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 judgment, 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.