Saturday, October 18, 2014

Auf Wiedersehen

In each generation volunteers step up to record observations, test hypotheses, and verify findings. Tons of tiresome details confirm obvious truths, which distill many facts. When people say they express TRUTH, they lay some religious or speculative opinions on you, not useful and verifiable notions nobody wants to consider. Only forensic investigators care about facts and then only because they get paid to. Researchers constantly revise history and science by discovering evidence and exposing lies. Government treats foresight and thrift as dangerously radical. Anyone who displays a refined sense of paradoxes will be dismissed as autistic, savant or trainspotter. Radio stations pay dunces millions to spout conservative nonsense. Words themselves possess hidden meanings. Unless easy profit or satisfied hormones are blatantly promoted, forget about holding anyone's attention.

You can join a ranting cult, or religion condemning cults, or stay skeptically solo. You not only need not agree with absolutes and ultimatums, you ought to exercise choices lest they disappear. How else can you nurture your own advancement, breakthroughs, uniqueness? Despair for humans. They don't discuss ideas. Conversations end in character assassinations and personal attacks, especially when respondents don't appreciate or grasp ideas you bring. Bullies and trolls abound on-line.

With billions of planetary inhabitants, the day of heroes and icons has passed. One of life's most perplexing and persistent problems is how to make a name for yourself. Fame resembles bacon, lots of sizzling fat under fire. Anonymity and ignominy suggest inertia, mold, obscurity or rot. But you have to guard against such metaphors that make no sense and provoke futile actions. Celebrity status carries as many hassles as rewards. It's just a way to amplify intensity and make time fly. Before you know it, you're as broke and unknown as before. Great silent film vamp Lulu, beloved by moviegoers on 2 continents, wound up as Mary Louise Brooks, a Sachs Fifth Avenue retail clerk before turning tricks. She was lucky compared to countless catastrophes suffered by others who found fleeting fame. Terrorists simply dissolve into events, like those nameless criminals who crashed into World Trade Towers. Nobody knows them or wants to. Radicals get metaphors stuck their mind and fret over them. Unibomber couldn’t quell his fear of communism though he didn’t at all grasp what it meant. Why all this rage? Thousands of discontents form the greatest threat to mankind, who’d use biological, nuclear, and other weapons of mass destruction to impose some bizarre ideal not even they comprehend. Not as though there’s nothing to fear. You can’t safeguard civilization. You can behave decently and kindly, defy evil, hope others follow your example.

Suggest everyone blow off some steam, sharpen axe, value distractions, and wonder why entertainment exists when they aren’t busy inhibiting stupidity and waste, innovating, and inventing. Can rethink BPA free water bottles that carry more, nicely fit into racks, and weigh less by sandwiching shock insulator between glass liner and titanium shell; carbon crack carrier saddle specially designed for street dealers to carry crack where cops won’t look; writing device that resembles a twirled bike with ergonomic grip around fingers. You could be imagining many a thing while riding: Bike with continuously variable transmissions, crankshafts, integral rechargeable batteries, regenerative disk brakes, seat post or steering head adjustors, and still weigh so little you’d never notice, but would you be able to remove rear wheel for flat fixes? Moreover, cyclists need somewhere to ride safely. Motorists don’t nicely share roads. Painted lanes could make street cycling more popular, though spacious shoulders decrease all accidents and provide a safety valve. Environmentalist and former Bogota mayor Enrique PeƱalosa would put, “Bikeways in every single street. Bikeways are not a cute architectural detail, bikeways are a right.”

But every Halloween bicyclists disappear for season and wait for Spring to resume their struggle for equality. Arguments get renewed and repeated ad nauseam. As the final rhyming title means, “Until we meet again,” this will be the last Bike&Chain blog entry for awhile. Don’t expect any updates, replies to comments, or sage advice. Instead, get some miles in while you can.

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