc. in such numbers that many of the manufacturers begin building them right here in America. The buyers of these cars developed a severe distaste for the enormous … Read more

Human Powered Scooters

Human Powered Scooters – The Undiscovered Transportation Solution By Jeffrey the Barak Energy Efficient or Exhausting? Apart from the in-line scooter craze of 1999, the use of scooters in our society has been almost totally non-existent. Many would-be scooter riders have observed that it can be much less tiring to ride a bike for mile … Read more

Riding the Range

Riding the Range – Stress, Success and Failure at the School for Street Motorcyclists By Jeffrey the Barak It may be a cliché to call this a mid-life identity crisis, but at the ripe old age of 45 I suddenly find myself with an overwhelming desire to put an amusement park between my legs. What … Read more

Italians invade U.S. – Scooters are back!

By Jeffrey the Barak In September 2000, in the United Kingdom, there was a nationwide fuel shortage. The roads fell silent as cars and trucks sat around with their engines in hibernation. However, the British public were already used to gasoline which cost as much as wine, so thousands of them were able to continue … Read more

The Wonders of Southern California’s Historic Ridge Route.

It’s still there! The Wonders of Southern California’s Historic Ridge Route. By Jeffrey the Barak Horseshoe bend It began with an intriguing map tumbling out of the Los Angeles Times in October 1997. Like a map to hidden pirate treasure, it showed the way to an adventure that would become one of my most memorable … Read more