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Monday, August 27, 2012

Once Strong

Was a bad week for those named Armstrong. The first human ever to step foot on extraterrestrial soil dies, and Texas Johnny gives up fight to retain claim to another unprecedented accomplishment, winning 7 Tour de Frances.

Americans paid respect to quintessential spaceman Neil Armstrong. During the Summer of Love, 1969, recall listening alone but attentively to staticky radio halfway through night shift as this historic event remarkably unfolded. Must have been among the few who didn't catch the television broadcast witnessed live by hundreds of millions. You lose so much of life at work; without you important stuff occurs, kids grow up, and what good world has to offer goes to someone else. Every once in a while, though, an indelible memory is made on the job. Neil's was special beyond measure, what reporters dubbed "the right stuff", where fabulous preparedness seizes golden opportunity. All work should be so rewarding, but most resembles mind numbing drudgery or soul strangling slavery. These days budget conscious congressmen question billions spent exploring space, without which there'd be no personal computers (shrunk to fit aboard spacecraft) or thousands of other innovations that needed an extraordinary problem to solve. Explorations provide answers but raise more questions. Once Americans had hubris and stamina to tackle extreme challenges, but lately seem incapable of sensible enthusiasm or simple logic. Due to effective propaganda everyone became your enemy except billionaire exploiters who really do suck life from rest of world.

What can you say about Lance Armstrong? Arrogant? Duplicitous? Incredible? Unlike trickle down conservatives who pretend, he singlehandedly created thousands of jobs among bicycle component manufacturers serving wannabe racers. By giving up his fight against USADA's witch hunt, he finally showed real class. These governing bodies who suddenly get scruples shouldn't be allowed to retrospectively enforce rules. Everyone competing years ago took something to get an edge. From alcohol to anabolic steroids, substance abuse has been rampant in cycling since its inception. So Lance is banned from racing forever. Why should he care? Now he's just like anyone who rides to ride. He can still wear yellow, just like Labann. Memories and scars mean more than medals and trophies to those who've been there and done that. Any notion you are better because you pedal faster than others can only be described as delusional and ridiculous. Just as car racers' best seems a snail's pace compared to orbiting space debris, bicyclists will always be outdone by own contempt for cooperation or someone else who's faster or jealous.

Labor and leisure are intertwined in cycling, as much a form of transportation as a holiday recreation. If motoring weakens resolve, maybe pedaling restores strength lost to luxury.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bullish Campaign

Boxers on bicycles? No candidates slugging it out, as if jobless citizens overwhelmed by cash worries are supposed to care about deliberate ruses covered in broad strokes by dilettantes. Bullish confidence? Not quite: bull and con buoying up a bull market bound to crash as soon as votes are counted. Not only has Labann campaigned repeatedly door to door but carefully considered alternatives to this inefficient and inequitable process of so-called civic duty.

Anyone who says they want to serve public and sit through mind-numbing legislative sessions is either a liar or a madman. Candidates don't fork over millions of their own money for a fraction of that in salary and privilege of serving. Power is the planet's most expensive and potent aphrodisiac. Metrosexuals and narcissists gravitate to this exclusive club to serve self. Less than a million buys a prestigious college degree and string of appending abbreviations; only a few can afford President, Senator or Supreme Court Justice before their names. Not born into royalty? Even queens borrow from billionaires and live on allowances. No living ex-president pays taxes, just one of the many perks of having occupied space and pretended to wield power, and you almost never hear of Congressmen or their family members killed on front lines.

Most people don't want to be asked their opinions, would prefer that someone be assigned roles or fired when they fail, yet wind up standing in line at some dingy polling place for a chance to choose between stand-ins for morality or practicality. Nobody you elect will improve upon your situation, since those who run world permit only those to run or stay in office whose policies align with their schemes. Nixon wrongly assumed he was in charge. Anyone opposed becomes collateral damage in a bigger battle among bankers, insurance companies, multinational corporations, and oil sheiks, each of whom bends policies in their favor. Laws don't apply to them; responsibility for their crimes, injustices and taxes have been shifted onto everyone else including you.

What can you do? Boycotts don't work; half of eligible voters often don't show, which is the only way some candidates get elected. Resign yourself as a victim? You need not participate. You're only a threat when you want something: decent housing, elected office, fair pay for work, promises from candidates, or some say in how you're treated. Teen pranks and prayers, like Pussy Riot's protest against Putin delivered irreverently in Moscow's cathedral, might put you in prison, too, which is what happens when repression goes unchallenged. Actions create examples to follow and role models to emulate. Milk toast efforts are abided suspiciously but accomplish little. In London, the have The Kindness Offensive, Polyanna action to ease pain the ridiculously rich cause.

Remember, there is no lack of wealth, only unequal distribution. Your dolor remains a principal profit center to feed off and funnel funds from. Each billionaire means 1,000 fewer millionaires or more unfortunates below poverty line. Eventually money loses meaning and value. Big fish devour small fry; eventually all fish die. Sharing resources justly and wisely fosters relationships and founds organizations.

Bike&Chain has whole chapters directed at charities and politics, yet very little written will be read, never mind solve problems. Riding a bike opens eyes to individual torment and nature's despoilment unless you inject steroids and wear blinders.