Sunday, December 29, 2013

Col du Coffee Run

On a small knoll up on the Mitchell Trail
LHT in go-anywhere, do anything mode.
Ok, it lacks fenders.
I wish Richey still made these tires. 
The blue sidewalls match the bike paint rather nicely
The Surley Long Haul Trucker, which is getting to be one of my favorite bikes in the fleet, rides quite happily on fat tires. I have a pair of 26" x 2.1 inch folding Richey Speedmax WCS tires I bought some years ago but which don't feel quite right on the Stumpjumper, although I've ridden the Stumpy with them and they are fast, if not incredibly grippy in soft stuff. The Speedmaxes end up doing winter duty on the LHT in the event I get caught in snow. They roll easily but also ensure the LHT can go almost anywhere. Anywhere includes riding a little ways up the Mitchell Trail, just for shits and grins, on the way to get some coffee beans at Fusion Cafe and Coffee Roasters.

Riding up was not a problem, other than Mr. Gravity told me I should swap out the 26 tooth granny ring for a 24 if I am going to do that more often--lower is better when an old fat guy is grinding up loose trail at a steep pitch. Riding down on a bike without suspension was a bit jarring but very controllable.

Got to the coffee place in time to snag a bag of beans. I also waved hello to Neale Pickett on the way back from town, as he was waiting at a bus stop on Central. Interestingly, the beans were a medium roast rather than a dark roast, as Brian Booth used to prepare. Not sure that they are changing style or if this was an oddball roast. I guess next time I will stipulate "dark roast, please".

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ride that tandem with whomever YOU want.

Not sure who they are. For illustration only.
“Prohibiting same-gender marriages is not substantially related to the governmental interests advanced by the parties opposing same-gender marriage or to the purposes we have identified. Therefore, barring individuals from marrying and depriving them of the rights, protections, and responsibilities of civil marriage solely because of their sexual orientation violates the Equal Protection Clause under Article II, Section 18 of the New Mexico Constitution. We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections, and responsibilities that derive from civil marriage under New Mexico law.” -- Justice Edward Chavez, who authored the unanimous opinion of the New Mexico Supreme Court.

The entirety of the ruling is online here (pdf).

Back in Hawaii, when I was president of the Hawaii Bicycling League (HBL), editor Eve DeCoursey and I would put together the monthly HBL newsletter. She did the lion's share of the work. I pontificated from my SOEST office and wrote the President's Column and sometimes solicited input for articles.

For one issue, a prominent HBL ride leader sent me an essay, which we published, titled "Why All Cyclists Are Gay". The author, who insisted on anonymity, correctly pointed out the nonsense that cyclists and gays face on a day to day basis that sometimes leaves us picking ourselves perpetually off of Mr. Pavement, figuratively as well as literally. He got it from both directions and I guess he would know. In the 1990's atmosphere in Hawaii during the interval between Baehr v. Miike and  Hawaii Constitutional Amendment 2 that atmosphere was pretty toxic, as I sometimes witnessed firsthand as an active participant in the debate.

So to that ride leader, as well as to several close friends, a deceased relative, a former Ph.D. student who I mentored, and many others. This post is for you. One small step for a state. One giant leap for equality under the law.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

If they can see and hear everything, why can't they keep that *&^%$ from right hooking me?

Yeah. I'm watching YOU
So finally, a Federal judge has called the NSA to task for its unwarranted, Orwellian, and uncontrolled snooping on American citizens. Its about time.

Get off the road and
submit to electronic monitoring
Frankly, all this Orwellian nonsense doesn't make me feel one bit safer in real life, since the closest I've repeatedly come to death has not been at the hands of some nefarious terrorist, but at the hands of some clueless or careless fellow citizen from Anytown, USA. who is ensconced in his or her cage and oblivious to my safety.  I doubt I'm alone, either. Bin Laden and his gang killed 3,000 of us in one brutal attack on NYC. We kill about 11 times that number, year in and year out, on our own, using our cars as speeding weapons.

"Our constitution guarantees a system in which the people have the right to argue their case against the government in an open forum before an independent judiciary. But until recently, this debate has been carried out primarily in a secret court in which only one side — the government's — is represented. With this case, Americans got their day in court. "  -- U.S. Senator Tom Udall, as quoted in the Daily Post.

Americans 33,000: Terrorists 3,000. 
Anywhere else this would be called a lopsided game
NHTSA would be rich and NSA begging

Saturday, December 14, 2013

"Affluenza": Just when you thought it couldn't get worse.

Thanks to Patrick O'Grady for sending me this cartoon
the last time it came up
Patrick's own thoughts on that version of judicial
malfeasance are here,

Once again, readers can see why I put the Zappa quote up above.

Remember your Plutarch. In his “Lives,” writing of the Athenian statesman Solon, Plutarch said the philosopher Anacharsis “laughed at him for imagining the dishonesty and covetousness of his countrymen could be restrained by written laws, which were like spiders’ webs, and would catch, it is true, the weak and poor, but easily be broken by the mighty and rich.”  --Patrick O'Grady, in a "Friday's Foaming Rant."

Damn. I miss those rants.

 From yesterday's New York Times: " recent days, the implications of being rich have set off an emotional, angry debate that has stretched far beyond the North Texas suburbs, after a juvenile court judge sentenced a 16-year-old from a well-off family to 10 years’ probation for killing four people in a drunken-driving crash...Judge Jean Boyd did not discuss her reasoning for her order, but it came after a psychologist called by the defense argued that Mr. Couch should not be sent to prison because he suffered from “affluenza” — a term that dates at least to the 1980s to describe the psychological problems that can afflict children of privilege."

That should worry us in BombTown. With the highest per capita wealth in New Mexico, our county has sufficient examples of spoiled, irresponsible people, and at least one judge who has been quite liberal, dare I say soft-headed, with "get outa jail" cards for very serious offenses, as described in this victim's statement.

I think most of us have always known that the scales of justice can be tipped your way if you add enough status, power, or money.  Judge Jean Boyd in Texas has just made that a de jure rather than de facto rule. No more need for even a wink-wink, nudge-nudge when collecting your Get Out of Jail pass. Just include your (or your parent's) tax return in your exculpatory evidence packet. Of course, that's what happened when Martin Erzinger splattered a cyclist, Colorado Dr. Steven Milo, all over the road up near Vail and and that District Attorney and Judas Iscariot of justice, Mark Hurlbert, pleaded for mercy for the wealthy motorist because “felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger’s profession.”

Fer Fuck sakes! Felony behavior has some serious implications for the victim, such as the guy being scraped up off the road dead or with life changing injuries or, closer to home, the homeowner walking in unexpectedly on an armed burglar and losing his faith in the community, if not his or her life.

So be careful out there. If the guy who splatters you all over the road is driving a shiny Mercedes or has parents in the top two percent, the courts can now add "affluenza" to "gee, Your Honor, I just didn't see him" in the list of valid defenses.

For the flip side of this lame excuse, "Povertenza", go here.

And to leave on a positive note.....

Cash leading the way back down to Camp May from the ridgeline on Friday the 13th
Dogs don't let this shit get them down.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Does Specialized make toilet paper?

Put your trademark on this
Specialized makes some great merchandise. I have one of their Stumpjumpers in the garage, which has proven to be all the mountainbike I'll ever need. But as long as they are acting like the schoolyard bully that this article (see link) describes, TP is all I'll ever buy from them from here on out:

War veteran forced to change bike shop’s name after threat from U.S bike giant Specialized

From The Explainer (Charles Pelkey) at Red Kite Prayer: "...By now many of you have seen the story making its way around cycling-related social media about the Afghanistan war veteran in Cochrane, Alberta, who opened up a small bike shop over an ice cream parlor and his encounter with a @#$%ing bully..."

Sigh. Once again, life proves that Frank Zappa was right about hydrogen not being the most prevalent element in the universe.  Can someone up in the CEO office at Specialized turn this around and use a less heavy handed method to protect their brand against "brand confusion"?

As Warren Zevon might say, lawyers, guns, and money are nice to have around in a crisis and at least two of those three have been offered to our friend in Cochrane. But when mishandled, lawyers, like guns, can result in self-inflicted wounds and the suits at S need take notice. Perhaps better even than lawyers, the social media unleashed a shitstorm of criticism on the Big Red S. Lawyers and money may not be needed. Stay tuned.

This upbeat update in BRAIN, via Patrick O'Grady at Maddogmedia.

Exhibit A from Counsel