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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Shades of Grey Zane

Despite blindness, Slackjaw Knipfel sees perfectly and speculates on 4 plausible causes of America’s ongoing Civil War and probable affect on him personally. He speaks modestly for vast majority. Lockstep conservatives attack public with depraved arrogance and lurid disinformation, flinch only at truth, yet publish anything that might sell in an unregulated market. Liberal losers brace for battle, circle their wagons, and micromanage message, more likely to censor moderate commentators. Anyone alive should feel anxious and uncertain in this battle for one’s soul. Action and mayhem, mirroring life, have never been more popular on screens. Every American owes $150,000 in public debt; few have that much in savings, most know that they have to pay share for indigents and marginal earners, and more than not blame government recklessness and can’t envision any fix. Of course: Intentionally isolated when only collaboration stands a chance, you’re expected to endlessly pay and silently stew. Instead of dangling a destination as if a carrot on a stick, why not improve everyone’s journey?

Those who complain risk being branded as malcontents or traitors. Journalism no longer exists after Dubya retaliated against Mapes and Rather for breaking true story of his dodging military duty, thereby describing a seated POTUS as an example of undeserved privilege. Fox infotainment, finding calamities where none exist, dominate state reportage, while real news has been vilified as fake. Insiders denigrate those they deem inferior or threats, while those whose agendas they further slink about exclusive haunts like pests behind the wainscoting. When perception equals reality, professionals must feign phony guise of game show host. No champion protects folks who just scrape by and pay for everything, though plenty claim to speak for them. Capitalism crashed. Democracy died. Social justice is a sordid joke.

Last several posts In part tried to justify this blog. Cannot convince self. A later ah-ha only serves as a lesson learnt, not so a great comeback or instant reaction that vaults you over oppressors. Must diligently dance and stay sharp or suffer consequences of being own fuzzy threadbare self. After 10 YEARS, anniversary today, have to say book and blog in no way found any following, though welcomed infrequient encouragement and rave reviews from published authors. Popularity only comes into play when one expects to make a living off creative output, as did prolific western romanticist Zane Grey. Grey, a dentist, got a late start but gradually became the first millionaire author having produced nearly 100 titles including The Last Trail. No Painless Parker, frontier tooth extractor, who hired marketeers to promote his wares, Grey migrated further west and worked as a hand at Wilder Ranch (note single track mishap at 8:25) in California before settling in Oregon Wilderness. Trying to draw readers has always been like pulling teeth. The proud and rich don’t give a damn what readers think. Yet ignominious obscurity may be evidence of a self directed monologue. Can’t fault content here for quality or quantity, only failure to gain attention, something any teen who’s staged a tantrum has already seen.

Age consumes and retirement looms. Why continue any cachinnation for a nation of cretins? About time to pass baton to another bicyclist and ride off into a purple sage sunset. Not giving up altogether; assuming other projects, making self available for lectures and parties, pedaling more on own bike, and writing less. Let B&C be your open source foundation for extending investigation into bicycling culture, which, if you hadn't noticed, provides a veritable expressway towards understanding everything anyone needs to know. By comparison one culture reveals another, sort of an entrance ramp to contemporary anthropology. Question is, will bicycling culture continue to emerge in this information age? Or will virtuous pedaling revert to totally virtual indoors technologically?

"Some trails are happy ones, others are blue. It's the way you ride the trail that counts. Here's a happy one for you... Until we meet again, happy trails. Keep smiling unto then." Dale Evans, single, RCA Victor, 1952, same year Painless Parker passed away.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Took from AIN

“Summertime and the living’s easy...” May be somewhere for someone. Nowadays, it’s when insurance premiums and property taxes come due, property maintenance and vacation spending occur, and utility and water bills peak. Must make hay and work overtime to cover savings hit. You save not for rainy but sunny days. In dead of winter where would anyone be without a warm memory of some primetime odyssey?

Anyone who's the least bit aware of current events already has PTSD. Systems based on humans suffer fatal flaws. From daily interactions one derives many a small insight, might even flesh it out with facts, form paragraphs, pen essays. Fakes scholarship truly but sounds pretty good to those desperate for certainty or security. Who's fooled? Change, violent at times, has always ruled. Agents of chaos and mayhem constantly surround. You only navigate around potholes, never fully alleviate anxiety’s tolls.

Free and wild, aboriginal people fulfilled every necessity themselves, didn’t take survival for granted, moved inland during summer to gather and hunt, shoreline in winter to harvest shellfish that cold kept from spoiling. Refrigeration reversed this perennial migration. A 1971 anti-litter campaign depicted a native chief shedding a tear for what motorists had done, though it was all a ploy aimed at a public shamed for imprudent habits so corporations wouldn’t be blamed. For a while some states did demand bottle and can recovery, pennies and nickels upon return. It didn’t keep America clean, only made a tiny opportunity for homeless trash pickers.

Money grubbers find gobs of drudgery; those who can rather pay someone else to do onerous chores in sweltering heat. Glorious explorers got bankrolled up front upon lure of riches, which resulted in Columbian Exchange that nearly wiped out AIN (American Indian Native) nations through disease, genocide and habitat destruction, though since last ice age they had thrived against animal predators using stone tools under harsh conditions. Americans today squirm in desperation; most scramble to make ends meet. Few care that Le Tour de France has begun. Science and technology over centuries improved quality of life, yet they demand constant renewal and surveillance lest they become a nuisance. Who more exemplified independence or merited a holiday?

Why not do projects for neither compensation nor credit, just because they’re interesting? Later, when others reap rewards, underpaid contributors resent them, too stressful and unsettling for many including millennials. Internships and volunteerism slyly renew slavery. Stubborn souls do just do stuff, pursue as if a hobby, shut up about it, then turn professional due to experience. In collaborative teams, writers used to produce reams being hopefully speculative, it seems. But times have radically changed. You can’t live well scraping up pittances, only by scoring on successive pay days. Patience gets you nowhere; you’ll die before patrons notice or reward your initiative. Does that matter? Getting by will always be a basic goal.

Independently wealthy? You’re free to do whatever pleases your fancy, reciprocate kindness per noblesse oblige, spend a decade updating an unread blog, or such. Even then, situations can quickly complicate, serve nobody’s needs. There’s no idling at an island timeshare for very long. Pleasurable excess catches up and creates a mess, one would guess, steam hissing off your trauma express. Anyway, chasing lifestyles of the rich puts you in opposition’s crosshairs. Must choose among bravery, drudgery, misery or skullduggery, life’s only options. With a right to pursue happiness, you’re offered no guarantee of achieving it.

When you enter “bicycling culture” into any internet browser, you’d think this 10-year blog would come up immediately. No, you get Bicycling Magazine’s Culture tab, Biking USA/EU from Reliance Foundry (bike locker/rack manufacturer), and other commercial references. Eventually you stumble across video Veer (Greg Fredette, dir., 2009), which documents five individuals involved in Portlandia’s hilarious bicycling culture, narrated by actor Matthew Modine, famed for role in Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket and resident of New York who chooses to commute around city by bike. You might never discover that Tomb Raider (Roar Uthaug, dir., 2018), the Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) origin adventure, explains she was an East London bike courier before declaring dad dead and inheriting his millions. What better way to toughen up for nonstop action?

B&C hasn’t undergone search engine optimization and never carried advertising, so garners no notice despite its main focus. Has always avoided being characterized, pinned down, or readily dismissed. Going by bicycle means being immersed in everything, sights, sounds, vegetative life exuding fragrances. Pass a cemetery or church, religion begs attention, or spirituality sticks. See others on streets, clad in bikinis or skintight spandex, politics intervene and sex smolders. Whatever you do requires cash and duty. Big 3 taboos - money, politics, religion - appear integral and ubiquitous. When does freedom occur?

Blacksmith Pierre Michaux just up and put pedals on a velocipede in late 1860’s. A century later relative and world traveller Henri Michaux won a French National Literary award, which he didn’t accept. Private and reclusive, Henri’s notoriety came from asemic writings that mimic oriental calligraphy, represent nothing, yet suggest semantic meaning. His nonfigurative abstractions resemble cave paintings, Pollock canvases, Rorschach inkblots, tipi symbols, visual vocalise, or wallpaper patterns. You sense a struggle between being lost in noise and expressing self aloud. This “bigly” reverberates with Labann, who began devoted to vocabulary’s soundscape and wonders whether B&C was worth all its effort. One must satisfy self or nobody.

If artists create crevices into which audiences can plug themselves, they garner a following. Impenetrability repulses everyone, but then hardly anyone bothers you. You never know beforehand what’s manifest in you will blossom into, reason enough to stay on course. Your ancestral tribe may be extinct, yet your totemic spirit pedals you onward beyond troubles and worries.

Had enough of being serious. Top things to enjoy include familiar moments, great meals, live concerts, lush poetry, recorded films and songs, sexual relations, smart art, and sporting events. Besides bicycling and creativity, anything else constitutes a mundane chore you might abhor, crawls out of darkness into crepuscular light of dawn, and wastes too much of your limited lifetime. Regret 16 years of school, which shunted into 45 of desk jockeying and personally finishing tens of thousands of projects, up to a dozen a day. Education should enrich, not enslave. Might have been better off collecting welfare, doing nothing, entertaining self, going fishing, growing produce, leaving projects to some sucker interested in such nonsense, reading more and sleepwalking. Only favored groups can claim such a status. Yet industrious folks do make for warm memories.

Fondly recall a holiday town with building facades next to a rideable small scale train. Fun for kids! Construction crews would restore for a few months each Fall to everyone's delight. Under your Christmas tree might be gifts of cowboy duds, feather war bonnet, and 2 cap six-shooters, presumably to replay tragic hostilities. Authors recreate mirth to raise hope that such attractions will recur, but failures to repeat, lack of skills, or lapses in funding typically disappoint. Only the alert or lucky get to savor solo ephemera and transitory thrills. Partially explains why TV networks revisit Christmas every July, propaganda to urge later spending upon which they rely.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Best of Bourdain

"What have you got to lose?" is a rhetorical question advisors ask of those chewing over change that recommends leaping before looking. Change is inevitable, necessary even. Decay feeds plants; their growth feeds humans and livestock. Days divide nights; seasons become years; centuries, eons. An incredible amount of transactions occur while one civilization after another coalesces then crumbles. Casino owners, insurers and tax revenuers size up what you have to lose and take from you whatever they can just shy of you organizing revolt. Swank restaurants charge a week’s salary for a single meal after which you’re still hungry, but at least they decorate place with a poster of a bygone track cyclist on a fixie. Life somehow perseveres despite stress.

Imagine how different society must have been several centuries ago, before education was free and opportunities abounded. Monarchs undermined education, which furnished students with tools to teach and think for themselves. Made them too clever to subjugate. Nowadays, practically no one obeys traffic laws; wonder what other covenants they break and transgressions they make while you politely stay right within limits. Some only occupy left lane and proceed slowly because it leaves space ahead, so they can react timely while savoring distractions.

What of texting? Where's the harm? How is it unlike listening to radio? Indeed. Talk radio totally transports listener into a tiny sphere alone on road with a rabid copilot urging driver to fixate on his disembodied hypnotic voice, ignore all else as if in a psychotic break, Son of Sam territory. Should instead be dancing courteously, paying close attention, and reacting defensively. Social media and traffic snarl leave participants frustrated and vulnerable, wear patience thin.

One could directly link a lot of crime to birth defects: Bad nutrition or crack addiction while pregnant, FAS, interbreeding. Leads to brain insufficiency, inability to learn, insanity that sooner lash out against complex demands than apply reason. Later they’ll snort up nose, stick in arms, and stuff faces with harmful substances. Food gets abused most. Yet fat is where flavor’s at, dissolved by beer and wine into a triglyceride stew and vascular menace. Putting bullies on a short leash makes sense, though shouldn’t lower expectations for their achievements. Focus can easily be disrupted by social fears. Restrict sources, and some who would've sunk can now swim. A forgiving and trusting nature invites assault and theft, as Labann has too often personally undergone.

A master wordsmith concocts stories seemingly out of thin air; whence they come include inner dialogue, input responses, personal experiences, stuff that might percolate over a lifetime. Not every act in which one engages is worth repeating; not every thought imagined bears expressing. Certainly some mustn’t be stifled lest individual or society suffer. Takes copious attempts and enormous effort to master the craft. Humanity has arrived at juncture Douglas Adams joked about, where an innocuous statement reverberates across universe and starts an intergalactic war. What one mostly hears are ads for crap you don't need, come-ons for charities that only pad directors’ pockets, and propaganda aimed at intimidating you into political submission, seldom thoughtful analyses meant to inform you what's at stake, sometimes life itself.

While immersed in meaningful projects, who has time for despair? Challenges demand completion, yet suicides have risen to an epidemic proportion among middle-aged men. While clinicians search for answers, causes couldn’t be more obvious. To avoid operating expenses, insurers recommend replacing them with healthier youth, ripping rug from under their sense of purpose, tossing them onto an ash heap of uselessness. Plus they regret in silence being complicit with what ruthless executives in male-dominated industry did to consumers, employees, and stakeholders. Drugs and liquor goggles overcome disgust of a date with a gun to head or rope around neck. Who can afford food, never mind therapists once health coverage lapses? Government policies also pave way for hostile takeovers and resultant downsizing. Being displaced doesn’t exempt an individual from having to earn, eat, survive; those ineligible for Social Security or Welfare have few alternatives. Severance, unemployment, and workmen compensation only fulfill short term needs. States do almost nothing to get displaced workers back into saddle before retirement saving run out and true desperation begins. Back in FDR’s day, there were CCC, PWA and WPA, though gap from poor to rich is bigger today.

Can’t reverently lay Anthony Bourdain’s roasted ashes to rest without saying what about him you should admire best. He was no snob. Broke bread with both celebrities and nobodies, particularly in nations where USA ran rampant leaving them in shambles. Seemed to accept role as ugly American abroad, only transformed it by being genuinely caring and warmly sociable. May have appeared an elitist globe trekker, but began humbly as a dishwasher and performed backbreaking KP on brink of bankruptcy until well after 40, when he began to write and got a break. An admitted crime buff, published stories about underworld in Manhattan’s Little Italy. But his exposé of nauseating restaurant practices brought notoriety. Expert chef, the real deal, middle-aged Tony acted out other people’s perception of a bad-boy hipster and provocateur, vilified for his addictions and candor. Apparent sympathy for sin attracts fans, but bravery was what he was all about, not anger, gluttony, greed, or pride. Passionately against food waste, Hollywood rape, and policy tyranny, he was recognized as an authentic voice for the downtrodden everywhere. This put him at odds with powerful enemies, whose spooks know how to stage a scene to look like suicide.

Do bipolar personalities fail to thrive on cycling? Long bike trips mess up hormones, elating many, leaving others in funks. Biking helps assess your vitality. Doctors even measure health by putting patients on stationary bikes. Tony spent his last day stoking a tandem through gorgeous Alsatian countryside of which one can only dream. If you must go, what better way? He once quipped, “Life’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride,” echoes of Hunter Thompson, “Buy the ticket, take the ride,” both firmly in charge of their independence, not the bad examples snide commentators make them out to be. What have you done with your hard won freedom? Many sell it for a transitory sense of security, trade a reliable cow for a handful of fascist beans. In the end, what you choose decides your fate. Do you really know what’s on someone else’s plate?

Feeding strangers implies behaving responsibly. Quoting self, “Instead of squabbling, learn to bake cookies and brew 2 cups.” To be magnanimous, one must immerse oneself among recipients willing to reciprocate. Americans have long since ceased to match mercies, respond in kind, and transcend Darwinian imperative to eat or be eaten. Can you blame anyone for selfish motivations given mainstream opinions?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Débat d'entrain

Feelings are fleeting, insights tricky to intercept, in tandem, require real effort to recall. But does writing them down reinforce memories or relegate forever to forgotten? In senility one misquotes statistics, mistakes billions for millions, or single-mindedly repeats same old story. Genuine and superior sail away together leaving you marooned. Precise quick recall rates just below muscular reflexes among survival mechanisms. While content here may seem disjointed, Labann knows connections but skips explanations; when warning of peril, you'd only identify immanent threat, not obscure in wordy malarkey. Could find another place to fall and flop, forsake in disgrace once duties you face dissolve, give up on it all, and stop. Expire, migrate, or stand fast: Yours to decide. Exit strategies are endlessly tempting. Once elation of peak experiences, including bicycling, wears off life grows depressing. Despair leads to losses. Disturbing.

Reconsider immigrants for a moment. Do some perpetrate crimes? Of course. Members of Bratva, Mafia, Sinaloa Cartel, and Yakuza operate internationally and pile collectively upwards of $40 billion in illegal loot each year enabled by an insatiable appetite for illicit sex, off-track gambling, smuggled narcotics, stolen merchandise, and unsecured loans, which can all be gotten legally at lesser costs/risks. Organized criminals intimidate targets into accepting their contraband and falling into their trap. They need you, not other way around.

So 95% of all crime could be eliminated through better education and policy realignment, that is, if people really wanted to be informed. Instead, mayors consider downsides, and dole out one-way bus tickets to dump addicts and indigents into some other jurisdiction. Make it go away? Solves no problem. Other mayors cynically pay for bus rides from third world to their cities to build a base of dependent voters while they extract costs from homeowners in soaring taxes, so pay nothing personally yet stay in power. Treachery against community comes easily to sociopaths in office. Heinous assaults and imaginative scams make life almost too difficult to bear.

Most acts of terrorism on American soil originate domestically, of course, given cost of travel. Any market economy that forsakes individuals and glorifies profits makes 99% losers, who then base self worth on success of 1%, blame scapegoats for failures, and lash out inappropriately wherever they reside. Capitalists, who ensure weapons remain cheap and plentiful, seldom forgive victims and vice versa. Illegal immigrants bear brunt of resentment, when it's rich patrons paying them under the table who warrant punishment. Besides, they perform menial tasks citizens don’t want: au pairs, domestics, gardeners, harvesters, or unskilled roles below minimum wage. In a race to the bottom, will you kill to be last?

Fake news pigs, who wallow in mud of culpability, and few who pay them to dupe rubes and refute scientific facts to suit profit motives, cause most attacks. Boosts ratings, reinforces fears off which mercenaries make money, and ruins reputations of real journalists. To whom do you look for guidance after all institutions have been scandalized? Silt and stones do not account for rising sea levels. Billions have made their presence felt in innumerable ways, like ants who tend jungles, without which jungles would die from rot and disappear. Unlike ants, humans negatively affect entire planet through atmospheric pollution, deforestation, ozone depletion, public confusion, worsening storms, and worst calamities. All reputable scientists agree. Yet Fox News broadcasts contradictory nonsense, because facts might be right, thus upset uptight who mine anthracite and pump crude into fossil fuel’s twilight.

Leaders lack foresight to understand how automaking, gaming, munitions manufacture, tobacco growing, and slaughtered beef saturated in artery clogging fats represent health costs that negate profits. Aren't these the ethical issues you elected them to solve? Perhaps they figure they have already, reason letting them fade away would be wisest course, reckon your perspective doesn’t matter one iota. Unless developing timely alternatives to supplant those depleted, conflict, deprivation, and devastation will result. With one hundred thirty-seven motorists worldwide dying every day, one every 10 minutes, you can be sure leaders will always sacrifice lives of the lowly to stay in power. Ought to obligate everyone to represent majority, resist upon principle, and stand resolute against tyranny.

One tires of chipping away concrete under which truth got buried, of interminable burden to analyze and inform, of paragraphs laden with paradoxes and pessimistic wordplay. Delve deeper, extraneous opinions detract from fact, and you divert further from confidence. Do have options: Plan an exit, stay until blog’s 10th anniversary next month, or stop abruptly. Suppose that’s a question followers should answer, not that there’s ever been intended débat d'entrain. Could also, if so inclined, delete content, disassemble blog, go commercial, or sell out, though that would be vengeful backlash to any lack of lively discourse. In this fragrant season of warmth, one should be outside cycling as far and often as sprung legs in shorts support, restoring own wellspring of hope.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Oil of Mirbane

If can’t be incorruptible, at least be independent. Can only speak with complete authority when no debts are owed, strings exist, or ties bind. If censors must review every word before you can disseminate, little or no decency, honesty or legitimacy remains. Any committee exist specifically to bury truth before it causes its members losses. Belong to human species with no band, group or political affiliation. Let conscience guide actions and speech, so sound off often unafraid of obligation.

So what of June 3rd’s inaugural World Bicycle Day, new praxis rite ratified by the United Nations this April? Will #June3WorldBicycleDay recur annually? Could be confused with September 17th’s World Cycling Day, first ever global bicycling cultural festival begun in 2017 to coincide with supposed 200th anniversary of bicycle’s invention. WCD originators specified this date because in Chinese “917” could also mean “Just Cycle”. In either case idea was to adjure pollution abatement, sustainable development, and traffic reduction that cycling affirms and driving negates. Been practicing and promoting all this for decades already, so don’t need to join anything, rather World joins Labann for once.

In an interview around time The Who played halftime at Superbowl, Pete Townsend disparaged Keith “The Loon” Moon for drumming wildly undisciplined. Why ridicule one of group’s better attributes? Impugns entire output; implies none of it bears listening. Instead they had John “Thunder Fingers” Entwhistle, bassist of the millennium, who provided beat and bond, so Keith, Pete and Roger Daltry could dance, noodle, sing, soar and windmill, which they surely did. The Who were the real deal: rebellious rock delivered with distinction and humor to receptive youth. Rumor has it that Pete still begrudges deceased Keith for having exploded his drums live concluding performance on Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which may have left Pete a bit deaf, though hearing loss usually results from cumulative exposure to ear splitting decibels. Hearing heightens not only enjoyment but safety, so worth preserving.

Why not let the audience decide whether your approach works or message resonates? Rating based on arbitrary rules or repeating something that succeeded reeks of feckless and irrelevant. Right thinking lives in present and looks towards future. Past, now immutable, possesses little worth resurrecting and really can be too painful to recount. Will always prefer authentic to ersatz. Take, for example, oil of mirbane (nitrobenzene), a poison manufacturers once added to soap for its fake almond smell. Unless cheaper than almond oil itself, why bother? Makes you wonder what hides inside products as basic as detergent or foodstuff. Fruits are obviously treated with insecticides and other toxins, which is why you should always immersion wash them, even spin dry, before consuming.

Speaking of sound, regret not elaborating on birdsong in B&C chapter Guilty Pleasures. Of course, deliberate tweets and twitters constitute a significant input on morning spins. In fact, silence does disturb at dawn, since it indicates disorder that frightened away feathered friends and represents danger riders should heed before they proceed. For example, around next corner have found a bunch of police cars and sidearms drawn in a raid. Miners used to bring canaries to work; when singing stopped it warned them of noxious gases. Birdsong inspired entire classical compositions, most notably Olivier Messiaen’s Le réveil des oiseaux (1953). After decades of intense study, biologists and birders can distinguish among a cacophony of random chirps to identify individual species. These days public doesn’t value their insights into extinction and migration, since it’s seldom good news and sure to cost them more somehow. Explains why so few will be celebrating WBD.

In a deepening sea of complexity and irrelevance, the best doesn’t readily float to surface. Cyclists who spin up to high points get frustrated by fact that tallest was built by waste disposers in state’s landfill. Crowd noise, human cacophony, rises or swells at shopping malls or sporting events. It may contain potent hidden content, as do songs, each a small digest of contemporary influences, some with mind warping effects, which is why you ought to listen judiciously. But, then, songs representing bicycling culture from around planet will surely get overlooked, as were these curious expressions of individuality:

The Bennies, My Bike [Punk], Better off Dead, Jackknife Music, 2013

Café tacuba (yo soy), Bicicleta, single, self, 2010

Clutch, When Vegans Attack, From Beale Street to Oblivion, DRT Entertainment, 2007
“Manifestos at Kinkos, pinko commies play no fools. I feel the spirit moving over me. There are clouds beneath my feet. When vegans attack on ten speed bikes. Tattoos with meaning, American Spirit Lights.”

Craig D’Andrea, Three Mile Bike Ride, Getting Used to Isolation, Candy Rat Rec., 2009; previously mentioned, recommend watching live video of this lovely guitar instrumental.

El David Aguilar, La cumbia de la bici [Mexican], single, Qué Te Importa Rec., 2014
“Everyday sees more of us because it’s so magic. A cumbia dance for bikes since they move us around. Wonder if they can recycle a track for us now.”

Eminem, Legacy, The Marshall Mathews LP2, Aftermath, 2013
"Why am I so differently wired in my noggin? 'Cause sporadic as my thought come, it's mind bogglin'... look at the bright side. At least I ain't walkin'. I bike ride through the neighborhood of my apartment complex on a ten speed, which I acquired parts that I found in the garbage, a frame, and put tires on it. Headphones, straight ahead.” Album won a Grammy Award for Best Rap.

From Autumn to Ashes, Streamline, Abandon Your Friends, Vagrant Rec., 2005
“I see an empty space next to the yellow bumble bee; that could be the perfect place to park my broken down ten-speed. Just tell me when you get off work and where you'd like to meet. Then we can pedal up and down the crowded New York streets. My shoes are worn out, because the breaks don't function. I just put my feet down, let them drag on the pavement.”

God-Des & She, Get Your Bike, Three, self, 2009

King Charles, Mississippi Isabel, Mississippi Isabel, Universal Rec., 2011
“I rode her on my bicycle all the way in the rain. She kissed me once, I took her out for lunch, and she never kissed me again.”

Sam(antha) Shelton, Bicycle, single, self, 2014

Taylor Turner, Bicycle, Versus, self (Kickstarter Project), 2014

Turbo Mansion, Bicycle, Danger Laces EP, self, 2018

Friday, May 25, 2018

Charlie Chaplain

Another Bike Week passed with little fanfare. Originated in England in 1923, nearly a century ago in Europe and North America, observances are scattered from beginning of May to middle of June. Here in New England, every year, it seems to rain during 2nd week of May, which sells more lawn products than rain gear for cycling. Sure, on Bike-to-Work Day a few diehards convene on town squares under tents for free coffee and donuts. Labann got to work from home last Friday, and rides to work year round when weather cooperates, so didn’t rise irreproachably to support cause. Bike commutes rate slightly above haircuts, something you do routinely without ceremony. But a Centennial Anniversary of Bicycle Week could be legitimately promoted among Amish, artists, geeks, mamils, moonbats, Mormons, Neo-Luddites, reactionaries, religious fanatics, and whoever else would likely attend.

Too often convening disappoints. Typical stay-at-home television viewers get an eyeful of beautiful and delightful humans of which malls, plazas and venues seem devoid. By comparison, public you meet on street appear annoyed and bent out of shape; patience, serenity and smiles were destroyed by their android and disrespect of ugly rabble you'd rather avoid. Fingertip access to information does expand opportunities and speed transactions, but social media serves practically no purpose, other than wrongly identify you as a target or terrorist.

Instead of data retrievers, mankind once built devices that really saved labor. Who can deny a clothes dryer, dishwasher, washing machine, or wheat harvester/thresher saves effort and time? True, you could arrange for wage slaves to hand pick grain, kneel by a stream, or stand at a sink for hours each day, but then you couldn’t multitask other equally crucial chores.

Machines weren’t necessarily man’s best friend, though. Mechanized warfare accounts for recurrent Memorial Day, which honors soldiers fallen to it. It’s when politicians arrive in limousines to honor their sacrifice through a litany of hollow hypocrisy. Excludes cops, firemen, guards, and workers, too, though they get equivocally remembered on Labor Day. Everyone gets their own birthday, some Father’s or Mother’s Day; better make the most of it. The Good Lord, having been tortured for all souls’ sake, only gets alpha birth and omega death of Christmas and Easter. Exactly what did YOU do to deserve even a seldom seen headstone or totally ignored obituary?

Back when Americans in Korea were fighting Charlie, chaplain bicyclist Emil Kapaun ministered to soldiers so effectively, he has since been awarded a Medal of Honor by Obama, considered for sainthood, made into a film hero, and woven into Latham’s war biography Cold Days in Hell: American POWs in Korea. Apparently that’s wasn’t enough suffering to deter current administration from resuming hostilities. A treacherous few will always profit by provoking war. You know who they are: They wrap themselves in a shroud of religiosity while accepting bribes from gun lobby, fueling fascist Fox agitprop, inciting domestic terrorism, and profiling blacks and muslims as militants. Without God’s blessing, they are just Neo-Nazis eager to promote your sacrifice for their gain.

Chaplains such as Kapaun [shown with trusty bike during WWII] can be distinguished from pastors by their advanced training and lack of fixed parish; they minister not only to own denomination but whoever needs spiritual guidance navigating boredom and stress that binds just about any occupation. A cynical appraisal of most company’s codes of conduct would be that employees agree under duress to abstain from what executives routinely do, mustn't harass, intimidate, relate misconduct to unauthorized outsiders, retaliate, and so on. Chaplains even address fear in the fog of battle. If you’re a chaplain, shouldn’t you forgive minor insults? Not always so, as article attests. Did instead make a federal case over it, but didn’t specify convict’s sentence.

Saints who possess a semblance of piety humble themselves before deity, put others before own, and sense by man not all can be known. They are loathe to inflict deserved punishment, don sackcloth to suffer alike, tolerate petty transgressions, and turn other cheek to facilitate further pummel-ment. Society has to compartmentalize duties among those less high-minded lest criminals rampage unchecked. Sometimes crimes derive from elected officials not acting responsibly or doing job appropriately.

Neglected roads loaded with debris and holes cause riders to weave, thereby aggravating motorists and endangering cyclists. They do slow everyone, which some might consider a blessing. On a recent motor trip was following a cyclist, who was going briskly along road edge and waving all behind to pass. Couldn't provide a meter margin so didn't. Only when he turned onto side street could one see it was a small unregistered motorcycle, which resembled a kid's single-speed cruiser. Funny, bicycles conversely used to mimic motorcycles to make kids feel grown up. As Summer approaches, see more and more unlicensed riders on midget motorcycles, minibikes, pocket rockets, and scooters. Tiny target does not exonerate lawbreaker, though operators are usually children and teens. Tickets ought to be issued to abetting guardians and parents, who likely provided or willfully condone use of an illegal vehicle.

As dangerously as they cut corners and dart about unexpectedly, they aren't a bicyclist's arch nemesis. Garbage trucks, RVs, and tandem trailers seem worse for sheer bulk at excessive speeds, although pickups and SUVs outnumber them, so really constitute greater risk. Luckily, drivers of Motheaten Tree Service are few, out at dawn, terrorizing travel lanes, unfortunately on roads Labann frequents. Talk of traffic hazards may seem lame compared to gun violence or infectious disease, though currently kill more people than both combined. Where’s a bicycle chaplain when you need homilies to encourage better road ethics? The silent comedian you thought this entry was about at least made you chuckle; maybe that’s all you can do while immersed in menace. Riding in silence was never Labann's strength.

“‘Go, God, You know that to win is not getting there but continuing.’ Everyone, on the sidewalks rolling on the ground with laughter, we applauded him like crazy! But, a certain night, his horrible bicycle with a trailer began to cast an enormous fluorescent tail. Unbelievable! The pickpockets were returning wallets on the bus; the powerful were ending hunger; the UFOs were revealing... the mayor himself was filling the potholes in the streets. I cried of joy, dancing under that light the polka of the cyclist... sinister rage, I do not know why... we assaulted him, and from behind, his white bicycle we started to destroy... turned it into a thousand pieces... he shouted, ‘May I save you!’ took a look at his bicycle ...smiled ...walked away. Skinny Guy Who Art on Earth, how come you forgot that we are not angels, but men and women?” - Astor Piazzolla, La Bicicleta Blanca

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Rabidly Outgain

Another summer hence, fifty years since 1969’s Aquarian Exposition of August 15th to 18th, a weekend festival of art, music and peace together, where will civilization find itself? Closer to promoters goals of communities coalescing for improvement, ethical practices, every individual entitled to make a difference, free trade, planetary stewardship, non-violent camaraderie, unfettered creativity, and universal human rights? Really? Participants believed they could live without cash, organized roles, retirement investment, or roofs over their heads. Works for twenty-somethings while agile and mobile enough to withstand uncertainty and vagary. Wear occurs relentlessly to all their gear year after year until society doesn’t care they’re living somewhere on a rusted bus on blocks going nowhere.

No height of Hippiedom, Woodstock marked its demise - promise died - and signaled an inexorable regression into barbarity. Barbarity, cruelty and stupidity describe majority competing for cash. Under capitalism, fair trade and social justice rate as mortal sins. Some can’t handle freedom, because they forget that it means they’re responsible for every action, behavior, commission and omission in which they’re complicit. They’d rather be blameless, bemoan innocence lost, bumble along without consequences. Battles won, when you disengage, you nosedive. An entire generation never heard whole storyline: Tune in, turn on, drop out, die young, and let fascists build a war chest to cheat and murder the rest.

You hate what gravity gradually does to your body. Stuff sags including tattoos. But you love gravity when rolling downhill, a rejuvenating thrill. You curse climbing, yet value its effects: builds muscles, keeps you from floating off into space, regulates tides, and whatnot. Anyway inevitable, gravity itself should be deemed neutral with minuses and pluses in delicate harmony with The Tao. Rather, you loathe yourself, what your body has become, inert flab, slave to what’s grave. Over months indoors and years at sedentary work you’ve gone from enthused recruit pleasingly toned with plenty of energy to a superfund cleanup site of toxic negativity from which everyone steers clear, silly hyperbole yet suitable metaphor.

Seriously, irked by stalwart service taken for granted, sure, you’re just a jerk in a jersey, yet upscale of a racist on Yawkey. Political correctness has been called an identity trap and seems to thwart common sense, but to ages of abuse and neglect owes its existence, payback for smug insults and unearned munificence, which explains why fat cats cycling for free, riding toward right, and swigging your tea so resent this concurrence. How did their mothers raise them?

Economists say in year following Woodstock, 1970, restrictive access to opportunity, social mobility, and success from hard work dramatically began to separate affluence from indigence. Advent of artificial intelligence, automation, and globalization only furthered this divide. In a way, Woodstock aided ambitious and shrewd, who gladly grabbed what hippies wanted to give away, namely any share in ill gotten prosperity, master-vassal economy, and war blood money. Fear infects fools in need with the disease of greed, who consequently inflict society with decades of drudgery.

Wouldn’t you prefer reliable prescience to information desperation? If only you could predict what will occur years from now, you'd grow rich and stay fit to enjoy it. Yet your personal involvement might alter timeline and cause investment to fail instead. Neither does it work in hindsight; would've been a billionaire by holding Apple and IBM stocks into present. But for every technological stride, usually two ethical breakthroughs backslide.

Money fills a need, but why crave excess? Assets can become a nuisance, cost plenty to maintain, get in your way, have a way of hanging a target on your back, and waste time whence lives are woven. Besides, you can’t take any pride in how you succeeded, since society only allowed it by buying into your lame game; indeed, no amount of effort actually expended ever guaranteed you’d achieve greatness. Cash may rule, but dollars continually devalue; millions might become meaningless before midnight and thrones decay into worthlessness. Earn to live, not live to earn.

Affluence can instantly be reversed. Losers may ultimately win. Meek may inherit it all. Accursed advantages will fall when they no longer resist what used to persist. Nevertheless, Congress fallaciously bankrolls tycoons, who they figure can make good use of extorted revenue, reckon educators fail to graduate enough innovators to make grants worthwhile, resent welfare that keeps alive those upon whom tycoons tread, and shrug off what this half-century snafu did: Cause the largest gap between poverty and wealth ever. Look for a time when they begin collecting and eliminating what’s deselected and marginalized, such as bicycles or splinter group members. An informed public wouldn’t comply with whims of psychopaths in power, so teachers face increasingly bigger barriers. State policies typically ensure life’s a chore and majority suffers. Already, you must earn health insurance money or pay a hefty fine you can’t afford.

Heartfelt expressions can get around globe in an instant, yet mostly go ignored, or, worse, invite retaliation. You'd think but wrongly assume that net gains from Internet exceed losses. Literally tons of computers, e-pads, smartphones and tablets were sold based on access to it. But slave labor assembles all this merchandise. Frauds, gambles and scams cost billions, not to mention diminishing corporate profits from employee distraction. Billions more are spent on paltry pleasures and popular porn that profits only a few, never populations as a whole. Tobacco alone after profits results in a net loss of $200 billion per year. Businesses and government figure they can cut costs if posting ads and forms to websites, though salaries have to be paid to do so, and 25% of population can’t connect, particularly elderly. If cash can be called a tool for retirees, it resembles an axe collecting dust or rust out of mind and sight. As a fruit of labor, someone else - bankers, doctors, insurers, lawyers, nursing homes directors - squeezes its juice and steals your use. You might be better off giving it to your family and spending it to make a memory.

For WWW to fulfill its informational promise, users would need to mine facts presented and perform analyses, as has Labann while building blog and defining bicycling culture. One can hope that observed facts could be amassed into postulates that serve some higher purpose: Eliminate waste, end war, foster rights, increase understanding, save lives, or work wisely. Smarter folks can join list servers for academic and scientific discussion and use to achieve progress. Too bad boring chatter, false claims, junk science, and profit motives bury useful information. POTUS calls actual but adverse news fake, and uses social media to dupe gullible masses and shape favorable opinions.

Ignore copy studded with words ending with suffix “tion”, so many they supply a plethora of cheap rhymes for nauseating poets. Pronounced “shun”, that’s what reader should do, avoid like viral contagion. Beware of bold pronouncements with no logical narrative. Maybe author didn't go through process of thinking statement through; then again, maybe author did and spared you labor of sorting through details. Anyone might associate ah-ha moments with unrelated facts, suggest causality where none exists, or whip up passions for nonsense. Be assured that Top-Ten appraisals overlook thousands of better picks not being forcibly publicized.

Continual exposure to narcissists, paranoids and schizophrenics inflicts normal people with inhibiting anxieties. Take xenophobia: Immigrants do bring challenges and costs, but nation was entirely populated by refugees and their progeny. Uniting amicably is what Americans do, to a fault. Nation’s generosity may be taken for granted by recent arrivals who say they’d rather be in motherland whence they came. Lunatics who pay no taxes or provide no services complain the most. Being aware and assuming tasks define adulthood, but not necessarily wisdom, which pieces together puzzles.

“What it is…" another phrase with multiple meanings: Defines "it", or implies, "Is what it is," or spouts, "How things are." Both blameworthy, ethical and lingual points conspire to launch debacles. Rephrased, "What is it?" betrays annoyance and impatience. Issues surround word "is" because A doesn't equal but might be substituted for B. You can usually pinpoint subtle lies and useless quotes by their use of the word “is". “No man is an island.” Well, duh, no ocean or peninsula is, either. Donne does go on to qualify, but probably would’ve saved time and showed mercy getting straight to his point: Humans are social animals with interdependencies. When right wing media mercenaries, “Tell it like it is,” with righteous vehemence, disregard their bullshit that strictly supports their own interests. They rabidly outgain you because they they sell out to power lust, and wantonly abandon morality though never just. Once they’re comfortably numb, damage has been done, and status strata settles in.

For those who see problems clearly and tackle goals earnestly, bicycling and plain living answer some of world’s issues. Spike in gasoline prices and Spring's arrival (at last) encourage more bike commuting and cost saving. Yet aimless motoring clogs highways all day, while alert bicycling reveals a beleaguered environment of felled trees, general devastation, and senseless litter, which represent no small percentage of motoring’s untold costs. Urge to choose easy route and team with oblivious despoilers weighs heaviest on those who sacrifice for mutual well-being. Neither saint nor sinner by however you define such terms, you’ll make compromises for which you’re not proud. Tax breaks for bike commuters and do-gooders get lost in haste to bail out banks and endow enterprises that suck planet dry. But touchy readers rather not be reminded of obvious villainy unless related to racing or touring, usual topics for bicycle blogs and books, and that you’ll only tell your mom or someone who cares. High minded, mighty intended opinions influence few, provoke ire, and surely invite vengeance among office holders and scofflaw followers, whom you primarily targeted because they vie with criminals as worst examples.

Freedom versus responsibility, theme of Bike&Chain, describes mankind’s core struggle. To take stock on wooden ambitions, you don’t advocate, do right, and fight good fight to earn gold stars on some heavenly tote board or sidestep vicious spiral to hell in twilight. No, you decide daily on weighty matters, some of which you’re unable to resolve or unaware exist. You can improve own effectiveness by doing your job, living to a code, paying attention, or shouldering unwanted tasks. But with whose rules do you comply? Never cease to be delighted and surprised by bikes for Africa, charities that work, disaster responses, doctors without borders, moms putting children’s needs before their own, salvation army, and soup kitchens. Whenever altruism arises to address real issues, world breathes a bit easier.

“The saint inspires the vitality of all lives, without holding back. He nurtures all beings with no wish to take possession of. He devotes all his energy but has no intention to hold on to the merit. When success is achieved, he seeks no recognition… Words of truth are not pleasing. Pleasing words are not truthful. The wise one does not argue.” Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapters 2 & 81

Monday, April 16, 2018

White Reign

Can you embrace bicycling culture without cultivating a comparative attitude? If you ever doubt automotive culture dominates, tune into NASCAR, its exact opposite. Contrast competitive intensity of Talladega 500 to Tour de France; although both border on glory and insanity, over five hundred crew members, drivers, and spectators died in stateside motor races since 1994, while worldwide around one hundred cyclists died (no spectators) in road and velodrome races since 1894. Numbers exclude training on roads, never captured for drivers but mere dozens of pro cyclists. So, global versus national for over 5 times longer from among equal numbers of participants, one fifth as many from pelaton died. Said Reece Bobby in Talledega Nights, “You’ve gotta learn to drive with the fear… if you're scared, that beautiful death machine will do what God made it to do, namely, eat you with a smile." Annually, ratio of civilian fatalities is 50:1. Motor crashes claim 3,287 lives daily around the world, 90% of which occur in third world countries despite much fewer vehicles.

An estimated $1 trillion was invested in films during 20th Century, versus $10 trillion invested every 10 years on US highways, a multiple of 100, rife with corruption, with only a small portion actually going to construction. Roads provide emergency routes, sustaining lifelines, vital connections, so seem a higher priority and sold as a no-brainer among the cruel who rule and steal revenue from rubes they fool. Lion’s share goes to interstate boondoggles that mostly restrict to motorists alone, not minor upkeep of secondaries and side streets used by everyone. Once a year do they sweep them, spot repair potholes only after numerous complaints. Inadequate bikeways serve drivers better by getting cyclists out of their way, though fail everyone where traffic is thickest and will to build weakest.

Films do fill a psychological need, though not all and whether they satisfy can be debated at best. Many inventions first appear in articles, books or scripts that later become marketable innovations that drive industry and fund road creation and movie production. Storytellers, however, are not obligated to originate ideas for others to exploit, or please audiences even. Although ordinarily ignored, reminders of responsibilities also signify. One might argue that democracy owes everything to cranks with complaints, discontents who dismiss status quo, dissidents who for an answer won’t take no.

Appeals to one’s better self go unheard unless recipient has health or interest enough to notice and react. Getting along isn't even easy among relatives. Millions cherish family animals and despise human neighbors. Prisons are full because cretins don’t know that smacking others around might kill them and solves nothing. Greed, hate and stupidity underlie today's worst evils, but where do they come from? Obviously, no one source can be blamed, but can be categorized under nature, nurture and society’s demands. Neurochemistry looms large, as late doctor Oliver Sachs spent a career exploring and relaying. “It is so geared to one’s proprioception, one’s movements and postures, that it responds almost like part of one’s own body. Bike and rider become a single, indivisible entity; it is very much like riding a horse. A car cannot become part of one in quite the same way.”

Within epidemic deficiencies of magnesium, niacin and vitamin D, little wonder you run into few smarter than you. Lack of oxygen to brain causes dementia. Frequent gentle exercise and proper diet do boost mood and lead to tolerance necessary to coexist in a crowded world. Bicycling can fill half of this bill. But breeding, budget, current events, traumas, and upbringing also incite and inspire behavior. Some can’t pay to eat much else than 4 for $1 boiled ramen bricks or canned tomato soup. Fresh vegetables and lean meats cost more than other items sold at markets and what majority can afford. Poverty forces consumption of empty calories from fast food, pasta and potatoes. Combine with birth defects, sleep deficits, substance abuse, and suffering that urgency for earning imposes, one shouldn't doubt these detriments affect cooperation, judgment, reason, and socialization.

New season begun, get up and go glow of vernal dawns arrives on cue as if a clue to renew. People associate bicycling with wellness. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion shows 2 images of bicyclists to the exclusion of all else under "Our Initiatives" for adults and children. They evaluated myriad approaches and maintain cycling and walking are both popular and safe compared to, for example, organized sports. For subscribers New York Times published a free guide on lowering carbon footprint. If past articles are any indication, self propulsion doesn't bear mention. Some would argue that what individuals do doesn't rate, since profit motivated businesses easily negate. Human beings outnumber business entities 165,000:1; only together will issues be addressed.

Surmised a doctor by those who don’t personally know despite repeated denial, Labann descended from same West European roots considered by bigots to be the dominant race, except has a vampire hairline, especially toward end of a hairy long winter of trying to stay warm, remnant of some East European genes on paternal grandmother's side. Didn’t donate DNA for ancestry to be approximated and later used as evidence of crime, but may have Asian or Native genes as well. Did pursue a premedical track as an undergraduate, and do work in health sector, but unqualified to give any advice or treat illnesses. Films favor Anglo-Saxon monsters, not so midgets or natives, a practice called racist and damned as white privilege.

Bicyclists must sometimes abide but seldom welcome white rain in April, white reign presumption, or willful prejudice from wherever it comes. More than once rode in hail, rain, sleet and snow, but wouldn’t call it preferable. Bullies label anyone a snowflake who doesn’t share their selfish biases and smash/snatch sensibilities. Nod to Tolkien for imagining little people as heroes who did what no great power could against the gravest evil, but also for warning how war will ensnare earth’s entire population. Greatness recognizes how everyone contributes. Pettiness picks disparities and thereby pits combatants.

Black rise, red resurgence, yellow peril? Among races white percentage has always been low. Only 11.4% are Europeans, 3% fewer than Africans. Asians make up 60.3% of inhabitants. Twice as many Mongoloids of East Asia including Chinese join nearly thrice as many native races in North Africa, South/West Asia, and South Pacific Islands along with aboriginal Australians. Southern Italians descended from both Africans and Europeans. Romans were once planet's most cosmopolitan people. Black 1.3 billion equals about 20% of world's total population, so outnumber whites, however you choose to define. Aryan Nation would have you believe they belong to an exclusive sovereignty and white supremacy makes sense, when races who outnumber this minority on a global scale did all the heavy lifting. Slavery has been abolished. Civilization runs better without it. Women, more than half of world population, can be entrepreneurs, hold jobs, outcompete men, run for office, and vote based on gender. Really, human is the only race.

Mark Horst, Boys on Bicycles No. 1, Oil on Canvas—For me, painting is a practice of seeing the world as it is—rather than how I’d like it to be or how I think it should be… pay attention to rhythms and patterns and shapes and colors and emotions and gestures—all these gifts surrounding me.

Apartheid persisted in South Africa for almost 5 decades until Mandela took steps to overcome it. Next year marks 25 years since securing freedom from 146 patently unfair, race restrictive laws. Equality for black, Indian, mixed and native people has dispelled fears upon which this policy was founded and sold. Yet anywhere today you can barely discuss race without inflaming resentment and inviting retaliation.

Recent Oscar winner Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, dir., 2017) precisely illustrates these points. When officials treat newly discovered creature with xenophobic cruelty, it lashes back with equivalent violence. When maid shows loving care, it responds with life saving transformation. But how do you measure intention? Beasts present ferocity for self defense. Some eat family members. Best of relations can get too intense. Tolerance has bilateral limits. Balance, compromise, not appeasement, saves lives and smoothes settlement.

Director Kathryn Bigelow's historical film Detroit debuted on the 50th anniversary of Algiers Motel Incident and dramatizes race riots of mid-1960's. Depicts that 1st thing stolen when looting began was a bicycle, despite fact that everyone seems to be smoking and stealing cartons of cigarettes, too. Because deemed indispensable, alcohol, bicycles, drugs and tobacco serve as currency when civil order collapses. Motown music did much to obtain civil rights as amateur artists struck it big in concerts and recordings. Reveals how desperate ruling class became once freedom extended to all, but not even close to con artists, robo-callers, and telemarketers, urged by example of relentless hucksters and politicians, who indiscriminately plague email and voice messages even if you never answer.

Angry white gangs have staged a comeback in opposition of Afro, Asian, Latin and Russian rivals. Easy to gather hate groups through any excuse: hair length, kind of tattoos, original neighborhood, school attended, skin shade, or whatnot. Note that each, rather than extremes, exist on a continuum of varying degrees, levels, and moves. Everyone unique, you’re more alike than different, but too many figure you’ll take pride and torment others based on categories someone else concocts, particularly religions. Being beaten and tortured leads to Stockholm Syndrome where victim joins oppressor, so science doesn’t always make logical sense. Those who blindly do the same become only a pawn in their game, a polarized puppet without free will and ultimately to blame.

Today was Jackie Robinson Day, when 71 years ago #42 first broke Major League Baseball's ban on players of color, with all proceeds from games going to his namesake foundation. Tomorrow locally is Frost Free Day, after which residents can expect blossoms to swell, leaves to form, and warmth to spread. Should instead represent an end to dominant ice and resurgence of impartiality. Some will celebrate 75th anniversary of Bicycle Day on 19 April 2018. Earth Day arrives on Friday, 20 April 2018, as good a reason as any to go outside and grasp belonging by taking a bike ride. Honest to goodness earth awareness acknowledges social fairness. Mankind constitutes a facet of nature at odds with itself. You don’t have to join blindly, waste alongside, or wrestle with devils. Those who tread lightly learn how little they need. Bike-to-Work Day follows on Friday, 18 May 2018, always the 3rd Friday in May. Even if you’re retired or unemployed, why not take a spin? Going by bike celebrates one’s continued vitality.

'Twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon… this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [intellect] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full? Obliged to you for hearing me… ain’t got nothing more to say. Abolitionist and Suffragette Sojourner Truth, “Ain't I A Woman?” 1851 Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio

Saturday, March 24, 2018

You’s A Captain

In cult classic, Vietnam War era film Easy Rider, Wyatt (Peter Fonda) rides a chrome sparkled, star spangled chopper. Both he and motorcycle are nicknamed Captain America. This harks back to Jack Kirby’s comic book character (debuted March, 1941), who began in Brooklyn as abused candy-ass Steve Rogers to become colossal as USA’s captain, champion of freedom against tyranny with a singular obsession enabled by top secret steroids, a la antihero Lance Armstrong. Kirby received death threats for opposing Nazis before nation’s involvement in WWII; when premier issue featured Cap socking Hitler, cartoon offices were picketed and vandalized by splinter group goons. Democratic majority praised and purchased copies in droves.

A gulf exits between patriotic devotion and undeserving administration with no clue as to what that means. Soldiers lay down their lives for ingrates who don’t value their sacrifice; back from Nam, they were noticeably reviled, spit upon, when nationalism, Nixon, and noxious warhawks in congress were responsible. Sometimes powerful states need to mind their own business, not violate sovereignty because of misguided vanity, really an excuse to make a small cadre a disgusting mound of money.

In Easy Rider, fireside rap under glittering desert skies hears George (Jack Nicholson) foreshadow, “This used to be a hell of a good country, I can’t understand what’s going on with it… What you [hippie bikers] represent to them is freedom… Talking about and being it are two different things… Oh yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom, but they see a free individual, it's gonna scare ‘em." Billy (Dennis Hopper): “Mmmm, well, that don't make 'em runnin' scared.” George: “No, it makes 'em dangerous.” Billy, George and Wyatt all wind up dead because of this stranger danger with typical reactionary hate.

According to Marvel Comics, fictional Captain America was born on 04 July 1918. He did spend 70 years frozen after an Arctic crash and was revived in 2008, coincidently with publication of Bike&Chain, then recruited as the first Avenger, though was already the original in suspended animation. In his 90th year girlfriend Sharon Carter, under sway of nemesis Red Skull, attempted to assassinate him, only he was sent into another dimension and subsequently resurrected as head of SHIELD, where Cap will celebrate his 100th birthday this summer still defending liberty by wielding his vibranium buckler embossed with a central star and tricolor circles. After storyline controversially strayed through an affiliation with evil, Cap has a renewed fanbase. Hail Hydra… heinous nonsense! Congress today stinks of same red skullduggery and treasonous treachery. Corruption not only exhibits a bad example and sends wrong message, it steals your future and undermines security for the most vulnerable.

Among holidays, Labann not only favors the Fourth, but many summers ago rode his own Captain America bike on Independence Day, as depicted in Companion Reader, “Ever Was” (March 3, 2010). Easy Rider was an enormous influence, since it instilled a distrust of capitalism and lifelong inquiry into freedom and responsibility, fork in life’s road, mutually opposed paths, and thematic metaphor of Bike&Chain. So, blessing or curse, Captain America personally aligns with own notion of bicycling culture, though character racing about righting wrongs would likely be depicted on a motorcycle or jet, perhaps powered by alien cube or environmentally clean energy.

The very term has many bicycling associations: Tandem Captain, Team Captain, Wheelmen Captains who organized local clubs and meets over a century ago. Athletes might represent nation by wearing a Captain America skinsuit. Stem Captains can be retrofit onto bikes to present conspicuously clocks, compasses, thermometers, even tiny Captain America decorative shields, though made of aluminum, not imaginary vibranium, which absorbs all shock and is allegedly indestructible, so overkill for a small round spot atop handlebars.

Captain Gerard’s folding bike, among first practical examples, was adopted by French army in WWI. Gerard had an idea, but needed clever engineers to realize and Cycles Peugeot to manufacture, and publicized as his own, so promoted himself into an actual captain’s commission. Peugeot’s factory team won more Tour de France races, 10, than any other sponsor. As late as 1955, they produced more bicycles per year, 220,000, than cars, having by then just reached 100,000th to date. Interest in bikes steadily declined in decade before 1970’s boom. Fairdale bike brand was allegedly named after Captain James Alibaster Fairdale, who doggedly but unsuccessfully attempted to cross Arctic ice shield and reach North Pole by bicycle. Billy, George and Wyatt barely crossed America’s comparatively balmy winter Southwest en route in reverse to New Orleans, only to be beaten savagely and gunned down on the road to freedom.

As popular and relevant today as ever, Captain America wouldn’t be rallying for MAGA. You can be sure that proponents aren't sincere in Making America Great Again since they exclude segments of population and pit one group against another, not promote social justice, wage equality, or women’s rights. Any political vision within which all can’t thrive can’t be trusted by anyone. Even if you benefit at first, you’ll be next to fall when winds shift.

Should be no need to recount The 4 Freedoms: from tyranny and want, of religion and speech. Nowhere on earth are these baseline ideals fully advocated and enforced. Sacred by United Nations sanction, entire world needs to attend their application and protection, differentiate between affirmative action and insincere mention. Advice arrives via motives of authority and avarice. Acquiescing, you’ll give up while weaklings steal your vitality, take what’s yours, and walk all over you. A lone hero arranging own deal, incessantly training for inevitable battle, will forever hold appeal though nothing but an ephemeral illusion fostered by moments of fame for both do-gooders and public menaces alike. Freedom can only be secured through cooperation built on mutual trust, not negligent allegiance.

Related songs include Captain America by Jimmy Buffet, Grand Funk Railroad’s biggest hit I’m Your Captain, beloved by disillusioned, homesick Vietnam vets, and Ride Captain Ride by one hit wonder Blues Image, which could almost be a bicycling tune after avid cyclist Trey Anastasio with Phish covered. Each beats cornball Star Spangled Man with a Plan, meant to imitate 1930’s Broadway show tunes centenarian centurion Steve Rogers might remember as a teen.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Full of Frangipane

Formal Latin was the main written language in western civilization up to beginning of last millennium, then various vulgate works gradually emerged. No mystery that many literary terms come from Italy with such important poets in Dante, Horace, Ovid, Petrarch and Virgil, though they all were influenced by Homeric Greek, from which bulk of poetic glossary arose. Italian language provided anaphora, Ars Poetica, chiasmus, dactyl, decorum, futurism, persona, sonnet, stanza, terza rima, and volta. Romans also spread pastry confections common around Mediterranean since antiquity, none so perennial or ubiquitous in late winter as zeppole (Bignè di San Giuseppe) consisting of a baked or fried ball of dough filled with boiled cream, custard, or frangipane, a mixture of almonds, butter, eggs and sugar named after “frangere il pane” (trans., "that breaks bread") or Italian renaissance perfume inventor Marquis Frangipani, who may or may not be mythical.

Poetry reaches a higher level of expression than simple narration because its rules and styles force authors to carefully consider and construct what they want to say. This leads to such oddities as double entendres, facades of truth, and statements with depth of meaning. Suffice to say a great poet uses sound waves to pluck your heart strings and shape your sensibilities as if an ultrasonic weapon. Society venerates poets above scientists. Novelists concoct thinly veiled tales about acquaintances and family, who they exploit, insult, and oust.

Labann spent an entire, enviable, paid career contributing to improvements and imparting weighty facts, so does know perfectly well how to avoid ambiguities. But book and blog sought balance by exploring what opposes clarity and whether readers consider it ethical to do so. Most don't value logical facts or straightforward truth. Some even believe simplicity belongs under banner of metaphysics. Science does exhibit elegance: energy equals mass times the velocity of light squared. More often branches of science form a confusing, dangerous tangle resulting from narrow minded neglect and next generation incompetence.

You can’t cogently comment on anything unless you understand all aspects of it, its history, how it works, what it’s comprised of, whence it was derived, to whom it applies, or who keeps it going and why. A devote billion prefer fish on Fridays during Lent, since symbol of Christianity was once a fish, not cross. Information traffic won’t help you conveniently get through issues, just the opposite, raises blockades and stifles progress. Without, you might as well be running around dangerously carrying razors and scissors, though that amuses those who dominate, so will never be prohibited. When you expose such corruption, however, you’re branded as a heretic, or it’s equivalent in a godless realm, a nobody, or, under Trump, a loser.

Tim Keider opined in New York Times that writing suffers from, “…a side effect of our information economy, in which ‘paying for things’ is a quaint, discredited old 20th-century custom.” Open source published, as was Bike&Chain in 2008, probably flags either couldn’t be bothered pleasing or not worth purchasing. Neither proves it’s inferior or unimportant, only free, atypically and completely. Students can lift passages wholesale, though that only exercises newfound skills at cheating, not imaging novel ways to express self that professors were supposed to teach before higher education lost all relevance. Liberal arts once rounded hell bound workers out so well they could see through greed’s spell and ultimately rebel. Readers lately fear any arrangement where they don’t pay an internet access fee to be disappointed, stupefied while mining some sanctioned nugget of wit, and threatened never to duplicate contents under fear of lawsuit.

Talent has no place in today’s society. Reality dabbler Mike Rowe, interviewed yesterday by Fox News, belittled Americans for not submitting to dirty jobs for low pay, a master/slave wet dream of the one-percent to whom Rob Reich says went an inordinate amount of proceeds from industry since Nixon administration and source of social injustice and systemic ills today. They argue there are too many smart, unemployable people; reality proves there aren’t enough. Hawking wasn't irrelevant, represented the best mankind had to offer by defying ALS and lasting 76 years against all odds. Stephen held same post as Sir Issac Newton without knighthood, which he declined in protest against British shortfall in science funding. Blind or impaired, humans never stop dreaming, exploring, pressing ever onward, unless monetary concerns put them in prison cells. Subsidized statesmen and wealthiest individuals demand excellence without duty to pay for it. Why comply?

South Carolina Governor Hank McMaster [even sounds like a scion of slave owners] called teens protesting gunmen killing kids “shameful”. Some hidebound bircher, orthodox, right wing email must have been circulated so response would be uniformly reactionary. Gun control seems like a strange stance for GOP, who already command farmers, hunters, law enforcers, military, and ranchers, the only legitimate weapon users. Why wouldn’t they want to disarm opposition? Only care about campaign contributions, damn mayhem and murder?

There’s not much point to owning handguns and rifles if you spend all your time in a city. Where can you shoot without hitting someone inadvertently within population density? Sure, you can occasionally show up at a rural or suburban range, or stockpile weapons for some hypothetical zombie apocalypse. You could also rent a shotgun whenever urge to subjugate any clay pigeons arises, if ever. Rand Paul can’t condone any nanny state who wants to deny donuts dripping with transfats or interfere with friends frantically stuffing their faces with frangipane filled pastries while preparing for a dystopia of their own making.

“Long and weary my road has been. I was lost in the cities, alone in the hills… Friends and liars, don't wait for me, I'll get on all by myself. I put millions of miles under my heels, and still too close to you I feel. I am not your rolling wheels, I Am the Highway.” Audioslave, Chris Cornell [who died suspiciously in 2017, soon after performing this song in an anti-inaugural protest concert]

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Puttin’ Vitrain

From ash of a particular type of coal called vitrain, optical engineers extract germanium dioxide (GeO2) and put it in with silicon dioxide to produce superior night vision goggle lenses, thus expose secretive doings in the night half way around world. Caught red handed, courses a scoundrel may take are to defect, deflect, demand more, deny, outright lie, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” or plead guilty to being a geopolitical puppet and resign. Why not sell out after sinking personal millions into sketchy Russian investments? Betrayers can survive bitter vitriol, if any. Benedict Arnold, a name synonymous with traitor, got off scot free except for his vile revolutionary legacy.

Nation’s last president and tyrannical successor can be distinguished by one glaring disparity: While the former was grateful to assume such an august role in history, the latter expects such privileges after a lifetime of gratifying self at expense of suckers. After all, casino owners prey on addicts, as do drug dealers, flesh peddlers, and other vampires. Bankers and organized criminals extort small businessmen, who’ve invested family’s future and life savings into job creation. Under Dummy Bush, office of POTUS forfeited power, lost luster, yet presents a potent aphrodisiac for the cognitively impotent. Despite any executive end run, Senate calls shots dictated by gun, oil and sugar lobbies. A lame chief with no mandate upsets no corrupt apple cart. Manly walk and tough talk don’t measure up with what constituents want: effective leadership and public service. Everyone groans over how candidates make promises but renege once elected. Few disclose root causes of a diabetes epidemic, environmental toxicity, or violent civilian deaths. Anyone who does is deemed loser and shouted down.

Apathetic Americans avoid involvement at all costs, settle into some nondescript role, turn their blind eyes away. “What can I do about it, anyway?” This question probably has a thousand answers, some of which Kipchoge Spencer pointed out: Altruistically aid, bargain collectively, boycott bad practices, buy from local producers, picket, protest, and/or ride a bicycle for peace, instead of sling around angry tonnage because you’re told to. The Bicycle Opera Project composed and performed Sweat, which, “Demands better transparency in the fast fashion chain,” deplores a thousand dead in a Bangladesh clothing factory collapse, and supports local sustainable manufacture. This Toronto troop gets around by bike to underscore their commitment. Ground might give way above played out coal mines sometimes. Social justice issues abound when you’re the slightest bit aware.

Easy to perceive what’s wrong, point fingers, and propose options suiting own interests. Netroots underestimate what they’re up against. Billions are spent annually on promoting not only corporate output but sanctioned lifestyles. Most believe they already possess choices and rights, since laws exist to protect communities. They’re often wrong. A war against quality, reliability, safety and value operates in stealth mode, often aided inadvertently by effete opposition. Competition for consumer loyalty has become extinct with lax enforcement of antitrust laws. Billionaires preside over monopolies that tell you what to buy and think. A few makers produce many brands.

You could pay closer attention, perform required analyses, and pinpoint sources, but you'll waste a lot of time deriving what you already know about heartless narcissists in office rigging game, so why torture yourself? As a result of incessant conditioning and lack of caring whether anyone earns a wage, those who can’t participate might buy assault weapons and kill easy targets, since they can’t access their real enemies or comprehend who they are. Confusion, doubts, rivals, sheiks, stockholders, warlords?

Enough of simplistic explanations, not all corporations contribute to malaise. Some are small, exert negligible influence. Most produce life’s requisites and serve real needs using resources available. Majority just manage to maintain staff, post profits, stay solvent, and undertake thankless drudgery. As always, a few give rest a bad name, but those who silently abide monsters are ultimately to blame.

Worldwide, about 40% of electricity comes from burning coal, none pollution free. Peat represents a pre-lignite carbon fuel, precursor to million year old coal, as plentiful as it is risky to mine, source of Beijing’s and London’s cliché smog and widespread asthma and pneumoconiosis. Many generating plants stateside were built new or converted to burning methane, which doesn't create as much atmospheric CO2 and particulates. Some deride solar arrays and wind farms as tax credit boondoggles, though they do harvest energy cleanly by comparison, so warrant subsidies. Ironically, China suffers the worse smog, but supplies the most solar panels. A layer of GeO2 improves solar cell efficiency.

Clean coal technology has yet to be proven on a large scale, rather results in acid rain and, ironically, atmospheric cooling due to sulphur dioxide emissions, which increase fish kill, groundwater and lake acidity, and related problems. Current coal fired electric plants also account for 3% of carbon dioxide buildup and add to greenhouse effect. Weather wherever you are began elsewhere; what you personally do to reduce carbon footprint won’t slow hurricane or tornado winds from wiping you out. It’s almost like policy makers figure sulphur effects kick global warming down the road, something they’ve routinely done with budgets concerns. Print more money, by all means, because taxpayers are gluttons for punishing debt and hardly care if next generation inherits annihilation.

Senator Don Coram (R) of Colorado introduced a state bill to ban coal rolling, that is, expelling (usually diesel) vehicle exhaust so as to obscure vision of another driver, any bicyclist, or nearby pedestrians, awaiting addition to volumes of unenforceable laws, though all but motorist inconvenience seems a conservative afterthought. Though unrelated to coal itself, name was based on dense smoke it belches, through which bicyclist/filmmaker Elisabeth Reinkordt coughed, “Someone with a motorized weapon wanted to prove their dominance over me,” thereby rankling cagers. How is such rudeness not a form of rape? Wallahs in East India desperate for rupees load up bicycles and push bags of stolen coal to market. Any talk of choosing coal energy over clean sources represents a last resort and step backward. Or is it more evidence of civilization unraveling? Destination unknown, nobody seems to know how to conduct trek without harm or waste.

With Daylight Savings springing ahead on Sunday upcoming, this nonsensical practice, specifically begun to conserve coal, celebrates its 100th anniversary. Numerous studies conclude twice yearly switches disrupt transportation, heighten risks of heart attacks and strokes, hike crime rate, impact circadian rhythm, increase bicyclist and pedestrian accidents, and shift depressive episodes and suicides into high gear. One thing it doesn’t do is save energy. Had gotten comfortable with biking to work in daylight, but will have to flex to a later hour. Clocks everywhere ought to read whatever time it is along the neutral international date line in the middle of Pacific Ocean; mankind could then acclimatize and standardize.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Peat by Slane

You cut no chill on a treeless moor if you don’t slice peat in previous Spring with a slane, a flat short spade with or without wings designed to form combustible bricks out of compressed swamp muck, something of a last resort when you've depleted forest. Stoves usually burn equivalent sawn and split wood, which has become a costly commodity, unless you happen to own a wooded lot. Unlike coal or crude oil formed over eons, peat and wood are slowly renewable resources, just plant and wait a few centuries. Plentiful garbage and sewerage are easier to recycle, but would incur costs nobody wants. They'd rather destroy neighborhoods with fracking and refining what little is left of petroleum.

Hypothetically, anything from which you can release energy, including pedaling, can be converted to or stored as electricity, which, thanks to Edison, Tesla, et. al., can be harnessed to handle almost any task effectively. This rates high among history’s most amazing developments, a billion people cooperating toward an energy policy and labor savings. People gathering resources and providing services made it all possible. You’d think such impressive results would inspire individuals to cooperate all the more. But you can never rely on just one technology. For example, reliance on oil will end catastrophically. Electricity uses precious metals on cusp of shortfall. Cheats, egomaniacs and opportunists negate enthusiasm.

Colleges confer higher degrees upon whoever endows or pays. Doesn’t guarantee intelligence. Among other stupid practices, companies make it almost impossible to deal with them. You may dread going to a dentist, yet it’s still preferable to dealing with cable providers, energy utilities, government agencies, insurance underwriters, or other monopolies. You immediately seek out any alternative. Restaurants and Starbucks dole out decreasing points for shrinking rewards, so it’s no longer worth the effort and resentment sends you to honest competitors. A local roaster offers a free cup of coffee with a pound purchase, not some snarky lure that takes 25 or more purchases to earn one over course of a year with points expiring before you can collect. Neither savvy nor shrewd suggest smart. Quite the opposite, only mutual benefit and resource preservation instill trust and make life better. Greedy profit motives collectively doom everyone, drive majority crazy, and foster domestic terrorism.

Luxury car dealers love drug dealers. For both bling is their thing, not communal sharing. Every year drug users, who nationwide number over a hundred million, nearly half as many as motorists (120 versus 220), die due to over/wrong doses, 7 times as often as crash casualties, nearly one user per hundred versus one driver in seven hundred. Such fatalities generally fall into categories of cardiovascular collapse or suicide. It confirms that taking drugs rates among the riskiest of behaviors, though doping and driving are extremely popular and aren’t mutually exclusive. Yet pharmaceuticals designed to increase alertness or protect heart may actually avoid as many accidents and they cause, not so opioids and painkillers proscribed when operating heavy equipment with inherent bone-crushing momentum.

The least liked and most avoided activity is digging through detail and hype hoping to discover what’s crucial to you. Most fail to see how interconnected everything can be and what happens elsewhere when something nearby gets nudged. Butterfly Effect does occur, but so does Pareto Analysis to dismiss marginal and focus on major influences. Filtering out irrelevant distractions has always been a key to efficiency. Boldface lies, false conclusions, selfish opinions, and smoke screens supplant steady science. Between incessant change and swift pace, there isn’t enough time these days to make informed decisions. Unqualified to try, people let others choose and suffer consequences of being exploited by charlatans, cons, experts, frauds, and scammers. Note how “fast” describes both loyal pals and unfaithful women. Trust is hard to bestow. If trade seems good, go with quid pro quo, though it's too easy to donate possessions and sacrifice life pointlessly. Coalitions seldom last, plans don’t always meet forecast, so you must sometimes go with the flow.

Despite cycling season on horizon, this misanthrope no longer arranges meets, joins cyclists who vary pace, paints arrows at turns, repairs bikes, socializes nicely, or warms to whatnot revolving around riding with others. In a society potentially connected as never before, corporations condition you to choose solitude because it leaves you vulnerable to expenses and inconveniences from which they profit. However, Labann’s decision to abstain more has to do with lapses in etiquette. For those who might consider group riding:
—Assess own handling skills and health fitness before imposing a burden.
—Be prepared, bike repaired, bring spare tubes and tools specific to your equipment.
—Beware of poorly designed routes with unanticipated hazards.
—Control your descents, stay single file, tap brakes before you straddle leading wheel.
—Cross together at stop lights or signs; otherwise follow traffic code and occupy right third of lane.
—Employ hand signs: going left, letting pass, right turning, stopping (left hand extended, waving, held up, or held down, respectively), and watch out below (left or right hand circling and pointing downward)… nice to be warned of glass, grates and potholes when you can’t see through cyclist directly ahead.
—Expect certain meets to represent no-drop, stay together rambles, versus cutthroat races, self-paced cruises, or solo challenges. You forfeit commitment if you don’t stick with posse with whom you arrived.
—Maintain separation downhill; merge again at bottom.
—Remember that cycling can impact judgment, impair senses, loosen tongue.
—Say nothing; nobody wants advice, encouragement, or intimacy, though audible warnings like, “Car back,” or, “Watch out,” might save lives.
—Suspect anyone who’d join you as someone with issues not worth analyzing or overlooking.
—Take your turn at head of paceline; tow trailers into headwinds, not totally suck slipstream all day.

Some blog entries seem better than others. Insights often pass faster than one can capture. Making every effort to avoid, sometimes nevertheless repeat self. Stuff happens despite best intentions. Authors parade details then tie up disparities at the end, thus hold attention for as long as possible. Readers expect to ignore journey and jump to conclusion, thus save time for pleasure. Bicyclists understand destinations don't matter, it's the ride itself. Truth never changes, rears its head whenever it wants, remains forever the same, unlike leaders, nations, religions or terrains. Earth will eventually restore itself, but humans can’t wait that long. Only good stewardship that resists global despoilment will save mankind from extinction. When settlers first clambered through Franconia Notch and noticed The Great Stone Face, they expected it to be eternal. Motorists once drove for hours to get a glimpse of it perched high above; later bicyclists, self included, slogged up a twisty bike path. Yet just a few hundred years later it collapsed. Automotive pollution? All mountains fall down to the sea eventually for reasons you don’t know fully. Truth outlasts everything.

Deceivers run and ruin everything for deluded masses who think a vote equals democracy. Grass roots stumpers vying for offices cut turf, by which they mean plotting campaign routes for door-to-door canvassers. Slaning peat is a cultural artifact reoccurring each May, bicycle month. Cut turf, keep a straight face, or sod off. Takes teamwork: bunker peels back overburden, diggers both apply slanes, hanker transfers deep cuts upward, loader fills barrow, while wheeler pushes barrow to stackers. For the personal purpose of reducing worker wages, billionaire brothers funded an individual's case before Supreme Court long since settled that would deny closed union shops. Greed left unchecked would assuredly increase social injustice and wealth inequality. Yet unions have lost all credibility after milking paychecks for decades and securing no new benefits, which caused membership to shrink from 35% to 5% of workforce. Forget unions, what's at stake is collective bargaining upon which middle class is founded.

If you put in requisite effort and raise right questions, you can drain quagmires that liars create, thus a little warmth generate. This desperate harvest of peat merits contemplation. Wonder whether whiskey distillers in a Slane stable or World’s Friendliest Bike Shop would approve.

“I wonder, if everything could ever feel this real forever, if anything could ever be this good again. The only thing I'll ever ask of you, you’ve got to promise not to stop when I say when.” David Grohl, Foo Fighters, Everlong (about overdose victim Kurt Cobain, performed live at Slane Castle and when David Letterman returned to Late Night after heart bypass surgery)