Saturday, December 19, 2015

Taxes Your Brain

This blog has only ever given thoughtful analyses. If information had any value, Labann would minimally be a millionaire. Instead, not one cent was ever made during decades of blogs, book, comments on websites, and letter writing to officials. No compensation was ever expected or requested. It was done as an exercise in connection and experiment in unique expression. The enlightened few who follow B&C get this. Majority hates to think, so they run from anything that might tax their intelligence or patience. Most resemble needy zombies who want to eat your brain.

Sharing self seems too much an imposition to those who just don’t care. This explains why selling art has become so difficult; public doesn’t want to know the artist who produced it or what motivated it. Meanwhile, companies pour billions into worthless data and opinions. Therefore, the ultimate in commercial art is convincing corporations that reports, spreadsheets and standards are crucial, though nobody reads them including auditors and regulators. Nevertheless, an elegant cell, ironclad imperative, and spicy gossip sell. The letter of law rewards lawyers, legislators, and middlemen at the expense of consumers, innocents and taxpayers.

On the other hand, quality assurance relies on facts, metrics and polls. All design begins not with greed but with an attempt to meet an expressed customer need. Survey narratives are gold in pay dirt requiring a huge effort to sift out. A company’s worst enemy, especially since the advent of social media, is someone who doesn’t want what they offer and vocally denounces what they deal in.

In that spirit and in time for holidays, Labann presents Labann Says~ Loose Essays, a slim volume that chronicles all extraneous writings completed since the publication of B&C in 2008. Click link for free download. While you can’t deduct charity extended in reading it, you won’t have to pay any fee or sales taxes, either.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Wrap in Cellophane

A joint Coca Cola and Walmart commercial buys a boy a bike, what he "really" wants for Christmas, 2015. Displays self sacrifice and sharing among family members. Collaboration or corporate tag team? Advertising almost always focuses upon an individual company, so wonder whether viewers noticed either. Reminds one of the 10000 Maniacs video, Trouble Me, in which angelic Natalie Merchant rides a bike and shoulders concern for the elderly. Can’t imagine it was very popular during the 1990’s. But at least then people could still afford to be kind.

President Obama spoke several times lately for sharing the responsibility of rooting out terrorists and working in solidarity with Muslims, who figure as citizens in business, sports, and such roles. It’s as clear as cellophane that the world’s richest people foster terrorism, particularly media tycoons and Saudi sheiks whose empires are built on human tragedy and wasteful practices. Don’t forget religions, too, spread through exclusive ideologies and intolerance for the slightest difference in arbitrary customs among themselves.

Been studying conservatism for a long time. It appeals to clerics, cynics, knuckleheads, morons, schemers, terrorists, and whoever has given up on humanity altogether. The Unibomber was incensed by socialism despite the fact he couldn't even define it. Conservative media fuels their rage, while it isn't actually reporting on anything other than how others lead nonviolent lives that don't support their extremism, made obvious by name calling and saber rattling. Conservatism attracts isolationists, jihadists, John Birchers, neo-nazis, NRA, religious fanatics, white supremacists, and whoever is so bigoted or prejudiced they'd rather kill than suffer you to exist. They believe in fascism and final solutions, as did Hitler. They oppose decency so much because cultural fusion requires thinking, something for which they are woefully unequipped. About 25% of population is insane, and mental incompetents gravitate to this packaged hate. Don’t suppose they see the irony of listening to billionaire Rupert Murdoch, himself an immigrant recently retired from Fox News, who staunchly advocates immigration and market economy, and villainously opposes collective bargaining, public service, social security, welfare, and whatever provides a safety net for the vulnerable, for example, those he enslaves. Press profits when there’s blood in the streets. People getting by by working cooperatively isn’t newsworthy.

Only cooperation would work, because trying to fight terrorism would take more might than any nation alone can muster. You can bomb a location back to the stone age, but many terrorists are cavemen anyway. Any such approach would be costly and pointless, play right into their hands. Less than decisive approaches only appear weak, but they are really how solutions forestall crises, probably the best you can do in a complex world. Never forget how Dubya inspired and orchestrated a war that ended in global recession and perpetuated terrorism. He did Americans no favors, though he favored the few who make a killing from death.

GOP only succeeds in elections when voter turnout is light, when only crazies show up and majority stays home. But unless worthy candidates step up, why vote? Some tenets of conservatism have merit in small roles, like dog catchers and quality inspectors. One must learn to stomach it. It never works with international policy, though; instead it destabilizes treaties. Terrorists themselves are intensely conservative. Despite their impassioned rhetoric, don’t subscribe to their holy war against each other, because they’d rather you die fighting it for them. They'd gladly sacrifice a family who can barely afford to get a kid a $50 bike as well as the kid who rides it. Worst of all is how they suck whatever merriment and mirth remains from an already stressful season.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Divine Warplane

Recently viewed The Wind Rises (aka Kaze tachinu, Hayao Miyazaki, dir., 2014), a Studio Ghibli anime about the life of Jirô Horikoshi, who designed the Japanese Mitsubishi Zeros that attacked Pearl Harbor on what FDR called “a day of infamy” (December 7th, 1941) three quarters of a century ago. America responded with faster, stronger aircraft which led to victory in the Pacific. In part an apology for aeronautical death and destruction, meant more to show how progress plays leap frog, film excels at depicting culture in a pre-WWII Japan struggling through fire storms and global depression peppered with folks on bicycles. In a typical still, a contemplative Jiro sees a cyclist while clutching his slide rule. Doesn’t connect his imaginative wing designs to bicycles, instead inspired by the curve of mackerel bones.

Japan has a well established jitensha culture with songs by Ore Ska Band (concludes Naruto Shippuuden anime), Shonen Knife’s famous Cycling is Fun, The Saboten, and Titan Go Kings. Makers include world class brands: Fuji, Panasonic, Shimano and Univega. Indeed many Schwinns were made there. As mentioned, Honda slapped a motor on a bike and the rest is history. But recent events and trends raise alarms: Earthquakes, nuclear accidents, tsunamis, typhoons, and with them the same desperation that led to WWII aggression. There’s also been a crackdown on cyclists behaving badly, with new ordinances carrying hefty fines. But blame USA, 1 of only 6 countries that after 23 years haven’t signed the Kyoto Protocol, for not shouldering environmental leadership. Nothing was done to address during disastrous Bush administration, and it took Obama until now to produce Climate Plan as a last ditch effort to garner a lame duck legacy. Of course, many signees haven’t enacted legislation to slow global warming, either, rather follow in America’s lazy, wasteful, but wildly profitable if unsustainable ways.

Not all scientific theories have a single answer or uniform resolution. Different locations face own issues. That's why they poll scientists and test theories. Humans do generally impact environment, causing extinctions of species and killing seas with pollution, just as other factors affected atmosphere over eons. There is no counterargument that justifies conservatives pillaging and raping nature, only ones used to forestall acting proactively and prudently. For a country so dependent upon the sea, Japan decimated its fisheries and warrants criticism for continuing its whaling operations. Japan remains the 5th largest emitter of air pollutants, having higher dioxin levels than any other G20 nation, that no divine wind will dissipate. Failure to conserve now resembles Kamikaze Tokkō Tai missions of old, remnants of honor and loyalty of the samurai Bushido code, which kill whoever delivers along with bystanders and targets. Better to pursue peace and ZPG policies. Tokyo is so overcrowded, people pay a lot to sleep in geki-sema, really just lockers. They even cram bicycles below ground.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Whether Vain

Egocentric cyclists seek an epic trek. They only earn bragging rights if they trained on countless routine runs. Scenery, while pleasant, doesn’t matter, though free traffic flow and fresh air do. Ocean views and ridge vistas, where hills and wind severely slow, tempt some of the hardest riding. Spins out to a park or reservoir grant a destination to breathe in for a few seconds before struggling back. Dull outings can be improved by choosing a different return route. Or you could opt for intermodal to make that a single leg, though you’re “all in”, as poker players say, and must complete, why it’s wiser to plan figure-8 loops which you can quit at intervals.

Looked at a map and noticed several city and state parks within a 12 mile radius, so set out to visit them all. Got to furthest one but was disappointed by bare oaks that signal autumn’s conclusion. Flags and weather vanes say southwest winds that bring warmth have been supplanted by northwest chill. Skipped the rest and took to an old commute route toward bikeway strewn with leaves and home. Was disgusted to compare smooth streets elsewhere with own they’ve dug up and patched repeatedly. This pavement disgrace proved dispiriting; ordinarily come home from riding emotionally boosted and pleasantly tired. The truth about bicycles is that they combine elation and pain, joys and sorrows. Brings to mind a couple of recent films with similar themes:

Irrational Man (Woody Allen, dir. 2015) - Philosophy professor Joaquin Phoenix, who was so effective in Inherent Vice, discovers the world outside his mind as he and his seductive student Emma Stone ride bikes. Not the first time Phoenix was filmed cycling, his character Lewis McBride, while on Malaysian vacation in Return to Paradise (Joseph Ruben, dir., 1998), riding with two friends foolhardily on one bike, and run off road by a truck, was so disgusted by damage he hurled bike off a cliff. During an interview he once compared his passage into intense acting to kids who get their first BMX bike, then go into extreme sports. Stone was famously featured on a yellow peeler banana bike for a GQ spread (August, 2010 issue).

Thanks for Sharing (Stuart Blumberg, dir., 2014) - Mark Ruffalo, who plays Bruce Banner in the latest Marvel Avengers action blockbusters and routinely bikes around Manhattan, stars in this less ambitious melodrama. He and other recovering addicts ride bikes. Josh Gad, trying to get into shape and shun temptations by biking, avoids getting doored only to crash into side of a van. Critics panned it for its depiction of “first world” problems. Ruffalo himself, however, is on the Board of Director for The Solutions Project, a global clean energy initiative, and Water Defense, a nonprofit aimed at preserving water supplies from contaminants. Ruffalo is currently costarring in sex abuse drama Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, dir., 2015) based on Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Award winning investigation and called by reviewer Ryan Painter, “One of the finest-acted films in recent memory.”

These days aliens, altruists and strangers are usually met with violence by the selfish and vain. Shakespeare never said, “Vanity, thy name is woman,” though vanity fits better than “frailty”, since anatomically women can endure more pain than men, something patriarchs have used to rationalize their mistreatment. Sharing is an alien concept, for sure: implies bringing and taking, giving and receiving, sometimes introducing people or playing host. Everyone in America is either an immigrant or scion of one, whether arrived last week or millennia ago. The Mother of Exiles promises, “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore/Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me/I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Twelve step programs encourage sharing your feelings to solicit support as a way of breaking your sexual, substance, weapon or xenophobic addiction. Native peoples were historically generous. Qu’ran demands hospitality to guests. Yet, in a war weary world, refugee issues defy resolution and draw press.

There is little difference among conservative, jihadist, neo-Nazi and terrorist hatred. All are convinced that their extremism is the only way. What made America a global magnet for countless dispossessed was its reputation for tolerance. As long as you don't cause deaths or losses, you are welcomed with open arms to act however and believe whatever you want. Foreign terrorists may infiltrate, but domestic serial killers are worse. Millions of Moslem citizens unequivocally contribute to economic diversity and productivity. It wasn’t always that way, and will revert if everyone doesn’t do their part. Moslem countries Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey opened refugee camps. Maybe they’re better suited to handle needs of Syrians with aid from industrialized countries. It would shorten the long journey to freedom many endure, some aided by bicycles. Yet the sheer number of refugees is staggering, estimated in the millions. By forcing people out of their homes, you exert control, keep them weak, and seize their assets. The only true riches are what accomplishments these people are capable of, given better circumstances.

Willie Nelson may claim there’s plenty of room for immigrants in America, but East and West coasts are overcrowded and INS quotas are maxed. Canadian and Mexican border towns are likewise overrun with waiting hopefuls. Perhaps Willie was thinking of Alaska’s bush, Montana’s expanses, Nevada’s desert, urban blight, or Wyoming’s mountains, because all the places natural born citizens want to be are already taken. At the Hotel California, they are, “...programmed to receive. You can check in any time you like, but you can never leave.” The motherly embrace personified by Lady Liberty stands for America’s core decency, but immigration can only proceed orderly, under control, weeding out undesirables exiled by foreign governments who don’t follow international laws. When citizens are treated worse than undocumented invaders, tolerance wanes.

Why does anyone want to come to America anyway? Past reputation? Life expectancy is the lowest in industrialized world. Cities are going bankrupt. Crime is rampant. Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes frequently threaten. Fisheries are fished out. Hunters can't trust game not to be toxic. Loess loss has nearly ruined remaining arable land. Logging and mining are severely limited. Per capita prison populations exceed worldwide counts. Politicians are corrupt, determined to drain every last penny from taxpayers. Public debt means each resident (man, women and child) owes over $150,000. The disparity in wealth between have and have nots is greater than ever in history. America has been called the worse place to live if you are poor, though that seems exaggerated compared to Sudan, Syria, and war zones. Green carders have more rights than citizens, while policies allow offshoring jobs and union busting. If conservatives who oppose immigration (affordable health plans, collective bargaining, drug interdiction, gun control, planned parenthood, separation of church and state, tax reform, and voter registration) get their way, as usual, both social security and welfare will end, so there will be no safety net. Social Security was intended to protect workers from failures caused by government policies; without it murders and thefts would make life unlivable. It's time to make some really tough choices. Forget handouts paid by taxing the dwindling middle class and growing poor.

But who are these refugees? Many are no-threat women with children. Recently viewed previously mentioned Saudi film Wadja (Haifa Al-Monsour dir., 2012), where Waad Mohammed in title role tries to earn enough money to buy her own bicycle against society's will. Film exposes the hypocrisy of Moslem practices subjugating female half of population, who insecure men treat as inferior. The vain do not share power or wealth. Wadja rides to the end of her street and surveys horizon, which seems more threatening than welcoming.

Zane Grey’s novels Riders of the Purple Sage and The Rainbow Trail were both against Mormon polygamy and for woman rights. Set in pre-suffragette 1870’s Utah, bicycles don’t appear, despite suggestive titles. Moab, where film was shot, however, is the mountain biking capitol of the universe. Grey's popular books still resonate a century and a half later because same issues continue unresolved. Why should the underserved majority demand so little from diplomats and leaders and tolerate that?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Golden Volplane

When was it that getting a bicycle no longer reigned as the greatest gift a kid could get? This year marks 50 years, a golden jubilee, since a wide-eyed Labann found a brand new bicycle beside the Christmas tree with a bow and sticker unbelievably attached with his name, a forest green Raleigh replete with fenders, guard over chain, and pump on frame. Nothing would ever be the same. Until then only rode borrowed bikes and hand-me-downs. Couldn't wait until Spring. Rode for awhile farther and wider than deemed feasible, then began taking it apart to improve speed and learn how to make it work better. Led to a lifelong career in engineering, so scolding by dad wasn't really warranted. Abused the heck out of it as anyone who’s gotten anything for free would. Treated it like another chemistry set or scientific toy, something upon which to experiment. Wasn't until the self earned Captain America Schwinn that carefully maintaining began to register. Common 3-speeds seldom got stolen, but you couldn’t leave 10-speeds unattended. Chain necklaces wore heavily on shoulders for what little they did to deter theft.

Streets back then were lined with trees that formed foliage tunnels. Leaf/leaves, loaf/loaves, sheaf/sheaves: funny how some words form irregular plurals, preserve mispronunciations, and retain vestiges from other languages. Come fall, maples down a line made for a golden tube, yellow above and below shaded in slanted rays, for arm-spread daredevils to dive into, rather an aeronautical volplane rapidly descending, exploring how papery leaves parted like frothy seas upon a macadam bed. On side streets back then few cars were around, off elsewhere or parked in garages, to impede curious kids on bikes. However, a block down was US1 with frequent spurts of cars and trucks, so you actually had to look both ways to cross. Flip calendars 50 years, cars race through 4-way stops at every back road intersection, while youth stay indoors playing video games.

You should honor any commitment to a nation by how well its policies treat golden agers, impressionable youth, and vulnerable citizens. Surely something can be done to ensure fairness, harvest experience, and provide opportunities? Fitzgerald lamented, “There are no second acts in American lives.” Nobel Prize winner Peter Higgs, whose surname precedes the elemental boson, said he'd never be offered a position in these days of academic productivity. They only kept him on at the University of Edinburgh because his theories might be proven right, which CERN scientists recently confirmed, though he voluntarily retired before the 20th Century closed. Even laureates feel like vestiges that hung on so long nobody knows what they mean or why they exist. Meanwhile, paint fades and flakes on a girl's pink bike ridden into destiny on a jejune mural. With no jobs for a new generation, are there even first acts in America anymore?

There is no requirement to read books or newspapers to know the truth in current events. In fact, all media does is feed you countless lies. You need to conduct your own research, just do things, so you know how things are supposed to be done. Only then you can comment with authority. Too bad your hours on earth are so few you can't know much. Worse, you're forced to act and decide on false information and scant input. Not much point giving advice. It will be misapplied, probably fail, then reap retribution instead of thanks. Anyway, all can be distilled to, “Do it yourself or do without.” Anything else will anger some, disrespect those who are acutely dependent, and get ignored by majority.

If you hold others to high standards you must act exemplary yourself. Recriminations evoke anger, especially when you're the victim. Saying, "You didn't fight hard enough," lets abusers get off scot-free. Identifying where transactions went wrong should be a step in improving next, if ever there's another chance. What's ideal is to glide headlong into damaged societies and reap lessons of their being mistreated and mistreating others. Thereby, social photo-essayist Sebastiao Salgardo and you are simply exempt. But that's not what typically happens. You're greeted with suspicion, often attacked without provocation by the Salt of the Earth. Takes tremendous courage to care, which is one reason why what's really going on is so seldom reported.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Wearing Elastane

Suit up in what? Buying bike specific apparel has always been hit-or-miss. With a wide range in fit and performance from which to choose, brand names mean little. Can only point to what features should be avoided or sought. Obviously, nothing should bunch up or fit badly; crotch should be gusseted and seams well sewn. Ankles and wrists need not be squeezed. Light weight isn't the sole criterion.

Bibs & Shorts: Swear by Pearl Izumi’s blue pad Attack shorts but totally reject their yellow pad tights. Don’t prefer a certain number of panels, though fewer might mean less sewing later. Bibs and skin suits don’t breathe as well but stay in place better, just another compromise that forces your decision. Have nothing but praise for Castelli’s winter bibs used for a dozen seasons with its broad shoulder straps and cold stopping neoprene panels, but dislike their tech knicker for below knee strangulation, though both of their flat red seat pads are very comfortable. They don’t make either anymore; designs come and go without improvement, irritatingly so when you’re trying to replace. Have been known to resew seams just to improve fit; makers seem to target rail thin stereotypes rather than real shapes bodies exhibit. Often combine commonplace tights with company named bibs or skin suits when too cool for shorts alone. Wear padded shorts beneath body tights without pads for an extra level of warmth.

Gloves: Cannondale’s at least have generous velcro at wrists, whereas several others scrimp leaving bare skin or tourniquet tightness. Half gloves free your fingers for fine work, but freeze them even on sultry days under certain conditions. Whichever you pick, gel inserts under leather palms decrease constant pressure and preserve skin in a fall, though makers scrimp on this as well. You should try many brands before purchasing a few pairs, full and half, for every season of riding. All should breathe and include a fuzzy spot to swab drips and sweat. Launder them every other ride, or wash gently in sink. For frigid cold, generally wear a padded half below a civilian cloth pair with Thinsulate, rather than buy expensive fingerless cycling brands you must constantly remove to do the simplest things with any dexterity.

Jackets & Jerseys: Always a struggle since diverse styles serve different purposes. Many triple back pocket style pullovers don't have permeable material and a zippered front to control heat. Sleeves need to be loose enough on biceps, elbow or wrist. Long sleeves are better in intense summer sun, because your arm skin won’t so easily burn; seldom, though, do long sleeves breathe well or conveniently roll up. When hot, found more comfort in loose fitting, short sleeved tech material (Cool Max, Dri-T, Nano-T, silk) without pockets; rather carry items in a frame or handlebar bag than dragging back down to expose neck to sunburn. Wicking sweat off your back deters fatigue from overheating. In winter, wear a poly or wool base layer under a Sugoi pullover; similar to a wetsuit, has a flocked interior, stays toasty warm. Chilly or windy conditions demand a nylon jacket with high collar, which should cinch at neck and wrists, deflect wind, hang snugly, and stop at waist short of saddle. Nylon is porous, though, so for rainy days you may also want an impervious outer garment.

Leggings & Whatnot: Never found a pair that didn’t inch down, so stopped wearing leggings. Can peel off cheap tights just as easily. Do, however, use booties (neoprene shoe covers for extreme cold) and calientoes (cloth toe covers). Also use an acrylic or lycra neck tube as a face mask above a balaclava (head and neck covering) when temps dip below 40°F. Never experienced a condition when arm warmers were helpful, just loose bits to lose. Have resorted to unpleasant plastic pants for very rainy rides, but they keep sweat in, so you’ll be just as soaked anyway afterwards. Always wear a small mirror on my safety glasses; this will save your life if you notice that motorist speeding and texting in the gutter behind you. Besides, how else do you know to shift over to let cars pass, not that you must? Yellow lenses cut glare, filter UV, and still work at dawn and dusk, unlike regular sunglasses. M-frames wrap entire eye, so grit and pebbles flung from cars or other cyclists have little chance of blinding you, as long as they have a bridge that doesn’t slip. Find some with an upper frame that doesn’t block your vision while leaning forward; surprisingly, most do, a persistent design flaw. Might look into munition or safety catalogs, which offer frameless models for less.

Spandex: Pilling is a problem with polyester-polyurethane copolymer, aka elastane or Lycra. Around since 1962 when developed by Joe Shivers at Dupont, named as an anagram of “expands”, spandex stretches with your active lifestyle rather than restricts, which doesn’t matter as much when sedentary. Application really depends upon what sort of riding you do. If you pedal a few blocks to a pub or shop, you don’t need spandex. If you’re out to put on serious miles, it definitely will increase your comfort and distance. The butt of endless fetish jokes, it beats being naked, keeps bugs off, protects from sun, and wicks sweat away. Body swaddling feels reassuring and lets air slip past. Comes in many colors, but legend has it that black was chosen to hide road dirt and saddle dye. Shorts need to be inspected before every use; holes in your second skin could be embarrassing. Wonder whether any plastic is safe to wear given the number of carcinogens in coal and tar they use to produce it. Yet wearing spandex is a no-brainer for any resolute cyclist, practically a uniform for club members.

Wool: Once was a bicyclists’ best (only) choice, but it can be itchy, dries slowly, smells bad, and wears poorly. Wool does, however, insulate better, so still figures in cold and transitional months as underlayment. A natural fiber, it looks fashionable when not shot through with moth holes, and rubs gently against skin. Wonder why they never made short pads out of wool; would try merino boxers to separate costly wear from shorts if they made them gusseted. Do wear wool blend socks year round, but worry over proper fit. Bicyclists ankles and feet swell, but mills almost never weave a loose enough pair for them. Anklet length is best in summer, but crew covers skin up into winter bibs, and heavy wool insulates feet if you can fit them in your cleats; have modified big socks to fit over cleats by sewing holes at balls of feet for pedal clips. Most cyclists keep a dozen pairs for frequent changes, quite an investment. Retailers usually charge 3 times what you’d regularly pay for generic, some of which perform better. Acrylic beats cotton, neither of which are foot friendly over the long haul.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Bottom Slain

In every sense, it’s all downhill once you begin a career. Remaking yourself or transporting skills to another role in nearly impossible. Choose carefully. Heavy labor destroys your body, grinds you down. NFL pros, who pump iron daily and work out constantly, have an average life expectancy of only 55 years, almost 21 years less than a model American schlemiel, who lives 5 years less than typical Swiss citizens and women in general. Information toilers wind up insane and lame. Since some claim, “Sitting is the new smoking,” you could be slain by jockeying a desk with bottom plopped in a chair, or motoring instead of pedaling there. So an extreme of either labor or rest is really the parlous pest. Heed no extremist’s advice; learn balance or pay price.

Peak productivity requires aerobic habits, decent diet, and regular shuteye, though businesses prefer the presenteeism of employees slaving through overtime into replaceable burnout. The more you improve yourself, the more you’re resented by anarchists, coworkers, grade school dropouts, ne’er-do-wells, and nervous managers. Too much work or worry builds debilitating stress. Labor laws ought to guarantee an annual unpaid leave below 6 weeks without penalty beyond the paltry 2 of paid vacation companies bestow begrudgingly. Many expect you to work through 10 holidays, too. Have they never seen, “Moderation in all things,” avowed by Saint Augustine? Explorers navigating unknown seas granted sailors more ease. Work frustration breeds domestic violence and social disease.

Bike&Chain always examines phenomena scrupulously and reports experiences exactly. Labann lives to debunk old sayings and describe consequences in terms of mortality. What matters more than a choice between death and life? Statistics, when not simply made up, get misinterpreted; observed effects are not root causes, which require actual investigations and scientific analysis to determine. Americans don’t only die from heart attacks and obesity; pundits say,“...the leading causes of death in the US before age 50 include car accidents, gun violence, and drug overdoses. Citing a 2011 study of 23 countries, the panel found the rate of firearm homicides to be 20 times higher in the US.” With world’s greatest percentage of prisoners and highest health costs, lives are shorter in USA than most other industrialized countries. Doctors still say smoking is the #1 health threat, but that's not entirely true, either. Fossil fuel has got to be #1. Nations fight wars over it. Constituents include known carcinogens. Driving around is sedentary, ruins body. Exhaust from burning coal and petrol causes asthma. Refineries pollute so badly, you’re 5 times more likely to die living near one. Where they limit cars, gun mayhem drops to next to nothing.

Considering the sole purpose for assault weapons and handguns is to kill humans illegally, acquiring them ought to be difficult, not easy. Anyone can order by mail and pick up at a local dealer. People with diagnosed mental disorders aren’t barred from owning. Like drivers, purchasers ought to be licensed through analogous classroom studies and "road tests" at ranges, both with passing grades. No point at all having any weapon (bow, crossbow, handgun, grenade, rifle, sword) if you don’t know how to use it safely, likely to hurt self instead of protect. Once believed bicycling was basic recreation for bottom feeders; target shooting dives below with cost of ammo and guns less than a cheap bike. All arsenals should be inspected and monitored, weapons registered. Firearms have never been investments that appreciate in value. Assemble as many as you like, just ban private sales and don’t distribute to anyone except federal fireman licensed (FFL) dealers. Interstate commerce in them otherwise ought to be a Class 1 felony tantamount to second degree murder, since it abets homicide and manslaughter.

Arguments against arms control demonstrate bizarre all-or-nothing logic and reduce every restriction to absurdity. One says, “Ban guns and only criminals will have them.” But wouldn’t it then be a lot easier to identify perpetrators? So much for, "Defend self against gunmen,” who then wouldn’t be armed. “Guns do not kill, people do,” but they do enable psychopaths. Everyone dies in firefights, including innocent bystanders who also have rights. Another says,” If someone runs down a kid with an SUV, you don't stop selling motor vehicles," though dealing death isn’t a vehicle’s sole purpose and licensing marginally protects passengers. Carmakers did stop selling station wagons because they couldn't reduce emissions, so instead developed minivans and SUVs with more destructive footprints and no legislative standards. Regulations don’t prohibit end runs. Congress is too busy arguing splinter issues to follow up. Voters surveyed support neither carrying loaded weapons nor restricting freedoms to own them. After massacres they blame families and mental disorders. However, policies focus on controlling guns instead of counseling through state sponsored health insurance. So conservative opposition to affordable care inflames problem and invites further gun control. Why so shocked? Everything is interrelated. Laws and policies must take all effects into account.

The trouble with democracy is dunces dominate, while geniuses get ignored. Is the only answer armed revolution? Who, exactly, is the enemy? Turns out, gun manufacturers and their lobbyists are. You'll never see sensible measures enacted because NRA only cares about money, not humanity, and runs Republican party, who rule Congress. There are already many forms of gun control, such as carrying locked in vehicle’s trunk separate from ammo and restricting zones where they can be fired, though enforcement has been lax, since off-duty police are the worse offenders. Where homicides have no limits, extra measures are taken, and why not? They could curb gun sales with no ill effects to commerce or rights, limit arsenals to militias, not permit sociopaths to buy. That’s not banning all sales, just a small number, unless you realize that only lunatics want guns. Why not have city planners include gun free zones, entrants screened at gateways, and villains apprehended and disarmed? Concealed, loaded and unlocked weapons complicate enforcement, so much so that armed police prefer to harass law abiders rather than nab felons and gangsters. Lack of gun control sacrifices innocents. Self improvement includes rising above grisly intolerance.

Gun enthusiasts can’t wait for an absurd zombie apocalypse, because it would exonerate their desire to exterminate anyone who frustrates or opposes their plans for conformity to some nazi ideology of psycho uniformity. Lost souls? You just don’t know how victims might someday contribute to society, particularly school children. Altruists become nurses and social workers. Football linemen use only their armor clad selves to wage battles, and, given the stakes, can be very punishing, yet infractions are swiftly penalized and injuries are never fatal. People can be a pain. But think about it. Where do your comforts, energy, entertainments, food, fresh water, roads, shelter, shoes, soap, wearing apparel come from? If you still hate, you better discover ways to cope, resign yourself to being a hermit, or seek professional help. Guns are called great equalizers, but only angels and saints stand in harm's way. Racing to the bottom threatens all humans.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Blind Ultramontane

Probably ought to read more than write. Can turn to interesting blogs, nonfiction, or novels to break up monotony of dogmatic how-to’s and textbooks. Reading lets you passively absorb information you might eventually use effectively or profitably. Many books merely pick a topic and vegetatively quote others who commented on it. Blogs might offer a sentence or two but principally exist as click-bait for advertising pennies or cookie downloads with trojan horses. Real content serves both community and self, but wastes author’s effort and time when editors or readers don’t reciprocate. The social convention of authors providing information of value with societies caring for their welfare, as if horticultural specimens, seems to have fallen by the wayside.

People appreciate ancient evangelists and prophets because they codified religions, expected nothing, and got martyred for their trouble. Authors today expect the same credibility for living dangerously and spewing contrary filth. Monarchists and ultramontanes condemn separation of church and state and rather confer absolute power to a king or pope. They are blinded by their chance to control and dominate through the power of words. Uniformity of belief or practice leads directly to fascism. Diversity of opinion, while apparently wasteful, does create markets, expand economy, explore alternatives, honor all sides, and offer hope. Diversity is mankind’s survival mechanism. Why theocracies fail is that some neighboring ruler devoted to another inflexible religion routinely disagrees and wars commence. The bitterest fights are fought over flavors of the same (Christian Catholics kill Christian Protestants; Moslem Shia kill Moslem Sunnis). Constitutional democracies don’t run well, but at least give citizens who vote a small say in life threatening policies and historically last longer than any other form of government.

Readers seek Top 10 lists as ways to hack through dense detail, mental machetes in a jungle of falsehood. Just as in this metaphor, each such complied list foists unfounded opinions, further confuses issues, skips relevant input, and surrounds obvious facts with phony hype, what greedy conservatives rely upon when duping masses into sacrificing themselves. For once, however, Labann will relent, toss readers a bone, undertake unbiased cycling tips, and won’t further bitch about it.

10. Before each ride, check tires for integrity (no cuts or imbeds) and pressure. If you must fill rear, also top off front. Otherwise, skip front to save time and valve wear.

9. Store cleats, glasses, gloves, helmet and pump in same spot, ready for next ride, but not where subject to bugs, bumps, damp, direct sun, and falls. Try a mesh bag hung on bike or open shelf unit.

8. Carry cash, cell phone, credit card(s), keys, and small tools in a ziplock baggie; keeps them collected and dry.

7. Pay the extra fee (if any) to make sure your new bike exactly fits you; use your regular apparel, cleats and saddle during fitting, which should include handlebar adjustment, laser leg alignment, and saddle positioning. Expect small tweaks thereafter to perfect.

6. Wash bike often with soap and water; use an old toothbrush for tight areas, like chain links and derailleur cogs. Especially clean brake pads and wheel rims. Wipe dry while inspecting frame for cracks and noting damage. Once fully dry, again lubricate chain.

5. Now ride with knees in to spare later pain; flailing is only okay to get balance right after mounting. Cleated pedals help guide legs into efficient positions over long distances.

4. Change hand positions on bars frequently; grab brake hoods to rest wrists, drops to get low into wind.

3. Wear a helmet. Doesn’t make you invincible, but does provide cheap insurance against concussions and skull fractures. Wear padded gloves for safety, spandex shorts and wicking jerseys for comfort, or whatever you want that won’t later deter enthusiasm.

2. Stick to white line at road’s edge; weaving in and out of shoulder confuses motorists and obstructs visibility for both them and you. Tuck in on curves where clipping might occur.

1. Hour for hour, bicycling is more fun than working. Bike commuting avoids driving stress, jettisons your burdens, and restores mood so family won’t suffer, as long as you don’t obsess over it.

These are not 10 commandments, just suggestions shared from 10,000 hours in the saddle. You are entitled to compile your own list, dispute, or ignore, because, when you embrace a bicycle as transportation, “This machine kills fascists,” figuratively speaking.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Verity Ingrain

Once bicycling and cycling were synonymous. Lately, they’ve developed separate connotations. Would be wise to include in B&C’s bixicon that bicycling is the generic term for propelling self on any bi-wheeled contraption, whereas cycling has come to mean racing an approved diamond-framed bike for sport, though for some riders the two remain indistinguishable. You know who they are by how rudely they pass. “Cyclist” could thus be used disparagingly, and often is by motorists. And what do you call riders on power-assisted bikes? Micro-motorists? Others pedal on human powered vehicles, recumbents and trikes, but HPV-ers sounds like vectors for a nasty disease. Struggles that bicyclists endure put them in the category of vulnerable road users, veritably on par with protected species. Motorists sometimes run over bald eagles and snowy owls, smaller targets than you who can’t likewise fly, so never be surprised when their vehicles overtake within inches. Beware, listen, watch out for yourself.

Other terms to differentiate lie along a continuum from bad to worst: Climate change, continual extinction, global warming, tipping event, mass extinction, and global doom. Much will be lost if oceans rise 4 feet from melting polar ice due to climate change. At great cost, humans can relocate inland, but insurers will go broke. Global warming will kill species, some of which are crucial to all life, like bees that pollenate vegetables, so this affects everyone. Species die all the time, but rate has dramatically increased. Heating depletes ocean oxygen and kills fish. Too much carbon gas, hydrocarbon vapors, and ozone would impede breathing among mammals. At some point toxins accumulate so much that planet renews itself in a catastrophic spasm. Such drastic changes will extirpate species unprepared to handle. The more astronomers know about solar system, the less confident they are that an asteroid crashing into earth won’t crush and suffocate most life forms, though its thin atmosphere has sheltered humanity so far from a continual barrage of objects small enough to burn upon entry.

Commenting on expansion of internet access, Diane Ackerman (7 Feb 2015) said, “Never before have we been so dangerous to the planet or to ourselves, but never before have we been so capable of working together to find solutions.“ Given human nature, don’t yet see any propensity for collaborating meaningfully beyond exploitation of people and resources. E. O. Wilson recently renounced kin selection, which he previously theorized as a natural imperative to preserve genes among closest relatives by sacrificing self. So no definitive bio-mechanism has yet been identified to explain why altruism exists, while instilling any cooperation requires a bit of it. This leaves scientists in an argumentative quandary. More often humans seem to be guided by self interest and motivated by survival of the fittest. But don’t humans embrace their own birth characteristics and form castes from alpha to untouchable? Leadership or subservience appear to be genetically inherited after all, though behaviors revolve around preferences given to those culturally and racially similar to rulers. It’s harder but not impossible for an outsider to wrest control, but that does describe some conquests, for instance, the small contingent of Cortés in Mexico overthrowing entire Aztec empire.

Damn it, scientists constantly come up with paradoxes you can’t comprehend. Everyone already spends way too much time inside thinking instead of outside living, watching videos instead of witnessing nature firsthand. Paradoxes get interpreted and played out by directors and novelists, though all the real money is made and risks taken by movie producers. IMDB lists over 200 truth titles in film, shorts and television series, important examples described below:

A Dark Truth (2012) - Ex-CIA agent and Toronto talk show host Jack Begosian (Andy Garcia) gets hired to expose a corporate massacre in Ecuador. Poorly reviewed and purely fictitious, lost money.

An Inconvenient Truth (2006) - Former Vice President Al Gore narrates this documentary about global warming’s disastrous potential, whereas bicyclists and walkers don’t significantly add to greenhouse gases, unless they eat lots of beans. Earned little at box office but provoked Big Oil denial and Republican rebuttal. Should be required viewing.

Kill the Messenger (2014) - In 1996, journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner) broke a story that connected CIA with 1980’s crack cocaine epidemic. Government and legacy media joined forces to silence him. Docudrama lost money in ticket sales over its modest $5 million budget. Maybe it was confused with Tami Hoag’s like-named suspense novel about bike messengers. "The truth will set you free," said John the Evangelist, but it may kill you in the process.

True Grit - Original (1969) and remade (2010) western of imaginary Marshall Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne, later Jeff Bridges) made serious money. Set in 1880, there were no bicycles, only horses, though film’s title and protagonist’s surname suggest that which gathers on chains and gears. Cyclists in Colorado, where film was shot, have more than made up for this oversight.

True Lies (1994) - Totally fictional action adventure in which Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) hunts down and kills terrorists. Major blockbuster grossed hundreds of millions worldwide. Wasted an enormous amount of fuel with exploding tanks trucks, fast cars, hovering helicopters, and VTOL jets.

True Story (2015) - Former New York Times reporter Michael Finkle (Jonah Hill) hoping to redeem himself and restore his reputation is seduced and used by brutal killer Christian Longo (James Franco). Based on actual events, made only a few million nationwide.

Truth (2015) - Reporting facts about Dubya’s military AWOL due to father’s influence costs 60 Minutes newscasters Dan Rather (Robert Redford) and Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchet) their jobs and reputations. Bet on seeing a few bicycles on Manhattan streets, but predict failure for this emerging docudrama despite its all-star cast. Erstwhile journalist Edward R. Murrow, who opposed McCarthy’s communist witch hunt when such dissent could bury you, understood truth better than most, “Speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue. Most truths are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up... If we were to do the Second Coming of Christ in color for a full hour, there would be a considerable number of stations which would decline to carry it on the grounds that a Western or a quiz show would be more profitable.” But Murrow lived before cable when just 3 networks dominated airwaves, though news programming still seldom garners significant marketshare. Journalism is dead, supplanted by conservative infotainment and extremist opinion. “Good night, and good luck.”

The Ugly Truth (2009) - Romantic comedy in which alluring but awkward TV producer Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl) abides shock jock Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler) hired to raise ratings, who later advises her on how to attract men. Sex sells. Grossed over $250 million.

The Whole Truth (2015) - New Orleans lawyer Richard Ramsey (Keanu Reeves) defends a teenage client who allegedly murdered his rich father. Still in post production, has nothing to do, other than being a courtroom drama, with recent TV series of the same name, which was canceled after airing only 4 of 13 episodes produced. Few care enough about truth to want to know the whole of it, usually too boring, depressing, longwinded, or mundane.

See a pattern? Many filmmakers suddenly seem excited about exploring facts and exposing lies, probably to fill the vacuum left by the decline of real journalism and rise in historical revisionism. Or it's mass delusion following Fox president Roger Ailes' assertion, "Truth is whatever people will believe.” Only those who bash, denigrate and mock truth get rewarded. Only profit matters. Bush administrations engaged primarily in damage control, fact denial, and revenue looting. You’d think name recognition alone would negate chances as a presidential candidate, but the small minority who thrived under father then brother are supporting sibling's campaign. Religions still try to ingrain habits without any rational verity. As Mary Mapes, defending herself before Congress, said, “Nobody wants to talk about that. They want to talk about fonts and forgeries, and they hope to God the truth gets lost in the scrum.”

Cynics maintain, “No news is good news,” though they mislead, since glad tidings are always possible, even if something unexpected with which to deal. The ancient Gnostic proverb goes, "If you don't dance, you don't know what happens." Writers don't just observe; the best participate. You can't speak with authority unless you do it yourself. Rather than seek mythical heroes to inform you, you can yourself use internet to exchange realtime news, so corporations and governments don’t get away with crimes and scams, though it does invite individual treachery of avaricious charlatans, conspiracy theorists, identity thieves, and other miscreants.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Literary Lindane

An average reader reads about 1 page, roughly 300 words, per minute. One would need 1,700 hours, 213 typical workdays, to read all of Labann’s output to date, more than 100,000 pages from 5 decades. Since it mostly featured boring industrial documents and technical manuals, nobody ever would. Did, however, expect an exclusive few to enjoy the most interesting bits, these 1,500 pages of blog posts and book, but found a better audience in business patrons, who actually paid for copy and read appreciatively. Can’t give literary art away. Makes authors grumpy and ill disposed toward society. Screeching pique sounds like squealing rubber on a dry street. Yet craving contact doesn't entitle you to waste weeks for whoever seeks to slake curiosity.

Ascertaining facts, making sense of chaos, and probing truths have no audience except enemies they’ll make who’ll use them against you, often elected officials, who figure winning a popularity contest frees them to pilfer. B&C might as well be called toxic waste. You’re wiser to dish out dirt, fiction, lies, and spin, for which you’ll be rewarded. A trap of sorts, success confines you to that for which you’re known. If you deviate from the servile role that community confers, you risk being cut off and dying from want. Even if you choose to live on next to nothing, basic necessities stateside still cost at least $12,000 per year. Ready to cash into social security and shut up permanently, why does Labann persist? Because social justice still eludes majority.

A popular, prolific artist might record 20 hours of music in an entire career. Frank Zappa defied fashion and produced 100 albums, 38 released posthumously. Japanese noise artist Merzbow (works include Cycle Parts 1 and 2) claims 400 recordings, many of which were recently collected into a 50 CD set. Bob Dylan composed around 1,000 songs with unique lyrics, not including covers and rearrangements, and recorded 47 albums, both live and studio. Greek chanteuse Nana Mouskouri, among world’s best selling singers, sold 200 million records with over 1,000 covers in 8 languages. Only Beatles (275 original songs) and Elvis (700 singles) sold over 500 million records. In terms of albums, Elton John (29), Led Zeppelin (9), Madonna (13), and Michael Jackson (10) each sold over 300 million. Collectively, based on average length of CDs (60 minutes) and songs (3.6 minutes), that’s less than 388 listening hours, 16 full days. For content, quality beats quantity; for sales, grant the opposite. No telling how many living hours it took to lay down all those tracks; likewise, decades of experience called forth Bike&Chain, and decades of toil completed. Testament to how hard it is to demand attention and do anything remarkable, this 50-year effort represents a miniscule fraction of what gets accomplished globally by billions of hours of ordinary business annually worth $100 trillion. Pinnacles stand out from afar, but mountains have bases bypassed or shunned.

Nonfiction might act as a pesticide for corruption if you crack it open and spread its contents. Then, again, it might poison conversation and polarize opinion, as if there's not enough of that already. B&C always promoted balance and rejected extremes. Ingesting lindane, gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane (made from benzene, yet another petroleum derivative), a toxic insecticide EPA banned in USA but used throughout third world, causes birth defects and liver cancer, especially among the poor. Lindane lotion for scabies currently FDA approved causes nerve damage and seizures. A war with human collateral rages against pests. Beware of fruit that purports to be more wholesome than other foodstuff. Cucumbers laden with salmonella just had to be recalled after many got sick and some died. If, “Meat is murder”, Merzbow, what safer alternatives does mankind have? Unresolved issues plague mankind, put writers on the spot to expose, identify, and possibly solve.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Comedy Humane

Ben Sinclair, co-creater with Katja Blichfeld of television sitcom High Maintenance, appears in every episode as The Guy, a bicycle messenger who distributes marijuana throughout Brooklyn. Show’s name is a double entendre that describes both his business to maintain buzz and personalities fraught with ordinary dramas. Its message to decriminalize and normalize pot use naturally ignores border violence and turf wars that harvesting and smuggling entail.

Thousands die every year because users want to drown sorrows and dull pain. Yet another transference, typical of, “Better nameless foreigners die than we suffer,” how is that any different than Big Oil killing activists and lummoxes obliviously driving wasteful SUVs? Or sex trafficking and teens indulging in porn instead of being productive and earning for college? The net loss of tobacco after all profits is $200 billion each year, but smoking a related alkaloid-laden weed not so well documented likely costs more than users want to admit. Anyway, can you trust their suspect math?

Lapses seem innocuous until you calculate resulting losses. With cheap electronic access but no shot at being employed, you’ll spend months trolling websites and watching television, in either case, zoning into 15 minute clips between commercials, just enough time to get aroused and swell guilt. Childhood oppositional defiance leads to adult conduct disorders that emerge as casino gambling, road rage, substance abuse, and unread blogs. Who can call odd lifestyles meaningless? Everyone impacts everyone, what they do, or not do. Aggravation releases aggression into community, contorted faces of motorists trying to cut you off so they don’t have to share road with a struggling cyclist. Disgust turned inward might urge good deeds and grand activism.

Alaffia Soap fairly trades and focuses charitable attention on the plight of women is West Africa. It has collected and shipped over 6,300 bicycles to them. Turns out, odds are against them even surviving if they don’t complete school. Cycling enables them to make the long commutes from and to remote villages where most live in poverty. Hopes include democratic reforms in each dictator dominated country, economic justice, and gender equality. Things could be a whole lot worse. Be thankful and count your blessings. Just don’t expect gratitude when you impose aid upon others.

If comedy is the best medicine, why isn’t it prescribed by doctors? AMA and Big Pharma promote profitable dependencies. People seek conflict, not cures, as recent GOP debate argues. Analogies using “is” usually make no sense. They falsely assume parity between A and B, only a comparison, not an equivalency. Hard to be happy when others suffer much, or to suffer those stuck upon agreeable fluff, cheery clichés, and inoffensive pap.

Saroyan wrote in The Human Comedy, “...there will always be pain in the world, knowing this does not mean that a man shall despair. A good man will seek to take pain out of things. A foolish man will not even notice it, except in himself, and the poor unfortunate evil man will drive pain deeper into things and spread it about wherever he goes.” Saroyan, an avid cyclist, knew that physical challenges involve pain, but repeatedly taking them on builds body’s stamina and raises pain threshold. Settling for convenience mostly transfers pain onto someone else in ways intentionally unexamined. Better to laugh off tragedies than prevent them? Does comedy acquit inhumanity?

Monday, September 14, 2015

All or No Thane

There’s an ancient Babylonian proverb, “God doesn’t deduct from man’s allotted time the hours spent fishing.” Wrong! Hate these homilies that persuade others to produce despite risks. Considered among world’s most dangerous jobs, commercial fishermen frequently drown and occasionally get mangled or murdered. Even recreational anglers accidentally die; there’s also a lot of sitting around and swilling beer, both of which shorten life. But substitute bicycling, and the saying might approach accuracy. Fatalities are few provided you successfully navigate traffic hazards. You get back the years you spent cycling by extending life expectancy (~3 more years, 26,280 hours, for only 6,000 hours of exercise). Consequently, you get to do physical activities and remain vital well into your 70’s. They also say, “In heaven all cycling routes are flat and smooth,” not that you're in any hurry to get there. Rolling landscapes, however, keep you humble by reminding you you’re only human. God is a cypher whose intentions lie far beyond any cleric’s ability to fathom. Why would God allow intolerance, slavery and war? Free will exercised irresponsibly could wipe out life on earth. Where's your towel?

Someone must oppose media’s relentless propaganda. On a “professional” forum originator posted a meme, “Like if you think Democrats are idiots. Share if you KNOW Democrats are idiots,” over a lewdly provocative image. Not a Democrat, was nevertheless offended and said so. This incited a round of name calling spawned upon sheer stupidity. “Libtard”, a portmanteau of liberal and retard, isn’t merely politically incorrect, it insults all intelligence, and maligns the developmentally challenged. "Con-holes" (John Birchers, Klanners, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists) persist using this label for anyone with whom they disagree, despite the fact that most people are moderate, sometimes conservative or liberal on certain issues but not others. Extremism causes criminal and mob behaviors. Exposing these terrorists invites death threats.

This epitomizes conservative aggression: Limit your choices, narrow your focus, twist your arm to get what they want. All or nothing is a logical fallacy; unlike objects, people and phenomena defy classification, live on continuums, range within limits, switch allegiances, and transcend conformity. Schoolyard bullies never grow up unless community unites against them. They badger and bait as sport, then sidle away when their victims commit suicide or die from mistreatment. Later, they become the domestic abusers and drug users that account for most police calls.

Fishing for dupes and peddling hate, the further you impugn, the further you push cretins to choose dirty, quick fixes. Predation pays so well, they have an entire news network with nonstop programming designed solely to manipulate those who don’t or won’t think for themselves. Conservatism will always be a vicious downward spiral into oblivion, although its core philosophy - grab whatever you can - is easy for dim-witted knuckle-draggers to grasp. Those in power know that lies repeated often enough become policy. Whatever government allows funnels revenue their way. Unfavorable laws may be overturned by executive orders, new legislation, popular opinion, or simply not enforced, like the Sherman Antitrust Act against their monopolies. They use advertising techniques to force people to believe in their self serving mantra, how Hitler got an entire nation to go along with his insane ambitions. Emperors still exist, but seldom emerge from shadows.

You don’t get to be nobility unless born to royalty. Once the next best thing was being decreed a thane, usually some warlord granted land and riches by a grateful king. No thanes are needed anymore. These days billionaires sidestep divine rule, use wealth to wrest power. Wanting to control the masses is a mental disorder. The few rich subjugating too many poor results in destruction, revolution and suffering. Stable societies have a predominant middle class. Oligarchies quickly collapse. People do and think whatever they want until convinced otherwise or incarcerated for breaking laws they never knew existed. Free thinkers figure laws deny freedoms from anyone despots see as threats.

How healthy is America and why should you care? Before Obama, joblessness hovered at 28%. Most Bush-era policies have been reversed, so economy improved among modest income families. Workers paying taxes fight tyranny overseas, foster innovation, keep aid flowing, maintain defense, and secure social programs. Bloomberg predicts another recession in 2018, usually recurring in 9 year cycles, if next administration doesn’t effectively act to maintain growth begun in 2009. Diversity of beliefs, cultures, and professions avoids downturns and promotes commerce. Cycling is surely another facet of a diversified culture, and, unlike motoring, frees your mind to reject what's wrong and see through inhumanity.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Labor Deign

You won't remember what you said when you’ve filled and published 100,000 pages, particularly when you’ve repeated ideas you’re not passionate about or uncertainties studied too many different ways. Output becomes a blur. Had to do what one must to pay debts and roll on. Apt and beautiful phrases are, after all, almost as forgettable as what you dreamed before breakfast. Nobody, including you, gets what was written. Chiselers and schemers can’t wait to ambush fools and geniuses through what they next commit to text. Lawyers exist because so many would rather grab, swindle and wriggle out of work, which proves too demanding to do daily for decades among dolts. Childbirth is real labor. The sweat of physical effort smells sweet compared to the stench of crooks who cheat.

Life goes through emotional stages resembling tastes: sweet, salty, sour and bitter, usually in that order. Mom's milk is sweet, and most never mature beyond sugary gratification. Adolescents awkwardly flirt with salty adult pleasures. Umami? Just those earthy, meaty encounters when spouses infrequently get lucky. Achieving and having leave such sourness that only amassing more distracts enough to ignore disappointments. Accumulating anything makes one a target. By the time race has been run, majority has grown bitterly resentful of bad choices they made without really knowing what they could have done given own limitations. Bitter, by the way, is an acquired, but not undesired, taste. Bitter is better than abject despair.

You can get lost in anhedonia, let tasks and tastes grind you down, or prefer simple pleasures, Rosebud, times when you were content. Saltines floating on steaming tomato soup from a can were once as lovely as life could be. Proust had his madeleines. A beignet with cup of french roast after a night of passion can achieve complacency and combine all tastes simultaneously. To share love might be humanity’s main goal, though most clamor for someone else to take up their cause. Lovers often forget that travel is supposed to be fun.

Watched an accident occur on a one-way street in a tourist trap. Parking allowed on left alone, a cyclist hugging parked cars was riding astride an SUV whose driver suddenly decided to turn left without signaling, thus hooking cyclist, who planted bike and face sideways onto its maiden white exterior. Having collected self and ridden off a lighter shade of pale into a throng, left a nice set of scratches that oblivious driver or probably husband won’t notice until inspecting vehicle later. Both were at fault: Cyclist should have been following cars on right in travel lane, not hanging on left; motorist could have stopped before turning. However, not only were neither injured much, this incident will never otherwise be reported, which proves official stats lack factual integrity.

If 4 out of 5 accidents supposedly occur on country roads, probably 4 of 5 fatalities would, too. While traffic analysts like to cite intersection hazards, always suspected from actual experiences and anecdotes heard that being overtaken by motorists is a cyclist’s bane. Accidents downtown occur at slower speeds, so can be avoided, or result less often in fatalities. In countryside, motorists usually exceed de facto 25 mph or maximum 65 mph limits. Physics teaches that, in collisions, speed increases damage. Haste makes waste. That’s why Labann likes to roll so slowly and work deliberately.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Public Domain

With schools soon reopening, must expect the many torments of traffic to multiply. Advocates speak of a locale’s “bikeability”, a term coined over 20 years ago. Everywhere on land where you can walk presents some degree of bikeability, even deserts, mountains, prairies and unpaved trails. What they imply is relative ease of getting around by bike according to factors upon which not everyone agrees.

Compiled this intense list of preferences from B&C's Chapter 16, internet searches, league questionnaires, pamphlet excerpts, and surveys personally conducted among avid cyclists, and ordered by importance to those who’d rather pedal than pollute:
1. Streets with no faster bus/car/truck traffic (hard to find but still exist by place or time)
2. With some overtaking traffic, road shoulders without debris, gaps, grates, holes or sand
3. With heavy traffic, crossable intersections, designated bike lanes, no-motor over/under passes, permeable curbs, rollover islands
4. Unbroken pavement: no crevices, potholes, speed bumps, sunken pipes
5. Cyclists can ride flattest/straightest streets, shun hilly/twisty routes, as desired
6. Minimal detours and impediments (caused by airports, banned/narrow bridges, bays, coves, highways, hills, RR, rivers, turning lanes)
7. Continuous bikenet (all compass points from border to border) without any unfriendly segments; aligns with adjacent cities; flows from state to state
8. Alternatives to on-road (bikeways, bike-ped bridges, shared sidewalks); must be lit, maintained, patrolled, shoveled, and swept
9. Demonstrated city, state and town support (federal compliance, installed facilities, law enforcement, public service announcements, and unwavering policies)
10. Infrastructure favoring bicycling, restricting motoring (Only for motoring: boulevard stops, no parking, no passage, one-way, parking lot fly-out deterrents, 25 mph limit on bike routes); bridges with bike decks or cable cars
11. Bikenet passes parks, places of refuge (fire/police stations, libraries), schools and stores for safe child routes
12. Car-free approaches to air terminals, bus stations, malls, schools, train stations, transit hubs
13. Bike route signage (esp. around detours), compass point reminders, and traffic controls
14. Easy access to bikenet (barrier breaks, curb relief, entrances and exits, fence openings, stanchions to keep cars out)
15. Racks at municipal buildings, public libraries, retail outlets, schools, terminals
16. Erosion deterrents (logs, rocks, straw bales), railings at steep runoffs, root barriers, sensible sight lines (not limited to set backs, trimmed hedges at intersections)
17. Availability of bike parts and services
18. Bus rack-n-ride service; subways/trains/trolleys that take bicycles
19. Accessible controls and wide shoulders where bikenet meets roadnet
20. Advocacy, clubs, community events, group rides

One could award a descending number of points for each factor and tally them for any area, region or state, or perhaps just move to Portland, Oregon once comparisons are made, but wouldn’t this be rather compulsive? The goal is not to rate for awareness’ sake, but to react with real improvements that decrease fear and inconvenience, the 2 prevailing barriers, and increase ridership. City planners need to consider everything in the public domain; compliance typically involves less than 5% of roadnet and usually only after segments are repaved when repainting stripes, which must be done anyway. Costs almost nothing.

Your sense of safety will never compel official decisions; distance, hazards, hills and ice persist for which you must prepare. Advocacy groups capitalize from your feeling exposed to criminal behaviors and crushing vehicles, yet you’ll always be safer cycling than driving. Crowds don’t necessarily present risk, sometimes shelter self propellers. But when states make situations difficult or impossible to ride a bike or walk, they illegally limit, according to federal laws 23 CFR 652.5 and 23 CFR 652.7, those who’d choose these alternatives. Every road 24’ or wider must either directly facilitate cycling and walking or factor in a nearby parallel bikeway or bikeable road, preferably indicated by signs. They can’t just construct bridges and highways that ban bicycling. This also implies zoning code that denies malls and stores permission to locate on busy roads if they neglect bike access from adjacent neighborhoods.

Cyclists are supposed to ride in travel lanes, not stick to gutters. Shoulders are what permit them to ease over and let cars pass. Despite their slow pace they do not otherwise have to give up lane. Motoring is a privilege, not a right; a driver license is a contract never to endanger the vulnerable: animals, bicyclists, children, walkers, wheelchair users. All self-propelled uses of public thoroughfares fall under an inalienable right to be motile for living and thriving. Impatience is the main reason air-conditioned, comfortably seated motorists can’t wait and must deprive others of their rights. Direct your anger at city planners, not creeping cyclists, who just happen to be present.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Nose Retrain

Late in summer a cyclist expects smells of asphalt, compost and creosote, maybe mixed with sour must of laundry and sewer drainage, possibly acid tang of old mills and toxic remains. Yet, a week after a gale, instead got an Autumn note of cut wood and dried leaves, reminiscent of tea you brew. Never much cultivated sense of smell, though dogs delight in exploratory, olfactory outings that exercise their glomerulus bulbs, mitral cells, and receptor neurons.

With fruits and vegetables finally ripening, farmer markets pop up around cities. You arrive by bike, drop by valet, follow your nose, and taste samples from stall to tent to umbrella, where an emperor of ice cream on a trike hawks treats as a finale of seem then packs up and pedals home. You assume freshness but question comparative quality, high prices, and lack of refrigeration or sanitation. Patrons buy to support local agriculture lest open expanses become housing developments. But prices reduce by half if you visit actual farms with their inherent odors and intimidating remoteness.

Mingling in crowds presents an opportunity to assess area residents. Big talk of collaborating universally will be choked irreversibly when you witness in person who you have to work with. Because banks made debtors of everyone, most are too worried about paying mortgages or rents to ponder anything else. When you can’t earn and don’t contribute to Social Security anymore, insurance houses, nursing homes, tax collectors, and utilities providers revel in draining your savings. Threats of becoming homeless forever loom, worse when your too old to shove what’s left into a van and simply take off.

An exodus undermines power, which is why conservative tyrants consider as a political ploy keeping dissidents moving. You don't have to submit, but should feel entitled to retaliate by running for office yourself or supporting candidates that promise more. Too bad you’re forced to hold your nose when you choose. But voting isn't the end of involvement, since you must monitor performance and recall elected officials if they don't serve your interests, though it's hard to do. The age of career politicians will be over when citizens demand more from elected officials.

Heard a celebrity host and local “philanthropist” discussing the good deeds done by dead business leaders and them. Who can bend their arms so far as to pat themselves on their own backs? When community treated them so well as to amass assets, it became their obligation to return some. Seems the bar gets set at crass greed, and however little you selflessly do merits applause. Charity does more for giver than receiver. Politicians, for example, squeeze constituents so thoroughly they create the need for welfare, then take credit for their presumed largess distributing among the needy while voting themselves enormous pay raises and tax cuts. Another way to dominate the poor is put them on the dole, paid for by middle class and small businesses, and reward privilege so rest believe they too can similarly rise.

More communicate now than ever in history. Both demand and supply are growing for written content. What's not growing is paid expectation. Writers, like most people, are slipping from poverty into slavery. When only 400 families own 95% of all wealth, your chances of selling human smudges on immaculate pages has declined to a modern nadir. Not enough readers can afford small cost of another volume after paying monthly fees for cell phone and internet access, where famous books and media comments can already be perused without additional cost. Ever smaller living quarters in crowded tenements means no room for home libraries, which is why book sellers have been closing or consolidating and ebooks taking over. Newspapers, too, have declined with preference for radio and television reports, often paid for by cable fees. People do go to movies, but try to sell an original story upon which all films are based. Delivery paradigm has irrevocably shifted, but that doesn’t stink so much if you think about it.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Lake Champlain

Concerned about roadnet nexuses that challenge cyclists and motorists alike, note infamous Boston intersection of Beacon Street and Massachusetts Avenue, where lots of people get killed and maimed, which typifies such lapses in safety planning. Contributory distractions include confusing controls, lack of shoulders, noise, multiple poorly marked lanes, sudden change from one-way to two-way, and too many signs. Due to bad city planning, certain intersections must distribute traffic in many directions, not just gather feeders into main flow or interrupt straight crosses. This usually happens because impediments as bays, buildings, railroads, or rivers force all into a single confluence. Businesses huddle together and squeeze highways that support arriving workers. Everyone wants to occupy same space at same time. Long natural barriers with few crossings, like Lake Champlain, create huge detours that cyclists can’t easily tolerate. Awareness of this could lead to new infrastructure (additional bridges, crossing islands, parallel roads, underpasses) to avoid and improve.

Much is made of designating bike lanes, against and for, when they are hardly needed where shoulders exist, except approaches to intersections and within a nexus. Bike lanes for a dozen car lengths right before a crossroad help align all types of traffic. But in a nexus motorists must have heads on a swivel trying to identify the lane that lines up with direction they wish to go. Circulators or rotaries used to be how they kept cars moving and let drivers choose. The best way to keep cyclists safe is construct an alternative route for them alone that completely bypasses worst intersections. This could easily be provided, since bikes can sometimes share sidewalks with pedestrians, especially where foot traffic is light. City cul-de-sacs present opportunities, since motoring is deterred yet alleys and walkways might poke through to areas beyond.

Spent an afternoon trying to go only a few miles through a pathetically designed suburb with both an airport and train terminal, neither of which feature bikeways or racks. Didn’t even try to visit, just meant to skirt. Went though parking lots and wriggled though fences. Explored a vast housing complex with only one entrance; if it had to be quickly evacuated, most would die, which surely suggests bad planning and code violations. Tracked sidewalks where traffic forced cyclists off streets. Buzzed by speed limit breakers, treaded lightly, and turned tightly at corners. Oddly, a bunch of recent films address these issues:

Bicycle (Michael B. Clifford, dir., 2014), retells the story of its boom in development, sport, and transport in England after first invented in France, then government policies in the 1970’s that assumed bicycles would disappear, so neglected to construct and maintain suitable infrastructure. Or, England reacts to a fellow countryman Chris Froome winning Le Tour de France in 2013, a feat he duplicated in 2015. World’s foremost battlefield for cycling glory has become a billboard for corporate sponsors, while riders invite investigations for drug and rule violations. Seems they're reaching status of football, where winning breeds contempt and jealous comments.

Bike vs Cars (Fredrik Gertten, dir., 2015): Bicyclists despise Big Oil rackets that despoil environment and won’t stop riding despite increasing traffic fatalities among them.

Tracers (Daniel Benmayor, dir., 2015) stars Taylor Lautner and Marie Avgeropoulos. Bicycle messenger in debt to violent gangsters is forced to join a crew, who use parkour, acrobatic leaping and running, to pull heists for increasingly bigger payoffs and risks.

Turbo Kid (François Simard, Anouk Whissell, dirs., 2015) stars a comic book obsessed scavenger (Munro Chambers) in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, who becomes a reluctant hero after he meets a mystery girl (Laurence Leboeuf). Armed with an ancient turbocharged weapon, The Kid embarks on quest to defeat their nemesis, a sadistic warlord (Michael Ironside), and save girl. Without petroleum, BMXing supplants motoring.

Just out, un®eal (Jones Brothers, dirs., 2015) celebrates beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest where mountain bikes rule and features downhill racer Brandon Semenuk. Increasingly, riders are taking to MTBs to avoid dealing with motorized threats altogether, although wild wooded single track can be tougher to negotiate than pavement with animals, rocks and roots. What about maybe not mythical monsters?

Overlooked older film Zookeeper (Frank Coraci, dir., 2011) has scene with Kevin James racing a tricycle on city streets against a rival bicyclist. Trike is so low that he’s able to squeeze under a tractor trailer to gain advantage, a stunt so stupid that it should’ve been accompanied by a “don’t try this at home” disclaimer. Typical of Happy Madison (Adam Sandler) productions, it appealed to airheads, earned well ($170 million), featured bicycles gratuitously, but got panned by critics. What do they know?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Cure Ptomaine

So much easier to join the hopelessly insane and possibly be victimized, or scandalously commit crimes, than join the responsibly sane and pay for their misbehavior. Pop psychologist Dr. Pill wants to remove any stigma of sociopathy. Even better! Mental disability means you can collect embarrassing welfare but can’t find a frustrating job. Ego alone irrevocably separates these life choices. Why not give up the battle against soul sucking society driving everyone batty with each ill conceived policy? Kick back, plop on a wicker lounge on a shady porch, and sip an icy beverage to combat Summer’s final spell of sultry. Meanwhile consider maybe a permanent vacation.

That famous, fat assed, flat chested foodie on TV alerted drinkers to her favorite cocktail for brunch, La Bicicletta. It’s an Italian Pinot Grigio spritzer with a splash of Campari and orange wheel on ice sure to refresh after a hot day in the saddle. Although alcohol kills germs and possibly makes spoiled food palatable, notice that pelaton peddlers never have booze bellies to haul around. As hurricane season hurries along, beware of power outages, and discard anything not refrigerated as required. Avoidance prevents both food born illness and work related stress. Beats suffering through and costs less.

Seasonal fun includes beach cruising and music listening. Here's a short list of actual bike songs found regarding estival stuff, not some ridiculous rating of tunes morons think you ought to listen to during your next outing.

A group named after a Syd Barrett (of Pink Floyd fame) tune, Gigolo Aunts had a hit about a kid’s bike called Lemon Peeler, Flippin’ Out, RCA/BMG, 1994; this was only on the US release. “Small in front and big in back. Pop a wheelie just like that. Now ride! Baseball card stuck through your spokes, just like summer with the folks... Ride the lemon peeler that I bought from the junk dealer.”

Eric Whitacre wrote Noisy Wheels of Joy, BCM Saves the World, BCM International, 1999, as an exercise to score previous scene in feature film 101 Dalmatians where dog’s master (Jeff Daniels, costar of Dumb & Dumber) races crazily through London on a bike while being dragged by Pongo, who's chasing his lady love, Perdita.

London teen indie artists Richard Gracious & Collective offer Me And My Bike, a single and video of band and rider performances. Especially note several tall bikes riders and their trailing kid sister.

You and Your Music, Keep On Spinning (Australian hip hop), single, 2012, mentions Melbourne cycle couriers, though it’s now Winter Down Under, a cool notion.

Monday, July 27, 2015


Keep Left or Right, so, divided, they can dominate, exploit you, stick it where the sun doesn't shine.

Bicycling may be pure evil; quiet repetition affords a chance to ponder what’s gone wrong and summon balance. Talk show callers and hosts unleash their hideous idiocy on unthinking listeners. They promote conservative candidates, especially that spoiled hotel tycoon, who’s nothing more than an ill tempered buffoon who panders to the witless who’d lash out against the guiltless. Being cleverly rich among the ignorantly poor must be maddening, something majority will never know. What the gullible don’t get is that the issues that fuel their frustrations were instigated intentionally for that very purpose. In the unfounded opinions spun by media mugs you don't see how they merely transfer public funds to a few thugs. Congress is already so dysfunctional and constituents so divided that impeachment proceedings and movements to recall are not only counterproductive but impossible. If not, you’d personally be to blame for letting the powerful manipulate and suppress you. Banking regulation, financial security, immigration reform, job creation, national defense, social justice, and whatever you believe would make life better you can achieve, not through divisive politics, but through sensible cooperation, serious discussion, and thoughtful examination of issues.

The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into... two camps.” Pope Francis, Holy See, 24 September 2015, Address to Joint US Congress

Methods exist in recently coined terms: crowdsource (individuals soliciting community for funds to accomplish mutually desirable goals) and collabortrain (individuals cooperating temporarily on projects, then regrouping or repeating subsequently for a string of accomplishments). Neither are new, rather more insightful names for what humans historically do over lifespans. Both may equally fail or succeed depending upon how and who pursued, and what success means to you. Stock market IPOs are formal crowd-sourcing, as likely as not to pay dividends. Churches and nonprofits accept a donation to provide open source information, but still serve own agendas. Musical groups dissolve and their members reform into other collaborations leaving a train of dismal misses or soulful hits. Cycling teams help leader excel on tour stages by water carriers sacrificing selves to chase down breakaway rivals, how Team Sky delivered latest Tour de France win for Chris Froome. A team collaborotrain creates a voluntary slipstream to preserve star’s energy for a final victorious sprint.

Crime, prostitution, slavery, and suffering derive from fear, personal greed and power lust. A caring community can eclipse even the worst natural disaster, how species survived for countless millennia. Globally about 100 trillion USD are turned over each year, that is, gross world product (GWP) in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP); this equals ~$14,300 per capita, every adult and child on earth, just enough to live upon no matter what nation you happen to live in. Few get a fair share; many fall from middle to lower class, or poverty into slavery, with wealth inequality beyond widespread familiarity. Where does it go? Take one vice, tobacco: Smoking’s annual net loss in USA alone after profits amounts to $200 billion. Compound this with CEOs making 380 times the lowest paid employee, corruption in office, exorbitant taxes, lack of exercise, motorists violating code, opiate abuse, organized crime, and whatnot. Bad behaviors and wasteful choices absorb most of your piece. Each responsible citizen pays and pays, but to whom? Billionaires? Drug cartels? Foreign monarchs? Freemason Illuminati? Imagine if governments prevented such wickedness and treated mental illness, how much more would flow your way in reduced insurance premiums, tax cuts, and warfare reductions? Who wants that!? The few who are gainfully employed or well paid work for some business that takes advantage of animosity, sickness or weakness.

DoD, nation's #1 employer with an annual half-trillion budget and two million military on payroll, largely defends oil companies as a perverse form of corporate welfare. If Big Oil had to pay for its own security, pumping oil overseas wouldn’t be worth it. Therefore, petroleum profits ultimately depend on American tax collection. Is convenience of motoring on gasoline worth this cost? If you send out thousands of resumes for jobs for which you are well qualified, despite EEOC companies don't interview those they discriminate against for age, gender, impairment, orientation and race. Should those thus ignored be forced onto treadmills in workhouses or thrown to wolves? Either would only beget criminality and ensure mutiny. Mental hospitals and prisons are already so full there's no place to lock up Wall Street crooks who bankrupted thousands and stole millions, so they routinely turn out felons and psychopaths with only bus fare elsewhere and prescriptions that don’t get filled. DoE hasn't done enough to teach basic skills, like recognizing complex issues and using logic to solve, or life skills, like avoiding drugs, counting money, exercising good judgment, and staying safe. When so many ills go unattended, you have to identify root causes and perform pareto analyses to set priorities. 

Called too liberal, current administration at least had a domestic policy to halt the slide into joblessness. Government can’t operate without income tax revenue. Counting those who gave up searching, it reached 25%, Great Depression level, under previous conservative administration, whose legacy was to alienate allies, disastrously cut taxes to the wealthy, force millions onto government assistance programs, and transfer $4 trillion into hands of cronies. Nation can’t take another such hit. Since then, job losses have been reversed. A health care bill finally passed that both freed employees from HMO servitude and repaid insurance companies for campaign contributions. But medical system is so broken everyone still needs protection against this racket. Doctors are paid per visit, not outcome. Wherever more money is spent on Medicare, outcomes are worse. USA ranks 56 among nations in terms of wellness, though undeniably you're better off stateside if you really need a heart transplant or other expensive procedure, as that's what nation’s hospitals prepare to handle. After cardiovascular diseases and cancers, deaths from hospitalization ranks as nation’s 3rd biggest killer, 100,000 per year, though public just bundles this loss into other causes. Next come 40,000 automotive fatalities. Threats begin with mistreatment of citizens and foreigners for the benefit of a few billionaires. Otherwise, you wouldn't need to spend trillions on defense. Thwarting blind ambition would transform society. Maybe one ought to address these things before attacking social security and welfare recipients, who legislators need because they consolidate power over independent middle class. To combat, all an individual has to do is want less. You cannot be controlled unless you crave or need something. Fasting for a few days hardly matters, might train your body to burn rather than store fat.

Philosopher Timothy Morton endorses ecological interdependence. Nothing known exists outside universe; everything within interacts. Beneath lunar pull, meteorite impacts, and solar radiation, humans exert some of the most profound effects on both global processes (climate change, resource depletion, species extinction, toxic concentration) and other humans (carnage, ethnic cleansing, slavery, warfare). Lawyers line up to argue and prosecute on behalf of those who just can’t get along. Many who try to make contact through Internet say they feel less connected. Both isolation and interaction can be fatal. Yet the more separation one believes he/she achieves, the more one misperceives, succumbs to disease, and ultimately grieves.