Saturday, November 29, 2008

A bike-friendly Sec. of Transportation?

Ah, I may have hit a new peak of optimism over the election of Obama. The rumored short list for Sec. of Transportation contains a lot of bike love.

From Velo News:
Yes, the nation’s attention is riveted on the economic crisis that held center stage in the historic election that took place just a few short weeks ago, and the economic team that President-elect Obama announced just this week. Less-noticed, by pundits and public alike, but eagerly anticipated by cycling advocates, is the news that the next Secretary of Transportation may well be a cycling advocate. Names rumored to be on the short list include:
• Representative Jim Oberstar — A Minnesota Democrat and nationally-renowned member of the Congressional Bike Caucus. Representative Oberstar chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
• Representative Earl Blumenauer — A Democrat representing Portland, Oregon, Representative Blumenauer—another nationally renowned Congressional Bike Caucus member and founder of the Bike Caucus—sits on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
• Representative Peter DeFazio — Another Oregon Democrat, and yet another member of the Congressional Bike Caucus, Representative DeFazio is a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
• Governor Ed Rendell — The Governor of Pennsylvania.
• Jane Garvey — The head of the Federal Aviation Administration from 1997 to 2002.
I haven't felt so optimistic in years.

Tammy Thomas . . .

Tammy Thomas
Originally uploaded by richardmasoner
Is a woman. She's ruined her life, inside and outside of cycling, through her use of steroids. You can read more about it here, but I just thought the this pic is worth ten thousand words. That is a WOMAN!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Buy Nothing Day?

Argh. I really want some new gear. There's a big sale going on, and I could really use some of this and that. Yeah, I already have one pair of those, and a perfectly good set of these, but they're dirty!

I was wrestling with myself most of the morning about whether or not to head out for a little retail indulgence. Indulgence is a spiraling sort of thing. After a fair amount of overindulgence at the dinner table last night, I'm in a weakened state, less able to fight off the temptation that I found narrowcasted right to me in my e-mail inbox. New things and stuff and gear that I really do want, all ON SALE! Oooh! Just when I'm starting to come down from the heady turkey and wine-induced high that peaked less than 12 hours ago, I can juice up those neurotransmitters again with the swipe of a card. And the bill won't show up for a month!

Yes, retailers have figured it out, boy. They've figured out that we're all fat and dumb today, and we are ready to keep the indulgence train rolling right on through the weekend.

So, I'm wrestling with the real and actual desire to spend money on things, which for me, someone whose motto is "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without," comes with some amount of uncomfortable cognitive dissonance. I was stuck, but just about to head out the door, when I read this, and felt sweet relief. I stayed in, and put my dirty gear in the wash. It should be clean by now.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

R.I.P. Breed

Kidney failure at age 37. This one from the F-L-I-N-T was the jam back when the 86 Ford Tempo still prowled the streets.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dogs and Bears

What happens when a team of sled dogs and a polar bear meet in friendly Canada?

Follow the link to No Impact Man for the rest of the photos. Believe me, it's incredible. The more I think about this, the more awed I am.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wasting Away in Crateville

I was trying to tidy up my vinyl collection (a perennial time sink) when during a web search for my desired record crate (I bought two of them at a mall 13 years ago and have never seen the same type anywhere else, but they are the best) when I came across these amazing drawings. As cautionary notices of the dangers implicit in crate digging, I've seen none finer. There are 13, each as fine as the last, and prints are available.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cyclists Are Traffic Scofflaws

In NYC, the numbers bear out what you might expect. Cyclists tend to disobey traffic laws. Shame! As I see it, If you want to be treated equally, you have to demonstrate to folks that you will hold yourself to the same rules. Sounds simple enough right? In my opinion, cyclists who run red lights do everyone one the road, other cyclists in particular, a disservice. *wagging finger*

From the Times:
Nearly 57 percent of the cyclists observed failed to stop red lights.
About 13 percent of cyclists (and a quarter of cyclists under the age of 14) were observed riding against traffic.
Almost 13 percent of cyclists (and more than half of cyclists under the age of 14) were observed riding on sidewalks.
Nearly 14 percent of cyclists did not use a designated bike lane when one was available.
Only 36 percent of cyclists wore helmets. About half of female riders wore helmets, compared with just about one-third of the males. Nearly half of the children under the age of 14, and nearly three-quarters of commercial cyclists — like messengers and delivery workers — did not wear a helmet, even though the law requires that both groups use helmets.
Interesting stats on helmet use here too:
A study by the Bicyle Helmet Safety Institute found that nearly all cyclists who died in New York City were not wearing a helmet and that only 13 percent of those seriously injured while cycling were wearing a helmet.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Historical Vs. Historic, A Vs. An

I don't know why I let this stuff get to me, but my skin crawls every time I hear someone utter the word "historical" to describe Obama's election. Even trained journalists make the mistake. I just googled it and found two examples (1, 2) of misuse of the word. (OK, yes, one is from India. I cut them some slack, but I have less patience for native English speakers)

Obama's election was a major HISTORICAL event and thereby HISTORIC. To further clarify, HISTORIC is in reference to the importance of the event, and HISTORICAL event is something that happened. My birth was a historical event, but my life has not achieved a level of importance sufficient enough to describe the event as historic. HISTORICAL may also refer to how HISTORIC an event is. My birth has relatively no historical significance. It was not an historic event.

On the EFL/TEFL site there is a discussion. Hbae787 writes (correctly):
Historical : About or related to history. Doesn't need to carry any important or memorable connotation.
ex: I don't want to go to a movie that is full of historical events.
- She loves historical novels.
- There are many historical documents in Washington DC's libraries.

Historic : having a historical significance; marking a memorable event.
ex: I want to see a movie about the historic battles in WWII.
- She loves the novels that deal with historic romances such as the one involving Napoleon and Josephine.
- A historic document, the "Hongkong Colonization Treaty" signed in late 19th century, was unveiled by the Smithsonian in Washington DC last week.
On a related tanget - One rule I never got was the "an" before "historic." But a poster in the same discussion on had the answer and it makes sense. Apparently, In olden days the h that started many words was silent. An 'istoric event. But shouldn't that be changed today? Well, actually it has been.

A quick bit of Googling reveals that — as of March 2008 — the phrase "a historic" is used on 5.1 million pages (68%), and "an historic" on 2.34 million pages (32%).

There is a clear preference here in favour of "a historic". Even so, roughly one-third of the usage is for the other form. This supports the view that which form you use is little more than a personal preference.

Both usages are sufficiently common to be considered correct in modern English.
OK, I feel a little better now. This must be what fashion experts feel when they see me walking around.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

America is Doing It

Crowd watches McCain concede (ClarkBender)

Now look at this photo. It's not quite randomly selected, but there's nothing inherently unique about this particular shot. There are surely thousands very similar that have been taken over the past 6 hours. But it is important.

This is America. This is what is doing it tonight. This is men and women, young and old, white and every other color of the rainbow. They are celebrating the fact that their voice has been heard. They have come together behind one person, one idea, one hope, in numbers too large to deny. They have affirmed their American identity by speaking up and now America is a lot more reflective of them for it.

America is not a bunch of right wing religious-nut palefaces. America is a diverse collective of people who find more commonality in their hopes than their fears. This is an America that we can be proud of, and it is the real America.

The world is applauding you tonight. Congratulations America, after many a year of being mislead, you are once again doing it.

Q-Tip is Doing It.

The new album as good as you know Q-Tip should be.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Triple Cameraman Cringe

In the Times, I clicked this morning on an article titled "The Greening of Obama" under the assumption that I might learn something about Obama's environmental stance. Instead, a cringe-inducing account of camera crew incompetence. CRINGE!

TDF Team Time Trial!

I just learned that the Tour De France, the best race of any sort in the entire world, will this year bring back the team time trial. Hooray! For the past few years, this stage has not been included in the event, to it's detriment in my mind. I've always thought that the team dynamic in the time trial, both strategically, and aerodynamically, makes for one of the best stages of the tour.

Lance says he's going to race this year again (we'll see), so here's a little montage of Lance's teams over the years in the TDF time trail stages.

I think I'll be rooting for the Garmin Chipotle team! Go Christian!