Saturday, May 28, 2016

Prefer Plain

In a medium preoccupied with comic book heroes, nice to recount a smattering of films that focus on how ordinary people without superpowers interact, although in each cited case things end badly and viewers aren't nervously overexcited. No preference for Amish plainness, only considering how much mayhem is usually associated with fast or flying vehicles, which seem to cause or enable all that goes wrong in life and most films. Creeping infants weren’t born with motors or wings; it’s plain that many can’t handle them anyway. More have died on roads than fallen on battlefields, yet no memorial day is observed for accident victims.

Remember Me (Allen Coulter dir., 2010) depicts rich, spoiled protagonist Robert Pattinson (Twilight Saga), who chases love interest Emilie de Ravin, drifts around NYC leaning on a fixie with a massive chain and lock, and learns how to value every minute of life in a world where suicide terrorists abruptly end many.

German thriller Das letzte Schweigen (The Silence, Baran bo Odar dir., 2013) has two 13-year-olds on bikes being murdered 23 years apart in same wheat field.

In The Judge (David Dobkin dir., 2014), film industry’s highest earning star Robert Downey Jr plays a big city defense attorney bereaved of his mother. While back home in Indiana countryside, he revisits old habits, including rebelling against his dad the judge and riding his old Panasonic steely 10-speed no hands, which quickly results in catching a soft shoulder and tumbling headlong. Gives Iron Man new nuance.

Teen waitress Gethin Anthony controversially guides Canadian visitor Frederikke Dahl Hansen by bike through Copenhagen (Mark Raso dir., 2014) on a search for his grandfather.

Cyclique (Frédéric Favre dir., Switzerland, 2015) watches three young adults struggle with their choices to be freewheeling bike messengers instead of exploiting selves as desk jockeys.

The Commentator (Brendt Barbur, 2015) is a recent documentary on Jorgen Leth’s 1976 Paris-Roubaix coverage and Kristof Ramon’s race photography, with a new soundtrack by NYC’s band Blonde Redhead.

In biopic Steve Jobs (Danny Boyle dir., 2015), Apple Founder Jobs (Michael Fassbender) supported by Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) and Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) take on a vision to connect everyone electronically despite unprecedented challenges. There's no bicycling per se, mostly backstage emoting, but toward the end flashbacks depict Jobs inducing CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) to desert soft drinks for digital future. Says Steve, "The most efficient animal on the planet is the condor. The most inefficient are humans. But a human with a bicycle becomes the most efficient animal... The right computer will be a bicycle for the mind." Labann, as an early computer implementer, directly based B&C upon this mindset right down to composing paragraphs like internet surfing, only using personal memories uncorroborated by exocranial research.

Not going to begin to enumerate bicycling scenes shown by Bollywood, since Abhimanyu Mishra already did for the Times of India. For example, Bombay film Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (How Alexander Won, Mansoor Khan dir., 1992) is a Hindi version of Breaking Away with rival teens cheating and substitute hero nevertheless winning by stooping to same tactics. You can even be the hero of your own movie, according to Joe Rogan and several others, though it means little with ridiculously low standards and suits delusional egomaniacs best.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Signal Tulane

What is all this? Attempt to analyze or witness? Make sense of chaos? People expect that anyone who exhaustively studies something becomes its master. Expert? Another drip under pressure filling oceans of ignorance. Many PhDs are as dumb as doorposts, though they are presumably smarter than rabble. Genius resides in humankind collectively: buyers, doers, expediters, explorers, sellers, sweet street sweepers every spring, thinkers. Makes you wonder about education, although boundaries do expand with specialization. Some things don’t warrant profound study, or vary so much what once could be affirmed later can’t. Some are studied too little, which explains why radical right ever gains a foothold. Psychologists measure intelligence as one’s ability to adapt to changes, not knowledge amassed and readily remembered. It’s about applying not parroting, less theorizing possibilities than using hands and minds.

Lack of scrutiny fosters arrogance. This applies to everyone, including Labann, who, unlike many, does invite criticism. Yet readers don’t avail themselves of a comeback opening. Shave and a haircut…? Crickets! Does silence repudiate or validate viewpoints? Seems only the dead have cred. Have read too many books to count, so won’t ever be obligated to read yours after writing one that you didn’t read, either. Producing one’s own is a valid excuse to ignore universe, if ever a recluse remains averse, though society survives on quid pro quo, rules fostering fairness, and sensible trading awareness.

Decency can never be guaranteed. Reagan deregulated banks, financial institutions, and insurance houses, which begat huge swindles for which nobody was indicted. Wall Street traders took out policies to insure against downturns, so someone else - depositors, subsequent premium payers, and taxpayers - absorbed losses, as typical of pyramid marketing rackets. Disproportionate deals engender disasters. But Reagan was only an actor playing POTUS, a pawn for a shadow regime with an agenda of greed. They acted with impunity by diverting spotlight away from themselves and onto their puppet. To this day voters have no idea who they are, never mind how many trillions they’ve stolen, a shameless fraud that precipitated global recession. Archived history. Move on, bossy Labann. Nothing to see. Recede into dim innuendo and dusky past, but not effects, which persist and visit localities, such as New Orleans, butt of Bush’s betrayal following Hurricane Katrina, undeniably the two greatest natural catastrophes to befall America. accuses goons with baseball bats and paintball guns of assaulting Tulane students and other users of bike lanes on Esplanade and nearby avenues. “Our city has a long, complex history of economic inequality, racial injustice, and corrupt practices that benefit the few at the expense of the many… we believe bicycling can play a positive role in addressing… But bicycling can only play this role if we don’t leave anyone behind.” Hundreds of legal guns are stolen there annually, many being used in crimes. Last year Forbes contributor John Ebersole listed higher education issues including school climate and student safety smelling of impractical suggestions and specious questions. Rather indict corporate policies and educational systems, neither of which is willing to assume responsibility for employee training. Millions of jobs go unfulfilled because brainless managers create countless barriers to hiring. Of occupations, all 95% of them really require is an agile mind and honest enthusiasm, things most educators seem determined to eradicate. Get constant come-ons to handle international receiving/shipping urgencies designed to bilk milk money. How inclined you feel to sortie forth depends upon many concerns, none more weighty than trust in community.

Big Easy born Wynton Marsalis conjectured, “Sustained intensity equals ecstasy.” Nice try. Depends entirely upon what sensations you'll endure. Could mean tortures of serving Laodiceans, screaming sound, water boarding, or whip lashing, zero pleasure to anyone but sadomasochists and those who enjoy schadenfreude of your misery. More saddle time might make you a better person, but, rather than enlightened souls, mostly meet conservative scumbags and sanctimonious scoundrels who instead of discussing bikes prefer talking down to you. Americans readily trade conscience for convenience, something a bicyclist's groan can’t overcome alone.

Nearly through Bike Month, haven’t joined one group ride, though repeatedly tried. Even organized own; nobody showed. Few ever accept invitations from strangers sent in many forms (calendar posts, email blitzes, handbills, paid ads, pole posters), none of which work. Some are so put off by inherent message they delete or remove. Besides barely acceptable Facebook and despised Twitter, there are "meet-ups" and other social media, but it's still hard to find people who want to exchange ideas or socialize nicely, prerequisites to more involved relationships. Negativity mounts. Acquaintance, a crucial baseline for being human, precedes collaborator, friend, lover, spouse and “X”, in that order of commitment, intensity, and possibly regret on every level. For most, where they are on this continuum occupies entire life. Anything more cerebral can’t be withstood. Among those invited expected at least some whose charity rides I arrowed, sagged, or somehow assisted to have attended or declined. No longer feel inclined to reciprocate. Amassing a groundswell into a grassroots movement has never been harder in a society conditioned to being physically alone and totally vulnerable although virtually connected as never before.

Bikes, forced off roads in 1970’s, resumed belonging in 1990, when laws were enacted nationwide to include them in planning. Yet states still haven’t implemented enabling improvements. Begin to see route sign and stripes on streets, but egregious lapses may be impossible to mend. Roads nibbled landscape alongside to get ever wider, which resulted in gutters with grates, 2 lanes in each direction, and trouble for bicyclists trying to cross over. This signals disrespect for a deselected form. Activists and cranks with a passion for pedaling pointed the way and pushed through demands. Public soon forgets them due to new media and nonprofit spin. Why care anymore? What are you fighting for? Share roads with whom? Often regret working on behalf of ungrateful beneficiaries. Then cynically remind self that controversies can offer cheap entertainment.

Lower frequencies literally move slower. Obsession with them signifies an attempt to arrest input inundation and inevitable race to your grave. Insects buzz by on their one-month mission to reproduce and shortly thereafter die. Likewise motorists, whose fatalities bicyclists study at their dawdling tempo. Motoring was once believed the best way to intensify motility, but increasingly isolated drivers from landscape and earners from security. Turns out, bicycling does it better. One ought to make the most of what's granted, be it long or short. How? Make small plans and pull them off. Organize own groups. Or you could crash and learn lessons. Observations attend every awake moment, though solid ideas about them don’t easily coalesce. Yet a brain bounces around many you’ve grown up with until something occurs, a revelation, that suddenly seems significant enough to record. But has the moment irrevocably passed?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Further Chastain

Chasing leads and refining list, forever discover overlooked bike songs. Can hardly keep up. Don’t only use internet, which can be unreliable, but also find corroborations in books, CDs, magazines and other sources focused neither on bicycling culture nor songwriting craft. With a billion humans thereby propelling selves, bicycles are bound to come up routinely as a matter of fact. However, beginning to believe that ever fewer songs have escaped notice, though whoever continues to look may encounter those newly recorded, if any. Will make latest list available once it surpasses 1,900 entries, which it probably will soon.

An interesting aspect of this decade long yet not very complicated search is how difficult it has been to carry it out comprehensively. Can imagine what it must have taken to derive animal/plant taxonomies, DNA genomes, or the periodic chart of elements. Took mankind eons to master simple tools and weapons, and unique individuals to come up with such core concepts as the scientific method. Recognition merely begins journeys to understanding. One can extrapolate on just how few things have ever been fully explored to conclusion or what exciting discoveries await.

List compilers often act as arbiters and excluders not only because of personal bias but often simply to limit magnitude of task. People are still living their lives according to ancient codes of conduct and old wives’ tales, searching for ghosts, and wondering whether their efforts are worth such endless frustrations. No point chastising anyone for whatever road they choose to ride, because all lead to an equivalent destination.

Aidonia, Bicycle [Jamaican explicit reggae], Dance Will Never Die, Germaican Records, 2005.

Airborne Toxic Event, Gasoline [no bike ref.], video [with bicycling throughout], Airborne Toxic Event, Majordomo, 2008; through Midnight Ridazz's website, they invited Hollywood locals to join their video shoot, then handed out CDs of their eponymous first album and spoke cards.

Airborne Toxic Event, What’s in a Name, Such Hot Blood, Island Rec., 2013; “We were running through the halls of the middle school writing our names on the sides of the public pool, like two ghosts in flight on a sleepless night, we were alive… so I parked my bike outside your house. You said, 'There's nothing you could do to make me come out,' because your daddy said I was the worst one yet, it was a lie… ‘Cause I always loved the way you looked in the firing line just dancing around in some old sweater of mine.”

Al Day, The Rusted Bicycle Song, single, 1973.

Alexander L’Estrange, Cycle-babble [+ 7 other originals and 3 covers, jazz choral], Song Cycle: Vive la vélorution!, Andagio, 2014; “Whirl and click of sprocket and chain, shimmer and flash of steel, throb of pedal and saddle creak… This is the song of the wheel. A draisienne, a Lauf maschine, velocipede, and iron steed!”

Big Matt Hurter, Bicycle Bill [South Africa country], single, 1969

George Rosey, Rosey’s Scorcher, no known period recording, 1897.

Jim Chastain, Ride the RABRAI, single, Defamation Records, 2013; good example of spontaneous songs that arose during last half century of week-long challenge (Des Moines) Register’s Great Annual Ride Across Iowa. Already indexed, Pumptown’s “Bicycle” further mentions, though Steve Chastain’s virtuoso guitar solo “My Bicycle” doesn’t.

Jim Post, Bicycle Wheel, Rattlesnake, Fantasy, 1973.

John Philip Sousa’s Band, The Scorcher March, single, Berliner Gramophone, 1899.

My Flag is on Fire, White Bicycle, Europa Song, self, 2011.

Norwegian Arms, Soviet Bicycle, Wolf Like a Stray Dog, self, 2013; album recounts an extended visit to Siberia. “Oh how the wheel spins all those itty bitty bits of metal, work in a lattice and make the tiny teeth all go in circles. Soviet workers assembled you by hand, a perfect being. Now is the time to saddle up and get that feeling! No one can stop you when you’re speeding!”

Robin Moore, aka MC SpandX, produced a third Youtube bicycling video, Get Dirty, previously overlooked. Portland native Moore has morphed from comic to crusader for environmental issues.

Small Axe Band, Bike [reggae], single, Soca Music, 2010.

The Gasoline Brothers, There it goes (for Koos Moerenhout), single, self, 2009.

US Naval Academy Band, The Scorcher, Heritage of the March, Vol. 62, Robert Hoe Foundation, 2011; unsure whether this is Rosey’s Scorcher or song of another composer; if motivated, one could download the sheet music then listen to link.

Vélo Vélo, Casertelli, Vélo Vélo, self, 2008; in memory of fallen racer Fabio Casertelli, who, it’s said, probably would’ve survived his 1995 Tour de France crash had he been wearing a helmet.
Vélo Vélo, Hématocrite [jazz instr. + 5 others not mentioned here], Vélo Vélo, self, 2008.
Vélo Vélo, Rolf Sørensen, Vélo Vélo, self, 2008; for Dutch champion.
Vélo Vélo, Roubaix, Vélo Vélo, self, 2008; for Paris-Roubaix race.
Vélo Vélo, Silvio Martinello, Vélo Vélo, self, 2008; for Italian champion.

Vybz Kartel (Adidja Azim Palmer), Bicycle [Jamaican explicit reggae], Pon Di Gaza 2.0, Tad’s Record, 2010; announces his obsession with ladies riding bicycles for its sexual suggestion.

Vybz Kartel (Adidja Azim Palmer) feat. Bunji Garlin, Bicycle Ride [Jamaican explicit reggae], single, Dunwell Productions, 2016; not the same as previous title but similar in lurid content, several remixes exist.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Johnny Tremain

Boston is renowned for dumping tea into its harbor in 1773 after foreign taxation became unbearable. In 1775, likewise incensed, men and women of Providence burnt British taxed tea one night (as commemorated by plaque shown). Fictional teen Tremain and real Sons of Liberty had too much too gain to do nothing. On May 5th, 1862, outnumbered Mexicans won a fleeting victory against French overlords. So the story is retold of ordinary locals taking definitive action against imperial might. Such acts of disobedience and insurrection led inevitably to independence. States united under a constitution that served for over two centuries despite a civil war resolved upon immense carnage. In the last 50, however, Washington’s warnings about the pitfalls of a two party system have been realized. Democrats spent beyond means and Republicans held nation for ransom with cuts in both services for unfortunates and taxes for wealthy. As long as you let this dysfunctional dichotomy remain, middle class pays a tremendous cost.

Critics claim ranks of middle class have been decimated, meaning a loss of one in ten. It’s far, far worse than that. Decline has been considerably broader and precipitous. Those still well off wonder why this should be worrisome, “Let them eat cake!” Neither hysteria nor opinion, the lower to middle classes hold society together, invest in property, pay nearly all municipal and state taxes, and secure budgets for fire, military, police and school protections. Not only that, they grow food, make products, pave roads, provide all services, start most businesses, take risks, and underwrite all personal and social advancements. The poor and rich support little to none of this but tremendously benefit. You can’t have a community or country without a middle class, yet few policies exist for them to thrive. Government offshores their jobs, raises taxes, ruins neighborhoods, and runs up trillions in debts which can never be paid. This enslaves wage earners. Consequences of keeping this course are too frightful to list. What Democrats and Republicans have done makes British tea taxes look like a comparative boon… and people went to war over them back then.

However, to say America is strictly a two-party system would be woefully wrong. Other parties have always existed: Abolutionists, Black Panthers, Boston Tea, Citizens, Communists, Constitutionists, Dixiecrats, Federalists, Greens, Independents, Isolationists, Libertines, Moderates, Modern Whigs, Neo-Nazis, Populists, Pride (age, ethnic, LBGT, racial) Organizers, Progressives, Prohibitionists, Proletarians, Prouts, Socialists, Suffragists, Teabaggers, Transhumanists, and Workers to mention a few. From about 1930 to 1980 labor unions determined election results. Labor often sided with Democrats. After eliminating Hoffa and winning presidency, Reagan busted unions with extreme prejudice and sold out workers with a smirk despite promises to protect. His trickle down theory was an unmitigated disaster for entire world economy, a global ponzi scheme and zero sum game likely to invite annihilation. Billionaire bankers and their vocal minion will vehemently disagree, even blame innocents round the clock over their sly television network to divert attention from themselves.

Appeals to familiar or religious values may gather enough support for candidates to run campaigns upon but surely won’t ensure a win. Cruz cruised his onto a rocky shoal of diversified indifference. Republican Speaker Boehner bowed out because he realized that GOP had been infiltrated by Teabaggers, whose mission is to end the gravy train by which legislators grab millions for themselves. Racket isn’t close to being unraveled, but rather get out before ship sinks. Trump’s appeals to pride splintered GOP and suckered conservatives. To qualify what happened, a C-list celebrity, formerly a Democrat and practically independent, buried a bunch of local yokels belonging to bankrupt party who spent 2 decades holding Americans hostage like an Iranian Ayatollah. It was merely thumbs up within a miserable, minority party. Nation hasn't yet seen the will of angry masses of real voters, independents and those who couldn't be bothered voting in farcical primaries, who always ultimately determine who gets elected at all levels. RNC already gave up trying to win presidency and is instead focused on influencing state contests. Presidents don’t possess the power to keep promises or restore greatness singlehandedly. Congress runs country. Unless election loads House and Senate with party yes men, no policy changes will be forthcoming.

Nevertheless, short of banning you from roads altogether, they can do nothing to keep you from roaming around unrestricted on your bicycle, among your last vestiges of freedom. You might notice a plaque to remind you of actual acts on your behalf. More likely, they'll try to force many to abandon motoring and restrict it to powerful rich patrons. Despots despise diversity and diminish choices, though chiefs cease to exist without indomitable indians.