Thursday, May 5, 2016

Johnny Tremain

Boston is renowned for dumping tea into its harbor in 1773 after foreign taxation became unbearable. In 1775, likewise incensed, men and women of Providence burnt British taxed tea one night (as commemorated by plaque shown). Fictional teen Tremain and real Sons of Liberty had too much too gain to do nothing. On May 5th, 1862, outnumbered Mexicans won a fleeting victory against French overlords. So the story is retold of ordinary locals taking definitive action against imperial might. Such acts of disobedience and insurrection led inevitably to independence. States united under a constitution that served for over two centuries despite a civil war resolved upon immense carnage. In the last 50, however, Washington’s warnings about the pitfalls of a two party system have been realized. Democrats spent beyond means and Republicans held nation for ransom with cuts in both services for unfortunates and taxes for wealthy. As long as you let this dysfunctional dichotomy remain, middle class pays a tremendous cost.

Critics claim ranks of middle class has been decimated, meaning a loss of one in ten. It’s far, far worse than that. Decline has been considerably broader and precipitous. Those still well off wonder why this should be worrisome, “Let them eat cake!” Neither hysteria nor opinion, the lower to middle classes hold society together, invest in property, pay nearly all municipal and state taxes, and secure budgets for fire, military, police and school protections. Not only that, they grow food, make products, pave roads, provide all services, start most businesses, take risks, and underwrite all personal and social advancements. The poor and rich support little to none of this yet tremendously benefit. You can’t have a community or country without a middle class, yet few policies exist for them to thrive. Government offshores their jobs, raises taxes, ruins neighborhoods, and runs up trillions in debts which can never be paid. This enslaves wage earners. Consequences of keeping this course are too frightful to list. What Democrats and Republicans have done makes British tea taxes look like a comparative boon… and people went to war over them back then.

However, to say America is strictly a two-party system would be woefully wrong. Other parties have always existed: Abolutionists, Black Panthers, Boston Tea, Citizens, Communists, Constitutionists, Dixiecrats, Federalists, Greens, Independents, Isolationists, Libertines, Moderates, Modern Whigs, Neo-Nazis, Populists, Pride (age, ethnic, LBGT, racial) Organizers, Progressives, Prohibitionists, Proletarians, Prouts, Socialists, Suffragists, Teabaggers, Transhumanists, and Workers to mention a few. From about 1930 to 1980 labor unions determined election results. Labor often sided with Democrats. After eliminating Hoffa and winning presidency, Reagan busted unions with extreme prejudice and sold out workers with a smirk despite promises to protect. His trickle down theory was an unmitigated disaster for entire world economy, a global ponzi scheme and zero sum game likely to invite annihilation. Billionaire bankers and their vocal minion will vehemently disagree, even blame innocents round the clock over their sly television network to divert attention from themselves.

Appeals to familiar or religious values may gather enough support for candidates to run campaigns upon but surely won’t ensure a win. Cruz cruised his onto a rocky shoal of diversified indifference. Republican Speaker Boehner bowed out because he realized that GOP had been infiltrated by Teabaggers, whose mission is to end the gravy train by which legislators grab millions for themselves. Racket isn’t close to being unraveled, but rather get out before ship sinks. Trump’s appeals to pride splintered GOP and suckered conservatives. To qualify what happened, a C-list celebrity, formerly a Democrat and practically independent, buried a bunch of local yokels belonging to bankrupt party who spent 2 decades holding Americans hostage like an Iranian Ayatollah. It was merely thumbs up within a miserable, minority party. Nation hasn't yet seen the will of angry masses of real voters, independents and those who couldn't be bothered voting in farcical primaries, who always ultimately determine who gets elected at all levels. RNC already gave up trying to win presidency and is instead focused on influencing state contests. Presidents don’t possess the power to keep promises or restore greatness singlehandedly. Congress runs country. Unless election loads House and Senate with party yes men, no policy changes will be forthcoming.

Nevertheless, short of banning you from roads altogether, they can do nothing to keep you from roaming around unrestricted on your bicycle, among your last vestiges of freedom. You might notice a plaque to remind you of actual acts on your behalf. More likely, they'll try to force many to abandon motoring and restrict it to powerful rich patrons. Despots despise diversity and diminish choices, though chiefs cease to exist without indomitable indians.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Weeding Plantain?

As a basic principle of ethics, people ought not be forced to feel solidarity with others. Identifying with a group ought to come naturally out of familiarity and reciprocity. Reacting to hundreds of terrorist attacks, folks have begun to chime in, “Damn mass murderers of school children. Je suis Charlie. Pity Brussels. We’ll compensate families of World Trade Towers victims. We’re not afraid.” Despite what they declare, they are definitely running scared once they so emphatically deny it. Conservatives main motivation and manufactured commodity is fear. They regularly churn out disquiet and unrest to the point of sedition. Embracing greed, they detest progress, which surely entails sharing resources and working cooperatively. They prefer obedient disciples who spend on schedule, then die before collecting retirement entitlements, except when that applies to them personally. They expect to live forever by taking no risks, which will kill everyone including themselves.

As all great apes, humans instinctively desire benign social interaction. But oneness is not at all natural. Differentiation and specialization open new markets, and, although you’ll never be sure how, provide some mechanism for species survival. To come up with advancements, someone has to think outside while working inside paradigm. Unique viewpoints matter; otherwise, flocks and herds are led to slaughter.

Terrorism spawns into two breeds: 1) Ignorant dupes who heed control freaks, 2) Losers who interpret their repeated failures as society out to get them. Both resemble weeds, disruptive and tenacious, for whom attempts to eradicate cause more harm than good. If roots remain, weed regrows, but perfect lawns are toxic nightmares. Of course, capitalism is rigged to reward a few at the expense of many, so generally any sense of unity suffers. Terrorists are only made to look like mankind’s worst enemies. Bacteria, bad lifestyles and motorists have been far worse. Yet any war on terror invites mankind’s annihilation. A reason to belong is all that’s needed to cure malaise. Being able to contribute in whatever way you can and earn a living from it is a fundamental freedom that too many are denied. It only takes one to trigger a weapon of mass destruction.

Fear cures nothing, doesn’t get majority to see things your way, rather has the opposite effect, scatters supporters and strengthens rulers. Instead of convincing, it turns others against your cause, which shrinks into a historical footnote. If they had any intelligence at all, disenfranchised individuals would gather input, learn what others need, and supply it to them. Blowing up people and property serves only murderous ego, but some madmen just want to watch world burn, so represent another paying client. As Noam Chomsky said, “Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.” Innovators look for solutions to continuous, dangerous, injurious problems, though unsupportive public doesn’t deserve their generosity and service.

Roger Scruton: Conservative thinker or exemplary oxymoron? Conservatism represents the absence of foresight, rather, mere reaction to chaos. Unicellular life, amoebas and whatnot, demonstrate they can react to climate changes or social angst better than conservatives. Thinking implies creativity. Superior thinkers - such as Descartes, Galileo, Satre, Wittgenstein - still exist and surely impact culture, but so do lunatics allowed to arbitrate things you have all the say for yourself. By the way, Roger, any kindness is beautiful, and everything, including equality and irony, possesses beauty if you’ve learned to see it.

Average schemers profit off fears of the rich, who dimly grasp that whatever they possess can easily be taken, by writing bullshit books that bury ones worth reading. Whoever wants to can write hundreds without presenting a single novel idea by analyzing nothing and parroting what others already have. Never believed that old biblical saw, “There’s nothing new under the sun,” penned by a redneck to get you to desist from inventing stuff with which these dolts have to deal without their usual tools of deny and forestall, though they’re cannily adept at charging admission to anything that doesn’t present a threat to them, haranguing whoever listens, and holding public executions. Seems society wants to revisit Roman rules for political expediency that sacrifice the meek and weak in a media coliseum or war frontline.

Signed onto government sponsored People For Bikes, as done with other nonprofit websites, to support equality for bicyclists in road planning. When given an opportunity for them to say a kind word about Bike&Chain, they righteously declined. Their policies and rules are too good for the likes of Labann, who’ll never be heard as long as plutocracy prevails. Charities assuage donors by adducing niceties and anathematizing militants. As of this late date, expect rejection at every turn. Easy to discredit or ignore anarchists who don’t know why they’ve been deprived. However, zero interaction spells complete freedom. If nobody notices, you can continue unmolested forever in your search for truth, or, once found, nobody else needs to know.

If you must pin tails on donkeys, bicyclists can be lumped into four groups: 1) Giant deprived demographic who use bikes for transportation, 2) Loose confederation of recreationally oblivious and socially active, 3) Small nucleus of pelaton fanboys, and 4) Smattering of chronic cranks and literary scholars. The only group to which B&C primarily appeals is the latter, so its potential audience remains marginal, and such readers only want self validation, not valid criticism and withering examination. Consequently, there’s always been a sense of futility in forging forward despite fact that it’s about the right of personal motility, which directly or indirectly affects everyone, including children whose parents provide for their welfare.

Saw a cartoon: A psychiatric crow counseling a couched patient says, “Whenever I’m depressed, I bust into flight and crap on someone.” Could resonate with bloggers. Sure, ignoramuses may dump rudeness and refusals on you, but you’re not expected to react badly? Never going to conquer terror that way. Probably 90% of bike bloggers don’t care about other blogs, only their own. But “narcissist” is a label too loosely applied; just because you are not easily coerced by morons, self concerned when nobody else is, or self sufficient doesn’t mean you’re a sociopath. Often try to connect with them by leaving encouraging comments, since they too will likely trail off when nobody notices. Sad when you see their last posts were 2 or more years ago. Listed a few below to begin your own probe. But seldom respond to those who make demands, such as moderating comments or requiring subscription by email to theirs.

The Bicycle and the West
Cozy Beehive: Cross-pollinating VĂ©lo Buzz
From Wheels to Bikes
Let's Go Ride a Bike - Fine list of other blogs
Lovely Bicycle
The Human Cyclist

If any solidarity movement might yield improvement, it would be getting bike bloggers to discuss issues and reach agreements, hard to do among planet’s most diverse lot. Most would rather cultivate inconsequential pastures infested with chickweed, dandelion and plantain than harass the dumbass or raise legal grass. When has there ever been a requirement to be relevant? Moment’s most important issues never reach news reports after conservatives neutralized investigative journalism. Now charges before a conservative congress don’t stick without independent corroboration. No doubt, bike bloggers and free thinkers who thrive on self sufficiency and witness things first hand will be next. Tyranny and want cause all terrorism. What does it imply when those who endure want submit to the tyranny of bicycling? Consider the consequences.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dates Contain

When you'll bike matches your own personal calendar. Some riders limit it to days when temperature in degrees Fahrenheit exceeds their age in years. Nevertheless, certain days every year merit a commemorative spin, and 2016 is no exception. What you need are fewer excuses and more reasons to ride.

10 April, Paris-Roubaix. Hell of the North is considered one of bicycling's most exciting one-day races. Champions cover the 257 km over rough cobbled sections in less than 6 hours. Congratulations to latest winner, Aussie domestique Mathew Hayman, who edged out 4-time Belgian champ Tom Boonen after favorites Cancellara and Sagan crashed. UCI calendar covers many such events, but this Queen of Classics is akin to The Masters Golf Tournament announcing season of suitability for millions of riders in temperate climates of Northern Hemisphere.

15 April, Frost Free Day in United State’s Northeast region. Or you could revel in 1st day of season you can spring forth in single ply after slowly layering all winter.

19 April, Bicycle Day. Albert Hoffman dropped a dose, the first intentional LSD trip, hopped on bike, and humped home in a revelatory haze from his Swiss laboratory. No noticeable harm, he lived to 102 and passed beyond physical realm into infinity about same time Labann published B&C in 2008.

01 May, National Bike Month begins in USA.

06 May (through 29), Giro D’Italia commences. Held since 1909, first of year's 3 Grand Tour elite bike races. Nice to know while pedaling alone that pelaton elsewhere is suffering gloriously just like you.

16 May (through 20), National Bike to Work Week; always held third week of May. Staged bike trains and work events, including routes from home guidance despite legal risks.

18 May, 13th Annual Ride of Silence. Global group rides, usually commencing at 7:00 PM local time, are conducted as a memorial to bicyclists who died while riding.

20 May, National Bike to Work Day. Wage slaves get to taste their dream of freedom before hanging up cleats for another year. Worth remembering more than any other date.

30 May, League of American Wheelmen (later Bicyclists) founded in 1880 in Newport, RI. Did important work early on, but eroded into a pulpit for impotent bullies.

20 June, Solstice, begins summer in North, winter in South. Being the longest day, sunshine assists year’s longest ride.

25 June, Pierre Michaux's Birthday. Parisian inventor who prototyped first pedaled velocipede (1858) and started mass production of bicycles (1868) was born on this day in 1813. Champagne and gateau, anyone?

02 July (through 24), Tour de France commences. Second of 3 Grand Tours, World’s oldest (1903) continually contested and most prestigious race has deeply influenced all aspects of bicycling, right down to fabrication methods and material composition.

20 August(through September 11), Vuelta a Espana. Held since 1935, third of three Grand Tours.

17 September, Cyclocross Season begins in Northern Hemisphere. Runs through autumn and winter, which occupies >60% of year somewhere around globe.

06 November, Daylight Savings ends, which affects bike commuters more than anyone. Usually break out winter gear, charge up lights, and swap wheel sets.

24 November, Thanksgiving. Excellent day to join group bike rides before huge meals and subsequent football comas. Call own “The Impossible Ride,” since always route it along roads bicyclists can't otherwise use because of relentless traffic. On this holiday morning with most businesses closed, traffic is as light as it will be all year beyond marshall law or unforeseen catastrophes.

07 December, A Day of Infamy. Around this date, despite weather, generally roundtrip by bike 20 miles to a local village to get Christmas cards hand stamped with Hope. Hope conquers fear, but inconvenience remains as as the other key deterrent to cycling.

21 December, Solstice, begins summer in South, winter in North. Being the shortest day, many neglect to arrange a morning or twilight spin. On other hand, days begin to lengthen hereafter. Of course, you can go gingerly on headlights, should you choose.

25 December, Christmas Day. How many remember an introductory spin on that new contraption Santa left? This year it’s on a Sunday, day upon which club rides usually occur anyway.