1. Archive

Motorcycle groups are there, but hard to find

On May 2 I sent Action a request for the names of local motorcycle clubs for people 55 or older. I stated that I had recently purchased my first motorcycle and that my wife and I would like to go on rides with other people who share our interest. I also mentioned that I had tried to get this information on my own through several local motorcycle dealers, but to no avail. So as a daily reader, I turned to you for help.

The footnote at the end of your column states, "Action solves problems and gets answers for you." Needless to say, I'm disappointed in waiting more than three weeks to hear from you and not even receiving any explanation for the delay.

If you find it impossible to get this information for me, please so advise.

Jack E. LeFonte

Response: Our apologies for the delay. Sometimes the simplest questions take the longest to answer.

Motorcyclists are, by their nature, an independent lot. They do not go in for regularly scheduled meetings in clubhouses with elected officers and agendas. Their gatherings tend to be spread by word of mouth, so to get information it helps to have a contact.

Then, too, most motorcycle clubs seem to center around a particular model of vehicle _ Gold Wings or Hondas or Harley Davidsons _ and you did not tell us what type of motorcycle you purchased.

So after several weeks of chasing telephone leads, we tracked down one club that sounds promising. It is called The Retreads. You have to be older than 40 to join and it doesn't matter what you ride or even if you ride. All you need is an interest in motorcycles.

We are told that a small Retreads group meets at 8 a.m. Sundays at the McDonald's on U.S. 19 and Sunset Boulevard in Clearwater. Another larger north county group meets at 7 p.m. Tuesdays at the McDonald's on U.S. 19 near State Road 52. Call Peggy Biehl at 1-848-7588 for more information.

An alternative is to run an ad in the newspaper asking interested riders to meet at a specified time and place. Ms. Biehl says that's how the local Retreads groups were formed.

Super Bowl jackets are

tardy but not forgotten

Can you get me the address of Starline Novelties Inc.? I sent for some Coca-Cola Super Bowl jackets. Although my canceled check came back, I never got the jackets and now I have lost the address of the company.

James Ditzenberger

Response: We called Coca-Cola public relations in Atlanta. They tracked this company down and checked on your order.

It seems that while some jackets are on back order, everyone should have received a letter to that effect. Apparently you moved from the address that was on your check and your order and didn't notify Starline (which you couldn't do if you hadn't kept the address).

In any event, if you don't get your jackets soon, call them at (800) 221-6014.

Author Heller gets credit

for the original Catch-22

Could you please tell me the meaning and origin of the expression "Catch-22"?

Bill Tumulty

Response: It comes from Joseph Heller's novel Catch-22, published in 1961. Heller created the term in his novel to describe a requirement that is impossible to fulfill because it contradicts another requirement.

The classic description of Catch-22 in Heller's novel has to do with the character Yossarian trying to get out of flying combat missions by pleading insanity. An insane pilot, he reasons, would be a danger to himself and his crew.

But, the author writes, "there was only one catch and that was Catch-22." Heller goes on to say that, according to Catch-22, a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that are real and immediate is the product of a rational mind. Therefore, if a person really is crazy, he will want to fly dangerous combat missions and will hide his lunacy so as not to be grounded. If he doesn't want to fly because of the danger, that proves that he is sane and so he must fly.

Either way _ he flies.

Heller's new term caught the public's fancy and since has been used to cover all manner of illogical concepts.

If you have a question for Action, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write: Times Action, c/o the City Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg 33731, or call your Action number, 893-8171, to leave a recorded request for Action.