Friday, June 15, 2018

Débat d'entrain

Feelings are fleeting, insights tricky to intercept, in tandem, require real effort to recall. But does writing them down reinforce memories or relegate forever to forgotten? In senility one misquotes statistics, mistakes billions for millions, or single-mindedly repeats same old story. Genuine and superior sail away together leaving you marooned. Precise quick recall rates just below muscular reflexes among survival mechanisms. While content here may seem disjointed, Labann knows connections but skips explanations; when warning of peril, you'd only identify immanent threat, not obscure in wordy malarkey. Could find another place to fall and flop, forsake in disgrace once duties you face dissolve, give up on it all, and stop. Expire, migrate, or stand fast: Yours to decide. Exit strategies are endlessly tempting. Once elation of peak experiences, including bicycling, wears off life grows depressing. Despair leads to losses. Disturbing.

Reconsider immigrants for a moment. Do some perpetrate crimes? Of course. Members of Bratva, Mafia, Sinaloa Cartel, and Yakuza operate internationally and pile collectively upwards of $40 billion in illegal loot each year enabled by an insatiable appetite for illicit sex, off-track gambling, smuggled narcotics, stolen merchandise, and unsecured loans, which can all be gotten legally at lesser costs/risks. Organized criminals intimidate targets into accepting their contraband and falling into their trap. They need you, not other way around.

So 95% of all crime could be eliminated through better education and policy realignment, that is, if people really wanted to be informed. Instead, mayors consider downsides, and dole out one-way bus tickets to dump addicts and indigents into some other jurisdiction. Make it go away? Solves no problem. Other mayors cynically pay for bus rides from third world to their cities to build a base of dependent voters while they extract costs from homeowners in soaring taxes, so pay nothing personally yet stay in power. Treachery against community comes easily to sociopaths in office. Heinous assaults and imaginative scams make life almost too difficult to bear.

Most acts of terrorism on American soil originate domestically, of course, given cost of travel. Any market economy that forsakes individuals and glorifies profits makes 99% losers, who then base self worth on success of 1%, blame scapegoats for failures, and lash out inappropriately wherever they reside. Capitalists, who ensure weapons remain cheap and plentiful, seldom forgive victims and vice versa. Illegal immigrants bear brunt of resentment, when it's rich patrons paying them under the table who warrant punishment. Besides, they perform menial tasks citizens don’t want: au pairs, domestics, gardeners, harvesters, or unskilled roles below minimum wage. In a race to the bottom, will you kill to be last?

Fake news pigs, who wallow in mud of culpability, and few who pay them to dupe rubes and refute scientific facts to suit profit motives, cause most attacks. Boosts ratings, reinforces fears off which mercenaries make money, and ruins reputations of real journalists. To whom do you look for guidance after all institutions have been scandalized? Silt and stones do not account for rising sea levels. Billions have made their presence felt in innumerable ways, like ants who tend jungles, without which jungles would die from rot and disappear. Unlike ants, humans negatively affect entire planet through atmospheric pollution, deforestation, ozone depletion, public confusion, worsening storms, and worst calamities. All reputable scientists agree. Yet Fox News broadcasts contradictory nonsense, because facts might be right, thus upset uptight who mine anthracite and pump crude into fossil fuel’s twilight.

Leaders lack foresight to understand how automaking, gaming, munitions manufacture, tobacco growing, and slaughtered beef saturated in artery clogging fats represent health costs that negate profits. Aren't these the ethical issues you elected them to solve? Perhaps they figure they have already, reason letting them fade away would be wisest course, reckon your perspective doesn’t matter one iota. Unless developing timely alternatives to supplant those depleted, conflict, deprivation, and devastation will result. With one hundred thirty-seven motorists worldwide dying every day, one every 10 minutes, you can be sure leaders will always sacrifice lives of the lowly to stay in power. Ought to obligate everyone to represent majority, resist upon principle, and stand resolute against tyranny.

One tires of chipping away concrete under which truth got buried, of interminable burden to analyze and inform, of paragraphs laden with paradoxes and pessimistic wordplay. Delve deeper, extraneous opinions detract from fact, and you divert further from confidence. Do have options: Plan an exit, stay until blog’s 10th anniversary next month, or stop abruptly. Suppose that’s a question followers should answer, not that there’s ever been intended débat d'entrain. Could also, if so inclined, delete content, disassemble blog, go commercial, or sell out, though that would be vengeful backlash to any lack of lively discourse. In this fragrant season of warmth, one should be outside cycling as far and often as sprung legs in shorts support, restoring own wellspring of hope.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Oil of Mirbane

If can’t be incorruptible, at least be independent. Can only speak with complete authority when no debts are owed, strings exist, or ties bind. If censors must review every word before you can disseminate, little or no decency, honesty or legitimacy remains. Any committee exist specifically to bury truth before it causes its members losses. Belong to human species with no band, group or political affiliation. Let conscience guide actions and speech, so sound off often unafraid of obligation.

So what of June 3rd’s inaugural World Bicycle Day, new praxis rite ratified by the United Nations this April? Will #June3WorldBicycleDay recur annually? Could be confused with September 17th’s World Cycling Day, first ever global bicycling cultural festival begun in 2017 to coincide with supposed 200th anniversary of bicycle’s invention. WCD originators specified this date because in Chinese “917” could also mean “Just Cycle”. In either case idea was to adjure pollution abatement, sustainable development, and traffic reduction that cycling affirms and driving negates. Been practicing and promoting all this for decades already, so don’t need to join anything, rather World joins Labann for once.

In an interview around time The Who played halftime at Superbowl, Pete Townsend disparaged Keith “The Loon” Moon for drumming wildly undisciplined. Why ridicule one of group’s better attributes? Impugns entire output; implies none of it bears listening. Instead they had John “Thunder Fingers” Entwhistle, bassist of the millennium, who provided beat and bond, so Keith, Pete and Roger Daltry could dance, noodle, sing, soar and windmill, which they surely did. The Who were the real deal: rebellious rock delivered with distinction and humor to receptive youth. Rumor has it that Pete still begrudges deceased Keith for having exploded his drums live concluding performance on Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which may have left Pete a bit deaf, though hearing loss usually results from cumulative exposure to ear splitting decibels. Hearing heightens not only enjoyment but safety, so worth preserving.

Why not let the audience decide whether your approach works or message resonates? Rating based on arbitrary rules or repeating something that succeeded reeks of feckless and irrelevant. Right thinking lives in present and looks towards future. Past, now immutable, possesses little worth resurrecting and really can be too painful to recount. Will always prefer authentic to ersatz. Take, for example, oil of mirbane (nitrobenzene), a poison manufacturers once added to soap for its fake almond smell. Unless cheaper than almond oil itself, why bother? Makes you wonder what hides inside products as basic as detergent or foodstuff. Fruits are obviously treated with insecticides and other toxins, which is why you should always immersion wash them, even spin dry, before consuming.

Speaking of sound, regret not elaborating on birdsong in B&C chapter Guilty Pleasures. Of course, deliberate tweets and twitters constitute a significant input on morning spins. In fact, silence does disturb at dawn, since it indicates disorder that frightened away feathered friends and represents danger riders should heed before they proceed. For example, around next corner have found a bunch of police cars and sidearms drawn in a raid. Miners used to bring canaries to work; when singing stopped it warned them of noxious gases. Birdsong inspired entire classical compositions, most notably Olivier Messiaen’s Le réveil des oiseaux (1953). After decades of intense study, biologists and birders can distinguish among a cacophony of random chirps to identify individual species. These days public doesn’t value their insights into extinction and migration, since it’s seldom good news and sure to cost them more somehow. Explains why so few will be celebrating WBD.

In a deepening sea of complexity and irrelevance, the best doesn’t readily float to surface. Cyclists who spin up to high points get frustrated by fact that tallest was built by waste disposers in state’s landfill. Crowd noise, human cacophony, rises or swells at shopping malls or sporting events. It may contain potent hidden content, as do songs, each a small digest of contemporary influences, some with mind warping effects, which is why you ought to listen judiciously. But, then, songs representing bicycling culture from around planet will surely get overlooked, as were these curious expressions of individuality:

The Bennies, My Bike [Punk], Better off Dead, Jackknife Music, 2013

Café tacuba (yo soy), Bicicleta, single, self, 2010

Clutch, When Vegans Attack, From Beale Street to Oblivion, DRT Entertainment, 2007
“Manifestos at Kinkos, pinko commies play no fools. I feel the spirit moving over me. There are clouds beneath my feet. When vegans attack on ten speed bikes. Tattoos with meaning, American Spirit Lights.”

Craig D’Andrea, Three Mile Bike Ride, Getting Used to Isolation, Candy Rat Rec., 2009; previously mentioned, recommend watching live video of this lovely guitar instrumental.

El David Aguilar, La cumbia de la bici [Mexican], single, Qué Te Importa Rec., 2014
“Everyday sees more of us because it’s so magic. A cumbia dance for bikes since they move us around. Wonder if they can recycle a track for us now.”

Eminem, Legacy, The Marshall Mathews LP2, Aftermath, 2013
"Why am I so differently wired in my noggin? 'Cause sporadic as my thought come, it's mind bogglin'... look at the bright side. At least I ain't walkin'. I bike ride through the neighborhood of my apartment complex on a ten speed, which I acquired parts that I found in the garbage, a frame, and put tires on it. Headphones, straight ahead.” Album won a Grammy Award for Best Rap.

From Autumn to Ashes, Streamline, Abandon Your Friends, Vagrant Rec., 2005
“I see an empty space next to the yellow bumble bee; that could be the perfect place to park my broken down ten-speed. Just tell me when you get off work and where you'd like to meet. Then we can pedal up and down the crowded New York streets. My shoes are worn out, because the breaks don't function. I just put my feet down, let them drag on the pavement.”

God-Des & She, Get Your Bike, Three, self, 2009

King Charles, Mississippi Isabel, Mississippi Isabel, Universal Rec., 2011
“I rode her on my bicycle all the way in the rain. She kissed me once, I took her out for lunch, and she never kissed me again.”

Sam(antha) Shelton, Bicycle, single, self, 2014

Taylor Turner, Bicycle, Versus, self (Kickstarter Project), 2014

Turbo Mansion, Bicycle, Danger Laces EP, self, 2018

Friday, May 25, 2018

Charlie Chaplain

Another Bike Week passed with little fanfare. Originated in England in 1923, nearly a century ago in Europe and North America, observances are scattered from beginning of May to middle of June. Here in New England, every year, it seems to rain during 2nd week of May, which sells more lawn products than rain gear for cycling. Sure, on Bike-to-Work Day a few diehards convene on town squares under tents for free coffee and donuts. Labann got to work from home last Friday, and rides to work year round when weather cooperates, so didn’t rise irreproachably to support cause. Bike commutes rate slightly above haircuts, something you do routinely without ceremony. But a Centennial Anniversary of Bicycle Week could be legitimately promoted among Amish, artists, geeks, mamils, moonbats, Mormons, Neo-Luddites, reactionaries, religious fanatics, and whoever else would likely attend.

Too often convening disappoints. Typical stay-at-home television viewers get an eyeful of beautiful and delightful humans of which malls, plazas and venues seem devoid. By comparison, public you meet on street appear annoyed and bent out of shape; patience, serenity and smiles were destroyed by their android and disrespect of ugly rabble you'd rather avoid. Fingertip access to information does expand opportunities and speed transactions, but social media serves practically no purpose, other than wrongly identify you as a target or terrorist.

Instead of data retrievers, mankind once built devices that really saved labor. Who can deny a clothes dryer, dishwasher, washing machine, or wheat harvester/thresher saves effort and time? True, you could arrange for wage slaves to hand pick grain, kneel by a stream, or stand at a sink for hours each day, but then you couldn’t multitask other equally crucial chores.

Machines weren’t necessarily man’s best friend, though. Mechanized warfare accounts for recurrent Memorial Day, which honors soldiers fallen to it. It’s when politicians arrive in limousines to honor their sacrifice through a litany of hollow hypocrisy. Excludes cops, firemen, guards, and workers, too, though they get equivocally remembered on Labor Day. Everyone gets their own birthday, some Father’s or Mother’s Day; better make the most of it. The Good Lord, having been tortured for all souls’ sake, only gets alpha birth and omega death of Christmas and Easter. Exactly what did YOU do to deserve even a seldom seen headstone or totally ignored obituary?

Back when Americans in Korea were fighting Charlie, chaplain bicyclist Emil Kapaun ministered to soldiers so effectively, he has since been awarded a Medal of Honor by Obama, considered for sainthood, made into a film hero, and woven into Latham’s war biography Cold Days in Hell: American POWs in Korea. Apparently that’s wasn’t enough suffering to deter current administration from resuming hostilities. A treacherous few will always profit by provoking war. You know who they are: They wrap themselves in a shroud of religiosity while accepting bribes from gun lobby, fueling fascist Fox agitprop, inciting domestic terrorism, and profiling blacks and muslims as militants. Without God’s blessing, they are just Neo-Nazis eager to promote your sacrifice for their gain.

Chaplains such as Kapaun [shown with trusty bike during WWII] can be distinguished from pastors by their advanced training and lack of fixed parish; they minister not only to own denomination but whoever needs spiritual guidance navigating boredom and stress that binds just about any occupation. A cynical appraisal of most company’s codes of conduct would be that employees agree under duress to abstain from what executives routinely do, mustn't harass, intimidate, relate misconduct to unauthorized outsiders, retaliate, and so on. Chaplains even address fear in the fog of battle. If you’re a chaplain, shouldn’t you forgive minor insults? Not always so, as article attests. Did instead make a federal case over it, but didn’t specify convict’s sentence.

Saints who possess a semblance of piety humble themselves before deity, put others before own, and sense by man not all can be known. They are loathe to inflict deserved punishment, don sackcloth to suffer alike, tolerate petty transgressions, and turn other cheek to facilitate further pummel-ment. Society has to compartmentalize duties among those less high-minded lest criminals rampage unchecked. Sometimes crimes derive from elected officials not acting responsibly or doing job appropriately.

Neglected roads loaded with debris and holes cause riders to weave, thereby aggravating motorists and endangering cyclists. They do slow everyone, which some might consider a blessing. On a recent motor trip was following a cyclist, who was going briskly along road edge and waving all behind to pass. Couldn't provide a meter margin so didn't. Only when he turned onto side street could one see it was a small unregistered motorcycle, which resembled a kid's single-speed cruiser. Funny, bicycles conversely used to mimic motorcycles to make kids feel grown up. As Summer approaches, see more and more unlicensed riders on midget motorcycles, minibikes, pocket rockets, and scooters. Tiny target does not exonerate lawbreaker, though operators are usually children and teens. Tickets ought to be issued to abetting guardians and parents, who likely provided or willfully condone use of an illegal vehicle.

As dangerously as they cut corners and dart about unexpectedly, they aren't a bicyclist's arch nemesis. Garbage trucks, RVs, and tandem trailers seem worse for sheer bulk at excessive speeds, although pickups and SUVs outnumber them, so really constitute greater risk. Luckily, drivers of Motheaten Tree Service are few, out at dawn, terrorizing travel lanes, unfortunately on roads Labann frequents. Talk of traffic hazards may seem lame compared to gun violence or infectious disease, though currently kill more people than both combined. Where’s a bicycle chaplain when you need homilies to encourage better road ethics? The silent comedian you thought this entry was about at least made you chuckle; maybe that’s all you can do while immersed in menace. Riding in silence was never Labann's strength.

“‘Go, God, You know that to win is not getting there but continuing.’ Everyone, on the sidewalks rolling on the ground with laughter, we applauded him like crazy! But, a certain night, his horrible bicycle with a trailer began to cast an enormous fluorescent tail. Unbelievable! The pickpockets were returning wallets on the bus; the powerful were ending hunger; the UFOs were revealing... the mayor himself was filling the potholes in the streets. I cried of joy, dancing under that light the polka of the cyclist... sinister rage, I do not know why... we assaulted him, and from behind, his white bicycle we started to destroy... turned it into a thousand pieces... he shouted, ‘May I save you!’ took a look at his bicycle ...smiled ...walked away. Skinny Guy Who Art on Earth, how come you forgot that we are not angels, but men and women?” - Astor Piazzolla, La Bicicleta Blanca

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Rabidly Outgain

Another summer hence, fifty years since 1969’s Aquarian Exposition of August 15th to 18th, a weekend festival of art, music and peace together, where will civilization find itself? Closer to promoters goals of communities coalescing for improvement, ethical practices, every individual entitled to make a difference, free trade, planetary stewardship, non-violent camaraderie, unfettered creativity, and universal human rights? Really? Participants believed they could live without cash, organized roles, retirement investment, or roofs over their heads. Works for twenty-somethings while agile and mobile enough to withstand uncertainty and vagary. Wear occurs relentlessly to all their gear year after year until society doesn’t care they’re living somewhere on a rusted bus on blocks going nowhere.

No height of Hippiedom, Woodstock marked its demise - promise died - and signaled an inexorable regression into barbarity. Barbarity, cruelty and stupidity describe majority competing for cash. Under capitalism, fair trade and social justice rate as mortal sins. Some can’t handle freedom, because they forget that it means they’re responsible for every action, behavior, commission and omission in which they’re complicit. They’d rather be blameless, bemoan innocence lost, bumble along without consequences. Battles won, when you disengage, you nosedive. An entire generation never heard whole storyline: Tune in, turn on, drop out, die young, and let fascists build a war chest to cheat and murder the rest.

You hate what gravity gradually does to your body. Stuff sags including tattoos. But you love gravity when rolling downhill, a rejuvenating thrill. You curse climbing, yet value its effects: builds muscles, keeps you from floating off into space, regulates tides, and whatnot. Anyway inevitable, gravity itself should be deemed neutral with minuses and pluses in delicate harmony with The Tao. Rather, you loathe yourself, what your body has become, inert flab, slave to what’s grave. Over months indoors and years at sedentary work you’ve gone from enthused recruit pleasingly toned with plenty of energy to a superfund cleanup site of toxic negativity from which everyone steers clear, silly hyperbole yet suitable metaphor.

Seriously, irked by stalwart service taken for granted, sure, you’re just a jerk in a jersey, yet upscale of a racist on Yawkey. Political correctness has been called an identity trap and seems to thwart common sense, but to ages of abuse and neglect owes its existence, payback for smug insults and unearned munificence, which explains why fat cats cycling for free, riding toward right, and swigging your tea so resent this concurrence. How did their mothers raise them?

Economists say in year following Woodstock, 1970, restrictive access to opportunity, social mobility, and success from hard work dramatically began to separate affluence from indigence. Advent of artificial intelligence, automation, and globalization only furthered this divide. In a way, Woodstock aided ambitious and shrewd, who gladly grabbed what hippies wanted to give away, namely any share in ill gotten prosperity, master-vassal economy, and war blood money. Fear infects fools in need with the disease of greed, who consequently inflict society with decades of drudgery.

Wouldn’t you prefer reliable prescience to information desperation? If only you could predict what will occur years from now, you'd grow rich and stay fit to enjoy it. Yet your personal involvement might alter timeline and cause investment to fail instead. Neither does it work in hindsight; would've been a billionaire by holding Apple and IBM stocks into present. But for every technological stride, usually two ethical breakthroughs backslide.

Money fills a need, but why crave excess? Assets can become a nuisance, cost plenty to maintain, get in your way, have a way of hanging a target on your back, and waste time whence lives are woven. Besides, you can’t take any pride in how you succeeded, since society only allowed it by buying into your lame game; indeed, no amount of effort actually expended ever guaranteed you’d achieve greatness. Cash may rule, but dollars continually devalue; millions might become meaningless before midnight and thrones decay into worthlessness. Earn to live, not live to earn.

Affluence can instantly be reversed. Losers may ultimately win. Meek may inherit it all. Accursed advantages will fall when they no longer resist what used to persist. Nevertheless, Congress fallaciously bankrolls tycoons, who they figure can make good use of extorted revenue, reckon educators fail to graduate enough innovators to make grants worthwhile, resent welfare that keeps alive those upon whom tycoons tread, and shrug off what this half-century snafu did: Cause the largest gap between poverty and wealth ever. Look for a time when they begin collecting and eliminating what’s deselected and marginalized, such as bicycles or splinter group members. An informed public wouldn’t comply with whims of psychopaths in power, so teachers face increasingly bigger barriers. State policies typically ensure life’s a chore and majority suffers. Already, you must earn health insurance money or pay a hefty fine you can’t afford.

Heartfelt expressions can get around globe in an instant, yet mostly go ignored, or, worse, invite retaliation. You'd think but wrongly assume that net gains from Internet exceed losses. Literally tons of computers, e-pads, smartphones and tablets were sold based on access to it. But slave labor assembles all this merchandise. Frauds, gambles and scams cost billions, not to mention diminishing corporate profits from employee distraction. Billions more are spent on paltry pleasures and popular porn that profits only a few, never populations as a whole. Tobacco alone after profits results in a net loss of $200 billion per year. Businesses and government figure they can cut costs if posting ads and forms to websites, though salaries have to be paid to do so, and 25% of population can’t connect, particularly elderly. If cash can be called a tool for retirees, it resembles an axe collecting dust or rust out of mind and sight. As a fruit of labor, someone else - bankers, doctors, insurers, lawyers, nursing homes directors - squeezes its juice and steals your use. You might be better off giving it to your family and spending it to make a memory.

For WWW to fulfill its informational promise, users would need to mine facts presented and perform analyses, as has Labann while building blog and defining bicycling culture. One can hope that observed facts could be amassed into postulates that serve some higher purpose: Eliminate waste, end war, foster rights, increase understanding, save lives, or work wisely. Smarter folks can join list servers for academic and scientific discussion and use to achieve progress. Too bad boring chatter, false claims, junk science, and profit motives bury useful information. POTUS calls actual but adverse news fake, and uses social media to dupe gullible masses and shape favorable opinions.

Ignore copy studded with words ending with suffix “tion”, so many they supply a plethora of cheap rhymes for nauseating poets. Pronounced “shun”, that’s what reader should do, avoid like viral contagion. Beware of bold pronouncements with no logical narrative. Maybe author didn't go through process of thinking statement through; then again, maybe author did and spared you labor of sorting through details. Anyone might associate ah-ha moments with unrelated facts, suggest causality where none exists, or whip up passions for nonsense. Be assured that Top-Ten appraisals overlook thousands of better picks not being forcibly publicized.

Continual exposure to narcissists, paranoids and schizophrenics inflicts normal people with inhibiting anxieties. Take xenophobia: Immigrants do bring challenges and costs, but nation was entirely populated by refugees and their progeny. Uniting amicably is what Americans do, to a fault. Nation’s generosity may be taken for granted by recent arrivals who say they’d rather be in motherland whence they came. Lunatics who pay no taxes or provide no services complain the most. Being aware and assuming tasks define adulthood, but not necessarily wisdom, which pieces together puzzles.

“What it is…" another phrase with multiple meanings: Defines "it", or implies, "Is what it is," or spouts, "How things are." Both blameworthy, ethical and lingual points conspire to launch debacles. Rephrased, "What is it?" betrays annoyance and impatience. Issues surround word "is" because A doesn't equal but might be substituted for B. You can usually pinpoint subtle lies and useless quotes by their use of the word “is". “No man is an island.” Well, duh, no ocean or peninsula is, either. Donne does go on to qualify, but probably would’ve saved time and showed mercy getting straight to his point: Humans are social animals with interdependencies. When right wing media mercenaries, “Tell it like it is,” with righteous vehemence, disregard their bullshit that strictly supports their own interests. They rabidly outgain you because they they sell out to power lust, and wantonly abandon morality though never just. Once they’re comfortably numb, damage has been done, and status strata settles in.

For those who see problems clearly and tackle goals earnestly, bicycling and plain living answer some of world’s issues. Spike in gasoline prices and Spring's arrival (at last) encourage more bike commuting and cost saving. Yet aimless motoring clogs highways all day, while alert bicycling reveals a beleaguered environment of felled trees, general devastation, and senseless litter, which represent no small percentage of motoring’s untold costs. Urge to choose easy route and team with oblivious despoilers weighs heaviest on those who sacrifice for mutual well-being. Neither saint nor sinner by however you define such terms, you’ll make compromises for which you’re not proud. Tax breaks for bike commuters and do-gooders get lost in haste to bail out banks and endow enterprises that suck planet dry. But touchy readers rather not be reminded of obvious villainy unless related to racing or touring, usual topics for bicycle blogs and books, and that you’ll only tell your mom or someone who cares. High minded, mighty intended opinions influence few, provoke ire, and surely invite vengeance among office holders and scofflaw followers, whom you primarily targeted because they vie with criminals as worst examples.

Freedom versus responsibility, theme of Bike&Chain, describes mankind’s core struggle. To take stock on wooden ambitions, you don’t advocate, do right, and fight good fight to earn gold stars on some heavenly tote board or sidestep vicious spiral to hell in twilight. No, you decide daily on weighty matters, some of which you’re unable to resolve or unaware exist. You can improve own effectiveness by doing your job, living to a code, paying attention, or shouldering unwanted tasks. But with whose rules do you comply? Never cease to be delighted and surprised by bikes for Africa, charities that work, disaster responses, doctors without borders, moms putting children’s needs before their own, salvation army, and soup kitchens. Whenever altruism arises to address real issues, world breathes a bit easier.

“The saint inspires the vitality of all lives, without holding back. He nurtures all beings with no wish to take possession of. He devotes all his energy but has no intention to hold on to the merit. When success is achieved, he seeks no recognition… Words of truth are not pleasing. Pleasing words are not truthful. The wise one does not argue.” Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapters 2 & 81

Monday, April 16, 2018

White Reign

Can you embrace bicycling culture without cultivating a comparative attitude? If you ever doubt automotive culture dominates, tune into NASCAR, its exact opposite. Contrast competitive intensity of Talladega 500 to Tour de France; although both border on glory and insanity, over five hundred crew members, drivers, and spectators died in stateside motor races since 1994, while worldwide around one hundred cyclists died (no spectators) in road and velodrome races since 1894. Numbers exclude training on roads, never captured for drivers but mere dozens of pro cyclists. So, global versus national for over 5 times longer from among equal numbers of participants, one fifth as many from pelaton died. Said Reece Bobby in Talledega Nights, “You’ve gotta learn to drive with the fear… if you're scared, that beautiful death machine will do what God made it to do, namely, eat you with a smile." Annually, ratio of civilian fatalities is 50:1. Motor crashes claim 3,287 lives daily around the world, 90% of which occur in third world countries despite much fewer vehicles.

An estimated $1 trillion was invested in films during 20th Century, versus $10 trillion invested every 10 years on US highways, a multiple of 100, rife with corruption, with only a small portion actually going to construction. Roads provide emergency routes, sustaining lifelines, vital connections, so seem a higher priority and sold as a no-brainer among the cruel who rule and steal revenue from rubes they fool. Lion’s share goes to interstate boondoggles that mostly restrict to motorists alone, not minor upkeep of secondaries and side streets used by everyone. Once a year do they sweep them, spot repair potholes only after numerous complaints. Inadequate bikeways serve drivers better by getting cyclists out of their way, though fail everyone where traffic is thickest and will to build weakest.

Films do fill a psychological need, though not all and whether they satisfy can be debated at best. Many inventions first appear in articles, books or scripts that later become marketable innovations that drive industry and fund road creation and movie production. Storytellers, however, are not obligated to originate ideas for others to exploit, or please audiences even. Although ordinarily ignored, reminders of responsibilities also signify. One might argue that democracy owes everything to cranks with complaints, discontents who dismiss status quo, dissidents who for an answer won’t take no.

Appeals to one’s better self go unheard unless recipient has health or interest enough to notice and react. Getting along isn't even easy among relatives. Millions cherish family animals and despise human neighbors. Prisons are full because cretins don’t know that smacking others around might kill them and solves nothing. Greed, hate and stupidity underlie today's worst evils, but where do they come from? Obviously, no one source can be blamed, but can be categorized under nature, nurture and society’s demands. Neurochemistry looms large, as late doctor Oliver Sachs spent a career exploring and relaying. “It is so geared to one’s proprioception, one’s movements and postures, that it responds almost like part of one’s own body. Bike and rider become a single, indivisible entity; it is very much like riding a horse. A car cannot become part of one in quite the same way.”

Within epidemic deficiencies of magnesium, niacin and vitamin D, little wonder you run into few smarter than you. Lack of oxygen to brain causes dementia. Frequent gentle exercise and proper diet do boost mood and lead to tolerance necessary to coexist in a crowded world. Bicycling can fill half of this bill. But breeding, budget, current events, traumas, and upbringing also incite and inspire behavior. Some can’t pay to eat much else than 4 for $1 boiled ramen bricks or canned tomato soup. Fresh vegetables and lean meats cost more than other items sold at markets and what majority can afford. Poverty forces consumption of empty calories from fast food, pasta and potatoes. Combine with birth defects, sleep deficits, substance abuse, and suffering that urgency for earning imposes, one shouldn't doubt these detriments affect cooperation, judgment, reason, and socialization.

New season begun, get up and go glow of vernal dawns arrives on cue as if a clue to renew. People associate bicycling with wellness. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion shows 2 images of bicyclists to the exclusion of all else under "Our Initiatives" for adults and children. They evaluated myriad approaches and maintain cycling and walking are both popular and safe compared to, for example, organized sports. For subscribers New York Times published a free guide on lowering carbon footprint. If past articles are any indication, self propulsion doesn't bear mention. Some would argue that what individuals do doesn't rate, since profit motivated businesses easily negate. Human beings outnumber business entities 165,000:1; only together will issues be addressed.

Surmised a doctor by those who don’t personally know despite repeated denial, Labann descended from same West European roots considered by bigots to be the dominant race, except has a vampire hairline, especially toward end of a hairy long winter of trying to stay warm, remnant of some East European genes on paternal grandmother's side. Didn’t donate DNA for ancestry to be approximated and later used as evidence of crime, but may have Asian or Native genes as well. Did pursue a premedical track as an undergraduate, and do work in health sector, but unqualified to give any advice or treat illnesses. Films favor Anglo-Saxon monsters, not so midgets or natives, a practice called racist and damned as white privilege.

Bicyclists must sometimes abide but seldom welcome white rain in April, white reign presumption, or willful prejudice from wherever it comes. More than once rode in hail, rain, sleet and snow, but wouldn’t call it preferable. Bullies label anyone a snowflake who doesn’t share their selfish biases and smash/snatch sensibilities. Nod to Tolkien for imagining little people as heroes who did what no great power could against the gravest evil, but also for warning how war will ensnare earth’s entire population. Greatness recognizes how everyone contributes. Pettiness picks disparities and thereby pits combatants.

Black rise, red resurgence, yellow peril? Among races white percentage has always been low. Only 11.4% are Europeans, 3% fewer than Africans. Asians make up 60.3% of inhabitants. Twice as many Mongoloids of East Asia including Chinese join nearly thrice as many native races in North Africa, South/West Asia, and South Pacific Islands along with aboriginal Australians. Southern Italians descended from both Africans and Europeans. Romans were once planet's most cosmopolitan people. Black 1.3 billion equals about 20% of world's total population, so outnumber whites, however you choose to define. Aryan Nation would have you believe they belong to an exclusive sovereignty and white supremacy makes sense, when races who outnumber this minority on a global scale did all the heavy lifting. Slavery has been abolished. Civilization runs better without it. Women, more than half of world population, can be entrepreneurs, hold jobs, outcompete men, run for office, and vote based on gender. Really, human is the only race.

Mark Horst, Boys on Bicycles No. 1, Oil on Canvas—For me, painting is a practice of seeing the world as it is—rather than how I’d like it to be or how I think it should be… pay attention to rhythms and patterns and shapes and colors and emotions and gestures—all these gifts surrounding me.

Apartheid persisted in South Africa for almost 5 decades until Mandela took steps to overcome it. Next year marks 25 years since securing freedom from 146 patently unfair, race restrictive laws. Equality for black, Indian, mixed and native people has dispelled fears upon which this policy was founded and sold. Yet anywhere today you can barely discuss race without inflaming resentment and inviting retaliation.

Recent Oscar winner Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, dir., 2017) precisely illustrates these points. When officials treat newly discovered creature with xenophobic cruelty, it lashes back with equivalent violence. When maid shows loving care, it responds with life saving transformation. But how do you measure intention? Beasts present ferocity for self defense. Some eat family members. Best of relations can get too intense. Tolerance has bilateral limits. Balance, compromise, not appeasement, saves lives and smoothes settlement.

Director Kathryn Bigelow's historical film Detroit debuted on the 50th anniversary of Algiers Motel Incident and dramatizes race riots of mid-1960's. Depicts that 1st thing stolen when looting began was a bicycle, despite fact that everyone seems to be smoking and stealing cartons of cigarettes, too. Because deemed indispensable, alcohol, bicycles, drugs and tobacco serve as currency when civil order collapses. Motown music did much to obtain civil rights as amateur artists struck it big in concerts and recordings. Reveals how desperate ruling class became once freedom extended to all, but not even close to con artists, robo-callers, and telemarketers, urged by example of relentless hucksters and politicians, who indiscriminately plague email and voice messages even if you never answer.

Angry white gangs have staged a comeback in opposition of Afro, Asian, Latin and Russian rivals. Easy to gather hate groups through any excuse: hair length, kind of tattoos, original neighborhood, school attended, skin shade, or whatnot. Note that each, rather than extremes, exist on a continuum of varying degrees, levels, and moves. Everyone unique, you’re more alike than different, but too many figure you’ll take pride and torment others based on categories someone else concocts, particularly religions. Being beaten and tortured leads to Stockholm Syndrome where victim joins oppressor, so science doesn’t always make logical sense. Those who blindly do the same become only a pawn in their game, a polarized puppet without free will and ultimately to blame.

Today was Jackie Robinson Day, when 71 years ago #42 first broke Major League Baseball's ban on players of color, with all proceeds from games going to his namesake foundation. Tomorrow locally is Frost Free Day, after which residents can expect blossoms to swell, leaves to form, and warmth to spread. Should instead represent an end to dominant ice and resurgence of impartiality. Some will celebrate 75th anniversary of Bicycle Day on 19 April 2018. Earth Day arrives on Friday, 20 April 2018, as good a reason as any to go outside and grasp belonging by taking a bike ride. Honest to goodness earth awareness acknowledges social fairness. Mankind constitutes a facet of nature at odds with itself. You don’t have to join blindly, waste alongside, or wrestle with devils. Those who tread lightly learn how little they need. Bike-to-Work Day follows on Friday, 18 May 2018, always the 3rd Friday in May. Even if you’re retired or unemployed, why not take a spin? Going by bike celebrates one’s continued vitality.

'Twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon… this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [intellect] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full? Obliged to you for hearing me… ain’t got nothing more to say. Abolitionist and Suffragette Sojourner Truth, “Ain't I A Woman?” 1851 Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio