Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Define Insane

Sociologists estimate that 25% of people suffer from some personality disorder. Most guess that percentage is too low, given how much mayhem, murder and terrorism is reported. And how can you ignore nearly half of those who voted in 2016 elected an impeachable sociopath? News reporters prefer aberrations and perversions and seldom discuss mundane normality and reliability. Although majority associates mental illness with raging psychosis, it mainly describes life threatening depression or minor quirks commonly treatable and typically harmless other than setbacks that affect self. Oddity may even be celebrated as charismatic allure or magnetic attraction. Why stifle yourself? Express how you feel. Leads to charity, cures, friendships and patronage.

But don't ask a cyclist, "How are you doing?" He or she is suffering, of course. For whose sake? Bicycles are torture racks. Masochists? Besides, few to none would stop to discuss. One word replies are all you’ll mercifully get, unless you roll alongside, then you'll hear an earful of anecdotal fragments interrupted by curses, gasps and street noises, possibly a litany of complaints you probably didn't expect or ever wanted to confront. Doctors define insanity as persistent behaviors that harm self or repeatedly fail. Bicycling, blogging and complaining qualify.

Bad enough it takes 3 to 5 times as long to reach destinations, cyclists can't spare a minute. Will never regain 10,000+ hours spent pedaling, never mind dogged activism, event attendance, and relentless jeremiad. Do diehards expect to recoup 415 days at the end of their lives? Will it matter then? Is nothing society needs produced while they waste time? Then again, over a career bicyclists avoid 1,400 average hours stuck idling in gridlock sucking up petrochemical toxins and sweating through traffic threats as do drivers for 14,000 hours. Bicycling beats driving to a gym for a lesser workout. Yet, unless you're a jet attendant or pilot, taxi or truck driver, train engineer, or whatnot, transportation only occupies 2% of your lifespan. People sleep 33%, and work 35% or more, though policymakers deem them inconsquential by what they spend to improve.

Races on closed roads give an impression that motorists don’t really rob time from cyclists. Froome could vroom over 3,450 kilometers past exhilarating vistas and fragrant French farms to his 4th yellow costume win without dodging vehicles that continually and disgustingly fart a miasmatic fume in your face. However, without enormous automotive inducement, would they even pave streets? Asphalt derives from crude oil tars after gasoline and other fractions are extracted. Some argue that pavement of concrete or stone could be laid, but cutting and hauling them requires heavy duty tools and trucks running on fossil fuels.

Grand tours revere barriers to bicycling, stick what only peloton can overcome in spectators faces, but you should instead heed how several hundred can ride bikes for 2,000+ miles over intimidating terrain, not impossible but oh-so probable after all. Makes you wish you were fit and young enough to compete beside. Have personally tagged along with triathletes just to join joys of flying freely. Yet family has been deterred from bike path outings by outsiders acting crazily.

Specialized Bicycles Foundation debuted the Outride ADHD spot during Le Tour de France. Ride for Focus proposes that bike riding helps treat this disability affecting one out of nine American children. Always acknowledged as a mood leveler, bicycling, as recent research shows, increases concentration needed to achieve scholastically. Sure, you have to pay attention to ride; meanwhile, it increases blood flow to brain and limits video distractions. Insights in B&C came from displacing incessant outside agitprop with inner thoughts derived from the equivalent of 5 work-years of riding. Bicycles probably decompress every bit as well as sensory deprivation chambers.

All physical exercise including manual labor has a similar effect, but bicycling offers concentrated doses of enzymes and hormones. Bicycling definitely appeals to artists, autistics, brainiacs, indigoes, and whoever can’t afford to make several thousands per year in car payments. Any adult who finds employment can at least buy a bike outright, though charities exist to assist teens to build their own from used parts. Bike ownership does represent ongoing costs, particularly apparel, tires, tubes and wear ware, with which youth may have difficulty. Why does government do so little to address this need? Wouldn’t take much, staffed and stocked vans adjacent to bike paths to fix flats and teach skills, small expenses versus a trillion they spend every decade on motorways, and some severely needed jobs similar to New Deal era WPA. Great returns could come from small investments of effort, revenue and time.

To engage school kids voters would have to support Safe Routes to School programs, which provide bike lanes on streets, financial assistance, police patrols, storage lockers and racks, and teacher encouragement. Who is going to go on record telling children not to board busses but ride from home alongside? The first one killed en route will result in a precedent lawsuit. Teachers already require signed permission slips just to take class on a field trip by bus. No, the best way has family members or reliable groups escorting youth after hours and weekends on bike paths, provided such facilities exist, get lit, maintained, patrolled, and regularly swept, and lie within a reasonable distance. The jersey barrier mural above shows a kid gleefully outdistancing his dad on one.

Attempts by activists to establish infrastructure has only succeeded in enlightened communities against formidable resistance from automotive lobbies and neighborhood nimbys. Many taxpayers resent paying for education, never mind individual accommodation, saying they neither benefit from expense nor have kids who attend. Both arguments exemplify stupidity, since society as a whole benefits from an educated populace capable of making change, performing work, reading instructions, and transporting self. Ultimately, all bicycling facilities ought to connect, just as road network, include signs specific to cycling, and so become a true transportation alternative.

Reactionaries, exemplified by Trump, ascribe causality to unrelated sources and bemoan anything they think might deny them what they crave. This impedes what works and strangles any sense of community. Contributors made to feel unwanted or useless stop. Sends a chill throughout population. Misogyny attacks majority, 51% of humanity. Women as equals to men is an idea whose time has come. A woman almost became nation's president, right after first African American left office.

The 20th Century with its prejudices, problems, and totalitarian ambitions is over. In the 21st, a whole new utopian paradigm will sweep away internecine greed and unilateral sacrifices. If not, all life on planet will die. Suicide bombers prefer this option; take out as many as you can, as if self immolation deserves a retinue of billions. You’re no Chinese emperor or Egyptian pharaoh! Every Nazi falsely believes her/himself superior. Tyranny thrives on such absurdity. Unless you pertinaciously advocate for civil rights, you quickly fall victim to bullies yourself. Is cycling safe amidst senseless hate?

Pundits predict that media attacks on POTUS will fail. But do they goad retaliation with collateral damage? Social media grants self aggrandizers a forum to browbeat the weak and whip up resentment against the powerless. To get in good with conservative core of cretinous reactionaries from Mesozoic era whence fossils formed, Tyrannosaurus Trump had to dump upon children, cripples, elderly, invalids, mutilated soldiers, policy victims, single moms, social security recipients who’ve earned entitlement, and whoever survives on social welfare, since they represent revenue outflow congressmen can’t conveniently steal. An appeal ought to go to fairness and social justice, not single out personalities who violate arbitrary norms.

Forget revolution. Foster evolution. Upheavals always ruin things that already work well. What deserves to be eliminated ought to be carefully excised or supplanted with sensible options. Sure, attempt something new, but discontinue if it doesn't work. Beats abiding policies that never met goals, the worst of which was letting politicians pilfer internal revenue. Art often applies new ideas and materials, overthrows conventions, and tosses out the old and reprehensible, why it so benefits society. Some aspects stubbornly remain the same, such as criteria of art’s worth relative to when it was produced. The great example will always possess value. Some not recognized as insane continue to cause harm and never adapt.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Cubic Sugarcane

Every decision you make that affects anyone else comes under ethics, the predominant focus of B&C and prime directive of all human life. Writers but flirt with ethical notions, heap effort on more exciting action and aftermath, pander to bloodlust, and steer clear of moral conundrums that will forever be entertainment buzzkill. Dishonesty never serves best interests of society. Yet telling tales with morals probably points to higher principles of behavior than any stranger on mean streets is likely to meet. Bicycles and drugs have become criminal currency. There's hardly any deterrent to bike theft or vehicular assault.

Reach into this cyberspace maelstrom, you'll find stuff that matches what you were thinking all along. Some might dismiss this as selection bias, typical logical fallacy. But being open minded has got to ease stigma of hypocrisy, no? Since you're entitled to believe whatever you want, only restricted from forcing your beliefs on others, you may recount whatever occurs to you. Everyone has a different capacity to handle new input and an individual state of readiness to receive realignment. It’s not your responsibility to nurse humanity along. Neither can you expect to be coddled on dole, nor should you unfairly profit from needs and weaknesses.

Scruples demand that you clean up any mess you make, contribute according to your abilities, earn an honest living, and provide for your family and self. None of this is easy even if you act diligently, exercise judgement, and hang onto your nest egg. Often your talent isn’t valued. Art, for example, has generally been condemned as unwanted aberration by those who loathe innovation. Sometimes you just fall into lucky circumstances. Many born without financial worries have squandered it all on substance abuse, since they don’t know hard it was to aggregate reserves. What vexes most is the loss of brilliant lives cut short, particularly among gifted performers who got hooked on heroin, liquid death, or had minds scrambled by herbs or pharmaceuticals. A drop of LSD blotted by a sugarcube has inspired a stockpile of art, whence splendid ideas that sober engineers realized. But was acid necessary? Did it derail rights? Some celebrate Albert Hoffman’s first psychedelic trip: Phil Lesh, Bicycle Day, Songs To Phil The Air, Live at Terrapin Crossroads, 2017. Depressives and psychotics likewise imagine alternatives and nightmares.

Probably the greatest jam band ever, The Grateful Dead drew heavily upon shamanic visions alkaloids and synthetics afford. “Here comes metal angel, she looks ready to ride. What’s that she’s tryin’ to show me? Roll with it, go on, let’s roll with it… Dark Angel, what’s bothering you? The bells are ringing, it’s way unreal. Picasso Moon, illuminate me, wheels within wheels. The universe is working fine tonight.” Picasso Moon, Built to Last, 1989. The title phrase, spontaneously uttered by Phil Lesh during a recording session, so haunted Bob Weir he nearly fell off his bicycle. Weir dreamt lyrics and melody midway through a long bike ride according to Oliver Trager’s The American Book of the Dead (Fireside, NY, 1997). A decade later, Joel McNeely would score the Dark Angel television pilot with outgoing theme Bicycle Ride. Hot heroine Max Guevara (Jessica Alba), why teen geeks lustily tuned in, posed as a bike messenger for 2 seasons before this apocalyptic series was cancelled. Joel McNeely, Bicycle Ride, Complete Score from the Dark Angel Pilot, 2000. In a similar bleak vein, a synthesized theme renders mysterious a scene where a string bicyclists pass protagonist Deckard (Harrison Ford). Vangelis, Bicycle Riders, Score to Blade Runner, Esper, 2002, released 2 decades after film’s 1982 debut. Recent sexy songs include: Envy Carr, Bicycle Dance [hip hop single] - “You want to feel, you want to touch, my body. Pedal, pedal, pedal… Can’t relax when you want to be a max. Now get loose and ride your Mongoose [brand of BMX]. Back in the day I used to ride to school. Now, baby girl, I’m gonna ride you… Let me see you dance like we in the Tour de France. I pedal along like I’m Lance Armstrong.” Also, Melanie Martinez, Training Wheels [explicit lyrics], Cry Baby, Atlantic, 2016.

Talk is cheap. Too many liberals believe that protesting in virtual space will ensure equality, fraternity, and liberty. Wrong! The 20th Century was the bloodiest in history, not just because two wars embroiled most of world, but labor standing against robber barons, masses of concerned citizens laying their bodies against goon squads, and overthrow of inbred insane monarchies. In America as a result, fewer children go hungry, people of color have civil rights, poor are protected from destitution, prisons reduce recidivism rather than punish poverty, sexual preference doesn’t constitute a felony, and women, half of population, can vote. Wherever middle class earners make up country’s vast majority, democracy thrives. Slavery, however, hasn’t yet been eliminated despite Emancipation Proclamation, UN Charter, and US laws against. In fact, all of these boons are rapidly being reversed, middle class has shrunk to levels resembling a century ago, and only a few strangle the free flow of worldwide commerce in their favor. Having more billionaires than ever does not evidence a healthy economy, it signals a decline in social justice. You're unwittingly victimized unless you emerge victorious from real battle in this ongoing war.

Meanwhile, Le Tour de France raced right through Bastille Day with Italian Fabio Aru in yellow jersey as if the hard lessons of revolutionary engagement have been lost to ersatz tokens for combat in sports spectacles. Do admire peloton for their physical commitment that epitomizes greatness. Just wish more among them would recognize sacrifices made so they can compete, not just by advertisers or organizers, but by fans, farmers, gendarmes, hoteliers, merchants, road crews, soldiers, taxpayers, writers, and whoever else contributes to a society where such opportunities exist. Can’t blame them for taking something for pain caused by thousands of miles of strain. Serious moralizing should focused upon crimes against humanity, not innocuous foibles of pedalers, who are only deemed goat or hero by the rabidly righteous. Surely they take on challenge for personal satisfaction, not to serve as symbols.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Authority Sovereign

Bicycle, the freedom machine, means independence, for which they’ve designated a holiday, forever Labann’s favorite. But bicycling will never guarantee safety. Neither will lighting fireworks, lounging around, or trading autonomy for security. Self sufficiency, its true meaning, means never having to rely on the kindness of strangers, rather provide for yourself all you need, thus thrive outside civilization despite whatever Nature throws at you.

The further you separate from human settlement, the more apex predators threaten: Not only bears, coyotes, lions or wolves, but mosquitoes, planet’s deadliest creature. Climate change elevates humidity that fosters pestilence. Bug bites, dehydration, sweaty spandex, too few places to pee legally: Soon an army of vicious pathogens take up residence and wither your internal organs, or clots form into deadly emboli that attack brain, heart or lungs. Aseptic practices save lives. Always change promptly; don't stubbornly retain wastes; drink fluids until urine drains clear. When all else fails a hospital nearby is a necessity, and interdependence makes perfect sense. Why would you ever want to spurn informed assistance stuck in a bubble when to disdain is to die?

Infirmaries remain rewarding enterprises with profits over the last decade up $100 billion/year to $270 billion nationally. You’re meat they inspect or treat for a fee within a huge controversy whether taxation ought to mean it’s free. Health maintenance costs ruin lives that medicine saves; poverty persists as nation’s number one killer. Yet Republicans want to repeal ACA. Religions preach selfless love. “Why do you eat fish?” a rabbi asks. You reply, “I love it.” Caught, cleaned, cooked and devoured: Not much fun for the fish, zero reciprocity in that. Where’s the love? Shellfish are as precious to Aphrodite as Cialis and Viagra are to impotent senators. There’s no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another, what fish does for you. In a commercial selfish world, love is in short supply. Roads offer the best evidence of that reality.

Unsettled weather or unwell status will force cyclists to drive or stay home; rain gets bikes filthy and rust results in disgustful chain cleaning and oiling. Refuse to worship chains, dark over light, duty without license. Wet slick notwithstanding, motorists all want to go as fast as possible, often dart impulsively into open spots and weave licentiously to gain a single car length, which cuts ETA by an inconsequential fraction of a second. No wonder every year 4 million accidents (thoughtless behavior? willful folly?) occur. To bad attitudes, mutual contempt and petty differences add continual construction, crumbling infrastructure, lane closures, and like confusion. Collisions become inevitable.

A few years back meant to mention Momentum’s flawed but interesting analysis that uses miles traveled not trips made, both hard to capture with bicycling and walking, as opposed to motoring. Still they conclude that bicycles convey users more safely than cars. Insurers, law enforcers, and legislators carefully monitor motored miles from several angles. How many axles flow past an arbitrary point justifies more highway construction, a huge profit center with over $1 trillion spent every decade. Since economy unfortunately depends upon motor vehicles, they focus improvements on moving along ever more, even if that cuts off and discourages cyclists and walkers. Can’t relate what goes on in Amsterdam with Boston because of differences in cultures. Can, however, see importance of a perception of safety. Adequate infrastructure, law enforcement laxity, and long term policy do encourage more cycling.

Etiquette won’t ever equal ethics. Greeting with a smile cheaply substitutes for performing diligently without a grimace. Sports make a show of athletes playing through pain which patrons on a holiday pay dearly to ogle. Unlike so called reality television, sports broadcasting presents teams who've culled planet's best, so any game is a real contest without foregone conclusion. Uncertainty heightens excitement; lopsided scores send fans to exit doors. Amidst these observations you can see why the war between bicyclists and motorists fails to merit public recognition. Factions just claim road exclusivity.

Adding to list of bicycling songs is Benjamin Wallfisch, Bicycle, A Cure For Wellness Soundtrack, New Regency Music, 2017. Well produced box office flop A Cure For Wellness is an allegory that bashes ongoing health fads that actually undermine immunity. Categorized as a horror story by silly reviewers, it’s more a psychological triller with a serious message. Audiences barely get metaphors, never mind 3 hours of biological imagery and medical history woven into a symbolic tapestry. Viewers don't get the caduceus, hallmark of Hermes, snakes entwined in balanced harmony, signifying commerce, deceit and quackery, entwined on spa's gate. Contrast with staff of healing god Asclepius, the actual medical symbol, derived from doctors millennia ago discovering herbal remedies and having to use a walking stick to visit patients on a serpentine route. It’s mythical versus real, pretense over sincerity, stingy commerce above virtuous compassion. Eels reel just beneath a surface surreal. Humans can actually convert eel toxins during digestion. Viewers prefer more actions and explosions to unresolved mysteries that force them to think, especially considering how dependent populations are on fish and potable water, resources they’ve despoiled, treated with contempt, and turned into cesspools and looming crises. Patients fear insulting their doctors lest poisons get prescribed, and submit to malpractices.

Lockhart (Dane DeHaan, shown), sent merely as a messenger,
escapes as if a knight on a bike with the girl, who has set papa’s spa behind ablaze. But en route to redemption he collides with, goes over handlebars, and lands on hood of transporter car. Yet that’s nothing compared to being free from evil remedies. “Actually. I'm feeling a lot better now,” explains Lockhart, and well he should once liberated from grips of racketeers and pedaling forth toward former health. Like eels, humans squirm and wriggle - right out of responsibility for fairness and kindness - over life’s long voyage amidst blood, humors, spit, sweat, tears, and things wet. Persistent guilt suckers them into participating in charitable frauds. They'd rather pay someone to cure their remorse or whip them back into shape than work diligently with community's best interests in mind. This film rubs their noses in this hypocrisy.

Celebrate your liberty to learn what's true, propel self without having to earn back an inalienable right, regain health by choosing wisely, and say with authority whatever you think. Those who do rule in sovereignty.

I’m tired of driving everywhere I have to go. When I’m driving to work the traffic just creeps along so slow. There’s never nowhere to park at a concert, ballgame or just a plain old picture show… There’s too many lights, stop signs and another one way street. I’m tired of buying gas and pulling the belts from under my seat, driving bumper to bumper during the rush hour. I feel the tension from my head down to my feet. I’m tired of driving in the rain, the fog, and the snow. I’m going out tonight and party; it means, I have to drive some more.—Eddie Harris, title track from album I’m Tired of Driving. Harris blew tenor saxophone on song Real Compared to What, for which Chapter 11 in B&C was named, one that directly questions benefits of driving.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Pedalers Vilaine

Lock up your daughters and sons, here comes a new season of scary metrosexuals in spandex skinsuits on their sweaty bicycles. Ruddy, trim and wiry, they swiftly ply neighborhood lanes noting everything they encounter. Loose ends, raw nerves, silent witnesses, these terrorists spread fear among no-nothings and loathing among nimbys. Can’t allow any naughty, ugly pédalier of color or contrast to pillage and rape, can you? Propelling self does build testosterone and trigger libido. Podium lovelies air kiss winners, so never smudge their lipstick. Races are so spartan promoters will do anything to boost salacious interest.

Until the Middle Ages, procreation was imperative. Amidst general ignorance, penurious serfdom, rough conditions, rotating plagues, sketchy remedies, and wars between city states that never seemed to end, lives only lasted a few decades. Half of infants died, 35 years was average, and 40 years a ripe old age. Planet's entire population hadn't yet exceed five hundred million, below seven percent of current total. Societies required bodies. Kings coveted military meat. Teen girls were treated as if livestock. Souls were damned if they engaged in pleasures that didn't inseminate. Courtly love impressed manners upon knights and lords which masked their selfish ravishes. Although it persisted for over a millennium, the Holy Roman Empire did nothing to quell roaming hands or warring allegiances, and was no form of governance. The dead were grateful to be free of religious delusion and remorseless rule.

Until The Renaissance, sex was a chore among countless others, since you yourself had to make everything you needed by hand, including tools required to produce, or suffer deprivation or hunger. This was true for everyone except royalty, who forcibly extracted taxes and never had to serve own needs. Courtiers grew soft, indulged their whims, and tested mismatching slots or tabs. Contemporary plays, one of the few amusements then available, featured men in women's parts. A bawdy era, took centuries to formalize roles and hide attractions under bloomers, corsets and layers. Lace and mystery just added allure. Virgin queens inspired Victorian cults full of high minded manners, moral hangups, and other such hokum. Then came horrifying wars to end all war that nevertheless saw unabated population escalation.

After WWII, each affluent American began to plan for a lifespan of 70 years or more. As consequences of a century of science and war, medicines improved, middle class emerged, and public mostly lost its will to participate in senseless aggression. Attitudes changed toward child bearing and marriage vows. No longer a duty demanded by merciless despots, lovemaking could be mutually satisfying and sooner recreational. Baby making boomed. Pornography and prostitution mushroomed, proliferated, rocketed though they always existed alongside civilization since the beginning. By the 1960’s, with condoms and pills widely available, birth control begat free love. But AIDS and STDs stifled gratuitous orgies. Alternative erotica, renewed monogamy, and same-sex marriage were survival responses. In the process, bond normalcy had been completely redefined.

By 2000 most were aware that homosexuality was not a perverse compulsion but possibly a result of breeding, hormones, nature, nurture, and whatever society permits. Nobody knows for sure what attracts individuals. Gender identity occurs despite celibacy. Lanes run in both directions. If men don't happen to have a lot of testosterone, they won't appear bearded or muscular. Humans fill a spectrum from asexually androgynous to demurely feminine to ultra machismo, even change by decades, go from firm to flabby, then sag embarrassingly. Furthermore, this reveals nothing about what Kama Sutra poses they prefer with whom. One must be fit to engage in any position beyond missionary, but assorted forms of foreplay appeal to obese majority. One's body mass, joint flexibility, personal grooming, and other attributes attract particular partners. One seeks whatever best suits. Chances to copulate are commonplace; couples sleep together; indulgence happens constantly. Human rights entitle individual choices, force no restrictions, and grant lawful protections.

Some bigots find these facts painfully unbearable. Their values don’t permit any deviation from prejudiced templates. Men are supposed to appear hard, carry own weight, enjoy NASCAR and NFL, man up, and supply brute force when not swilling beer. Women are supposed to be curvy, silly, unavailable, and unreliable; if they aren’t pretty, then they better be able to clean and cook, although men are not supposed to expect anything at all from them. Well, that leaves out 95% of humanity, who don’t consider these puerile stereotypes rules, rather what those in power prefer because it fulfills their cravings for domination and wealth. Majority values tolerance. Any code of conduct that doesn’t is both cretinous and ludicrous.

Feminine, masculine, or something else, all are just labels anyway. Name calling, the crudest of disagreements, sets up dichotomies that monsters exploit. Legbiters seem to feel they have to fight for recognition, when really everyone must struggle for a share in whatever resources exist. Don’t let yourself be labeled, marginalized, or reduced to a letter designation, LGBTQ. Be more tolerant in general; bigotry backfires; don’t alienate allies.

Any group made to feel as if they don't belong will gaily stand apart and unify with pride. Should they not march for acceptance? Why do you care? Got to wonder about those who can't stomach what others do out of obvious affection, possibly love, for each other, excepting gross behaviors in public places. Get a room. Jealousy and stupidity usually drive such hateful imbecility. Just how creepy or demented is a third of nation who voted willfully to crown Pere Ubu as king? And is that asking a 'pataphysical or rhetorical question? Beauty and truth cause trouble and wars. Lies and ugliness go with rude flow.

The time to rid Congress of these vultures was during the last election cycle. After obstructing president for 8 years, conservatives drove government agencies to the brink of closure, forestalled any substantive service improvements, and neglected infrastructure maintenance. In short, they suppressed anything that might detract from their transfer of $50 trillion from public treasury into private hands. Voter resentment resulted in replacing a figurehead, not those who created problems with which real contributors must deal.

Other affiliations one can’t condone are domestic terrorists, historical revisionists, moslem jihadists, neo-nazi homophobes, predatory parasites, religious fanatics, right wingers, and white supremacists, who don’t know how to share, rather watch you die, and want it ALL for themselves. All of what? Profits directly billow from billions working cooperatively, the more participants the stronger reciprocity ensues, something around which they can’t wrap their inadequate IQs. Pits a 75% majority against a 25% cadre of squares who’ll stop at nothing including crusades and genocide to honor pretend oaths to atheist, christian, jewish or moslem conceited bulls and neutered edicts. America’s Pledge of Allegiance concludes, “With liberty and justice for all.” Maybe they’d be happier elsewhere under an autocracy. Leave it or love this diverse melting pot of tempest tossed flotsam, who found a way to become the greatest country on earth through unprecedented autonomy. Yet freedom remains a frangible ideal, tenuous despite widespread espousal, vulnerable to bullies and thugs who egos are insulted. Rather let pass a solitary cyclist with a filthy ass than kiss up to any ruthless sadist in an office or suit.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Psychic Naine

Found Bike&Chain and started reading? Got the impression you’re eavesdropping on an ongoing argument between an emotional giant and intellectual midget? How does that differ from latest presidential tweet? Yes, posts are mostly colloquial convo, seldom coercive essays or forensic analyses full of arm twisting and bullying detail. Do allude to crucial news, but usually how it relates to bicycling. Since basic motility defines being alive, both bicyclists and unicellular amoebas self propel, and everything affects a bicyclist’s use of shared space, what topic can ever be exempt? In other words, prepare for another rant. Looking back, like posts have been somewhat prescient. Reliable prophecies are worth more than gold, a shiny element with limited uses, mostly decorative though practical for non-corrosive electronic connections.

Everything in the universe is connected, even dust that eventually forms stars. Many things exert influence, some more than others despite lack of proximity. But causality exists on a continuum: Dominant > appreciable > inconsequential > negligible. Consider the sun, or some federal edicts: Full spectrum. Without sun, earth would fly out of orbit, everybody would freeze to death, and sky would be solid ice; solar radiation absorbed by plants produces, among many things, feed for livestock, food for people, and rubber for pneumatic tires; vitamins for survival come directly and indirectly from sunshine. While stuck in some cubicle, however, outdoor daylight and Oval Office skullduggery seem unimportant. In fact, you may not notice what you don’t directly experience, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect you now or years hence. Society’s wellbeing brings forth whatever makes life bearable. Most underestimate how much all are interdependent. Desperation drags everyone down. Obsession with loss puts families at odds. Toxicity, whether physical or relational, ruins lives.

Generalities appeal; specifics bore. Eagles don’t hunt flies, an old adage goes. De minimis trifles are dwarfed by one’s inner universe. Everyday life could be dramatically altered by an original idea imagined aloud. Explains why a dunce badly wielding power would denounce factual news as fake. Politics depend on daily pronouncements and weekly results. Impeachment recommendations and treason accusations seem extreme yet justified. Elected officials can be recalled by constituents, should they ever decide to organize into a quorum. Don’t hold your breath. One dimensional populace never considers progress. Four dimensional beings are so rare you may never meet one. Though inherent in a bicyclist's DNA, no mental midget or psychic naine has any foresight whatever.

Impatient rubes hate to listen to a comprehensive debate. Corporations warn against BLOB presentations with lots of details that detract from conclusion on bottom, prefer BLOT (bottom line on top) so as to ignore rest. Compliance leads to wild claims of document importance. Labann likes to dig right into root causes, too, dispense with steps already taken to derive, expose mechanisms, but never make false conclusions. Nobody prefers to be ignored when they go through the motions of expressing and sharing. Yet structure doesn’t demonstrate sanity. Proof requires successful application. Every standpoint may have merit if it matches current circumstances. “Tough on crime” must be balanced with mercy. “Making great” must weigh “at what expense”, what “great” means, who loses, who wins. “Great for whom?” you might ask. Exactly what year do you want to visit again? For some that's when bullies could get away with atrocities no longer allowed. Nothing that Washington wants will be great for you, just more bankruptcies to brood, beatings to absorb, and bruises to heal. Due to increases in accidents, cardiopulmonary diseases, and obesity, American life expectancy flattened in 2010 and is headed down, despite better cancer treatment and risk management. Those who deny knowledge amassed by science and made available over internet should've expected it, though facts can be buried in bullshit. You’d think medical focus would be on prevention, but too few pay any attention to evidence and trends.

Instead, companies are desperate to get staff to interact well. Hiring is based equally on 2 criteria: social and task skills. They don’t hire minions, who mastered only the latter, or politicians, who practice only the former. Only sociopaths want to assume leadership roles. After all, what is continuous improvement? Not a destination but a process, anyone who buys in creates an untenable career for her/himself. Neither computers nor humans are exceptional at performing flawlessly. Fooling yourself that you're controlling processes really means tolerating what workers do demotivated and hung over, and so is best described by overseeing oppositional defiance and quiet disorder. While surveys are supposed to suggest a desire for customer satisfaction, they smack of distrust in how their staff fulfilled tasks. It's not managing requests, rather policing ranks.

Any outsider who heard corporate technologists would find their explanations incomprehensible. You must have familiarity with fabric and threads they weave with abbreviations and buzz words. You can’t decipher without knowing histories and issues, must sort what's important to you from what's not. Most of it need not be said, only exists because someone thinks it should, either out of duty, ego or fear. Employees learn in 5 stages: identifying, recognizing, reapplying repeatedly, mastering totally, and teaching others. Ability to successfully pass along duties relies not only upon own competence but pupil receptivity and whether facts still carry significance as personnel and situations change. You can never become complaisant, must stay on top of sea changes, or suffer consequences.

How businesses are managed and staffed matters. Takes diligence to fulfill customer needs. However, inventory taxes cause factories to limit production. Lean retailing means you can’t find a pair of shoes that fits, something you have to try on to decide. You can order online, but then a truck must bring and/or return when it doesn’t fit. Shoes are essential for motility, though some survivalists who never visit cities disagree. Prices don’t guarantee quality. Bludgeoned buyers hang onto worn out shoes rather than undergo horror of finding replacements. Because of state policy, your comfort, convenience, and satisfaction no longer matter.

Despite countless excellent transactions, fundamental trust in products and services, and no reason to suspect anything but good will, your faith will be shaken to its very core by one cretin devoted to evil. Creates a climate of mistrust for everyone. Worse, you will be associated with, held responsible for, and persecuted alongside your enemies. Entire German nation was condemned for Hitler’s heinous unilateral decisions. Einstein renounced all national citizenship. Majority without logic or patience can't distinguish between criminals and their victims. Your sole role may be to distance yourself from them.

Why should things be so complex? Can you survive complexity? Could it be you're incapable of learning, or is obscurantism intentional? Instead of automating drudgery and improving efficiency, computers complicate life and frustrate users. Expert systems supposedly transfer knowledge from author to functionary. But it only works when button pushers choose right interface and perform tasks within parameters. Authors themselves are stymied by software rigidity. Consequently, expert systems don't exist to simplify work, rather unify approaches, which leads to conformity, mediocrity, and potentially no improvements. While some hail restraint as a source of creativity, putting artists on a pedestal based on what they’ve overcome seems hostile and inept. You actually don't do the same tasks repetitively, but continuously adapt, learn anew, step into unfamiliar roles. Human adaptability preserves species but reaps few accolades.

All this results in anger, craving, delusion and guilt. One could simplify, but then feel dissatisfied and empty. Corporations profit from barriers to competition. Like it or not, computers do allow more functions to occur and standardize things that ought to be. But operating among diverse systems polarizes users into camps defending their own flawed construct so as to avoid having to relearn. Many corporations settle for 10-year-old operating systems, thus removing educational barriers, but then introduce proprietary applications that unduly challenge and wantonly get replaced. In such an esoteric maelstrom employees struggle to survive.

When you've always operated within a paradigm driven by scientific principles, the degree to which today’s rabble disregards them disgusts and horrifies. Without logic and order, chaos rules and mayhem ensues. Civilization hangs by a hair over oblivion while technology runs amuck beyond democratic command. DataBots are mapping mankind’s thoughts and will soon rule your life. Human blogs should be about organic subtleties—creation cusps, godlike awe, great notions, noble ideals, passionate touches, and reasons to live—everything beyond capacities of artificial intelligence. Intimates swap dreams, fungi, germs, saliva, semen, sweat and things wet. Computers are dry, infantile, sterile and viral; they infect each other but neither create nor procreate, still have trouble making sense of patterns, and suddenly go haywire. Brains of homo sapiens outperform the most complex computers by a quantum measure, yet most men are deemed too stupid to manage own lives, so require governance by equally incompetent egomaniacs who program even duller tools. Protect your language? When computers force you to speak in ways they can use against you, you’re already dead.

Incomprehensible nonsense and inefficient methods rankle circuit cyborgs and control freaks. Since Gilgamesh, authors have hid behind fictional masks and figures of speech that substituted for damning details. Bulgakov himself and contemporary Russian novelists threw finished novels on the fire because publishing them under Stalin’s regime would have meant writing their own death sentences. Today’s terrorists keep blogs that tip heinous acts before they occur, though they are only identified in hindsight. Surely there are better ways to be heard than committing or instigating crimes against the innocent.

If you publicly alleviate guilt and exonerate those responsible for social injustice and worthy of indictment for crimes against humanity, you will find fiscal favor, especially if you put a string of abbreviations—DSc, MBA, MD, PhD—after your name. They toss you a bone for barking at passing strangers, or turn a blind eye while you scream and starve. The privileged few seem amused by this but sincerely threatened by anyone who discloses from where their wealth was plundered, powerless majority. Lust for control, money or power can be listed as a symptom of mental disorder. Anger, resentment, and suspicion are normal reactions to antisocial abuse.

Nature resists human domination. Lawns don't have to be flawlessly manicured. Creatures including humans normally seek fulfillment in food, rest, sleep, touch and warmth. Fear that nature suddenly won't provide drives greedy amassment, but wealth won't save you once environment fails. Money looses all value when there's nothing to buy. Worse, possessing whatever might sustain slaps a target on your back. Sensible solutions? Clean up country, create jobs that commit community, and invest in clean energy.

A cohort of Republican congressmen just don't get this, want to deny climate issue and exit Paris Accord. After a weekend of world class motor sports, zero carbon footprint may be the last thing that occurs to them. Cities and states, not congress, make 75% of decisions that affect environmental destruction or preservation. World knows better, so won't look to America to set agenda anymore. Unless foreign aid still flows, USA forfeits influence, slumps globally, and transmits vulnerability to enemies.

You don't need abbreviations to say what's true. Don't mean to be repetitive, either, but same revelations reoccur to those forced to continually re-evaluate which actions best serve changing scenarios. Well timed messages might get heard, but not when suffocated by nonsense and propaganda. No matter how hard you try, past cannot be revived, but you can plan for a future, though that would require assurance one exists and you can rely on society to work together on what would most affect it. If you've read this far, can you deny having had many of these same thoughts?

Small sentence fragments pop into head, as if thinking in complete sentences was too much to bear. You schizophrenically begin to notice how your brain is being rewired by considering ideas that make little sense. In times like these writer's block thins the herd, so to speak. It most affects people who have nothing worth saying. The cure is to do stuff that might interest readers. How-to writers get overwhelmed while compiling facts, there are so many. But nobody reads how-tos, or how you feel today, particularly irrelevant social media content. What vexes you after being downtrodden and oppressed hardly counts since reactionary conservatives gained control over government decades ago, grabbed everything, and impoverished everyone else. There’s no point having a free press if nobody questions such inequity. Only creative leaps of enlightened minds and organized plans of revolutionary intelligentsia rate as worthwhile reading. Yet authors and journalists run risks of arrest, death, ostracizing, poverty and short lives. Never committing one word to print could assist survival, though it never helped prophets, who were only ever orators. Gave their evangelists plenty to write about, though they too were treated horribly by the ignorantsia. Hear no, see no, speak no evil? Only forgives, neglects, and suggests decline has already begun.

Spring supposedly rejuvenates. Youth have no recollection of how things once were. Those who’ve been around for more than a half century tend to contrast. The phrase Third World arose during Cold War when commentators separated Communist Bloc (second) from NATO Allies (first); rest were gathered into a third bin characterized by lack of modern development. Entire world has begun to resemble the latter, sunk to the lowest level. Joblessness, pavement beat to rubble, survival tactics, and widespread want already approximate a post-apocalyptic wasteland. That’s what happens when you let conservative lawmakers transfer $50 trillion from US treasury into a few private hands. You don’t have to drop weapons to achieve mass destruction. This would not have been possible when things were less global; citizens knew where taxes went. Unions resisted whenever corporations took advantage of workers, that is, until Reagan busted most of them. Your last watchdogs are under attack; vicious dictators lurk around the corner. History favors victors standing upon a mound of massacre. Time cloaks crime and dispels blame. So, no blazing phoenix awaits a bitter nation who won't assume responsibilities.

I see the Four-fold Man, The Humanity in deadly sleep
And its fallen Emanation, the Spectre and its cruel Shadow…
Of many Wheels I view, wheel without wheel, with cogs tyrannic
Moving by compulsion each other, not as those in Eden, which…
in freedom revolve in harmony and peace.
—William Blake

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Some Speed Chain

Blogs don't have to be useful compendiums of knowledge, especially bike blogs, since you learn all you need to know by simply riding or keep on suffering, whichever you prefer. Nobody really explains how to drive automobiles better or safer. That's probably why car accidents are a key scourge, kill more people than gun violence, infectious diseases, or international wars. Scofflaw motorists should be severely sanctioned. The fastest way to increase safety would be deny, revoke and suspend more licenses. But automotive greed, carnage profits, and lazy habits won't ever allow. It's the American Way to promote stupidity.

Known for spending tens of thousands of hours astride a steel steed, Labann gets asked how to bike better. A glib reply, "Read the book!" Mostly, though, they mean, "How can I to go faster?" Honest answer, "Lose weight!” Any decent roadie is already two thirds lighter than a cheap Flying Pigeon or 1970's Schwinn ten-speed. But all are within 30 pounds of each other. You yourself must jettison ballast. Every extra 5 lbs of flab acts as if you’ve tossed a grocery bag of sugar in a knapsack, maybe a couple of 2 liter bottles of soda, to lug around. Condition yourself to mount latrine before you embark. Simplify diet. Eat no more each meal than what you can fit in your closed fists plus all the undressed salad and veggies you can stomach. Yeah, a drizzle of dressing has far more calories than a pile of greens. Fill up on fruits for dessert. Hydrate religiously; it takes a gallon of water to metabolize a pound of fat, and water lubricates muscles. Body mass will disappear faster than you can shop for new clothes.

However, consider this: Anything faster than 12 mph means you're forced to focus on road and miss scenery. Velocity is no blessing. Haste causes waste. A quick pace does mean more ground covered, possibly rivals durations of automotive trips, and suggests fewer gym visits. But attaining 35 mph or more can be life threatening and nerve-racking. At 65, most bikes vibrate so badly they seem almost liquid, like a Dali watch or overcooked spaghetti. Adopt a steady pace. Get used to quadrupling distance in miles to derive your ETA in minutes. All bicyclists collectively average only 12 mph. Twice that wins world class races. Not many watts separate ordinary from remarkable output.

Beyond dragging weight, other WET blankets to scorching include, in order of severity: 1) Wind in your kisser, 2) Equipment insufficiencies and ergonomic issues with bike fit, and 3) Terrain problems such as poor surfaces, steep hills, and unfriendly roads.

In a tempest drafting in echelon or paceline works, but only in a group. Alone, you could choose routes protected by buildings or trees. Climbing a hill may shield you from gale that prevails. Reasonably fit cyclists can climb a routine slope at double digit speed but slow to single digits on open flats into steady wind. Sometimes it almost feels like you're pedaling in place. Gripping handlebars drops sets you in a low, more streamlined, position. Racers further straddle top tube to optimize downhill speed. Oiled chains, shaved legs, and smooth hubs probably only psychologically hasten.

Racers and weekend warriors all know how to charge hills; they ramp up right before a climb to build momentum that carries them up. This shaves seconds off time to finish. Shifting into the right gear to maintain highest crank cadence does prove faster than slowly grinding. Muscle tone and personal anatomy determine whether you can exploit longer crank arms or triple crank arrays. Professionals among several sports speak of repetitive speed chains as performance enhancers. Turns out, latest research reported in the New York Times proves interval training best increases endurance. Extended sessions and regular effort will earn you the right to outdistance any bike path challenger whose self esteem depends upon passing whomever they see ahead. Preparing to surpass you, some spent entire winter in spin classes where nobody moves relative to another. Maddening, but does mimic peloton, after all. It’s cruel to let them think they are winning their unannounced races only to leave them in your dust. The old saying holds true, “It never gets any easier, you just go farther faster.”

Dozens of things regarding how bike doesn't suit its rider might decrease efficiency. Fat, low pressure tires increase rolling resistance. Frame could be too small to harness rider's strengths. Not wearing stiff cleats clipped into pedals sacrifices leverage. Saddle could be too far back or low to maximize thrust. Pays in time saved to have an expert fitting in the apparel and cleats you'd actually wear. When properly set, knees don't flail outward but thighs push down directly and efficiently on pedals. What you wear also matters; clingy spandex frees moving body parts and wicks away sweat; padded shorts reduce discomfort that distracts from diligent effort. If you leave your bike unlocked, you might spend an inordinate amount of time chasing, replacing, or walking.

Surfaces and terrains can be chosen, but you must deal with whatever you find. Plan routes to take advantage of easy grades and light traffic. Racers sprint toward hills to train on, because best climbers and sprinters are those who repeatedly stand atop podiums. Steer around gravel, holes and sand. Bumps hurt butt less when you stand. Smooth surfaces are always preferable. You might notice an ideal line where wheels of cars and trucks have worn a smooth groove. Then again, at intersections shoulders may be smoother than travel lanes buckled from braking trucks.

Traffic planners seldom realize that bicyclists exist. Detours due to planner neglect could amount to hours. Sometimes you may have to cut through a parking lot or take a sidewalk to traverse a street one-way against you. Consequently, signs on roads are mostly to control motorists, not you. Bicyclists might as well treat red lights as if they were yield signs, or take advantage of lulls between changes to cross in pedestrian lanes. If you ride a bike as if it’s a motor vehicle, you’re just as prone as a motorist to getting plowed into, and likely spoil fun. If shoulder space allows, you can charge a red light far ahead, which may turn green before you get to it; if already green, better slow down, because you’ll have to unclip and put down a foot, which takes more time than continually hovering and slowly rolling.

Only when you combine all these tips do you significantly reduce overall time. Ironically, the more you get around using an apparently slow conveyance the more time you ultimately save. Just don't expect to be winning stages of a major tour without years of practice handling bike and everything else you'll encounter. Ignore what everyone else expects. Be comfortable with how you perform. Every trip by bike celebrates your continued vitality.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Brutish Exotain

Pondering similarities among chain rhyming words, noticed how In each of these cases things go or stay, much like populations do today:
Abstainers forego pleasures, not only during advent or lent.
Complainers waste their time and yours, since neither they nor you listen, only vent.
Containers have covers and sides and keep things from escaping.
Detainers arrest, hold or imprison others from going freely.
Entertainers rivet audiences through stimulations both brainy and feely.
Explainers hope to clarify topics and move listeners, but usually fail.
Infotainers advertise dicey products for sale, anger audiences by airtime squandering.
Maintainers avoid change and resist decrepitude.
Obtainers exploit trust to get fat on rich food and wealth accrued.
Restrainers are metal chains or paper edicts that deter your unwanted actions.
Retainers snare lawyers and others who agree to serve obtainers.
Trainers indoctrinate new hires to prevent workplace revolutions.

Language ought to have a term for anyone who turns citizens into refugees from countries they once defended, loved and supported. Exodus has become a dire international issue. No nation wants to welcome undesirables run off by despots and dictators, who have long realized that dislodging residents from their homes is the best way to keep them vulnerable and weak. Land owners can hypothetically exploit own resources, fend for themselves, grow food, and ignore government until taxed prohibitively. Brexiters abandoned European brethren. Coined the term “Exotainer” only to learn that it already exists for biodegradable beverage and food containers that can be composted, a veritable no-brainer, since nation’s landfills are nearly full, and you should agree that land could serve better uses than repositories of filth or sources of tax revenue, which ruin them irrevocably. So, considering Disdainer, Expeller, Villain and virulent Iniquity to be Loathed, can only picture some DEVIL as dreaded as Lovecraft’s Cthulhu or related monstrosities from Azathoth The Blind Idiot God to Y’golonac the Defiler full of perversions and sinister impulses, though none possess a strawberry combover or very small hands fidgeting on a nuclear trigger.

Humanity faces two gargantuan evils: Resource depletion and wealth disparity. Unless planet's 8 billion begin practicing alternative transportation, cooperative enterprise, social justice, thoughtful stewardship, zero carbon footprint, and zero population growth, each and every earthling is in for a rude awakening. Study those 6 phrases; they drip of new enterprises and potential profits. Yet leaders busy themselves with dismantling global treaties because they represent short term inconveniences and shift power from bullies and criminals to inventors and thinkers.

Waste management alone could be worth hundreds of billions, yesteryear’s landfills tomorrow’s mines, if diseases and toxins can be managed. Gasification could fuel electrical generation. Few realize that nationwide 90% of all electrical plants started since 1990 are gas fired. Fracking may be injurious to communities, but vast gas reserves exist in, for example, Siberia, while crude oil dwindles. So atmospheric carbon will abate as fossil fuels are exhausted, though renewable methane will remain a threat as long as humans rely on beef, chickens and pork as dietary mainstays. Beef is the worst among them, since flatulence cows emit and fuel for transport account for an estimated 20% of all greenhouse gases, not to mention saturated fats they contribute to an epidemic of cardiovascular diseases, still the heavy weight champion among killers claiming millions annually. How many cremations and vehicle corteges blacken skies in this endless holocaust? Smart approaches attack root causes, but undermine too many vested interests.

A battle is waged daily between humans and nature. Retailers install giant signs to attract patrons but instead collect small birds. They add nails and wires so they don't nest, but birds counter with lot litter, straw and twigs. Could provide somewhere else to nest, or rethink sign design, but thinking proactively takes intelligence. Deer lurk in tree lines. Any fauna bold enough to enter roadway dodges massive machines driven without regard for life. Death dealt lies within aptly named gore areas and gutters, simply another hazard for bicyclists to evade while worrying about likewise succumbing to relentless flow. Towns leave roadkill, except human corpses or traffic impediments, where it falls. You can watch its slow decay from day to day until months later it's gone away. Even though future costs might be enormous, whatever generates revenue today bypasses accountability and holds sway.

Why can’t so-called leaders cherish diversity that truly makes a country great? Uncaring capitalists unilaterally besiege those who actually care about others and do everything necessary for society’s survival, who only have to stop paying taxes and performing jobs to push out bosses, who endlessly concoct new scams beyond banks, politics and religions to dupe enough into thinking obedience preserves self and votes answer prayers.

What of one’s responsibly to provide worthwhile copy? As Time magazine asserts, Truth is not only dead, but would represent tyranny’s greatest threat if allowed to spread. Conservative fake news diced its last shred decades ago, goes on doing so. What if election and subsequent denouncement of Trump was simply a ploy to get voters to buy GOP agenda of greed? It's like bad cop, worse cop, big race to the bottom, not top. Great again? Happens when? Stockholm syndrome setting in? Did you see 10 Cloverfield Lane? Who can you trust when the unthinkable occurs?

Capitulating to human foibles and frailties yet inspiring self betterment has to be more effective than cudgeling compliance, enforcing draconian rules, and trying to make one solution fit all, what tyrants repeatedly try, unsuccessfully, with great loss of life. When you examine their motivations, it’s all about consolidating power and wealth. Basically clueless, they boomerang resentment and build barriers against mutual goals. Personal choices influenced by government policies divides and weakens nation. Some behaviors you must abide if you expect cooperation. Others are intolerable on a two-way street. Imagine having to foot the bill for alcohol and drug self abuse in mandatory insurance premiums and taxes. Medicare could handle all health care costs and oust insurance involvement. There’s no worse terrorism than threatening to eliminate affordable care, real estate ownership, social security, wages from jobs, and welfare. Conservative Congress vows to eliminate all of these hard earned entitlements, some paid over lifetimes. Their threats tell you they are the terrorists, can’t enslave without pushing anxiety buttons, don’t care about your wellbeing, and rather oppress than promote cooperation.

A century ago prohibition was as much an undeniable failure as drug interdiction is today. Seminal jazz artist Leon Bismarck “Bix" Beiderbecke was known for how he conducted his short tragic life and played his cornet according to his succinct philosophy, “Don’t shove, push politely,” Despite his bike related name, Bix never fooled with a bicycle pump, though Paul Whiteman Orchestra bandmate Wilbur Hall did a comedy bit that explored biological tones that a pump can make. Bix was too soused to stray from inventing a unique style based on physical limitation, then prematurely dying from his chosen addiction. Self anesthetizing and medicating was about all anyone had or has to dull pains and terrors of daily life. Now, aspects of health care that address, like psychiatric counseling, are what GOP wants to deny.

Well into an age of outrage with truth its main causality, society tries to get back in touch by watching contrived reality. Never more popular, some programs do catch essence of what happens. However, it can be argued that totally fictional films have done more to instruct how to conduct yourself in relationships, including ethics but particularly lovemaking. Technique among amateurs has greatly improved with internet porn to emulate. But hearing and seeing athletic adults engaged in coitus doesn't penetrate realities of attraction, abandonment, danger, disappointment, enslavement, frustration, recriminations, smell, sociopathy, taste and touch. Maybe metafiction seeks a midpoint between fact and fantasy. To get there you have to plumb depths of both. Appeals to self destructive acts only bolster profits for bankers, brokers, casino owners, drug dealers, and other parasites intent on absorbing everything people earned, invested in, and saved, and banishing losers to some internment camp out of guilt and sight. You’d think there would be laws and policies protecting citizens against this. But that’s exactly the kind of written effort no lawmaker wants to undertake.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Bled Duquesne

As a bike commuter, forced to follow the same streets day after day; they are not boringly familiar, since changes of season and research into history still present things to see. However, for decades made it a mission to visit new environs on weekend spins. Covered every back lane and road in a 75 mile radius, even drove to other states for loops up to 100 miles. Extraordinary only means you’ve never encountered it. Popularity only means it suits an unsophisticated throng. Recommendations don’t require your response.

Does paying attention buy endorsements, entertainment, or practical facts? Must say no, since that's not always the case. Would be nice if authors and critics could help readers divert a deluge of details, reject worthless drivel, select best and most relevant. No doubt, some try. Generalities just seem like truths, but never survive analysis. Mentors tell you what you want to hear. News anchors read scripts masking motives. Teachers stick to curricula. Writers mostly regurgitate tales deemed repeatable based on brainwashing. Your cell text is increasingly encrypted. Only barrier to B&C is a bit of poetry. In an enormous world where everything is somehow interconnected and everyone has personal agendas, you almost have to find your own way, ignore pundits, rely on own experiences, yet seek unique perspectives that free your mind and serve you in good stead.

Deplore lists that pump titles for payola; discredit selection bias that generates rest. Still feel obliged to point out bicycling books that occupy space and steal time. Life may be too short to explore endless imaginative nonsense stuffed between covers, mummified remnants of what once was vital, or overlong digressions from commonplace knowledge that informs sensible choices. Yet future historians might form entirely wrong impressions of what was happening now based on conservative broadcasts and consistent advertising that throttled the life out of truth so thoroughly practically nobody has any clue how to filter fabrications from facts. Compared to huge monthly bills for cable and connectivity, basic needs now that commerce and governance have placed everything online, where should such an annoyance rate on your grievance meter? Unless masses cherish logic and reason, and voters refuse to be duped by rhetoric, atrocities will ensue, cruelty resume, and mankind confront doom, something no one wants to hear about ever again.

Society steadily steers toward an oligarchy who would oppress everyone they can, not any destination you'd want to reach. In garage attending winter chores and reflecting upon life, sense how unchecked up-flow will eventually resemble monarchies and serfdoms. History shows that kings waged war among themselves and used subjects as pawns and proxies in battles. Next, robber barons subjugated industrial minions with long hours and small wages, and supplanted self professed birthrights. Duquesne Steel Plant, now a closed hulk in Iron City, Pittsburgh, PA, and National Tube works across the river, were once the epicenter of raw material for bicycles and “welfare capitalism” intended to block rise of labor unions. There Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan battled for steel dominance and bled workers of life force by bobbing token benefits as bait. China, having stockpiled untold acre-feet of nation’s ferrous disposables, now produce most of the steel world needs, but at such an environmental cost people can hardly breathe and must buy oxygen peddled on street corners. It’s still exploitation only a century later in a different place under forced servitude. So much for the myth of communism delivering labor rights.

Teddy Roosevelt reviled monopolies and split up these monetary trusts. Roosevelt’s ancestors engaged in opium and slave trade, which positioned them among nation’s wealthiest families. Behind every billionaire lies a wake of broken promises and human ruin. Trump's casinos exploited gamblers and sex addicts. Whoever enthralls sinners invests profitably. Ethics have been slaughtered by politics. The loudest, most confident argument prevails, not the most commendable or decent. Somebody must pay for unearned privileges, usually anonymous, marginalized, middle class wage slaves, who never seem to learn from history that isolation weakens and organization strengthens.

Why can’t majority comprehend that unfair practices are reprehensible? It happens so often - kids disrespecting parents, motorists forcing others off road, public heaping abuse on civil servants, spouses forcing each other to do things they rather not - Republican, self serving, unconstitutional rules escape repeal. How does the elephant in room - GOP villainy - always go unnoticed? Free speech is a beginning, but it's far from freedom from tyranny and want. Answer lies in how distracted 75% of Americans are. If it’s not swilling beer and watching football, it’s being duped, doing chores, fighting desperation, meeting obligations, tweeting pointlessly, or working overtime. What ever happened to equality, fraternity and liberty for all men and women? Bled dry is why. You never have to care, or loyalty swear, simply track elsewhere by armchair book or real backpack.

Don Petterson, Old Man on a Bicycle: A Ride Across America and How to Realize a More Enjoyable Old Age (Outskirts Press, 2014, 236 pp.) visits this foreign service septuagenarian and New Hampshire native as he hits the road to San Francisco and records his impressions.

Jim Malusa, Into Thick Air: Biking to the Bellybutton of Six Continents (Counterpoint, 2008, 336 pp.): With nothing but sleeping bag and sundry supplies, this author/botanist bicycled solo to the lowest point on every continent but Antarctica, including Caspian Sea, Dead Sea, Death Valley, Djibouti in Horn of Africa, Lake Eyre outback, and Patagonia, and lived to log his observations on local culture and ecology.

Joe Boyd, White Bicycles (Serpent's Tail, 2007, 282 pp.) is both a book on Amazon and podcast from 2007. Title metaphor tells how flower power, exemplified by Amsterdam’s Provo who supplied free white bicycles to everyone and selfless brotherhood, morphed into selfish hedonism fueled by plentiful cocaine, which quickly supplanted marijuana and mind expanding hallucinogens, some say by government officals.

Boyd, remarkable for always being at the right place at right time, was an impresario and record producer for Electra label who got to know all the most notable counterculture acts during 60's and early '70's, including Jimi Hendrix and Tomorrow frontman Steve Howe, who later formed chartbuster group Yes. He notes how band Tomorrow's performance at London's UFO club after a street demonstration concluded club’s reign as an underground icon when news media they were protesting in retaliation denounced club as a drug hangout; this brought police heat and destroyed its outlaw appeal. Boyd complained that rock and roll was sanitized by silencing DJs, who had been delivering revolutionary messages.

Mike Howerton, The Ride of Your Life: What I Learned about God, Love, and Adventure by Teaching My Son to Ride a Bike (Baker Books, 2014, 194 pp.) compares how lessons used to master this particular skill can be applied to every challenge in life, and gives a video synopsis on Youtube. Readers find Howerton’s homilies absolutely credible and stirringly inspirational. Nothing new, am reminded of Baptist Pastor Harold Habecker’s Modern Parable of Bicycling podcast (2008), which was mentioned in B&C at the time. Some see spirituality in every act; some pray a painful ride will soon end, or they’ll make it to wherever they're going.

S. Ehmann, R. Klanten editors, Velo—2nd Gear: Bicycle Culture and Style (Gestalten, 2013, 256 pp.): “I bike, therefore I am.” Coffee table book proposes with photographic evidence that choices flag attitudes - certain bikes peg owners into particular demographic groups - and submits for your consideration coveted and unusual bicycles and those who ride them.

Wheeler’s Disciples, Epic Bike Rides of the World (Lonely Planet, 2016, 320 pp.): Crack team of travel writers describing 200 once-in-a-lifetime spins in far flung corners. Maureen and Tony Wheeler founded Lonely Planet when they composed a travelog following an impecunious drive from London, England to Sydney, Australia. It became an empire with broadcast series Lonely Planet and excellence award winning spinoff Globe Trekker entering its 19th season.

Dylan Thomas, Me and My Bike (McGraw-Hill, 1965, 53 pp.), illustrated by Leonora Box, is the famous poet’s unfinished screenplay. His stanza, “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” has been cited wrongly and misinterpreted for decades. It’s about his dying father, who’s going blind. Such is the nature of words floating dissociated from context, taken to mean whatever by whoever stumbles across them. Freedom Medal recipient and Nobel Laureate songwriter Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman) adopted his name in homage to their mutual conflict with those to whom they spoke; occurred around 1959 when Bob gave up interest in rock-n-roll for more serious folk music. Both were originals not easily accepted by mainstream Americans.

The web features all sorts of poetry devoted to bicycling’s joys and sorrows.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Migrant Detain

As cortège passes to winter’s funeral, calculating next opportunity to commute to work by bike. Dawn already breaks so early, could actually complete entire 2-hour round trip in a blend of day and twilight. But bikeways blanketed by a half foot of snow and road shoulders packed high by plows still prohibit. Slabs of unforgiving ice exacerbate unacceptable motorist risks to bicyclists, who seem restricted this time of year to neighborhood mountain biking or some Sunday morning road outing, maybe. Meanwhile ponder how rise of polarized politics and populace rudeness will impede pedaling in a blue state.

After weeks out of saddle, inner dialogue is bound to deteriorate while muscle mass reverts to flab and gas. Collapse and decay preempt hopeful dreams until leaf buds form and pussy willows swell. Rich fear losing everything, so enact draconian laws in vain attempts at protecting. Thereby, they alienate those who'll do the fighting necessary to preserve their privileges. So, who then is your enemy? How much does your way of life align with theirs? Those who have the most to lose will always be planet’s biggest climate denialists. If you own a casino hotel on the Jersey Shore, global warming becomes too scary a threat to consider real despite documented scientific facts.

Others might be tempted to anoint Trump the “New Dealer", a knee-jerk handle given his joker name. FDR deserved this honor for social programs that dragged nation from depression resulting from decades of robber baron rule, just in time to fight off Axis aggression. Trump already labeled himself "The Fixer", as if some ace handyman with ass crack and tool belt under Lady Liberty's kitchen sink. The only fixing he's ever done is rigging slot machines and table games in favor of his house; even then he's failed to profit and left devastation of bankruptcies and layoffs for others to clean up.

Danger, Will Robinson! Trump may be an arm waving robot, who speaks in a monotone, as if no complexity of emotion affects his bluster-and-deny programming. A sincere, tragicomic mindset is easily punked. Party conservatives already expressed concern he’ll act like a tyrant and be provoked into another costly war. Impatience never wants to do things traditionally, live in White House, mend fences, or seek compromise. Announcing him by playing Hail to the Chief is out; he never served in military. But any dime store composer could concoct some pompous march to replace. The only thing about him upon which nation can rely is that he will enrich the wealthy at the expense of lower classes, just as he's always done for himself.

With indignant bravado and popped corn rants, he’s announced plans to cure “inherited mess”, but through the same old strategies that never remedied anything, in fact, spawned problems to begin with. Why don't tax breaks stimulate economic growth? Every time congress approved, all they did is grant windfalls to millionaires, silenced wage earners, and skipped altogether the poor, who pay little or no taxes. When they gave struggling families a few hundred dollars it went right into paying interest on loans, so fattened lenders. Dismantling affordable care merely transfers more money into deepest pockets. With recurrence of such token scams, wealth disparity, root cause for most wrongs, hasn’t decreased in 4 decades.

Reaganomics and savings schemes like 401k and IRA turned bankers and CEOs into powerful enemies. Record profits did not translate into job growth. Trickle down has not only failed, but increased public debt to $20 trillion; only what you owe has grown. Since banks are required for daily transactions and companies as providers of basic necessities, government ought to intensify regulatory oversight, not relax. Instead they leave it to largely ignored and typically underfunded consumer watchdogs and nonprofit informants. Congress should indict greed and recover pilferage from national treasury, but many members were complicit, particularly your typical conservative phony. Paying taxes going forward rewards their incompetence and theft. Citizens should expect more from governance or recall representatives.

As previously discussed, politics is a sanctuary for malignant sociopaths, who could never hold any responsible position that requires intelligence, skill, stamina and tact. Tried to advise him that being president wouldn’t fulfill his lust for power. Senate runs nation. All decisions are supposed to pass through filters of anti-discriminatory logic, 4 freedoms, and US constitution. Seems lately Congress has dispensed with all that, instead acted in self interest. A hallmark of emotional adulthood is taking neither blame nor credit for outcomes, because many hands achieve results and fulfill promises. Not at all entertaining, he’s downright frightening. Proves that chief executives ought to pass civics tests, health exams, and personality screens before being allowed to run. However, tempests with thunder and trumpets terrify pets and sheeple, not stalwart people.

Trump’s election represented nation’s repudiation of conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans, and seated representatives, none of whom has done anything in the best interest of constituents in decades. But did sending this message backfire? Set up a fast track to fascism. First he negates careful plans and diplomatic solutions. Xenophobic paranoia spread by personality disorders sorts everyone newly arriving or passing through into criminals or terrorists. Long time green card holders who hold responsible jobs have been detained after visiting families in Moslem countries. Gestapo immediately attacked gypsies and other migrants, because they could slip their grasp and thumb their noses at freakish control fetishes. It’s not doing wonders for tourism, the very industry from which his billions were derived.

Nature abhors and abuses uniformity, white supremacy, yokels with local pleonexia, and zealots aimed at domination. Diversity is a survival mechanism for the human species. Lots of cultures coexisting creates lots of job opportunities. City dwellers understand, so didn't vote for Trump. Foreign nationals do represent problems, for example, arriving ill equipped so requiring welfare, sending earnings back to homeland, taking jobs from citizens, and whatnot. These merely mean enforcing existing laws and handling cases on an individual basis, something citizens expect some government agency to do after paying trillions in taxes and which has always been handled through American ingenuity. The best and brightest doing battle retreat to their corners for a time out trying to sort it all out. Threats of reprisal only handcuff and imprison them ideologically. In world’s most competent, richest, and smartest country, succinctly state what really vexes, and solutions will undoubtedly come forth from those who actually do everything. Leaders never resolve anything, residents do.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Decay Sustain

As always, had to release another year of musical attacks. Any list trailing previously mentioned 2016 song La Bicicleta by Shakira has to exhibit matching bump and grind, so don’t disappoint. Endless sex and gets exhausting, not to mention the stench. Highlights? Bizarre retro theme from Song a Day, and the surprising raw talent of duo called Bicycle, not to be confused with same named 90's pop band.

Because only surface sells, artists who don't groom or show low appeal at start often languish in gloom. Likewise, authors so despise marketing selves they'll write for free or stifle their voice rather than prostitute talents. Their drive to secure fame steadily relents after being repeatedly fingered with derision and sniggers. Most read nothing anymore but headlines and twitters. You can shut up altogether or stay your course, but unless you produce daily your abilities wither. Either way you'll be maligned and misinterpreted as everyone paints their own intentions into your delineations by number. Perfectly lay it all out, whatever you say will get obscured under layers of graffiti as if newsprint facts beneath an uncouth Basquiat outburst (shown, The Bicycle Man, 1984). Consider yourself lucky if you find some soul to travel alongside at least part of your way, because earthbound everything, relationships especially, are subject to decay.

Albeezy (Albert Gordon), Bicycle [Honduran hip hop], single, self, 2016

Amir Hedayah, Meena's Bicycle [orch.], Oticons Faculty Soundtrack Media, Recording Intl, 2015

Bicycle, The Way You Hurt Me, Bicycle [no specific bike lyrics, but certainly signifies], Ted M. Clements, 2016

Bicycle, Fallen, Bicycle [no specific bike lyrics], Ted M. Clements, 2016

Breathing, Magic Bicycle, 2014 Breathing Mix Tape, self, 2015

Chris Berry & The Bayaka of Yandoumbe, Bicycle [African folk], Oka!, Oka Prod., 2011

Consortium of Genius, Suite from Bikeman Begins, The FuMP (Funny Music Project), Vol. 28, Fidim Interactive, 2011

Insane Ian, Spaghetti Bicycle, The FuMP, Vol. 57, Fidim Interactive, 2016

The Laurie Berkner Band, Bicycle [juvenile], Superhero, Two Tomatoes Records, 2016

Lex Dumitru, Omega Rose, Omega Rose [soundtrack], self, 2016

Mammoth Life, Bicycle Rider, The Singles: 2006 to 2016, Nicholas Goss & Elizabeth Mead, 2016

Parks, Squares and Alleys, Bicycle, Against Illusions and Reality, self, 2015

Rob Cantor, Old Bike, Not a Trampoline, self, 2014

Selva, The Public Bicycle [French], Segell Microscopi 2014-2015, Microscopi, 2015

Song a Day, G&O Bike Love Theme Song, Spring, 2016, Jonathan Mann, 2016

Stephen Advance & Juan Davor, Hoffman’s Bike [glitch beats], Minimal in 2016, Flat Belly Ltd, 2016

The Trip it is, French Girl Sets off on Fifties Bicycle, Ten Thousand Things, Trip, 2016

Twilight Sleep, Bicycle [alternative], Twilight Sleep, self, 2004

Wallfisch, Benjamin, Bicycle [instr.], A Cure for Wellness [soundtrack], New Regency Music, 2017

“Well, I'm so tired of crying, but I'm out on the road again… You know the first time I traveled out in the rain and snow, I didn't have no payroll, not even no place to go… Don’t you cry no more, ’cause it's soon one morning down the road I'm going… But I ain't going down that long old lonesome road all by myself… I can't carry you, baby. Gonna carry somebody else.” Canned Heat, On The Road Again, 1969

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Days that Remain

A month ago commuted by bike on year’s shortest day, not even 9 hours of sunlight locally. Arrived for a short shift humiliatingly late and hypothermic despite layering, including neoprene booties, but left for holidays early enough to avoid desperate, did-not-expect-a-bicyclist, distracted, drowsy or drunk drivers, enjoy a sunlit return without freezing, and freakishly feeling a funky urge to relay these details with anyone seeming to give a ficus. Every winter ride becomes a special memory, or, as Michael Wagner asserts, “Sometimes victory counts just by getting out.” Unfortunately, whatever personal info you reveal may be used against you by some lout. Yet how can anyone find satisfaction, survive, thrive, or trade without communicating something informative or intimate? No rewards arrive unless you assume risks.

Demigods dictate, ”Good authoring cannot be achieved in a vacuum.” Well, duh, there wouldn’t be anybody to tell or anything to discuss. As social animals, humans interact upon instinct alone. An author who validates bad behavior will find favor and may savor all that can be done by a savior. Gloomy seekers of truth get bored, gored by critics, and ignored by readers. Consider books by philosophers who built proverbial houses of cards on then current thinking, dropped dead, and later had historians condemn their bona fide insights as unreliable bunk based on sea changes original text caused. Nietzsche got nailed to a cross after Hitler named him as an influence. Unfair to condemn monumental contributions, but unstoppable is the momentum to topple arbitrary conventions and entrenched institutions. Out with the old, but what of the new? Not necessarily gold or improved replacment.

Dog chasing or snake eating its own tail, spinning carousel out of control, or stupendous delusions upon which all religions and sciences are based? No metaphors mandatory, stumbling towards eternity will always be a consistent thread in mankind’s history. In first of two versions, things reliably work as long as gods are repeatedly placated by sacrificed virgins. In other model, principles are inviolable as long as chance isn't introduced at origins. Must you embrace theories after applying logic to exploiting examinations? Every false dictum exaggerates predictions and justifies misconduct.

In reality, crap inexplicably happens, dogs and locusts have their day and purpose, luck prevails, most lose, and winners die sooner than their tactics were worth. Order entwines pandemonium. When you expect things to work well they perversely won’t. Ready writers no longer pocket a flip book and 2 pens; they take out smart phones and text themselves for easy edit/input. But paper and pen still back up dead batteries and dropped connectivity, which happens more often than technologists admit. Embrace chaos, because life only gambles upon unlikely scenarios where spasmodic snuggles punctuate survival struggles. Uncertainty threatens. It's your mission to sort what's routinely repeatable from what's totally unreliable. Yet they stage contests precisely to highlight whoever emerges victorious; spectators appreciate most those games that go down to the wire, lost or won on a single instance.

If mankind expects to survive as a species, barriers must be broken, coalitions formed, and isolation overcome. Societies must allow all members to pursue goals, and permit least members to play roles. Requires incessant communication, yet universal communion is impossible, and any movement toward would split into factions at each other’s throats. Metaphors hinder human communion. However, how very like a garden is a blog? To present a crisp salad of ideas and opinions you have to weed out pointless drivel. You must attend daily, at least weekly, not just monthly - lest blog get overtaken by pests - cultivate growth, deadhead what's done, feed with plenty of manure, and sprinkle every few days to maintain growth. Data net resembles roadnet, since each traveler carries an important pack of knowledge and skill in a flesh sack encrypted by confusion, need and will.

Mostly for money, this wizard of a lizard dropped a blizzard of words, over 30,000,000 in 100,000 printed pages, across 6 decades. Dumped it all into a sea of indifference only to drown or float bloated and wrinkled. Metaphors can be labored recreation, but they seldom explain anything better than straightforward simplicity. Intended to rethink what was encountered and remembered for over half a century. Instead, it became a mission to explore reality, a topic defined by its enormity. Reality amazes, requires no embellishment, and stands confidently. Those who find it boring just don't look carefully or take it for granted. Had several tools, but needed more bodies, because you can't meet such a goal alone. Hoped to enlist readers, who failed to report. Therefore, aspiration succeeded, but collaboration failed.

Those in history who've had the hugest influence orated to listeners with issues but never wrote down a single word. Doesn't mean they never existed, but does raise suspicions. Ironically, Labann is a pseudonym, so stood in, like Shakespeare, for some individual or group who didn't want to be identified and persecuted by bullies or despots. Some say nothing. Majority respects silence, though menacing assassins shut up, sneak up, and take up tasks seriously, so trust must never be recklessly bestowed. Yackers infrequently say anything meaningful, instead alienate everyone with whom they come in contact, yet may inadvertently disclose details worth knowing. Oracles, prophets and sages said little but suggested immense changes that privileged powers suppress as soon as sprung. Yet saying is not writing. Even when broadcast or recorded, statements can be and often are later denied; testimony can be twisted. Writing equals evidence in court; somehow people connect validity with the effort writers took to get what happened or was imagined into print, although publishers may not corroborate facts and reasons why are typically fabricated.

Adam Conover quotes Peter Norton and ruins your bliss by debunking myths upon which they are founded. Sure, it's done humorously and randomly, meant only to con and confuse audiences; he doesn't obsessively and systematically deprogram as does yours truly, but surely it's a credible start to losing delusions and thinking pragmatically. Craving and doubt precede enlightenment; thereafter, both are shed. Don't get fooled and used. Do honor sentiments expressed at Berkeley food company Annie’s; absolutely, love Mother Earth, so ride a bike to work whenever she doesn't try to blast, drown, freeze, pelt with graupel, hail, or stinging raindrops those she didn’t design to handle yet imposes upon anyway. Plod on resolutely in dark, fog, gloom, mist, but preferably shine. A couple of Organic Chewy Granola Bars fits nicely in a jersey pocket and rejuvenates you when bonked. So reaching out to bicycling community isn't such business buzzkill as most companies believe.

“Is”, always third person single present, sounds several echoes: "consists of", "equals", "exists", and, lately, "Islamic State". Except for use as “exists”, it justifies illogical worsts, lists unrelated aspects, and suggests A equals equally dissimilar B. Metaphors rely on "is" to pretend to explain the inexplicable in terms of the commonplace; at least similes possess factual accuracy and good sense to include “as” or “like”. Poet Wallace Stevens had that doleful line, “Let be be the finale of seem,” to call death what it is, an indelicate termination of all that matters, life itself.

A theocracy doesn’t care who meets eternal justice as long as some insane cleric’s endless lust for money and power are continuously sated. Responsible folks fight through desperate times by denying self and saving for future and heirs. Nevertheless, majority are deep in debt. Windfalls don't last, get spent. The enemy is anyone who has so much stockpiled they don't know what it's for. Money and talent are tools with which you can create opportunities for friends and self. Throw a party at least. One measure of desperation is assessing what you'd save in a disaster. If objects come to mind before family or neighbors, you are a sad recipient of human genes. Won't you strive to keep your species alive? Only how you act and what you do, not what you say and think, signify. Days that remain for mankind depend upon it.