Graphic Novels for People Who Hate Comics

Note: I’ve cross-posted this to Four Color Comics, my comics blog.

Kristi asked yesterday about good graphic novels for book groups. In response, here’s a list of comics that I think nearly any adult would find entertaining and interesting. Note the absence of superheroes.

The Complete Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman
The most important graphic novel yet published. Maus recounts the experiences of Spiegleman’s father as a Polish Jew during the Holocaust. It won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992. Outstanding. A+ $22.05 from Amazon.
La Perdida by Jessica Abel
La Perdida tells the story of Carla, an aimless young American woman living in Mexico City. The ending is a little Hollywood, but overall, this is a great read. B+ $12.97 from Amazon.
Blankets or Good-Bye, Chucky Rice by Craig Thompson
Thompson is a Portland-area creator. Blankets is considered his best work to date, and it’s fine in a Tori Amos sort of way, but feels a little sophomoric at times. I prefer the more imaginative Good-Bye, Chunky Rice. Blankets: B $18.87 from Amazon. Good-Bye, Chunky rice: B+ $9.97 from Amazon.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis is the autobiography of a woman who grew up in Iran during the reign of the Shah, and during the Islamic Revolution. This book has been compared (favorably) to Maus, and while it’s not quite up to that standard, it’s excellent nonetheless. Highly recommended. A- $11.67 from Amazon.
Black Hole by Charles Burns
One of the next books on my “to-read” shelf. This highly-acclaimed graphic novel is another portrait of adolescence. It combines a sexually-transmitted plague with a series of murders. Highly-regarded. Inc. $15.72 from Amazon.
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid in the World by Chris Ware
The story of a sad family full of sad men. I collected this in comic book form during the mid-nineties — I bought the first issue on the day my father died — but haven’t read it since. Ware is the darling of the intelligentsia.B $22.05 from Amazon.
Torso by Brian Michael Bendis
Remember Eliot Ness of Untouchables fame? After he stood up to Al Capone in Chicago, he moved to Cleveland. This true-crime graphic novel tells of his other big case, the one that ruined him: a series of gruesome killings. A- out-of-print, but available used at $12.95 from Amazon.
Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships and Age of Bronze: Sacrifice by Eric Shanower
Over the course of a planned seven volumes, Shanower is writing and drawing the history of the Trojan War using primary sources as reference. He’s dispensed with the gods and goddesses, but not their roles. When drawing the books, he relies on archaeological evidence to get the costumes, structures, and objects correct. This is great stuff. Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships: A $13.57 from Amazon. Age of Bronze: Sacrifice: Inc. $12.97 from Amazon.
Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
Some of you have probably seen the film adaptation of this book. The graphic novel on which it is based is a little different, emphasizing the relationship between the two young women, and spending less time on secondary characters. This is really a series of eight short stories that hang together as a whole. Shortish. A- $9.20 from Amazon.
American Splendor by Harvey Pekar
This book contains dozens of short autobiographical bits from Pekar’s early work. Some are great, others are less impressive, but on the whole American Splendor does a great job capturing adult angst. I actually prefer the recent film, which is wonderfully post-modern and often hilarious. B+ $11.53 from Amazon.
Locas by Jaime Hernandez
Though this is a classic in the field, I haven’t read any of it yet. To quote Publishers Weekly: “These superb stories … define a world of Hispanic gang warfare, ’80s California, punk rock, women wrestlers and the subtle battle to stay true to oneself. Hernandez’s main characters are Maggie and Hopey, two adorable lesbian rockers who start out in a somewhat vague relationship.” Inc. $31.47 from Amazon.
Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez
If you enjoyed Like Water for Chocolate or One Hundred Years of Solitude, then Palomar may be for you. Publishers Weekly again: “The earliest stories in the book owe more to magical realism and Gabriel Garcia Marquez than to anything that had been done in comics before. But in later pieces … Hernandez’s style is entirely his own”. Inc. $25.17 from Amazon.
Box Office Poison by Alex Robinson
Here’s a graphic novel that I do not own and have not read. Box Office Poison gets rave reviews from every corner. From what I understand, it tracks the misadventures of a group of recent college grads. Inc. $18.87 from Amazon.

Did you notice how the good graphic novels plumbed teen angst and autobiography for material? Did you further notice how the great graphic novels covered bigger subjects: the Holocaust, the Islamic Revolution, the Trojan War? Coincidence? I don’t think so.

One other excellent book to consider is Scott McCloud‘s Understanding Comics ($15.61 from Amazon). Understanding Comics is not a graphic novel, but a visual exploration of the comics medium: how it works, why it works, and so on. It’s brilliant in its simplicity. I actually want to choose this sometime for our book group, and then ask each member to read a graphic novel, too.

Some of you may be wondering, “Where are the great superhero graphic novels?” The short answer is that there aren’t any suitable for people who think they don’t like superhero comics. If you can’t buy into the genre, you’re not going to like the superhero stuff, no matter how good it is.

The primary exception are the products of Alan Moore. His work is imaginative and literary; I think that most open-minded adults will find it engaging. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (volume one, volume two) is clever fun. It takes fictional Victorian heroes — such as Captain Nemo, Dr. Jekyll, and Mina Harker — and melds them into a sort of “superteam”. Every character in the book is an established character from a previous work of fiction or an ancestor of a character from modern-day fiction.

Moore’s V for Vendetta has no superheroes, though it trades on superhero comic tropes. It explores themes of freedom, identity, and fascism. I think the beginning is strong, but the ending is something of a chore.

Finally, Watchmen deals explicitly with superheroes (though largely C-list superheroes that nobody has ever heard of). Many, including myself, consider Watchmen the finest superhero comic ever published. To quote the wikipedia:

Watchmen is drama that incorporates moral philosophy, popular culture, history, art, and science. It is set in an alternative history 1980s America where costumed adventurers are real and the U.S. is close to a nuclear war with Russia. Public opinion towards the notion of vigilantism has soured and public demonstrations demand the police be reinstated as the de facto marshals of law. Meanwhile, members of The Minutemen, a defunct organization of costumed adventurers, are being murdered. Watchmen is the only graphic novel to have won a Hugo Award and is also the only graphic novel to appear on Time magazine’s list of “100 best novels from 1923 to present.”

That’s a lot of information, I know, but I hope this guide proves useful to someone. Comics and graphic novels are often marginalized by the well-read, and that’s too bad. I often find them just as exciting, entertaining, and educational as any other literature.

Sesame Street Video Clips

Update: Foldedspace reader Dennis has found a popularly-requested video. Here’s Loaf of bread, a container of milk and a stick of butter. Thanks, Dennis!

Update #2: Dutch has posted a bunch of YouTube clips for toddlers, including what seems to be additional Sesame Street clips. Right-click and open in a new tab, folks. You’ll want to go there next…

I state quite confidently that this is the best entry I’ve made in five years of weblogging. Go away if you have work things to get done. This is an enormous time-waster.

Below you’ll find a fantastic collection of Sesame Street video clips. These are great. I remember many of these from when I was a kid. I’ve tried to organzize them as best I can. If you know of more Muppet/Sesame Street clips, please let me know.

Let’s start with a song we all know by heart: “one two three FOUR five, six seven eight NINE ten, eleven twelve…”

Next we have a random selection of number and alphabet clips, as well as random skits:
Letters versus numbers.
Telephone rock
Look at this
The alligator king and his seven sons
Yakety yak
I remember liking this one as a kid: sounds
My martian cutie (number nine)
Jake the snake — body parts
King Minus
Fishing for the alphabet
Animal department store elevator
Song about riding the subway.
The rhyming song
Count it higher
Robert DeNiro imagines he’s Elmo (the spawn of Satan)
For Kris: the mad goat
Funny farm
The ladybug picnic
The number painter (and Stockard Channing! — I always loved this)
Mahna Mahna
We all live in a capital I
Choosing a national bird (hilarious!)
The villain in the panama hat

How about a collection of popular songs done Sesame Street-style?
Johnny Cash and Big Bird: Don’t Take Your Ones to Town”
R.E.M. and the Monsters: “Furry Happy Monsters”
Stevie Wonder: “1-2-3”
Ray Charles (and Patrick Stewart?!?): The Alphabet Song”
The Beetles: “Letter B”
Norah Jones (and that spawn of Satan, Elmo): “Don’t Know Y”
“Born to Add” (minus Bruce Springsteen)

For Jeff — the ‘yip yip’ Martians:
The Martians meet a telephone
The Martians meet a computer

Guy Smiley
The Remembering Game
Beat the Time
Mystery Guest

It’s Not Easy Being Green
I Love Trash

Grover is surprised
Grover examines Kermit’s teeth
Grover’s echo
Grover takes a bath
Grover takes a day off
Grover goes to bed
Grover the waiter: big or small?
The monster in the mirror
Grover and the butterfly

Cookie Monster
Disco Cookie
Casey McPhee
C is for Cookie!
Cookie Monster raps about healthy food (boo! sell-out!)
The mystery box (with Kermit)
Rhyming (with Kermit)
Cookie steals Ernie’s cupcakes
Cookie steals Ernie’s pillow
Cookie and Ernie sing about D
One of these things is not like the other
Eatin’ Cookie (a parody of “Makin’ Whoopee”)
Six cookies
Monsterpiece Theater: Chariots of Fur
Monsterpiece Theater: The King and I
Monsterpiece Theater: Twelve Angry Men

My favorite has always been Kermit
It’s Not Easy Being Green
A-B-C-D-E-F-Cookie Monster (very, very cute)
The mystery box (with Cookie Monster)
Rhyming (with Cookie Monster)
Muppet News Flash: Santa Claus
Muppet News Flash: The Six Dollar Man
Muppet News Flash: Cinderella
Muppet News Flash: The Beanstalk
Muppet News Flash: The Wrong Seven Dwarves

And now for the grand finale, a collection of Bert and Ernie videos!
Bert and Ernie go fishing
Ernie does the laundry
Bert’s favorite number
Ernie can’t sleep
Bert can’t sleep
Bert and Ernie remember (and can’t sleep).
The ‘la la la’ song (This is a classic.)
Bert is locked out
Artwork by Ernie
Ernie and the chocolate cake
Ernie and Bert at the beach
Ernie goes rock hunting
Bert and Ernie explore a pyramid
Bert’s brother, Bart
Ernie quizzes Bert
Bert and Ernie play tag
Ernie breaks the cookie jar
Ernie has a banana in his ear (One of my all-time favorites.)
Bert and Ernie and the ice cream man
Bert and the National Association of W Lovers
Cookie steals Ernie’s cupcakes
Cookie steals Ernie’s pillow
Cookie and Ernie sing about D
Rubber Duckie!
Ernie and Lefty
Lefty and the painting
The broken ukelele
Natalie Portman (hubba and hubba) and Elmo (spawn of Satan) play the princess and the elephant

And, finally, the Muppet tribute to Jim Henson: Just One Person.

If you love these video clips, check out the complete first season of The Muppet Show, which is now available on DVD. (Also, this Songs From the Street boxed set features many of the songs above. Teach your children the songs you love!)

After watching some of these, I groused about Bert: “Bert is so lame. Who likes Bert?” “I like Bert,” mumbled Kris. “Why? How can you possibly like Bert?” I asked. Kris was firm: “Bert is sensible.” I just shook my head.

[all of this madness is via Metafilter, of course]

Personality Types

At one point last night, our book group discussion veered toward personality types and how they interact. Several of us have been exposed to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. A couple have made use of Enneagrams. We tried to guess where members of the group fit into the various personality scales. (Today on our walk, Jason and I continued this game.)

On a whim, I took an online combined Myers-Briggs/Enneagram test. The Myers-Briggs measures four pairs of personality traits (the following descriptions of which are taken verbatim from the Wikipedia):

  • The terms Introvert and Extrovert (originally spelled ‘extravert’ by Jung, who first used the terms in the context of psychology, although ‘extrovert’ is now by far the more common spelling) are referred to as attitudes and show how a person orients and receives their energy. In the extraverted attitude the energy flow is outward, and the preferred focus is on people and things, whereas in the introverted attitude the energy flow is inward, and the preferred focus is on thoughts and ideas.
  • Sensing and Intuition are the perceiving functions. They indicate how a person prefers to receive data. These are the nonrational functions, as a person does not necessarily have control over receiving data, but only how to process it once they have it. Sensing prefers to receive data primarily from the five senses, and intuition prefers to receive data from the unconscious, or seeing relationships via insights.
  • Thinking and Feeling are the judging functions. They are used to make rational decisions concerning the data they received from their perceiving functions, above. Thinking is characterized as preferring to being logical, analytical and thinking in terms of “true or false”. Thinking decisions tend to be based on more objective criteria and facts. Feeling, which refers to subjective criteria and values, strives for harmonious relationships and considers the implications for people. Feeling decisions tend to be based on what seems “more good or less bad” according to values.
  • Judging and Perceiving tell us which of the two preferred functions, the judging function or the perceiving function, is used in the outer world. Those who prefer Judging use their preferred judging function in the outer world and their preferred perceiving function in the inner world, and those who prefer Perceiving use their preferred perceiving function in the outer world and their preferred judging function in the inner world. Judging prefers making decisions and having closure and perceiving prefers to continue accepting data and to leave their options open, waiting to decide later. (The terminology may be misleading for some — the term “Judging” does not imply “judgmental”, and “Perceiving” does not imply “perceptive”.)

What personality type am I? I tested out as an INTP, which is a common result for me. That I am Intuitive and Thinking have never varied since I first took the personality inventory sixteen years ago. I constantly straddle Perceiving/Judging, though, indicating that I have no strong preference for either mode.

What might perhaps surprise some people is that I most frequently score as an Introvert, and a strong one. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like socializing with people (I do!); it merely means that the way I recharge my “batteries” is from spending time by myself. (Sometimes, though, when I take the test, I come out as an Extrovert. Not often, but it happens.)

I’d never taken an Enneagram before. Jason, who is an INTP, too, says that he is a 5 on the Enneagram, which is common with INTPs. I, too, am a 5.

A more thorough Enneagram test again indicates that I am Type 5, Detached. It also indicates that my “variant” is “Omni”. (I have no idea what all this means.) In other words, I scored high on Detachment, scored evenly on all the other indicators, except I had low scores for Anxious and Helpful. (My score for Helpful was atrocious; I’m a self-centered bastard!)

The following (revealing) exchange occurred at one point during the evening:

Naomi: Jenn, I don’t know how you do it. You are so organized.
Jenn: HA! These two [indicating me and Kris] think I’m unorganized.
Kris: It’s true. We think she’s unorganized.
J.D.: It’s interesting how our self-perceptions differ from how others view us. For example, many people have complained that I see things in black-and-white, yet I feel as if I view the world in subtle shades of grey. I’m never sure of anything.
Jenn: HA! J.D., how do you feel about television?

Isn’t self-deprication fun?

My condemnation of television is an example of viewing things in black-and-white, as I suppose is my desire to demonstrate the literature is better than science fiction, etc. etc.

These are classic T behaviors in the world of Myers-Briggs. It’s just who I am. Maybe I need to stop denying it and embrace the fact that the way my mind works is to separate things into dichotomies. I may think I see in shades of grey, but I may only be deluding myself. Or, I may consider things as having shades of grey, but once I actually deal with them, I have reduced them internally to black and white. (Yikes! That makes little sense.)

Also last night, Lisa revealed that she and Kristi were recently discussing my tendency to maintain ties with old friends. “He keeps his people,” Lisa told Kristi. I’ve never heard it expressed like that (Kris says I’m “stuck in the past”), but it’s true. I value friendships, new and old, and prefer to keep even minimal contact rather than lose connection completely. Just an interesting bit.

UPDATE: I forgot to include shorter tests. On this shorter test I scored as an ENTP. (It phrased its Introvert/Extrovert questions much differently.) On this word test, I score as ENTP. On the shortest test of the bunch, I score as ENTP (with a heavy extrovert score and my Perceiving/Judging split exactly 50/50). This version of the MB is interesting because it gives a score for the actual you and the ideal you. Again I scored as ENTP, but my ideal type was ESTJ. And on the final test, the longest of the bunch, I came out again as ENTP, and again my ideal type was ESTJ; the type to which I am attracted is also ENTP.

You can find a whole passle of personality tests here.


On 18 July 2005 (03:18 PM),
mac said:

so…what do you think I am? I took the test and will tell you after you guess!

On 18 July 2005 (08:15 PM),
J.D. said:

Mackenzie, I think that you are: ISFJ, though you may be ESFJ. Am I close?

On 19 July 2005 (07:59 AM),
mac said:

I scored as an ISFP, though I don’t remember the percentages. I agree with the IS and F, but I’m not so sure about the P. Good guess 🙂 you know me well

On 19 July 2005 (08:36 AM),
J.D. said:

I’ve made some guesses at types for various people I know. Lower-case letters indicate low-confidence; upper-case letters are traits about which I have greater confidence. How correct am I?

(I’m going through and adding actuals in parentheses as people report results.) How well did I predict?

Kris: isTJ (ESTJ)
Dad (dead): ENTP
Tony: EnfP (ENTP)
Jeff: IsFj (ISTJ)
Tammy: EstJ (ESFJ)
Claudia G.: ESFJ
Christopher G.: IstJ
Tiffany: eSfJ (ESTJ)
Pam: eSTJ (ISTJ)
Mackenzie: ISFJ (ISFP)
Jeremy: ESFj (split ESFJ and ENFJ)
Jenn: EsFP
Joel: Esfp (ENTP — I should have known! I think we have similar temperments)
Aimee: EnFJ (ENFJ)
Lisa: istj
Craig: iNTJ
Andrew C.: iSTp
Courtney: enfJ (INFJ)
Paul C.: INTJ
Dana: eSfP
dowingba (whom I’ve never met): iStj (ISTP)
Kristin: Istp (INFJ — my biggest miss!)
Steph: esFJ
Kim K.: IsfJ
Sabino: EstP
Julie: estP
Celeste: estj
Marla: EsFJ
Denise: ESFj (ESFP)
Paul J.: INfj (INFP, though I was way off on the P)
AmyJo: INfp (ESFJ — another huge miss!)
Jason: INTj (INTP)
Naomi: enFJ (INFJ)

Here’s an intersting thing: the more I think about FJs, the more I realize that they’ve got a completely different mindset from my own. It’s a whole other world. They’d rather do what it takes to maintain harmony in relationships than be completely honest. That’s not wrong, of course; it’s just foreign to my way of thinking.

On 19 July 2005 (08:49 AM),
Jeff said:

I took the 102 question test… twice. Both times I scored as an ISTJ… which seems pretty accurate, although I envisioned myself more of an INTJ.

As for the Enneagram, I scored as a Type 1, Pefectionism with a “variant” of “Social”. But, my score for Type 6, Anxiety was the same percentage as for Type 1… and I think that would more accurately describe me, as really I feel most happy when I am safe and secure, rather than when I am perfect and good.

On 19 July 2005 (09:39 AM),
Courtney said:

Close…I’m an INFJ, though I can be extroverted at times. I’m a 9 on the Enneagram – the Mediator.

On 19 July 2005 (11:41 AM),
Denise said:

Not that you guessed, but I’m an ESFP:

“Entertainer”. Radiates attractive warmth and optimism. Smooth, witty, charming, clever. Fun to be with. Very generous. 8.5% of the total population.

On 19 July 2005 (11:50 AM),
Denise said:

And I forgot to add that I am a 2 on the Enneagram – which was Helpfulness, although 8 (Aggressiveness) was a close second. So I like to help, and if you don’t let me I’ll just forcibly help you anyways.

On 19 July 2005 (12:09 PM),
Amy Jo said:

Just took the 102 question test, but you didn’t predict my outcome . . . wanna take a guess? I’m interested in your perception

On 19 July 2005 (12:27 PM),
J.D. said:

Yes, yes. I didn’t guess a lot of people. As I told Denise via e-mail, I would have guessed she was ESfj. Nick took the test and came out as ISFP. I’m not sure why I put J down for him. Now that I think about it, he’s classic P.

Paul and AmyJo are both difficult, which is one reason I left them off the list earlier. For example, my gut is that AmyJo is an F, but on the other hand, I’ve seen some T behavior from her lately.

AmyJo: INfp
Paul J.: INfj

On 19 July 2005 (12:36 PM),
Mom said:

Jung Test Results

Introverted (I) 70.37% Extroverted (E) 29.63%
Sensing (S) 58.62% Intuitive (N) 41.38%
Feeling (F) 53.33% Thinking (T) 46.67%
Judging (J) 65.52% Perceiving (P) 34.48%

Your type is: ISFJ

ISFJ – “Conservator”. Desires to be of service and to minister to individual needs – very loyal. 13.8% of total population.

I’ve taken this test before but can’t remember my previous results. From what I understand, the Introvert/Extrovert area is the one that generally doesn’t ever change over time.

On 19 July 2005 (12:51 PM),
Tiffany said:

I took the test, but only because you guessed what I would be. I tried to answer the questions how I normally feel, not how I have felt the last few months so that may affect things greatly. I came up with E (82%), S(75%), T(69%), J(84%).

On 19 July 2005 (01:09 PM),
J.D. said:

Interestingly, I think the 102-question test has a pool of questions from which it draws, and you’re never guaranteed to have the same questions. I know it reorders the questions.

I just took the test again, and I came out ENTP.

ENTP – “Inventor”. Enthusiastic interest in everything and always sensitive to possibilities. Non-conformist and innovative. 3.2% of the total population.

I’ll admit it: I am an Extrovert and not an Introvert.

On 19 July 2005 (01:21 PM),
Kristin said:

I have not taken the test for a few years, but the 2-3 times I’ve done it have yielded consistent results: INFJ. Sorry, JD. I hover pretty closely to “P”, however. Interestingly, Roger is an “INFP.” So much for that “opposites attract” thing. 🙂

On 19 July 2005 (01:21 PM),
Mom said:

What immediately struck me about this latest result of yours, J.D., was that the description would certainly have applied to your dad.

On 19 July 2005 (01:27 PM),
J.D. said:

Mom, you’ll note that my guess for Dad is ENTP, too. He was a lot more T than me, though. (Nick says he thinks I’m more F than I give myself credit for. This is interesting because Naomi insists that I’m an F not a T.)

Kristin, I also had trouble guessing yours. (Any guess where I have three lower-case levels indicates I had trouble.) In fact, I almost had you down as a J. And I didn’t think you could be both S and F, but guessed that you’d be a T instead of an N. This is all quite fun to me — can you tell?

On 19 July 2005 (01:30 PM),
Amy Jo said:

ESFJ: “Seller.” Most sociable of all types. Nuturer of harmony. Outstanding host or hostess. 12.3% of total population.

The Enneagram results play into some of my worst fears about being a worrisome control freak. Type 1 Perfectionism, 90%, Type 2 Helpfulness, 73%, Anxiety, 60% . . . “I must be perfect and good to be happy.”

On 19 July 2005 (01:44 PM),
tony said:

You where close big brother, I am a ENTP

Extroverted = 64%
Intuitive = 65%
Thinking = 63%
Perceiving = 63%

I was labeled as a “Inventor”

On 19 July 2005 (01:53 PM),
Jeff said:

Yeah, I can see Tony as an “inventor” (like Dad). JD, not so much… not that we don’t all have some Dad-like tendencies (Tony’s spelling would be another fine example).

PS… Hi Tony!

On 19 July 2005 (02:05 PM),
Kris said:

My result was ESTJ, but the extrovert was 52% versus 48% introvert. This feels pretty right to me; I crave both alone and social time. I was much more one-sided on the other three, and was surprised by the 79% on Sensing. Then again, perhaps that explains some of my scientific tendencies.

“Administrator”: (8.7% of total population) Much in touch with the external environment. Very responsible. Tower of strength. Hmmm.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to many that my enneagram type came out as 1(Perfectionism 83%) and 8 (Aggressiveness 70%). I, too, am happy when I am perfect and good as well as strong and in control; strong sense of ethics and high standards for self and others. Watch out!

On 19 July 2005 (02:21 PM),
Denise said:

J.D. – did you seriously think you were an Introvert? Come on….

On 19 July 2005 (02:59 PM),
JEREMY said:

I am thoroughly embarrassed to have spent 15 minutes of what has been a VERY busy day to do this, but I got a VERY persuasive message from JD!

50%/50% Split between ENFJ and ESFJ
ENFJ-“Persuader” Outstanding leader of groups. Can be aggressive at helping others to be the best that they can be. 2.5% of the population.

ESFJ-“Seller” Most sociable of all types. Nurturer of harmony. Outstanding host or hostesses. 12.3% of the population.

Enneagram Results

Type1: Perfectionism: 80%
Type2: Helpfulness: 60%
Type3: Image awareness: 66%
Type4: Sensitivity: 26%
Type5: Detachment: 13%
Type6: Anxiety: 30%
Type7: Adventurousness: 73%
Type8: Aggressiveness: 63%
Type9: Calmness: 36%

I scored as a Type1 – according to the test I am idealistic and strive for perfection. Morals and ethics drive me. I live with an overbearing critic that never rests! (oops – i forgot the word “internal” right before “critic” in the previous sentence – some of you may find this very humorous) I am always comparing myself to others and are overly concerned with external criticism.

My favorite part of this whole excercise:

My variant is…. you guessed it…. SEXUAL!!!

Wooooo fucking Whooooo!

Overall I score highest on assertive traits, followed by compliant traits, and lowest on withdrawn traits.

You happy now, MF?

On 19 July 2005 (03:34 PM),
Pam said:

ISTJ – “Trustee”. Decisiveness in practical affairs. Guardian of time- honored institutions. Dependable. 11.6% of total population.

this description fits me pretty well. i never would have dubbed myself “guardian of time-honored institutions,” but it really fits (I often call myself “traditional”) perhaps it’s why I am so ill at ease with all this hi-tech stuff. Most people peg me as extroverted because I am loud and outspoken and like to chit chat, but I work better alone and often feel mentally drained after a big gathering.

And no shocker: Perfection (83%), Detached (70%), agressive (63%)

On 19 July 2005 (04:01 PM),
J.D. said:

Michael (an ENFP) writes in with the Myers-Briggs light bulb joke. How many of your personality type does it take to change a light bulb?

ISTJ: One worked in the past, so one will work now!
ISFJ: Only one, me, as long as it is OK with everyone else.
INFJ: Does the light bulb really want to be changed?
INTJ: Could you please define change? And what exactly do you mean by a light bulb?
ISTP: One.
ISFP: Zero — the ISFP is happy just sitting there and experiencing the dark
INFP: Two: one to change it and one for support
INTP: Hmm…light…, illuminate… I=10.76LT(I/4f)(F/V)² Hcos40+If
ESTP: None, till I check the breaker.
ESFP: Who cares – the important thing is that it would be fun!
ENFP: Well let’s see, there’s one to notice the bulb is out, and one to make a new lampshade, and one to read a magazine article on alternative lighting means, and one to draw a picture of a candle, and…
ENTP: One, but only after tightening, wiggling, shaking, testing, etc. to make sure it’s not something else.
ESTJ: The cost/benefit ratio would dictate only one.
ESFJ: At least two – let me get on the phone and call someone to come over…
ENFJ: But that was my favorite light bulb!

After having discussed this all with Nick for a long time this afternoon, and after having thought about Kris and Pam, two of my favorite Ss, I’ve come to the conclusion that an S is much more literal-minded than an N.

On 19 July 2005 (04:12 PM),
Jeff said:

I read this and immediately thought of Nick:

ISFP: Zero – the ISFP is happy just sitting there and experiencing the dark

On 19 July 2005 (04:18 PM),
Mom said:

“ENTP: One, but only after tightening, wiggling, shaking, testing, etc, to make sure it’s not something else.”

I can’t count the number of times your dad did that, J.D.! LOL! And I’m quite sure I’ve seen Tony doing the same thing.

On 19 July 2005 (04:25 PM),
Nikchick said:

I’ve always come out INFP, even after periods where I thought I’d massively changed/come out of my shell/become more comfortable with myself.

On 19 July 2005 (05:18 PM),
Tammy said:

okay I gotta do this too. There was no surprise with my results. Here it is.

Extroverted (E) 89.66% Introverted (I) 10.34%
Sensing (S) 68.57% Intuitive (N) 31.43%
Feeling (F) 63.16% Thinking (T) 36.84%
Judging (J) 58.06% Perceiving (P) 41.94%

So I’m an ESFJ as is 12.3 % of the population. I’m a sellar and make a great hostess.

Anyone who knows me knows how true this is! it’s amazing!

On 19 July 2005 (07:43 PM),
Aimee said:

ENFJ – Spot on, J.D.

I want to know how you guessed … About all of us, really.

I took this test earlier this year for nursing school and thought it was bunk … But, now that I’ve achieved exactly the same score I’m beginning to wonder about these Meyers-Briggs tests …

On 19 July 2005 (08:02 PM),
Joel said:

Close JD: ENTP

On 19 July 2005 (09:05 PM),
Paul J. said:

I (67%)
N (60%)
F (60%)
P (82%)

On 20 July 2005 (06:57 AM),
tammy said:

This truly is strange on a couple of levels. Jd, I just noticed how you had me figured out. You actually had me as thinking indtead of feelng which kinda of surprises me but it is totaly amazing how close you got to all of us.

Another funny thing is how ESFJ’s say, at least two , let me get on the phone and call someone over. Every time my husband and I do a project I try to get others to help and he hates it. This weekend we set up the kids pool and I kept declaring the job far too great for us and I couldnt see why he didnt call another an to help. He gets so upset when I suggest such a thing. Now i can tell him that it’s really not something I can help. I’m an ESFJ after all!

I tried to figure out which one he is before I checked the lightbulb dialogue and I guessed him as an ISTP. Then I go up and look and the ISTP Says ONE! I think I pegged him! We are on opposite ends of the spectrum! That answers a lot of my questions!

On 20 July 2005 (07:29 AM),
dowingba said:

That Wikipedia article is exceptionally badly written. “Judging and Perceiving tell us which of the two preferred functions, the judging function or the perceiving function, is used in the outer world.” Hyuck!

On 20 July 2005 (07:41 AM),
dowingba said:

By the way, I’m:

“ISTP – “Engineer”. Values freedom of action and following interests and impulses. Independent, concise in speech, master of tools. 5.4% of total population.”

On 20 July 2005 (03:24 PM),
Lisa said:

A piddling 12% of the population suffer in my gray zone.

On 20 July 2005 (04:06 PM),
Lisa said:

Typo. I meant 1% of the population is INFP.

On 21 July 2005 (10:18 AM),
Lynn said:

I am an ISTP. “Engineer”. Values freedom of action and following interests and impulses. Independent, concise in speech, master of tools. 5.4% of total population.

I’m a type 4 on the Enneagram: I must avoid painful feelings to be happy. Well, duh?

Getting Things Done

Note: died recently, and is gradually being reconstructed. This entry has moved. Its new URL is The 10 comments from before the move can be found here.

“So, basically, it’s just a bunch of lists?” — Jenn

I spent the weekend implementing the system found in David Allen’s Getting Things Done. Rather than explain the system, I want to tell you how I implemented it. However, since I didn’t follow things to the letter, and since most of you are probably unfamiliar with this, a brief summary is probably in order. The following has been significantly simplified.

Our lives, says Allen, are filled with Stuff. Too much Stuff. We think about this Stuff, we worry about this Stuff, we never get all the Stuff done that we need to do.

His solution is simple: collect all the Stuff in a Collection Bucket. When all the Stuff is in one place, process the top item in the Bucket. When the first item has been processed, move on to the second. Process everything in order until there’s nothing left in the Collection Bucket.

How are items processed? Whenever one takes an item from the Collection Bucket, one asks: “Is this actionable?” In other words, “Is this something that I need to take care of?”

If the item is not actionable, one should (depending on its nature):

  • toss the item in the trash,
  • file the item for future reference, or
  • place the item in a regularly-reviewed tickler file for possible future action.

If the item is actionable, one should (depending on its nature):

  • do it, if it’s only going to take a few minutes,
  • delegate it, if it’s somebody else’s responsibility, or
  • defer it.

Using this system, many items are done immediately, while many other items are deferred. Deferred items may be:

  • placed on a calendar if they must be done at a specific date and/or time, or
  • put on list of Next Actions if they’re things that need to be done ASAP

There’s a special subset of actionable items called Projects. These are multi-step events. Each Project gets its own file, and the Next Action for each Project is placed in the Collection Bucket.

After the system is erected, one should empty the Collection Bucket(s) once a week (or as often as necessary). That’s it. That’s the system.

Here’s a graphical representation:

[flowchart demonstrating Getting Things Done steps]

An alternate graphical representation:

[flowchart demonstrating Getting Things Done steps]

There are other nice Getting Things Done flowcharts out there. I’ve got a pretty one hanging above my desk now.

This ideas in this book are designed for business use, but they’re easily applied to one’s personal life. That’s just what I did last weekend.

Here’s how I got things done:

I made a trip to an office supply store to pick up: file folders, an automatic labeler, four 12×12 tiles of cork, a nice wooden inbox, thumbtacks, scotch tape, and a few other items.

Collecting Stuff
I gathered together all of my Stuff, both physical and mental, and piled it on the kitchen table.

To gather the physical Stuff, I walked from room-to-room with a box, into which I shoveled all the Stuff I could find (e.g. magazines, photographs, junk mail, to-do lists, letters, etc.).

To gather the mental Stuff, I walked from room-to-room with a stack of index cards, onto which I wrote all the Stuff that occurred to me (e.g. put away clothes, clean cat food area, hang painting on guest room wall, organize DVDs, prune laurel from back porch, etc.).

Sorting Stuff
When all this Stuff had been collected in one spot (which took several hours), I began to process it.

Mostly the Stuff was easy to process. I just started with what was in front of me, picked it up, and asked myself what the item was and what needed to be done with it.

If it was something I could deal with in just a few minutes, I dealt with it. (For example: books that needed to be shelved.)

If it was something that needed to be dealt with soon, but that would take longer than just a few minutes, I set aside in a Next Actions pile. (For example: cancel cell phone.)

If I no longer needed the item, I threw it out. (For example: house flyers from last spring.)

If it was something that I wanted to keep for Reference, I made a new file folder (labeling it with my handy automatic labeler). (For example: all of the various songlists I jot down for future CD mixes.)

If it was something for somebody else, I put it in a Delegated pile. (For example: anything related to the bathroom remodel, which Kris is basically in charge of.)

If it was a part of a larger Project, I stuck it in a folder marked Projects. (I didn’t finish organizing my Projects this weekend. They can wait. For now there’s a file-folder filled with them.) (For example: organizing all of my writing, from high school til today.)

If it was something that needed done on a specific date, I entered it into iCal. (For example: my upcoming dentist appointment.)

If it was something that didn’t need done right away, I stuck it in a Tickler file to process later. (For example: schedule a poetry night.)

If it was something that was just an idea, something that I might want to do someday, but it won’t kill me if I don’t, then I put it in a file marked “someday/maybe”. (For example: buy a nice leather easy chair like the one Paul J. has.)

This sorting process took an entire day. When the kitchen table was clean once again, I had several file folders filled with to-do lists. I also had a stack of Next Actions.

Organizing Stuff
All of my reference file folders (and there were several dozen of them) were tucked in a desk drawer. I put the Projects file into my inbox (because I need to break it down later, creating individual files for each project). Most of my organization, though, involved the stack of action items.

I hung the cork tiles in the nook, behind my desk. I labeled the top one “Next Actions”. Then, for each action item, I created an index card. (Actually, I ended up using my old Computer Resources business cards. They’re the perfect size.) I tacked the index cards to the cork in no particular order.

After two-and-a-half days, I was finished. My version of the Getting Things Done system was set up and ready to use.

Getting Things Done
When using the system, you’re supposed to take the next action item, no matter what it is, and just do it. You’re not supposed to sort through them. For this one time, for setting up the system, I made an exception. I cherry-picked. I selected a few cards at a time, and then I did whatever they said: clean car, buy mini-to-mini cable, check hoses on washing machine. If the action was something that I know comes up repeatedly (clean car, for example), then I tucked it in a drawer for later use.

After my initial Brain Dump, I had 53 next actions. I did eleven of them yesterday. I brought six more with me to work today (get watch batteries, let State Farm know we replaced furnace, read credit union policies, stop by Les Schwab to check on tire).

I took yesterday afternoon off to relax. I didn’t do any chores. I didn’t feel like I needed to: everything that needs done is sitting there, tacked to my corkboard. I don’t need to worry about it anymore

To some of you, this all probably seems silly. It may seem like a lot of effort to take care of something that you can do in your head. The point, though, is that this gets everything out of your head.

When you’re trying to juggle 53 next actions in your head (along with a dozen projects, a dozen someday/maybe wishes, a score of calendar items, and a bunch of other ideas), it can be overwhelming. It’s easy to feel stressed, or bewildered, or desperate. With the Getting Things Done system, everything is out of your head and on paper. You don’t have to think about things anymore. You just do them.

Any time a new idea occurs to you, you jot it down and put it in your inbox. (For example: a few moments ago I jotted “incorporate all calendars into iCal” on an index card. It’ll go in my inbox when I get home, to be processed later.) When magazines come in the mail and you haven’t time to read them, you put them in your inbox. When a friend gives you a flyer about an upcoming concert series, you put it in your inbox. Once a week (or more often, if you like), you sit down and process your inbox, creating next actions, filing things for reference, and otherwise deciding where each item belongs.

Toward a Pastoral Lifestyle
You know that freedom you feel when on vacation? That wonderful sense that there’s nothing to worry about? That’s what this system attempts to give you. For me, it’s yet another step toward the ever-elusive pastoral lifestyle for which I continue to strive.

Pre-Crash Comments

On 23 May 2005 (09:30 AM),
Lisa said:

When I was working in Seattle, my company paid 1/2 for everyone’s PDAs (mostly Palm Pilots at the time) and then had David Allen come and do a presentation (at least I’m pretty sure it was him). Taking all the thing out of your mind and storing them elsewhere certainly is an incredible relief. It worked really well but my system fell apart after I stopped working full time. Perhaps it’s time to bring it back into my personal life…

On 23 May 2005 (09:37 AM),
Courtney said:

Sounds like a great plan to me! I can’t stand getting bogged down with all the to-do lists in my head. So, I started out with an in-box too, several months ago. The problem is, my in-box has spread to an entire room, which is supposed to be my den/knitting room. Instead, it is piled with stuff to take to Goodwill, photos to be sorted and put into albums, magazines to read, linens to iron, items to file, Henry’s bathtub, etc. Sigh! Just opening the door to that room stresses me out. Someday soon I’ll sort through it all and get it down to a managable size which can be contained in my in-box.

On 23 May 2005 (09:50 AM),
Tiffany said:

I get told that I am organized all the time. But I do not consider it a talent because I think that, for me at least, it is genetics. Both parents are big into ‘To Do’ List and I started those early in life too.
In college I found “Calendar Creator” which looks a lot it ICal. Then back in the late 1990s I got my first Palm Pilot. I became addicted to it, in a good way. You are right about having the items out of your head leads to less stress. I have a thought (I need to call about the ordered furniture, but it is Sunday and they are closed) it goes on the To Do List for Monday. I can set up To Do list my die date so that I know to complete the task in order of needing them done.
The calendar works great for setting up repeat items (like changing my contacts every three weeks and changing the house air filter every three months); in addition to keeping dentist appointments, and flight/hotel times.

I always find it interesting to see how other people organize because there is always room for improvement. Good Luck.

On 23 May 2005 (09:51 AM),
Tiffany said:

Oh, yeah, the biggest benefit to the Palm Pilot, no wasted paper.

On 23 May 2005 (10:13 AM),
Jeff said:

My favorite way to make a list… Microsoft Excel.

I generally work better with lists, but I need to leave them in prominant locations (like the kitchen counter) or I forget about them. Steph sees them as clutter, so she throws them into her piles (her organizational method). My lists get lost in her piles and nothing gets done.

So, I started making electronic lists and leaving them on the electonic desktop… seems to be a good compromise, and I can always print them out if I need to.

On 23 May 2005 (10:40 AM),
Amy Jo said:

I often wonder if I became an editor because of my inclination to order things, to have an ongoing task list, to put everything in its place, or if my non-work life became this way because I am an editor . . .

On 24 May 2005 (11:08 AM),
JC said:

Good post. In a very non-GTD move, I printed it out and took it home to read.

I’ve been on the fence about buying the book for some time now. There are a couple of blogs I’ve been reading that promote the GTD movement [one had an in-depth project management Excel spreadsheet that I’ve been playing with].

My problem/concern? I can’t seem to throw anything away!

Either way, I need some sort of system. JC

On 05 September 2005 (03:18 PM),
Jon M. said:

I’ve been working at implementing GTD, and my efforts seem to keep sputtering like a bad car engine. But after reading your presentation, it’s a lot clearer to me now…my hat’s off to you!

On 02 October 2005 (04:46 AM),
Matthew Cornell said:

Thank you for the post, J.D. I esp. liked your collection idea of using index cards during a house walk-through, and the implications of GTD for a “pastoral lifestyle.” I have one concern, having to do with this point: “When using the system, you’re supposed to take the next action item, no matter what it is, and just do it.” If you are referring to the next action in a list of actions for a project, i.e., that you should pick the next one to put on your next action lists, then I understand and agree. However, if you’re instead talking about how to *choose* actions from your lists, then I believe Allen would say use one of his models for deciding what to do, esp. the “four-criteria” model: 1. Context, 2. Time, 3. Energy, 4. Priority. Of course, I’m new at this and might be completely off my rocker! Thanks again for the post.


On 08 October 2005 (09:07 AM),
JC said:

That is my understanding too Matt. I think the idea to process things one by one without preference applies to the inbox only and not to next actions. For those who are interested, this is discussed near the beginning of chapter 6 which starts on page 119.

JC (Yes, another one.)

Too Much Cat

I’ve been meaning to do an all-cat post, but haven’t got around to it. A post on boingboing today has spurred me to action. Here is all the goofy cat stuff I’ve ever found, collected in one place. Enjoy. (Or not.) There are three funny cat movies at the end of this post.

(Note: some of these may be experiencing heavy traffic today due to the boingboing link. You may need to check back later. Also, my favorites on this page are marked with a bold asterisk *.)

From the boingboing post:
Kitty cat dance
Caution: cat vomit
Animal reviews: cat
My cat’s football picks
*Screen cleaning kitten

How to give your cat a pill
Cat yoga
Cat buckaroo
Stack the cats
*Kitten bounce
Kitten attack

*Pinky the cat
Aroma of brains
Cat drummer
Steptoe kittens
I’ve snorted a kitten
Badly drawn cats
*kitten war

Previously in the flotch:
Tips on spinning cat hair
The silly sleeping pose olympics
*The thumb-sized heart of TK the cat
*Cat vs. dog: to the victor go the snacks
Mapping the cat brain
Are cats for true Christians?
Juvenile felis catus
Amazing cat photo collection

The further adventures of Scrooge the cat
Can cats get high from eating frogs?
*Abbie the cat has a posse
List of fictional cats
I gave my cat an enema
How to toilet-train your cat
My cat Annie
The Litterbox Cat Band

Previous foldedspace entries about cats (only the best ones):
*CatFilter, a collection of all the cat-related questions from AskMetafilter
*I am interviewed by Toto the Cat, in which I am interviewed by Toto the cat
*The blood of a squirrel, in which Simon catches a squirrel and Nemo is jealous
Cat pictures, in which I photograph the cats
Weekend at Rosings Park, in which I photograph the cats again

Cats and dogs, in which I write about other webloggers’ pets
Simon Grey, in which I post photos of Simon
*How 2 cach a burd by toto gates, in which Toto describes her unstoppable bird-catching technique
Prize-winning cat, in which a photo of Simon does well at the county fair
Tintin is dying, in which the Best Cat Ever is diagnosed with just a few months to live
Satchel is dead, in which Tintin’s replacement lasts only six months

And, finally, I’m hosting three cat movies:
Spacecat — a cat in a weightless environment; poor thing
Teasing cat — one of Nick’s all-time favorite downloads; he watches this over-and-over, laughing the whole time
Funny cats — a “funniest home videos” compilation that I watch over-and-over, laughing the whole time

You gotta love cat movies.

If you know of more cat stuff, let me know. I’ll post it here.

From Denise:

Pre-Crash Comments

On 18 May 2005 (04:54 PM),
Lane said:

This is a site run by my cousin. She and her husband, when travelling, take pictures of cats that live/work in various stores. My cat, at a much skinnier age, is the sponsor of the Page of Silliness.

On 18 May 2005 (09:06 PM),
Genie said:

Really wonderful pictures- and funny too!!!

On 19 May 2005 (09:01 AM),
Amanda said:

Fun, fun, fun!

(although the humping pictures kinda skeeve me)

On 19 May 2005 (10:21 AM),
jenefer said:

What is skeeve? How do you conjugate that verb?

On 19 May 2005 (12:56 PM),
Amanda said:

‘Skeeve’ is the plural of the more commonly used ‘skeeves,’ as in, “That lecherous old man staring at me really skeeves me out.”

This is what had to say about the root form of the word, skeevy:

1 entry found for skeevy.
Main Entry: skeevy
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: disgusting or distasteful; nasty, sleazy
Example: Wal-mart is a skeevy operation.
Etymology: from Italian schifo ‘disgust’
Usage: US

The best part of that definition, by far? The example. I can’t stop laughing.

On 23 May 2005 (12:16 PM),
Amanda said:

P.S. Lindsay Lohan used the term “skeeved out” on SNL Saturday.

P.P.S. Not that I think anything to do with the Hohan might even remotely prove my point.

Why Star Wars Sucks

“They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Naturally they became heroes.” — Prologue, Star Wars novelization by George Lucas

Star Trek is about to go dormant, a decade after descending into gross suckage. I can’t help but hope that it hibernates for decades. It likely won’t. The Star Wars franchise once descended into dormancy after a disappointing third film; when it revived fifteen years later, things had become even worse. (Admittedly, the new Battlestar Galactica kicks ass, but that’s only because it’s a re-imagining of the original concept; if it had picked up where the old show left off, it wouldn’t have worked.)

But why does Star Wars suck now? What happened? Where did it go wrong?

I wrote this three years ago during my rant on the last film:

As we left the theater, Pam wondered aloud if George Lucas had even watched the first three films before making the last two. He seems to have forgotten what Star Wars was about. Or perhaps changed his mind.

Now that I’ve read the script and the graphic novel for the upcoming Star Wars Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith, I’ve begun to think more on where the franchise failed.

The Role of Our Heroes
In the original Star Wars, Han and Luke and Leia were accidental heroes. They were small players on a big stage. The galaxy in which they lived was vast, and full of wonder.

Luke, for example, was a simple moisture farmer on a backwater planet. He had no future. His dreams of leaving to join “The Academy” were constantly dashed.

LUKE: It just isn’t fair. Oh, Biggs is right. I’m never gonna get out of here!
THREEPIO: Is there anything I might do to help?
LUKE: Well, not unless you can alter time, speed up the harvest, or teleport me off this rock!
THREEPIO: I don’t think so, sir. I’m only a droid and not very knowledgeable about such things. Not on this planet, anyways. As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure which planet I’m on.
LUKE: Well, if there’s a bright center to the universe, you’re on the planet that it’s farthest from.
THREEPIO: I see, sir.

Now we’re asked to believe that all along Luke was some crown prince, destined for greatness. That Chewbacca and Yoda are pals. (Wait and see, wait and see.) Instead of being bit players in a galactic struggle — iconic everymen (and everywomen) — our heroes are actually larger-than-life bluebloods upon whom the fate of the galaxy has always rested.

Give me a break.

Focus Shift
The first film (or fourth, depending on how you count) focused on the periphery of this galactic struggle. The second film shifted more to the center, though it still felt as if our heroes were only small players. The third film, however, crossed the line: our heroes were in the thick of it, key to the galaxy’s freedom. And with the prequel trilogy, we’re no longer able to see the periphery at all. Lucas has forgotten about it. (Or discarded it.)

And with it, he’s forgotten about fun.

Would it be fun to watch a movie about the United States Senate debating trade sanctions? Of course not. Would it be fun to watch a movie about a Kennedy or a Bush kid coming to power? I don’t think so. Would it be fun to watch a movie about a poor kid who becomes a karate champion? You know it would. (“Wax on, wax off, Daniel-san!”)

Over the past twenty years, Lucas has gone from a young, creative artist to a wealthy movie mogul. His realm of experience has changed, and I think that shows in his filmmaking. If you skim early drafts of The Star Wars, which once included material from all of the films in the series, it’s clear that Lucas has shifted from the realm of the common to the realm of elite. What was once important to him, no longer is. He’s writing from his experience, and his experience is one of wealth and comfort.

In the prequels, Lucas has changed the scale of the films. The galaxy seems small. Our heroes play central, pivotal roles in the titanic (but nonsensical) political struggles.

One of the wonderful things about the original Star Wars universe was the diversity of life and civilization, the awesome scale of the story. The galaxy seemed vast. No wonder our heroes were small players; there were simply too many other people for them to be anything else. There were always new and bizarre aliens to discover, strange new worlds to explore. (To be fair, Lucas has continued to entertain with unique worlds; I loved the water world Kamino in Attack of the Clones.)

In the early years, the Star Wars story was continued in novelizations and comic books. Authors like Alan Dean Foster and Brian Daley seemed to grasp the fundamental concept of a vast universe. The comics most certainly got it. These supplementary texts effectively conveyed the sense of scale present in the first film.

The prequels, however, make the galaxy seem like a small and petty place.

The original trilogy — or at least the first two-thirds of it — was dirty and gritty. That was part of its charm. The Millennium Falcon didn’t work. Luke’s garage was a mess (and whoa! so was the jawa’s sandcrawler). The base on the ice planet Hoth was in scattered disarray. Yoda was a slovenly housekeeper. The Death Star was mostly polish and chrome, but even it had a stinky trash compactor.

The space ships and the ground vehicles looked real. One got the feeling they might have been produced on a planet called Detroit, and that with time they’d gradually fallen apart. Many of the ships and vehicles we saw had outlived their warranties.

Compare that with the new trilogy. Everything is bright, shiny and new. Only Watto’s shop on Tattooine bares any sort of resemblance to the old messes we’re used to. (Oh — and the pods for the pod-race; they’re fairly junky.) All of the space ships we see are sparkly clean. Maybe that’s a cost of moving from models to computer animation.

The water world Kamino (to which Kenobi flies to learn about clone troopers) is fascinating, but I have to wonder: don’t things on this planet rust? Isn’t there seaweed of some sort? Or is everything just washed clean by the perpetual rain? And, on a larger scale, do all of the planets have oxygen-based atmospheres?

In the original trilogy — especially the first film — The Force was a mysterious mystical mental power. It was a rare gift, difficult to harness.

The prequel trilogy has made a mockery of The Force. Does anyone say “May the Force be with you?” Of course not. George Lucas has forgotten about it. All he remembers is the Jedi mind trick, that Jedi can jump really very high, and that the Force can let bad Jedi shoot lightning out of their fingertips.

Yes, the Force was a silly quasi-religious structure. So what? It was fun. It doesn’t even exist in the prequel trilogy. It’s been replaced by midichlorians and magic.

QUI-GON : With your permission, my Master. I have encountered a vergence in the Force.
YODA : A vergence, you say?
MACE WINDU : Located around a person?
QUI-GON : A boy… his cells have the highest concentration of midi-chlorians I have seen in a life form. It is possible he was conceived by the midi-chlorians.
MACE WINDU : You’re referring to the prophesy of the one who will bring balance to the Force…you believe it’s this boy??
QUI-GON : I don’t presume…
YODA : But you do! Revealed your opinion is.
QUI-GON : I request the boy be tested.

I guarantee you, that scene would never have found its way into the first trilogy. (In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that if The Phantom Menace had been made first, there never would have been a sequel of any sort. The film would have bombed because of stuff like that.)

It may be that George Lucas has lost religion during the past twenty years. Maybe he’s an atheist now, and doesn’t want to encourage any sort of religious thought, and so has shifted the Force from “hocus-pocus religion” (as Han would call it) to a pseudo-scientific explanation. I’d rather have the hocus-pocus religion, and so would you.

Bad Acting
Natalie Portman is not a bad actress, but George Lucas’ direction sure makes her seem like one.

Ewan McGregor is not a bad actor, but George Lucas’ direction sure makes him seem like one.

Even Hayden Christiansen isn’t that bad an actor, but it’s unbelievable that he was asked to carry this prequel trilogy on his shoulders. To make matters worse, George Lucas seems to have chosen to print the worst possible reading of his every line.

Do I really need to go into this? Have you ever seen a larger marketing juggernaut? It makes me wonder if the this prequel trilogy is simply a six-hour long advertisement meant to get consumers to buy toys, tacos, and dark chocolate M&Ms.

The appearance of the first Ewok marked the end of Star Wars as we know it.

Nonsensical Political Struggles
Here’s a quiz:

1) What is the plot of The Phantom Menace?
2) What is the plot of Attack of the Clones?
3) Who are the good guys in each of these films? Who are the bad guys? Why?

The first question is moderately easy. The bad guys are the (gasp) Trade Federation. They’ve blockaded Naboo for some reason (do we ever know why? does it matter?).

(And let me rant about this for a moment: how stupid is it that the “blockade” is simply an equatorial band of ships? A band of ships that may even be in stationary orbit above the queen’s palace? Pretty damn stupid, I say. Even stupider is the fact that when our heroes try to escape the planet, they blast off right into the blockade instead of, say, heading toward the polar regions in order to elude the known enemy. Dumb.)

The second question, however: I defy you to answer the second question. (Harry Knowles once mounted a spirited, and earnest, attempt to do so, but only confused me more. He seemed to miss the irony that the plot actually needed explaining, and that it took him several hundred words to do so. Inadequately.)

Here’s a second quiz:

1) What is the plot of A New Hope?
2) What is the plot of The Empire Strikes Back?
3) What is the plot of Return of the Jedi?

Hmmm. Suddenly it seems obvious that the prequels lack a…

Loss of Wonder
The fundamental problem with the prequel trilogy is that they no longer impart a sense of wonder.

The first Star Wars films were filled with wonder: the aliens in the cantina, the lumbering Star Destroyers, the awesome power of the Death Star, the Imperial Walkers storming the base on the ice planet Hoth, the cloud city of Bespin, and even the speeder race across the forest moon of Endor.

The first two films amazed because they imparted a sense of wonder. Our heroes were small, but they’re actions took place on a vast an awesome stage.

Compare this to the eye-sore that is the climax of Attack of the Clones. Can you follow what’s happening? Of course not. Nobody can. It’s an orgasm of gratuitous digital effects. There are hundreds, or thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of objects on screen at once. There’s nothing to latch onto.

My heart broke for every dead X-Wing pilot in the first film. When Porkins flamed out, I cared. I cared because the battle was kept on a small scale, an identifiable scale. There’s no wonder involved in an all-out fight between a gajillion clone troopers and whoever it is they’re fighting. (I can’t even remember, which is a bad, bad sign.)

Another example: I want to be awed by the vast Asimovian city-world of Coruscant, but I can’t. It’s an ocean of skyscrapers and painful-to-watch aerial highways. It’s nothing but a cornucopia of digital effects. It doesn’t give me a sense of awe; it makes me depressed.

What Might Have Been
For several years, I have maintained (and I continue to maintain) that the ideal Star Wars episode one was actually Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It would be child’s play to retcon that film so that it occurred in the Star Wars mythos. It would fit perfectly.

But there are scores of other possibilities that would have worked well. Any half-way literate Star Wars fan could have constructed a better prequel trilogy than what Lucas has produced. My heart aches to consider what might have been.

Is there hope for Star Wars? I think there may be. But if a final trilogy is going to be made, it oughtn’t be done for many yeas. A decade maybe. Yes, I know George Lucas is old, but so what? The less he’s involved the better, in my opinion. I think it’s important that the stories come from his mind, that he provide the basis for the screenplay, but the best thing that could be done for the franchise now is for Lucas to take a back seat. Let others take the helm.

Despite all of these complaints, despite the fact the current state of Star Wars sucks, the fact remains that I will go see Revenge of the Sith in the theaters. My geek friends and I have discussed boycotting the film on principle, but ultimately I’m going to lose this moral battle. And maybe that’s the only thing that matters. (The one saving grace is this: my expectations for this film could not possibly be any lower; it’s as if it cannot help but exceed them.)

The kids I know have begun to love love Star Wars. Harrison and Emma, for example, have now seen the entire original trilogy. They love it. They play Star Wars all the time, exactly like we used to do. I hope they don’t see the prequel trilogy for many years. Let them enjoy this sense of wonder while they can.

It’s still possible to produce Star Wars material that maintains the feeling of the original trilogy. It happens all the time. Books, comics, and video games all tap into this feeling now and again. For example, the game Jedi Outcast, which I obsessed over several years ago, did an outstanding job of putting the player in a galaxy that felt like the one from the original trilogy. It’s possible, but not from the mind of George Lucas.

My memories as part of the Star Wars generation
Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace script
78 Reasons to Hate Star Wars Episode One (as if you needed any more)
Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones script
64 Reasons to Hate Star Wars Episode Two (as if you needed any more)
My review of Attack of the Clones
Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith script (plot summary)


On 29 April 2005 (10:58 AM),
dowingba said:

Plot of Episode 2: Chancellor Palpatine, the Lord of the Sith, secretly builds a clone army and creates a war to secure his place as supreme emporer of the republic. Anakin marries Padme, starts to turn to the dark side.

What is so complicated about that?

And the one thing I love about ALL of the star wars films, is the “lived-in” feel of the universe. As you describe above, how things look worn and used. Same in the new trilogy as it is in the old. Not sure what you’re problem is, here. CG has nothing to do with the lack of used-ness of the ships and stuff, because there is no lack.

I’m really sorry to say, but you seem to be falling into that ever growing camp that (at least subconsciously) believes:

A) CG is evil.
B) New is evil.

The old Star Wars films are awesome. I’ve watched them a bazillion times. The new ones are different, and awesome. Many people complain that the ships’ styles are too different. Yeah, they are ships built during a time of peace (there hasn’t been a full scale war in THOUSANDS OF YEARS), built for looks, much like cars nowadays. In the old trilogy, we’re seeing ships and vehicles built for war, like jeeps and hummers nowadays. The Deathstar is a giant war machine.

I didn’t much like the new Yoda puppet in Ep1, but the CG Yoda in Ep2 (which was based on the Empire puppet) is perfect.

Lucas does know what he’s doing. He’s dedicated his entire life to these movies, trust me he hasn’t forgotten about the original trilogy. The whole point of the prequels is to better explain the original movies. It’s backstory, much like the appendices in any given Tolkien book.

Now, maybe someone like me, who loves reading the appendices in Tolkien books, is who these films are tailored toward. I don’t know. But I’m definitely a fan.

The acting, while not great, doesn’t bother me. The acting in the original trilogy was just as bad, in my opinion. There are some definite weak spots in the Ep2 script, though — near the beginning of the film, it seems way too rushed as they try to cough out as much plot build up as possible. The worst actor in any Star Wars film to date, though, is the black guy who plays Padme’s chief of security in Ep2. Man, that guy can barely even choke out his lines.

And the Luke being a “crown prince, destined for greatness” isn’t even a construct of the new trilogy; it was revealed during Empire, hailed by many as the greatest Star Wars film to date.

Furthermore, as each new film gets closer to the timeline of the original trilogy, they get more “Star Wars”ish, if you follow me. Ep2 was definitely much more reminiscent of the original trilogy than Ep1, and I’m very excited to see Ep3 (and I’ve been very careful not to see any spoilers…your links on this page not helping matters much…the dark side of the force is strong…)

On 29 April 2005 (11:27 AM),
jeremy said:

Harrison and Emma won’t be able to handle the most recent three movies for some time – the first three were a stretch. Believe it or not, I think the new computer effects make the newest movies way to hard-core for the kids.

On 29 April 2005 (11:58 AM),
Rich R said:

Well, I’m not a big fan of the last 2 movies, but I’m not 8-14 anymore. I have also been exposed to lots of special effects, vs. not having seen very many good ones when the original came out.

I heard that the IMAX version of ep2 was the one to watch. They had to cut 45 minutes out because IMAX film is hard to string up and can’t be longer than about 90 minutes. SO the entire love story got cut out. I may have actually liked the movie in that state.

As far as ep3 goes, I think I may like it best of the newest set– maybe even better than Jedi… because it lends it self to less fluffiness.

The point I have to really disagree with you on is marketing. Yes the machine for ep3 is a juggernaut, but Lucas was showing his prowess when he made ep4. He was the first director to keep all of the toy/ancillary marketing rights to his little film. The studio happily gave those rights to the young fool. And he had the last laugh. Was the marketing as sophisticated and as prevalent– no. But he was the start of making money from a movie outside of the box office.

On 29 April 2005 (12:54 PM),
dowingba said:

Also: Luke starts out as a young poor farmboy from the far outreaches of space who dreams of becoming a star pilot.

Anakin starts out as a young poor slave boy from the far outreaches of space (same planet as Luke) who dreams of becoming a star pilot.

On 29 April 2005 (03:16 PM),
Denise said:

You know – I read this whole post thinking my thoughts exactly but then I read dowingba’s comments and I can see the argument. Looking at it from a pre-war point of view makes it easier to swallow.

I still agree that I don’t like the CG, but mostly when dealing with actual characters in the movie. I loved Chewy – he was one of my favorite characters in the first three movies – but I despise Jar Jar Binks. I think he would have been much more believable if they would have made a real costume for him instead of just using the computer graphics.

On 29 April 2005 (04:16 PM),
Dave said:

Although I agree with JD on his overall disappointment with the state of the Star Wars mythos as it has progressed (and degraded), I do see some redeeming qualities to the arc as a whole. I also think that the series (original) is not without it’s warts and that JD would gloss over them in a wave of nostalgia.

I agree with JD’s disappointment with the Force becoming just a matter of midichlorian manipulation and losing the mystical nature that seems to pervade the first three movies. To salvage the difference between series (original) and series (followup), in the second (pre-Empire) films, the average person probably didn’t know that midichlorians formed the basis of Force-sensitivity and so to the average person it looked mystical. By series (original) the only people around who would have known about them would be Palpatine, Vader, Yoda and Ken-obi (so spelled b/c JD’s filters won’t let one write out “K” “E” “N” “O” “B” “I”). The former two aren’t going to advertise this, nor are the latter two going to let on that they know a whole lot about it for fear of being exterminated. Of course, it robs us, the viewers, of the mystical experience when we find out about it/them.

Second, I view the glossy and new, nearly devoid of wear, nature of the series (followup) films as being the cause of the Republic’s fall. Palpatine uses that sterility and complacence to topple the Republic and replace it with the Empire. Similarly, Lucas is using it to simultaneously provide us with what in many ways is a picture of an egalitarian utopia in order to show us just how poorly things go (for certain people) under the Empire and how much is lost in the fall of the Republic. Under the Empire things get much Darker (from the Death Star to Bespin to the Emperor’s quarters) and grittier for most of the common folk. In contrast, the Death Star is the epitome of sterility, both in form and function (excluding the trash compactor, which I’ll deal with in a moment).

Third, the series (original) is not without it’s gaping holes. Most critics thought that Mark Hamill’s acting (along with the majority of the rest of the cast except for Alec Guiness) was absolute crap and couldn’t believe that Lucas would cast such a neophyte in such a pivotal role. And who puts something as mundane (and worthless) as a trash compactor on a brand new space station that’s designed to vaporize planets? You’d think they’d come up with something better to do with trash than mash it once they figured out hyperspace travel. Worse, why bother to stick some kind of monster in the brand new space station’s trash compactor? How did it get there? Is this some kind of Sith garbage disposal technology, or merely a really old style trash compacting defense system?

What I’ve never understood is why, when Vader’s wandering around on that first ship (and every scene thereafter) in the original film, doesn’t he recognize a) the astro mech that was his buddy for years and which was used to help pilot his fighter, and b) the protocol droid that he built from scratch as a boy, was his companion for decades, and used to assist Padme (his wife)? Would it not tell even the casual observer that there was something fishy going on, or at least some connection to one’s former life and spouse when your former property ends up in the hands of your sworn enemy? Or better yet, wouldn’t both droids know that Anakin Skywalker = Darth Vader? You might think that they’d say something to someone (ie, Leia) at some point. Or, hmmmmmm, why wouldn’t Vader figure out that there are some Skywalker’s around and keep an eye on them? Oh, wait, his mother didn’t have any family, so apparently Luke went into the infant Jedi witness protection program but they decided to throw everyone off the scent by keeping the same last name as his father and making some poor dupes who just appear to be hapless moisture farmers when in fact they are really highly trained Alderaanian or Naboo-ese agents who are sworn to protect Luke from his heritage by raising him as a hapless moisture farmer keep him in squalor and absolute ignorance. Fortunately there’s a hermit nearby who dresses like a Jedi and has the same last name as Vader’s original master but because he’s changed his first name to Ben, no one can see that he’s really Superman.

Or whatever…

I find that the books that’ve been published in the Star Wars universe go a long way toward rectifying some of the flaws JD notes in the films and filling in many of the blanks. On the other hand, let’s face facts. Lucas didn’t have the whole story arc in mind when he wrote “Star Wars”, “The Empire Strikes Back” and “The Return of the Jedi”. The second set of films is a cobbled together set of ideas that’s designed to capitalize on the success of the first series of films. That, ultimately, is what handicaps the new films.

On 29 April 2005 (04:21 PM),
Jennifer said:

As I write this response Emma and Harrison are playing Star Wars. They have built and Imperial Walker out of k’nex. Han, Luke and Leia are actually characters from Harrison’s pirate set. Legos are used to create various ships. It doesn’t matter the toy, the play is always Star Wars.
Harrison’s favorite part of the trilogy is when Darth Vader saves Luke and returns to the good side. He also likes to act out Luke getting his arm cut off. Harrison has also learned how to play the theme music from Star Wars.
Emma’s favorite part is when Princess Leia gets chained to Jabba, because she says it is silly. Of course she also loves the ewoks.
I prefer to enjoy the fun of the original trilogy and ignore the new releases. I have to go now, an argument has ensued over the color of Leia’s eyes.

On 29 April 2005 (09:42 PM),
dowingba said:

I assume the droids have had their memory erased at some point. I also assume that Episode 3 will explain when and why this happens. Also, when does Darth Vader see either of the droids when he’s in that ship? That’s right: never.

What we also don’t know: does Darth Vader know he has surviving children? From what I understand, he kills Padme when she’s pregnant, perhaps even when she’s in the early stages of pregnancy — so he might not even know she was pregnant in the first place. I don’t think he’s gonna spend much time combing the outer reaches of the galaxy for skywalkers, in that case. Not that he probably has much free time to do so anyway, as I assume the life of a Sith is much the same as the life of a Jedi, in that they generally just embark on various missions, without much vacation time.

I don’t think secrecy is why Leia’s name was changed…she was adopted by people named Organa. Luke was adopted by people named Skywalker, so his name remains Skywalker. I don’t know how many sextillions of lifeforms live in the galaxy, but I’m sure there are plenty of Skywalkers around — so even if Vader was looking around for Skywalkers, it might be hard to pinpoint who his son is, who he doesn’t even know, or care, exists. Also, I doubt Tatooine has much in the way of a registrar of names on hand, as there isn’t any government to speak of there. So unless Vader goes there and knocks on every door asking “is there a Skywalker here?”, while getting truthful answers out of each resident, even though he looks so menacing…

On 29 April 2005 (11:14 PM),
J.D. said:

I am so dedicated to you, the readers of foldedspace. How dedicated? I’m so dedicated that I spent my afternoon re-watching The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones.

Here’s a dirty little secret: although I complain about these two films, although I just wrote an entire weblog lambasting them, I still watch each of them a couple of times a year. I’ve probably seen The Phantom Menace ten times and Attack of the Clones at least half a dozen times.

Usually, I find it an exercise in sadism. Today it was kind of fun. Today, I took notes. Lots of them. I mean that I annotated the damn films down to the second in order to reply to some of dowingba’s points. In the end, however, I think that’d be counter-productive. Instead, I’ll reply with general impressions.

First off, I was surprised to find that this time I found the second film more enjoyable than the first. This has never been the case before. Today, though, Jar-Jar Binks grated just a little too much; the political intrigue was slower in the first film; and, perhaps worst of all, there were actually more plot holes in the first film.

What about the “lived in” feel of the universe? Dowingba’s right that the first film does share that with the original trilogy. I’d missed it before, but sure enough, it’s there: Watto’s junkyard, Anakin’s home, the various ships (except the Naboo flyers), and even the close-ups of the battle droids all exhibit signs of wear and tear.

(That’s not to say that I don’t have problems with the CGI, because I do. The large CGI armies in the final battle scene are painful to watch. I wish that those who work on CGI battle scenes would watch some actual footage of battle scenes staged with live actors, or, preferably read accounts and view drawings/photos/paintings of historical battles.)

However, Attack of the Clones is guilty as charged. Every set in the film is spotless. Nearly every ship is spit-and-polished. Remember how I complained about the structures on the water world Kamino not exhibiting any signs of rust of mildew, etc? It’s worse. Ken-obi and Jango Fett have a fire fight in which lightsabers, blasters, turbo lasers, rockets, and a jetpack all bombard a landing platform. Yet how much damage is visible? None. The platform is untouched. Bizarre! There are many similar examples. Attack of the Clones does not exhibit the same lived-in feel as the other Star Wars films: not the bars, not the ships, not the living quarters. (There are a couple of exceptions, particularly on Tattooine, but they simply serve to accentuate the problem.)

Re: CGI in general. I am guilty as charged. It’s not that I dislike new things — I don’t — but I do generally dislike CGI. It’s not that I dislike CGI out of spite, or for an arbitrary reason; it’s just that I feel that it’s often misused. Filmmakers seem unable to show restraint. There are many films that use CGI in a judicious fashion, and I’m quick to praise these. (Examples include Amelie, Spider-Man (and its sequel), and even the new Battlestar Galactica.) Too many films, though, follow the Peter Jackson’s Helms Deep path, or the Phantom Menace path, the path to the dark side, the path down which more is actually less.

Dowingba’s right about another thing: the CGI Yoda looks damn good (except during his lightsaber battle).

I still think the acting isn’t that great. I suspect this has to do with Lucas’ direction. However, after taking careful notes, and rewinding the bad scenes multiple times, it’s pretty clear that the script is the culprit. Some of the lines are just awful, no matter how they’re read.

Ultimately, some sense can be made of Episode Two’s plot. And, for the most part, dowingba has it nailed. The problem is, this whole muddled thing is very difficult to follow. As I say, I’ve watched the film a half dozen times. I’m a smart guy. I have a college degree. I read Proust for pleasure. I love the twisty passages found in a film like Rashomon. Still, I could only decipher Attack of the Clones when I took notes on the damn thing. Maybe I’m not as smart as I think I am. Maybe I’m an idiot. Or maybe we’re all confused because the plot, though present, is muddled and difficult to see.

The plot of the second film is not as simple as dowingba makes it out to be. It can be summarized thusly: for whatever reason (we’re never really sure), a group of star systems has begun to break away from the Republic. These “Separatists” are led by Count Dooku, is secretly Lord Tyranus, a dark lord of the Sith, and partner with Darth Sidious (aka the Chancellor). Tyranus has been employing Jango Fett to create an army of clones. This army, in development for ten years (since the end of episode one), is destined to be used by the Republic to fight the Separatists. (But wait! didn’t I just say Dooku led the Separatists? I did indeed.) The Separatists basically comprise various financial interests, groups with names like the Trade Federation, the Banking Guild, the Commerce Alliance, etc. Dooku — and, apparently, Jango — are helping them construct an army of battle droids. They’ve also begun to develop the battle station that we know will become the Death Star. Dooku/Tyranus is doing all this work behind the scenes while Sidious/Palpatine is manipulating the Senate and the Jedi council.

So, you see, a plot is present, it’s just rather complicated. Certainly more complicated than any of the other films in the series. Basically, Dooku/Tyranus and Sidious/Palpatine are leading the galaxy into Civil War for their own nefarious purposes.

I’m still not persuaded that the stories of the first two films (and what I know of the third) do a good job of setting up the original trilogy. In fact, they do a rather poor job. Yes they connect the dots, but they do it in a very clumsy way. They try to hard. They take the feeling of magic out of it for me.

Moving on: Dave, I’m well aware the original series has warts. Most of Return of the Jedi is one big wart. However, the problems with the first three films are smaller, to me. Also, I’m apt to be much more forgiving of these because I grew up with them. I love Buckaroo Banzai despite the fact it’s a bad film for this very reeason.

I think Dave has an interesting point regarding the clean/gritty dichotomy based on the descent into Empire.

Rich, I was actually going to mention the whole bit about Lucas negotiating for the marketing rights for the first film. I had it typed out under the marketing subhead, but then I edited it out for some reason. I should have left it in! 🙂

There you have it: Dowingba makes some good points, though I don’t agree with all of them. (Par for the course!)

Favorite part of Phantom Menace: uh, I’m thinking here — oh yeah! the pod race!

Least favorite: Jar Jar Fucking Binks

Favorite part of Attack of the Clones: Ken-obi dives through Amidala’s window, catching the assassin droid thing

Least favorite: the painful, painful, painful love scenes (followed closely by Yoda with a lightsaber)

On 01 May 2005 (08:29 PM),
Paul said:

The 5/1/05 article about Star Wars.

On 02 May 2005 (08:44 PM),
Nendae said:

You rock. Star Wars is the WORST movie ever, i am glad you know that it sucks. And the only use for a Lightsaber is as Christmas lighting. Darth Vader has Asthma. Yoda is a green prune with a speech problem. Luke is a loser. Leia gets her hair done at “Cinnabon.” George Lucas is an idiotic moron. The answer to every question in star wars is the Force.
Why did that happen?
the Force
How did it happen?
the Force
Why does star wars suck?
the Force

On 03 May 2005 (11:19 AM),
Keith said:

Years ago I read a book called True Believer. This book is about how someone can put forth a dogma, a set of beliefs and then preach them to people in such a way as to totally suspend their ability to analyzethe truth. In other words, you tell the people a lie, and they believe it, and follow the teachings that accompany the lie. This is a simplified explanation, but it covers mass movements like Nazism and Communism and anti-Starwarsism.

Are the movies perfect? No, none of them are. There is poor acting in all 5. There are numerous mistakes in all 5. One complaint I’ve seen over and over is that the starships are clean…well if thats a flaw in the first 2 movies how about in episode 5 where the Falcon flies from Hoth to Bespin…without using the hyperdrive. How many thousands of years should that have taken?

And the complaint about how the story has shifted from people on the side to people in the center is silly. Obi Wan was a General who came to fame in the Clone Wars. Of course he was going to be a character in the center, and anyone involved with him would be too. Princess Leia was a Princess and a Senator…she was not an accidental heroine by any means.

I feel the poster has fallen into the True Believer school of thought that the SW movies suck. Are they perfect? No. Do they entertain? I think so. Lucas changed moviemaking, and continues to do things no other filmmaker does.

I could go on to comment on the other points the initial poster attacks the movies on. I think in the end it would be an attack on the intelligence of the poster…If he can’t even comprehend the subtle story Lucas is weaving or enjoy the storytelling, then I doubt any criticism of mine will sway him. If he hates Star Wars so much, I suggest not seeing Episode 3, and never doing anything at all related to the 6 works.

On 05 May 2005 (07:35 AM),
A.R.Yngve said:

All you diehard fans who feel a need to “defend” STAR WARS against criticism, please bear this in mind:

1. Lucasfilm Corp. has not paid you one red cent to do this costly PR work.

2. Lucasfilm Corp. does not owe you anything.

3. You do NOT own the STAR WARS franchise. Lucasfilm Corp. does.

4. Lucasfilm Corp. is owned by George Lucas, not by you.

5. George Lucas does not owe you anything.

6. You do not owe George Lucas anything.

Now, my opinion on the prequel films… I’ve worked many years in the IT industry and seen a LOT of computer graphics.

Computer graphics in film should NEVER DRAW ATTENTION to itself.

Because when it does, it ruins the experience. You simply stop caring, when you’re constantly reminded that you’re not watching physical objects.

CGI works best with subtle effects and enhancements – such as editing or background detail – or water and cloud effects which require lots of small, anonymous particles.

The ONE acting CGI character I’ve seen who really worked in a movie, was Andy Serkis’ Gollum in THE LORD OF THE RINGS. (Maybe Peter Jackson knows something about CGI that George Lucas doesn’t.)

And yeah, the plots of the prequel are convoluted and boring. I don’t need the prequels. I have the original trilogy, and that’s fine with me.

And as for the Ewoks… I LIKE the Ewoks! I think there are a lot of people who like the Ewoks, but are scared to admit it… because they think this “emasculates” them.


On 07 May 2005 (09:35 PM),
Darth Joe said:

I read the article, and found that I agreed 100% 🙁 🙁 🙁
The prequels…..well….Sucked. “From a certain point of view.” OK, they weren’t good stories, but I like seeing how Anakin became my hero. I believe that is the 1 saving grace….the 1 thing everyone wants to see….unless George screws that up too….
I can forgive him IF he apologizez to the public for these blunders and uses the profits to correct the mistakes….basically rewrite the series. But after reading parts of the script for Revenge of the Sith, I think the Force has left him, and the midi-chlorians are cutting off circulation. Characters need to be rethought for who they are…scenes need to be reshot to make sense…Yoda needs to continue to have Intelligent, Wise things to say, not just Yoda-ish. Everyone remembers “Try not; do or do not; there is no try” How many people are going to quote “Around the survivors a parameter create”??
The Jedi and the Sith BOTH need to be mysterious… that is the way of things; the way of the force.
Mabe the Midi-Chlorians can be a RESULT of access to the force, as if they depend on it for survival rather than the source of the force.
Mabe someone should create Star Wars X.
But then, mabe we should let a terminal dog die.

On 08 May 2005 (07:48 PM),
John C. Welch said:

If they wanted to keep Luke hidden, they should have changed his name to match Owen and Beru’s last name…Lars

But they did the aunt & uncle thing, so that was at least sensible.

The problem is, Lucas backed his ass into a corner with 4-6, and he’s just not good enough to handle it without being lame.

there is one essential store arc in the first 6 films…Vader’s. If the films succeed or fail it’s on the strength of that. 4-6 created a damned good villain. I mean, he tortures Han in “Empire” because he CAN. Probably because he’s trying to sucker Luke to the city.

When Vader picks up the head of Threepio, there’s a long pause there that’s never explained until the first movie. That was great.

The 4-6 Vader/Anakin was Miltonian. The 1-3 Anakin/Vader is Spearsian. There’s just nothing in 1-3 that makes you give a rat’s ass about Anakin. He’s a whiner. Hell, when I read the book where Obi-Wan finally accepts that his former student’s a jackass, he just lays the beatdown on him, and I was almost cheering.

Then in the same book, when Palpatine finds him, you realize that Vader’s a Jedi Loser because he’s got no skin. What the hell? The Force comes from your soul, but you need hands? GAHHHHHHH!!!! WHY IS THAT EVEN IN THERE? When the force goes from “The thing that binds the universe” to “A side effect of bad water, and it’s not for crips” then it goes from cool to sucks.

But at the same time, i was crying over what Lucas had done to vader. He’s small now. He’s not the embodiment of tragedy and evil. He’s just a jock who Peaked in a pod race. I was crying because never again would I be able to watch 4-6 and be as impressed by Vader. that scene in 4, early on where he’s pointing his finger at Leia? I’ll always hear, “DON’T YOU SASS YOUR FATHER LITTLE GOIL”. When he tells Luke in 6 “Now his failure is complete” I’ll be hearing “1 PWN3D K3N0B1!!!”

Lucas took Vader and made him into less that what he was, and for that, I’ll never forgive him. I haven’t paid to see a star wars movie since “Jedi” was in the theatres. I have the original series on tape. I imagine I’ll dump it to DVD. It’s wonderful, warts and all.

The new series? It’s like everything else created for the sake of technology…dead by the time you get it.


On 17 May 2005 (08:52 PM),
[CLONE] 1147 said:

I agree with you completely about what you had said about recapturing that original feel that isn’t a product of whoring the CGI. I thought a movie version of Jedi Outcast would be wonderful if it stayed as true to the game as it did to the star wars universe. If you haven’t played the KOTORS yet, we highly recommend them. Didn’t think I’d like them since I was never really into star wars or RPGs, but if you have already played through them you’d know what I mean.

On 20 May 2005 (12:12 PM),
Davey said:

One small point that no-one seems to have picked up on about Luke’s adoption.

Luke was living with his (step) Uncle Owen (Lars) in his Granny’s(/step-Grandpa’s) house.

Uncle Owen features in EpII as the son of the guy who maries Anakin’s mum (dunno his name – was in a wheelchair… . ..without any wheels, so just a chair really).

So Anakin actually meets the guy who ends up looking after his son whilst looking for/finding his missing mother and then burries her body outside the house where Luke will spend his youth.

All in all, not the best hiding place. Probably a good job Vader was off killing some Jedi, then some rebels throttling English blokes in Nazi uniforms and blowing up some stuff (you know, planets and that).

Also I’m not even sure (from memory) how/when Vader figures out he has a son. The name’d probably twig it for him if he heard there was a Skywalker out there causing a bit of a stink for the empire. (I’m pretty sure it is in the original films but I’d appreciate a reminder!)


On 20 May 2005 (12:15 PM),
Davey said:

One small point that no-one seems to have picked up on about Luke’s adoption.

Luke was living with his (step) Uncle Owen (Lars) in his Granny’s(/step-Grandpa’s) house.

Uncle Owen features in EpII as the son of the guy who maries Anakin’s mum (dunno his name – was in a wheelchair… . ..without any wheels, so just a chair really).

So Anakin actually meets the guy who ends up looking after his son whilst looking for/finding his missing mother and then burries her body outside the house where Luke will spend his youth.

All in all, not the best hiding place. Probably a good job Vader was off killing some Jedi, then some rebels throttling English blokes in Nazi uniforms and blowing up some stuff (you know, planets and that).

Also I’m not even sure (from memory) how/when Vader figures out he has a son. The name’d probably twig it for him if he heard there was a Skywalker out there causing a bit of a stink for the empire. (I’m pretty sure it is in the original films but I’d appreciate a reminder!)


On 20 May 2005 (12:53 PM),
Davey said:

D’Oh! Sorry for the double post, the page froze during submission.

I agree about the feel of Jedi Outcast.
It was the a game in a series that went all the way back to Dark Forces, then Jedi Knight, Jedi Outcast and then Jedi Academy.

Dark Forces was great! All the levels were well designed, it played well, it definately had the original Star Wars feel (minus the Lightsabers – more Rebel Aliance than Jedi Council), though the graphics are v.dated, but not without a good deal of atmosphere.
At the time the story seemed a bit detached from the Films by the end. Not to give too much away in case anyone likes retro-gaming, it seems pretty well tied in now, with the fighting droidy stuff in the prequels and the Fett’s depply rooted Imperial connections.

Jedi Knight again had great levels, more weapons, Lightsabers, great (though pretty dumb) enemies and the force. there was a pre-destiny theme which was ffamiliar from the films. Jedi Outcast brought better gameplay letting you control the Lightsabre, properly – (like “Severence”(only RPG game I could ever get into) but better), though the level design fell down a bit for me. The last one was pretty similar to Outcast though.

Anyway, relevance?
I rekon these games held true to the feel of the original films – far more so than EpI/II though I’m holding out hope that EpIII will fulfill its purpose – stepping the void.

On 20 May 2005 (08:43 PM),
Sai said:

You know I think you’ve made some really great points. I may have been introduced to Star Wars via VHS tapes by my parents, seeing I was only born the year Return of the Jedi came out, but I still had sense enough to know the new Star Wars feels nothing like the old Star Wars. So far all I’ve been able to describe it as is “it doesn’t have the same ambience”.

But what you’ve said makes alot of sense. How this vast galaxy seems a whole heck of alot smaller in the new Star Wars. How everyone is suddenly so important. I didn’t really relate to the characters in the new movies, I can barely remember most of their names. I can remember who Luke is. Who Obi-wan is. Who Yoda is. Who Leia and Han and Lando and Jabba the Hut are. But it took me a while to even connect the fact that Queen Amidala’s name is Padme. Maybe I was just too distracted by the poor acting, poor plot contruct and Unnesessary CGI, but I could barely follow episodes 1 and 2 at all. As for 3, I think I’ll wait to rent it at Blockbuster some rainy day.

And really, I don’t like to knock CGI that much, I’ve come to appreciate what computers can do for art and film over the years, but I have noticed far too much emphasis/reliance on them. There does seem to be far too much of an air of “hey look it this!” and “check out our nifty graphics!” and “look how we can make this alien blink almost realistically!” in the new films. It’s really annoying. And having grown up with the rapid development of video games and even Dinsey integrating computers into films this stuff tends to wear on me pretty quickly.

Though I have to admit when I was younger and the Star Wars Special Edition came to thearters it left me giddy. But even then a few extra aliens in a scene didn’t change the plot.

Unfortuneately, the prequels COULD have been really great. They really could have been a Star Wars for a new generation, for my generation, but apparently George Lucas has grossly understimated what appeals to my generation in an almost insulting manner.

On 20 May 2005 (08:45 PM),
J.D. said:

I should note that I just saw Revenge of the Sith. I didn’t hate it nearly as much as I hated the first two prequels. In fact, I kind of liked it. My thoughts are here.

On 22 May 2005 (07:49 PM),
D said:

Just saw Episode III. Truthfully, it’s the biggest sci-fi disaster since Episode II. A real eye-sore, it hardly classifies as a “movie” in my book. Lucas has no story to tell–only poorly concieved computer effects to play with in his Imperial Light & Magic studio.

George Lucas should be grounded from his computer.

On 23 May 2005 (05:00 PM),
TBRWolf70 said:

I have to say I agree with all of the postings on this site….although I have some disagreements with some of the things said. I seen 3 on opening night and I have to say Lucas messed up again. I don’t know exactly what George was thinking when he made these (last or first depends on how you look at it), 3 films. Episode 3 was filled with a lot of non direction. The film seemed to me to be jumping around a lot. I read the book before the movie came out and there is a lot in the book that is not brought out in the movie. The only quality that even remotely saves this film is the fact that they somewhat show the conversion of Darth Vader. I do believe that the movie went way to fast with anakins conversion to vader and that it didn’t really say why he so easily converted. The CGI in this film was way to much and almost ruined the film. I have been a star wars fan from the begining and loved the first three. I lived star wars as a child and now that these last three came out I am almost shamed to be called a star wars fan. I don’t know what made lucas think that humor had a place in the films but I think that was a BIG mistake. Jar Jar totally ruined a film for me that I had been waiting to see for years. When Lucas stated that he was waiting for computers to get to the point so that he could do with the films what he needed I didn’t know he couldn’t wait to totally destroy the flavor and style of the films the way he did. I could continue to rant about this for hours but I will spare you unlike lucas did to us. I think lucas fell out of love with the movies or just got tired of making them and just wanted to get the story told so that his fans would leave him alone. At least this is how I feel. There is a rumor that Lucas’ son is going to do 7-9, I hope this is true and I hope he goes back to the original style of the movies and does not ruin them like his father did.

Thank you for your time,

On 25 May 2005 (09:38 PM),
Cepo said:

if we just pretend they’re a whole different set of movies, then perhaps after George Lucas is dead someone will remake the prequels. 😛

On 25 May 2005 (09:55 PM),
D said:

I’d love to see special editions of all three prequels that introduce real characters on real sets delivering real dialogue with lucid action scenes and coherent plotlines.

On 26 May 2005 (09:13 AM),
DAKMOR said:

Firts,I must point out that I did not read any books,scripts,or commentaries on any of the Star Wars films. Second,I must say that I enjoyed them,although most of this stuff you guys are saying does change it a lot. Third, I do beleive that Lucas never really understood what he was writing. I bet that if he could redo the “original” series,he’s would have two actors in the whole thing. The guy playing Luke,and the guy playing Obi-wan. The rest,CGI.

Lucas’ idea of Star Wars and ours are too very different things. Think,LOTR and and old robin hood movie. Lucas is LOTR,and ours is robin hood. that big of a difference.

His marketing license is really what made him keep making the dang movies. Without absolute millions coming in from toys,this fat cat(not from washignton hough) is just out to get money!

On 27 May 2005 (07:18 AM),
Shinzon said:

I agree with this great article. I loved Episode III BUT I cant love it entirely like the first one (episode IV). I fell asleep in episodes I and II because they were too long, but I liked it cause it had all of those space ship and army fights.

But yes, there is soemthing akward in the prequels. I had no problem with Luke working his way to becoem a Jedi. But in Anakins case, I just didint buy it, it was too aristocratic, I mean after all Anakin is the center of the galaxy in the prequles, that would fit with george Lucas becoming a multimillonaire praised and worshiped, probably went to his head and reflected it. I just didnt buy the whol “anakin is the god of the galaxy” thing, its unreal and imposible, life never works that way to such an extreme. Trule Lucas head is too big so he reflected it on Anakin.

A New Hope is better.

On 10 June 2005 (10:41 PM),
Clayton said:

Wonderful article on all levels. I’m only writing to say ‘Eureka’ in regards to your comments on the relationship of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to Star Wars. I have never met anyone else who thought the same and here you are expounding upon what i’ve always thought as well! The only thing I can recommend to someone so apparently in the know is that you read Milton’s Paradise Lost for the true story of Vader that LucAss never told us becuase he has been so busy wacking off with CGI (And since he is just merely a hack in the first place)


On 14 June 2005 (09:10 AM),
Jack Sargent said:

In short, Episode II is a terrible movie. The acting, special effects and dialogue are not only poor, but un-engaging. The action sequences are tedious and un-involving, and the love scenes are laughable. This film has no redeeming features. It is worse than Episode I!
The worst scene has to be the one in the droid factory (it looks and feels like something from a video game).
George Lucas and Jonathan Hales’ screenplay for this film is appalling too.

On 19 June 2005 (06:57 PM),
I want George Lucas’ head on a platter said:

While I agree with most everything said on this site, I feel that most people missed a really important complaint and it is one of the reasons I really feel ripped off by the first trilogy. For one, in a universe that’s so vast and interesting, there is wayyyyy to much coincidence going on. It’s like the whole story is based on a few influential families. Such coincidences not only make the universe seem immeasurably small, but also takes the great library of Star Wars literature and throws it in the garbage. This brings me to my second point. While George Lucas may not owe his fans anything, he certainly owes the people that worked hard explaining the technology and filling the plot-holes in the original series. One small example of this is the astromech droid Obi-Wan has for his ship in EpisodeII. He refers to the droid as ‘R4’, which isn’t that big of a deal until you go and buy the book on droids which explains that the first part of an astromech’s serial isn’t different for every astromech (like people’s first names) but explains the type of model the astromech is i.e. there are several thousands of R2’s but only one that’s called R2-D2. According to the book (which George recieved a paycheck for) the R4 model is one of the newer models that does look similar to an R2 unit, but has a clear dome. Some people may think this nitt-picky, but since George Lucas did recieve a paycheck for that book, he could at least crack a copy open before he took his big dump on the universe that so many other more talented authors were able to keep to a timeline that takes everyone’s work into consideration and builds off a world that has become so much more diverse than anything George Lucas could have done himself.

Sorry, got a little long-winded there. The real reason I even posted here is this question: On the May 8th post of John C. Welsh posted that there is a scene in one of the movies (he doesn’t say which) where Vader picks up threepio’s head and there is a long pause or some such. Could anyone tell me in what version of what movie this scene is in? I’ve seen all the movies multiple times and I can never even remember Vader sharing a scene with either of the droids. And one more point, just because they never shared a scene doesn’t give the excuse for having them in episodes 1-3 (just one of those huge galactic coincidences that helps ruin episodes one-three).

On 19 June 2005 (06:58 PM),
I want George Lucas’ head on a platter said:

While I agree with most everything said on this site, I feel that most people missed a really important complaint and it is one of the reasons I really feel ripped off by the first trilogy. For one, in a universe that’s so vast and interesting, there is wayyyyy to much coincidence going on. It’s like the whole story is based on a few influential families. Such coincidences not only make the universe seem immeasurably small, but also takes the great library of Star Wars literature and throws it in the garbage. This brings me to my second point. While George Lucas may not owe his fans anything, he certainly owes the people that worked hard explaining the technology and filling the plot-holes in the original series. One small example of this is the astromech droid Obi-Wan has for his ship in EpisodeII. He refers to the droid as ‘R4’, which isn’t that big of a deal until you go and buy the book on droids which explains that the first part of an astromech’s serial isn’t different for every astromech (like people’s first names) but explains the type of model the astromech is i.e. there are several thousands of R2’s but only one that’s called R2-D2. According to the book (which George recieved a paycheck for) the R4 model is one of the newer models that does look similar to an R2 unit, but has a clear dome. Some people may think this nitt-picky, but since George Lucas did recieve a paycheck for that book, he could at least crack a copy open before he took his big dump on the universe that so many other more talented authors were able to keep to a timeline that takes everyone’s work into consideration and builds off a world that has become so much more diverse than anything George Lucas could have done himself.

Sorry, got a little long-winded there. The real reason I even posted here is this question: On the May 8th post of John C. Welsh posted that there is a scene in one of the movies (he doesn’t say which) where Vader picks up threepio’s head and there is a long pause or some such. Could anyone tell me in what version of what movie this scene is in? I’ve seen all the movies multiple times and I can never even remember Vader sharing a scene with either of the droids. And one more point, just because they never shared a scene doesn’t give the excuse for having them in episodes 1-3 (just one of those huge galactic coincidences that helps ruin episodes one-three).

On 20 June 2005 (06:22 AM),
dowingba said:

“I want George Lucas’ head on a platter”,

In Episode 4, Luke and his uncle buy a weird looking red astromech droid that looks nothing like R2-D2 from the jawas, but soon afterwards it malfunctions and smoke begins emitting from it. “Uncle Owen, this R2 unit has a bad motivator!” says Luke.

On 25 June 2005 (10:11 PM),
Jeff said:

New Jedi Order, New Jedi Order, New Jedi Order, New Jedi Order!

In case you’re wondering what I’m ranting about … it’s the 13-or-so book series that ended a couple years ago that truly reminded me how much I love the Star Wars saga. Yes, the prequels have been a dissapointment … which is why I have immersed myself in the Expanded Universe and all but ignored everything before “A New Hope”. Yes, I’m a huge Star Wars fan and definitly a Star Wars geek … but the books really are where it’s at now.

On 01 July 2005 (11:43 AM),
jd said:

you must be the most stupidest peices of s**t on the planet, how can you not like star wars are you lot stupid.

On 08 August 2005 (04:01 AM),
Chris Laughlin said:

Thank you so much! This is a fantastic analysis of why the new Star Wars movies suck so badly that they make baby Jesus cry. Damnit I hate these new movies!


On 14 August 2005 (12:42 AM),
Stinky said:

“I’d rather have the hocus-pocus religion, and so would you.”

-good one

On 24 August 2005 (08:41 PM),
JT said:

Thank you so much. I thought I was the only one to think this movie series was suckville.

On 28 August 2005 (09:42 PM),
alien said:

Phantom menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith� ALL SUCK. Not because they have �Computer Graphics� or that their �New�. No,� simply because they SUCK AS FILMS! They suck because Lucas could not sell them as workable ideas 30 years ago and as a consequence started the series at EPISODE 4. I mean why would you start at episode 4 why? What�s the logic? Yes the prequels have a story on which they are based but what most people fail to observe is that the films lack the most obvious thing that all good movies have. DRAMA! How do you support a film that is carelessly littered with inane details and has absolutely no emotional draw to the characters?

But don�t blame Lucas I�m sure he wanted to make the prequels into epic films but what has happened is that industry is not the same anymore. The talent pool around him is not the same either. The Seventies and Eighties had incredible designers like Syd Mead who did the set and vehicle designs for the early films and Blade Runner. Now you basiclly have groups of CG jocks that incestuously copy each other and compete for recognition among the studios.

What�s also sad is that when you become rich and powerful and the people that work for you are dying for your approval it does not foster a healthy environment for creativity or new ideas. I think Lucas should never have revisited his old ideas because they were just not good enough to make the cut. I suppose when you are close to being a Billionaire and the public looks at you with envy or as a living god then this must encourage you to believe that even the ideas that you abandoned 30 years ago were secret gems yet to be discovered.

People should recognize that many incredibly talented people collaborated with Lucas to make Star Wars what it became. If you read Star Wars as just a script�. God almighty�. that could have easily become an incredibly bad seventies Sci-fi flick. Yet that�s not happened, Star Wars became the most significant SCI-FI film of the Twentieth Century! HELLO!!! Does this register with those arguing about Astromech droids! Can you grasp the magnitude of what Star Wars was and what it has now become? Probably not�Honestly if you were not alive to see Star Wars during the 70�s and 80�s you just don�t get it and you never will understand the magic of that time. I grew up on a farm and as a kid when I saw that Star Destroyer rumble overhead I sat with my mouth gaping wide in disbelief�.As �JD� so poetically pointed out�.. It was truly a time of wonder.

So let�s talk about supposedly hating the �New� and hating CG? . . What�s that about? As an original Stat Wars fan I resent this remark because it is a sweeping generalization and a polite way to call someone �old�� Yet the question in my mind is why prequel fans love these movies when they appear to be so heavily vested towards children and not adults? Honestly it�s a real drag for anyone with any taste or capacity for good film to sit through these so called movies.

To be blunt, many Star Wars fans would have slept outside theatres just to see any film related to the Star Wars Legend. Really, . . . I mean it. Lucas could have taken a shit on a plate, pointed a camera at it and released it as “The Phantom Menace” and maybe some people would have gone to see it twice. So my question is? If you are George Lucas and you can do anything…..I mean anything….Money is not an issue, selling the movie is not an issue and getting creative talent to work with you is not an issue ….Then why not make a film for Adults? Why not keep the aura of the original films and do something innovative and epic�If the Star Wars movies were better films they would have easily overtaken the success of Titanic in earnings?

I think most original Star Wars Fans have remained SCI-FI fans and I personally loved A.I., Minority Report, and The Incredibles. How much more CG do you want me to like? The Incredibles was all CG but it had effects and characters that were highly memorable. As for ep1, ep2 and ep3 � No one will remember these effects because they sucked at delivering an idea and that�s because the prequels have no tangible feeling or idea to deliver� �NOTHING�� just a list of detailed inane Star Wars babble. The original Star Wars films always blew us away when we saw the effects! To this day, I still get goose bumps when I watch the rebel soldier look through his binoculars to see those gigantic Imperial Walkers lumbering towards them on the ice planet Hoth. This �effects shot� created drama, because you felt sympathy for those poor souls who faced certain death defending themselves against such terrible machines of war.

Nobody wants to watch a two hour Star Wars trivial pursuit with convoluted land battles between CG cartoon characters? Didn�t Lucas see Braveheart? . . . What if the battles in that film were hundreds of instances of 3D Scotsmen fighting the 3d English army, all with a predictable randomness? How boring would that be?

How about the �New�? When I saw the Lord of the Rings in the theatre that scene with the Balrog blew me away! What an incredible effect, the flames, the textures, the heat distorting the air as it roared and lastly the haunting chants and music of the Balrog. That is cinema, that is genius and sadly it did not come from the Skywalker Ranch and for my friend that loves the appendices of books don�t confuse Tolkien with Lucas they are not equals� not even close.

I think many Star Wars fans are living in denial. Most of them can�t admit that the prequels failed at the most basic level as films and what�s even worse is that these films denigrated the original Star Wars Myth. They can�t come to terms with this simply because �this is it��like it or not there will be no alternative to this cinematic suck fest in triplicate.
Yet I think the future holds even darker things for Star Wars fans�As Hollywood has been consistently reinventing old movies because they just can�t take a chance on any new ideas. Soon the time will come when they recreate episodes 4, 5 and 6 to match the crappiness of the prequels.

Maybe they will get Vin Diesal to play Han Solo? God Help us……

On 06 September 2005 (10:35 AM),
Devil’s Advocate said:

On 19 June 2005 (06:58 PM), I want George Lucas’ head on a platter said:

“It’s like the whole story is based on a few influential families.”

Ever heard of the Kennedys? Or the Bushs?

On 01 October 2005 (07:35 PM),
Jake said:

i completely disagree with you 🙁

Get Rich Slowly!

Note: died recently, and is gradually being reconstructed. This entry has moved. Its new URL is The 86 comments from before the move can be found here.

Today’s entry is long and boring. It’s all about the keys to wealth, prosperity, and happiness. Over the past few months, I’ve read over a dozen books on personal finance. Recurring themes have become evident.

These books have embarrassingly bad titles, seemingly designed to appeal to the get-rich-quick crowd: The Richest Man in Babylon, Your Money or Your Life, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Think and Grow Rich, Wealth Without Risk, Creating Wealth, etc.

Some of the books out there — most of them? — really are as bad as their titles. Others, however, offer outstanding, practical advice. The best books seem to have the same goal in mind: not wealth, not riches, but financial independence. According to Your Money or Your Life, which I consider the very best of the financial books I’ve read, “financial independence is the experience of having enough — and then some”. More practically, financial independence occurs when your investment income meets or exceeds your monthly expenses. Financial independence is linked to psychological freedom.

How is financial independence achieved? Again, the best books all basically agree. (To some of you, this will be common sense, stuff you’ve known all your life. To others, like me, this kind of thinking is a sort of revelation.)

Here, then, is my personal summary of the collected wisdom found in these books.

Step One: Prepare the Foundation
The first step is to lay a foundation upon which the secure home of financial independence can be built. To prepare to build wealth, one must first eliminate debt, reduce spending, and increase earnings.

There are many ways to approach debt elimination; the key is to use the one that actually works for you. All the books agree on this: cut up your credit cards. Get rid of them. There is no compelling reason to keep them. Next, pay off your debts. All of them. For years, I tried the oft-touted method whereby you first pay off your highest-interest debt. This never worked for me, because my highest interest debt was also my largest debt, and psychologically I just never seemed to make any progress. What worked for me was the “debt snowball”, as defined in Total Money Makeover. I eliminated my debt by paying off the obligation with the smallest balance first. Then I took the amount that would have been applied to that debt each month and used it to pay off the second-smallest balance. When that was finished, I went to the next, etc. It only took me four months to pay off my debts this way. I was dumbfounded. I’d struggled with this for a decade, and I solved the problem in four months? Good grief.

The next step in preparing the foundation is to reduce spending. First, track your expenditures for a month. Or two. Or three. (Many people — including myself — use Quicken; it’s quick and easy.) After you’ve accumulated enough data, analyze your spending patterns. Are you spending a lot on shoes? Books? Alcohol? Dining out? Try to find expenses you can eliminate or reduce. I cut my comic book spending by a huge amount. Many of the personal finance books encourage you to reduce your auto and homeowner insurance coverage to save money. This is also the point at which some books encourage you to adopt a budget. (I tend to think a budget is unnecessary if you remain aware of your current financial situation.) (Note: it’s in this step that I should note that all of the books I’ve read advise against purchasing a new car; all encourage you to purchase late-model used cars.)

The final phase in laying the foundation is to increase your income. Not all of the books mention this, and I happen to think it’s optional. However, there are a couple of authors who are quite vocal that this is an important step on the road to financial independence. How do you increase your income? Become better educated so that your job skills are more marketable. Work harder, and smarter, at your current job so that you qualify for raises and promotions. Change careers. Find a way to make a hobby profitable. Or, as more than one book suggests, work two jobs.

I can testify first-hand that by following these three steps, you can lay a solid foundation for future financial independence. I’ve only recently finished my foundation, and am amazed at the amount of money I’m suddenly able to save each month. Amazed. And that means I’m now ready for…

Step Two: Build the Framework
The second step toward financial independence is to construct the framework upon which future wealth can be built: establish an emergency fund, maximize your retirement investments, and begin acquiring income-producing assets. This is what I’m preparing to do. (I’ve already done one part, but only by happy coincidence.)

Every book I’ve read stresses that the most important part of the framework, the first part that must be completed, is the establishment of an emergency fund. This emergency fund ought to contain enough money to support you for three to six months in case you find yourself without an income. I have a very hard time grasping this concept, admitting its usefulness. All of the books stress it. Kris, who is always right, insists that it is important. Yet I want to skip this and go to other, more exciting steps. However, having seen the results after “laying my foundation”, I’m willing to suspend my disbelief and just do it. I’ll build the emergency fund.

Next, the books encourage you to maximize your retirement accounts. If you have a retirement account through work, contribute as much as you possibly can, as soon as you can. Establish a personal IRA outside of work, and every year contribute the maximum amount. I already do this, at least in part. Custom Box has a retirement plan, but not one to which the employees can contribute. The company itself contributes approximately ten percent of each employees’ annual salary to a stock plan. One of my goals for when the bathroom is finished is to get a Roth IRA set up.

The final step in building a framework for financial independence is to invest in income-producing assets. For some reason, I’d totally missed this recurring theme until this weekend; on Paul C.’s recommendation, I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, a book that’s almost solely about this particular portion of the framework. Beyond your retirement investments, the collected financial wisdom is that you ought to participate in further investments, specifically in income-producing assets. For different people, this means different things. Maybe it means bonds, maybe it means stocks, maybe it means investment properties. It does not mean things like cars, or collectibles (coins, comic books, baseball cards), or expensive furniture. These things may be assets of a sort, but they are not income-producing assets.

Step Three: Finish Construction
After you’ve laid the foundation to financial independence, and after you’ve built the framework, you must then spend years (decades!) finishing construction. All that’s required during this time is patience and discipline. Resist temptation. Do not accrue debt. Acquire income-producing assets; avoid non-income producing assets. Faithfully contribute to your retirement plans and your IRAs. Wait.

Step Four: Move Into the House
Some years later, you will wake to find that your financial house is in order. It’s finished. It’s ready for you to move in. How do you know when this is the case? Financial independence is achieved when your investment income equals or exceeds your monthly needs. If the total of your house payment and living expenses is $1000 per month, then you are financially independent when your investment income reaches $1000 per month. Achieving this takes time. It’s a slow, gradual process, but every book emphasizes that it’s not only possible, it’s inevitable if these steps are followed.

That’s it. That’s the combined wisdom of more than a dozen financial self-help books. I haven’t fleshed out the final two steps as much as the first two simply because I haven’t reached those steps yet. There are scores of books on how to best approach each step (even each substep!). I’m sure to obsess over each one in turn.

There seems to be only one major point on which these books disagree. Some argue that your home should be considered your most important investment, that you should carry a thirty-year mortgage and not attempt to accelerate payments. Others declare that a home should be considered a liability, the same as a car or a credit card. (The latter admit that a home will appreciate in value, but they note — rightly so — that a home is a cash drain, not a source of income.) All of the books, with one exception, encourage readers to only purchase modest homes; they smash the commonly held belief that you ought to “buy as much house as you can afford”. Instead, these books say you should only buy as much house as you actually need.

A lot of these books are easy to summarize. Their content lends itself to bullet points. For example:

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. This book was the first I read. I want to re-read it. It features lots of practical advice, including the concept of the “debt snowball” I mentioned earlier. Here are Ramsey’s steps to a “total money makeover”:
Step #1: Save $1000 as an emergency fund.
Step #2: Pay off debts, starting with the smallest first (ignore interest rates).
Step #3: Increase the emergency fund so that it will cover three to six months of expenses.
Step #4: Invest 15% of income in growth-stock mutual funds.
Step #5: Pay off the mortgage.
Step #6: Build wealth.
(I’ve left out a “Save money for college” step because it doesn’t apply to me.)

Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin is, as I mentioned, the cream of the crop of these financial books. It’s advice is sound. This is an especially great book for those seeking simplicity. It lends itself less to bullet points than some of the others, but I’ve made an attempt to enumerate the steps it advocates for financial independence:
Step #1: Determine how much money you’ve earned in your life. Next, determine your net worth. Compare and contrast the two.
Step #2: Establish the actual cost — in time and money — required to maintain your job. From this derive your actual hourly wage.
Step #3: Keep track of every cent that enters or leaves your possession.
Step #4: Determine which items are actually worth the money you spend on them.
Step #5: Graph your total monthly income and your total monthly expenses.
Step #6: Minimize spending through conscious decisions.
Step #7: Maximize income by doing something you love.
Step #8: Accumulate capital. Track its growth.
Step #9: Invest this capital so that it provides long-term income.

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason is an aging chestnut. It’s a classic in the field. Many later financial books are based on Clason’s advice, which is framed in King James-style English rules:
Rule #1: Start Thy Purse Fattening — save 10% of everything you earn
Rule #2: Control Thy Expenditures — create a budget to live within your means
Rule #3: Make Thy Gold Multiply — invest the savings from rule one
Rule #4: Guard Thy Treasures From Loss — invest only where the principal is safe
Rule #5: Make of Thy Dwelling a Profitable Investment — own your home
Rule #6: Insure a Future Income — plan for retirement
Rule #7: Increase Thy Ability to Earn — become better educated, more skilled; respect yourself

7 Money Mantras for a Richer Life by Michelle Singletary is a recent all-purpose financial book. I was ready to dismiss it for the absolute stupidity of mantra number one (stupidity in its phrasing, not in its advice), but after reading the book, I have to admit its advice is solid. It features:
Mantra #1: “If it’s on your ass, it’s not an asset.” If you can wear it, it’s not an investment. Also, something is riding your ass (such as a high house payment), it’s not an asset.
Mantra #2: “Is this a need or a want?” This is a question Kris has been trying to get me to ask myself for years.
Mantra #3: “Sweat the small stuff.” Do worry about the small expenses; they add up.
Mantra #4: “Cash is better than credit.” There is almost no reason to carry a credit card.
Mantra #5: “Keep it simple.” With money, avoid anything that seems complicated. If you don’t understand it, avoid it. You’ll probably lose money.
Mantra #6: “Priorities lead to prosperity.” Determine what’s important to you, and pursue that with your time and money.
Mantra #7: “Enough is enough.” Don’t overconsume. Recognize when you have fulfilled your needs and your wants.

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Wealth by Ric Edelman is rather a unique book. It features advice distilled from surveying 5000 people of moderate wealth. Each chapter relates a secret for obtaining financial security. At the end of the each chapter, there are excerpts from the surveys featuring anecdotes and advice from the respondents.
Secret #1: Carry a mortgage even if you can afford to pay it off. — This flies in the face of every other financial book I’ve read, and I do not subscribe to the idea. I’m willing to be that the people surveyed carry a mortgage out of habit, not because they think it’s smart.
Secret #2: Don’t diversify the money you put into your employer retirement plan; instead, put all your contributions into stock mutual funds — I’m okay with this. It may not be appropriate for someone close to retirement, but for younger people, this seems like sound advice.
Secret #3: Make many small investments rather than a few large investments. — The key is to make investing a habit, and to invest the money when you have it.
Secret #4: Rarely move from one investment to another. — Market timing is not something to be treated lightly; it’s not easy for a casual investor. Buy and hold.
Secret #5: Don’t measure success against the Dow or the S&P 500. — Understand what you own and why you own it; don’t compare it to market indicators.
Secret #6: Don’t spend a lot of time paying bills and fretting about personal finances. Don’t bother budgeting. — Many books encourage a budget, though I’ve not adopted one. And my success these past few months has come precisely because I have fretted about my personal finances. Maybe this advice is true for the long run, but I’m not sure it’s applicable to somebody just starting to lay the foundation of financial independence.
Secret #7: Involve your children in family finances. — This is another piece of advice that all of the books offer. I haven’t mentioned it because it’s not appropriate to me, and doesn’t actually fit my metaphor.
Secret #8: Pay attention to the media, particularly financial news. — This seems to go against secret #6, but whatever. I’m not willing to devote a lot of time to reading financial news, but it can be fun from time-to-time.
The rest of this book contains three wonderful chapters entitled: “The Biggest Mistake I Ever Made”, “The Smartest Thing I Ever Did”, and “My Advice to You”. The common threads? Far and away, the number one thing these people recommend is to start investing as soon as possible. As much as possible. (They also recommend getting a financial adviser, something I’ve avoided until now.)

I was going to include a point-by-point summary of Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki, but when I went to write it up, I couldn’t put Kiyosaki’s advice into words. I re-read a chapter. Everything seemed generalized. I did a google search, and found that not everyone agrees with the author. I, too, found the book amorphous and vague, full of outlandish claims. I thought it contained some kernels of wisdom, though, and so I’ve taken some of its advice, albeit with a grain of salt. I’ve incorporated advice from Rich Dad, Poor Dad in my general summary at the beginning of this entry, but I cannot recommend the book.

Other books that I plan to read soon include: The Millionaire Next Door by Stanley and Danko, Wealth Without Risk by Charles Givens, and Creating Wealth by Robert Allen.

On the drive to work today, I was remembering another time I was deeply interested in personal finance. When I got out of college, I went to work for Combined Insurance. (I still promise to tell that full story some day.) During training, we were asked to make a poster illustrating our life goals. I cut out a picture of a log cabin in a lush, green woods. My goal was to retire to a peaceful lifestyle within ten years. Ha! Now, fifteen years later, I have the exact same goal. Only this time, there’s a chance that I just might achieve it.

Pre-Crash Comments

On 26 April 2005 (11:40 AM),
paul said:

All these financial planning books seem to forget to tell you one thing. Write a book about financial planning and make a lot of money! Regardless of whether or not they follow their own rules, principles or plans, they are making money off selling their book. The all state that you should make money off of an asset that you don’t sit on. So, JD, get off your ass and write a financial planning book. It appears there is money to be made.

On 26 April 2005 (11:44 AM),
J.D. said:

I should note, because it’s appropriate, that I am proud to have purchased only one of these books. The rest I’ve borrowed from the library.

The one book I’ve purchased was Your Money or Your Life. Michael gave me my first copy. Yesterday, on the trip back from Bend, I found a used copy for $6.95, so I bought it. It’s now available to loan to anyone who might find it useful.

I recommend it highly!

On 26 April 2005 (11:56 AM),
Denise said:

I think this is a great entry. I have always struggled with my personal finance and just recently have gotten it under control.

I have to budget and I have to consciously track what I spend or I will over spend. I have gotten better at this, but it is still a constant battle for me. I think as I start to see the returns from not over-spending it will get easier as it has for you.

I think the getting your children involved in the family finances is very important (if you have children, that is). I wish my parents had done that with me. I had no understanding of financial responsibility and what damage credit cards can do. That was a long, hard lesson I had to learn on my own.

Great post – thanks, J.D.!

On 26 April 2005 (11:58 AM),
Denise said:

Hey – I wouldn’t mind borrowing that book if you don’t have any other requests yet!

On 26 April 2005 (01:00 PM),
tammy said:

My husband and I have no debt! Everything is paid in full including the house. For what it’s worth, here is man who bought his first home spanking new at 22 yers old. He bought his first brand new car at age 40. It was a Ford Expedition. We paid cash for it. Before that he drove only used cars.

His Dad died when he was 13 years old. At 15 he began working at a gas station. By 18 he was living on his own. Nobody helped him or gave him even one penny. He never went to college. He chose the trades instead. He is a steam fitter.

He never uses an ATM card. He doesn’t even own a debit card. He uses a credit card only for things like ordering over the internet or going on vacation. He gets the room and rental car with it. But on a daily basis his slogan is to take only the cash in his pocket to the store. He says people get in trouble when they take checkbooks or debit cards or anything that gives them full access to their bank accounts.

Today he is 47 years old and owes no man anything. We live in house that would sell in todays market for $400,000.00

And this is what this man says about budgets. I quote; “Budgets are for people who dont know how to budget.”

We have been together 19 years and have never lived on a budget.

On 26 April 2005 (03:31 PM),
Denise said:

Tammy, you say that you don’t live on a budget – but doesn’t your husband give you a certain amount of spending money every month? Is that not a budget?

On 26 April 2005 (04:30 PM),
tammy said:

Yes, he gives me 80 bucks a week. To him that’s an expenditure just like paying the electricity or paying the baby sitter or paying the gas bill. That really isnt budgeting. It’s paying a bill.

Budgeting is an itemized account of expected income in any given period. Then one forms a plan of operation from that itemized account. It’s intent is to make sure the money is there for the needed items and at the needed time.

No, when my husband gives me 80 dollars a week that does not mean he’s budgeted that money to go to me. Nor does it mean I’m living on a budget. I carry my credit card all the time. I have access to all of our accounts. I choose not to make use of that access. That’s why we now live debt free.

Neither of us live on a budget. But because we hold ourselves in check financially we have no need for a budget. The money is always there to pay the bills and to put into savings.

On 26 April 2005 (05:16 PM),
Johnny said:

For those of you who are wondering, that’s called a control issue. The only difference between “an itemized account of expected income in any given period…[combined with] a plan of operation from that itemized account” and doling out the cash like that is that the budget has never been committed to paper. My dictionary also includes “the amount of money that is available for, required for, or assigned to a particular purpose”. $80 per month seems like a budget to me.

On the other hand, kudos to prospering within your means. Most folks can’t do it, which is why we’ve such a high bankruptcy rate in this country (that and a lack of truly market driven credit practices that encourage poor credit and lending decisions).

On 26 April 2005 (05:29 PM),
J.D. said:

Though Johnny Doe — how I miss his weblog! — has a point, I agree with Tammy. To me, a budget specifically must be written down somewhere. Maybe that’s just me.

I’m developing certain limits in my head. I don’t want to spend more than $100 on books/comics combined. I’ve bend spending $120/month on restaurants; I want to reduced that to $80, or maybe even less. But I don’t consider this budgeting.

Of course, it’s quite possible we’re all just playing semantic games.

Johnny Doe’s right, though: the key is to live within your means. And, if possible, to live well within your means.

Our culture has been constructed so that it push push pushes us to spend spend spend on anything we want. Remember that I used to say that I lived paycheck-to-paycheck. I always had enough to pay my bills, but I always spent any surplus. I lived within my means, but only barely. I lived at the edge of my means. Why?

I have self-discipline issues, no doubt, but I’m also a willing participant in our society, a knowing victim of the advertising and marketing machines that surround us. The more we expose ourselves to mass media, the more we allow the media to influence our thoughts. We may think this isn’t happening, but it is. It absolutely is. The best-kept secret of advertising is that it works, and so our society descends into debt.

If I could evangelize the first step in achieving financial independence to all my friends, I would. Wait. Maybe I can. That’s what this weblog is for!

You heard it from me, friends! Even if you do nothing else toward financial independence, you can enjoy a happier, wealthier life if you simply eliminate debt, reduce spending, and increase earning potential. (In fact, those first two alone will do a damn good job of setting you right.)

Go read Your Money or Your Life. Read it and think on it.

On 26 April 2005 (05:49 PM),
tammy said:

This thing of semantics is exactly why my hsuband says that budgeting is for those who can’t budget. In esssence he is saying he lives on a budget but nothing is truly budgeted on paper. Whew sorta complicated but I still maintain there’s difference. 🙂

On 27 April 2005 (09:11 AM),
Denise said:

Hmm…I don’t fall in the camp of ‘must be written down to be a budget’. If you are mentally saying we can spend $100 on fill in the blank a month then I consider that budgeting. Even though you have access to credit cards or bank accounts, if you make the conscious decision NOT to spend the money on say, a new pair of jeans or a new fishing pole (or whatever), you are budgeting yourself.

I think people (like me) who like to have it written down are just more anal than those that don’t write it down. Plus, since I know I am really bad at finances, if I have it written down I have a way to track my success.

J.D. – you say that you budget things in your head, but at the same time you track EVERY cent you spend in Quicken. Is this not in some form budgeting? You look and see that you spent $150 on comics and say to yourself, I want to spend less on comics. This in itself is budgeting, it is merely after the fact budgeting.

[Please note I am devil’s advocating here.]

On 27 April 2005 (10:04 AM),
J.D. said:

To me, a budget is a written document, a sort of contract with yourself (and/or with your partner). A monthly budget for my discretionary spending might look like this:

Books $100
Comic Books $100
Dining Out $125
Computer Stuff $50
Cable $50
Cell Phone $40
Groceries $200

These aren’t actual numbers, though they might be based on them. These are targets. Firm targets. In my mind, a person tries not to spend more than the budgeted amount. If I budget $100 for books, and I’ve spent $95, I forgo the new Stephen King novel until next month.

My parents worked with a budget for a while when I was a kid, and I know some couples who do so now. I’m not imposing these sorts of written limitations on myself. Yet.

Instead, I’m trying to change my actual behavior. (Budgets don’t change behavior; they simply provide external stops.) I’m trying to change the way I think about money. I’m trying to change my relationship with it.

On 27 April 2005 (10:22 AM),
Denise said:

Yes, but you are almost arguing my point. A budget is setting limits – whether it is written down or in your head.

Behavioral change is a good goal, but wouldn’t you say that your changing your behavior from ignoring your budget (or not having one) to remembering your limits? For example – when I didn’t budget, I would pay all my bills and then just spend whatever cash I had left over. In addition, if I ran out of cash and wanted something I would just use my plastic.

Yes, I know – that is very stupid and believe me, I paid dearly.

I guess I just look at budgeting as imposing limits to personal spending (not bills such as electricity) and sticking by it. It is interesting to me that you make the link of it having to be written down. I mean – Nick and I have a budget that we created in Excel – $90 for this, $250 for that, blah, blah, blah. That doesn’t mean that sometimes the $90 isn’t $100 or even $75 – it is just what we shoot for so we know how much to save, how much spending money is reasonable per week, whatever. To me, even though we write it down we are doing exactly what you are doing.

Do you not think you are budgeting because you feel there is a stigma to budgeting?

I find it interesting how peoples minds work so differently when dealing with personal finance.

On 27 April 2005 (11:11 AM),
Courtney said:

Uh, J.D., I still have your “Your Money or Your Life.” Sorry. I’ll return it next time I see you.

We are definitely on a budget (in writing). We have been for over a year now. The first year was training for this year, now that we have a baby and only one income. It helps us live within our means, which is mandatory at this stage in our lives.

Great post! Thanks for summing it all up!

On 02 May 2005 (06:57 AM),
Darcy said:

After reading dozens of “wealth creation” books I’m amazed that none of the authors has strongly suggested that luck has anything to do with the creation of wealth. It clearly does.
Person “A” buys a “fixer-upper” investment property, pours hours of work and a small bundle of cash into the property and after 5 years it’s worth no more extra than the investment of time, effort and cash.

Person “B” on the other hand buys an almost identical investment property, spends the same effort and cash and is rewarded with a windfall courtesy of real estate market madness ie the timing was perfect.

The trick, as a great competitor knows, is to minimize the bad luck.

Luck is a very real commodity that enhances any wealth

On 02 May 2005 (07:32 AM),
J.D. said:

Though the above comment borders on spam (Darcy apparently runs the web site for Kiyosaki (of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”) and his organization), I’m going to leave it. It’s informative enough, and there’s a good chance that people who find this page will want her information.

However, I must take issue with the “I’m amazed that none of the authors has strongly suggested that luck has anything to do with the creation of wealth” bit.

Yes, luck is a large factor in determining whether or not one can create wealth in the short term. It’s nearly impossible to get rich quick without luck; there’s no question of that. But getting rich quick is a sucker’s bet. There’s only slim chance that you’ll have the sort of luck that’s required. You might as well play the lottery.

It is possible to get rich slowly, however, with no risk, and with no luck. All that’s required is patience and discipline. To argue that some sort of luck factor is involved is specious.

(One of the books I recommend — 7 Money Mantras For a Richer Life — even describes how a poor black woman raising several grandchildren on her own was able to build wealth slowly by using common sense techniques, the techniques that the sensible books each emphasize, the techniques I’ve enumerated above.)

Patience and discipline are the sure keys to wealth.

On 13 May 2005 (01:47 AM),
mefite said:

Hi there, I followed this link from metafilter. This is really interesting advice – thanks for posting it!
I’m currently on Step 3, trying to build some income-producing assets. But this is something that always has me wondering: how does one account for inflation/cost of living increases when it comes to income production? It seems to me that the assets’ income never grows fast enough to keep up with what your spending will be, say in 10-20 years. Admittedly, I’m only investing in stocks/mutual funds (with dividends as the “income”) right now, and should probably look at other kinds of investments (if you have any suggestions, I’d like to hear them!) Thanks again, JD.

On 13 May 2005 (06:01 PM),
schmod said:

Although it’s not exactly related to the subject of personal finance, I would HIGHLY reccommend the book “Naked Economics” by Charles Wheelan. It really puts a different (more logical) perspective on money and the economy for most people.

Despite the fact that I typically find econ quite boring, the book’s a really fascinating (and easy) read.

ISBN: 0393049825

On 14 May 2005 (03:47 AM),
Debt said:

Kudos for writing the blog article, also kudos to all the comments. Personal finance, especially debt is such a huge problem. I myself have just recently gotten debt free. It inspired me to pick up a domain and start creating a site to help people get out of debt.

Budgeting is the cornerstone for getting out of debt. The main reason is that it requires discipline. The discipline then helps build your confidence in other parts of personal finance such as saving and paying down prior debts.

Great article.

On 14 May 2005 (03:14 PM),
Leon said:

Great article! I have link this article on this blog.

On 16 May 2005 (07:39 AM),
gregor said:

Here is a great site that has a lot of understandable essays in its Financial Sense University listings.

Buying mutual funds may not be such a great idea in all cases.

On 18 May 2005 (09:28 AM),
Juliana Atkinson said:

This is an awesome list. I read 7 Mantras–there is no way I could live as frugal as her. I think the best one I’ve read is Millionaire Next Door.

On 18 May 2005 (01:27 PM),
Nivi said:

A Random Walk Down Wall Street is the classic money management book for individuals. Read my article on it

On 25 May 2005 (09:30 AM),
brett said:

You can skip the Millionaire Next Door.. I just read it, and it can be summed up in one sentence: Spend less, save more. That’s it. The basic point of the book is that millionaires don’t look like they’re rich — they don’t spend a lot, and they save their money. Those who look rich, drive flashy cars, etc, are probably up to their ass in debt.

On 25 May 2005 (10:17 AM),
kuz said:

Re: Budgeting

A budget has helped us substantially. Here’s what we do:
1) At the beginning of the year, or when we change jobs or pick up new freelancing gigs, I project our monthly take-home pay and subtract out our agreed upon savings and involuntary expenses (loans, car, utilities, subscriptions, etc.)

Whatever is left is voluntary spending money we can buy anything with: groceries, shoes, beer, whatever.

For example, if:
-take home (after taxes) pay is $2500/month
-savings goal is $250/month
-car payment and insurance, utilities, Netflix, student loans = $750/month

That leaves $1500/month = $350/week to pull out of the ATM or spend with the debit card. Use a markerboard and update the total all week (We use Monday morning-Sunday night), and you’ll be surprised how it will help you make smarter decisions. When you have only $25 left to spend on Sunday, you’ll think twice before blowing $40 on chicken and beerrr.

One more thing. Transfer that savings to a savings account at the same time you pay your rent or mortgage. When you have to pay the man, you might as well pay yourself at the same time. If your cash flow is too low to take it out at that time, then reduce your savings goal to the amount you can actually swing without worrying about it.

On 25 May 2005 (10:32 AM),
Jamie said:

Great article. Thanks!

One point on which I will controversially disagree: Credit cards.

I use a dividend paying credit card for everything. Why? I get at least 1% back and because I use Quicken to track everything, I ensure that I never carry a balance. The result: In the last two years, I’ve earned about $750 extra dollars and have not paid the credit card companies a cent. Plus, I get the benefit of an extra month of cash flow sitting in an interest-bearing savings account (ING direct in my case).

I agree that credit cards can be used foolishly, but they can be used well too.

On 25 May 2005 (10:48 AM),
Dave said:

Nice summary. I have been following these general tips for 15 years. It came about because I was nearly bankrupt. I had debt, little savings, lost my job, and divorsed. Now, I have a 7 figure net worth.

I would say the best tips beginning with the first step are:

1. Save a minimum of 10% pretax earnings every month as soon as you begin earning income. I save 30% pretax every month. I don’t care what you have to give up to save 10%. Sell your car, find a cheap apt, etc… Don’t believe that you need to keep up with your friends and neighbors. Housing and auto costs are the top 2 discressionary expenses for most people. Spend what YOU can afford.

2. Save for emergencies. Put 2 mos in savings regardless of your current debt.

3. Pay off credit card debt. At 18-25% interest, this will kill you long term. Be very cautious if considering rolling over your credit cards for lower rates. There are almost always catches. Once your credit card debt is paid off, use your cards but, pay them off EVERY month. No excuses. Your credit card company will hate you but, you will become slowly rich. 2 credit cards are necessacary for car rental, short term emergencies, consumer protection and a good FICA credit score (this can save you 10’s of thousands long term in morgage interest).

4. Save for retirement. You will eventually want to stop working. You will become mentally or physically unable to work at some point. Trust me, you do not want to become a charity case. If your employer offers a 401K, max it out. This is pretax money. It is tax defered and often companies add matching funds. This is worth 100’s of thousands of dollars long term. If you do not have a 401K, get a SEP IRA, Roth IRA, or other IRAs. Contribute every month. Do not touch this money until retirement.

5. Invest. Buy highly diversified, low cost mutual funds. Buy world wide mutual funds. Don’t bother with individual stocks. Don’t bother trying to time the market by buying and selling short term. There are genius’s out there who do this full time and don’t succeed. Ther is no formula. If it was that easy, everyone would know the secret. Invest every month. Dollar cost averaging forces you to buy more shares when the price is low and fewer when the price is high. Re-invest the dividends. When you get to this point, seek the help of a fee only financial planner If a financial planner tells you to buy life insurance as an investment, run away.

On 25 May 2005 (10:58 AM),
Dave said:

6. Insurance. Choose the least amount of insurance with the highest deductables you can afford in the event of an accident or loss. You likely will also want a umbrella liability policy. You do not want to loose your nest egg because someone trips in your home and becomes permanently disabled.

7. Home morgage. If you are in a low tax bracket, less than 20%, pay off your home morgage early with additional contributions. But, do not become cash poor and home equity rich. It can be expensive to tap that wealth if you need it. If you are in a high tax bracket, do not pay off your home morgage early. Morgage interest is tax deductable and rates are low. In this case, increase your investing. If you think the market is overpriced, OK, pay more on your morgage. Generally, do NOT choose an ARM morgage. Interest rates can increase rapidly. You can always refinance when rates drop. Worst case, you may have to sell your house if rates rise because you can’t make the payment. At that point your house value may drop because the interest rates have risen, Yikes. If you are looking into an ARM, determine what the maximum payment will be if interest rates rise 10 points. If you can afford THAT payment, OK.

On 25 May 2005 (11:00 AM),
tiffany said:

I read “The Millionaire Next Door” and I can sum it up thusly:

“Live not just within your means, but below your means. Clip coupons. Buy a used car. Live in a smaller, less expensive house. Save and invest the rest wisely. No one gets rich by giving to charity. Manage your assets.”

On 25 May 2005 (11:01 AM),
tiffany said:

Oh.. I forgot one point: “Own your own business.” The book noted that entrepreneurs earn more and are worth more than employees.

On 25 May 2005 (11:53 AM),
Duane said:

There are just some absolutes that these books tout that I never was sure how to take. For instance, I have one credit card that I pay off every month. I just use it as a convenience, and the loyalty points don’t hurt. Should I tear that one up? Why?

Or how about my wife’s car? I’ve got a 4 year loan on that (late model used, thank you very much). I’m not sure that I could easily pay that off in 4 months just by adding some more to the principal. After that, my only debt is the mortgage. But lawdy what a mortgage it is.

I have a savings fund. Several, actually, in the form of cash on hand, index funds, and stock. Should I dip into those to pay off the car now?

On 25 May 2005 (12:38 PM),
Dean said:

One other thing is to make your saving automatic. Have 10% of your pay come right off your cheque and go right into an investment account automatically, without you ever having to remember to do it.

You will ajdust to living on what’s left over and you won’t even notice it.

See “The Automatic Millionaire”.

On 25 May 2005 (02:04 PM),
HF said:

One additional book I *highly* recommend (I’ve been working on this issue, too), is “How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously.” (Jerrold Mundis)

Based on the practices of Debtors Anonymous, but presented as a memoir/how-to, this book gets into *how* to convert tracking your expenses into a spending plan. He talks about budgets versus spending plans (a nuance of deprivation versus one of choice), and shows how to free up money for larger goals by “tweaking” spending categories.

One of my favorite things about this book is its advice that, no matter how broke or in debt, you *never* deprive yourself of any needs or at least a few wants. Severe deprivation can lead to resentment binging, joyless hoarding, etc. You pay current expenses, yourself, and old debt, in that order, and you don’t incur any new debt, ever, at all.

He gets into creating space for the new by paring down unwanted possessions and habits, and there’s also a nice touch of magic or kismet. Often, unexpected financial grace moments come when you take good care of yourself and focus on your true path.

This, by far, is my favorite financial health book, because it shows that it’s possible to go from *hopeless* debt to solvency, and even gravy. No pie-in-the-sky windfalls, but some heart-wrenching examples of people who were so deep in debt they were considering drastic, self-destructive actions, and how, step by step, they came out of crisis.

Also highly recommended, Sanaya Roman’s “Creating Money.” This allegedly “channeled” book may be too new-agey for some, but the tone and writing are spot-on. This is about seeing what you have already, cultivating an openness to all sources of wealth, practicing gratitude and generosity, and honoring your real talents. One of my favorite reminders from this book is that there are multiple ways to satisfy a particular desire, and focusing on just one form of satisfaction can make one blind to alternatives. So you look for the core desire; what does that “cabin in the woods” mean to you? Are there other sources available to you for creating such peace, privacy, coziness, time among nature, etc.

Along this same line, the one book I look forward to reading (and I’ve read dozens), that comes recommended by someone I trust a great deal, is “Spiritual Economics” by Eric Butterworth.

I do own Suze Orman’s 9 Steps to Financial Freedom. It’s a geat resource for information when making very specific investment, home-buying, retirement, will, etc choices.

However, for getting motivated & looking at the big picture, you can’t go wrong with Your Money or Your Life, Get Out of Debt.., and Creating Money.

For women, a SUPER resource is The Money Club, a peer-to-peer netowrk of local groups in which women help one another reach financial goals. (Not an investment club)

They have a website with good resources, but it’s the meetings, which include a combination of a financial topic and personal sharing, that ae the core of this program.

Another great online resource for women are the printable essays and missions at

Flylady is a seriously generous web-based community of (mainly) women who are working on moving from chaos (whether financial, social, in the home..) to clarity. Once a year, they have a pay-down-your-debt month, and members pay off astonishing hundreds of millions in debt.

Here are the archived essays and missions:

Flylady even offers a downloadable .pdf “Financial Control Journal,” with advice, worksheets, and money-saving tips.

On 25 May 2005 (02:15 PM),
Eliot said:

Great summary, J.D! I’ve been reading a lot of these books lately, too, and want to get a good footing before I find a wife and settle into normal adulthood. So far I’ve read “The Richest Man in Babylon”, “The Automatic Millionare”, “The Millionare Next Door”, and “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”.

After reading a couple of books by Kiyosaki, I decided he was trying to pull a scam with the books. He has a few good points, but most of it could be summed up in a paragraph or so. He always refers to his other books and makes you think that you’ll find the real answers if you just read enough of his material (or play his ridiculously expensive “game”).

The best advice was from “The Automatic Millionare” and “The Richest Man in Babylon” (both say about the same thing): pay yourself first (save), make your savings work for you, and reduce your lifestyle.

Anyway, I guess I don’t really have anything intelligent to add. It is amazing that there are so many money books and they all basically say the same thing but yet Americans are still in severe debt. I hope I actually turn some of this advice into practice. I think a big key is to keep marinating my brain with this type of material and be around other people who are trying to get out of debt and save properly.

On 25 May 2005 (02:21 PM),
HF said:

Forgot one great resource.

I went to a women’s financial workshop with several speakers from different perspectives, and one was M.P. Dunleavey, a columnist with the Microsoft network Money channel.

I looked her articles up online, and found a real cache of excellent advice & practices.

For those daunted by budgeting, this one article gives a totally do-able system (in a nutshell, allocate 60% of income for fixed expenses, and 10 each for short-term & long-term savings, investments, and discretionary spending):

Here’s a convenient article index with topic and author:

On 26 May 2005 (06:37 AM),
MrE said:

Nice article.

I think that Personal Finance should be required course in High School and college! Two of my favorite books were Andrew Tobias’ “The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need” and Peter Lynch’s “One up on Wall Street” I also used to subscribe to Money and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazines (am a I dating myself?) back when they offered advice for the average person.

Anyways, the “snowball” method for reducing credit card debt works great. There’s an excellent free program (“Credit Card Math”) offered by that explains why credit card debt is so hard to pay off and demonstrates how using “snowball” greatly reduces payoff time.

The program does promote their other Debt Reduction Software, but the advice is sound. I actually purchased their software back when it was being distributed on floppy disk – you can use it do diff payoff scenarios. I’m sure the popular finance software available nowadays can do similar, but I haven’t used programs like Quicken and Money in years.

On 26 May 2005 (02:20 PM),
Mike Duffy said:

Since no one has mentioned it, I would add The Wealthy Barber, which tackles personal financial planning in the style of The One Minute Manager, i.e. a story. It’s definitely a “get rich slowly” approach, but the story makes it easy to get through.

On 26 May 2005 (05:55 PM),
Christine said:

My folks have been talking to me about money since I was a wee one. That means explaining to me and my sister that we could either go to the movies every week or go on a family vacation (we chose vacation and I still rarely go to the movies). They also talked a lot about mutual funds, savings, doubling rules, universal life insurance etc etc. When I was 18, they opened an IRA for me. Not exciting, but now I’m looking at buying a first home, I have good savings and no debt, and at least three credit cards that I have never carried a balance on.

So there’s the argument for sharing with your kids.

As for not paying off your morgtage… if you’re paying 4% interest (it’s a great market!) and that’s tax-deductible anyway and you can make a conervative 6% on your investments, you’re making that 2% for yourself, courtesy of a loan from the bank. I don’t think it’s a trick at all. On the other hand, it’s also not guaranteed.

Nice conversation here… thanks!

On 26 May 2005 (07:37 PM),
Karen said:

If you are a woman, I would suggest David Bach’s ‘Smart Women Finish Rich’ or any of his other Finish Rich books. I received my last raise by reading this book. It gives you the courage to speak up for yourself and not be scared to ask for what you deserve. Many studies have shown that a woman makes less than a man performing the same job, plus women live longer than men. We need to earn more money and know how to manage our money. Someone has mentioned ‘The Wealthy Barber’, that’s a good resource, too. I really liked ‘One Minute Millionaire’ and like some others I wasn’t that impressed with ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’.

Good post, J.D.

On 27 May 2005 (07:09 AM),
Xavier said:

“Involve your kids in the family finance”

This is important. I speak as a child of a family who is now bearing the fruits of they type of wealth accumulation advocated in these books. I can’t thank them enough.

“The Barefoot Investor” is a great read for students or those just starting out. It offers good advice for those who aren’t currently entrenched in a career or nursing morgages.

On 27 May 2005 (07:23 AM),
Keith said:

Thanks for taking the time to consolidate all of this great info and post it for us!

On 27 May 2005 (07:28 AM),
Avi Solomon said:

Thanks for the great summary. FYI ‘Your Money or your Life’ has a great grassroot community here:

On 27 May 2005 (11:42 AM),
Chrees said:

JD, thanks for summarizing so I don’t have to read those books!

This may be mentioned or just implied in the books, but making sure you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to money is very important. As is making damn sure when you get married it is for good (not trying to get into the morality or necessity of divorce, just the economic impact)–divorce can be economically devestating to both parties. I was fortunate in my divorce that both my ex and me had an easy division and were on equal footing at the time of the divorce, but in some aspects it was like starting over on some of the mentioned steps.

Regarding the Edelman book and the seeming contradiction between #8 and #6–I agree with him. Keeping up with financial news is important for your investments–if you left your money in stocks during 2000 and 2001, you would probably have considerably less worth now than if you temporarily cashed out (even after paying the taxes). While the saying “Invest in what you know” is true, I think it’s equally important to understand the market forces going on around you.

Again, a great discussion. Thanks to all.

On 27 May 2005 (02:39 PM),
Darren said:

I’ve seen a few people here talk about buying a car for cash as though this is a good thing or good accomplishment.

In most cases, this is one of the worst things you can do from a financial standpoint, especially if the dealership is willing to finance the purchase at 0%-3.9% like many do. Cars are a depreciating asset. By purchasing a car with cash, you are locking your money up in something that is *guaranteed* to decrease in value.

Most cars are $20,000+. That’s a sizeable chunk of cash that could easily be invested at 6% or more. If the dealership will finance your purchase at a reduced rate, you are much better off taking the financing and investing your money elsewhere.

Sure, you’d pay more for the car over the term of the loan because of the interest, but your invested cash will completely negate that difference plus generate a profit for you.

On 28 May 2005 (03:41 AM),
Alazka said:

A friend recently pointed out to me that, thanks to insanely spiralling property values around DC, I could theoretically sell the house I only signed a mortgage on six months ago and live on the interest alone back in Lesotho (a nation I’m quite fond of), effectively retiring at 38. One factor to bear in mind in seeking that financial independence is: there are many delightful places in the world where one can live quite comfortably on less than a thousand a month, so anyone who actually owns a significant piece of a house on either coast of the USA is probably already set for life if s/he’s willing to travel.

On 28 May 2005 (01:19 PM),
Scott said:

Re: Darren’s comment about zero or low-rate financing.

The cost of borrowing the money is actually substantially higher – the incremental financing costs are just buried in the acquisition cost of the car. If you can get 6% investing elsewhere, so can the financing company giving you the loan. So why would anyone loan money at zero percent? They don’t.

If you’re paying cash you should demand a sizeable discount over the price you pay if you’re financing.

On 28 May 2005 (08:27 PM),
Jim said:

Re: Budgeting

Here’s what we’ve been doing for two years now, and it’s worked very well:

1. Have your bank open a new checking account, and get a debit card attached to it.

2. Have your employer (if you have direct deposit) split some portion of your pay into the new checking account. You’ll have to figure out what’s appropriate for you though.

3. Use the new checking account for all the junk expenses — movies, dinner out, a new CD, etc. Essentially you budget a single lineitem for “miscellaneous expenses.”

I track every penny in and out of our primary checking account (to which all bills are paid from), but I completely ignore — except for the balance — the money in the junk account.

On 29 May 2005 (03:14 PM),
Betsys said:

My advice is very simple: save at least 10% of your income, ALL the time.

If you have direct deposit, arrange for your bank to take 10% off the top before you ever see your money. Do your budget as if the remaining income was all you had. If you don’t have a regular paycheck you have to discipline yourself. You can either accumulate the money in savings and move it to investments in chunks, or if you can, arrange for automatic mutual fund purchases.

I know this sounds inane: many people will say that they don’t make enough to save. My answer: if you were laid off, or if your paycheck was cut 10%, you would figure out a way to survive. So, just pretend. You can do it.

On 31 May 2005 (11:55 PM),
Ian Gilman said:

Also worth reading: ‘The Soul of Money‘, by Lynne Twist.

It’s not about financial independence, but about understanding and directing your relationship with money. A good complement to the other books.

Here’s what Vicki Robin (co-author of ‘Your Money or Your Life’) has to say about it:

“Lynne Twist, with great grace, beauty and conviction, is about to take away from you some precious and utterly failed illusions so you can claim, now and forever, truths that will set you free. She has earned these truths through years of meeting – soul to soul – some of the most and the least advantaged peoples of this earth. Let her speak to your heart and then test her suggestions… and see.”

And yes, I got my copy from the library.

On 02 June 2005 (08:34 AM),
Dimitri said:

Thanks for a great article. This is something I’ve been meaning to do myself as I have also read a handful of similar books.

I just wanted to mention one thing which seems to be missing: Tithe.

In the majority of books I read (including some of the abovementioned titles) there is a common thread of investing ~10% of your income and giving another 10% away to the needy (charities, communities, schools, etc.)

There seems to be consensus that although it doesn’t make financial sense, giving away a tenth actually brings in more wealth in the long run. This may have to do with karma – if you believe in that sort of thing – or maybe it’s just a psychological phenomenon … where, by willingly and happily giving money away, you lessen the chance of getting too uptight about the whole thing.

Some believe that money is a force that needs to flow (similar to water, air, chi…) when you hold on to all of it, it goes stale and is not productive. Give it away and it will come back to you hundredfold.

and that was my 2 cents (a very appropriate phrase, I think 😉

On 02 June 2005 (11:21 PM),
Emmanuel kinobe Mugerwa said:

i really appreciate yo work.

i really appreciate your work.

On 02 June 2005 (11:22 PM),
Emmanuel kinobe Mugerwa said:

i really appreciate yo work.

i really appreciate your work.

On 05 June 2005 (06:00 AM),
Lance said:

One small item that seems mostly overlooked…

Getting rich slowly doesn’t mean giving up every comfort or luxury. Reducing your expenditures doesn’t mean you can’t spend $100 on a concert ticket or $2000 on a beach trip. When you can afford it.

Yes, during the get-out-of-debt phase it makes a lot of sense to trim all your expenses and get the interest monkey off your back. Once you’ve got a plan established, make a little room for some unnecessary necessities so you don’t go insane. It’s just as neurotic to reject buying anything as it is to be an obsessive consumer. Whether that is $150 a month or $5 will depend on your own situation.

If you can’t enjoy your life while you’re saving, you’ll have forgotten how by the time you’re “rich”.

On 07 June 2005 (08:38 PM),
The team said:

You know, wow! Thanks for taking the time to share this information.

This is truly a wealth of knowledge you’ve put together here. Everyone could benefit from investing some attention in building their financial literacy.

I think they now have a catalyst available to them for beginning that process.

Say, any other interest you’d be willing to share?

On 09 June 2005 (06:11 AM),
Stefan said:

Nice article. I wanted to point out, why the an emergency fund is of such importance, and also, why I think that $1000 may not be enough:

Imagine you put your money into some long-term contract. Now imagine, your car breaks down (lose you job, whatever) and you need a new one. And you need it today. What will happen, if you don’t have an emergency fund? You will have to dissolve the long-term contract to get enough money to buy a new (our used 🙂 car, because you can’t wait to save enough to buy one.

Why is this bad? Because you will have to pay some kind “fine” for getting out of the contract early. Often you will also loose all the interest that you have been building up over the years. So basically you will start from zero (or less, because you will also buy that car). Without an emergency fund you would jeopardize your whole financial foundation that you are trying to build.

Instead, if you had an emergency fund things would have worked out differently. You would take the money for your new car out of that fund. That’s it. You don’t lose any insterest and don’t have to pay any fines.

Just remember to fill up that fund again after you bought your car!

So why is $1000 not enough for this? It depends. If you can live of off $1000 for half a year (not three month, that won’t do in my opinion — better save than sorry) then $1000 is fine. But just remeber: “Living of off” here means food, rent, gas, whatever PLUS any monthly payments for retirement accounts or basically anything that you cannot afford to NOT pay for (because that would cost you extra money).

On 09 June 2005 (03:43 PM),
Paul said:

With all these wonderfull words of wisdom, I don’t really know what to say. However I will give it a shot. I just began “Step 1”. I am now down to $1555 from $6000 in revolving debt. It took me 2 months starting with getting back almost $3,200 from the IRS, from 2004 and 2003 (I never filed the prior year…oops). With that kind of money, I decided to start paying my debt off and start saving again. At about the same time I landed a $20.00 per hour part time job and started becoming obsessed with my whole finacial situation. At this point, I am almost debt free and I started a savings acount with Capitalone at 3.15% APR…even better than Stage one is actually fun =)

On 13 June 2005 (07:20 AM),
serenity said:

J.D Thank you so much for breaking it down for me. It is so happen today I return home with a book “finance for dummies”. It’s a bit dissapointing because many of those doesn’t apply here since it is meant for someone living in the state (I live in Indonesia), but your points are so simple to follow.
Thank you so much. I just spent my first point last month, but it’s ok, now that I got the picture I can build my frame.

When we’re both rich, you’ll hear from me.

Good luck with the bathroom, and you know what they say, borrowing comic books meant more friends as long as you returned them (and it is quite tempting I may say 😀 )

Again thank you.. mmuuach

On 23 June 2005 (08:16 PM),
barkah said:

On the credit cards, i happen not to agree with the statement that they’re bad. They’re sometimes usefull if you are wise in using it. I collected the tips based on my experience here:

too long if i put it right here.

The main point is: credit card is not extra money.

On 26 June 2005 (08:46 PM),
Don said:

Great article. Thanks. I have The Millionaire Next Door and find it bland. However, Reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad helped me see the importance of everything you shared in your piece. I would highly recommend it to anyone who normally finds personal finance boring or difficult to grasp. It changed my whole attitude about my needs and possibilities. Keep up the good work.

On 21 July 2005 (09:16 PM),
jbelkin said:

Not disagreeing with you on the overall but you do need at least 1 if not 2 credit cards. If you travel or plan to travel, you are labeled as undesirable without a card. You cannot rent a car without one (a debit card generally has a limit of $1,000 a day and rental card companies put a hold on your overall rental + up to 100%). If you buy a ticket with cash, you are labeled a security risk and you will get the full wanding and pat down.

There are lots of cards with no fees and rebates so the they key is not to have no credit cards but to PAY THEM OFF at the next month. There are also lots of deals now where you can transfer your card to a new one with no interest for up to a year … and ironically, the more cards you have and DO NOT use or have a low % balance versus your limit, they will offer you more cards.

On 22 July 2005 (07:48 AM),
Allan Kochis said:

Check out
“Common Sense Economics” by
James Gwartney, Richard L. Stroup and Dwight R. Lee
In the section on personal finance they summarize their point for you!

PS. in my opinion a book worth owning.

On 22 July 2005 (07:52 AM),
Robert said:

linked from boingboing…

anyway, I am getting into the financial thing myself, going into my sophomore year of college one of my “adult friends” is trying to pass on the wisdom…so far I’ve read “The Richest Man in Babylon” and “The Millionaire Next Door” — I personally appreciated how while their styles were completely different (babylon == king james, TMND = info about today’s people) and yet their advice seemed to be the same (within reason, the babylonians didn’t seem to have problems with economic outpatient care nor saving for college)

But anyway, I dig this post, and you’re totally right, their wisdom is sufficiently boiled down to a number of points — but I do appreciate reading their books, the examples are great 🙂 Oh, and they don’t profit off of me — I buy my books at half-priced books 🙂

On 22 July 2005 (08:44 AM),
Ché said:

An excellent post. I won’t go into my personal background, but I feel very strongly these types of books need to be read in every household.

A quick comment on one of your points:

“Secret #1: Carry a mortgage even if you can afford to pay it off. — This flies in the face of every other financial book I’ve read, and I do not subscribe to the idea. I’m willing to be that the people surveyed carry a mortgage out of habit, not because they think it’s smart.”

You spend your money on investments, not liabilities. Paying, say, $150,000 dollars to eliminate a $1400 dollar a month debt is a bad investment. Let’s say your house is 150k, and you owe all of it. The national average for appreciation is somewhere around 10%. That means your house is appreciating $15,000 a year, and costing you $16,800. Take into account equity buy-down of roughly $150 a month on your $1400 payment, and you have $16,800 worth of equity gain a year. Basically a wash, and that’s FINE. If you pay off your house, you now spent $150k to eliminate a $16,800 a year cost. You now have $150k in a bank account you can’t touch (equity in your house).

Take that 150k and put it into something that gives you a 20% ROI (not unreasonable), and you end up with a 30k a year cash flow, which pays off your mortgage AND gives you $13,200 to invest. So now your total ROI is better than 20%, because you still benefit from the equity buy down that is occuring as a result of your home loan ($1,680/yr).

Mortgages are -goooooood-. Collect as many as you can!

On 22 July 2005 (08:46 AM),
John S. said:

Nice post. I came over here from BoingBoing. I have one comment on a previous comment: although I haven’t read all of it by any means, I think you should be very cautious about the site. Just reading a few articles at random it became apparent that it is “tinfoil hat” territory. I would take what they say with a huge grain of salt.

On 22 July 2005 (08:59 AM),
Ché said:

Morning typos. That last number should have read $1800 a year

On 22 July 2005 (08:59 AM),
Kenneth Greenlee said:

Dear FoldedSpace,

First of all, great post. I don’t think we can ever talk about financial planning too much. Why? Because it must be realized by everyone that financial planning is not just for rich people! Becoming rich (aside from the trillion to lottery chance) requires financial planning.

Some points. FoldedSpace says he is not sure about housing: buy all you can afford? or only what you need? Is it a liability or an asset. The one thing that all the planners agree on (I believe) is that you should own rather than rent. I have read most of the books above and I happen to disagree mostly with Kiyosaki regarding a house as a liability. The reason is that no matter what we have to house ourselves and that costs money. My view of housing is that if an acceptable (but not lavish) apartment would cost me $700, then my task is to find housing that costs me $700 a month to own. Anything above that is a true liability. I found and purchased a 4 unit building (in which I live in one of the units) in New Orleans which costs me around $2000 a month and which brings in around $2000 a month in income. I don’t regard this as a breakeven situation. I regard it as being $700 a month ahead, as I would have to bear the housing costs anyway.

Final point. Paul said in the very first comment:

“All these financial planning books seem to forget to tell you one thing. Write a book about financial planning and make a lot of money! Regardless of whether or not they follow their own rules, principles or plans, they are making money off selling their book. The all state that you should make money off of an asset that you don’t sit on. So, JD, get off your ass and write a financial planning book. It appears there is money to be made.”

Actually there is a book out there which says just that! It is called “Multiple Streams of Income” by Robert Allen, author of the famous “Nothing Down” book on real estate. in it he says (from memory): “everyone has a book in them. I (Robert Allen) calculate that I have made around $20 per word per year from the book that I have published.” Not a bad return.

“Multiple Streams of Income” is very good. One of its strengths is that it gives very concrete recommendations. Of course there is a lot of handwaving, but it not a book of only handwaving.

That’s it!

On 22 July 2005 (09:02 AM),
Jeremy said:

Two Additional Notes:

1. As several people have already pointed out, use direct deposit to make your savings automatic. I have a hunk of every paycheck redirected to a savings account at a different bank. I can’t stress enough how much of an impact this will have on your savings. The best piece of mail I get each month is the statement for the savings account. I do nothing and the number just keeps getting bigger!

2. Eliminate as many of your monthly recurring fees as possible. Cable? Gym membership? Storage space rental? Netflix? Trash or minimize as many as possible, then add up how much you will save per year.

On 22 July 2005 (09:21 AM),
Mark K. said:

For anyone looking for an easy way of keeping track of expenses, I’ve been using the Dome Simplified Home Budget Book. It’s just a book of simple, blank Excel-like charts in which you write the money you spend in a certain category per day. (In case you have more than one expense in a category, you can keep a small calculator handy). Then when you do your monthly totals you compare them with your budget in the last column.

IMHO, this doesn’t have the flair of Quicken, but it CAN be taken with you out and about–which is where I do most of my purchasing. I also have a small accordion file for receipts (so now I know exactly where they go when people give them to me). Anyway, I’ve found it very useful.

The total cost of the book, a small calculator, and the accordion file is probably less than $15.

On 22 July 2005 (10:48 AM),
Mike said:

I am a bachelor and I save 75% of my net income. I really don’t understand why so many people accumulate so much debt. How do they sleep at night? I am 35 and plan to be partially retired (only doing part time fun jobs) in my early 40s. You credit card debt guys should try it. It’s fun to be responsible.

On 22 July 2005 (11:06 AM),
chele said:

Just wanted to repeat; great thread! Thanks for taking the time to write it out. I have read some of the books and noticed the similarities and wondered if they all sounded so much the same. Now I know they do indeed!
Thanks again…

On 22 July 2005 (12:40 PM),
Jeffrey Allen said:

Why is it easier to find investors/lender then it is to find eligible companies wanting capital?
[email protected]
Las Vegas

On 22 July 2005 (01:42 PM),
Steve said:


Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! That is exactly it! We do it too, similar ages to you. The best thing you can do for yourself is get rid of your debit card, they are for idiots. If you aren’t scared that your life can be completely compiled nicely for an irs goon, then you are just to stupid to really understand how this works and why. Good luck!

On 22 July 2005 (03:42 PM),
Sue said:

Great article

On 22 July 2005 (04:29 PM),
shwonline said:

Great thread!

We carry only one major credit card, which is tied to a specific major airline’s frequent flyer program. $1 spent = 1 mile. We use it a lot, but only to buy what we would have bought anyway. If I have a choice of cash, check or credit card, I use the card. We pay it off in full every month.

I also use this same airline whenever I have a choice in my business travel, as does my wife for her business travel.

We use the accumulated miles to buy airfare and other incidentals during family vacations. We have been able to afford vacations to Hawaii and London this way. It costs us no more, and saves us thousands.

The only other time we ever acquire credit cards is during shopping for back-to-school clothes. If we are buying hundreds of dollars worth of clothes, and the store will give us an extra 15% off for signing up for a card that day, we’ll do it. As soon as the bill arrives, we pay it, and cancel the account. This takes caution and discipline, and I would not recommend it as a regular strategy for most people. However, it has saved us a bundle on occasions.

One other seemingly small thing we do is to order only water at restaurants, including for the kids. We’ve done this all their lives, so they don’t know the difference, and they recognize that it’s a special treat to get something more. For a family of four, this adds up to hundreds of dollars a year.

On 22 July 2005 (06:02 PM),
greg said:

Interesting sight France, thanks for turning me on to it, Greg

On 24 July 2005 (12:12 PM),
Sebrina said:

It was not until I was separated/divorced from my financially-illiterate husband that I really was able to start building my personal finances in a positive way. NO NO NO…I am not advocating divorce, but I am saying to you single folks BE CAREFUL who you marry if one day you want to become financially independent. Both need to be of the same mind to make it work.

One more comment…i agree about the credit cards. Get rid of them. if you are like me and find it mentally excruciating to commit to paying off the balance each month or to stay away from the limit, credit cards are not for you. I keep one just for car rentals and stuff, but it would be better if I had none.

On 24 July 2005 (12:49 PM),
sennoma said:

Nice one, JD. Picked up by Rebecca Blood now. I second Paul’s advice: write a book. There’s enough material in this post alone. Ethical reason: it’s good to have the same ideas presented in a lot of different ways, because different presentations “click” for different people, and because comparison among different presentations yields bedrock principles. Slightly less ethical reason: I bet you’d make a ton of money.

On 24 July 2005 (09:37 PM),
Marina said:

I have read many of the books mentioned and agree with most of them. I would suggest two others that I liked: “Live Rich” and “Die Broke” by Stephen M. Pollan. Good luck!

On 25 July 2005 (02:58 AM),
Fazzy said:

Thank you.

On 27 July 2005 (08:15 AM),
Ganesh said:

Nice discussions!

I dont think credit cards are that bad if you use it wisely. I have a major credit card which gives me upto 5% cashback. So for all my necessities I am using my credit card and each cycle I am paying it off fully. As a result at the end of the year I am getting whopping 2 to 3% adjusted interest on my expenditure approx as a free money.I take it as my gift for being self disciplined.

What do you have to say about it?


On 03 August 2005 (01:19 AM),
Gerard said:

Dear JD,

Thank you for this post.
I was not sure which books to purchase, but now know that the one I purchased was enough. And you summary of all the books will help me greatly.
Keep up the good work.

With regards,


On 16 August 2005 (02:06 PM),
Michael said:

Thanks for a GREAT summary of financial books. I have been looking through some of the books, hesitating pulling the trigger on any of them.

My wife and I only have two “big” debts…my student loan from college, and our new mortgage from building a house….no credit cards and no car pymts. I have been looking at way to move retirement money into some better money making investments.

Thanks for a great post, I will stick it in del.icio.ous and refer to it often.

On 19 August 2005 (05:31 PM),
Holly said:

Of course, someone writes a fantastic article and along comes the spammers. :-p

On 27 August 2005 (10:58 AM),
Andrius said:

Great article! Worth tens of books about personal finance, but totally free. Thanks!

On 16 September 2005 (05:17 AM),
Glyn Simpson said:

Good read. Although not explicity named, ‘pay yourself first’ from The Richest Man in Babylon is a philosophy I believe in, and have successfully used.

On 08 October 2005 (12:07 PM),
emma said:


this is my first post. i can’t say that i agree with all that you have stated but do with most of it.

first, i have read some of the books that you mentioned, all of which i own. the main reason i purchased the books was to develop a library of financial wisdom for myself and my children.

second, i agree with much of what you said about kiyosaki and his book rich dad poor dad. to me it seems more of a compilation of ideas influenced from think and grow rich, the richest man in babylon and who knows what else. like you, i was unable to narrow down his keypoints and therefore lacks clear and practical application. i am a believer in reading, so this book is recommended. i don’t find it crucial for wealth building however.

i am a huge fan of dave ramsey and own 2 of his books, total money makeover and financial peace university revisited. he is one of the few financial experts that offer practical application of financial ideas and goals. i highly recommend both of his books.

i absolutely enjoyed richest man in babylon. the manner at which clason presented practical ideas was done so creatively and memorably. i personally recommend this book and am happy to have it in my library.

think and grow rich is a much more difficult reading book but has great insight into harnessing the power of the mind to generate wealth.

thanks for your input.

622 Music Videos

Somebody on Metafilter posted a link to a page compiling 622 music videos. There’s some great stuff there, though there’s some other stuff that’s missing. To each his own, right? (I’d like to see a-ha’s “Take On Me” and Dirty Vegas’ “Days Go By” on the list, for example.)

(It’s also worth noting that the above site — which apparently dabbles in all things naughty — includes an entry where one can download the unreleased Fiona Apple album if one has not already done so…)

I’ve taken the time to go through and cull a list of my favorite songs and videos. Over the next couple days, I’ll download them from this list to my hard drive.

Air – Playground Love (dir. Sofia Coppola)
Fiona Apple – Criminal (dir. Mark Romanek)
Beastie Boys – Intergalactic
Beck – Jack Ass
Bjork – Army of Me (dir. Michael Gondry)
Blondie – Call Me
David Bowie – Modern Love
Johnny Cash – Hurt (dir. Mark Romanek)
Depeche Mode – Master and Servant
Depeche Mode – People are People
Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus
Devo – Whip It
The Donnas – Strutter
The Donnas – Too Bad About Your Girl
Dresden Dolls – Coin Operated Boy
Dresden Dolls – Girl Anachronism
Duran Duran – Careless Memories
Duran Duran – Come Undone
Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf
Duran Duran – My Own Way
Duran Duran – Night Boat
Duran Duran – Rio
Duran Duran – Save a Prayer
Duran Duran – The Chauffer
Fatboy Slim – Weapon of Choice (dir. Mark Romanek)
Fugees – Killing Me Softly
Peter Gabriel – Big Time
Peter Gabriel – Biko
Peter Gabriel – Games Without Frontiers
Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes (live)
Peter Gabriel – Shock the Monkey
Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill
Garbage – Stupid Girl
Green Day – Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Guns ‘n’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing)
Billy Idol – White Wedding
Iron Maiden – Flight of Icarus
Chris Isaak – Wicked Game (dir. David Lynch)
Michael Jackson – Thriller (dir. John Landis)
Wyclef Jean – Another One Bites the Dust
Wycle Jean – We Tryin’ To Stay Alive
Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
Madonna – Borderline
Madonna – Material Girl
Madonna – Papa Don’t Preach
Madonna – You Must Love Me (dir. Alan Parker)
Massive Attack – Angel
Metallica – One
Kylie Minogue – Come Into My World (dir. Michael Gondry)
Moby – In This World
New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle
New Order – Blue Monday
New Order – Shellshock
New Order – The Perfect Kiss (dir. Jonathan Demme)
New Order – True Faith
Nine Inch Nails – Closer (dir. Mark Romanek)
Nine Inch Nails – Hurt (live)
Nirvana – Come As You Are
Nirvana – Heart Shaped Box
Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
No Doubt – It’s My Life
Sinead O’Connor – Fire on Babylon (dir. Michael Gondry)
Outkast – Hey Ya
Public Enemy – Fight the Power (dir. Spike Lee)
Rammstein – Du Hast
REM – Everybody Hurts
REM – It’s the End of the World
Paul Simon – You Can Call Me Al
Smashing Pumpkins – 1979
Smashing Pumpkins – Disarm
Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight
The Strokes – Hard to Explain
The Strokes – Last Night
Sugarcubes – Birthday
Tricky – Makes Me Wanna Die
U2 – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
U2 – With or Without You
U.N.K.L.E. – Rabbit in Your Headlights
The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony
The White Stripes – Fell in Love With a Girl (dir. Michael Gondry)
The White Stripes – I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself (dir. Sofia Coppola)

It’s fascinating that certain directors — particularly Michael Gondry and Mark Romanek — seem to produce consistently excellent videos. I never knew the director of a music video played such a key role, but I guess it’s so.

I’ll have to use file-sharing to track down a few more videos that I’d like to have…

Pre-Crash Comments

On 13 April 2005 (02:19 PM),
J.D. said:

If you’ve got a little time to spare and you’re feeling adventurous, check out these videos: “Coin Operated Boy” by Dresden Dolls, “Army of Me” by Bjork, “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” by The White Stripes, “Come Into My World” by Kylie Minogue, “Weapon of Choice” by Fatboy Slim, and, of course, “Hurt” by Johnny Cash. The latter is amazing.

On 14 April 2005 (08:42 AM),
Rich R said:

The way music videos usually work:

The band has a concept or the director presents a concept which the band approves. Once the concept is decided on, it is the director’s vision and style that bring that concept to reality. Lots of times the director’s role is much more important than the band’s in determining what the final product is like.

On 14 April 2005 (05:47 PM),
jeremy said:

Hurt!!!! Funny thing is, I downloaded this and watched it before I got to your comment.

On 17 April 2005 (09:04 AM),
pinti said:

nirvana come as you are

On 17 April 2005 (09:04 AM),
pinti said:

nirvana come as you are

On 22 April 2005 (05:57 AM),
alex napster said:

green day homecoming

On 12 July 2005 (11:26 AM),
Paulinho said:

acho o seu site uma bosta completa pois tudo que alguem precisa naum consegue…quer um conselho vai se ferrar.

On 19 July 2005 (01:17 PM),
michael said:

i have to see u please u all am in love with u

On 20 July 2005 (09:58 PM),
Littleboy said:

The site is fucking cool. Cash makes the diference here. but I like other things on the list. How about an Alice in Chains video? I´m not talking man in the box, ok? Thanx anyway and forgive these stupid brazilians.

On 20 July 2005 (10:01 PM),
Littleboy said:

The site is fucking cool. Cash makes the diference here. but I like other things on the list. How about an Alice in Chains video? I´m not talking man in the box, ok? Thanx anyway and forgive these stupid brazilians.

On 26 August 2005 (04:54 AM),
aleksandra said:

Alice in Chains songs, themes and feeling – come on people, Alice in Chains is classics – 100% should be included in every list of best piece of music ever – so do it, 10 titles should be !ok! for beginners who happen to explore music in the net – make them this voluptuous present – – – -Mkey!!
Take care!

On 29 August 2005 (07:58 AM),
J.D. said:

Just found a page with a few more videos. Also, I love this video for Eurostar from Ye Ye.

Man vs. Skunk: A Photo-Essay

Regular foldedspace readers are aware that we’ve been harboring a skunk under the office for the past two months. The odor was fairly strong at the end of October, but faded for several weeks until erupting in a perfect storm of stench earlier this month.

Today, I’d had enough. I made it my crusade to eliminate this odor from our lives. Here’s the story of J.D. vs. the skunk.

This is the old trailer house in which our offices are housed.

[photo of trailer house in which our offices are housed]

My office is on the left-most end of the trailer. It is from here that the odor emanated. It was strong. It was nauseating. It was unbearable. We evacuated my office, moving all necessary paperwork and computers to other offices. When the smell would not go away, we called in a company called the Critter Gitters. They set a trap in order to lure the skunk from under the house.

[photo of the skunk trap that did not work]

We left the trap outside for about a week, but to no avail. No skunk. Last night, it dawned on me: a whole host of factors seemed to indicate that the skunk might not be alive to take the bait; it was likely that the skunk was dead. This seemed so probable, in fact, that I prepared to crawl under the trailer to retrieve the corpse without taking any pre-cautions in case I might encounter a live animal (or worse, more than one).

[photo of the Vicks VapoRub box]

I bought a box of Vicks VapoRub. (I was just going to buy Vaseline, but Kris noted that Vaseline doesn’t really have much of an odor.) Would this stuff work?

[photo of the opened Vicks VapoRub]

It certainly had a strong odor of its own! I applied liberal gobs of it to my moustache and to my nose (including inside my nostrils).

[photo of my applying Vicks VapoRub]

Ouch! Ouch! Vicks VapoRub burns when applied in large doses. And it smells awful.

[photo of my VapoRub covered moustache]

It smells no worse than skunk, though. Fully armed with two flashlights, the digital camera, a garbage bag, a dustpan, some eye protection, and a pair of gloves, I set off to find my skunk.

[photo of me, ready to go]

There’s no easy way to maneuver under the trailer house. The crawlspace is small, especially toward my office. I simply sucked it up and dove in…

[photo of me crawling under the trailer house]

The ground under the trailer is basically solid earth. Or, at this time of the year, a cold, hard mud made damp from weeks of rain. Much of the trailer’s underlayment has been torn away, and insulation hangs in wads. I’m almost certain this damage was caused by the three ornery boys who grew up here.

[photo of the crawlspace beneath the trailer house]

It took some time to determine the best path. Eventually, I opted to skirt the edge of the house, crawling around the wheelbase.

[photo of the path I took]

My second obstacle was the sewer pipe. I thought about crawling under it, but elected to go around again.

[photo of the sewer pipe]

Soon after, though, I found myself stuck, wedged between a metal joist and the sloping ground. I had to crawl backward to get out from under the house. I removed my jacket and my sweatshirt, leaving only a turtleneck. Minimal protection, but my body was much thinner now. This time, I made it through the tight place. Almost immediately, I found the dead villain.

[photo of the distant skunk]

It took several more minutes of maneuvering to reach the body. It was a tight fit, as I’ve said. And the whole time, the skunk’s scowling face stared at me. His little black beady eyes were knowing and evil. They gave me the heebie-jeebies. Oh, and let’s not forget the stench. Even though I was making every effort not to breathe through my nose, it took enormous discipline to keep from wretching. It would not have been fun to crawl through my own vomit. By breathing through my mouth, I avoided most of the stench, though my throat did begin to burn.

[photo of the dead skunk]

I wrestled the skunk into the garbage bag, and then dragged it outside.

[photo of me back outside]

I felt triumphant! I also felt sick. Though the Vicks VapoRub did a fine job of suppressing the smell, I could taste the musky foulness.

[photo of the dead skunk resting on the lawn]

What then to do with the skunk? “Throw it in the trash!” suggested Jeff. This seemed like an awful thing to do, simply shifting the odor to somebody else. “Burn it!” he said, but I was worried about the stench of burning flesh. Eventually, we hit upon an imperfect solution: we buried the thing on the furthest corner of the property, near the road.

[photo of me digging the grave for the skunk]

Now we’re waiting for the trailer to de-odorize. Most of the rooms already smell fine. My office, however, stinks, probably because the skunk died just below it. Perhaps, too, it stinks because Nick dowsed all of the draperies in vinegar. sigh


On 21 December 2004 (02:09 PM),
pril said:

you are one brave mofo, JD. That’s all i can say. 😉

On 21 December 2004 (02:14 PM),
Scott said:

J.D. wins best post of the year. Hands down.

On 21 December 2004 (02:17 PM),
Denise said:

Ok, that is probably the scariest and stinkest thing I can imagine. That dead skunk picture is disgusting. I can’t believe you did that. Being under the house would have scared the heebie jeebies out of me just on it’s own, let alone having to find THAT thing and bag it!

Thank goodness I am NOT a man and will never have to crawl around under a house looking for dead varmints.

On 21 December 2004 (02:27 PM),
mac said:

next task? Find the skunk’s mode of entry and bar any future spelunking by J.D. Unless he secretly liked it.

On 21 December 2004 (02:34 PM),
Kris said:

How will he smell when he gets home, I wonder? Great job, Custom Box Hero!

On 21 December 2004 (02:35 PM),
J.D. said:

Find the skunk’s mode of entry, Mac? You mean any one of the dozen places where the skirting is missing? 🙂

I keep meaning to post this anecdote. It’s funny (and skunk related), though it’s also a bit like the whisky anecdote:

One day last week I had to spend a couple of hours in the office before visiting customers. Though I couldn’t smell skunk on my clothes when I left, I knew the odor was there. “I can’t make sales calls smelling like a skunk,” I thought. “What can I do?”

It occurred to me that I should stop by home and pick up my pipe. I did so. I puffed it in the car for about ten minutes, bathing in the rich aroma of cherry tobacco.

When I got to my first appointment, I realized that I probably smelled like Tony used to: like the butt end of a cigarette. I took a ten minute walk, hoping the odor would fade.

As I carried the Christmas basket (filled with tons of goodies) into my customer’s office, I noticed a “Proud to be a Non-Smoking Workplace” on the door. Great.

I greeted the client with a hearty “Ho ho ho”. The basket was well-received. But after a minute or so, the client frowned — only slighlty — and backed a step away from me.

After this, I drove around for twenty minutes with all my windows rolled down, hoping the cold, brisk wind would all the odors from my body.

I’ve had a disproportionate number of Idiot Stories this winter, haven’t I?


On 21 December 2004 (02:47 PM),
Jeff said:

The most obvious mode of entry for mr. skunk would be the very same mode of entry used by JD to retrieve said skunk.

On 21 December 2004 (03:11 PM),
Mom (Sue) said:

Don’t worry, Kris, my shower was used to remove whatever residual odor there may have been from J.D. (although he didn’t smell like skunk when he came down here, amazingly enough). There is a bit of the mud from under the trailer house in my back entryway and bathroom, and Silver was spooked by J.D.’s muddy shoes left in the back entryway until I took them outside. I don’t know if that was because of J.D.’s scent or the skunk’s. 🙂

On 21 December 2004 (05:14 PM),
Courtney said:

How did you get the skunk to show his pearly whites? That’s what I want to know.

Thanks for bringing levity to an otherwise dark day. I needed a good story and a good laugh!

On 21 December 2004 (10:15 PM),
Joel said:

Congratulations, very bravely done! Is there a skunk-retrieval bonus at CBS? And if not, shouldn’t there be one?

On 22 December 2004 (08:38 AM),
jenefer said:

Cecily & I want to know why you didn’t use a “custom box” instead of a plastic bag to retrieve the skunk.

On 22 December 2004 (09:01 AM),
al said:

I regret that I am unable to attend the funeral. I suddenly remembered my dental appt. at the same time. I don’t know why.

On 22 December 2004 (09:12 AM),
Andy said:

Wow – this is nastier than the dead rats I ferreted out of our crawlspace.

I’m just glad there wasn’t the extra stank.

On 22 December 2004 (10:19 AM),
Amanda said:

Wow. I can totally empathize, although clearly a stinking, rotting dead cat under our house can’t possibly have been as bad as a dead skunk. Eek!

Even more gruesome, however, was the other dead mummified cat that was found under out house. But I wasn’t nearly as brave as you. We hired someone to remove the stinking carcasses.

On 22 December 2004 (09:17 PM),
Andrew Parker said:

Wow. A (rare) compelling argument for slab floors.

On 22 December 2004 (10:01 PM),
Betsy said:

I’m still stunned that one of your necessary pieces of equipment was your digital camera. I’d have wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible, which would have meant no time for pictures…

On 23 December 2004 (01:44 AM),
Schmela said:

Great post. I agree with Betsy about the camera, although I’m not sure I could ever go into a crawlspace looking for a dead skunk…camera or no camera.

You should read a chapter in Gary Paulsen’s book, Winterdance, entitled “Major Wrecks.” There is a passage about some evening training he did with his sled dogs that may just be the wildest, most hilarious skunk story I’ve ever heard. I had difficulty reading it because I was laughing so hard.

Hope you have a skunk-free Christmas.

On 23 December 2004 (10:00 AM),
Lynn said:

I love the difference in the pictures of “JD prior to entering” and “JD post skunk-gathering”. The facial expressions are great.

On 23 December 2004 (11:06 AM),
Amanda said:

By the way, you remind me of Jonathan Frakes, especially in that last photo.

On 23 December 2004 (09:50 PM),
grannyj said:

Have you given and thought or concern as to WHY you had a dead skunk under your office trailer?

Pocket Bikes

Note: died recently, and is gradually being reconstructed. This entry has moved. Its new URL is The 254 comments from before the move can be found here.

This afternoon’s hotly debated topic here at Custom Box Service is the rising popularity of those miniature motorcycles, Pocket Rockets (or Pocket Bikes). Actually, debate isn’t the right word. We all hate them.

For those of you who haven’t seen these trendy “vehicles”, pocket rockets are miniature motorcycles capable of high speeds, but which are not, for the most part, street legal.

They’re annoying.

Here’s the text of a recent Time Magazine article about them:

the following text is from a 28 June 2004 article by Terry McCarthy

The next big thing out of California is 18 in. high, weighs about 50 lbs. and is capable of traveling up to 70 m.p.h. Meet the pocket bike, a scaled-down motorcycle that is selling faster than low-carb hot cakes across the Golden State — and causing nightmares for traffic police.

First popularized in Europe as specialized race motorbikes, pocket bikes are being sold as toys in Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us as well as in motorcycle stores. Most are made in China and cost between $200 and $400, although souped-up versions can run more than $1,000. They are powered by either two-stroke gas engines or electric motors that can be recharged by plugging into a wall socket. To ride them, you have to squat down with your legs only inches from the ground.

“Today’s kids want the coolest, fastest ride-on toys,” says Carlton Calvin, president of Razor USA, which sells the Razor Pocket Rocket bike ($230). “The play pattern of racing and the freedom of transportation never go out of style.”

The Razor Pocket Rocket is an electric model that reaches 15 m.p.h., and the company specifies that its bikes are designed for controlled environments like go-kart tracks and are not for use on public streets or sidewalks. But websites of other pocket-bike sellers boast “no registration or insurance required in most states,” and some show promotional videos of people riding the bikes on public streets.

As sales take off, law-enforcement agencies are beginning to crack down, warning that pocket bikes are not safe to ride on the street. “They are so small, you can’t see them behind parked cars or in traffic,” says Sergeant Bob Rieboldt of the Los Angeles police department.

In California, pocket bikes are illegal on public roads, according to Rieboldt, because they are motor vehicles that require registration. But the department of motor vehicles will not register them because most do not pass safety regulations governing headlight height from the ground, taillights, brake lights, horns and so on. The California Highway Patrol has issued a statewide special alert about pocket bikes. Of course in some quarters, that will only add to the appeal.

Jeff hasn’t seen many of these little monsters, but they’re ubiquitous in our new neighborhood. Oak Grove must be a hot spot for them or something. The riders seem aware that they’re not street legal, so they don’t ride down the busy avenues. Instead, they zip up and down the lesser traveled streets, such as the one next to our new home. Or, they ride along the edge of the busy roads, in the bike lanes. This is just as illegal as riding on the street, dudes!

Tony complains that they things are so small that they’re impossible for him to see when he’s riding around in his jumbo-sized SUV. He’s afraid he’s going to hit somebody.

Me, I just think they’re noisy and annoying.

Last week, before we were finally moved in and sleeping at the new house, I stopped by for a moment to check on the floor refinishing project. While I was there, some guy was buzzing up and down our street on a pocket bike. An old man came out and asked him to stop. The rider bristled, got off the bike, called the old man a bastard. The exchange grew heated. Neighbors gathered round as the two faced off. It was a little scary, actually. I hope we haven’t moved into a neighborhood of hoodlums!

Other web links about pocket rockets:

(Another noisy thing in our neighborhood: the kids next door have a trampoline, which is great. They like to use it starting at 10 p.m. and running to midnight, which is not so great. It’s a little annoying, yes, but I actually don’t mind that much because it’s good wholesome fun, and they’re obviously having a good time. (I can tell by their screams of delight.))

Pre-Crash Comments

On 30 June 2004 (04:06 PM),
Tiffany said:

I have not seen any of the Pocket Rockets, but we have a lot of motorized scooters that are pretty loud. The scooters are not street legal either. It really all boils down to parents that are spoiling their kids with expensive toys with no regard to the laws.

At least the trampoline kids are getting some exercise.

On 30 June 2004 (04:40 PM),
Dave said:

Tiffany beat me to the punch on those damnable motorized scooters. If experience is any guide, they’re only capable of operation between the hours of 6 pm and 1 am. Normally I wouldn’t care if someone wanted to risk their life riding an unsafe vehicle since i think of that as just another form of Darwinism sort of like riding a motorcycle, but they are really loud and high pitched. Annoyingly so. Tell those kids to get a job now that school’s out!

On 01 July 2004 (10:57 AM),
Denise said:

Welcome to the big city, J.D. and Kris…or at least Milwaukie.

The only thing I have to say about Pocket Rockets is it is a sad reflection on what a consumerist society the US has become.

On 01 July 2004 (11:36 AM),
Lisa said:

We’re hearing a lot of the motorized scooters too, and they are LOUD! I suppose pocket bikes are a matter of time. They are really cute, though.

I’m a big fan of road rules for public safety. It would be terrifying to be responsible for the death of someone, and I wouldn’t feel much better knowing that they were riding something illegal to express their individuality. Arrest ’em all!

On the subject of weird confrontations, I overheard a store person and a shopper arguing about whether an area marked with white lines was a parking space. I can’t believe the shopper thought it was–perhaps she should be banned from the road along with the pocket bikes.

On 01 July 2004 (03:49 PM),
Johnny said:

I remember the first time I saw a guy riding one of those pocket bikes. I thought he’d ripped off some kid’s toy. Then I wondered why he was bothering to wear a helmet. Then, as he took off at Mach 1, I wondered how he maintained his knees sitting like that.

On 06 July 2004 (01:40 AM),
Thanh said:

What’s wrong with people and kids having a bit of fun? It’s a cheap product ($200-400 for the Chinese bikes depending on where you buy it) which is about the cost of 2 Xboxes or 2 Playstation 2. Yes, I agree it’s pretty unsafe if the rider isn’t wearing any gear. Yes they’re a bit noisy, but riding them in the daytime shouldn’t be a problem. How come people take the time to complain about the noise of a pocket bike when I see all these wanna-be Hells Angels in the suburbs with their Harleys and Choppers making more noise than semis down the freeway? And BTW, the legality of pocket bikes riding in the bike lane (at least in California) is a gray-area. Motorized scooters are allowed to be in the bike lane here (16yrs+ with helmet) and technically the pocket bikes CAN be classified as a motorized scooter-look it up in the CA Vehicle Code book. It’s gonna take a court case (or a more concrete law) to settle it. As for SUV drivers being unable to see pocket bike riders, gimme a break. I have yet to see a SUV driver being able to see anything but themselves on the road. So kids jumping up and down on a trampoline well into the night is considered good wholesome fun whereas people riding pocket bikes are just asses? Cmon people! Not every rider is an ass, most of us just wanna have some fun. All of us realize that if we piss off enough people, no one going to be riding.

On 08 July 2004 (03:00 PM),
Shawn said:

I agree with Thanh, although I don’t have a Pocket bike, I have seen them and wondered what it would be like to ride one. Then we decided that you really can’t see them in a bigger car so it would be slightly unsafe to ride. As for others, if you want to ride an unsafe vehicle through the street… go for it. On the noise issue, I think first you should address the “lowriders” with 22″ subwoofers in the back setting off car alarms before you complain about a high pitched buzzing that is gone in a few moments.

On 08 July 2004 (05:50 PM),
Johnny said:

The difference between the high pitched scooters/ pocket bikes and the lowriders is that it’s much harder to get a bead on the scooters and pocket bikes because they’re so much smaller. You need much better aiming skills.

On 12 July 2004 (06:54 AM),
Kim said:

My husband and I go camping several times a month with our children and these little bikes have become very well known. My kids love them and I must say they are very cute. I do worry about how safe they are, but then I do feel that it is up to the parents to watch their children at all times and be very strict with the rules and how to use them. I don’t mind them at all as long as I know that kids follow the rules of the road and they respect other people and cars around them. It’s the big “KIDS” out there that ruin it for the little ones with their foul mouths and can’t seem to follow the rules. I say it’s a great, fun little toy and my boys eyes light up each time they see them. I think we will buy one for our son to enjoy while camping, but only to he played with where he can’t bother anyone, or get in anyones way. Just remember, toys have changed tons in the years sense we were little, and we all knows how it feels to see something we really want to have and how much it means to us when we get it. Kids are only kids for a short time, so I say there is nothing wrong with a little fun.

On 14 July 2004 (10:46 AM),
Stacey said:

What is the difference between a car with a broken muffler or a loud pocket bike? nothing, so if you want to complain about pocket bikes, then you should complain about every car that drives by your house with a broken muffler. Pocket bikes are legal if the rider has a driver’s license, and if a person is riding by your house and you dont like it there is nothing you can do because a street is government property. I dont understand why everytime a new toy comes out that is meant for enjoyment, uptight people have to go and ruin it. If a person is going to ride a pocket bike irresponcibly and get hurt, then let them, why should you care if you don’t like pocket bikes. And just to top it off, I think YOU are annoying. =o) peace.

On 14 July 2004 (12:08 PM),
Jahari said:

I don’t know why pocket bikes have to be illegal on sidewalks. Because if you think about it, you could stop or go around the pedestrians. I mean kids need a way to get to school if they can’t drive or have their parents drive them. I know people ride the bus, but not all kids like to ride that. I mean if I wore a helmet then it should be fine, right? And why do you have to be 16? I mean when your 16 you can have a car and no one is going to pass up a car for a motor bike. I mean you should make the age 13 and older. A 16 year old can get hurt just as easily as a 13 year old can. Plus, you don’t have to ride pocket bikes in the street you could ride them in the bike lane. NE way. PEACE YALL!

On 14 July 2004 (12:25 PM),
J.D. said:

Okay, though I disagree with most of you, I’m not arguing because I recognize you have valid points. However, this is dumb:

I don’t know why pocket bikes have to be illegal on sidewalks.

Pocket bikes are illegal on sidewalks for the same reason motorcycles or automobiles are illegal on sidewalks. They’re too big, and they go too fast, and they can easily hurt a pedestrian or, worse, be hurt by an automobile.

Remember: in most places, bicycles are illegal on sidewalks, too. You might not think it’s true, but it is. (It’s not a law that is often enforced.) There are reasons for this.

Riding a pocket bike on a sidewalk is dangerous.

On 17 July 2004 (03:15 AM),
terry said:

hello everyone, i dont know what all the fuss is about, pocketbikes should be aloud the same privilages as a bicycle. motorized scooters are all over the place, and they are not illegal. if they are not then i dont see why pocketbikes are not legal, its the same dang thing. the noise? hell what about the import cars like honda and acura, most of the mufflers on them sound like a bunch of pissed off bees in a tin can. as of right now pocketbikes are not legal on the streets or in the bike lanes, buy you can ride them all day long on private property or in a designated area. we should at least be aloud to to ride them in the bike lanes. im 22 yrs old, i bought one for fun and transportation (my work is about a mile away from where i live) and these bikes will travel about 20-30 miles on a tank of gas. ok ill stop talking now, take care all!!!

On 17 July 2004 (06:47 PM),
Z. said:

I don’t get it. If “pocket bike” riders want to be on the public streets, then buy a 50cc street legal scooter! Then, you won’t have to worry about being pulled over by a cop and getting it confiscated.

If you bought a pocket bike for fun AND transportation, then you should have thought about how viable it would be as transportation, considering that it was always in a gray area and could be outlawed at anytime.

I’m speaking from the perspective of a small-bike lover. My first bike was a little Yamaha 50cc Champ cycle. It was like a moped, but had no pedals and was a motor-driven cycle. By design, it was a street-legal bike and it got me from home to work in downtown SF for 2 years. My 2nd bike was a Yamaha RX-50… a small street cruiser that went up to 52 mph… legally, on public streets.

I’m on my 3rd little bike, a 125cc Suzuki GN 125. It’s fun, it’s practical, it’s cheap to run, it helps my back, it gets me to those hard-to-park parts of town, and I can drive it on any non-freeway public street without getting paranoid about a cop seeing me go by.

So… want to drive on the streets? Forget the pocket bikes- go for a real bike. Then you can stop sweating and getting peeved at the new pocket bike laws. Getting a drivers license and paying insurance on a street legal little bike is a good lesson in adult-responsibility for young people.

My Suzuki will STILL be on the streets after all those pocket bikes are in police custody!

On 18 July 2004 (08:19 PM),
Larry NC said:

Alright here is the truth about life, the sunshine causes cancer(death), the resturaunts we all eat at have secondhand smoke thick in the air canacer, heart trouma, disease (death), eating store bought foods have preservatives and added chemicals poision (death slowly), the freeways are clogged with cars exhaust gasses, Poisions (death), people driving the biggest vehicles they can find? your helping the poisioning of the earth. by the way we all breath the air out there guess what yeah it causes death too. I drive bikes 600cc and 47cc pocket rockets. with all this bad news people still need something to complain about. stop targeting some-one else or some new toy, look at yourself and ask why are you so worried about that. my son cant get kidnapped on a pocket rocket going to his friends house. but it is easy to grab a child walking, isnt it hard to stop 125pounds going 30m.p.h… Oh yeah when he goes down the road people hear him and notice him. When a child gets missing most of the time no one saw anything, bottom line yes they bother people, yes people like them, yes they are dangerous, yes being alive in today is also dangerous too right. every one praise GOD we can be diferent and complain.. let kids have fun and grow up their way, give guidence and pray for us all..
by the way if you think a weed eater engine is loud you should hear me ride my big bike ha ha ha that is loud!!!

On 19 July 2004 (03:46 PM),
Pocket Bike Hater said:

My problem with pocket bikes is that they are extremely loud. For that very reason, they should be banned. Sure modded cars and motorcycles are loud too but they often pass by quickly and the noise stops. However, kids with pocket bikes go around and around and around the neighborhood creating a nuisance. You people who defend pocket bikes are probably the disrespectful type with no regard for others. Police should cite and impound pocket bikes ridden on the street or sidewalk.

On 19 July 2004 (06:55 PM),
Jim in OC said:


On 19 July 2004 (06:55 PM),
Jim in OC said:


On 20 July 2004 (03:31 PM),
Z. said:

It’s not the noise… it’s the irresponsibility of how pocket bikes are driven and used by irresponsible kids. After dark with no lights… with baby brother sitting on the gas tank while pre-teen bro “drives”, no helmets, whizzing across the road unexpectedly without any signal or warning, etc. They act like just because they don’t need a driver’s license, then they can play on PUBLIC roadways in any way they want to. Our police dept wasn’t sure how to deal with it until some kid on a pocket bike got smacked by a SUV while the kid was driving recklessly. Then the bikes got outlawed on city streets.

I don’t follow the “S*** happens” philosophy or take a cavalier attitude that “life is dangerous anyway because of pollution and food chemicals, so let kids have their fun (riding pocket bikes)”. The conclusion (let them ride pocket bikes) has NOTHING to do with the premise, nor can the premise justify it. You’d think the safety of one’s kid is important enought NOT to simply let them endanger it even more (voluntarily) in addition to the involuntary dangers of living in today’s world.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to nurse my kid through a horrifying accident with an SUV. And I wouldn’t want to be an SUV owner either. After all, the kid’s head being exactly in line with an SUV bumper is a scary thing.

There’s reasons why any four-wheeled go-cart is NOT on our public roadways. And I think the same reasons are valid for pocket bikes. Kids who “want it” and are anxious to putt-putt around town need to wait til they’re old enough to get a license for their first bona-fide motor vehicle. And adults… just GET a real bike and all of your complaints and worries about pocket-bike legality becomes a moot point.

On 23 July 2004 (12:58 AM),
MrPocket said:

I agree that pocket bikes should be made illegal on highways or streets where vehicles normally pass. But NOT on bike lanes and parks. I agree that these bikes should be confiscated and driver cited BUT ONLY IF
1. the owner caused harm to someone or to a property AND
2. if it is run at night time.

If he injures himself then there is no one else to blame but the rider for being irresponsible. Besides, there are also a lot of responsible pocket bike drivers why stop them from having fun?

You all complain too much!!! Noise? yeah right. there are new mufflers coming out for these bikes that can easily suppress the noise. If that rule is imposed then that is fine by me.

dangerous? what about roller blades, stunt bikes and skateboards. Can you imagine what kids do to play 20 or 30 years ago?? they get into even more dangerous activities than bikes but most of them are still alive today and even stronger and healthier.

Would you rather have your kids stay inside your house get bored and be stuck with their TVs, playstation, xbox and worse, think about doing drugs or watch porn? Riding is a good exercise and helps people socialize and meet other people.

I am an adult. Why do I like pocket bikes? Simple, it’s the fun of having to drive a miniature replica of the real thing in a smaller scale. What could be more fun than that?!?

Don’t you notice that there are so many laws now that it makes life so much boring and complicated at the same time.

On 23 July 2004 (04:32 PM),
PocketMaster said:

They should make pocket bikes legal. I mean…… come a person with full blast on their radio at night doesnt get pulled over but a pocket bike that makes half the noise gets pulled over. It’s ridiculous! Everyone should be able to ride it, but only if they have a helmet. That’s very fair.

On 23 July 2004 (05:54 PM),
Dave said:

A) People with their radios on full blast at night should get pulled over.

B) Because one individual breaks the law with no apparent consequences is neither an excuse nor an invitation for multiple people to follow suit.

C) The distinction between skateboards, rollerblades, and stunt bikes versus pocket bikes is 1) that pocket bike riders want equal space on the road with full sized vehicles, an activity that is inherently dangerous to the rider of the bike (pocket bike v. automobile = roadkill), the fact that pocket bike riders generally seem ignorant of this obvious fact leads me to question their rationality generally, 2) there are no rules governing the construction, roadworthiness, lighting, emissions, insurance for or safety requirements for pocket bikes. As such they are inherently unpredictable on the road and therefore dangerous to pedestrians and motorists.

D) The argument that they’re only hurting themselves if they’re irresponsible is logical if you assume that everyone is a rational actor at all times (and therefore incapable of irresponsible actions) and that there is never any other person involved in any given mishap. The only way that holds true is if they’re alone in a gigantic bowl. In the meantime if the pocket bike rider’s irresponsibility means that I mow him over while he’s screwing around on the road where they shouldn’t be I want their insurance to pay for taking their head sized dent out of my bumper and for cleaning their carcass out of my suspension.

On 24 July 2004 (12:35 PM),
civicsport1 said:

I just got one of these pocketbikes sent to me from Cali. its a blast, I bought it to race my 14 year old neighbor. I am 31. I ride a 2003 kawa ninja zx6r and have a valid motorcycle liscense. We wear the proper riding gear and we stay off the main rodes in our area, simply becuase of lack of knowledge of laws surounding thse little bikes. to get to the point. lawmakers should review: 1. their own childhood and notice that they did some crazy stuff when they were “kids” and relax 2. make laws to govern these bikes, I.E. designated areas to ride (bike lanes, parking lots non-state maintained streets or roads with certian speed limits). they should not just arbatrarly sit back and ban them all together and outlaw them. this is America not the old soviet union. how far are laws going to go to protect us from ourselves. I mean we do have free will and are responsible for making descisions for ourselves. If I chose not to be smart and ride down the freeway, I deserve what I get. the person who hits me does not though and thats why I am in favor of rules to govern their use. As for the noise problem. I reciently had the cops called on me for noise, and get this it was 3 pm on a saturday.. not 11 pm on a monday night!! hey I will respect my neighbor and try to avoid buzzing by their house but as a person with a modified civic, I tell you my car makes much more noise out of the intake (not even to mention my exhaust) the my pocketbike does. I am hoping that people will take action and write their law maker to let them know how some of us feel, and urge them to make this a safe “rideable” hobby. thanks for listening to me.
be safe out there

On 24 July 2004 (05:37 PM),
dowingba said:

lawmakers should review: 1. their own childhood and notice that they did some crazy stuff when they were “kids” and relax…

Remind me to kill myself when laws start being governed by a bunch of kids’ desire to do “crazy stuff”…

On 24 July 2004 (08:52 PM),
Z. said:

How’s about this compromise, then? Some common sense ideas…

1) Pocket bikes can be legalized in bicycle lanes and in places where normal traffic does not go.

2) Since bicycle lanes are on the side of regular streets, pocket bikes are expected to obey stop signs and signals and give right-of-way to larger vehicles moving in the cross-traffic. Pocket bikes are not allowed to enter main traffic to get into a left turn lane. They must “walk” the bike across the street like a bicycle rider does.

3) Since pocket bikes have no lights, they cannot be driven after dark.

4) Any picket bike rider is required to wear a helmet and may not have any passengers (e.g. baby brother) on the bike.

5) Parents are expected to have adequate medical insurance for their children who ride pocket bikes BECAUSE (and here’s the doozy:)

LEGAL MOTOR VEHICLES WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ACCIDENTS WITH POCKET BIKES ON PUBLIC ROADS! (This is in case Johnny on his new bike “forgets” that he’s supposed to be in a bicycle lane, forgets to stay off main roads, and forgets to stop at stop signs, etc.)

I keep hearing these claims that people riding pocket bikes are doing it out of their own free will, and if they get hurt, it’s their fault. Oh come on! Get real! We KNOW it won’t work that way! Mommy and Daddy will try and sue the pants off the car driver who hit poor Johnny. The car driver who didn’t see Johnny ends up with higher insurance rates and a strike against them on their driving record, because some people kept clamoring for bikes that do not meet legal safety requirements to be on the road, or on the side of roads.

So… let’s see pocket bike riders and their parents agree to these provisions and accepting ALL consequences for their actions!

(shakes head) I still don’t see any reason for an adult wanting to ride those things on public roads. There’s street-legal 50cc scooters or 1980’s-era cool little street bikes (Yamaha YSR-50, RX-50) that you can buy. And you’d be ENTITLED to a lane.

In fact, yesterday, I had a pleasant conversation with a guy on a scooter. “50cc or 80cc?” He said he was on a 50cc, and it takes some 55 minutes to visit his Mom, 25 miles away. His scooter maxxed at 42mph, and he said he’d LOVE an 80cc- so he can go 50 mph easily. Then, he was interested in whether my little 125cc was freeway legal, and how fast it would realistically go. Then we traded tips on routes to get from San Francisco to San Mateo without getting on a freeway.

Pocket Bike dudes and dudettes… while you folks are hollering to get your bikes legalized on roads (huge uphill battle), we street-legal bike and scooter owners don’t even have to deal with your problems. We KNOW our bikes are street legal and won’t get hassled by cops unless we’re driving like idiots. I agree that driving little bikes around town CAN be a safe, fun hobby and a great way to socialize with other bike owners. The difference is getting something that can be registered. Even in California, my insurance rates are $75/yr and registration is $75/yr. It don’t break the bank.

On 26 July 2004 (03:28 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Ok people, you are right pocket bikes are a tad unsafe, but they are meant for fun, and if you want to complain about something why not complain about things that are really important? Like 12 year old kids smoking weed, and carrying knives. They do make silencers for the bikes, and I do have one, i live in one of the nicest neighborhoods ive seen, with a bunch of uptight people and they love it. So before you go trying to ban the things, think of otherways to solve your problem, like silencing them, or putting speed limits on them. They are meant for fun and you people are ruining that.

On 26 July 2004 (03:34 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Oh, and another thing, my pocket bikes does have lights, turn signals, brake lights, ext…. So as long as im not on a main road, i dont see the problem. you people are just too uptight for your own good, and should maybe stay inside, cause you cant complain about everything in life that you dont like. Id like to be a millionaire, but thats not happening so deal with what your delt.

On 26 July 2004 (04:29 PM),
Dave said:

Well, I live in a decent neighborhood too. I personally like to go around shooting my 9mm at trees in the neighborhood. I never shoot at people or houses. I also like to shoot straight up in the air, where it’s obviously not going to hurt anyone. I have all the proper safety equipment, goggles, hearing protection, etc. and I have a safety on my gun, so I’m safe. I don’t shoot across busy streets or anything, either, I shoot lengthwise down the street along the side where there aren’t any cars. And when I’m shooting straight up into the air if I’m standing under the bullet when it comes down that’s just my own darn fault and I’m prepared for the consequences of that.

I like to do this because it’s fun. Sure, it’s lots of noise, but it’s no noisier than those people with the booming sub-woofers in the back of their little Dodge Neons and I can get a silencer if I want to, so that’s not a problem. People are constantly complaining about me shooting in the neighborhood, claiming that it’s risky and dangerous. But I always shoot with the right equipment and I’m just trying to have fun. So all you people who are trying to shut down my shooting fun just need to go inside and learn to deal with it. And as soon as my 4 year old neighbor can hold my Beretta .32 Tomcat, I’m going to teach her how to shoot at trees and up in the air too.

On 26 July 2004 (07:16 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Well, now lets see, is there a difference between a person riding a weedeater engine in the street, or a person using a gun shooting it down the street? Hmmmmm… well now thats a hard one. Guns kill millions of people a year, ive never heard of even 10 people dying on a pocket bike. Oh and why your shooting down the street and in the air, remember them bullets come down, and kill people miles away, i doubt people even a block away can hear my bike. So yes i do belive that comparing a gun to a weedeater engine, is a little stupid and moronic. Nice try though idiot.

On 26 July 2004 (07:19 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Oh, and while im thinking about it, I dont think pocket bikes should be legal on the streets, main streets that is. I should be able to ride it on the residental streets, thats why i can, that is legal, and someone way above you thinks so. Thats also why guns are illegal Dave, because someone that has the power to decide though so.

On 26 July 2004 (07:31 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Civicsport1, I agree with you, I have also asked my neighbors and they all say its ok, but if one were to say No, I would simply not ride it by their house. By the way, you should be a public speaker, you group your words very nicely.

On 26 July 2004 (07:49 PM),
Dave said:

Heavy sigh.

I love it when I need to explain the argument. Let’s have you all start by looking up the definition of Reductio ad absurdum.

If, however, you truly believe that your actions occur in a vacuum and that you are the alpha and the omega of all your actions and all of their possible ramifications, then the argument will never make much sense to you, I fear.

On 26 July 2004 (09:16 PM),
Pocket Rider said:


I understand the argument. Its just that you cant have these things without looking at both sides first. Now if we “pocket bike riders” are willing to work with you on this issue why cant other people work with us answer me that?

On 26 July 2004 (09:21 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Dave, I meant you cant have these things banned without looking at both sides first.

On 27 July 2004 (12:33 PM),
David Taylor said:

Maybe they should stop making SUVs instead of telling people that these wonderful new transportation devices need to stay off the road. They don’t use alot of gas and take much less material to make. Redesigning our methods of moving around is more logical than trying to tell us that what we have is not suitable for adult society. Its more suitable than most vehicles out there. Hydrogen fuel cell pocket bikes for everyone! Say yes to Earth and no to gas gussling tanks (SUVs)!

On 27 July 2004 (01:13 PM),
Johnny said:

Yeah, let’s get rid of the SUV! I’m all for it. The SUV is dead, long live the Buick Roadmaster stationwagon!!

On 27 July 2004 (01:55 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Well Dadvid, not a bad idea. Lets do away with Suv’s. They do use alot of gas and you cant see me too well on my fuel saving bike. So keep bikes and not suvs. What do you have to say about that shooting dave?

On 27 July 2004 (02:47 PM),
Dave said:

Not a bad trade off, I suppose. Big, obnoxious, inefficient belching beasts for small, irritating, noisy beasts. With the added bonus that pocket bikes, being smaller than SUV’s, will offer more sporting challenge to hit. Might even have to break out the trusty ol’ 12-gauge.

Yes, I think I could live with that.

On 27 July 2004 (03:23 PM),
Lynn said:

I think that pocket bikes should be banned if only because of their obvious effect on the grammar and spelling of the rider. Not to mention the fact that they render the rider unable to understand the use of an “analogy” to illustrate a point.

Also, as a licensed insurance agent, I can pretty much guarantee that there is no way that a law could be written to negate the liability of an automobile operator when an accident occurs involving a pocket bike.

Finally, the idea of looking at something from both sides needs to involve a healthy shot of both objectivity and reality, or it just won’t work. Comparing pot-smoking to pocket bike-riding is like comparing apples and oranges. Alas, I may be treading on thin ice with the introduction of yet another analogy.

On 27 July 2004 (03:51 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Oh so Lynn,
You disagree when i compared pocket bikes and weed, but agreed with mike about comparing a 9mm to a pocket bike. Well now that sure is funny. Either way I can tell you now that pocket bikes are and will never be banned totally. Maybe frome busy streets and big cities but never from everywhere. So no matter how much we argue whether or not they should be banned, I have already won. So I think that you should just move on to a more important topic, maybe one that you could have a chance on winning and changing, as far as pocket bikes go, you will never win. Ever.

On 27 July 2004 (03:54 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Oh and as far as my grammar goes, it has nothing to with the argument, I simply mis type or dont realize how to spell it. I think that you know that you have lost this battle, and are stooping as low to make fun of my grammar. Either way it doesnt hurt my feelings, and I will always ride my pocket bike, Legal or Not.

On 27 July 2004 (04:06 PM),
Lynn said:


n : witty language used to convey insults or scorn; “he used sarcasm to upset his opponent”; “irony is wasted on the stupid”; “Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own”–Johathan Swift [syn: irony, satire, caustic remark]

On 27 July 2004 (05:47 PM),
chic said:

I think this site is really gay all i think it is for is a bunch of gay people to sit down and complain about this and that. why the hell wont you just get a life.

On 27 July 2004 (08:56 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Chic, good thinking In fact some of us have lives but others are trying to tear down pieces of it because they think that they have to have their way. Oh Lynn if you fuckin talk to me like im stupid again, I will shut down your computer, you got that? Think im kidding, try me. I know how to do alot more than ride a pocket bike.

On 28 July 2004 (08:14 AM),
Jeff said:

Thanks Pocket Rider. I needed a good laugh. Please, shut my computer down – I want to see this.

On 28 July 2004 (11:26 AM),
Hoodlum said:

I saw this show and they were showing pocket rockets and they looked awesome. If you don’t like them shutup and get out of the peoples way that actually have some fun in life.

On 28 July 2004 (01:28 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Now Dave and Lynn, I didnt ask you not to respond. I want to hear your arguments, just dont act like im a complete moron. I would like to hear why these things should get banned. And while were talking, lets try to stay on topic here huh?

On 28 July 2004 (02:41 PM),
Dave said:

I refuse to negotiate with terrorists. It’s part of my subscription agreement with 2600.

On 28 July 2004 (03:41 PM),
Matty said:

IM BUILDING A POCKET ROCKET ANF I NEED SOME HELP ON GETTTING IT TO HALL A$$… if any one has a motor for sale or any tips that can help me on my way i would be greatful.

Thank you Matty

On 28 July 2004 (09:51 PM),
Pocket Rocket said:

Matty, I can give you a couple hints on that. Oh and Dave, im glad i could shut you up. and im not a terrorist, in fact im in the Navy. If you must know. Davey, ill give you my e-mail later. Then you can give my yours, and ill give you some hints. Oh, and for all you pocket rocket haters, Fuck you, and glad to get you off the site. uptight mother fuckers, god leave people alone, and get a life. all you can do is bitch at other people, so fuck off. and have a nice day.

On 28 July 2004 (10:20 PM),
Huss said:

This is too funny. Especially Jeff’s recent entry! I am still laughing Jethro!

I can’t believe this is still going JD. Thanks for the entertainment.

On 29 July 2004 (02:31 AM),
Mario said:

In the past people have complained about surfers,paragliders,snow boarding and just about any thing that has to do wiht having clean fun.I like to remind these people that this country is suposed to be free.Go find a Nazy Germany and move there.You complainers will be happy there.

On 29 July 2004 (02:07 PM),
pj said:

Pocket bikes have a new official name: “Trailer trash bitch bikes”. This moniker is more representative of the demographic that rides them.

On 29 July 2004 (03:08 PM),
Pocket Bike said:

Trailor trash huh? And they represent their rider? Hmmmmmm… Lets see, 10 to 1 says i make alot more than you do. So if im trailor trash, your ass would have to be homeless, job less, and havent eaten for about 2 weeks. You cant make assumptions about pocket bike riders, because some are rich, some are poor, and others are about middle. Your prob. just mad, cause you cant afford one. Its ok, you can ride mine. Lol

On 29 July 2004 (04:46 PM),
Harley said:

If you make so much money why don’t you own a real bike?

On 29 July 2004 (05:11 PM),
Pocket Rocket said:

I do in fact own 2 ninjas, ones a 600 and ones a 900. Nobody ever said that i didnt have a real one. You just assumed.

On 29 July 2004 (08:47 PM),
devon said:

hi this is devon and i was wondering if you can give me a pocket bike for free. pleasssssssssssssssssssssssse.
hope you can
hope you do please

On 30 July 2004 (03:29 AM),
Pocket Rocket said:

For Free???, maybe at discount but not for free, they aren’t cheap. If they were cheaper i would. But not at $500 a pop. and thats a cheap one. How much could you spend? I will work off of that. Oh, and everyone, im not really an asshole, i just get mad, when i am willing to risk my life to protect our freedom, and people want to tear all that down. It just doesn’t make sense to me. If you have a prob. with them just ask the rider to not ride down your street. If he still does, then he/she is and asshole. And i cant really say much else. have a nice day.

On 30 July 2004 (11:23 AM),
Spanky said:

That’s funny that Dave threatens to resort to violence to stop these pocket bike riders. What the heck? Smaller targets? Need to use your old 12 gage? Jeez, if premeditated murder is your idea of solving a dispute, I can see how these pocketbikers don’t care about your side of the issue.

Hey everyone! Let’s suit up with our kevlar vests and do doughnuts in Daves yard. Let’s see if “old Deadeye” can hit one of us! And if he does..we’ll stop riding forever!

On 30 July 2004 (01:28 PM),
Dave said:

A) “Humor”; look it up Spanky.
B) Pocket Rocket- “and im not a terrorist, in fact im in the Navy.” Either you don’t pay much attention to current events or your vocabulary doesn’t include the word “irony” (or else I’ve seriously misunderestimated your rhetorical skills). Either way I appreciate your willingness to do your duty.
C) Pocket Rocket- my IP address is I’m connected to the net 24/7 at that address. Go ahead and try to shut down my computer. I’ll even leave the firewall open and the lights on.

On 30 July 2004 (03:01 PM),
Dave said:

Im sorry pocket rocket, i love pocket bikes. In fact i am a complete moron, and Spanky i will let you ride in peace, because you know i could close my windows and doors, and leave everyone in peace, and hey they really aren’t that loud, and they are gone in a couple seconds. So i am sorry pocket rocket and spanky.

On 30 July 2004 (03:21 PM),
Pocket Rocket said:

i have resorted to impersonation as a means of arguing. i have no clue how to shut down someone else’s computer, so i will just pretend to be Dave (except i won’t change my punctuation or spelling to resemble his posts).

On 30 July 2004 (03:24 PM),
Pocket Rocket said:

Dang. i just made myself look stupid. i will now attempt to shut down my own computer.

On 30 July 2004 (05:04 PM),
FUCK YOU said:

Fuck you, where do you live. Tell me, ill come

On 31 July 2004 (07:40 AM),
Pocket Bikes r kool! said:


On 31 July 2004 (07:46 AM),
Pocket Rocket said:

I doub it prob some 7 year old “where do u live ill come.” that is real gay i live in Oknawa Japan… oh ill come…. blah blah…ur gay.

On 31 July 2004 (07:57 AM),
Dave said:

Actually Japan thats great, cause im getting stationed there October 19th, of this year. So I will be there. That is if you do live there. Which i dont think you do, otherwise you have no room to complain about the bikes at all and need to get off of this site.

On 31 July 2004 (05:37 PM),
Margie said:

Ok in response to comparing the pocket bikes to Harleys….NO COMPARISON!! I live in between two of them and I do not live in the hood. Do I want to move? YES. Can I? No…not yet..but for now I see the Harleys leave in the morning on Saturday and come back at night. My husband hates them more out out of fakeness than noise and I see them as a means of going on a pleasure ride for some Old Fogies…on the other hand…what kind of parents are buying these little pit bull menacing pocket bikes? Who are you? The kids in our neighborhood are all from different races, around 8-19 years old, and all middle class. There is one major thread…their parents must be happy to be rid of these boys while the rest of the neighborhood gives them dirty looks. Not me..I step out into the street, tell them they are not street legal, in my teacher voice ask if they need me to talk to their parents, and lie about a sleeping baby. 100% of them apologize and walk the bikes home. how egg on my door..yet.

On 31 July 2004 (06:16 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Actuall Margie, they are street legal if you must know. On residental streets, just not on main roads and sidewalks, so really you are not allowed to yell at them. The road is not yours, and therefore you can do nothing about it. Have a nice day and tell them boys i said hi, ok.

On 31 July 2004 (11:36 PM),
Mario said:

I have 2 pocket bikes and I was riding one of them at an empty parking lot.A policeman came and basically told me that they were illegal to ride any where except in private property.Meaning inside your home.I could not believe that.I have been doing some investigating but no one seems to know where it is o.k. to ride these bikes.Does some one here know what the real law is?I would like to know.

On 01 August 2004 (12:47 AM),
Pocket Rider said:

Actually it matters on your city/town, and if you have blinkers, lights, horn…exc. So its hard to say. But it is legal to ride them in most cities and towns on residental rodes, if you have the blinkers, horn, exc. I would just ride your bike. If you get pulled over again ask him to contact his seperior and talk to him, if hes says its illegal, tell him you want to see proof, cause 10 to 1 hes lying.
Thats why is such an argument, because there are no laws banning these thing. So if you would like more information on this, contact me at [email protected]
P.S. Dave, please do not leave me bad messages, I am not “Pocket Rocket”, Different people, Thank You.

On 01 August 2004 (10:41 AM),
Margie said:

Pocket have a black leather couch don’t you? In fact I bet you are a fire fighter or perhaps a contractor..maybe even a partner in a nightclub. I bet you are divorced or perhaps single…I do not want to stereotype you. You are obviously smart and have the ability to charm, but com’on, since when do gentlemen put their own childish hobbies over the burden and inconvenience of others..I say this as a stranger, but I feel like I know you because I have seen many men just like you in my business and neighborhood. PS I don’t yell at any of the kids in our neighborhood..they are kids not grown men…I just inform them of how noisy they are going around in circles for hours.Try thinking about your neighbors and how they feel. I don’t care if my neighbors have Harleys,SUVs, painted dragons on their fences or pink roofs. Noise is much more obtrusive.

On 01 August 2004 (11:56 AM),
Z. said:

Read this article.

Face it… any city, at any time CAN make pocket bikes illegal. All they have to do is pull a DMV on you, categorize them as “motor-driven cycles” and then POOF! your bikes are illegal to ride on the streets and subject to confiscation.

I think you guys are in the same boat as dirt bike/trail riders. You had bought a vehicle that is, at best, an off-road recreational vehicle. Dirt bike riders have accepted that. Soon, pocket bike riders have to accept that, too.

If you spent a grand or two on the pocket bike and DEMAND to drive them on streets (even residential ones), you’re in for a losing battle. A little common sense would say to check your local laws before you buy it for the purpose of joyriding on the streets, or getting a quart of milk, If it’s not specifically LEGAL, then you should logically guess that it could become ILLEGAL.

I don’t have an issue with the sound of the bikes. I have a car too, and I don’t want the responsibility of injuring or killing some doofus who insisted on riding a little bike that is WAY below my sight line. A pocket bike that is obviously unsafe. Think about it… even people who drive little cars can’t see a pocket biike rider on the side of the road… your head is below the level of their passenger door. They look out the passenger side window to change lanes or make right turns, and they CANNOT SEE YOU. If you’re on a pocket bike, you’re roadkill.

That’s the issue, IMHO. If you want miniature bikes that you can race AND drive around in town, campaign to bring back the Yamaha YSR-50s!

On 01 August 2004 (04:09 PM),
Claire said:

After 3 months of telling my 14 yr old son that he couldn’t get a pocket bike, he bought it anyway. I called the parent that sold him the bike and told him that they are illegal to ride under age 16. He said “it was my problem, not his”!! He has the money–I have the headache now!!
I called the local police station and they agreed that he needs to be 16 to ride it. However, they look the other way when they see one.
I’m a parent, I’m the responsible party and I don’t want my kid getting killed!! I guess I’ll be the one getting killed when I throw it in the trash.

On 01 August 2004 (06:40 PM),
Z. said:

Claire, I sympathize.

It seems to me that you need to emphasize your parental RIGHTS over your minor son. Just because he has the money, it doesn’t mean he can just buy a pocket bike and illegally drive it on the streets while you wring your hands with disapproval. You, as the parent, are responsible for the safety of your kid AND the financial liability of any damage he does.

Your 14 year old is not entitled to drive your car either. He might WANT to, but the law says he can’t and being the parent means you have to say, “NO, you can’t, son” and mean it.

So, you need to have a talk with your son. The options are a) sell it, b) we’ll lock it up til you’re 16. He’s a minor kid. You are not depriving him of any legal right. You are in charge of your house, and whatever toys your kid(s) can have. Put your foot down.

BTW- I was 19 when I bought my first moped. I needed a driver’s license for it, and I fully understood my responsibilities and liabilities as a vehicle driver. Problem is that with these pocket bikes, people seem to feel ENTITLED to a piece of the road. Driving is a privilege, not a right.

If people made a stupid decision when shopping, and ended up buying a non-street legal vehicle, yet they’re demanding a piece of the road now that their toys are being banned as safety hazards, I can’t say I’m too sympathetic.

On 02 August 2004 (11:14 AM),
Chris said:

Can someone tell me flat out if pocket bikes are legal or not in California? I’m thinking of getting but i dont want to spend a bunch of money and then have some cop say I can’t ride it.

On 02 August 2004 (06:28 PM),
J said:

I am 25 and I bought a pocket bike and THEY ARE FUN….
All of you guys have become the old fuddy duddy’s that used to stop YOU from having fun when you were younger.
WITH A MUFFLER at that!!!
Next time you old farts fire up that lawnmower for the twenty mintues that it takes you to mow your lawn, you’ll be making TWICE as much noise as a muffled pocket bike. Except you wont be dispersing the noise around, you’ll just be engulfing your poor neighbor with the same noise that you are on this site wimpering about.

The gas powered scooters aren’t for kids, nor can a kid go and fork over the $400 to buy one. So quit trying to outlaw something that’s perfectly fun and safe for us 18-69 year olds that aren’t too busy waving canes at passerby’s telling them to “slow down!”, or “too loud!”.
We prefer to LIVE our lives and have fun doing and experiencing things.


On 02 August 2004 (09:14 PM),
Z. said:


Here’s what the California Highway Patrol has to say:

These are guidelines, and it’s up to the local cities to enforce the law (or not enforce the law) as they see fit. If you happen to live in a city that’s not San Francisco, or South San Francisco, or Fremont, you MIGHT be able to drive a pocket bike on a street, HOPING that the cops don’t pull you over (a pocket bike does not have an explicit right to the road).

But if you do get pulled over, or if the city decides to ban the bikes outright, then a pocket bike owner is S.o.L. with a heap of metal that is unusable unless they want to a) ride the bike in the garage or one’s own backyard (bwa hah hah hah) b) load it in a truck and drive it to a racetrack to have fun c) ride it around any way and anytime you like on one’s own massive farmland.

I live in a city, so for myself, I’d rather be a smart shopper and buy something that’s street-legal to begin with. That way, I’ll never be in doubt and never worry about finding out that overnight, my toy might become illegal.

I LOVE little motorcycles. I like the way they feel, the way they sound, and the way that they help my back and they’re FUN. I’ve driven them for 23 years. I can’t fit on a full-sized bike, so I buy small bikes. But, I make sure they’re street-legal first. I can cruise through the park. I can drive at night. I can have a full lane on anything that’s not a freeway.

In a way, I have something in common with pocketbike riders: My bike is limited legally about where it can go. I can’t drive on a freeway. I know that. I accept that. I knew that when I bought it. I’m not a doofus who’s screaming to get my 125cc bike “legalized” on a freeway, although it can technically go over 60mph. So, if I can accept the limitations of my bike, knowing what it could and couldn’t do, I honestly think pocket bike riders need a similar dose of reality.

What they bought was an off-road, recreational vehicle, just like a dirt bike/trail bike. If they wanted to ride on the street, the first question should have been to the dealer, DMV and the local police, “Can I drive this on the street?”.

All that hollerin’ about “legalize them!” is futile. The banning is just gonna get worse.

On 03 August 2004 (03:12 AM),
Pocket Rider said:

For everyone that is wondering if they are legal or not in California, the answer is no, they are not legal. That is in California, most other places they are. Whoever said that i was very smart, I thank you, because I am. Now, they cant just make them illegal, simply because, then they would have to make motorized scooters, and the little motorized bikes, not pocket bikes, illegal. That as well as they would have to enforce no riding bikes on the side walk, not pocket bikes, i mean regular bikes, and yes that is illegal. Now do u see the problem. That and you only have to tag and insure your car or bike if it is over 50cc, and since they only make pocket bikes up to 49cc, they cant make you do that. That is another problem. For the concerned mother with the 14 year old. Tell him you do have to have a valid drivers license to ride a pocket bike. But do not be too concerned with his safty, the bikes themselves are not that dangerous, it is the drivers that I am concerned with. For anyone that is wondering, yes, I do own a pocket bike, they are a great deal of fun. I do also have a real bike. I didnt buy the pocket bike for transportation, i bought it stricly for fun. If anyone else has anymore questions, please do not be afraid to ask. I thank everybody for their oponion on this, if you would like to contact me, my email is: [email protected]
Thank You once again, and have a nice day everyone!

On 03 August 2004 (06:19 PM),
Chris said:

So they are not legal in California. That is strange because my friend who owns a gas scooter can pass by a cop, wave at him and get away with it. It does’t make sense. They have the same rules right? Oh, and do you think I could get away with riding in a private neighborhood? My friend lives in one.

On 03 August 2004 (07:53 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

The rules and laws are different for everything. Its just that people complain about the pocket bikes, and they dont about the gas scooters. About the private neighborhood, the answer is yes you can. The only thing I would do is ask some of the local residents there and make sure that it isnt going to irritate them. Other than that, all I can say is, saddle up and have fun!

On 03 August 2004 (09:05 PM),
Z. said:

Hey Pocket Rider, I think you’re a cool dude. We don’t agree on some issues about pocket bikes, but I noticed that you can hold your own in an adult- level discussion, and as long as people treat you with respect in posting, and you have good information and well thought-out replies. I respect that.

I can only go with what my state (California) has to say about the bikes. The DMV has made them flatly illegal (on streets) here, and my city has decided to step up enforcement on this. I personally agree with the banning of pocket bikes from city streets. We’re a densely populated city, and there is no way that a pocket bike can be safe for the rider, or for the drivers of other vehicles on the roads like cars, SUVS, trucks.

The liability issue disturbs me the most. Even a pedestrian and a regular bicycle can be seen by most vehicles because the head level of the ped/bicycle rider is high enough to see. A pocket bike rider is not high enough to see. It’s unfair for a car driver to be held responsible for an accident with a pocket bike, because those bikes were never properly designed for street use to begin with.

They need to be seriously redesigned. If, somehow, there can be a law that legalizes the bikes, makes them have enough safety equipment (lights, horns), makes them have a high enough seat height to make them visible to car drivers, and requires that they have enough power to properly take a lane (e.g. 25mph), and requires a driver’s license (any, not requiring an M1), and requires riders to follow all traffic laws, then I’d support pocket bikes on the streets all the way.

I think the whole VIN requirement sucks. DMV in California says that any bike MUST have a VIN to be registered. There’s the coolest little bikes for sale on the ‘Net that are 50-100cc, and have all the bells and whistles (lights, mirrors, horn) on a mini-Harley chopper frame. The seat height is 22″. But those baby Harley-like choppers do not have VINs, and therefore cannot be made street legal, even though they seem to have all the right stuff to be street-legal. If I was in the market for a little bike now, and if I could drive one of those babies on the street, I’d be interested in one.

My beef is with stupidity and irresponsibility when people ride pocket bikes around with no respect for the neighborhood, and no respect for others using the roads. Or kids playing “big shot” with their bikes.

But if the bike is large enough, and requires licensed adult drivers on them, respecting road rules, then I’m willing to support a compromise.

On 03 August 2004 (09:16 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Hey Z, actually we agree on more issuses than you think. I to agree that pocket bikes should be illegal on city streets, and heavy populated cities and or towns. I do however think that in smaller towns the bikes should be able to be rode on residental streets. They should however change the age from 16 to 18 because i remember when i was 16 and giving me something like that, well lets just say that I wouldnt be talking to you guys right now! Z your really cool and actually took the time to know what you are argueing about, thats more than I can say for most people, so thanks for trying to see both sides of the issue, see ya later!

On 03 August 2004 (09:20 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Oh Z, I really agree with you on the lights horn signals and everything, that is why before I bought mine, I made sure to have those things included with the bike. For anyone that is thinking about getting a pocket bike. If they are legal in your town, let me tell you that it is the lights, turn signals, brake lights, horn, exc… that makes them legal. Without those options than it is not legal, and cannot be rode. Once again thank you for taking the time to read my comments, and for posting replys, have fun!

On 05 August 2004 (01:44 PM),
jj said:

if you make the mini bikes on sell like 100.99 you might get more dells

On 06 August 2004 (07:46 AM),
dalton c said:

EXCUSE ME!!!!!!!!!!!!! i have a pocket bike plus i dont go on busy streets or highways so it isnt a problem you know everyone is intitled to an opinion but guess what????????????? YOUR’S SUCKS!

On 06 August 2004 (09:18 AM),
Pocket Rider said:

Dalton C,
Im sorry we are trying to keep this site civil, and grown up. As a fellow owner of a pocket bike, I am asking you to be nice to everyone and if your going to type something make sure it sounds somewhat intelligent. Because if you go just putting random things on the forum, than Im willing to bet that the people that want to bann these things will just laugh at you, In fact I gaurantee it. Do you want to know how I know that, well i’ll tell you.
(1). Because I am laughing at you
(2). Because in your entire statement, you said nothing.
(3). Because you said, “Everyone is intitled to an opinion,” yet you didnt leave one.
(4). Because you said “YOUR’S SUCKS!” and didnt refer to anything at all.
So there are just a couple of reason that I know. Now please stop leaving random things on here, and if you have something to say, then say it, but make sure its worth saying. Once again Thank You everybody and have a nice day!

On 07 August 2004 (12:00 PM),
pocket supporter said:

you people are so fuckin funny why are you arguing pocket rockets are the shit and mybe you people need to get one and if somone wants to kick my ass i live in pa.

On 07 August 2004 (08:36 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Pocket Supporter,nobody has said anything bad about the bikes in like a month. They didnt feel like arguing with me. So now this forum is like a help line for people with pocket bikes, just to let you know. So nobody is going to read you comment except fellow pocket bike owners, or people wanting one. Well now you know what this forum is used for, and if you want to use it for that reason, then feel free. Otherwise please dont make comments like that. Thank You as always, and have a nice day!

On 07 August 2004 (09:01 PM),
Chad Sheridan said:

hey….iam only 14 and i love these pocket rockets…i think its up to your parents to let you buy them…..i just got an electric one and iam gitting a gas one soon…i think they shouldn’t have be licenced becasue they are under 50cc and i herd from people they have to be over that to be able to licence tho…i might be wrong…but all that i no is most people wouldnt do it anyways…and they are fun lil machines…i think they are no harm

On 08 August 2004 (11:07 AM),
Z. said:

Chad, I’m going to have to disagree with you. An “under 50cc” engine is NOT harmless and innocuous as you suggest. A 50cc engine (well, 49.5cc) when geared correctly on a manual shift can go 52mph on the red line. How do I know? I owned a Yamaha RX-50 from 1983-1996 (thirteeen years) and it was a manual shift. I was curious, so I took it on the Great Highway and pushed it to 5th gear, red line. It went 52mph (it was a street legal bike).

Therefore, any pocket bike, if designed in a similar way, can push a 49.5CC engine to a similar speed. It’s a motor vehicle. Not something to give to unlicensed drivers, Chad.

And even something going 25-30mph can also do some damage to other people’s property. I’m not wanting to take your fun away… I think that if there’s a special track for those bikes, or if you have a large property, or if you have someone’s permission to drive it on their property, then it’s cool, and you can have fun as much as you like.

But, when you mentioned “shouldn’t have to be licensed”, I think you’re implying “ride them on the street” and I have to say “NO!” on that.

Don’t let “under 50cc” fool ya, dude. “Under 50cc” can mean some real POWER in a bike. To ride on the street on somthing with a 49.5cc motor, to me, means “DRIVERS LICENSE REQUIRED”. And I had other safety concerns too… detailed in a previous post. They’re not designed correctly for on road use and they don’t belong on city streets, on sidewalks, or in city parks, especially with unlicensed teen drivers.

On 08 August 2004 (12:32 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

I am going to have to agree with Z. Simply because I own a 49cc pocket bike, and you should have to have a lincence to drive it. I say that because I have mine glittered with aftermarket parts and my carb tuned to go fast. The speedominator on mine taps and thats when I am going about 1/2 the speed that I can reach. I just had a friend that had the same bike as me, crash his and he broke his arm, wrist, and ankle, not to mention the bruises and cuts. So they could actually hurt you, and he was lucky to come out with that. I am glad he wrecked because he drove unsafe, maybe now he has learned to drive a little safer. So chad do you see the moral to my story? I am glad you have an electric one, practice on that for a while, until you are old enough to have a lisence. Then get a gas powered one, because like Z I have also owned bikes in the past, and still own a ninja 900. Ill tell you one thing, theses pocketbikes for the size, go faster, handle better, and are MORE dangerous than the real ones, if you would like my oponion on the subject scroll up and read it. Like always thanks for keeping this forum clean and adult like. Please dont make me have to make anyone else look stupid (dalton c), and have a nice day!

On 08 August 2004 (12:48 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Margie, I just read what you wrote, and thank you. I try not to ride where neighbors do not like it. For anyone that has one that happens to read this, do me a favor. Take 20 min out of your day and walk around your neighborhood and ask your neighbors how they feel about it. If they dont like it, avoid their street. This will help with the police as well. Cause hey, if you didnt make people upset, im sure the police wouldn’t care about them. That is unless they are illigal where you live. Thank you, and have a nice day!

On 10 August 2004 (05:06 PM),
johnny m said:

I have a pocket bike. wut is all the fuss, if people will complain about noisy little bikes they why wont we just complain about huge suv’s with v12 and v8 engins that make a lot of noise.
so if u r going to make pocketbikes illigal then go ahead make garding tools illegal while ur at it.

And come on! kids and adults need to have a little more fun its not like u can follow all the laws and also when was the last time u did something fun with ur kid.

yes they r dangurous bout if u r being supervised and stay in a designated area and it is safer than idiots shooting guns all over the place.

and those 50cc engines r only 3 cc smaller what a big deal.

On 10 August 2004 (06:46 PM),
erik said:

so umm well not too long ago i have bought an i think a ninja x-1 so can somebody tell me if this bike is illegal. becuase damn i bought it and i haven’t rode it except once in a private area. im hella scared about riding them in the streets becuase i heard some people’s pocket bikes are confiscated by cops when they get caught riding one on the street. my bike has everything as far as headlights, horn, signal lights, break lights. so can somebody tell me if this is illegal in the sidewalk. and plus i dont understand those people who rides mopeds. i mean damn how come cops dont pull them over it runs with a motor. well i dont know probably becuase they are more likely to be seen by people becuase they are standing up. so yeah can somebody explain to me if the one i have is street legal and can be used in the bicycle lane or sidewalk???

On 10 August 2004 (07:31 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Once again people this is no longer a forum for complaining, it has changed to a pocket help forum. Thanks to me. So please dont mess up my hard work and complain when nobody has said anything bad about them for about a month. For you Erik. It depends on where you live, they ARE illigal on sidewalks, bike lanes, main roads, highways, exc… Most places they are legal on residental roads and private neighborhoods. Just ask you local police. They would most likely give you a warning before they took your bike. And next time check with the local laws before buying something that my break those laws. As always thank you for your comments and questions. Have a nice day!

On 10 August 2004 (09:20 PM),
Z. said:

Oh, here we go with guns again. How the heck do guns and pocket bikes even compare? (as in, “it’s better to have a pocket bike than shoot guns all over the place”). What a non-sequitur! I suppose we might as well say “it’s better to steal a X-box game from a store than to knock some old lady over the head, steal her money and then go out and buy drugs”.

Comparison of pocket bikes and gardening tools don’t wash either, as I’m probably not going to hit a hedge-trimmer with my car on the street.

As Pocket Rider said, it’s been a while since there have been complaints about pocket bikes. Instead, Pocket Rider and I have been having a good discussion about our mutual concerns about the bikes, and discussing the circumstances on where and how certain ones should become street legal. We’re also trying to HELP people so they don’t end up buying the wrong thing for the wrong purpose.

We are also trying to give some advice to people who want to know some stuff. I think this is a good forum for people to ask questions and LEARN. Let’s try and keep it that way.

On 10 August 2004 (09:52 PM),
Z. said:

Erik, there’s a very good reason why mopeds don’t get ticketed and pulled over. They’re legal motor vehicles. That license plate on them entitles them to a full lane and a piece of the road.

Mopeds meet federal and state safety standards, have all of the necessary equipment to make them street legal (headlight, brake light, turn signals, horn, height), and they also have VIN numbers, which the DMV will register.

A moped isn’t a lark… you have to have an M2 driver’s license, insurance, and it has to be registered every year. Mopeds can even get tickets for being parked on sidewalks sometimes! A meter maid who has a quota might want to lay down the “letter of the law” and enforce “no motor vehicles on the sidewalk”.

The only things that pocket bikes and mopeds have in common is a motor and 2 wheels. I am sorry that you are afraid of riding your pocket bike on the street, being afraid of a ticket and confiscation. I think you had made a mistake in buying the wrong type of bike for the wrong purpose. If you had found this forum earlier, we would have advised you to check with your local police and DMV first. And if you really wanted to drive on the street, I would have advised you to skip the pocket bike and go for a moped, or a scooter, or a true motorcycle, so you won’t be in doubt.

On 11 August 2004 (10:51 PM),
erik said:

well alright this is whats going on. i talked to the california highway patrol, dmv, and the motorcycle safety department and they all told me that to ride a pocket bike, you need to have at least an m2 license or m2 permit, a helmet, and the pocket bike to be registered through dmv. however the sorry part is, that the motorcycle safety department said that dmv are only allowed to register pocket bikes that are 50cc and higher. the gay part is that i have a 49cc ninja x-1. damn! so yeah in order for it to be registered, i needed a title for the pocket bike, proof of insurance, and all those necessary information that needs in able to get the bike registered. other than that, the california highway patrol said it IS street legal but only with at least an m2 permit, helmet, and registered vehicle. so basically, they treat the pocket bikes just like real motorcycles and that mopeds are treated in a different definition. i asked the CHP officer and he went off about the difference in restrictions of the two. i dont remember what he said but i just know it was pretty gay. so yeah..thats that, and now im looking forward into having it sold. thanks for the advise and info though Pocket Rider and Z. im outie

On 12 August 2004 (01:14 AM),
Pocket Rider said:

Well, first of all, sorry but pocket bikes are illigal in California. That is why they have those laws, you have to tag it and insure it, but you cant do that unless it is above 50cc. They screw you. Sorry bout your luck, but that is how they decided to go about banning them. Just like, you can sell weed legally if you have a license to do it, but if you try to buy one you get arressted, its just something they are allowed to do, so they do it. Wish you could of had a chance to really ride it, cause they are alot of fun if they cops are cool with them. Once again Im sorry and eveyone have a nice day!

On 12 August 2004 (10:35 AM),
kool-azz rider said:

pocket bikez ar teh bomb
by kool-azz rider

don’t be hatin’ on my pocket bike
so what if I’m sittin’ lower than a baby on a trike
i like ridin’ em cuz they are fun
if you don’t like it, tell it to my gun

i rode it on the sidewalk teh other day
i yelled at some old dude “get outta teh way”
he looked at me like i did something wrong
but I know my rights – so he’d better move along

i gotta be cool an pocket bikes are teh shit
so move your suv cuz I don’t wanna get hit
if you try to run me over im tellin my mama
an’ she yells louder than my 15 inch brahma

all you haters are just really ghey
if you don’t like the noiz then go away
all my friends havem an we don’t care
so try an stop me if you dare

teh end

On 12 August 2004 (12:03 PM),
pj said:

I dont understand what everyones fuss is about. I ride dirtbikes, crotch rockets, and i also have a 50cc 2 stroke pocketbike.If i want to go out and ride it in the street im not risking anyone elses life, im only goin to injure myself. If i get hit by an automobile the driver is not going to get injured. It all depends on what kind of thrill you like. And unless you have rode one, than you cant talk about how wrong they are.

On 12 August 2004 (01:36 PM),
Pocket Pool Player said:

Not exactly correct pj. I’ve not taken to buggering 12 year old boys, but I can still talk about how wrong it is. And as for the assertion that the driver of the automobile isn’t going to be hurt, I can tell you that although I disagree with riding a pocket bike on the street, I’d still feel very badly and be emotionally scarred if I ran over you while you weren’t hurting anyone but yourself.

On 12 August 2004 (04:20 PM),
jackie said:

Does anyone know of any tracks in southern california that allow the pocket bikes. My boyfriend and I bought 2 so we could have fun with them but that was before we got 2 tickets from the cops and learned that they were illegal. Thankfully we only got tickets and they didn’t take them from us. We are still looking for a legal place to ride them without risking them. It really sucks that the pocket bikes are illegal and go-peds are not. go-peds can go just as fast if modified and they are also noisy and not registered. CHP said they only need to have a helmet and follow the road rules in under 25 MPH areas. It’s rediculous to say one is okay and not the other. the only difference is the shape of the vehicle. It looks like a little motorcycle and therefore police don’t want to catergorize it as a scooter otherwise they would have to have the same laws. Well a power wheels is a motorized little car but there’s no problem with that cuz it goes slower! Well then where’s the law that tells me how fast something has to go to before it isn’t a toy anymore & is considered illegal?

On 12 August 2004 (04:38 PM),
jackie said:

One more thing to add….For those of you complaining it’s obvious you don’t own pocket bikes cuz if you did you wouldn’t be complaining! They are awesome and safe, it’s the bad california drivers that I have to worry about. At least you can hear them coming like a mile away just so that they are a little safer to ride. For drivers who are worried about hitting them, I’m sure you would feel bad if you hit any kid on any type of transportaion (bike, scooter, skateboard, etc.) Those don’t even make any noise so you’ll never know they’re there and if you’re not paying attention you could hit anyone, that’s why I agree that you should have a driver’s license cuz licensed drivers know to watch out for cars!!! And for those of you complaing about the noise don’t seem to get it! If you let riders ride them on the streets in the bike lanes with helmets they wouldn’t run them up and down your neighborhood, they would only be loud for a second as we pass you by on the street just like a Harley Davidson does now!

On 12 August 2004 (04:44 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Ok, ONCE AND FOR ALL, this is not a place to leave dumb ass remarks or comments about pocket bikes, and yes that includes songs of any sort.
That was lame, and by the way they are illigal on sidewalks. Oh thats right, you know your rights, oops forgot. I hope anyone you yell at, Kicks the living shit out of you, then trashes your bike. Peopl like you are the reason they get banned, and people like me are the reason they are still even around. So if I were you, and if you still wanted to ride your bike, and do whatever you wanted on it. Stop acting 11 and let the grown ups handle this one.

On 12 August 2004 (07:18 PM),
kool-azz rider said:

Geez, why’d ya have to be so mean? I was just playin’ man. Please don’t ban me from this here Pocket Bike Forum.

Pocket Rider-

Just because some of us have not posted any comments lately does not mean we don’t read what’s going on.

The fact that your recent comments have been civil and educational is admirable. JD hasn’t turned off comments or banned any IP’s, so he must not be too upset that you have turned this weblog entry into a Pocket Bike Forum.

But, that doesn’t change the fact that most of these Pocket Bikes are operated illegally and in a matter that is a nuisance to other citizens. My little bit of lame poetry was simply a parady of what I (and many others) see as the typical Pocket Bike Rider (based on many of the posts here).

Don’t get too cocky and start trying to dictate who can and can’t post here. If I want to post more lame poetry, I will; and if I want resume the complaining about pocket bikes, I will.

You may have turned this entry into a forum for pocket bikes, but that doesn’t change the fact that foldedspace is a weblog that is all about freedom of speech.

On 12 August 2004 (07:25 PM),
Z. said:

I’m with you, Pocket Rider. All of a sudden, what’s all this “people who dis pocket bikes are gay” crap that we’re seeing? How to these people think that “gay” and “hating pocket bikes” have to anything do with each other anyways?

You’re right… people w/ pocket bikes and a jr. high school mentality are part of the problem. Flipping off people and turning up a snotty ‘tude isn’t gonna make the bikes LEGAL. It’ll just piss off more VOTING-AGE adults and get them to push the police for more banning, more enforcement, more citations and bike confiscations.

Instead, if more pocket bike riders were more like you… like talking some sense and reason, and acting like responsible people, then I’m sure that more people would be willing to work things out. Act reasonable, and amazingly, a lot of other people (even if they don’t agree with you) will act reasonable in return.

Originally, I took a look at this forum to see what the controversy was about. I saw some good arguments and stupid-ass ones, both pro and con. I think it’s stupid as hell for a pb-hater to imply that picking off bike rider with a gun would be a fun thing to do. Pb-riders don’t deserve to be shot at for sport.

It’s just as stupid for a juvenile pb-rider to claim “rights” and imply that they have a gun to enforce their supposed “right” to ride it. Pb-riders stamping their lil’ feet, acting like brats and throwing a tantrum doesn’t get any respect either. It just makes grown-ups associate pocket bikes with jerks and snotty kids, which isn’t fair to respectable adult pb-riders.

Road rights aren’t free… they come with a hefty responsibility. Seems that some people missed the point.

On 12 August 2004 (07:36 PM),
Z. said:

Just a thought…

With Erik and Jackie’s situations, shouldn’t pocketbike dealers be REQUIRED to do all the research upfront about local laws, and hand out that information to buyers and prospective buyers? It must really suck for people to hand over cash for a pocketbike, thinking that they can “have fun” and getting the (wrong) impression that they can go to the store or a friend’s house on their bike but end up getting ticketed by cops. It must ALSO really suck to find their several-hundred dollar toy hauled off by a tow truck.

Unless the pocket bike dealers are jackass money-grubberss (hey, we just SELL you the bike. After that, your problem), shouldn’t they be doing a real service for their customers?

As I said, people seem to get caught up with “wrong bike/wrong purpose”. A simple thing, making up a flyer and putting it in the shop, could have saved a lot of people the grief. It s seems that people just don’t KNOW what they can and can’t do with the bikes and sometimes, parents get lulled into “Oh, that looks so cute, I’ll buy one for Junior” without knowing the local laws, so it’s hard to expect Junior with his birthday money to know more than those parents.

On 12 August 2004 (07:59 PM),
Z. said:


I didn’t even know “Power Wheels” were until I looked them up! You mean the little Fisher-Price car for toddlers?

No child is going to take a Power Wheel on the street. They’d be doing circles in the back yard, or in the garage, or in Mommy and Daddy’s driveway, (under supervision) but that’s about all. Some pocket bikes are seriously underpowered (the ads boast: GOES up to 14 mph!!!) and obviously, those don’t belong on the street, just like Power Wheels will never be on the street.

Other pocket bikes can go much, much faster, but that’s the rub… they’re neither/nor. They’re not toys and they’re not truly legal motor vehicles. If they’re underpowered, they can’t go fast enough to avoid a dangerous traffic situation. If they’re powerful 49cc bikes, then they have too much power to hand out to unlicensed drivers. Most of them don’t have enough safety equipment and they’re too small for, say a bus to see. So, a pb is either too little or too much, depending on the type.

And the amount of noise is not a safety feature. people might have their car windows up and have their radios on loud. They won’t hear the buzz of a pb, so don’t depend on just the noise to alert people that a pb is on the road.

Jackie, I’d suggest that you do what Erik is gonna do… if you seriously wanted to ride on the street, sell the pb and get something else that has a license plate. Then you will have real road rights, and no one can hassle you over your new bike. That way, instead of wishing that things (laws about pb’s) were different, you can just go out and RIDE!

On 12 August 2004 (11:36 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Kool Rider, Ill tell ya what. Post anything that you wish to post, but I can promise you if it is something that I dont belive to have a meaning and makes sense, I will make you look stupid. I dont like to do that but I have done it to several people on here, and they no longer post. So it is up to you what you type you have that right, but it is up to me to choose to either like it, agree, disagree, or hate it completly and make you wish you never posted it. If you dont think that I am (a) smart enough (b) have the balls to or (c) will think twice about showing your stupidity, im sorry but you are sadly mistaken. You can try me if you wish.

On 12 August 2004 (11:40 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

For everyone else, if they are not legal where you live then there is no advise that I can give you but to agree with Z and sell it. They do make ones that are over 50cc and can be taged, insured, yada yada yada, but I would check with the DMV and local laws before I bought one. If anyone else has any problems with their bike than let me know, Im sure I can help you out, and if I dont know, Ill find out for you. People im not mean, an ass, or anything of the sort. I just worked too hard for too long to get this forum where it is, and I will not sacrafice someones comments and fuck it all up. Im really a nice guy, if you come to me with real questions and concerns. As always Have a nice day!

On 13 August 2004 (12:03 AM),
Pocket Rider said:

Come to my new forum where we will start new again, the address is:

On 13 August 2004 (07:17 AM),
kool-azz rider said:

Welcome to my sever about Pocket Bikes, sorry all messages have to be approved by me before they are posted. Hope this forum will be of some help to some people.

Ummm… you may want to work on not making yourself look stupid before you try to make me look stupid.

Hint: If you want to get more hits on search engines, you may want to change your phrasing a little – something like “Welcome to my Pocket Bike Forum”.

Good luck with your forum – I really hope things go well for you. If you can educate a bunch of teenagers who have attitudes like my little poem, then you are to be commended.

If things go really well, you may want to consider using vBulletin as your server.

On 13 August 2004 (10:34 AM),
Pocket Rider said:

Congrats! you caught me in a typo. I dont like vBulletin, and This is going to be a private forum, if I wanted it to be real public, id make it that way. It is not only teenagers that I have educated, if my memory serves me right, you thought you could ride them on sidewalks. Hmmmm…. well there I seemed to have educated you now. If you knew any better you would know that nothing with a motor is allowed on the sidewalk, and another law that may suprise you, regular bikes aren’t even supposed to ride on them. Sidewalks are for people on their own feet, only. Not only that but it wasnt a poem, the way you worded it and the groups you have it in does not classify as a poem, nice try though. Oh and as far as typos and spelling goes, I just LOVE all the words in your so called poem. You have to be what, like 13, because I dont know any 18+ year olds that still use Kool. But hey im sure your a smart guy, you may be able to figure out how to spell, and youll get older,and if your really lucky, maybe, just maybe one of these days you might know what the hell you are talking about, and leave an intell. message.

On 13 August 2004 (11:01 AM),
kool-azz rider said:


1. A writing in which the language or sentiment of an author is mimicked.

I thought you had figured out by now that my little poem (song?) was meant as a satirical parody.


1. A composition, generally poetical, holding up vice or folly to reprobation; a keen or severe exposure of what in public or private morals deserves rebuke.

2. Keeness and severity of remark; caustic exposure to reprobation; trenchant wit; sarcasm.

On 13 August 2004 (11:28 AM),
pj said:

If everyone would take a look around, its usaully not high school kids riding pocketbikes. It is the VOTING-AGE adults. So dont imply that everyone riding them are kids who are just out to cause trouble.

On 13 August 2004 (11:43 AM),
PJ said:

hey there pocket pool player, why dont you go play wiht yourself some more. Its not 12 year olds riding pocketbikes its the adults, so dont say that everyone riding one is a child. And for the bit about you being emotionaly scarred, get a life man. What the hell, why would you be scarred, it was the fault of the pb driver not yours. ITs all the choice of whos driving the pocketbike, to decide if they want to go and play in traffic.And if you would become scarred maybe you shouldnt be driving, you could hit a car and kill that person just as quickly. You people make it sound like pocketbikes are invading the city streets and you cant miss them. You have more of a chance of getting in a car accident and killing that person, than you do of ever hitting and killing a pocketbike driver.

On 13 August 2004 (11:46 AM),
pj said:

On 29 July 2004 (02:07 PM), pj said:

Pocket bikes have a new official name: “Trailer trash bitch bikes”. This moniker is more representative of the demographic that rides them.

OK, i definately didnt post that so whoever is acting like a fucking juvenile fag, your not cool.

On 13 August 2004 (02:29 PM),
civicsport1 said:

Hey I have been gone for awhile from here and now trying to read up. first I would like to say thanks to pocket rider for your comments on this.
I really don’t see why this is such a heated topic. I am heated that the fact that the government is enchroching on our rights one small one at a time. I also wanted to clear up what I said about the politicians and them needing to remember that they were a child once. I did not mean that they should make laws based on a childs perspective. they should just remember that they probably were not perfect and did some stupid things growning up and now look at them. it did not seem to effect them. Just let me decide whats good for me and set some ground rules so I don’t hurt others in the process. I receintly attended a motorcycle gathering in the area I live and there are always a few pocket bikes that show up. Needless to say that when you have about 2-300 bikes in one parking lot, the cops are bound to show up. well I stoped one the other day and asked him about what he thought about pocket bikes and he said that he did not care if you ride as long as you are not cuasing a hazard to other drivers, meanign zipping out into traffic and you are staying to lower speed limit streets ie. (residential with 25 mph limit) and you have the proper safety equipment. he also added some sarcasm. ” that if some one wants to ride their bike out into a busy street and get crushed by a car, I will be happy scrape up your carcase off the road” well you know what. he hit my feelign on the head. I do not feel that the person driving the car should have to go through the trauma of hiting and possibly killing someone but really if the pocket bike rider does try to battle with suvs and other cars then really they kinda deserve what happens. I own a ninja, and I abide by the laws of the state to ride safely, I also own a waverunner and I have taken the proper boaters safty courses and I try to abide by them as well, they should also make rules for these but not just come flat out and say they are illegal and thats, that. like people have said its not like smoking where studies have shown there are heath hazards with that, there has been no research on this and nor shoudl there be. its just a hobbie, please have fun. I enjoy racing my neighbor but I am the older rider of the group. and I get on teh kids cases when they buzz through a stop sign or zigzag across the street. I keep telling them that they should ride like they were diving a car. stop at the stop signs ride on the right side of the road and yeld to ALL cars. I do the same on the water. I know I am on a waverunner and i can outrun most other boats but I stll keep in mind that there are rules and I am on a much smaller craft and in a head to head collison I am going to be the looser. so everyone on a pocket bik should know the rules of the road, maybe have to take a safty course for younger children and give them a certificate for passing the course and place an age limit. I was talking to my neighbors father abtou the way his son rides and how well he does. We looked at one aspect to younger then riving age kids riding these things, they will grow up to be much better motorcycel riders, unlike me who never rode a bike before and my first one I got two years ago and smashed it up twice already. I had to learn the hard way that grabbing front break in the rain is not a good thing, as well as look, lean turn and never look down or you will go down. two mistakes I tought my neighbor and I hope that it will save his life when he starts riding for real.
thanks for reading

On 13 August 2004 (10:25 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

For one, Kool Riker, be gone, it seems im not the only one that doesnt like you or your comments. Also Kool, make up your mind first it poetry, then i tell you its not so your calling it satirical parody, hmmmm just seems like when it comes down to it you have no idea what you are saying. And maybe if i knew you longer than i would have known that, but posting it as a first comment, come on. Nobodys going to know that you were kidding, There are sooo many dumb ass people with dumb ass comments,its not funny. So if you want to post an actual comment and be a little serious, go ahead, ill commend that. And for two, Thank You Civic, I wondered where you went. The forum has sorta changed since you got on. I agree with you I dont know why the topic is so heated, because in all actuality it isnt that big of a deal. Also about the rules, your right on that. Everyone should have to drive it like it was a car. That insures that each ride is safer and that you are less likly to get introuble. LOL, about the front brake thing, watch out those can be real trouble. Well thanks for posting everyone. Have a nice day!

On 14 August 2004 (04:11 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Visit the new Forum at leave what ever you wish.

On 17 August 2004 (07:27 PM),
Aaron said:

I live in Eden Ny york 14057 i was thinking of buying a pocket bik do uknowif i am able to ride the roads.

On 17 August 2004 (07:29 PM),
Aaron said:

I live in Eden Ny york 14057 i was thinking of buying a pocket bik do uknowif i am able to ride the roads.

On 17 August 2004 (07:29 PM),
Aaron said:

I live in Eden Ny york 14057 i was thinking of buying a pocket bik do uknowif i am able to ride the roads.

On 17 August 2004 (10:13 PM),
Pocket Rider said:

Ask your local law department.

On 19 August 2004 (10:24 PM),
Nam said:

Pocket bikes are one of the funnest things to ride and cruise on. They are safe if you know how to drive it so kids under 15 shouldn’t drive it. Drivers should have a helmet and everything will be okay. Most pocket bikes are under 50cc and under california law motors under 50cc do not need to be registered but has to have headlights, brakelights, signallights. I heard california is going to ban all pocketbikes. I think they just dont wanna see people have fun. and about the noise; noise is going to be everywhere. There are many more things than pocketbikes that will make noise as loud as that. To the pocket bike haters BACK THE HELL UP. we’re just trying to have fun, not cause trouble.

On 20 August 2004 (09:55 AM),
Z. said:

No, no, no, no! I’m sorry to say that your information is quite outdated! California law says nothing about “bikes with motors under 50cc do not have to be registered”.

If you have no intention of riding your pocket bike on public streets, then registration is irrelevant. Go ahead, buy the bike and take it to a pocket bike track and have a good time. If you happen to have a large property, or own a parking lot, or a warehouse, then you can do whatever you like with the pocket bike on that property.

California Law specifically forbids using pocket bikes on the street, period. Cities may enforce the law as strictly as they wish to, and it is possible that some towns might turn a blind eye on riding the bikes on the street. But don’t take it for granted that “Hey! This bike is under 50cc. I don’t need to register it and I can ride it up and down the block, no problem” because you wouldn’t have a leg to stand on, and you could have trouble with the cops for making that wrong assumption.

It doesn’t get any clearer than this:

Read up, be informed and know the facts.

And don’t think that California banned them just to take away people’s fun. It’s public safety, and because California is such a car culture, it just isn’t safe for those bikes to be on the streets with cars, buses, trucks and SUVs.

I’m not dissing your bikes, I’m just telling you the facts. Like I said in an earlier post, I don’t understand why the pocket bike dealers don’t give people the right information in the first place!

Be safe, and be smart. Buy the right kind of bike for your purpose.

On 24 August 2004 (02:33 PM),
Kyle said:

I,m 16 and i live in jersey i can’t get my license till im 18. what do want me to do ask my parents to drive me every were. . . I don’t think so.i have a summer job and i am realy thinking about buying one. I give u that they are noisy and acident prone but they are no more dangerous than an real motorcycle. I am for them as long your responsible you know speed limit type of stuff. I know every one wanted something realy bad when they are or were young and this is just another generation.

On 26 August 2004 (03:43 PM),
Paul Schoolfield said:

New Pocket Bike forum – in need of moderators and participants. Please join us or help in spreading the word:

On 27 August 2004 (10:41 AM),
Z. said:


According to your NJ DMV, it says that you can get a motorcycle license at age 17. Where did you get the idea that you had to be 18?

Nobody said that they expected your parents to drive you everywhere, so how did that ever come up?

It would be irresponsible for us to say “Go for it. Drive it around to go from Point A to Point B without a license”. Not to be a party pooper, but I think you need to make some calls to your local police and DMV and find out if you can legally buy a pb and drive it around without a license. If they say that it is allowed, then go ahead, buy it and drive it responsibly, like you said.

But if they tell you that you need a license and registration, insurance, etc. then you’re out of luck for at least another year. If you don’t have a motorized alternative, then you can get around on a regular bicycle or a bus, just like every other 16 year old did before pocket bikes made it big.

On 28 August 2004 (05:13 PM),
Steve said:

I think Pocket Bikes are great. Like come on loosen up a little. Who cares if there loud because there just as loud as all that other gas powered equipment out there. I think Pocket Bikes should have the same laws a bicycle has. A helmet to be mandatory I could go with that. But come on what the ____ to all those people out there that disagree with pocket bikes. I believe they should be ridden on the sidewalk but to be considerate the riders should slow down to less than 5 mpH when passing a pedestrian. I can understand how there dangerous on the roads because your head is as high as a cars bumper. I’m just going to say one thing: Times have changed and the toys are more advanced these days and as a 13 year old I think I speak for most I’m going to be purchasing a pocket bike in a short while and if some bored cop decides to confiscate it from me I’m going to be really angry.

On 28 August 2004 (05:15 PM),
Steve (again) said:

One more thing I forgot to add. Pocket Bikes are a great source or transportation for teenagers like me. I would be able to get to my place of work faster than ever.

On 28 August 2004 (06:07 PM),
Z. said:

Ride them on the sidewalk??? You’re joshing us! NO WAY! In a city, there’s way too many pedestrians around, and the sidewalks are packed with people going in both directions. Some are so packed that pedestrians can’t move around each other, so how the heck is a pb supposed to move around safely? I think that people (old ladies included) are entitled to walk on a sidewalk without worrying about some skateboard, bicycle or pb hitting them while they’re shopping or walking home. How fast can YOU brake? Not fast enough, dude.

It doesn’t matter how angry you’d be if you buy a pocket bike, drive it illegally (on sidewalks, or on city streets, whatever) and get it confiscated by the cops. Being angry isn’t going to make them legal. And being a 13 year old who sees a cool new toy and wants it does not give you rights to the road, that’s why we keep telling people to check with their local laws FIRST before buying the bike. Bicycle laws cannot apply to a pb because a bicycle does not have a motor and will not be zooming around town at speeds up to 52mph.

We don’t like to see kids, or grownups getting in trouble and ending up being out a few hundred or thousand bucks if/when their bikes get confiscated because a) They misunderstood the DMV laws b) They didn’t care about the law- they went ahead and broke it anyway because their “fun” was more important c) They bought the wrong bike for the wrong purpose… thought that a pb was like a moped and could use it for transportation.

I donn’t want to be a jerk to you, but I really have to give you a reality check. It’s better that you hear this stuff NOW instead of AFTER getting into trouble. Sometimes people gotta tell you what you don’t want to hear, because it is in your best interests.


On 29 August 2004 (11:07 AM),
Steve P said:

Hey Z,

I forgot to tell you that I live in a small town and I come across a pedestrian every 5 10 minutes.

On 29 August 2004 (11:08 AM),
Steve P said:

Hey Z,

I forgot to tell you that I live in a small town of only 20,000 people and I come across a pedestrian every 5 10 minutes.

On 29 August 2004 (11:18 AM),
Robert A said:

-Pocket Rider

Eat shit, give people a break if they wanna ride [pocket bikes then let em. You dont always have to be fucking snob. Don’t make fun of kool-azz-rider hes the best. Fucko.

On 29 August 2004 (09:37 PM),
Z. said:

Hey Steve,
Thanks for clarifying. Even if your town is only 20,000 people, it is highly unlikely that you can drive any motorized vehicle on it, unless you are severely physically disabled, and you need a motorized wheelchair.

Have you talked to your folks about your ideas about a pb? Do they know that they have to pay any fines that you rack up? Do they know that they would be fully legally responsible for anything you do on it (presuming that a person your age can legally ride a pb on the street at all)? Your true legal status is “minor child”, so of course the cops won’t write a ticket out in your name, and no one will slap you with a lawsuit or a demand to fix the damage to their car, etc… your parents would have to pay it, and out-of-pocket too. Their car and homeowner’s insurance won’t cover what you do on a pb.

First steps:

1) Talk to your folks about your desire for a pb. They HAVE to agree to it. If not, you are SOL. You cannot go against your parent’s wishes. They run the show and can veto any toys and stuff you want, even if you are spending your own money.

2) If they agree, have them call the police dept and the DMV to check on the local laws regarding unlicensed teen drivers on pb’s on the streets or sidewalks. It is unlikely that what you want to do is legal, but you and your folks NEED to know.

I still don’t understand where this idea of “ride them on the street” comes from. There has always been dirt bikes and go-carts and dirt buggies and mini-bikes. But, even back then, people didn’t think anything with an engine and wheels belonged on city or town streets. PB’s were designed for racing on paved tracks, not to drive on streets.

Just because they’re small, does not mean that it is a handy way of circumventing road rules, such as age requirements and a LICENSE. A motorcycle is a motorcycle… subject to the same road rules as a car (and then some). I had to pass two different written tests to get my M1 license.

If a pb manufacturer happens to make a pb large enough, with all the safety equipment to make it street legal, I don’t understand why they do not stamp a VIN number on it, so the owner can legally register it and drive it on the street, just like a true motorcycle. Otherwise without a VIN and a plate, most pb’s are only good for the track.

On 30 August 2004 (08:22 AM),
Steve P said:

Thanks Z,

besides my parent my not even let me have one because they know they are illegal. I might get one but I might not. And I live in Canada and maybe the laws are different but there probably the same. I might just wait until I get my M licence and buy a Suzuki Hayabusa GSX 1300 R

On 30 August 2004 (11:39 AM),
Drunk Stepdad said:

What gets me is how they are sold as ‘toys’. But they really are intended to be a track-only racing ‘motorcycle’. They are illegal on the roads for the same reason that a go-kart, an atv, or a snowmobile. It’s not made for the streets.

On 30 August 2004 (07:18 PM),
Nick said:

OK Guys, Ive heard all the guff regarding noise. I have to boys 6 and 8 years old. I bought them each an electric pocket rocket. They don’t ride them on the street and I still have neighbors screaming at my kids to get off their rockets.—-Tough Luck—, these units have all the same rights to use the sidewalk as an electric wheelchair. Get over it, TOYS HAVE CHANGED!!! They have a top speed of about 20 mph, no more dangerous than their bikes and probably a lot less dangerous than their razor scooters. My kids race dirt bikes on the week end and believe me can maneuver these bikes like pros. Dangerous-No, Noisy-No, Good, Clean Fun-YES

On 30 August 2004 (07:18 PM),
Nick said:

OK Guys, Ive heard all the guff regarding noise. I have to boys 6 and 8 years old. I bought them each an electric pocket rocket. They don’t ride them on the street and I still have neighbors screaming at my kids to get off their rockets.—-Tough Luck—, these units have all the same rights to use the sidewalk as an electric wheelchair. Get over it, TOYS HAVE CHANGED!!! They have a top speed of about 20 mph, no more dangerous than their bikes and probably a lot less dangerous than their razor scooters. My kids race dirt bikes on the week end and believe me can maneuver these bikes like pros. Dangerous-No, Noisy-No, Good, Clean Fun-YES

On 30 August 2004 (09:20 PM),
Z. said:


It’s cool that you are supervising your kids when they ride their dirt bikes and their pocket bikes… that’s what parenting is all about. Dirt bike riding is a great way that you can be with your kids and the whole family can have fun. I never had an objection to dirt bikes used for their intended purpose. If I had kids your age, I might share my love of small bikes with them and take them out to the trail, too. And when they’re 16 and show themselves to be responsible, I’d help them get their license for their first street bike, too. Heck, I’d probably be riding right behind them, yelling out instructions and telling them how to drive safely!

I don’t believe for one second that a pocket bike has the same rights to the sidewalk as an electric wheelchair! Elderly people (who are adults) are one thing, but kids on a “play” vehicle are not equal.

That’s a “no way in hell” thing. I’d like to see some proof of that “entitlement”. If you’re lucky, your local police might turn a blind eye, but don’t take it for granted that driving on the sidewalk is an entitlement.

On 31 August 2004 (01:02 AM),
Drunk Stepdad said:

Wow Nick, you sound like a great dad, with that ‘in your face’ style of parenting. It seems like you’ll give your kids whatever they want, and let them do whatever they want. Thanks for raising more punks that the rest of us have to deal with!

Although I will agree, if you’re complaing about noise of the mini-motorcycles, you have too much time on your hand. It’s the aholes that have car radios that shake your house from 3 blocks away that should be shot.

Of course, that’s probally one of your kids in 10 years, isn’t it?

On 03 September 2004 (11:38 PM),
Steve said:

Hey Drunk Stepdad,
Even though I don’t even know Nick why the fuck are you making fun of his kids? And why do you have a desire to kill people that like to listen to there music loud? Thats sick. Your probably just another one of those sick fuckos out there that find shooting people amusing and all that other sick shit. So I’d say don’t comment on Nicks kids and stop being a mother fucking prick. Oh ya and the type of parent you sound like is the one that ignore there kids and there kids turn out to be just the same fucking lowlife you’ve become.

On 06 September 2004 (10:58 AM),
playa said:

in virginia the legal age to ride the pocket rocket is 13

On 06 September 2004 (10:58 AM),
playa said:

in virginia the legal age to ride the pocket rocket is 13

On 06 September 2004 (10:58 AM),
playa said:

in virginia the legal age to ride the pocket rocket is 13

On 06 September 2004 (10:58 AM),
playa said:

in virginia the legal age to ride the pocket rocket is 13

On 06 September 2004 (10:58 AM),
playa said:

in virginia the legal age to ride the pocket rocket is 13

On 06 September 2004 (10:58 AM),
playa said:

in virginia the legal age to ride the pocket rocket is 13

On 06 September 2004 (10:58 AM),
playa said:

in virginia the legal age to ride the pocket rocket is 13

On 06 September 2004 (10:58 AM),
playa said:

in virginia the legal age to ride the pocket rocket is 13

On 06 September 2004 (10:58 AM),
playa said:

in virginia the legal age to ride the pocket rocket is 13

On 06 September 2004 (10:58 AM),
playa said:

in virginia the legal age to ride the pocket rocket is 13

On 06 September 2004 (10:58 AM),
playa said:

in virginia the legal age to ride the pocket rocket is 13

On 06 September 2004 (11:03 AM),
john hamphery said:

the legal age to ride a pocket rocket in the Richmond part of Virginia is 13 years of not sure about california but i heard it is 16

On 06 September 2004 (11:03 AM),
john hamphery said:

the legal age to ride a pocket rocket in the Richmond part of Virginia is 13 years of not sure about california but i heard it is 16

On 06 September 2004 (11:03 AM),
john hamphery said:

the legal age to ride a pocket rocket in the Richmond part of Virginia is 13 years of not sure about california but i heard it is 16

On 06 September 2004 (11:03 AM),
john hamphery said:

the legal age to ride a pocket rocket in the Richmond part of Virginia is 13 years of not sure about california but i heard it is 16

On 06 September 2004 (11:03 AM),
john hamphery said:

the legal age to ride a pocket rocket in the Richmond part of Virginia is 13 years of not sure about california but i heard it is 16

On 06 September 2004 (11:03 AM),
john hamphery said:

the legal age to ride a pocket rocket in the Richmond part of Virginia is 13 years of not sure about california but i heard it is 16

On 06 September 2004 (11:03 AM),
john hamphery said:

the legal age to ride a pocket rocket in the Richmond part of Virginia is 13 years of not sure about california but i heard it is 16

On 06 September 2004 (11:03 AM),
john hamphery said:

the legal age to ride a pocket rocket in the Richmond part of Virginia is 13 years of not sure about california but i heard it is 16

On 08 September 2004 (02:16 PM),
mookie said:

That’s pretty cool.

On 08 September 2004 (02:16 PM),
mookie said:

That’s pretty cool.

On 08 September 2004 (02:16 PM),
mookie said:

That’s pretty cool.

On 09 September 2004 (01:30 PM),
pocket rocket boy said:


On 29 September 2004 (01:05 AM),
lil guy makin all that big noise said:



On 29 September 2004 (01:05 AM),
lil guy makin all that big noise said:



On 28 October 2004 (03:00 PM),
oo said:

i dont even see haw anyone can ride a pocket bike by the ages of 14 and up..i meaan how do you bend dowwn to even ride them????

On 04 November 2004 (09:41 AM),
Jeremiah said:

This pocket bike frenzy is stupid I have gotten a driving on a suspended lisence for driving one of those little stupid bikes down a abandoned road. apparently you have to have a legal lisence to operate one.

On 17 November 2004 (12:17 AM),
Chaz from Oregon City said:

Fuck all of you who hate pocket bikes. It is fucking stuped, I have a super bike and it is very quite and a gas scooter and it is the same way. I can see how it is a little unsafe if some one is riding like a fucking dum ass. but there is no harm if some kids wanna have some fun on the pocket bikes. A lot of my friends have pocket bikes and scooters and mini choppers and no one bitchs about us ridong them, we are out till 8:00pm and no one minds it as long as we dont ride by peoples houses like 4 to 5 times so all of you fucking pocket bike haters, get a fucking life and bitch about something else. And you only have to be 16 to ride pocket bikes and scooters in Oregon.

On 17 November 2004 (07:42 AM),
Kool-Azz Rider said:

Fuck all of you who hate pocket bikes. It is fucking stuped, I have a super bike and it is very quite and a gas scooter and it is the same way. I can see how it is a little unsafe if some one is riding like a fucking dum ass. but there is no harm if some kids wanna have some fun on the pocket bikes. A lot of my friends have pocket bikes and scooters and mini choppers and no one bitchs about us ridong them, we are out till 8:00pm and no one minds it as long as we dont ride by peoples houses like 4 to 5 times so all of you fucking pocket bike haters, get a fucking life and bitch about something else. And you only have to be 16 to ride pocket bikes and scooters in Oregon.

You see this people? This is what happens when you cut school budgets down to nothing. Way to go Oregon!

On 22 November 2004 (06:17 PM),
nate said:

all u haters about pockets need to shut the fuck up . please

On 22 November 2004 (06:17 PM),
nate said:

all u haters about pockets need to shut the fuck up . please

On 22 November 2004 (06:17 PM),
nate said:

all u haters about pockets need to shut the fuck up . please

On 04 December 2004 (10:33 AM),
mat said:

i understand your points of veiw about the pocket bikes, however it occurs to me that kids, (and some adults) are just trying to have some fun.

On 07 December 2004 (03:23 AM),
Chaz From Oregon City said:

fuck you Kool-Azz Rider. All Im trying to say is we all wanna have some fun on pocket bikes and scooters. Thats it so back the fuck off all of you.

On 08 December 2004 (12:48 PM),
Dwayne said:

you people have got to be kidding we are talking about a toy here? Just because half of you are so damn old that you didnt have shit like that when you were young, dont ruin it for kids of this day and age. What the hell is so damn wrong with someone that knows the danger of pocket bikes and still chooses to ride one. you risk you life every time you step in a car what are we going to ban those too?? Just Because some of us want to live a little, dont hate us for that. Im sorry that we want a little something to look forward to or to live for. AND TO ALL YOU PEOPLE THAT ARE JUST GOING TO WORK COMING HOME AND BASICALLY JUST TAKING UP SPACE,,,,WHAT ARE YOU LIVING FOR.GET A HOBBY OR SOMETHING, DAMN, YOUR BASICALLY JUST LIVING TO DIE IF THATS THE CASE WHY DONT YOU JUST

On 08 December 2004 (01:15 PM),
Dwayne said:

Just so you know, that comment i posted prior to this one wasnt directed at old people in general it was for those that eat, sleep, shit and complain about everything that doesnt benefit them. those grumpy old (or i should say older) people that are just mad at the world. so if that is not you please do not be offended by my comment,
but if that is you…….TAKE MY ADVICE.

On 08 December 2004 (06:12 PM),
i boy that have one said:

i c what all u are saying i have two and i also race them on the gp pocket bikes are very fun and unsaft but everything is insaft walking down the street is unsaft so we have to take a chanc we all are going to die one day so fuck it

On 09 December 2004 (12:29 PM),
you know you wannnnnnt it…. said:

society as a whole will always be fearful and critical of the something new or unknown. give it some time, the novelty will wear off. the law will lighten up, people will relax, and pretty soon it’ll be just like a motorized scooter, they’ll hear it coming, look up at it, shrug their shoulders, and move along. that’s it.
but to all you other pocket riders, just play it safe so you don’t end up getting your bike confiscated. ride safely in safe and designated or private areas. ask your neighbors if they mind. be respectful of others. exercise a bit of tolerance and i’m sure we’ll find a place for our bikes. I ride one, i’m 29, i’m a professional, highly educated, and just want to have fun,… but i still understand that there is a time and a place for everything. ripp down the sidewalk at 40 mph, cruising thru pedestrians? wrong. no helmet? wrong. but in a warehouse, backyard, race tracks, during the day, in a cul de sac?….no big deal. just play it safe, for you and everyone else. prety soon, no one will even raise and eyebrow…
that’s all for now.


On 09 December 2004 (07:56 PM),
me said:

i want one for christmas r they fun and does anyone know if the r legal in ga

On 23 December 2004 (02:18 PM),
Jakar Stephens said:

how does a pocket bike work

On 23 December 2004 (08:54 PM),
Adam said:

my pocket bike i off the chain

On 23 December 2004 (09:06 PM),
Adam said:

All yall haters need to grow up and live a little. And let the kids have fun and enjoy there child life even the adults.

As a matter of fact everybody needs to have fun because you onley get to live for so long.

On 24 December 2004 (08:05 AM),
Chaz from Oregon City said:

Live each day like its your last. So have fun

On 27 December 2004 (02:54 PM),


On 27 December 2004 (02:55 PM),
Fun said said:

have fun fun fun fun fun……………….. fun

On 30 December 2004 (11:37 AM),
Coery said:

Ok,all the people that say pocketbikes are annoying and dangerous,are gay.They’re gay.Thats it.If you can’t dodge a person on a sidewalk,GOING STRAIGHT, then you suck.I ride dirtbikes.If you’re out at the desert ,Ocotillo, for example and you’re going down Wolf Wells Road and HIT a bush on the side of the road you don’t belong riding a dirtbike unless you’re like 4 years old and are riding a 50.But the point is that Wolf wells Road is the most straight,longest(almost) road in Ocotillo.If you hit the bush on the side of the road you suck.You have 20 feet to go left and right.The sidewalk is the same thing.Just smaller.It is straight and there is nothing to run into except people.If they are in the way you either ride off the curb(which I have done) or tell them to get the hell out of the way.But when people hear you they usually get out of your way.What the should do is make you take a test at the dmv and if you pass you can get a pocketbike license.You should be able to be any age.And when I got my pocket bike I would go piss all the old people off and laugh at them in their face.Yeah!Down with stubbern people!Just to let all the gay people know that they do make pocket bikes with lights,horn,blinkers and mirrors.When I get my license I’m going to get a NSR 50 and put a YZ426F motor in it.It will go like 100.Thats 4000 times louder than a pocket bike.How do I know this I have one.119 decibles(FMF full titainium system)For all the gay people that think pocket bikes are annoying,you don’t know what you’re missing.Late

On 30 December 2004 (11:37 AM),
Coery said:

Ok,all the people that say pocketbikes are annoying and dangerous,are gay.They’re gay.Thats it.If you can’t dodge a person on a sidewalk,GOING STRAIGHT, then you suck.I ride dirtbikes.If you’re out at the desert ,Ocotillo, for example and you’re going down Wolf Wells Road and HIT a bush on the side of the road you don’t belong riding a dirtbike unless you’re like 4 years old and are riding a 50.But the point is that Wolf wells Road is the most straight,longest(almost) road in Ocotillo.If you hit the bush on the side of the road you suck.You have 20 feet to go left and right.The sidewalk is the same thing.Just smaller.It is straight and there is nothing to run into except people.If they are in the way you either ride off the curb(which I have done) or tell them to get the hell out of the way.But when people hear you they usually get out of your way.What the should do is make you take a test at the dmv and if you pass you can get a pocketbike license.You should be able to be any age.And when I got my pocket bike I would go piss all the old people off and laugh at them in their face.Yeah!Down with stubbern people!Just to let all the gay people know that they do make pocket bikes with lights,horn,blinkers and mirrors.When I get my license I’m going to get a NSR 50 and put a YZ426F motor in it.It will go like 100.Thats 4000 times louder than a pocket bike.How do I know this I have one.119 decibles(FMF full titainium system)For all the gay people that think pocket bikes are annoying,you don’t know what you’re missing.Late

On 30 December 2004 (12:00 PM),
BOOBS said:

People that think a 49.5 cc pocket bike goes fast then you are a frikin whimp.Yeah some guy Z in the middle of the page said tha he had a RX went like 53.Hay guess what dumbass your bike has 5 gears not 1.Who the hell wants to gear their pocket bike high.not some ten year old.Yeah maybe a 15 or 16 yearold.People you have to understand there are 14 year old kids that ride CR 500.If you don’t know what a CR 500 is a real mans bike that will make you crap your pants.It is the biggest dirtbike out there.And there is going to be some dumbass that would say something if I didn’t type this.For a 4 stroke to be able be equal with a 2 stroke it has to be Twice the size of a 2 stroke.CR 500(2 stroke) up against an XR1000.If you try to find a way to make me think IM wrong I’ll have an answer to your question

On 01 January 2005 (11:38 AM),
neighbor said:

Speaking of those mini bikes and pocket rocket bikes, this 9 yr old neighbor boy to me recently got what I think is a battery powered pocket bike for Christmas. Anyway, earlier today I saw him fighting with his 4 year old brother over the bike, cursing him out and so forth. Soon afterward, I saw the four year old flip the bird on each hand to his mother, then jump on the pocket rocket and ride off down the street, escaping his mother who tried in vain to catch him! And these are some of the kids who get those type of bikes! Makes a bad name for the responsible people are riders and fans of mini bikes.

On 14 January 2005 (09:36 PM),
pocket bike owner said:

i am parcially going with neighbor on this one. i ride pocket bikes in races only. not down public streets. Riding them on streets is not what these bikes are made for. And little kids swearing and bigger kids also is just showing how bad parenting can effect the children of todays society. Now these pocket bikes are also not ment for children electric ones mabe but for kids 8 and over. Gas Powered pocket bikes are mostly for race purposes only, they are much to fast for sidewalks. and if there are no lights on the bike then the road is out of the question. Reading all of the bad things people are saying about how annoying they are and giving the riders a bad name, just angers me. The sport is a lot of fun and is usually organized. they have many performance upgrades just like a car only much cheaper. pocket bikes are much to fun to ban from any state and even if they are banned the kids will find more reason to ride them because it might get their adrenaline pumping and wut not. just think about it before you try and give us, pocket bike racers and sellers, a bad name. WE REALLY ARENT BAD PEOPLE well most of us anyway. as for those stupid little kids they need a spanking with a belt or sumthing because those parents are defanately not doing the right thing.. Thank you

On 14 January 2005 (09:46 PM),
Pocket bike owner said:

oh and listen boobs you stupid idiot. its not the speed that matters. its the skill of the riders to do sixty around a tight turning track. I own a cr 500 and no i dont shit my pants everytime i see it. and when you are goin 60 on a pocket bike it feels like 80 in a car. when you are close enough to the ground you see it going by you much faster. Shut up you asshole until you have jumped on a highly tricked out pocket bike and try to race going sixty around a a tight turning track. Dirtbikes are fun and all but pocket bikes are fun too.

On 17 January 2005 (12:46 AM),
Mr. Experience said:

Interesting comments here. As a two year veteran of electric and gas scooters and pocket bikes I can tell you that many states have now made it LEGAL for these vehicles to operate on some public roads and city sidewalks. For example, our great state of Texas passed a law that makes these vehicles legal to operate on any city street with a posted pseed limit of 35 mph or less, as well as city sidewalks. It requires riders under the age of 18 to wear protective head gear. Like anything else, these vehicles can be used and enjoyed properly or misused in a dangerous manner. It’s up to the parents to teach kids about safety and to supervise them. Let’s face it – most beer-chuggin, burger eating, cell phone slinging SUV drivers are MUCH more of a danger to other drivers. That’s what should be banned!

On 19 January 2005 (12:55 PM),
Kevin said:

If any motorcycle riders are looking to buy a pocket bike, you can check out They are pretty descent and look like a trusted site.

On 20 January 2005 (09:23 AM),
biker child said:

i think everything with a motor should be banned from all countries around the world if you think something like a pocket bike should be banned because of safety issues when the damn things were created for the “adult child” adults drink and drive everyday, cars with numbers on them go speeds 225 plus and you cheer them on kids on dirt bikes get praise for not falling down and now this little motorcycle is under attack because it looks like the big one but has a weed whacker engine on it?? come on now its not about safety on them its where can those who own them ride them. if you help to create a place for these bikes there will be less problems with these bikes. i personally have a place for me and the ppl who own them to go and it has helped the problem solving

On 25 January 2005 (08:05 PM),
boobs said:

Ok mr Pocket bike owner.I have a shifter kart with a 125cc motor in it with six gears.It tops out at around sits approx 3/8 of an inch off the ground.It will beat the shit out of your cr 500 off the line so bad it wouldn’t be funny.I also have a 426 thats tricked out to a bitch and the same with my Kx 125 with 40 horsepower.If you want to see my 125 go to google.on the web type… you want to talk about fast hop in a shifter kart 3/8 of an inch off the ground and take it up to 94 beeotch.It will beat the crap out of a tricked out pocket bike.

On 29 January 2005 (03:23 PM),
sam said:

hay i live in england and work all the time with minimoto’s we have grc motos witch can range from 1,500 pounds to about 3,000 pounds alot of money concidering the size of them. you think this but there amazing fun. the new world record for a minimot was set a couple of months ago by a man whom reached 78mph! amazing concidering the size! this was a grc moto cost around 3,000 again but these are the ultimate bikes of there class! nothing like these cheap ones on the market now. 300-400 pound ones tend to be slow and fall apart for starting on there great! you want to be fastest then buy GRC!!

On 07 February 2005 (03:23 PM),
David said:

Ilove pocketpikes. I have 1so what waht are you going to do about it . so what if the make nosies
so what if their low
so what if their fast your not going to die. yes I have been stopped befor but if you are going to band them you sould at lest make a park where we can ride them with out getting in troupple .

On 03 March 2005 (09:52 PM),
Keith said:

I just got a pocketbike about 2 weeks ago and I havent got caught by the cops with it yet. I hope I dont because it is illegal and I also have an illegal blue neon kit for my pocket bike, so I would be in even bigger trouble. My friend just got pulled over today by the cops and he said he will have to go to court if he gets caught riding again and he just got his 2 weeks ago too and that was the first time a cop talked to him. I have had my motorized scooter for almost 3 years and have barley got bothered by anyone. I used to think it was loud because me and my dad bolted a 2.5 HP motor onto it. Once I got my pocketbike I realized it was really loud, but you’re going so fast that people on the street hear it only a few seconds. Actually I get smiles from old people and people seem to like it, so really what is the big deal. Also the idea of making a track to legaly ride these on would be pretty cool. Anyway, whatever shit face made the law agains pocketbikes pisses me off. Anyone who calls the police because someone is riding a pocket bike is just a jealous bitch. (If anyone wants to know a good website for pocketbike neon, Its

On 05 March 2005 (01:04 PM),
Steven said:

Those people that say that ALL pocket bike owners are imature are wrong. I am 14, I own a pocket bike, and drive it very carefully on the street. I don’t think it should be illegal. Just have supervision over the younger children. Plus, the people that say that are to loud are just making up an excuse to ban pocket bikes on the street. It make the same noise as the people who mowe their lawns Sunday at 7am. If you think pocket bikes are to fast, your wrong. Most pocket bikes don’t even go up to 35mph- the dealer or websites might say it goes faster, but that is just for them to sell their product.

On 03 April 2005 (03:24 AM),
pocket bike lover said:

i think pocket bikes are mad and if u think they are 2 noisy u dont have 2 ban them put silencers on them. why the hell sould u haters care about our safety GET A LIFE!!!!!! let us have some fun i mean think about it silencere duh geez. lay off relax.

On 03 April 2005 (03:25 AM),
pocket bike lover said:

i think pocket bikes are mad and if u think they are 2 noisy u dont have 2 ban them put silencers on them. why the hell sould u haters care about our safety GET A LIFE!!!!!! let us have some fun i mean, think about it, silencers duh, geez. lay off, relax.

On 03 April 2005 (07:14 PM),
wizzer said:

I just got a pocket bike 2 weeks ago and the cops already caught me but they said that its cool and they got my back if any1 is bitchen off about the noise,….. lol Fuck u all who hate pocket bikes also.. im 13 and i dont got shit to do so i can just go ride my pocket bike and dirtbike when i want to.. U c what im tryin to say all u fuckin gay asses who dont like them?

On 03 April 2005 (07:19 PM),
wizzer said:

I live in colorado and anything here under 49cc is legal to ride where ever the fuck u want to!!!!!!!!!!!So come move here if its so fuckin bad in cali
>>>>>>>>>>>>> GOT IT?

On 06 April 2005 (05:11 PM),
josh said:

WOW! why are you all so uppset about the pocket bikes they are not that loud. you dont get mad about loud cars with loud mufferlers and music coming past your house at sometimes midnite and even later but you get all pissed off about a little buzz go by during the day and the sound doesent even last long i promise you if you wer to ride one of these bikes you would want one TRUST ME the first time i rode one i absolutely loved it and allmost all my friends have them i personaly think that they should have to wher a helmet that is verry important. and wut is the deal with you guys thinking they go to fast on my foot pettaled bikes i can got up to speeds of 25 miles per hour that is all most as fast as a pocket bike. the poeple are allways complaning that we should go out side and that all we do is play games! now that we do find somthing fun that guys and even girls like and we use the bike out side now they say that we shouldent be out side rideing bikes so wut are we suposed to do out side if we illegalize these bikes and it is also a motivation tool you can use it to help your children dont do there work or if they dont listen to you and it also teaches you chiled reasponsibility it teaches them to save there money, DONT BYE THE BIKES FOR YOUR CHILDREN!if they want it they need to bye it there self. if you dont want your child going so fast than get a governer for the bike!!!!!!! my child is saving for a bike. he also loves these bikes. when do your children get the chance to ride a motor bike?? does you child want a bike when he or she gets old enought? then they need to no how to ride a motor bike so they can get to understand the controles and dangers of a bike like what it can and cant do. so i think that every one needs to calm down about the whole pocket bike thing. what is the piont of living without some fun. and please understand you only live once and you mite as well live it up.please just let your kids have a little fun before they are to old. thanks for reading thoughts about the pocket bike. SEE YALL! PEECE.

On 06 April 2005 (07:16 PM),
J.D. said:

I’ve left this thread lie fallow for a long, long time, but I think a point of clarification is necessary. And I’ll put it in bold for emphasis:

Nobody’s really complaining just because pocket bikes are loud. No, that’s not it at all. You’re all right: some cars are loud, too. No, the real complaint is that pocket bikes are loud continuously as they putter up-and-down the street over and over and over again.

A loud car passes through the neighborhood and is gone. Most pocket biker riders cruise up and down the same streets over-and-over again, so that the noise is there continuously. That’s the problem.

Does that make more sense?

On 07 April 2005 (02:15 PM),
Josh P. said:

i have a pocket bike and go-kart and the cops have came to me twice. they really only had to come becouse somewone complained. for all who do complain why. if you dont like it then tell the rider/owner when it would be ok to ride it or if they want a siclencer on it or somthin. its just a bunch of kids trying to have fun. i bet when you were a kid you did somthin that somewone else diddent like. comon people. you all who caller the cops are the kind of people who sit in their house and dont do anything. but if somewone does somthin to have fun and you want to do the same thein or are jelous or dont like the kid or somthin you ge mad and call the police. lighten up people.

oh for all the pocket bike riders you all can ride it on your driveway and yard so just annoy them that way.

On 15 April 2005 (12:53 PM),
LA Rider said:

Hell on wheels: pocketbikes face new regs in LA

On 19 April 2005 (10:13 PM),
J.M said:

i dont realy get what the big deal is with pocket bikes if ur care full dont drive up one streen over and over again then it should b okay i can understand people getting anoyyed if they kept goin up and down the same street,but if u dont like it just go talk to them 99% of the time they will stop or go somewere else i dont get y old, or stuck up people run others peoples honest fun ps. GET OVER THE LITTLE BUZZ ITS NOT GOIN TO KILL U!

On 24 April 2005 (04:46 PM),
que said:


On 28 April 2005 (08:03 PM),
offhahead said:

i have a 50cc scooter the cops see me and try to run me over it is shit. yeah i ride hard but im careful my scooter goes 50 kms and ive done more modifications it goes faster the cops now i have to sell it i want 250 4 it give me a call 0422757196

On 28 April 2005 (08:03 PM),
offhahead said:

i have a 50cc scooter the cops see me and try to run me over it is shit. yeah i ride hard but im careful my scooter goes 50 kms and ive done more modifications it goes faster the cops now i have to sell it i want 250 4 it give me a call 0422757196

On 05 May 2005 (07:04 AM),
offhahead said:

hay pocket rider your pretty cool you no wat to say i like u ive still got my 50 cc scooter. what can i do to get it going plz help me 3 day ago it was mby brithday my mum said take it out 4 a spine so i did i was racing a a water cooled pocket bike when i gave it to it i killed him i stop and the cops were after me i turned in to a mates house lucky i need your help i wear all the safety gear now i need the power plz help me pocket rider thanks brendon

On 05 May 2005 (07:04 AM),
offhahead said:

hay pocket rider your pretty cool you no wat to say i like u ive still got my 50 cc scooter. what can i do to get it going plz help me 3 day ago it was mby brithday my mum said take it out 4 a spine so i did i was racing a a water cooled pocket bike when i gave it to it i killed him i stop and the cops were after me i turned in to a mates house lucky i need your help i wear all the safety gear now i need the power plz help me pocket rider thanks brendon

On 05 May 2005 (07:04 AM),
offhahead said:

hay pocket rider your pretty cool you no wat to say i like u ive still got my 50 cc scooter. what can i do to get it going plz help me 3 day ago it was mby brithday my mum said take it out 4 a spine so i did i was racing a a water cooled pocket bike when i gave it to it i killed him i stop and the cops were after me i turned in to a mates house lucky i need your help i wear all the safety gear now i need the power plz help me pocket rider thanks brendon

On 14 May 2005 (07:57 AM),
s d said:

okay heres the deal whats the problem of having a little fun on our streets im mean cmon its just a little motorized bike that cant realy go that fast any ways.i mean every body has one look around and do they realy look so dangerous and also if its to loud they can just get a silencer on there pocket it cost like 30 bucks and after its on the pocket bike will sound a little louder than an electric pocket bike so just let the kids have alittle fun on neibor hood streets

On 22 May 2005 (11:03 AM),
gskthunder said:

omg all i see in here are a bunch of whiners. i am a 31 year old male, i have a pocket rock bike and it’s fun to ride, and i also have a moped, BTW mopeds are not loud as some of you complianed about. we all have a kid in us, weather you want it to show or not, let that kid inside of you come out and take a mpoed for a ride. i live in fort worth texas. our mpoed is regs. as the law wants, the mini pocket rocket i am going to get info on it to see if i have to reg. that also. mopeds and scooters are street legal, the pocket rocket i have isnt though, top speed is only 25mph my moped is 30mph. as far as noise goes, yes the pocket rocks are a bit noisey, and mopeds and scooters are not loud, think how loud a harley is……hummmm think about that, they are louder than most pocket rockets, and most mopeds and scooter (not the little scooters you stand up on) are quiter than lawn mowers. i have a 3 year old son and a 12 year old step son, my 3 year old has a 1hp hot wheels gas powered go kart, he loves it, think back when you were a kid riding your go kart or a friends go kart, how fun that was, well that is how much fun i have at 31 years old on a pocket rocket. my wife, step son and i take turns ride it, in a empty parking lot. but as far as the moped i drive that thing everywhere. so stop whining about the pocket rockets, there not that bad, there fun. LET THE KIDS BE KIDS and yes part is the parents fault for not showing them the correct way to ride them, and they dont go over the laws with there kids on these things. our family knows the law. and they are not spoiled because they have these fun toys. how many of you bought a PS2 or an XBOX for your kid(s)? think about how much that cost you, well i can tell you it cost just as much as a moped,scooter, and a pocket rocket, so dont say these kids are spoiled that have these things you spent the same amount of $$$$ on a video game. oh and by the way i work on these things for the kids and parents in my neighborhood so 😛 when you see or hear one coming do the road, think back when you were a kid. i will say there should be a cut off time for riding them if in a parking lot near houses. if you have a problem with these things be a man or a grown woman and go to the kids house and talk to the parents and info them about the law. ok well i will stop writing now i have to go get gas for these things. P.S all you pocket rocket and moped/scooter riders RIDE ON AND HAVE FUN, OBEY THE LAWS IN YOUR AREA.

On 08 June 2005 (03:26 PM),
Dude said:

Pocket Bikes should be legal,there fun hott and a load of fun…soo if us teens want to ride um..then let us ..who cares about the dangers?

On 08 June 2005 (03:26 PM),
Dude said:

Pocket Bikes should be legal,there fun hott and a load of fun…soo if us teens want to ride um..then let us ..who cares about the dangers?

On 17 June 2005 (03:56 PM),
James said:

Fuck all of you niggers that hate pocketbikes.Fuckin faggot ass bitches

On 27 June 2005 (07:45 PM),
cameron dillard said:

i would like to see pictures of a pocket bike , i bet people would actually buy your stuff if you had pictures i really want a pocket bike i am 15 years ,old and i bust my butt every day so i can save up to buy one and i heard your site was pretty good

On 27 June 2005 (07:45 PM),
cameron dillard said:

i would like to see pictures of a pocket bike , i bet people would actually buy your stuff if you had pictures i really want a pocket bike i am 15 years ,old and i bust my butt every day so i can save up to buy one and i heard your site was pretty good

On 13 July 2005 (05:45 PM),
Doach Choad said:

Hey queers.If you see any of us pocket bike riders and we fall and eat shit(which we won’t) just go ahead and laugh.It will make you feel better because if all you do is bitch about us riding them than just laugh when you see one crash.Don’t worry about it.Fuck you.Nigger.Dick sucking fat mother fucker who takes it up the ass.Well have a nice day people!Thomas Chadd sucks bick dick!!!!!!!!!

On 24 July 2005 (10:59 AM),
english kid said:

Pocket Bikes in america are slow, me and my friend here have a blata origami watercooled minimoto, and they do 70-80mph, and only 50cc they are not road legal here, and we dont know where too ride them so we just go too a carpark after the supermarket is closed

On 31 July 2005 (10:14 AM),
NFSGamerUSA said:

Apparently most of you think pocket bike riders are all idiots, who don’t care about the rules of the road, who don’t wear any safety gear, carry their friends or “little brother or sister” along in the middle of the night and puposely annoy people. NOT ALL RIDERS ARE LIKE THAT!! I have a pocket bike, I stop at stop signs, wear a DOT APPROVED HELMET, ride only in daylight, as they are already hard enough to see, riding at night doesn’t help, I’m don’t carry ANYONE on my bike, and I don’t bug people out of their minds. If you think pocket bikes are loud, what about all of the weed eaters and lawn mowers people use, why don’t you call the police and complain about them being loud, as they’re not any quieter than pocket bikes. I know, the reason you don’t call the police on them is because it wouldn’t being ruining kid’s fun, it would just cause someone to have a half-cut lawn.

On 31 July 2005 (03:49 PM),
** said:

I agree with NFSGamerUSA.

…-english kid, dont lie they are slow here in america, but dont exagerate-blata-they dont go 70-80mph they go about 45-55 freekin liar

On 31 July 2005 (03:49 PM),
** said:

I agree with NFSGamerUSA.

…-english kid, dont lie they are slow here in america, but dont exagerate-blata-they dont go 70-80mph they go about 45-55 freekin liar

On 31 July 2005 (03:49 PM),
** said:

I agree with NFSGamerUSA.

…-english kid, dont lie they are slow here in america, but dont exagerate-blata-they dont go 70-80mph they go about 45-55 freekin liar

On 02 August 2005 (08:30 PM),
PocketDude said:

Does any one no if pocket bikes are legal in virginia cuz im 12 and gettin one

On 02 August 2005 (10:06 PM),
PocketDude said:

i dont htink u shuld have 2 be 16 cuz im 12 and i can ride my 60mph x12 pretty responsibly and none of my neighbors get pissed off at me they actually wanna ride it! i think pocket bikes should be leggalized that would be be so fun. o yeah and all u faggets bitchin ur probaaly just some 80yr fuck that just was ass fucked and stays in ur house all day, ur probaaly all fat cuz u never go out! thats wuts wrong with some of u guys u dont wanna live life on the edge ur just pussies! u never go out and ur the kinda nieghbors that call the cops and ruin the fun!

On 02 August 2005 (10:06 PM),
PocketDude said:

i dont htink u shuld have 2 be 16 cuz im 12 and i can ride my 60mph x12 pretty responsibly and none of my neighbors get pissed off at me they actually wanna ride it! i think pocket bikes should be leggalized that would be be so fun. o yeah and all u faggets bitchin ur probaaly just some 80yr fuck that just was ass fucked and stays in ur house all day, ur probaaly all fat cuz u never go out! thats wuts wrong with some of u guys u dont wanna live life on the edge ur just pussies! u never go out and ur the kinda nieghbors that call the cops and ruin the fun!

On 05 August 2005 (01:03 PM),
Ian said:

Adults think we don’t know pocket rockets aren’t street legal and just because when they had mini bikes they were stupid and rode them in the street and got hit doesn’t mean we’re going to,and yes they did have them back then.
O’yeah um,”PocketDude” next time your “making a point” at least spell faggot right. But I say lift the ban off of California!

On 05 August 2005 (01:03 PM),
Ian said:

Adults think we don’t know pocket rockets aren’t street legal and just because when they had mini bikes they were stupid and rode them in the street and got hit doesn’t mean we’re going to,and yes they did have them back then.
O’yeah um,”PocketDude” next time your “making a point” at least spell faggot right. But I say lift the ban off of California!

On 05 August 2005 (01:04 PM),
Ian said:

Adults think we don’t know pocket rockets aren’t street legal and just because when they had mini bikes they were stupid and rode them in the street and got hit doesn’t mean we’re going to,and yes they did have them back then.
O’yeah um,”PocketDude” next time your “making a point” at least spell faggot right. But I say lift the ban off of California!

On 06 August 2005 (04:50 PM),
123456789 said:

pocketbike dude: x12 do not go 60mph tops is 40mph: dont bullshit little kid!

On 06 August 2005 (04:51 PM),
123456789 said:

pocketbike dude: x12 do not go 60mph tops is 40mph: dont bullshit little kid!

On 21 August 2005 (01:49 PM),
pocket bike fan said:

I think that pocket bikes should be aloud. My friend has one and the neighbors think its cool not annoying.

On 21 August 2005 (06:51 PM),
NFSGamerUSA said:

**, you seem to be the only one that much about pocketbikes, have you ever been to If you haven’t, you ought to visit there because they offer lots of help on pocket bikes, same for everyone else reading this thread. It’s a great place to get into pocket biking at!

On 21 August 2005 (06:51 PM),
NFSGamerUSA said:

**, you seem to be the only one that much about pocketbikes, have you ever been to If you haven’t, you ought to visit there because they offer lots of help on pocket bikes, same for everyone else reading this thread. It’s a great place to get into pocket biking at!

On 21 August 2005 (06:52 PM),
NFSGamerUSA said:

**, you seem to be the only one that much about pocketbikes, have you ever been to If you haven’t, you ought to visit there because they offer lots of help on pocket bikes, same for everyone else reading this thread. It’s a great place to get into pocket biking at!

On 28 August 2005 (05:35 PM),
rossinirider said:

actualy the X12 goes 60 mph if its 110 cc if its 49 it goes like 25 mph

On 30 August 2005 (01:19 PM),
NFSGamerUSA said:

No, 110cc X12s only go maybe a little over 40, I assure you they do not go 60. The stock speedometers on ANY Chinese pocketbikes are so innacurate it makes a 3 year old look good at math.

On 30 August 2005 (01:19 PM),
NFSGamerUSA said:

No, 110cc X12s only go maybe a little over 40, I assure you they do not go 60. The stock speedometers on ANY Chinese pocketbikes are so innacurate it makes a 3 year old look good at math.

On 07 September 2005 (06:55 PM),
pocket winner said:

anyone know the laws of a pb in colorado cuz ive got one & my mom wont let me ride it til i know it wont get taken away

P.S. Fuck you anti pocket bikeists yall dont even know how good it feels to ride them and yet you criticise us for enjoying life a little bit dammit

On 08 September 2005 (03:15 PM),
NFSGamerUSA said:

pocket winner, I don’t know if it is or not, but most everywhere it is. If I were you, just ride it until a police man stops you or says that that’s illegal, just say, “I didn’t know it was illegal to ride on the street, sir, I’m sorry. I won’t ride it the street again. Thank you for notifying me (Unless he isn’t nice and doesn’t let you off with a warning or even a ticket, but instead takes it away).” Also, don’t be so rude to people who don’t like pocket bikers being on the street. Cussing them out only makes pocket bikers look worse and more hated all around the country, think before you say things.

On 17 September 2005 (11:35 PM),
MJ said:

what has gone wrong with america what is wrong with you people. i may as well move to a another communist country because this one is getting weirder and expensive. we all cant do anything without somebody or a nasi cop dipping into our personal business. my grandfather and father died for this country, why to see it turn into a sociaiist nation. what a bunch of weak uptight rude self centered people we have become. where is joe mccarthy when you need him. there are 19000 murders in the usa and the cops are worried about pocket bikes!!!!!
maybe if the hoodlums could have a cheap thrill on a pocket bike or whatever it would give them something else to do.

On 18 September 2005 (01:16 AM),
pocket racer champion said:

I think pocket bikes should be allowed on public roads. they may be dangerous but accisents happen every day and police should be doing more important things instead of confiscating peoples pocket bikes. they are is powerful as scooters and can be customised to be just as noisy. We should just be atleast to ride them in the bike lane or the footpaths or at the minnium at public parks

On 20 September 2005 (08:00 PM),
NFSGamerUSA said:

Well, I think they should be legal, but people in cars usually can’t see them, especially the really small ones, like mine. I think there should be a drivers permit for small enigned vehicles, such as pocket bikes, that you could aquire at 13 or 14. I know here in Alabama you can get a motorcycle permit at age 14 (I wish I had a real motorcycle; I’m 14), and if you put a tall zip flag on your bike you’d be a lot more visable. It’s just that all of these dumb kids get on them and run stop signs and lights and hit and get hit by cars.

On 20 September 2005 (08:00 PM),
NFSGamerUSA said:

Well, I think they should be legal, but people in cars usually can’t see them, especially the really small ones, like mine. I think there should be a drivers permit for small enigned vehicles, such as pocket bikes, that you could aquire at 13 or 14. I know here in Alabama you can get a motorcycle permit at age 14 (I wish I had a real motorcycle; I’m 14), and if you put a tall zip flag on your bike you’d be a lot more visable. It’s just that all of these dumb kids get on them and run stop signs and lights and hit and get hit by cars.

On 20 September 2005 (08:00 PM),
NFSGamerUSA said:

Well, I think they should be legal, but people in cars usually can’t see them, especially the really small ones, like mine. I think there should be a drivers permit for small enigned vehicles, such as pocket bikes, that you could aquire at 13 or 14. I know here in Alabama you can get a motorcycle permit at age 14 (I wish I had a real motorcycle; I’m 14), and if you put a tall zip flag on your bike you’d be a lot more visable. It’s just that all of these dumb kids get on them and run stop signs and lights and hit and get hit by cars.