Sunday, February 17, 2019

Before Beltane

Are Impoverished youth more likely to sit once retired? Some do exhibit diminished imagination, get bored easily, and remain sideline spectators. Obviously depends upon opportunities they seized, or regimen they pursued, throughout careers. Bright, privileged children who are properly nurtured seem more likely to aspire to fame and fortune than kids who’ve dodged bullets and suffered trauma. “Twice burnt, shame on me,” leads to motivational paralysis. Isn’t a permissive culture a mixed bag? Must you endure problems to enjoy freedoms? The ease at which criminals and incompetents acquire assault rifles and automobiles can only be described as unconscionable.

As a child, had hardly any toys, made do with a borrowed bike, garden hose, other kids’ castoffs, real tools begrudgingly lent, or scraps of lumber. Still have scars to show. Built treehouses, did chores, dug holes, hiked around, played sports, practiced skills, and read voraciously, rather than swallow silly commercials, so acquired little but natural memories. Didn't have access to television until a teen, but embraced it as a labor saving device, a dozen complete stories digested in time it took to read a single dime novel. Starved for input, never questioned whether video was a net loss or unhealthy pastime. Generations were deliberately misinformed about details that could affect their very survival: asbestos, BB guns, propaganda, sex, toxins. Might as well include matrimony and monogamy, because even when you’ve been meticulously faithful, spouses will believe lies and misinterpret friendships or work relations. Everyone envies couples who stay together, so they become targets of divorcees, gossips, swingers and widows. Why put up with fading beauty, loveless duties, tongue lashings, and undeserved recriminations?

Demands of daily office upon Labann meant decades stuck in seat with eyes glued to monitor tubes. Without paid labor, this habit translates into sitting through televised movies and sports. Swilling beer also seems to make desperate leisure tolerable for some. Personally consider wandering about by bike a better alternative, less injurious despite risks, given sitting is the “new smoking”. Wondering why you seldom see anyone you’d describe as elderly scorching through neighborhoods? People for the most part possess little to no sense, purchase tickets to bounce in place to deafening bass beats, shackle selves in stadium seats to witness action occurring so far away you’d be better off at home watching broadcasts, though half consists of ads for things bad, especially for grandads.

David Flitcroft linocuts "Beltane Breeze" and (below) "Owl Encounter", plus more art from the bike shed by this cycling inspired artist.

After attending outdoor concerts, camping without tents, cycling to festivals, and mingling among eccentrics, in this century illusions and images have begun to replace meaningful physical experiences. Motorists dodge being detected, then flop at home to behold others being dissected. Esport OWL League of team gamers shooting zombies exemplifies how concussed contact players are being supplanted by no-touch celibacies. Many contests only stream online over exclusive high-speed connections poor or privileged have, not middle class suckers who share in nothing but support everything.

At its inception late rock icon David Bowie dubbed the Internet, "An alien from Mars that will radically alter all expectations of media... for better or worse." Its biggest effect by far has been the emergence of busy blogs and social blah, where people can bare their privacy to an unsympathetic public, experience utter apathy, and invite humiliation and infamy, as if critics and prosecutors were chaste characters who've never relented to harmless temptations. Free porn made Internet popular, after all. Some stick around for emotional cuddles of electronic echo chambers, which could validate vices and vindicate obsessions should you find a similarly damaged audience. The hypocrisy of sex scandals in high office implies you’d be better off kowtowing to know-nothing virgins, as if there were any in a world so overcrowded you’d think reproduction was humanity’s sole priority. Cock fights, pit bulls, political bills, and prize fighting are basically alike, preening to attract booty.

Psychiatric disorders typified 20th Century after two great wars left so many families of heroes with PTSD. Such suffering has a cultural component. With better access to information, you’d think that would hasten improvement in 21st Century. But nobody does. Mass confusion ensued. Behavioral theory was exploited for business publicity. Decades of discoveries on Earth and other planets, such as Mars, don’t impress majority. No businessman, charioteer, or plowman along the line knows what any of it is worth, neglected due vigilance, never watched for portents, riders or signals, so social contracts elapse and tyranny rises unopposed. Soon the wind of war will again howl, because it consolidates wealth among the few, something society seems determined to do.

B&C could be a threnody for greatness gone, since nation supposedly needs to fight to restore its status, according to a psychotic POTUS. Dominance shares no benefits, only lumps minion among targets and sorts between combatants. Should you buy into their bizarre arguments, you'll be used as cannon fodder or human shield.

A halfway acceptable riding day might stifle all this banshee keening, bitchy screeching, disappointed complaining. If only nature would stop producing slush, plows piling by roadside and spreading salt and sand, then whole mess freezing solid again, you could regain pavement and remount your two-wheeled steed. Instead, you might order maintenance from your local bike shop before they get too busy, and prepare for seasons to come with suitable purchases. Doesn’t hope spring eternally?

Some just won’t abstain from riding before Beltane, May Day’s fertility feast, or subscribe to primitive Wheel of the Year protocols with marmot prognosticators on Imbolc and timekeepers springing forward before Ostara, the vernal equinox. Bicycling happens year round, though spirits only speak to those sensitive to their presence, not just on Beltane and Samhain but whenever you’re immersed in rolling silence.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Free, Verlaine?

Grew up under a cloud of postwar suspicions about un-American activities, Red Scare of Senator Joe McCarthy, sensationalized accusations that ruined lives and were proven malarkey, spouted by a posse of paranoid schizophrenics including Ronald Reagan. Nobody can truly define term "American". Technically, it only qualifies as Western Hemisphere, that is, North or South American, but some would rather dismiss any neighboring sovereignty or nomadic constituency of pre-Columbian ancestry. Has come to describe ideals of a good citizen of the United States, as if all shared same ideals, which news events repeatedly prove they do not, not even close, as divided as any Middle Eastern region enduring perpetual redivision. Can any two humans ever agree on anything? Well, sometimes.

To majority of nation’s residents, American represents fairness, opportunities to get ahead based on elbow grease and steady habits, tolerance of personal, political and religious beliefs within rules of law, and worldwide charity as the biggest benefactor by far in human history, literally trillions of USD. In the last century, nation grew rich and strong by melding minds despite conflicting customs through faith in these flimsy sentiments. These days statutes proscribe all such precepts. Innocuous advice can get you fired. Bad upbringing and befriending losers might trip you up despite believing otherwise, knowing prejudice defies reason, and mostly managing to act responsibly. Deck is so stacked against individual freedoms, many out of fear wouldn't dare to exercise any. Bad deal when thousands of good deeds you did can be negated by one indiscretion, isn’t it? Henceforth, expect nothing from Americans, including entrepreneurial innovations and foreign aid.

Gainful employment is meant to be all important. If you can perform under withering conditions owners want and rulers set, they'll dump so many demands upon you you'll fail despite accomplishments. Patience and skills make you a slave among parasites and thieves, until you complain on your own behalf, then you'll be dismissed summarily and replaced by another dupe with impossible ambitions. Because a few do seem to reap rewards, illusion of an American dream endures. With businesses supposedly spoiled by luck in the Year of the Pig, where are foreseen generosity, honesty and prosperity? Reality supports no pure capitalism but a quasi-socialism with skewed welfare for both corporations and designated individuals, but not all in need. Double standards and exclusionary stipulations abound.

Favored news networks foster blind loyalty, glorify greed, promote inequality, suborn sedition, and whip up hostilities under a ruse of freedom of speech. They now deny Red Scare in vote tampering, as if jealous rivals weren’t motivated to ruin Americans through political division and narcotics pandering. If any argument sounds like you'll get ahead at someone else's expense, it's probably un-American and routinely unconstitutional. One in a million defies odds and ignores orders to find some measure of satisfaction. That’s when new rules are concocted that don’t affect lawmakers. Policy beats down anyone who sidesteps status quo whether or not it might topple regime. By choosing sides, conservative and liberal extremism have always been blatantly un-American. Neither describes majority, who don’t approve or rule, just kneel and knuckle under.

Safe? You are under constant threat of instant annihilation wherever you sit, more so whenever you move despite old adage about targets in motion being hard to hit. Weapons of mass destruction can be detonated anywhere (including remote test locations) without warning, obliterate everything in blast diameter, and really want to yield deadly potential given number of lunatics and terrorists intent on doing exactly that. Every month vehicles crash into businesses and homes, injuring or killing bystanders. Luckily, normal people carry on as if these facts had zero validity, so society doesn't suffer from planning lapses and poor harvests, except when leaders shut down government or pavement for personal leverage.

Rancor and trauma to which all humans are subject result in doubt, grief, guilt, malaise, moralizing, philosophizing, or worse. Lashing out acts as a curt balm but deterrent to calm and serenity. What you regret or resist will forever define you, who you only fool when you forgive self. To atone, not forgive, prompts healing. Christ on a bike who can cure with a word shall be left behind by Trump in a coupe, as actor Fred Gwynne illustrated, because evil might leans right and leaves a wake of deaths and losses. Talking heads on television never mention the term “reparation”, or see how it applies to them.

World welcomes juvenescence and renaissance without reservation. Plenty of timeline to make same mistakes of reliance on technologies that shirk duties to mankind and nature. Never trust stories from an immutable past that may never recur. All you can do lies ahead if you. Adapt self, apply logic, be flexible and smart, conduct own experiments, don't expect this paradigm to last, hope for the best, plan for the worst: zombie apocalypse.

Dreary are the winter regrets of dinged up seniors, especially those ridiculed as masters of the obvious. As Labann fades into retirement and reconsiders mortality, self preservation gets overridden as a key priority by dreams of a just society. Is it too much to ask to ride your bike in peace? Or even just get by? What little you worked so hard to accumulate will be ripped off by hidden fees, insurance premiums, nursing systems, and tax codes established strictly for that purpose. Who thinks of elder abuse, human trafficking, or identity theft as cons worse than homicide? Financially, you'll be recycled alive even before funeral strategies begin. What’s left of self will be whatever endearing or enduring work you did. Only a few figure this out or fully participate as chances allow, so billions of folks will pass largely forgotten, perhaps only by close friends and devoted family. Celebrity after death only means your career is deconstructed into a fiction that continues to serve agendas.

Some were wired for giving, so won't go against instincts by not producing. Art and literature both distract and inspire, but guarantee neither. Popular poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine personified hipster flâneur long before term was coined, promoted decadence, hedonism, and interpersonal abuse, then by all accounts regretted their bohémien rhapsody. Both died alone, too young and totally bankrupt, though deemed legends never to be eclipsed by those similarly bent. Too many presume life’s riches will always be free for the taking, an unsustainable attitude in a world facing a 60% deficit in food, fuel and water over next 5 years. Saying so will be criticized as acting un-American, behaving badly, and causing trouble, when defying duties causes all emergencies mankind must attend. Only the insane get free rein; the rest must fill roles and suffer consequences. Why pretend normalcy, and thereby forfeit notoriety and sacrifice liberty? A debate worth deliberating? Certainly.

"Best you keep your Rhyme sober and sound, lest it wander, reinless and unbound."—Verlaine

“Who is it really makin' up your mind? You want to listen to the man? Pay attention to the magistrate. And while I got you in the mood, listen to your own heart beatin’... Don’t it get you movin’... Then give it up and give it the job. I’m alright. Nobody worry 'bout me. Why you got to gimme a fight? Can't you just let it be?” Kenny Loggins, I’m Alright, Caddyshack Soundtrack (1980)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Gelid Mane

To commute by bike in below freezing dark one must be demented, desperate or devoted. Expect fingers and toes to be painfully stung along with any exposed spot. Deadly cold feels almost as if being branded by a red hot poker from hell. Easy to add a wool base layer beneath neoprene bib tights, tunic and windbreaker for arms, legs and torso, but what about fingers, head and toes? A slew of websites offer partial advice. Always asked to explain further, even though covered in book.

Head may be swaddled in a balaclava, plus a wool skull cap to ease brain freeze as long as helmet still fits, but prepare for helmet hair, an unmanageable mane of flattened straw and stubborn cowlicks, yet it’s wool you can grow and trim. However, doesn’t protect face. Wrap around safety glasses, clear or yellow for low visibility, at least hold heat and shield eyes. For ears, mouth, neck and nose, a foot wide fleece tube can be pulled up around cheeks; one guarantees it will become drenched with gelid exhale, wet freeze, but can be peeled and shifted however you please. By pursing lips you can redirect breath to avoid fogging lenses and momentarily blinding you, why you never use goggles unless easy to quickly remove. Sequence of donning correctly can confuse and consume time better spent dodging potholes on longer than normal trips.

Full fingered pittard gloves with leather palms that cyclists wear come Autumn and Spring don’t meet demand below 40°F, when insulated gloves must take over. Below 30°F, one might combine them or try a glove liner. Built-in wrist cinches on tunic wrap around gloves to keep cold from running up sleeves to which bicyclists are particularly vulnerable with hands ahead draped on handlebars. Whatever you do, avoid flat tires, misery for frozen fingers. Wheel set rigged for winter should include heavy tubes, Kevlar belted tires, and tire liners properly installed and pumped to normal pressure to prevent both pinch and puncture flats and provide extra traction. Some cyclists simply store equipment as soon as thermometer reading in Fahrenheit equals age in years, so deny self of all these trying travails. After a few miles body generates enough BTUs anyway to make bone-chilling rides tolerable.

At same temperature points, feet need similar protection. Calientoes, spandex cones, cover toes of cleats, thus a wind pierce preventative you can leave in place all winter, or you could slip into complete shoe covers each time you suit up. Below 30°F, neoprene booties insulate beyond. Likewise, socks go from flimsy polyester to heavy wool, some times both, wool over liners, whatever cleats will allow. Mountain bikers opt for heavy boots and ski paraphernalia. Since safety becomes priority over speed, they sacrifice streamlined for practicality. Only the best prepared or totally foolhardy venture out below 0°F, when breath turns instantly to ice, cable shifts balk, and chain grease freezes.

Depending upon gages, sensors and yardsticks at your disposal, you can collect all sorts of data, but is raw information always relevant? One cyclometer says both speed and temperature, but not whether frostbite will claim body parts or wind chill is too biting to bear. Know-how and logic preempt forecasts and reports. Microscopes reveal bacteria but don't segregate beneficial from harmful. Gyms are heated but harbor germs. Experts rather sell opinions or shut up. Wintery outdoors has wholesome fresh air to spare, better than rest of year. Scientists deny facts based upon whoever pays best. Denialists exist in cycling, who trade hyperbole and hysteria for sensible arguments from 7 decades of experience and research. Every activity possesses downsides and upsides, minuses and pluses, pain and pleasure, yang and yin. One has to question why anyone would expend a quarter century building a case for bicycling culture when most would rather risk their lives on tenuous technologies. Upon onset of winter every year you see scads of ads and articles explaining why motoring is as dangerous as mixing antimatter particles. Have biked through snow to bail out stranded drivers.

Michael Carabetta, Words to Ride By: Thoughts on Bicycling (Chronicle Books, 2017, 112 pp). Critics deride Carabetta’s compulsion to cite only the famous in this slim compilation of images and quotes. Out on a spin inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle? Maintaining balance as cautioned by Einstein? Blues beset best of bicyclists despite whatever incompatibility James Starrs expressed, especially in dead of winter with seasonal depression. Labann published 5 million quotable words on bicycling, entirely original and open source, which with zero risk of plagiarism Carabetta never once cited.

Isaac Potter, The Gospel of Good Roads: A Letter to the American Farmer (League of American Wheelmen, 1891), cajoles with common sense, dazzles with statistics, pressures agribusiness to invest, promotes sympathetic political candidates, and reaps benefits for bicyclists by piggybacking scot free on costs to commerce. And what an impact it had! From it flowed pavement from local roads to national highways. Potter was merely a paid spokesperson for the well healed, Hannity of his day. Anthropologist Margaret Mead may have circuitously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has,” but should doubt she meant allowing the already affluent to steal from public for personal gain under a guise of common good.

The Good Roads Movement ended officially in 1925 when the Interstate Highway Program began to ensure state roads aligned at state borders. In the last decade alone costs to nation totalled $10 trillion, at least triple that in last century. With every mile of highway now carrying an average $10 million price tag, expenditure can only rise to an unsustainable stratosphere. Meanwhile, local roads declined, railroad and tow canal rights-of-way were abandoned, and stone bridges crumbled under relentless freezing/thawing and rumbling commerce. States have begun to revive them for bicycling, mostly because it demonstrates legal compliance.

Federal laws since 1990 require bridges, highways and interstates to provide reasonable alternatives for cycling and walking. By law, lightly trafficked neighborhood streets need no further accommodation, unless less than one lane wide in each direction, when a low cost bikeway can alleviate bike and pedestrian safety issues. Roads that connect housing tracks can be paralleled by bike lanes that also serve as sidewalks with bus stops. Imagine getting stranded in a vehicle and wondering how you’d safely exit highway on foot? Instead, planners specifically restrict, falsely assuming motorists never need to, though many of the nation’s annual 10,000 pedestrian fatalities are directly due to this negligence.

With bike lanes taking up space on avenues and boulevards, controversies crop up. Motorists, who can never be relied upon to obey rules, drive and park in them, figure they’re entitled to all pavement, since they pay nearly $9,000/year for this privilege, and resent sharing. It becomes a constant battle to convince them otherwise, especially when bikeways and sidewalks, pavement not meant for motoring, don’t get plowed, so traffic lanes are all that’s left for cyclists and walkers to use, often until April. Winter impedes basic mobility for all alike, so motorists must adapt, be patient, expect the unexpected, slow by half, and wake up earlier to make up time needed to escape gridlock and scrape ice. Forced into closer proximity, frigid starts and fogged windshields threaten everyone’s passage. Bicyclists ought to dress bright and use a light both back and front; cute units can be recharged during work shift for home commute. Beware, because sensible advice nobody’s obliged to bear will never ensure anyone will care that you get there.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Cross of Lorraine

Just as you must exert yourself or lose muscles mass, you must exercise freedom or invite tyranny. Many don’t appreciate what blessings liberty brings, consider how hard won it was, or know what to do with talents over time, other than feed face and get off. Some figure entitlement entails Christmas stalkings, that is, menacingly following footsore shoppers to find sole parking spot during busiest buying, and New Year’s rituals involving lemony risotto and lucky lentils, which allegedly evoke pennies from heaven, plus making resolutions they never plan to keep. One could instead campaign for civility, comment upon what authors post on line, read or write a book about cadence and shackles, or simply bike aimlessly or for charity. B&C was open to discussion for a decade, but so few did blog got suspended. Was that what this web of 8 billion wanted? Hard to believe. Or maybe silence implies, “No objections; press onwards, limitless. Nihil obstat, imprimi potest.”

Freedom will always be measured by how much responsibility one assumes. Government does anything it wants because of dominance it presumes. Individuals seldom feel so empowered. Authority begs abuse, bitterness, challenge, dismissal, hate, jealousy, and resentment, so tends to be avoided by everyone but the brave or invincible. It’s easier to do nothing, or whatever you’re told, until you start counting what you’ve forfeited or sacrificed, or suddenly drop dead. In short term, some rather go rogue, jump bail if ever caught, migrate to countries without extradition, settle for stupidity instead of community. Freud spoke of Civilization and Its Discontents, problems of perpetually stifling pleasure principle, and suffering that living among others causes. Isn’t society the primary source of pleasures: Entertainment, food, interaction, necessities? Living alone would be unbearable.

Max Ginsburg (cover illustration) for juvenile novel by Jan O'Donnell Klaveness, Beyond the Cellar Door (Scholastic, 1991, 186 pp.), in which children imagine, magic Victorian house gradually delivers, and past influences present. In actuality can anyone ever escape origins?

During Labann’s impressionable teens someone emphasized the importance of reading and writing. Skills accordingly practiced served as a career, but stripped boyish innocence and joy. Fledglings forced to confront depressed cranks who comprise panoply of wordsmiths would be hard pressed to stress happiness over dystopian duress. Novels almost always depict protagonists in darwinian struggles against an adversary or adversity, seldom coworkers on tireless teams interacting nicely, which better represents livelihoods of majority. One deems cooperative routines and repetitive regimes too dull to divulge. But the crux of it is a cross you must bear, duties you can’t deny, ever more restrictive obligations, exact opposite of autonomy: martyrdom or self imposed slavery.

General de Gaulle chose Croix de Lorraine (originally D’Anjou) as a standard for Free French against Nazi occupation, stymie to their swastika. It became an emblem of liberation for which French forever aspire along with equality and fraternity. Croix D’Anjou traces back to crucifixion of Christ, with a high placard and longer crossbar: heaven above earth below. Joan of Arc, patron saint of France, grew up in Lorraine village of Domrémy, later under German control until reunified by WWI. She donned male armor, led France into 15th Century victory, so was burnt at stake as a lesbian teen heretic by a grateful nation with impotent patriarchs. Doesn’t inspire loyalty, not one bit. Ashes disappear; cross remains. Tour de France, which intentionally visits outlying departments, promptly passed through Lorraine in 1919 and several times since (as image shows). Resembles Labann’s latest holiday ride probing borders, ringing providence. This crucial adaptation now appears on cognac bottles, because bravest prefer brandy, yet has increasingly been embezzled by cookie cutters, dastardly evildoers, and dope smugglers who cynically pretend to be modern day rebels, while fascism stages a comeback versus a browbeaten, obese, stoned democracy.

Long ago Labann canonized the bicycle as a freedom machine, but only where state provides supportive infrastructure, where you can dodge vehicular entanglements. Instead of advocating equal accommodation, smear campaigns by Big Oil, Cripple A, and GM attempted to discredit cycling by exaggerating disadvantages without offending new customers, particularly during 1970’s bike boom, when adults began to recall a cheaper, safer, simpler alternative. They should have targeted heavy trucking; easier to pass bicyclists, often outside travel lane altogether, than tractor double tandem trailers and wide bodies that occupy entire road. Drug cartels followed automotive example: Offer affordable product until users are invested, overwhelm competition, then raise price until consumers are enslaved. Average wages can no longer afford $8.5K/year costs of ownership. Only biking and walking truly offer autonomy and mobility.

Spin spontaneity proves manumission is possible. But owners of yore freed slaves as punishment, left them to fend for themselves or starve, palliated sting of own guilt at victim’s expense. Cycling against a motorized tide connotes time alone for which you must atone. Religious scholars rate free will as innate, yet use doctrine as a stalemate. Politicians quote Bible as they legislate perks and misappropriate funds. Evil and good are supposed to be yours to choose, though hint good advice might impoverish or inconvenience and most will refuse. Consequences could leave you with nothing left to lose. Crossover will kill a rover, instill talk of a crosswalk, never limit outrageous motorist offenses, since insurances pledge all necessary defenses.

“Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose. Nothin' ain't worth nothin' but it's free... I'd trade all my tomorrows for one single yesterday... Feelin’ good was good enough for me, good enough for Me and Bobby McGee.” Grateful Dead, The Golden Road, Warner Brothers, 1971

"Well, I sit and I pray in my broken down Chevrolet, while I'm singin' to myself, ‘There's got to be another way.’ Take away this Ball and Chain. I’m lonely and I'm tired, and I can't take any more pain... I've searched to find the perfect life: A brand new car, a brand new suit, I even got me a little wife. But wherever I have gone, I was sure to find myself there. You can run all your life but not go anywhere.” Social Distortion, Social Distortion, Sony, 1990

“Some things are better left unsaid, if that were true, then I'd be dead. More sad nights at the hospital, fever swarming around my collarbone. Always waiting for the death of, the death of love. Get up, get up. You know it's true.” British grunge band Gallows, Cross of Lorraine, Gallows, Bridge Nine Rec., 2014

“Just remember what it was like astride that Yellow Bike: First freedom, second life. All the places I could ride, leaving early, packing light. That little ache inside. My kingdom for someone [with whom] to ride.” Pedro the Lion, Phoenix, Polyvinyl Rec., 2019

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Shades of Grey Zane

Despite blindness, Slackjaw Knipfel sees perfectly and speculates on 4 plausible causes of America’s ongoing Civil War and probable affect on him personally. He speaks modestly for vast majority. Lockstep conservatives attack public with depraved arrogance and lurid disinformation, flinch only at truth, yet publish anything that might sell in an unregulated market. Liberal losers brace for battle, circle their wagons, and micromanage message, more likely to censor moderate commentators. Anyone alive should feel anxious and uncertain in this battle for one’s soul. Action and mayhem, mirroring life, have never been more popular on screens. Every American owes $150,000 in public debt; few have that much in savings, most know that they have to pay share for indigents and marginal earners, and more than not blame government recklessness and can’t envision any fix. Of course: Intentionally isolated when only collaboration stands a chance, you’re expected to endlessly pay and silently stew. Instead of dangling a destination as if a carrot on a stick, why not improve everyone’s journey?

Those who complain risk being branded as malcontents or traitors. Journalism no longer exists after Dubya retaliated against Mapes and Rather for breaking true story of his dodging military duty, thereby describing a seated POTUS as an example of undeserved privilege. Fox infotainment, finding calamities where none exist, dominate state reportage, while real news has been vilified as fake. Insiders denigrate those they deem inferior or threats, while those whose agendas they further slink about exclusive haunts like pests behind the wainscoting. When perception equals reality, professionals must feign phony guise of game show host. No champion protects folks who just scrape by and pay for everything, though plenty claim to speak for them. Capitalism crashed. Democracy died. Social justice is a sordid joke.

Last several posts In part tried to justify this blog. Cannot convince self. A later ah-ha only serves as a lesson learnt, not so a great comeback or instant reaction that vaults you over oppressors. Must diligently dance and stay sharp or suffer consequences of being own fuzzy threadbare self. After 10 YEARS, anniversary today, have to say book and blog in no way found any following, though welcomed infrequient encouragement and rave reviews from published authors. Popularity only comes into play when one expects to make a living off creative output, as did prolific western romanticist Zane Grey. Grey, a dentist, got a late start but gradually became the first millionaire author having produced nearly 100 titles including The Last Trail. No Painless Parker, frontier tooth extractor, who hired marketeers to promote his wares, Grey migrated further west and worked as a hand at Wilder Ranch (note single track mishap at 8:25) in California before settling in Oregon Wilderness. Trying to draw readers has always been like pulling teeth. The proud and rich don’t give a damn what readers think. Yet ignominious obscurity may be evidence of a self directed monologue. Can’t fault content here for quality or quantity, only failure to gain attention, something any teen who’s staged a tantrum has already seen.

Age consumes and retirement looms. Why continue any cachinnation for a nation of cretins? About time to pass baton to another bicyclist and ride off into a purple sage sunset. Not giving up altogether; assuming other projects, making self available for lectures and parties, pedaling more on own bike, and writing less. Let B&C be your open source foundation for extending investigation into bicycling culture, which, if you hadn't noticed, provides a veritable expressway towards understanding everything anyone needs to know. By comparison one culture reveals another, sort of an entrance ramp to contemporary anthropology. Question is, will bicycling culture continue to emerge in this information age? Or will virtuous pedaling revert to totally virtual indoors technologically?

"Some trails are happy ones, others are blue. It's the way you ride the trail that counts. Here's a happy one for you... Until we meet again, happy trails. Keep smiling unto then." Dale Evans, single, RCA Victor, 1952, same year Painless Parker passed away.