Friday, July 31, 2009

A letter from my (younger) sister:

At The Dentist Office....

I was sitting in the waiting room for my appointment with a new dentist. I noticed his DDS name tag, which bore his full name. Suddenly, I remembered a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 40-odd years ago. Could he be the same guy that I had a secret crush on, way back then??

Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought.

This balding gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate. Hmmm. . .or could he???

After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended Shortridge High School.

"Yes. Yes, I did. I'm a Blue Devil," he gleamed with pride.

"When did you graduate?" I asked. He answered, "In 1962. Why do you ask?"

"You were in my class!" I exclaimed. He looked at me closely.

Then that ugly, old, wrinkled sumbitch asked, "What did you teach?"

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Is there something wrong? I could swear I hear ghouls laughing in the graveyard....

Wanna be disgusted? Wanna drive another nail into the coffin lid of your respect for your fellow man? Click right here. Satisfy yourself that your loathing for the scaly denizens of Wall St is no more than they deserve.

We're buying bicycles and Priuses with what little we have left.

They're buying yachts with their performance bonuses.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

British fans at Sunday's (last ever) Donington Park MotoGP

British fan weirdness-as-usual at the final MotoGP event at Donington Park. Beginning next year, the British MotoGP will be held at Silverstone. Might rain there too....

Wonder of wonders: possible legislative action against texting at the wheel

Senators seek to deny states federal highway fund money if they do not ban texting while driving....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

“I’m pretty sure that someday it’s going to come back to bite me,” he said of his behavior.

That statement was made by a young texter-at-the-wheel, an activity (reports a study cited in the NY Times) that hugely increases one's chances of getting in an accident. Knowing the danger, drivers do it anyway....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

From this morning's VN online Live Tour Coverage

I'd have missed this, and it's as remarkable as anything this year's Tour has revealed:

[Comment From Angus ]
I may be wrong, but it appears as though the top 10 riders on GC are all on American bike brands, that must be a first?
CPelkey: Pretty close, Angus. The La Francaise des Jeux team is on Lapierre, a company based in Dijon, France, if I recall correctly.
1. Alberto Contador (Sp), Trek
2. Andy Schleck (Lux), Specialized
3. Lance Armstrong (USA), Trek
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB), Felt
5. Frank Schleck (Lux), Specialized
6. Andréas Klöden (G), Trek
7. Vincenzo Nibali (I), Cannondale
8. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Felt
9. Roman Kreuziger (Cz), Cannondale
10. Christophe Le Mevel (F), Lapierre

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tour fatigue part two

Tamar is off today. She and I went to coffee this morning so I did not watch the fin-ah-lee of the stage. I missed Mark Cavendish's fifth field sprint victory of the '09 Too-er and I missed hearing about how shopping for a $40,000 car is like trying on a dress.

I still like cycling, honest I do. You believe me...don't you?

Tour fatigue is setting in....

I got up this morning and didn't watch the Tour. When I did turn the TV on, I had to check the little icon at the bottom-right to be sure I had selected Versus - the commercials look just like the ones on all the other junk channels.

After a week or so of the Tour, I begin to resent the amount of July I spend watching ads. I wish the broadcast took an hour, perhaps 90 minutes for the epic stages. We could see everything we need to see, I'd say, and not miss a Philism or Paulism.

And we wouldn't have to watch the same ads time....after time....after time.

You wonder if the ad agencies and the companies who advertise on Tour broadcasts realize that they have the same audience for three weeks, stuck there watching the same ads. Each year I swear I will not buy anything those companies sell. I know they only support the Tour because of the ad-watching demographic, and I hate them for bludgeoning us with their 60-second clubs.

Saw the ad on my TV; credit report dot com bay-bee....

I don't want extended evening coverage. I want a daily digest. I'm Tour'd out.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The SF Chronicle's Jon Carroll on the TdeF

When I lived in the Bay Area, I read this guy faithfully and loved his stuff. I even took a writing class from him in Berkeley. Here's Jon Carroll's take on the Tour.

From the WSJ: How to sell a $35,000 watch in a recession

Hint: distract the wife....

Here's the link.

Letters to the NY Times re the driving while phoning piece

Click here, but not while driving, riding or crossing the street on foot....

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Villains? Villains? I got your villains right here -

Ah the cell phone industry.... They're our friends, right? Wrong. Not just kinda wrong; very wrong.

Is sports heroism suspect? Are we justifiably cynical?

So.... Danilo De Luca, the man who provided the excitement in this year's Giro d'Italia, tested positive for performance enhancing drugs during that event. We all enjoyed watching De Luca attack and attack, admiring his grit and fire.

Now we have to feel a bit cheated, huh? Are we cheated down the road too? In future Giros, Tours and Classics, when we watch guys rocket up the road, will we suspect that the rockets are fueled by forbidden chemistry?

Is it supposed to be this difficult to be a fan? It's easy to say Keep the Faith, Baby, but much of the news is bad.

Say it ain't so, Danilo....

Maureen Dowd, NY Times op-ed columnist, on our addiction to gadgets

Dowd writes entertainingly and unsparingly about politics for the Times. This morning she wonders how we got here and how long we can stay. Oh, excuse me, I gotta take this call....

Monday, July 20, 2009

More's better, but on the other hand...

A couple of days ago, as I was riding the increasingly godforsaken Cherry Creek bike path, most-traveled bike path in this fabled Mile-Hi City, I noted a young gentleman on a bicycle featuring for his riding pleasure only one selectable gear ratio.

I would not have noticed him at all, single gear or howevermany, except that he was not steering. One hand held a phone to his ear while the other waved stylishly in the air, emphasizing his points quite invisibly to his listener.

I have always felt and often written that the more cyclists the better. More cyclists means more respect, more acknowledgement from motorists, more political know the song.

I guess I thought that "more cyclists" meant more thinking human beings on bicycles, not more surly motorist types who've parked their Civics and bought old Fujis and new knickers.

If there are a few thinking human beings who would like to begin riding their bikes in our cities, they are sure to be shocked and discouraged by the scowls and disregard displayed daily by our friends the New Urban Cyclists. Keep the paths safe for anarchy! WE rule! Your bike sucks!

I take it back about more being merrier. I wish we could take back the Cherry Creek bike path.

I will say that if you ride a very few miles from central Denver, the bike paths look as they have for years. They're not safe as church, uh-uh, but they're far safer than the close-in paths.

The New Urban Cyclist evidently does not stray far from his/her haunts. It's a blessing and I'll bet it's the same where you live.

NUCs on the bike paths make you miss our old friends the motorists out on the streets. At least they don't pretend to be something they aren't.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Depressing NY Times piece about cellphoning and texting at the wheel

Here's the link. Everyone knows how dangerous it is to talk or text while driving. Everyone does it anyway. Headsets don't help. Legislators know full well how dangerous it is, but they do it themselves and can't keep their kids from doing it.

The cell phone companies lobby successfully against legislation, except one. One cell service provider would just as soon you didn't drive distracted.

Maybe the only reason to read this and ruin your afternoon is to learn which one....

Paul McCartney plays NY - then and now

Here's a link to a NY Times slide show - of Paul McCartney's show last night at Citi Field and, with a little help from his friends the Beatles, at Shea Stadium in the late '60s. Prepare to sigh....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Actor James Caviezel injured on his motorcycle - by a bicycle!

No need for me to introduce this short news item. It'll only take you a minute to read it - and two or three minutes to stop shaking your head....

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ride your bike to the cathouse. Get your ashes hauled cheaper....

Here's the link. Not much to say about this post, but I should mention that I'm back from my journey, all went well. I followed all your suggestions: I said hi to the buffalo for you and made sure to sit facing the door in Deadwood.

What a precious little place Sturgis is! I'm sure the bikers make it possible for the town to prosper conspicuously. There were hundreds of bikers in the area weeks before the famous Bike Week. And many businesses with motorcycley names. Cute town, awful noisy.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Why we wish we lived in Portland #126

According to a Bike Portland news item forwarded to me by The Schnitz, it seems that AAA, the automobile association, has decided to extend its helping hand services to cyclists - in OR and ID.

If you've been watching the Tour....

I'm sure you too have wondered what it is about F-A-R-R-A-R that's so difficult to pronounce. If an English-speaking commentator can (with fair accuracy) pronounce the names of European riders, towns, passes and rivers, how hard can it be for them to say Fahr-ahr?

A-R-M-S-T-R-O-N-G now, that's an easy one.

Dignity....or what we used to call class, an endangered way of life

Younger readers may find this stuffy, but if you have a gray hair or two you'll be nodding your head. It's just a bit political, unusual for my blog, but if anything, the NY Times' David Brooks is a disgruntled Republican, so maybe it's okay.

This piece rung super true for me. See if it doesn't make sense to you too.

To North Dakota....for lunch

I belong to the Four Stroke Singles National Owners Club - for riders of motorcycles known affectionately as thumpers. My green Kawasaki is a thumper.

A few times each year, the club promotes lunch meetings in rural settings. You may recall that I rode to Phillipsburg MT last year for a Thumpercafe, as they are called. This year, I missed one in remotest Nevada, but I'm going to Lake Metigoshe, ND (he wrote, as if he thought you might have heard of Lake Metigoshe) on the Canadian border.

I've never been in ND. I may never have been in SD, either. I can't recall visiting Nebraska. So I've never seen the Badlands or the Black Hills. As much a motorcycle destination as it is, I've never been to Sturgis. I plan on setting all that right in the next five or six days.

The Thumpercafe is Saturday. I'm leaving Denver tomorrow (Wednesday) morning to give myself plenty of time to look around. I'll be staying in motels but I don't expect that they'll offer internet access so I'll be away from computers during the trip.

I'll stay in Minot ND on Friday night, and then ride the 100mi to the lunch venue on Saturday morning. The lunch, the ostensible excuse for the trip, may last two or three hours. I believe I'll ride to the event by myself, but I hope to pick up some companions for part of the trip home.

Enjoy the rest of the week and the weekend. I'll be in touch next week!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Annie Londonderry.... who?

Here's a link to an Examiner piece featured in the Denver edition but written by an Atlanta woman, Carol A. It's ostensibly about the current Tour de France - but after a paragraph or two about the Tour and a paragraph about the origins of the bicycle, it talks about a woman named Annie Londonderry....

We already knew about Mark Cavendish's victory and Leonardo's drawings, but I don't believe we knew much about Annie....

Friday, July 3, 2009

Third most-emailed article in the NY Times... Correction: THE most-emailed article....

Is bicycling bad for your bones? Click here:

...because he looks so much like me!

My friend Jay sent me this link - to a video of a segment of the Colbert Report. Stephen Colbert is "reporting" on the sad death of Jeff Goldblum when Goldblum appears on the set to refute the Twitter and international media reports of his death.

This is a funny clip...and as I've heard for years Jeff Goldblum looks uncannily like me. Even if you think he doesn't look like me, or if we've never met and you have no opinion on the resemblance, it's a funny bit. Sorry about the short ad you may have to watch in front.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Alpe d'Huez

This is Laguna Seca Raceway in the hills near Monterey, California. One of the holy places in US motor racing, the track will host a MotoGP event this Sunday. If the recession and the Fourth of July holiday do not prevent fans from making the pilgrimage to Laguna, there may be upwards of 50,000 spectators.

Fox will broadcast the race, presenting a rare opportunity for this blogger to suggest that you watch their programming. Maybe those Fox guys aren't all bad. Not all the time.

That's a shot by DMT Images, by the way. Looks quiet at the track in the photo. It'll get noisier there in the next few days.

Let's see if I can explain this....

A couple of years ago, exciting Kazakh racer Alexandre Vinocourov met with a group of Kazakh businessmen and formed a team called Astana. As luck would have it, Vino got banned from racing for two years for blood doping. The team soldiered on without him, with (eight-time Tour winner team manager) Johann Bruyneel in the car and an umatched cast of stars on the bike seats.

Vino's suspension is almost up. He wants back in - back on the team. He's SO connected with the sponsoring businessmen that he can dictate terms, he claims. He's an offer the team cannot refuse.

Either I'm in, he says, or Bruyneel is OUT.

Reluctant to believe me? Here's the VeloNews newsflash.....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

From VeloNews: Photos of Oakley HQ

Oakley is doing a billion dollars a year in business now. I've been wearing their glasses for years and years. My cycling glasses are 10 years old, given to me in Philly the year I met Tamar there. Here's a cool slide show of the place where it all happens. Some of the shots are fun; some are just too cool to be true!