Thursday, May 29, 2014

Here's to Hindbrain

The hindbrain is compromised of 3 parts. Cerebellum may play a role in episodic memory retrieval (Andreasen, et. al., 1999), but together with Medulla and Pons, it surely controls autonomic reflexes, balance, breathing, coordination, muscle flex, tone and twitch, and such bodily functions upon which cyclists rely. So let’s salute this pink blob saddled atop spinal cord that sits in the background but supervises foremost business.

Sometimes look back in shame on mistakes. Don’t always get things spot on. Said blogs can’t post essays or lists, but stubbornly did so anyway. At least a post can be ignored, unlike email blocking queue or phone call that might spell trouble. Can't neglect Bike Month. Hope it was all it could be for you. As a retrospective and wrap, retrieved these overlooked and unmentioned bicycling songs (artist, title [type if not pop or rock], album, label, year) with excerpts of lyrics and links in yet another dismissive missive:

• A2J, Bicycle Ride [Christian], Prove It, Go Media, 2013
• Admamh Roland, Bicycle Ride [Queer folk], You’re Alive, Riotfolk, 2007
• Andy Vaz, Bicycle Love [idm], (single), Yore Records, 2013
• Anthony B, Ghetto Bicycle [dancehall], Riddim Rider, Vol. 15, Jetstar Music, 2004
• The Arrivals, Simple Pleasures in America, Volatile Molotov, Recess Records, 2010. “I don't want just be a bitch, and I don't want to just hate on rich folks, but that's kind of how we have our fun; still just for her this is a positive one. I like the bill of rights, and I like to ride my bicycle, and everybody gets a little piece of the pie. I like to go that extra mile...”
• Aurora Nealand & The Royal Roses, Bicycle Bird [Dixieland], New Orleans Compilation, self, 2012
• Basic Astronomy, Bicycle Song [eam], Slow News Day, self, 2009
• Classified, Choose Your Own Adventure 2 [Canadian hip-hop], Self Explanatory, Halflife/Sony, 2009
• Eleanor Friedberger, Owl’s Head Park, Last Summer, Merge Rec., 2011
. "I heard they got used bicycle parts down in Coney Island. There's a Russian there who makes them out on Surf Avenue. I chose my seat and my wheels, one pink and one white. He said come back in an hour, but I got nothing to do. I gave him sixty bucks. I guess they must've been stolen, baby, fine, finally they found their way back to me or you. ...I only took one picture that day. It's me on the bike posing next to a white Lamborghini on Manhattan Avenue in front of that tiny, tiny restaurant... It's the only photo I have of that bike on that day. The boys on the F-Train said that frame was fresh. It was the color blue. But I didn't know my way so... I couldn't ride home to you."
• The Honey Brothers, Green and Gold, Time Flies Like a Peach, Velour Rec., 2012. “Green and gold bicycle... It's gonna be a long walk home without you. The road is winding, the path is empty and bare. And it feels binding 'cause you're just never there. You're up ahead now. It's impossible to see. Your hair is shining. Maybe you're following me. There's so much space here and so little time. I watch you mounting your green-gold bike in the sky.”
• Ral Partha Vogelbacher, Wrong Bike [Britpop], Kite vs Obelisk, Monotreme Rec., 2004
• Ricky Fitzpatrick, Bicycle, (single), self, 2013
• Sam Bisbee, Alltime Low, High, self, 2004
• Spiral Beach, Casual T [Canadian], Ball, Sparks Music, 2007. “If an accident happens, then I can die laughing looking into those high beams. Don’t tell me what happens. Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, riding on a bicycle, looking like a casual T. But now I can see that the wheels keep spinning, and I’ll be underneath...”
• The Treasure Fleet, High on a Bicycle, Cocamotion, Recess Rec., 2012
• Yourself and The Air, Bicycles Plus, Who’s Who in The Zoo, Lujo Rec., 2011

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Big Buck Hurricane

Will wealth ever be evenly distributed? Unlikely. On an internet thread, let a conservative bait and denigrate. Wastes time when you argue with a soulless parasite. Civil discourse becomes impossible. Underlying was his desperation to rationalize wrongs. If you’re alert, you can analyze human nature from on-line forums. People only cherish their own words, seldom read your posts; the one who does misquotes or parrots without crediting source. Unibomber vilified socialism, which he couldn’t even define. Likewise, conservative extremists exhume Marx every time someone challenges their masquerade of materialism. Only an infant is so insistent.

Historians say whenever >75% of the wealth was held by <25% of population, revolutions occurred. Americans allow <5% of society to hold >90% of wealth due to a global economy, media hegemony, and sheer stupidity. The Great Depression was a speed bump in the road compared to current "recession”. Unemployment then was 25%; in some states today, it's as high as 50%, although they now apply yardsticks that only count individuals seeking jobs or new unemployment claims, not those who’ve become ineligible or given up. Conservatives ludicrously blame 1930's on FDR. Pure greed went unchecked for decades preceding. Republican Coolidge, practically a tea bagger in his spending curtailments, precipitated crash. Because robber barons seized rule that deposed nobles once presumed, then stiffened class inequalities, fairness inevitably begat bread lines, social security, unemployment insurance, and welfare. Shows that social justice can gain ground through consensus.

Greed is firmly rooted in fear and ignorance; those who once suffered may never overcome anxieties. The avaricious few buffer themselves with media buffoons, deny responsibility, and lie about creating new jobs. Divisive talk erodes defense and generates panic. There would be plenty to go around provided it went around. But the rich want to press affluenza, presumed morals, sham religion, and their stingy agenda. These conditions are not conducive to innovation upon which markets thrive. Phishers troll waters wriggling cash lures. Surprises just how many are willing to forsake fairness and sell their souls. The same deregulation initiated by Reagan in the 1990s let bankers and brokers go rogue around globe. Will they forever get away with corporate bailouts, mortgage crises, and stock swindles? Seeds of discontent have already been sown. Could this be the catalyst that redistributes wealth? Turmoil teeters precipitously. Crossfire hurricanes
and zero sum games level everyone, losers and winners alike.

America’s debt, $17.7 trillion and counting, now exceeds its annual gross domestic product. Some borrowing is tolerable, but this is outrageous; deters both impulse and planned buying. During Clinton’s administration public debt shrank to "only" $4 trillion. Bush ran it up by $10 trillion with a war that even his commander-in-chief dad urged him to avoid. You can’t blame executive branch for what occurs, since Congress is always complicit. Succeeding presidents inherit deficits, but only a Republican House can do anything about it. Their consistent tactic has been to cut taxes for the wealthy, shift onus onto middle class, and stoke division among victims. Given decades to prove their approach, they've disastrously failed everyone except themselves. Their harm will define the 21st Century. Everyone owes $65,500. If you exclude 50% of citizens who don’t earn wages - children, elderly, green carders, privileged nonparticipants, and those incapable - each poor working slob has to pay back $131,000, her/his life’s savings probably, mostly to a few foreigners. Where did it all go? Child support accounts for 75% of welfare. After decades of contributing, retirees take Social Security begrudgingly doled out. Trillions for each went to defense contractors and furtive multinationals. Unless government continues to spill billions into bond/stock markets or dependent nations, they’d collapse. Retrogressive finance provides nothing of value and strangles industries that do. Enough! Kings George have had their day. Can't let this happen again.

Population growth has begun to slow. Who'd want citizenship under these conditions? With ever fewer to tax and unemployment creeping above 12% nationwide, they expect debt to grow beyond Godzilla. No wonder they’re urging people to work. Of residents, 12% are illiterate in any language, 13% older than 65, and 31% younger than 18; instead of remaining 44%, 57% work, which means some children, incompetents and retirees must serve. After decades of age, race and sex discrimination, those who’ve improved themselves can't find jobs. A $10.10 minimum wage won't impact issue, since those earning would remain below poverty line and tax threshold, which describes 1 in 6, 45 million. Nation’s workforce of 154 million includes 72 million women; this more than half who don't stay at home make up 46.7% of whole but receive 15% less than men for same jobs, which further limits expected revenues. An illegal underground exists outside government’s ability to repress. Anyway, income taxes won’t make a dent in debt. Feds only collect $2.8 trillion each year. Taxes could be restored to Eisenhower era highs, when 35% of total was paid by corporations and top earners, unlike 5% today. Revenues must be managed, too, but Congress gives it away, spends wildly, and threatens to default. By holding back 20% to buy down bar tab, getting even would take 31 years, provided government closes shop and doesn't engage in another war with typical monetary aftermath. If the most generous nation on earth goes bust, what of the rest?

If you don't have millions for campaigns, can you sway elections? Nobody who runs deserves your support. Rewards must be well worth it, or why would NRA back certain candidates and blacklist others? With energy, guns and oil, government could step in with regulations or takeovers. Long overdue are elections where all candidates only get to spend the same fixed amount from general treasury, no lobbyists or PAC money. Don't bother waiting for that bill. Omnibus Jobs Bill drafted in late 1990's languished under Bush. Meanwhile, economy swooned while minor tax cuts mollified angry populace and transferred fortunes into friends coffers. Nobody noticed as interest rates on plebeian deposits nosedived from double to fractional digits. Someone benefited from the $10 trillion that disappeared after stock market plunged. Retirement accounts sequestered trillions from circulation for bankers and corporations to grab. Depositors get principal and pennies after inflation robs value. The desperation this breeds has fangs, fire and horns.

Labann is no economist or essayist, but who is? Fewer than ever understand such complex issues. No system anyone has yet applied works. Every time conservatives get the least edge, disasters occur. Insanity defends debacles. People now see conservatism for what it is, a downward spiral, as is liberalism and whatever one-sided extremism you wish existed for your personal gain. Merely tolerated, you don't live alone; others have different views they'll defend to death. You never earned a penny without approval, never succeeded without society allowing it. Assets can be seized in an instant. You're no more in control because you can fire and hire than someone who can organize unions. Everyone is subject to same laws and regulations, though they are selectively enforced. If all boats float on a rising tide, all hit bottom when ocean evaporates. Why rely on a lame analogy? Negatives are clearly understood. Are there any positives to pleonexia? Only one: Incentives never surpass necessities as a motive. People ought to be imagining how everyone can flourish rather than how much they can stash. Better to invest in diversity and innovation. Time for progress in which all thrive. Amassing assets will go out of style when enough people understand how this best serves self interest. Distributive justice now!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Traffic Chlordane

Right of way? Have you heard of it? Ever read Driver Education Manual? One shouldn’t enter an intersection with no chance of clearing it. This blocks all vehicles and slows flow for you, too. Sometimes happens when a light ahead is red; offenders aren’t going anywhere, but insist on holding spot in queue by blocking cross streets or parking lot exits. Whenever arriving at any intersection with an intention of turning left, be prepared to come to a full stop. Aggravates others when you angle into oncoming traffic; all that does is increase your own wait. Anonymous inside cars, aggressive scofflaws forever trying to recover lost time due to poor planning incite road rage.

Motorists habitually hinder other motorists. Why hold exposed bicyclists to a higher standard? Toxic traffic codes in some states demand that bicyclists “never encumber cars” by going single file and sticking to right within a yard of road edge. Must mean when cyclists aren’t themselves impeded by parked cars and poorly kept shoulders. Furthermore, must call “road edge” the boundary of travel lane, since use of gore areas, gutters, and parking spaces is prohibited for all moving vehicles. Any attempt to regulate two-wheelers resembles pesticide use. As a motorist if you feel beset by bicyclists, blame poor infrastructure and state neglect of federal laws, why pedalers, acutely aware they’re vulnerable, might salmon and shoal despite incessant unnecessary warnings.

Licenses are issued to protect everyone from the brutal horsepower and crushing weight of vehicles. Did you ever drive distracted or tipsy? Find yourself in blind or slippery conditions? Bad things happen despite good intensions. Motorists may well be 100% at fault in any bike-car accident, but that doesn’t make them evildoers to be vilified and victimized by fines. Official causes for such collisions are disputed; hooking, overtaking and t-boning are how most occur, but always due to a lack of awareness. In 2 of 3 cases, poor visibility is directly responsible. Can’t establish laws on momentary lapses of reason.

The NHTSA monitors motoring and recommends policies. They claim traffic fatalities have declined, though drivers, legalized vehicles, and reasons for frustrations are up around 15%. “Since 1980, the greatest contributions to the improved conditions have come from law enforcement efforts, in particular, a focus on detecting and removing impaired drivers from the road and the development of general deterrence and effective public information and education (PI&E) programs.” As Labann always said, removing Neanderthals from mix reduces public’s costs and risks. Revoking or suspending licenses does help, but usually only happens after tragedies occur. Automatic 3-strikes-and-you’re-out suspension won’t be made law as long as Big Oil lobbies control Congress. They muscled aside safer alternatives in bikes, busses and trains, since cooperatively they could replace cars altogether.

From year 2000, number of accidents has increased and deaths leveled. Car accidents, 5 million annually, are almost always reported. About 1%, 50,000, result in fatalities. Statistics note 150,000 bike accidents, although twice that go unreported since they don’t result in injury or loss. Less than 0.5% are fatal. Because bikes roll, they absorb some impact in rear collisions, but not t-bones. Ten times as many pedestrians die where no crosswalks or sidewalks exist. Cross referencing official sources, you are from 10 to 25 times safer riding a bike than driving a car. Counterintuitive? Not really. Speed kills. Crumple zones, roll cages, and seat belts are mitigations, not preventions; along with insurance, they encourage risk taking and extenuate transgressions. Decriminalizing bicycling would remove cars, save lives, and silence rants as this. Fear mongering and purposeless regulation poisons potential.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Look! Deplane.

Why do distractions tempt so reliably? You’ll watch anything on television, even a rerun with a midget on a bicycle pointing excitedly at visitors arriving by plane to his isolated South Seas Island resort. Or was it a golf cart? Sports appease the masses, divert resentment, and encourage belonging. Travel constitutes one distraction after another, pure immersion in misunderstood unfamiliarity, thus it’s just about the most attractive activity ever. One despises own surroundings, as palatial as they may be, due to desperate sameness, yet laments having left once drudgery inevitably commences. Conniving tacticians take advantage of both bored and homesick alike. But when legendary domestique George Hincapie points out 20 great places to spin, who wouldn’t look?

Drivers, so exasperated by their commutes in snarled traffic, endanger lives for extemporaneous email. Labeled DORCs (Distracted Operators Risk Casualties), a like named nonprofit asks for donations to gripe about texting, apparently unaware of DORCs (Disgruntled Off Road Cyclists), who regularly mountain bike away from such irresponsible motorists. Personally prefer pavement. No point whining when drivers scream past; they fret over text at next red light and trigger sequence, so cyclists can cruise right through. Anyway, as an transportation enabler, bikes are more like computers, smartphones or tablets than automobiles, jets, or trucks; bikes steadily flow information and surround riders with sensations, while motors blindly drag around passengers and stuff under a sheltering shell. Cyclists can leave road altogether for lawn or sidewalk, leisurely stop, and take a call or text without blocking traffic.

Crowds often fear, seldom embrace alternatives, wait for anyone else to make first move. Settlers followed explorers much later when safer. Therefore, ancient mundane sports persist as participatory recreation. So how did bicycling become the new golf? Ball mashers in droves are decamping courses, deplaning indefinitely, leaving carts, and opting for local jaunts that reveal resources and threats on their own fantasy island. Nationwide, during >500 million rounds 69 people died golfing in 2013, mostly when hit not by balls but lightning. By comparison, in 4.2 billion trips 726 cyclists died in 2012, a roughly equivalent fatality risk by time-consuming sessions. Costs are diverging; golfing fees have gotten too dear while bicycle prices decline. Watch for increasing knots of slow creepers and speedy pace-lines on back roads.

You don't need a group ride to go, but must lug own necessities, maintain bike, and prepare in advance. Going far and often enables riding solo all day. Without rainless warmth no wheedle works. Some cyclists say they won’t emerge until temperature in degrees exceeds their age in years, akin to golfers who aim to shoot their age in 18 holes, though more score their weight while they snack and wait on each tee. Sunday's 65° ride revealed too few to stir excitement or support their claim. Those obsessed say it never rains on courses or routes, but most agree it’s intolerable to pass through security at airports, so passenger departures have steadily declined since 2007, even if chance of dying consequently is 1:7,000,000.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Taxon Diaphane

Certain writings don’t fit well into blog format, i. e., full length books, intense essays, nonfiction narratives, some novellas. Blog readers tolerate 3 paragraphs. Anything longer needs a seamstress to ease stress in its seams, that is, requires edit encapsulation, or wears out its welcome right away. A plethora of words seems as worthless as leaves in a swale, spontaneously transitions from confidently natural to dangerously nugatory, and ushers sand down proverbial hourglass. The elegance of poetry partly derives from its occupying very little space and saying nothing essential to survival. So how do you distribute a dreadful expedition into bad taste? Helps to sort works among appropriate sites.

Labann opened an account on Wattpad Mobile and posted 2 fairly recent, wildly experimental pieces.
 One is an essay entered into an international competition that dared to question the validity of facts in an information age. Other is a nonfiction adventure from 50 years ago with a hard sell based on bugs, drugs, guns, roads, rock&roll, sex and sorrow. Both sound outrageous when so said. Won’t bemoan being able to read on a smartphone. Might consider posting chapters from book if readers give them a look.

World was once quite different. Trees lined narrow lanes before electrical lines mutilated them. Fruiting and ornamental varieties now lack former vigor. Honeysuckle and rambling roses no longer lovingly smother fences. On humid nights diaphanes flickered as they flew lazily around neighborhood shrubbery. Lampyrinae, the huge subfamily to which they belong, was historically used as a garbage taxon to collect any beetle that glows despite diverse morphology. None thrive where defoliation and pollution devastate. Cyclists notice but not motorists except to complain of protein splats on their windshields. Children jailed these so called fireflies in jars before drivers, pesticides and pets decimated. A bug you can see through shows ecological loss through its absence. Nature's May Day warnings tax memory and wax subtle.

Before technology those without sheer access would celebrate wonderful words artfully chosen, but only when confined where they could be conveniently controlled, such as closed forums, dusty libraries, or exclusive museums, likewise fearsome personalities and whatever they produced. All Archimedes asked for was a place to stand to leverage earth in space. Nowadays, media clog emanates from literary smog of wannabes agog. An idea you share might not be accepted and won’t pay for what you need today. Great authors can’t expect their effort to have any effect, even those that comfort. Unsupported, they too will disappear like diaphanes.