13 April 2006

Port Security finds stolen Yamaha after 34 years


Let's hope they're as good at keeping out the bombs as they are at keeping in the beauties.

For the second time in recent months, the Department of Homeland Security has prevented a stolen collector's-item vehicle from being shipped out of the Port of Los Angeles.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers Wednesday returned a classic Yamaha motorcycle swiped 34 1/2 years ago off a Long Beach street to its surprised and delighted owner.

The motorcycle, still in good shape and running condition, was discovered in a shipping container destined for Lahti, Finland. A man there purchased it last fall on EBay from an unsuspecting Visalia, Calif., resident for $1,725.

As authorities returned McMeen's motorcycle to him, they had former Long Beach Police Officer John Finn hand over the keys. Finn, who retired from the department 16 years ago, took the stolen vehicle report Oct. 4, 1971, when a chain was cut and the Yamaha RT 360 was taken from outside McMeen's apartment on Nieto Avenue in Belmont Shore.

"I told Mr. McMeen we'd probably get it back," but not to expect it right away, Finn said.

I think that may qualify as the understatement of both centuries!

McMeen received a helmet from Long Beach Police Sgt. Dave Cannan, who reminded him that a helmet safety law had been enacted since the pilot's last California cycle ride. McMeen climbed aboard the Yamaha and gave it a couple of kick starts.

With a loud, lawnmower-like putt-putt-putt and a cloud of blue smoke, it started right up. He made several circuits around the impound lot.

A Long Beach police officer volunteered to help him crate the cycle for shipping today. It will be sent to New Hampshire by Amtrak rail. "They have a great shipping service," McMeen said.

Why not just fly it east in the baggage compartment of an American Airlines passenger plane?

"They'd lose it," McMeen said with a laugh.

He should know. Mr. McMeen works for American Airlines.

07 April 2006


A customer came up with the best description of what the shop is like:

"You guys are a cross between American Chopper and Taxi."

01 April 2006


Okay, I've noticed the popularity of the satellite radio services and hardware. A word of advice to those who've gone down that road, have it professionally installed in your car.

More and more, I have to get into cars where there are wires dangling from everywhere, wrapped around shit to take up the excess. This is not safe. It's not safe when I get into your car to bring it in the shop and the sat radio antenna wire lashes my foot to the brake or gas pedal. You know how I'm gonna untie myself, don't ya? Odds are, your shit won't work when I get out.

I don't want to be road testing your shit and the radio head falls off the dash and into my lap, or the wire you hung over the visor falls in my face at 50 mph. It's gonna piss me off if it does and you'll probably wreck your car if it happened to you.

The same goes for all the car adapters for your phone, fax machine, laptop, Sharper Image air freshener, vibrator, whatever. If it flops around when you make a turn, consider it unsafe. In an accident, every little piece of loose shit in your car becomes a missile. Get the crap off the rear deck, get the toys off the dashboard, and keep the wires out from around your ankles. I've said it a million times.

Your car is not your fucking living room, it is transportation. I wish I could fail a car for safety if there is too much crap floating around in it.