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)

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