Saturday, June 15, 2019

Sag Caravane

Fourth Estate, the press, with its implicit right to defend citizens and frame political issues, has been under seige for decades by the might mad right. Dubya slammed Mapes and Rather, who dared document his draft dodging secret, among others who’ve been disgraced and driven from journalism. Vulnerable to ratings slippage, leftish CNN currently finds itself in administration’s crosshairs. White House wants to transplant with their counter-information organ, current cable frontrunner Fox. This leaves only friendlier MSNBC and neutral network news, should they survive next round of Republican excoriation, to divvy up voter attention, that is, if you sensibly shun administration’s relentless spam email and Twitter posts.

More get their news from radio or television than publications. Struggling newspapers of record will fail to survive versus the “free” dissemination of fabrication by blogs and other internet pages or podcasts. Cable suppliers reap most of profit through an insanely high monthly access fee for what once was free, while content providers toil in minuscule hope of someday they'll steal a morsel from a book deal or copyright lawsuit if they can get a jury to agree. Without compensation, dreadful effort of forming hypotheses, researching data, running around, and writing articles has become hardly worth it. No wonder pursuit for truth and real reportage have all but disappeared. All you’ll see in broadcasts will be actors reading scripts laid down by executive decree, in other words, what you already get on propaganda TV; might as well be papal bulls or royal writs from the 13th Century.

Are there no reporters articulate enough to encapsulate and expose official offenses? POTUS has time in his busy schedule to belittle and libel environmental activist, quadruple threat (Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, and Tony winner) and Screen Actors Guild member Bette Midler as a “washed up psycho”? Wow! Self projection exemplified. It’s been 900 days of divisive partisanship, doubled deficits, golf junkets, impeachable recklessness, international scandals, lunatic plans, political incorrectness, position flip-flops, personal agendas, possible treason, ridiculous warmongering, staff indictments, tax waste, unbridled corruption, and white supremacy. Hardly a day goes by without some new and outlandish debacle. Nation is numb, tongues struck dumb. What do they need Fox for? Once you solidly establish a teflon brand, no need to further justify where you stand. Billions in PAC money need not be spent to bribe and coerce after majority believes and bows to oppressor’s tribe, who instead they should curse. Disgruntled whispers and wicked wicker get overlooked amidst paid spin and shopwindow clutter.

A century ago cyclist playwright Alfred Jarry foresaw how power corrupts and introduced sociopathic ruler Ubu Roi to readers and thinkers, who act as catalysts for change among the complacent, who were horrified having to face own hypocrisy. But authors, programed to coin not consume, prefer own copy over works of others, while all only wish anyone might eventually read what they’ve exhaustively assembled. Some take perverse delight in bending behaviors to their wills. Presidents should be public servants, not selfish megalomaniacs. Talk may be cheap, but taming truths to lay down on fields of white bound for as long as time concedes feels like chainring tattoos from ankles to knees combined with every other torture in degrees.

Whenever miscreants scoff at laws and skip penalties, they become bolder and do worse. Corruption is a cancer that kills communities, nations, and world eventually. Back when they still enforced laws against rackets and violence, they'd say, "Give them enough rope and they'll hang themselves," by which they meant collusion among felons and disregard for others wouldn’t pay, and swift retribution would arrive someday.

Citizens pay courts and police to act as a caravane of caring support with wagons carrying gear to sweep up after crashes and mayhem of this ruthless rat race, but meanwhile embedded press precedes and publishes, not as a trailer, to ensure transgressors are identified timely and get away with nothing. If Congress won’t, people and press must. To dispense with this so crucial social function, to enable what’s criminal, is to invite death, loss, ruin, slavery, and worse. A lively press levels crests and obstacles.

Those with nothing want more. Those with plenty won't share. Thus an eternal battle exists between polarities. Both get more than they deserve versus hard working taxpayers who ask for little and pay for everything. Bicyclists, to whom B&C was dedicated, break, therefore prove, this rule, since they often offer advice and components gratis, glad only to have helped their community.

If it takes being found riding about in freeze and fire and bicycling like Jarry bitten by the green fairy to regain your impartiality and humanity, do it. Despite how much bike sags and you slump, you’ll no doubt find being in balance beats leaning toward either bias. Nothing sadder than being a quitter swept up and tagged DNF, unless DOA, electing to give up bitter to those you only think are fitter. Without levelheaded challenge highest offices have been held by seriously unfit self servers throughout history. All were overthrown. Apologize for one last cycling analogy: Once caravane passes, party is over. Nothing surpasses now, when all things occur.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Bones Lurdane

Things Go Better with Coke,” no? By sucking down high-fructose corn syrup in water colored by caramel and tainted with carcinogens since childhood, lazy lurdanes, ne’er-do-well louts, develop diabetes, die sooner, get sicker, so go faster, and quicker is always better. How can you not agree? Plus you can never be too rich or too thin. Paired logic is incontrovertible, see? Unable to juggle three, you’re just an imbecilic brittle chassis saris wrapped by a thick skin.

If people didn’t crash and die, streets would be too crowded to be used effectively. Hospitals and pharmacies crave patient moans. Parasites thrive on waste with which they fill their half full cup. Politicians rely on life being like living in a zoo; otherwise they’d have no control over you. Rescue teams wouldn’t have anything to do. Yup, scavengers need to make a living, too. Junkyards and wreckers wouldn’t have any collisions to clean up. You’d think bicyclists would inherit pavement, but teens keep coming of age to augment divers’ ranks, while years supposedly take a toll on bicyclists’ bones, though osteoporosis is a pandemic caused by poor calcium uptake due to exercise insufficiency, intestinal malady, and Vitamin D deficiency.

Doubled pleasure can be fun by twice. Every indulgence can be deconstructed into vice. Insurance actuaries live to dole out advice. Apathetic lummoxes and pathetic lurdanes do exactly the converse out of advertising coercion, oppositional defiance, passive aggression, and pundit rejection. Egomaniacs rather be bold and refuse to be told, yet unwittingly submit to roles set by strict bullshit. Decisive action is what rabble seeks, as long as it improves their situation and keeps self above compliance. Fun and golf taking precedence, trumping duties, planet’s entire population will go down on this sinking ship because nobody’s manning pumps and sealing leaks.

CYA, cover your ass, may be America’s most common mantra. Against executive might you can’t say anything definitive or right or risk embracing endless night. Disavow any repercussions you might have enacted while your mull over report you’ve redacted. Officials under pressure straddle middle ground of trying to please everyone, thus no one, take no stand on either side, then whimper about feeling exhausted. Why not commit to a course on evidence you’ve come across and flow with its force? People are all you’ve got to work with, but they’re such slackers “work” means duties you alone fulfill as if it were your bliss and you’ve got unlimited time to kill, which they summarily dismiss, “Thanks for your sacrifice or service," whatever you deem it, is what you'll hear. ["Act alone and work your fingers to the bone, for all we care."]

Why can’t anyone find proverbial skeletons hidden in closets? Is it now all don’t ask, don’t tell? Closets are small spaces easily lit and searchable. Takes cadaver dogs, dumb luck, or ground penetrating radar to discover remains in caves, deserts, fields, forests, tundra and underwater. Maybe you’ll trip over a hominid skull hiking through an eon old gorge, though it’s only happened a couple of times over a hundred thousand years. Raiding tombs reveals nothing of value, just frame tubes made of dusty minerals, shiny bits all stolen before or during burials. Ultimately reclaiming all its treasures is nature, ever territorial.

Bicycle, Antigravity Freedom Machine, Bicycle’s Remarkable Hot Tub on Wheels, Mouthe, 2019, included to underscore just how banal emerging art can be when not defending freedoms or illuminating alternatives. Arts in decline or sign of the times?

“A subtle kiss that no one sees, a broken wrist and a big trapeze, oh well, I don't mind. You don't mind, cause I don't shine if you don't shine. Before you go, can you Read my Mind? It's funny how you just break down waiting on some sign. I pull up to the front of your driveway with magic soaking my spine.” Killers, Sam’s Town, Universal, 2007. Towards end of their Pacific Rim tour, they ride bikes in Tokyo, as shown in video.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Barter Allain

Authors can mash nearly any random handful into a coherent epistle. Proves nothing, resembles any spoken conversation that meanders among many momentary interests, and says more about personal choices than subject matter. Audiences prefer big lettered memes that encapsulate what one should know about some narrow topic. Well, reality vigorously disagrees, makes dummies who won't investigate points from many topics suffer. As always, just as bad can be opposite extreme, becoming paralyzed by overthinking everything one might encounter on one’s spirit crusade. Sometimes you’ve got to try it all on your own ride, though guidance often shoves grief aside.

Allain (means figuratively harmonious rockstar or holy knight) di Gros (means The Fat) was said to be first of the Fisher Kings, mortally maimed nobles for whom asking right question may have prevented misfortune for all involved. Grail quests were among earliest of published stories that tried to apply biblical morality to medieval mortality, pretty much only amusement then available apart from backbreaking labor, continual battles, daily hunger, and intermittent plagues, when a pen, once used as an instrument of peace, was said to have been mightier than a sword. Then an arms escalation began, computers now in pen’s corner, and long range missiles in sword’s. Information Age commenced, and words became the war with bloody carnage and collateral damage. Today threats of death for treason are being bandied about as if lives in service to society were impolitically expendable. Such outrageous attitudes extend to entire world, not just Pendragon or Perceval, and you personally. Crass broadcasts provoked terror attacks in Gilliam’s award winning, prescient, 1991 filmic retelling; over last two decades many nations including USA have borne a chain reaction of senseless mass killings. A congressional bill, executive edict, or news exposé may be all that stands in annihilation’s way.

A century ago in his novel A Nest of Spies (Brentano, New York,1917) Marcel Allain portrays Colonel Vinson telling how, out on a recuperative bike ride, he met another rider, who overpaid to buy his local map, suckered him into a compromising situation, and turned out to be criminal mastermind Fantomas trying to steal military secrets for Germany. Eternally hunted and ever elusive, Fantomas is probably the first pulp superstar from a popular franchise coauthored with Pierre Souvestre. Later comic book and radio play creations Phantom and The Shadow, and thereby masked vigilante Batman, were thus derived from this sinister representation for what one doesn’t know and therefore fears, though literature provides a safe unveil and vicarious thrill. Downtrodden only wish they could be so ruthless, but usually submit to compromises, deals, and trade-offs. Tyrants barter billions of bodies for bricks of bullion, immortal souls for intemperate power, unwanted surpluses for yearned scarcities.

Credit this candid colorful closeup that plops you into criterium action to New Orleans commercial photographer Jonathan Allain. Wonder if he is at all related to Alexander Peter Allain, among 20th century’s most influential one hundred, associated with Loyola University, cofounder of Freedom to Read Foundation, and tireless advocate of first amendment freedom of speech at a time when pinko peril had library staffs and town officials burning books. Lately, POTUS seems to be making hit lists of prominent Americans who disagree with him; couldn’t be bothered with vast majority who also despises, since they can easily be silenced. Leaders to whom you grant power supposed to answer to you and be incorruptible, though slightest chance to capitalize pushes sociopaths into depravity.

Rhett Allain’s article in Wired (2008), Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike, concludes, “Good luck and good riding. Oh, and wear a helmet. Oh, and don't do drugs.“ Finishing touch is his link in homage to fixie guru Sheldon Brown’s Teaching Kids to Ride. Irreverent wrench master Brown died before his time of a heart attack at age 63 only 10 months earlier. Refreshing to see a blogger credit source. Such old school courtesy seems remarkably absent a decade later. Browbeating, finger pointing, invention theft, name calling, and screaming lunacy form information’s legacy. But was America greater when impersonal privacy surrounded, pederasts played out fantasies, and scandals never surfaced?

Having traveled every road of tiny Ile de Bréhat, Côtes-d’Armor, France for more than 25 years on her bicycle, postal worker Line Allain retired this year. From summers sorting mail since age 17, Line was promoted in 1993 to year-round mail carrier. Toting parcels up to 30 kg in panniers, she furrowed paths and knows them all. One half of island is separated from other at high tide, which must have accounted for some delivery difficulties. Because she rode on average 30 km per week, Islanders say, ”Line Allain has had to cycle around the world several times.” Define several; more likely once. Labann has done it [~40k km] at least 6, not without scores of shady incidents, while fulfilling full time uninterrupted sedentary jobs. Any knight of the round wheel tables every tale of insecurity for noble scrutiny. More surprising is how those who go by bike get by and slip through a lot easier and safer than motorists ever do.

“Listen to the wind blow, watch the sun rise. Running in the shadows, damn your love, damn your lies... And if, you don't love me now you will never love me again. I can still hear you saying you would never break The Chain... Break the silence... Chain keep us together.” Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac, Rumours (1977), Guardians of the Galaxy 2 soundtrack (2017). Universal appeal of haunting darkness and tense cadence from insecure egomaniacs sounds like a morning bike commute. Artists ought to feel blessed anyone hears them at all given evil competing to dominate universe and snare everyone's soul, and vast internet data pool buried under bedrock that exact a temporal toll when you just want to roll.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Beekeeper Demesne

Never promised to continue indefinitely this Bike&Chain Initiative. Kept feeling there were things that need to be said from a centrist, cyclist’s standpoint, mostly as an antidote and counterbalance to conservative and liberal ignorance and colloquy for every random ride observance. Never more imperative than now not to fail, repeatedly served as a messenger from stranger than ever angles to no avail. Did manage to differ entry titles, reuse no word twice, no small feat since all rhymed within limited possibilities, a literary extravagance over paltry poetic abilities. With much left to be done, should Labann, like fictional sleuth Sherlock Holmes, retire to a country estate and take up his hobby of keeping honeybees? Disciples, including Anthony Desnick and Mark Martin, now stand up fearlessly at prestigious Ted Talks and testify to same stuff posted and published decades ago. Or, as Robertus van der Wege’s bike sculptures inspired by dyslexia reminded attendees, must maintain focus on bicycling culture, which, of course, includes polemics on behalf of those neither protected nor represented with any degree of assurance. Any break makes resuming a bit too burdensome. Those who quit as a rule regret it. But codes of honor and self imposed decrees dig a bottomless pit of inescapable duties, and to enemies expose vulnerabilities you would rather not admit.

Neil Thompson (1970 - ), Durham, England, “Ride a Red Bike”, Folk Art acrylic on board

Just how do you define an enemy? For last half century, arguably since founded in 1854, GOP has never rested as the party for schemers and those they dupe, those gullible enough to believe what's known to be contemptible malarkey by educated majority, supported in this century by radio ear benders emulating old time revival preachers and one television infotainment network with no advertisers or journalists, just personalities who criticize news gathered by veteran professionals, deconstruct details to falsify evidence, distort stories into partial opinions to deflate scandals of patrons, and recoup dominance based on a Stalinist dictatorial model. Begs question who pays to leave unleveraged such ruthless media; imagining massive operating costs, where's the profit in it?

Duping citizenry and electorate allows raiding trillions from treasury, redirecting tax spending, and walling off largest number of billionaires in history. This ideology built a fortresses for depriving rest of society, reversing hard earned entitlements, and stifling middle class expansion, diametrically opposed to party’s original intent as an antislavery movement. Stakes are now too high to stop. Meanwhile, chief drone King Con bullies his way past every constitutional directive by conjuring an executive order, sanctioned propaganda, and terror tactics, thereby creating the greatest threat to personal freedoms and quality of life since rise of Nazis a century ago following WWI. When you can't unabashedly be on your bike during Bicycle Month every May, bile builds into a verbal volcano. Still nobody invites a vituperative dispute.

Stating what’s obvious in an ignored forum does little to counteract harm of these organized criminals and their 24/7/365 hour/week/day/decades long brainwashing barrage that pits brother against brother, spouse against spouse, town against whatever imaginary peril might exist in the unknown. By playing on fears and raising doubts they demoralize workforce and destabilize economy both domestically and globally, probably intentionally for unreported riches, though how they get away with it may never be divulged. Suspect it flatters a few fruits in $5000 suits for whom recruits sacrifice selves in deadly pursuits among bloody Beiruts fanning roots of conflict from which culprits in cahoots continually profit. Traces directly back to that arms making, automotive spawning, Big Oil, war machine bicyclists so distrust. And, right on cue, King Con deploys troops to Iran for what he’ll describe as a holy war according to plan.

Capitalism pretty well pushes everyone else into an intractable pandering or prostituting hell no matter what their marketable skill level. Drug dealing, human trafficking, and mercenary soldiering hold scarce prospects for dullards devoid of degrees to pocket dollars. Legal pot reduces vigilance against Republicans in office who formerly had to smuggle it stateside to suppress masses from exercising rights and voting conscience. These days even a doctorate destines you for a dreary but less desperate role amidst vocational drudgery. Having no real choice convinces even self employed surgeons to give up lucrative practices made lousy by legal liability of diagnosing from a prodigious patient library. Scientists love data, which mainly gets used as spam to pitch senseless purchases, but truth will always be indifferent to its worshippers.

Can vividly recall sweltering days of skateboarding insanely down steep sidewalks and side streets, surfing landscape where a fall could hurt far more than a splash into waves with no closed circuit cameras around to catch or rescue. Surfed seaside as well, camping on beach, dancing on edge of drowning, and daring shark attacks, wholly done in lieu of finding some dollar-an-hour chore to do. Only data to trust was what one witnessed. Misnomer of free time aside, bicycling pastimes chronically beat business missions, which leave you dispirited, extinguish spark, and suck soul dry. Work ought to offer chances to fail and grow through interesting challenges. Yet recruiters stress you position self as an objectified passionless commodity, rightly so, because nobody has the least interest in your personal needs, only productive turnaround of theirs at temerarious speeds.

Spring brings birds and sees bees. Satisfying sex after spontaneous hunts seems normal for species but suffer badly from workplace embargoes. What, not supposed to show any interest? Directors even deem offensive ogling a shapely ass, yet you may freely drool over saltpeter snacks and sugary carbs they dangle daily. For steadily earning a survival paycheck you forfeit your instinctual virility and natural savagery. While bicycling boosts testosterone and bumps libido, will always be a car on a crawl by far linked with child kidnapping, predatory sex, rampant theft, statutory rape, teen pregnancy, and virtually guaranteed getaways. Admiring, looking and lusting don't defy decorum, monogamy, or no-touch modesty, but do induce disciplinary action and spousal jealousy. Some couples cherish bouts of screaming insecurity, since they thereby fortify bonds and renew vows. Though questionable in the here now, over a lifetime not much of your angst matters. Although these days come-ons await as status quo, fate will forever find more ways to deflate your ego.

“I never made promises lightly, and there have been some that I've broken. But I swear in the days still left we'll walk in Fields of Gold." Sting, Rooted in Peace, A&M Records, 1993

Friday, May 10, 2019

Baguette Allein

Rookie mistake, went out half asleep to ride without spreading crotch padding inside bib tights. Unless you lift each leg laterally, as if a dog marking territory, fabric bunches up and causes friction burns. Although not as badly as wearing bluejeans, can get painful, just as does improperly setting tongue of cleats, which should be stretched flat across top of foot. One can brake, dismount and rejigger, but in rush to arrive per brutal rules often just abide along with other bike hassles.

Must you move? Motility is life itself. Even lying in bed, you’re still spinning on earth at nearly 1500 feet per second, 4 times around a baseball diamond, or 5 football fields. Yet many would describe themselves as going nowhere, since they live hand to mouth in a capitalist scrap-scape and watch helplessly as net worth goes south amidst social injustice they can’t escape.

Neolithic humans hardly ever sat, only to eat and sleep. They defecated and urinated while squatting, migrated continually, and walked everywhere. Lean and toned, they lived on average only 35 years, ironically, due mostly to hazards encounters gathering, hunting, and squabbling over resources. Ever since, mankind has been determined to make life easier and safer, though extremes of either negate the other. For the first time since WWII, life expectancy has begun to decline due to what sheeple choose to do, not what nature forces them to.

Americans increasingly stay put, work from home, thereby scan same scenery and skip commute altogether. Otherwise, to avoid footsteps they ride by bus or train, take elevators, escalators, even moving walkways, turn away from exerting self at all costs. Because many jobs require that you sit in place to be productive, companies adopt policies that make you stand and stretch once an hour to head off health debt. Manufacturers mitigate excessive hand-offs and motion waste. Motorists stuff mouths at drive-through troughs, and transact business at bank kiosks an arm’s length away. Seated delivery drivers grab up and hand off parcels from portal to portal. Drones and robots will be next, followed by on-site replicators so nothing need be moved except billions of buckets of rubbish onto landfill summits. Logistics limit warfare so set priorities.

Websites let you shop by computer ap and credit card. Increasingly deserted retail malls are only for the electronically deprived or inept, nobody worth mingling with, or whoever wants to inspect quality or readiness before buying, for example, baked freshness. Drive-in theaters weren’t easy enough. Netflix now means you don’t have to get out of your electric wheelchair or leave home to experience vicariously others jumping, risking life and limb, running from dangers you’ll never encounter fixated on an oversized monitor or tethered to a virtual reality headset, unless you shop for food at a crowded supermarket. A bloated weak information slave, you’ll likely live on life support into your 70's or until by design age triggers social security entitlements.

Flight delayed? You get to sit for hours while listening to murmurs of remote conversations, rumble of people movers, and totally unintelligible public service announcements. Perhaps you’ll stand alone in a line, or walk a bit between gates or parking lots. Maybe you expected to be thousands of miles across continent already, but plane assigned hasn’t yet arrived, and departure won’t occur for hours more. Occasionally someone drifts near dropping fragments of convo out of context seemingly formed of emojis, internet acronyms, and text shortcuts. You’re conditioned to ignore placidly or too embarrassed to connect meaningfully with strangers. Society doesn’t allow you to emote, interact, or move away, only ignore and stay as if un chien sur en laisse under some dog trainner's finger snap incapable of challenging masters.

Exercise deficit has become such a broad pandemic states and towns spend up to $1 million per mile installing linear parks, recreational biking and walking paths, which too few use, mostly chain smokers, dog walkers, and teen gangs barred from everywhere else, yet skip striped roadside lanes that cost almost nothing. Deeds done and kickbacks pocketed, nothing more will be spent maintaining and patrolling, since both would cost a trifling percent and represent unwanted labor. Meanwhile majority medicates itself on food carbs and illicit, over-the-counter, or prescribed drugs when not really sick to overcome minor bother or mortal ennui of employing out-of-shape chassis made arthritic for lack of acts considered aerobic.

Pleas to shape up come from insurers who hope to roll back payouts, owners of gyms and health spas who get tired of looking at misshapen examples on streets, and whoever else finds flab repulsive or unprofitable. You have every right to hate yourself and ignore them all. It’s probable too much exercise is just as bad as none, since you can damage bones, joints, muscles, organs and skin with any strenuous regimen. Long distance runners face more heart attacks and strokes than cycling randonneurs, though both should be wary of potentially fatal heatstroke and hyponatremia, a blood sodium level below 120 mEq/L, signaled by disturbed balance, lack of focus, and nausea before seizures lead to coma.

Doctors say low impact muscle reps, especially cycling along gentle terrain of converted rail trails, control diabetes, desensitize patients, manage their mood, and reduce cardiovascular risks about as well as medication. Extended sunlight, fresh air, and gross motor activities aid oxygen uptake and deter Vitamin D deficiency. Or you can hide indoors and pop expensive pills. Doctors also claim stress and worry are as bad as high fat diets. Satiated busybodies should have less to say than suffering bastards, but seems today reverse holds sway. Bicyclists find frequent relaxation, life balance, and rancor ignored by officials who could easily remedy. If you ride to bakery by bike, you can probably enjoy that baguette a bit with each meal without guilt. Pity those who can’t take advantage of this simple conveyance upon ribbons of roads that usher all who otherwise slog through gridlock and shouldn’t be indulging in such goodies. Conversely, white lines edge space and provide slippery pavement that hastens cycling scorchers to goals.

Decades of own research and 15,000 hours of direct experience confirm that bicycling is 2000% safer than driving. It’s in the physics. Bicyclists collectively average only 11 mph; at that rate they can collide with almost anything and ride away with no more than a bruise, dent or scrape. Motorists double, even quadruple on roads that flow traffic faster. Steel cages surrounded by glass colliding at 25 mph or more will break bones, cause brain trauma, severely lacerate, or worse. Vehicles occupy entire lane, so crash plenty. Bicyclists instead hang near road edge, smartly don helmets, so sporadically succumb to risks. Have fallen and resumed en route, was nudged but never lost balance, witnessed cyclist accidents but never needed to call for rescue, but you can go too fast on a bike. Peloton racers often exceed 100 mph on mountain descents, yet since 1894 only about one hundred and fifty racers globally have died pursuing such extremes. In contrast every day thirty-two hundred motorists die in crashes. Shouldn’t mess with motoring’s crushing momentum unless stupid or suicidal. NASCAR remains popular among redneck racists, rude misogynists, Trump apologists, and total idiots, who’ve repeatedly proven they have no grey matter worth preserving for sake of species.

You can clearly identify intolerable scenarios and terrible situations, but trying to eliminate or overcome all of them isn't possible. Too many causes to count, or factors to calculate, to arrange things the way you'd like. Thus morality and philosophy came about, as ways to handle distress emotionally at least. Some committee might study to exclusion of more immediate concerns. A consensus requires mutual understanding, but communication relies on shared perspective. Your location on life's arc isn't likely to correspond with anyone else's, even others born on same day, and view from a saddle varies from behind a dashboard enclosed in a rolling car. Labann aged better than own kin, watches obits for contemporaries and coworkers who've fallen by wayside, and wonders who'll be next when not analyzing trends or bargaining details with deities and demons.

At a campus campaign stop Bern Grinders mentioned raising wages to a $15 minimum, a topic with which students can relate, and what comes from living hand to mouth. If you can't afford to fill or fix your car, you might lose your job and wind up on a bread or dole line instead of achieving your potential as a hero. Sounds sensible until you consider that many millions gainfully employed don't own cars, live in cities with busses, subways and taxis subsidized by taxes, or ride bicycles instead. Then again, why allow such cruelty on company's part to lay off loyal staff upon some stupid commuting snafu? Decent ones permit flexibility in arrive and leave hours. Some may gripe, "Nanny state," or groan over "gummint" getting too intimate, usually those who brought on oversight to begin with by causing injuries, losses and troubles. Agencies exist to expound fairness and surround careless, so they're cordoned off for mutual safety, not to hound them about their recklessness. They also draw lines around corpses of victims of crime or mayhem to investigate causes. Between dying and thriving where does anyone draw the line?

“I leave after breakfast, full tummy. Tying up my laces, kiss your pretty face, and I'll be on my way. Putting on my shades, and give you another wave, bye-bye, it's getting late. Do I look too cool? On my bicycle, on my bicycle, yeah, I’m sorry I rule.” Filous, Bicycle, single (twee pop), Ultra Rec., 2019

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Joy Regain

Bike Month begins with May Breakfasts and promises of group rides full of new camaraderie and velorution’s cheer, but generally grinds to an inglorious coda with a blank stare, no resolutions near, and tweaks in gear to prepare for shift from sweater weather to sweatier wedge of year.

Cut losses, scorch earth, sever ties, take hits, walk away: All viable options versus relentless distress. Those who want what you've dearly gained may torment you into giving it away through their persistence. It's how religions and states stay entrenched seemingly forever. Unlike thieves who want it right now, they'll tax and tithe you over time into nonexistence.

Acquisitions don’t amplify self. Conquests don't create heroes. Only a witless consumer cares about collectibles. Museums are full of mediocre examples of masters. Sometimes one's original masterwork or perfect example is what's really worth preserving, the rest disposable maquettes, sketches, or studies. Staffs display only top 25% of what's owned alongside temporary exhibits of special items they've been loaned. Otherwise, attendees would be few, events postponed.

Taine described ancient sculptures as battle victims in time ravaged fields of severed heads, limbs and torsos. Modern curators display surviving fragments, so contemporary critics tend to characterize output as focused on busts and heads alone, which, of course, is completely false. Full figured original sculptures were too hard to move, thus steal, so pieces, faces and hands, were often hacked off and shoved into bags for tourists to buy. Nowadays thieves park vehicles in vicinity, part nonferrous objects and plaques from bases, slip away furtively, and smelt into untraceable, valuable scrap. Historical artifacts get destroyed or mysteriously disappear for momentary gratifications, though culture doesn't incontrovertibly feed bullies' bellies.

What do you value? Many would say money, but what an amorphous commodity that shrinks, smells and stretches worse than a woolen jersey. Art today means concerts, ephemera, films, graphics, intangibles not at all collectible, just accursed intersections in time-space continuum. People have closets full of tee shirts, today’s sandwich boards advertising one enjoyable encounter or hip happenstance after another. Many simply do without, as if art appreciation wasn't a life requisite. Depression results, but nobody cares or wants to be saddled with chores of dealing with yours. Feel of steel cranked beneath your heel might improve mood and make deal more vital and zeal more real.

What do you know? Information gatherers guard facts for own use against rivals, regard intellectual property as their primary asset. Market analysts and stock brokers say all sorts of stuff to convince you to act in their best interests, not yours. Then there’s Potsherd Dump’s nonstop disinformation stump and unconscionable reliance on Ailesflux’s harassment thump aimed at spreading doubts and triggering fears that divide nation and dominate electorate. Transparency and truth take a beating every day citizens don't insist upon them. But an economy set back on track 8 years ago will be claimed as a triumph by a megalomaniac who’s done nothing at all but exploit outcome. Polls support this betrayal as long as books show black and prices don't rise at gas pump before next election, although at least half are aware leaders will always stack deck against them, so swallow Prozac lest they crash their Cadillac because of a panic attack.

A reasonable barrier to truth comes from business regulations resulting in policies that block releasing personal data, through many scofflaws bristle at any notion of restriction or want to use bits of your history against you out of greed, malice or spite. Who doesn’t prefer privacy over full disclosure? From facts factions fashion weapons. Whoever you grant power and privilege to ought to be completely transparent and totally trustworthy, yet a billionaire in office redacts every official document lest some tiny detail impacts next dirty deal he transacts. Why stick your nose into his finances?

Funny about phrases, such as, “Mind your own business,” which appeal to majority as commonsense advice agreed mutually. What leaders do affects you personally, amplifies across entire world, is your business, whereas what you do influences nobody but own family, friends or neighbors. Should be that policy protects personal privacy not public service of people in power. But in today’s burgeoning bizarro reality just about everything becomes its diametric opposite. Goals, targets and temptations society dangles as starry spangles peg you to servile roles feeding black holes forbidden to peak in their keyholes.

You’ve got your own life to live, places to go, people to meet once forecast permits. And ya' tailor joy through every diatribe-less dalliance among cyclists you admire in allegiance with those who confer awards upon such an outstanding achiever. Accomplishments and relationships offer all the pleasures life allows, not stockpiles of empty miles and ill-gotten percentiles. Find freedom, forge forward, forget rest, form best, and pedal onward.

"Sittin' down by my window, honey, lookin' out at the rain... Now baby, this can't be in vain. Hope there's someone who can tell me why love is just like a ball and chain." - Janis Joplin

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Fame from Taine

One wonders why some people persist in fruitless pursuits, particularly radio/television personalities Aunty Culture and Shorn Sanctity. Sure, it’s mostly the money, millions for spouting conservative narrative aimed at managing every aspect of your life. Often they’re already nazis driven to dominate, shored up by minority patronizing, personal moralizing, and reality programming. Wise to ignore, or laugh off. Wiser still to analyze their meanness of spirit and comprehend how it divides to conquer. When you choose such a road to perdition, ride gets bumpy and swarm you’ve wronged inevitably turn warm against you. No excuse of, “Done for your betterment,” justifies urging hate crimes against holders of harmless differences in opinions, including religions, in a free society.

In ancient times leaders would take emissaries of enemies seriously, when totally incensed, throw them into a bottomless pit or toss into cages with hungry beasts for sport. Reasonable people struggle with the burdens of fairness, proof, and sense of guilt for commissions, omissions, and indecisions. Not so these discreditable egomaniacs with a sole purpose: Evil. The more you join their fight and lash out unreasonably, the richer and safer you make them feel, and worse off both they’ll and you’ll be. MAGA fattens egoes and feeds maggots. Because it’s so much harder to make compromises and meld productively, they’d rather take easy route, talk against community, thin the herd rather than herd cats beyond their control, and wind up on top of a miserably diminished pile suited to their ignorance and impotence.

Smart people see how everyone doing well eases own success, not sharing crumbs with slaves and stashing hoards, which instead devalues wealth and shoots self in foot. Sets a terrible precedent, too, this model of self worth based on capital secured, never enough. Promotes all sorts of crime. Conquistadors stole from indigenous cultures, pirates stole from them, and sea sank both their vessels for today's treasure seekers until state steps in and takes it away for billionaires to confiscate and politicians to misappropriate. This vicious circle ends when you decide so and say no.

Managers promise less friction, more smoothness. Without friction, wheels just spin and progress can’t begin. Adverbs cause friction in sentences. Certain authors hate them, but they qualify and quantify verbs, and reveal areas of gray that betray lies of absolutes and extremes, mostly. Science wants to be definitive, since nature heaps alternatives, disasters, and exceptions with inexhaustible superfluity on best designed plans and schemes. As soon as you’ve concluded your analysis bottom falls out of box you’ve locked it all in. Gravity and hooks catch and dump everything into ocean’s depths.

These facts in mind, can you say conservatism serves any purpose whatsoever? At minimum, nonstop nature of their message raises questions about its purpose. Does remain a reminder of the nadir to which civilization can sink without lawful cooperation and successful community. Gives a context to why corruption, depression, suicide, and widespread injustice prevail. Explains why such essential elements to a whole society as art and science went down toilet replaced by pointless greed and thoughtless inequality. Should public allow airwaves to be blasted with its propaganda and every discussion rounded to include? You’ll notice lately a lot more time bought on PBS for conservatives to toss in 2 cents that tries to persuade liberally minded to relax and relent sensible arguments that skewer its petty insecurities and underlying deceit. Saavy people don’t surrender freedoms and rights so readily.

Resembles cycling competitions that pit self and teams against rivals in field. There will always be some anatomical superior, who may have an off day and let you win. What does it prove? That all your intense training was not a total waste? Bike commuters do notice when lapses in conditioning occur, result in harder climbs and minutes lost into wind, though neither matters much, since time averages out over number of trips. Always arrive earlier than expected anyway, as is the case with most things, especially the unexpected.

While worthwhile destinations seem distant, tragedy will forever hurry toward you however well you prepare. No upside to inviting calamity by supporting collide avowed by some reactionary. Labann doesn’t expect you to heed, get paid to warn, hope for a payday, or look for recognition, though still can’t be trusted. Why persist, indeed?

Takes enormous repeated effort to restore balance and resurrect equality which all need. When you do, you share fate of natural historian and revolutionary critic Hippolyte Taine (1828 – 1893), who influenced Émile Zola and other famous French authors, but despite precise commentary and scientific approach got disavowed roundly as simultaneously too conservative and too liberal. Made him incorruptible, therefore intolerable. Finding truth forever condemns the finder and favors fortunate exploiter.

“There are causes [race, milieu and moment] for ambition, courage, truth, just as there are for digestion, muscular movement, animal heat. Vice and virtue are products, like vitriol and sugar... I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.” Hippolyte Taine

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Was Lois Lane?

As much as you’d like to believe you live in an insular world among those whom you allow access and your own mind, you’re no island unto yourself. Reports of external origin rattling around your cranium trigger neural responses, so you inflict pain upon self despite instinctual pleasure principle. Your “committee of me” will forever be beset by plurality, in the sense, rule by dominant minority. Whatever coalition follows through gains status and gets to tell those they’ve divided what to do, whether or not you want to. It’s how a bajillion inexplicable laws began, each framed against you and for them.

You can never behave freely by your own design, even if that would best serve your interests, or resign to get off grid entirely. Might as well amass facts, report issues, and shame blameworthy. Messages to forgive self and seek comforts in consumerism hold appeal, though only happiness you’ll ever possess comes from helping those who have less. Grabbers and harassers later regret transgressions once plurality comes full circle. You can’t outrun evil you do forever. Desires among those you deprive drive a desperate divide from which you can’t hide.

Don’t expect Clark Kent or Lois Lane to settle score; step up yourself or suffer losses. Heroic alien and maverick scout, neither met dealings so corrupt that journalism itself lost clout. Lois was never taken seriously, even as a fictional character, too slow to recognize Clark was Superman in disguise. Neither will you be, despite jumping through hoops of logic online like a nazi corgi until you break free. Must have patience, neither succumb to fatigue nor try to match blitzkrieg of agitprop traitors, drug dealers, tax collectors, and weather tormentors through April Fool’s, Albert's Bicycle, Fees Due, and Frost Free Days.

Late liberal activist/actress Margot Kidder (1948 - 2018) played Lady Liberty on a bike much later than Lois Lane (1978) opposite crippled rider Christopher Reeve, both victims of Superman Curse along with humorless übermensch originator Friedrich Nietzsche, who died of syphilis in 1900.

Don't know what the mean planetary biological speed per capita might be. Can’t imagine it was ever estimated. Algae, bacteria, fungi, plant life forms, single celled organisms, and viruses only coast along with medium, don’t individually propel themselves, or simply stay put, but when factored in would astronomically slow rate overall, since they account for largest biomass on planet. Oceans account for 80% of life on Earth. Amoeba, certain bugs, paramecium, and the like move very slowly. Entomologists estimate 10 quadrillion individual insects, many ants and beetles, though numbers and species are disappearing at an alarming rate. Inchworms and snails seem speedy versus an average thus derived.

By the time you move up food chain to birds, lizards, and vertebrates excluding humans, you get bursts up to 70 mph (cheetah) on land, and 150 mph (peregrine falcon) in aerial dive. Despite this range, 0 to 150 mph, averaged among a quintillion organisms, mean probably wouldn’t exceed one inch per hour, about 0.0000158 mph.

Riding at 11.0000000 mph, average among planet’s one billion bicyclists given bad roads and steep hills, you notice rust breasted robins and some flying insects match your speed, pass you outright, and remind it’s time to wash off winter and wax your steel steed. Competing with drivers up to 5 times faster, same creatures become road kill and windshield splat. Without motors, bicyclists go as fast as dogs, horses or other organisms, so move harmlessly amidst nature and stay ecologically safe in contrast.

Your walking gait, a mere 3 mph, makes for an easy target. Bicycling multiplies that between 3 to 11 times, so closer to overall motoring speed of 25 mph, given traffic competition and controls in cities. Racing on empty highways tops out at 60 times faster, though land speed record under highly controlled conditions is currently Mach 1.02, ~763 mph. Aviation lifts off where salt flat limits, then rises beyond Mach 5, where space flight launches up to escape velocity, ~25,000 mph, 7 miles/second, the top speed any human has ever travelled. In practicality, to reach another planet would take at least 10 times that. Solar wind, should you successfully harness it, would do at 1,000,000 mph. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe reached 433,000 mph. Solar power has its uses after all; panels and windmills don’t cause cancer, but petroleum fuels surely do, in fact, its chief cause alongside cars, cigarettes and coal.

One could factor in how Earth rotates at 1,000 mph, shelters all known life as it chases and circles sun at 67,000 mph, a star among vigintillion visible, while Milky Way whizzes along at 515,000 mph dragging our outlying solar system with it. Space makes human speed records sound ridiculously impotent. People ought to recognize deceit and graft as fast as a synapse, but stare through betrayal and treachery on a galactic scale as if it doesn’t do damage daily. What begs acceleration are instances of insight and revelation.

Buzz of engines and hiss of tires threaten violence to bicyclists pedaling slowly in relative silence. Even worse, trucks drag chains, a reckless habit which apparently causes wildfires according to US Forest Service, though probably not as many as flicking lit cigarette butts out car windows. Thoughtless behaviors a root cause, who considers consequences of billions of dollars in lumber lost, carbon released to atmosphere, firefighter deaths, habitat destruction, and species extinctions? Automotive convenience and impatience not only kill, but result in net losses over hours gained. Are you willing to pay big and risk lives just to avoid an earlier start? What’s your hurry?

Nation’s sixty million cyclists ought to unify against automotive plurality. Rude drivers edge pass then squeeze against curb to keep cyclists from passing them, as if saying, “If I can’t go, neither can you.” Race past to sit in next traffic knot, yet worry about having a cyclist ahead? Bicyclists are never in your way, virtually never injure anyone except selves. Just the opposite, motorists are road hogs and sole threat to all other road users. They chose a wide conveyance that creates its own obstacles, unlike shoulder-width cyclists who’ve sacrificed speed for slip through sweet deliverance. Says something about disrespect for code designed to protect, not restrict, bodies who propel self. Instead, pass cars on left, or use sidewalk when necessary. Horsepower corrupts; horse's asses in high performance hot rods, transportation aberrations, have been corrupted absolutely.

Focus is on blame whenever a writer uses “you”. “We” means “I” assume some of your culpability. When blameless, neither “I” nor “we” is appropriate. YOU ought to be harmless, drive right, repent ways, straighten up, take responsibility. All this precludes creeping along in passing lane, speeding past in slowest lane, and weaving across every lane. Road design and traffic flow set a narrow range of low/high limits; violators who endanger everyone drive as if inviolably entitled to sling an iron ton on one's own kamikaze run. Unwelcome automation tries to control such fools who abuse rules.

Society’s plea for political correctness, deeming no one blameless, instead enables offenders and sticks it to law abiders. Policies and regulations that defend right wing posturing yet hold professors and students hostage for imaginary hate speech and possible minority slurs serve conservatives to discredit reporters, restrict individuals, and stifle opposition. Movements can be impeded but not stopped. Speed of change matches how many and much state oppresses.

Incompetents think their demands exist in a vacuum, unaffected by rat race of rival requests. For your part, to fulfill duties with efficient skill has never been enough or even sensible. You're supposed to absorb abuse, shut up, suck up, and take no credit. You, lowly serf with eyes averted, ask for nothing, die on cue, and provide those of higher status with a human shield or spare body parts. Whose wet dream do you serve? Go home, eat dinner, police own yard of debris from neighbor's neglected dump, and prepare for another day of indentured drudgery. Neither refuse to give blood nor stop for lunch, because a thousand applicants with no clue want your spot though you’re drained of blood, sweat and tears a lot.

Setting an efficient precedent condemns self to a personal hell, limits chances of help, sanctions them to drive you until burn out, and satisfies their schadenfreude while you sizzle and squirm under undeserved pressure. Your abilities, achievements, client relationships, job training, and track record are meaningless to bosses who possess none. You're a headcount filler, salary liability, short timer, substitute performer until nephew finishes school. When you handle every emergency and impossible deadline, you perturb managers, who set you up to fail and want you to quit once crushed so avoid pittance of unemployment insurance.

Speed - key to a profane trinity including price and quality - meets everyone's baseline but yours. Yet clients must forfeit one, never get all three, so cheap garbage and sloppy pretexts prevail. Haste leads directly to fatalities, injuries, losses, and waste, but who cares as long as profits accrue? Mankind’s future and your wellbeing don't matter. Leaders debate why planes crash and suicides occur, justify expressways and plutocracies, and lavish taxes they collect from you on privileges in which you’ll never participate. Those they hurry, prod and whip get ever further behind until crises climax, heads roll, and innocents get blamed. When camel they rode pell mell dies in center of desert, so will they; small compensation, some might say.

“We can roll all night. Oh, Slow Ride. Take it easy. Slow down, go down, got to get your lovin' one more time. Hold me, roll me, slow ridin' woman, you're so fine... Slow ride, easy.” - Dave Peverett, Foghat, Fool for the City (1975)

Monday, April 1, 2019

Last Dance with Mary Jane

Bike commuters cover serious miles. Hundred-mile weeks provide plenty of time to play with words, plow through ideas, and wonder how many more trips a body nearing eighth decade alive can survive before it just won’t go no mo'. Riding before dawn, Labann feels blessed to do what few care or dare to, but has surely earned right to complain that just past next hill crest or horizon test might be the last dance on bike and chain.

Maillot Jaune (pron. mahjo zhawn), now and then corrupted as Mary Jane, Tour de France’s yellow jersey worn exclusively by individual time leader, viably excuses Labann's preference for reflex yellow as a color to admire and wear. Also highly visible under all conditions, it’s what they paint caution signs, fire trucks, and school busses. Plus it signifies curiosity and fear, enlightenment and peril, races and taboos, yang and yin under the pale primrose sun, yeah, a potent talisman. To survive, you should make it as difficult as possible for motorists to collide with you, use a blazing headlight, blinking Lanterne Rouge, reflecting fields or stripes at night. Or not: Stealthy routes or total avoidance also work. Can share tactics to try, never demand that others must comply. Recreational and sportif cyclists don’t necessarily confront same set of issues that transportational riders do.

Pluralism: Look it up! Pluralism fuels a powerful economic engine from dozens of different approaches, heeds unusual threats, rounds out varied contingencies, and swells revenue for defense, since needs indubitably vary without uniformity. The reason 20th became known as The American Century can be summed up by nation's ability to aid every ally and avoid war on its shore. That was without neutrality, mind you. And to what do you attribute this unprecedented status? Surely not just an ocean obstacle. Some would argue it was a melding of many customs, skills and viewpoints. Since science cannot define every fact, opinions remain highly debatable, even rejectable. Diversity for its own sake is daft; rather assemble exceptional talents to meet unforeseen demands without bias blinders, class distinctions, creed casteism, gender defenders, or racial recriminations. Or else you can give folks a chance and have faith they won’t disappoint. Science says you’ll choose correctly 3:1. Life’s a gamble at best.

Today's Americans are dissatisfied with how government is run, which engages in billion-dollar-a-day wars that cause widespread civilian suffering, favors rich, and reneges on agreements, entitlements, and promises. Three branches are made up of five hundred and forty-six members, with token exceptions, wealthy white males. One can trace all recent domestic terrorism directly back to attitudes that leaders leak, Fox agitprop, and Trump on stump. Arrogance and avarice made apparent, such enemies recklessly make more enemies for you. Meanwhile, they demand heightened internal security, tightened law enforcement, and whitened brain bleachery. It's exactly how totalitarianism implants itself, by expanding threats and forcing everyone to act or be alike, not better, just enough to ensure fear, manipulation and silence. Must everyone and everything else be eliminated? Inability to deal with variety is a defining symptom of mental instability.

You'd think Christian forbearance would preclude silent acceptance of murder or slavery as a solution. Bible thumpers cite good book - merely a history of an ancient obscure tribe - as a compliance cudgel, though constitution encompasses a wide range from atheists to zealots, thereby requiring separation of religion and state. Extreme right narrative, “We are few, but we have facts, so only we can set state straight,” which then proceeds to pepper hate speech with 5% of science used to conflate 95% self serving opinion, would be laughable, even pitiable, if it didn’t entertain genocide. Worst of all sins is to start a war and justify it under God’s will, as if any human could ever speak authoritatively on behalf of an invisible, omniscient power. Many a crusader defending Christ posthumously slaughtered innocents in diametric disobedience of His teachings. Where were they when He was being crucified by Old Testament's authors?

Confessors divulge whatever best suits them, put a positive spin on shortcomings, stack deck toward their saintly legacies. Who wants to be remembered as a boot licker, corporate chump, money grubber, servile stooge, system minion, or total loser? You're a rebel Jedi warrior, but only in your own delusional mind if you've consistently dismissed doing heroic deeds against evil empires that would qualify as outstanding. By living long, you’re largely a detriment, unless you've restored more than you ruined. Most can’t even claim carbon neutrality, never mind net contributions or improvements. Consider species extinctions, desert wastelands, habitat destructions, toxic fields, and water pollution for which only humans can be blamed. How many really exceptional individuals will it take to overcome adverse effects of seven billion incompetents who instead preen an appearance or stand by stupidly?

Despite courts, who supposedly serve public's best interests alone, no small group or sole individual should presume to judge what others do. All one has ever been allowed is to act responsibly: Do no harm, refuse no one in need. Few ever meet this minimum requisite. Since no two bodies occupy same place at same time, everyone experiences own life and follows different paths. This can be both good and too bad. Empathy is a supremely important virtue, one neither readily acquired from privilege nor valued by most until a lack of any personally affects them. Without, freedom and justice aren’t possible in a nation with highest percentage of population incarcerated. Leaders and media shouldn’t be inciting hate crimes unless prepared themselves to die or do time. Public’s has a duty to prosecute offenders and remediate mess.

It occurs to Labann on mornings when he passes state’s prison that being able to bike about will forever beat staring out from behind bars or staying in bedridden. Then, again, from bicycling there’s an aftermath of forbidden murmurs and foxtrot twitches from dodging pavement impediments any bicyclist must bear.

Is every crutch now legal - booze, guns, motor vehicles, narcotics, prostitution, weed - at the cost of core freedoms - from tyranny and want, unafraid to present another perspective, unashamed to reason aloud, unmolested by religious bigotry? Amidst political imbalance and war of words destined for worse, there’s plenty to resolve, but does this effort require you? Who slept though only to awake and find hard fought rights eroded beyond recovery? Can never stop. To maintain your way of life, you must make it as difficult as possible for any apathetic imbeciles or April Fool to rule.

"Last dance with Mary Jane, one more time to kill the pain. I feel summer creepin' in and I'm tired of this town again. Well, I don't know, but I've been told, ‘You never slow down, you never grow old.’“ - Thomas Earl Petty (1993)

Friday, March 22, 2019

Miss McCain?

Wondering why nation's seniors aren't outraged over loss of one of few benefits of reaching 65, income tax age exemption. Was a lifelong golden parachute, just check a box to pull ripcord. Still exists if you dig deep enough, $1,300 each if both over 65 and filing jointly as married. Senescent filers wouldn’t know this. Sure, IRS sweetened deal by slightly raising standard deduction and supposedly simplifying filing (though actually confusing further through a slew of additional forms that refer to other forms, so you might overlook some small reduction), but whole deal will ultimately transfer dollars from charity and elderly to greedy too wealthy. Sounds like a swindle, but what did you expect with a hustler in highest office? If nobody notices, will social security payments be next?

Shrewd parasites don't add value, rather siphon billions in reserves. Why sweat and toil when you can slake your insatiable thirst from biggest spigot ever, $5 trillion in internal revenue squeezed annually from nation’s workforce, who actually do everything that needs doing? Already, $50 trillion has vanished from treasury through such schemes that continually abuse suckers who begrudgingly support pervasive corruption, though unappreciated remnants of public service persist in certain agencies whose workers are jerked around with threats of unpaid furlough. Is this the proverbial last straw that broke nation’s back?

Simplify? Just about every system including revenue collection was designed by a crooked committee, fulfilled by compulsive/obsessive nutjobs, governed by self serving sociopaths led by terrible tyrants. Everyone is entitled to chip in and get paid, nothing more. Respect, however, flows from achievements that benefit majority, not splinter groups and tiny cadres bent on sole control. What most employees concern themselves with daily is how to make systems provided to complete tasks but riddled with annoying flaws and inherent insanity actually serve needs. You'd think they'd give up or replace with something better. Motor vehicles, for example, have so many oppressive downsides, including legal liability, operating costs, and potential fatality, you'd think more would seek better, cheaper, safer options, such as bicycles.

For a century savvy workers saved for retirement. A plan began under PAC rat Reagan where thrift was "rewarded" by tax deferral. Banks got a multi-trillion dollar windfall, which they loaned to criminal accomplices, who intentionally defaulted under bankruptcy clemency, which resulted in tax paid bank bailouts in the billions while executives took unimaginable bonuses. The few who realized what was going on were silenced lest they connect dots back to Oval Office. Seniors, who based their scrimping upon harvesting when rules would be more advantageous, just got gut punched. As often explained, laws only apply to private entities including you. Government agencies and stockholder corporations only act as individuals when it suits them.

Deemed an honor, jury service, which is mandatory, should be paid, if not at hazardous duty differential, at least by state's minimum wage. Currently, locally, for decades that's $15/day, no matter how long, when it should be $10/hour under current statutes governing both private sector and public service, so 5 to 6 times what's given. It's practically indentured servitude after paying costs of commuting and parking, though it's supposedly only a couple of days every 3 years. Many employers don't cut your pay while away, but not all who are called are employed, especially retirees and 25% of workforce who gave up job search but slip through unemployment headcount. Kidnapping and slavery have long been illegal, even if short term. But states never abide laws they concoct and enforce.

Suppose majority will just shrug all this off, further betrayals among many, injustices they are powerless to quit being complicit in. Labann will be cutting support in writing for all current representatives, to the effect, "You will not be getting my vote ever again. Do not contact me further for any reason, especially campaign contributions." You might try the same, and persuade everyone you know to do likewise. Easy enough to support progressive candidates who run, if any, though it usually splits vote in favor of conservative or liberal incumbents. Independents, progressives and libertines often run as Democrats or Republicans, depending upon which predominates in that state, as that guarantees voter interest. To accuse everyone would mean blaming victims, too. Aged, deluded, distracted citizens should be held less culpable than addicted, apathetic, brainless enablers who are aware but back stab anyway or don’t give a damn.

Hard, however, to discontinue paying taxes, though you know politicians misappropriate, even steal, instead of dedicating to worthwhile effects, like environmental stewardship, national parks along borders including badly needed reservoirs or secure desalination and waste treatment plants. No, they'd rather build a 12th Century wall, copy China's Great Wall, which began to crumble before even finished and failed totally to isolate empire. Natural laws say bodies in motion tend to keep moving, and corpses arrested contribute nothing, cost money, and drag everyone down. Such solutions merely transfer money and power to oligarchs, whereas parks level playing fields, which is why tyrants despise them and push own plans down public's throats. By dutifully following tax code you enable wrongdoing, but objecting conscientiously invites reprisal.

Neocons like to explain how you’re mired in past, that situation has totally evolved and improved. Don't buy it. It's same old con, in many cases same faces, McConnell's extreme right besmirching any semblance of McCain's (bona fide hero, MIA, POW) dignified compromises and preserving phony facade of treasury rape. To do otherwise would mean retirement in a penitentiary. Late Senator McCain, big bicyclist hater after aide died in an accident yet considered too centrist, was too classy to earn presidency. Only decent legislators ever die; sociopaths stay active decades after harm they've done hiding behind an illusion of stupidity, high on misery they intentionally caused out of schadenfreude, highly entertained on how you squirm under their withering villainy.

How politics work: The more you serve and worry the less they do and more they hate you. They champion corruption as if it's a global board game where losers really die, the more the better, “More for me!” they think with childish glee, obtusely or stubbornly oblivious that everyone thriving is in humanity’s best interest. How far off that ideal you determine things to be can be used to measure response necessary, whether impeachment, recall, revolution, or something more drastic. How do you define your patriotic duty? Who deserves any defense?

Lame duck POTUS began campaigning for a second term. Are we great again yet? About the only things in his favor are that supporters figure they better justify electing him and that they like that he's like them: lazy, privileged, psychotic and stupid. Only thing not headed down toilet, though not noticeably improving despite continual practice to the exclusion of fulfilling demands of position, is his golf handicap. Beer goggles and drug giggles account for it. Any focus on chief’s foibles lets senate off hook for crimes committed. Conservatives who put distance between McCain and self must really feel threatened; a couple hundred hand picked GOP cabinet members and presidential staff since Nixon have been indicted and/or served time for official malfeasance. Democrats, only a couple, which might seem meritorious until you know they outnumber Republicans 2:1, so can stack deck against minority party when they agree, though that seldom occurs.