Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Unlike Gawain

Blogbook's intention has always been to inch along the edges of enigmas inside emotions, language and logic. Resembles mountain biking within broken crevasses or riding streets as if a rider suddenly miniaturized, which would render most of what humans endure impossibly hostile. But after this year's Christmas Massacre of Innocents, feel almost as unsafe on own couch watching countless repeats of that story where delusional boy covets a beebee gun; you'd think advertisers and lineup programmers would choose something less pathetic for a nation in mourning.

Fears can and will be exploited. TD Ameritrade's 'pataphorical ad with a bicyclist dodging beasts hopes to appeal to your intelligence (smart traders ride, right?) but makes no sense whatever (maybe instead dodge insatiable billionaires or pompous Trump). A for-once gratifying bike placement is the boy climbing to his mountaintop challenge on Quaker cereal, courtesy of iSpot.tv. Suppose such concrete challenges appeal more to Labann than mythical threats easily avoided by not investing in scams SEC still allows.

Writers go wrong at the first simile, succumb to self indulgence through metaphors, and work agendas with allegories. Readers are hardly aware they are so being used.

Among the venerable jewels of English literature is the medieval allegory "Gawain and the Green Knight", whose deadly challenge Sir Gawain shoulders for Camelot's sake but shows things are never what they seem. Set between successive Christmases and worth a reread, it's about man versus nature, opportunities for growth, and persistence to a respectable code of behavior despite temptation. The Green Man continually rejuvenates and so becomes an invincible yet merry foe expecting a bargain made to be repaid. His elvish evergreen, ivy and mistletoe may be thought subservient to Santa and taken for granted but do get job done. Hope springs eternally, and those who bring it deserve honor.

Labann knows legends of knights errant and their lonely quests of assumed responsibility get replayed during every outbound bike commute, right down to the exposed progress and uncertain outcome, especially among these coldest, darkest days. But all they do is impart lessons in loyalty undeserved by today's leaders. When they begin rewarding patriotism and showing good examples of fulfilling their oaths to majority, issues facing society will fade into history.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Beef Chow Mein

Would like to liken life to a blade upon which everything falls and separates bad from good, left across right, right beside wrong, but that's just a meaningless metaphor. People bounce off each other as if a hodgepodge of random particles. Even this blog defies any regular frequency or specific relevancy, which generally attracts readers, and gravitates toward any generic event, feast, or holiday when particles boil vigorously. There's little celebrating while pedaling alone, although day to day that's mostly what goes on. One expects consensus and natural laws to dominate and never make life incomprehensible, then things happen and you can't help but wonder.

There's probably some causal relationship between 13 mass killings this year—among 61 in USA since 1980—and threat of apocalypse next week at the end of Mayan calendar on Winter Solstice. Fear and want create savages and terrorists. No less than NASA's respected astrophysicists debunked celestial doom occurring anytime soon. But emotions rule, not logic, and few totally believe academic or official sources eager to shape opinions to suit agendas. Basic survival, how to grow food, and what's best to invest in are not among ideas they rush to impart, so can they be trusted? Do they care for your welfare? If termination is imminent, why not go berserk? Anyway, enemies lurk around every corner. Extremists want you dead. Global warming is real, whatever the cause. Hope is fragile and irrational. Hurricanes increase in ferocity and frequency, 19 along Atlantic coast in this year alone. Pessimism dovetails with perennial doubts and takes no effort to peddle compared to calm optimism only the brave embrace. So all those end-of-days predictions seem all the more plausible.

Because news reporting has become efficient through space age communications, those who heed are too keenly aware of what happens worldwide. Even North Korea has a spy satellite. Foreign events could drive decisions at home despite fact no such thing ever occurs locally. Conversely, unique customs serve far flung communities quite well. A homogenous world isn't practical; you can't hunt polar bears in equatorial rain forests. Only arrogance expects social engineering to prevail over organic growth. But some commodities or recipes do resonate everywhere. Chow mein, for example, is an ersatz occidental adaption of oriental cuisine, an example of fused mélange that diners eye warily but taste anyway. Some of the best things combine exotic influences.

Talk vainly attempts to enlist you in someone else's beef, but unrelenting behaviors can be explained. If you decided to burn oil to stay warm, you've already installed a furnace and can't easily change to an alternative within a decade without forfeiting investment. Hybrid vehicles hold appeal when immutability of fuel sources gets unreal. Survival comes from natural selection, not of favorites but whatever exists in given moment. Should all else fail, you can always chop wood or go by bike. While options exist, hope endures.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tin Panned Lane

About 6 decades ago comedian Max Miller (actual name Thomas Sargent) amused folks with tongue-in-cheek tunes like Let's Have a Ride on Your Bike, a 78 rpm single from Philips in 1953, another of those chestnuts that appear every year while recapping bike songs. Recent releases have nary a hit among them. Anyway, here's 2 dozen to consider:

Alanna-Marie Boudreau, Boy on the Bicycle, Hands in the Land, self, 2012
Andrew Page, Bicycle (piano instr.), Sketches & Suites, self, 2011
Ashley Theberge, Bicycles, Ba Do Day, self, 2009
Best Before, The Bicycle Song, Colours, self, 2011
Biruge, Bicycle and Sketchbook (J-pop), Bicycle and Sketchbook, self, 2011
Carlo Messanotte Jazz Quartet, Bicycles (instr.), Jazz Tales, Wide Sound, 2011
Dawn Kinnard, Bicycle, Wrong Side of the Dream, Montagu Music, 2010
Don Aliquo, Lower Burrellian Bicycle Loop (jazz instr.), Sun & Shield, self, 2011
East of the Wall, Horseback Riding in a Bicycle World, The Apologist, Translation Lost, 2011
Kerri Dopart, Bicycle (Built for One) [C&W], I Saw This Coming, self, 2007
Konnichiwa, White Bicycles, Visions, Rainbow Body Rec., 2011
Lianne Smith, Bicycle, Two Sides of a River, self, 2012
Libby Thomas, Boys and Bicycles, (single), self, 2012
Lord Ace, Bicycle (hip-hop), Elevator Musik, self, 2012
Michou, Growing Younger, Cardona, Green and Gold Music, 2010
New Orleans Moonshiners, Bicycle Bird, I'm Comin' Home, self, 2010
Nora and One Left, Big Red Bicycle Christmas (and other relevant titles), Bicycle, Rick Rowland, 2012
Pianism, Bicycle [piano], Memories, Music Mania, 2010
Requiem for Sirens, Bicycles and Aviators (deathcore), The Pride in a Sinking Story, Nyoncore Rec., 2008
Self Evident, Half Bicycle, We Built a Fortress on Short Notice, self, 2012
Siena Castañares, Bicycle, Yearbook, self, 2010
Suneaters, Bicycle, Suneaters XIII, Lotuspool Rec., 2012
Tasm Lab, Three Red Bicycles, Anthemunanthem, self, 1993

If you like bike related videos, somebody put together a playlist which features many of the songs this blog has previously mentioned.