Monday, March 31, 2008

Movies

TEN O' MY FAVES:
  • Bandits. As close to movie making perfection as you can get. Bruce, Billy-Bob, Cate and Troy absolutely nail their roles. Throw in Barry Levinson to direct and a rollickin score, and this flick is the real deal.
  • Run Lola Run. More fun with red heads. Fasten your seat belt.
  • Momento. GREAT plot outline and execution of very difficult concept.
  • The Last Samurai. Say what you will about TC, this is an epic inside look at the code of Bushido. Ken Watanabe is incredible.
  • Legends of the Fall. Simply superb cinematic storytelling.
  • Usual Suspects. Is he or isn't he? Kevin Spacey in the role of a career as Verbal Kint. Or Keyser Sose, or both.
  • Big Labowski: More fun than a barrel of primates aka the greatest bowling movie of all time. A perfect 300!
  • Godfather. All three back to back. Make a giant pot of spaghetti (please follow Fat Clemensa's recipe), grab a decent bottle of chianti and settle in for the best historical representation of an era/family ever put to celluloid. Period. And quit bad-mouthing Sofia as an actress (petty and unnecessary).
  • House of Flying Daggers. A visual feast. The bamboo scene is so filled with intense green, I felt like I could feel it. This may be my favorite genera.
  • Gone in 60 Seconds. Nick is the coolest. Robert Duvall. Angie. And Elenor. "Lowrider, Donnie".

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bikes

"I'm gong to stick my neck way out on the chopping block and suggest the the bicycle is one of the greatest inventions of all time," he said earnestly in the general direction of the freeway overpass. "It's got it all, form, function, fun, freedom. And not to mention the incredible cost savings as an alternative to sitting on your fat butt driving an oil-aholic car".

Was his car really an oil-aholic or was he, were they, in denial? He laughed at the simplicity of the remedy. Don't need no twelve stinking steps, just three.

1) Park your car.
2) Get a bike.
3) Ride it.

Pictured at left:

My first ride. Musta been circa 1953. 3100 Stanford Ave. Venice, CA. (What is now Marina del Rey). The driveway at Grandma Scamper and Papa Ralphs was perfect for stunts. Caption: "Take these damn training wheels off and I'll show you some serious air". Photo by Mom I am quite sure. All rights relinquished.








The Raleigh M400 (loaded) on the Golden Gate Bridge on my first (of two so far) trips up the coast from LA to Seattle. This one took 23 (incredible) days. 1993. Photo by me.


Steve still owes me $200 because I made the trip in less than one month. That was the bet and Darren attested.


Got home on Halloween. The last days ride was chilly and I had to stop for gloves in Elma, a tiny town I would come to know and love.






The Great Panuzi in action climbing Richter Pass during Ironman Canada 2001. The 1999 Softride Rocket Wing was the state of the art tri bike for about four years. Jurgen Zack rode one (much faster). I am on the outside with blue DeSoto suit and not the good looking guy in yellow (whom I am about to pass).

This blog is supposed to be mostly about bikes and bike training. I digress daily. But not today.




So let's go ride.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cars

List of my cars

Simple enough. From the first to the current. A somewhat interesting and bittersweet study in automobile ownership.

1970. 1965 Ford Mustang. Nickname: The Crystal Ship. Grandma gave it to me for High School Graduation. Silver with red interior. 200CU in-line 6. I was way to young to appreciate this classic car and wonderful gift. I trashed it and eventually sold it for $100 to Steve Campbell. Dude, you owe me.

1973. 1950 Chev 3/4 pickem up. Fire engine red with driver side spot lamp. Black tuck and roll interior. Seriously on last leg and burnt a quart of oil per month. Nickname: Henry. Spun a bearing in Port Chicago, CA on way to Spokane. Roadside sale for $200. More on this down the line.

1974. 1949 Chev 1/2 pickem up. With a 65 Chev 289. Rebuilt by Robert Shaw of Brewster, WA. I worked the apple harvest that summer and fall to buy this baby ($500), and we painted the NRPS logo on one side of the camper and the Dead's skull & roses on the other. Wish I had a picture. Drove it to LA after the apples came off. When back in LA I got a notice from the Berkely, CA police that they had impounded Henry and would I please come and pick his red ass up. So me and The Hulk rented an LTD and drove up to spring him. Turned out the Navy E1 that I sold him to never re-registered so he was still in my name. What a deal.

1975. 1975 Chev. 3/4 Silverado 454 with a 12' self contained cabover. Red. Big, gas hog (8). We drove it from LA back to Brewster and tried to life the life of a young married couple. Didn't work out that way.

1977. Traded in the Silverado for a 1971 Chevy 1/2 and a '75 Fiat 128 for Cindy. She hated it, and was starting to feel likewise about me.

1980. Back in Seattle after divorce and Mt. St. Helens. 1973 Chevy Impala wagon. POS I bought for $200.

1981: Ford Courier. Light utility vehicle. Perfect for the local handy man, pictured here building a deck for the Scheniders.

1983: Another Courier, green this time.

1984: Dodge Van. Bartered for roof job. Junk.

1988-89, An Audi Quattro and a Triumph TR-7, both from Baldwin Motors of Preview Publishing fame. The former was totaled on Saturday afternoon by non-attentive senior citizens and the later overheated on me one too many times.

1990: Chevy Blazer. Brand friggin new, off the lot. Had a decent corporate job and leveraged that to get the loan. Beautiful 6 cyl. Black. We had lots of fun in the Blackbird.

1993: Chevy Blazer. Traded in the Blackbird for the Bluebird. Mistake. Lost equity and eventually down-traded for a '89 Toyota SR5.

1995: Sold the SR5 to Mindy and returned to Diego Garcia for another stint for the DoD.

1996: Back home with a used Chev S10, Grey Folded. Bought somebody else's mechanical headaches for $1,000. More junk.

1999. Volkswagen Vanagan. Brown and Tan. Billy called it the Talivan. I like it until somebody smashed the window. Donated it and had it towed.

2002: Back from DG again and this time bought a '91 Ford Exploder from Jeff and Jill for $2,250. Have had it ever since and it's going into the shop next week (while I am in Australia) for new tires and shocks.

I shudda kept Grandma's Mustang.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Weather (I am a Rock)


2008 CompuTrainer iRCV shooting Schedule (as of 3.01.08)


DATE EVENT DIST OTHER
April 6 IM Australia IM 1 of 2
April 26 St. Anthony's OLY FL
May 3-4 Wildflower 70.3 & Oly CA
June 1 Boise 70.3 ID
June 8 Alcatraz OLY SF, CA
June 15 UK 70.3 70.3 1 of 2
June 22 IM France IM 2 of 2
July 6 IM Germany IM 1 of 2
July 13 ROTH IM 2 of 2
July 20 Lake Placid IM
August 2 Vineman IM CA
August 30 IM Canada IM
Sept 7 Monaco 70.3
Sept 14 Muskoka 70.3 Canada
Sept 21 Cancun 70.3 Mexico
Oct 11 Kona IM WC
Dec 7 Western Australia, Busselton, AU

He sat and looked out his window at the freshly falling flakes and wondered how the heck Paul Simon ever saw them as a silent shroud. He is obviously more of a poet than I, he offered, deeply confident that his personal happiness was not affected by the weather, or maybe New York snow in December is a little different than that of Seattle's in March. MARCH! Snow? OMG, get outta town. Exactly.

For those of you that have asked, above is the 2008 CompuTrainer RCV tentative schedule. It does NOT include travel dates. We are adding club rides, hill climbs of International acclaim, Oly distance events and road stage races where applicable. So if you know of a ride, race or climb that would go for a killer video workout, drop me a line by clicking on the comments icon below.

And an island never cries.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Supplying the Demand


Oil Jumps on Video Concerns
By Earl Spooner
AP Business Writer

Oil futures shot to nearly $108 a barrel Thursday as concerns about The CompuTrainer Real Course Video (RCV) series' latest release stole investors' attention from the dollar, which stabilized against the euro.

Just as the latest RCV, Ironman Arizona, was released, RCV Producer, Kevin M. Lynch was finalizing travel, race and production logistics for Ironman Australia, the first shoot of the 2008 triathlon season, prompting a minor panic among the thousands of CompuTrainer users who are now faced with the dilemma of having several courses to choose from, and hence train with. "It's borderline too much", commented one veteran CompuTrainer user from Chicago, "I don't even ride outside anymore and I haven't driven my car since the first Real Course Video (Coeur d' Alene) was released back in February."

As a result, light, sweet crude for May delivery rose $1.40 to $107.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after earlier rising as high as $107.70.

The news from RacerMate Inc., manufacturers of both the CompuTrainer, the worlds most accurate bicycle ergometer, and the Real Course Video DVDs, added to supply concerns stoked Wednesday when the government reported that domestic crude oil inventories were mostly unchanged last week, while fuel supplies fell more than expected.

The supply concerns temporarily drew investors' attention from the dollar, which rose slightly against the euro, reversing a trend that send oil futures surging nearly $5 on Wednesday. A stronger dollar makes hard assets such as energy commodities less attractive as a hedge against inflation than when the greenback is falling. Exacerbating the impact of foreign exchange moves, oil futures are priced in dollars, making them more expensive to investors overseas when the greenback rises.

At the pump, meanwhile, gas prices rose 0.6 cent Thursday to a national average of $3.267 a gallon, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Diesel prices slid 0.5 cent to a national average of $4.022 a gallon.



Both fuels have followed oil's recent surge higher, and remain near recent records. High gas prices are pressuring consumers already buckling under the effects of high food prices, falling home values and tight credit markets.

The Energy Department expects gas prices to peak near $3.50 this spring as suppliers stock up in advance of peak summer driving season. Many analysts think prices will rise even higher than that.

In other Nymex trading Thursday, April heating oil futures rose by 5.72 cents to $3.101 a gallon, while April gasoline futures slid by 3.84 cents to $2.7045 a gallon.

April natural gas futures fell by 9.4 cents to $9.478 per 1,000 cubic feet. The Energy Department, in its weekly inventory report, said natural gas supplies fell last week by 36 billion cubic feet, less than analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected.

A DOE spokesperson, speaking off the record, thinks this is only the beginning, "If the CompuTrainer Real Course Videos continue to dominate the market as they appear capable, the demand for gasoline will be dramatically reduced as all these athletes train primarily indoors."

www.racermateinc.com

Gimmee Shelter


The Bush administration's profiteering sleazyness trickles down this time to the housing market. People are being evicted from their houses faster than the banks can process the paperwork, contractors are walking away from partially completed projects, slum lords are raising rents to cover soaring energy costs. Worse, the lies and schemes that initiated all this in the first place, are now being re-spun to protect (read:bail out) the corporations instead of the people. Mr & Mrs Middle Class Homeowner: See ya. Bear-Stearns: We'll find ya a buyer. And there is still 30% of the population that agree with this on-going screw-job (now in its 8th year)?

The old adage about directly profiting from the business came into his mind like a pleasant dream ending with an obnoxious alarm-clock, "the Presidents approval rating is at 30%* because that is the number of people that are on the government payroll."** Is there a bell sounding here, a red flag waving, an alarm screaming? Can you hear it?

It's just a shout away.

* CBS, Newsweek, NY Times
** Actual figures are, of course, not available without a warrant.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Boycott

At the very top of the list of influential people still with us (unlike say, Jesus, Ganhdi, the Kennedys or John Lennon), is the Dalai Lama. He is a remarkable man, Nobel laureate, Buddhist top dog and living in exile in India since 1959 when the Communists violently took Tibet from the Tibetans. I have read all his books, watched the many docs on his life, studied his philosophy, and have a tremendous respect for this peaceful spirit. His is an important voice in these troubled times. Let me try to phrase my point a little more clearly. Based on their respective track records, with whom would you be more likely to concur on the subject of world peace and human rights, The Dalai Lama or George W. Bush?

Thought so.

And once again it seems like the Olympics will be a political stage instead of an athletic arena in 2008. Beijing is trying its best to spin the recent violence in Lhasa as orchestrated by the Dalai Lama to publicize the plight of his followers. Whoa, China, let me get this right, the most peaceful man on earth, who left his country almost 50 years ago rather than fight, who has even vowed to resign his role as the highest manifestation of peace, love and kindness on the planet if the violence continues, a man who once suggested that rather than kill a mosquito who has come to dinner at the table of your forearm, you should "whisk it away" instead of murdering the little bloodsucking motherfucker, is causing these crimes? That this man is behind a cheap political stunt of violence and bloodshed? To draw international attention to China's abhorrent human rights record during a sporting contest? I beg your pardon? Hear this Beijing: WTF?

So I am officially boycotting the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, PRC. But, in my place GWB is going to go and watch. There are now over 4,000 American soldier/athletes dead in Iraq. And more than 500,000 Iraqis, depending on whom you believe (see article below from the WAPO). And wasn't this because of Saddam's human rights violations? Oh, that's right, it was about WMDs, sorry. China isn't in the same boat apparently. Yo voting public? WTF? How do we allow this to continue?

And please, if you are in need of a good (albeit ironic) belly laugh, see John Negroponte's comment below about Bush. Yo George: WTF?

And, lastly, to the Olympic sponsors: Coca-Cola, GE, McDonalds, Panasonic, Samsung, UPS, Visa, Anheiser-Busch, count me as officially opted-out of your consumer demographic. I no longer use your products as a result of your obscene profiteering from the pain, suffering and exploitation of others. Yo shareholders? WTF?

The Boycott is ON.



http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7302021.stm

"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win."
- Sun-tzu, The Art of War

"It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority."
- Benjamin Franklin

(WASHINGTON) — A House Republican — chafing over President Bush's plan to attend this year's Beijing Olympics — wants to legally prohibit other U.S. government officials from using federal money to go.
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., cited concerns about China's record on human rights during a congressional hearing on Thursday and said Bush's presence would be akin to President Franklin D. Roosevelt sitting in the same stands as Germany's Adolf Hitler in 1936.
"Ronald Reagan would have never gone to the Olympics. I guarantee you that. Never gone," said Wolf, a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
Wolf, who co-chairs a congressional caucus on Sudan, blames China for not using its close ties with the Sudanese government to end the violence in Darfur. Wolf also charges that China has sold weapons to U.S. enemies, jailed countless political prisoners and tried to spy on America's high-tech industry, including companies in his district.
Wolf's legislation would not specifically prohibit the president from attending, which the congressman said would be tough to impose on a commander-in-chief. Instead the bill would focus on barring diplomatic and other federal officials.
Any American seen waving in the stands "will go down in history as cooperating in the genocide Olympics of 2008," Wolf said. "And history will never, ever, ever forgive them."
Last month, Bush said he planned to raise worries about human rights abuse in China with President Hu Jintao when he attends the games in August.
Bush was asked about reports that a laid-off Chinese factory worker faces subversion charges for saying human rights are more important than the Olympics.
"I am not the least bit shy of bringing up the concerns expressed by this factory worker, and I believe that I'll have an opportunity to do so with the president and, at the same time, enjoy a great sporting event," Bush said.
Wolf said the administration is missing its opportunity to deal with the crisis in Darfur.
Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, who was testifying on foreign aid programs, responded to Wolf's comments by saying only that "there is no greater spokesman for human rights in the world than our president." http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1720130,00.html

A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.

The estimate, produced by interviewing residents during a random sampling of households throughout the country, is far higher than ones produced by other groups, including Iraq's government.

It is more than 20 times the estimate of 30,000 civilian deaths that President Bush gave in a speech in December. It is more than 10 times the estimate of roughly 50,000 civilian deaths made by the British-based Iraq Body Count research group.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pain


The Body. As drawn by one of my favorites, Leonardo Da Vinci. It's official title is Studio del corpo umano. Study of the human body. We associate lot's of things with the body, happiness, health, movement, pain. Mine has been walking, running, biking, and working on this planet for over 20,000 days now, he thought, wow, that's a lotta mileage. He wondered how many miles he had left on this old model from 1952. And if the current and constant pain in his left glute, coupled with last nights throbbing right hamstring was an indication that more work was necessary, or less. Was he ready to downshift and ease into the mind numbing world of the Lazy-Boy recliner, or charge to the park for another 10K in the rain? He rewound the training diary to 2002, a mere 2,190 days past, and felt the satisfaction in corporal fatigue during his ramp up to Ironman Canada. How good it felt after a 50 mile ride or a 20 mile run. It was pain of a different type. Happy, not hurt. Challenged, not crippled. He wanted that back, wanted to feel like one of Leonardo's models again. He wanted the roundness that comes as a result of effort, work and mileage. He was willing to endure some "O" to get more "Q" (where Ouch equals Quality). He wondered if this was training smart or training stubborn. Smiling, he realized that his body would be the judge of that. After all, ultimately when the Body stops movin' you're days are done. You only get one, so study it as art, regardless of its actual mileage. He wondered what Leo would do. Ouch.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Words

(click on post to enlarge and sharpen)

This came into our forum this morning and I immediately thought of Don Miguel Ruiz' take on words. I am in full agreement, and even though flattered by Holden's comments, understand that we have a ways to go before it is our best work. Thank you Holden. Enjoy the ride.

1) Be Impeccable With Your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2) Don't Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

3) Don't Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4) Always Do Your Best: Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

To add your words:

http://www.racermate.net/forum/index.php

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sit



A flurry of activity should always be rewarded by a quiet, contemplative sit. Choose your environment, inside or out, make it calm, breathe deep and relax. "Sanctuary can be found in the smell of the spring rain or the sound of it against your window", he thought, feeling his muscles soften at the mere mention.

We don't relax enough and just fit in and flow with our nature. We have this need to control, to steer the direction of he river, the height of the trees and the manifestation of our DNA. We foolishly seek to control others with whom we disagree. Would you ever tell a rock that he was sitting incorrectly? Would you ask a mallard hen to sing in a different key? Would you ask a daffodil to smell like a purple tulip? Accept the reality of the now. Enjoy the beauty of all that surrounds you right now. Be grateful for the blessings that have been bestowed upon you. And bestow as many of them as you can upon others. Relax, sit, think about it, he thought.

And thinking, he wished deeply that he knew a better way to say what he felt. "If I had the skill of the poet, the wisdom of the philosopher, the talent of the minstrel, the grace of the actor, the courage of the warrior or the wit of the jester, maybe this would be easier", he once again considered, "naw, then it'd be too cushy".

Standing, rested and ready, he returned to the task at hand.

Happy Easter to you too, Sister Rose.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sugar, sugar





















• Sugar can suppress the immune system.
• Sugar can upset the body's mineral balance.
• Sugar can contribute to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, concentration difficulties, and crankiness in children.
• Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
• Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children.
• Sugar can reduce helpful high density cholesterol (HDLs).
• Sugar can promote an elevation of harmful cholesterol (LDLs).
• Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.
• Sugar contributes to a weakened defense against bacterial infection.
• Sugar can cause kidney damage.
• Sugar can increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
• Sugar may lead to chromium deficiency.
• Sugar can cause copper deficiency.
• Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
• Sugar can increase fasting levels of blood glucose.
• Sugar can promote tooth decay.
• Sugar can produce an acidic stomach.
• Sugar can raise adrenaline levels in children.
• Sugar can lead to periodontal disease.
• Sugar can speed the aging process, causing wrinkles and grey hair.
• Sugar can increase total cholesterol.
• Sugar can contribute to weight gain and obesity.
• High intake of sugar increases the risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
• Sugar can contribute to diabetes.
• Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.
• Sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity.
• Sugar leads to decreased glucose tolerance.
• Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease.
• Sugar can increase systolic blood pressure.
• Sugar causes food allergies.
• Sugar can cause free radical formation in the bloodstream.
• Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.
• Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.
• Sugar can overstress the pancreas, causing damage.
• Sugar can cause atherosclerosis.
• Sugar can compromise the lining of the capillaries.
• Sugar can cause liver cells to divide, increasing the size of the liver.
• Sugar can increase the amount of fat in the liver.
• Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney.
• Sugar can cause depression.
• Sugar can increase the body's fluid retention.
• Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance.
• Sugar can cause hypertension.
• Sugar can cause headaches, including migraines.
• Sugar can cause an increase in delta, alpha and theta brain waves, which can alter the mind's ability to think clearly.
• Sugar can increase blood platelet adhesiveness which increases risk of blood clots and strokes.
• Sugar can increase insulin responses in those consuming high-sugar diets compared to low sugar diets.
• Sugar increases bacterial fermentation in the colon.

And that's just the half of it boys and girls. However, let's not kid ourselves, there is a reason that we eat so much sugar, I mean, come on, take a close look at the glazed over, plump and happy dough-kids up top, Pavlovian, isn't it? Ready for a doppio espresso yet? And who can resist the refined super powers of the sugar surfer as he rides one high to the next merrily mixing the insulin ratio in your bloodstream to intolerable (at best) levels? Buzzzzz. Sugar. One of the ten thousand things. And one of the ten thousand things to avoid. I double dare ya.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Time



It is ironic that in a culture so committed to saving time we feel increasingly deprived of he very thing we value. The modern world of streamlined transportation, instantaneous communication and time saving technologies was supposed to free us from the dictates of the clock and provide us with increased leisure. Instead there never seems to be enough time. What time we do have is chopped up into tiny segments, each filled with prior commitments and plans. We rarely have a moment to spare. Tangential or discretionary time, once our mainstay, and amenity of life, is now a luxury.

So opens Jeremy Rifkin's seminal work on the politics of time, Time Wars. www.amazon.com/Time-Wars-Primary-Conflict-Touchstone/dp/0671671588

I have my own thoughts on this polemic, he offered to the murder of crows as a solution to their seemingly impossible task of separating the flight of pigeons from the peanuts. Time your attacks with the element of surprise, and the spoils of (time) wars will be yours.

I'd like to stick around and watch the drama, but I gotta run.

Big Ben
Swatch HQ in Sydney for the 2000 Olympics
Day timer from 1991
The culture of cars says classic is the Cadillac of Cool

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Home



Seems like about twice every day his thoughts would drift towards building (as both noun and verb), visions of his little cabin in the woods, the great works of the masters, what was directly in front of him, its history, design, use, cost of construction, impact on the land, the labor. It fascinated him much the same way art and music did. Hypnotic in its simplicity, daunting in its conception, and these days impossible without two incomes and a rich uncle. The paradox amused him and he again saw the wood, brick, stone, steel and glass as merely a place in which to hang one's sometimes soggy hat. Further, that the true measure of any building was defined by the joy, love and virtue that takes place within.

Marco's casa bella in Umbria I could have bought in 1996 for 157,000USD.
Filippo Brunelleschi's Il Duomo in Florence was built from 1420-1436, weighs 37,000 tons and utilized 4 million stacked bricks.
The humble Cabin in the Woods (still under construction)
Mad King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein in Bavaria took 14 master carpenters 4 1/2 years to finish JUST HIS BEDROOM.

The warm memories of his travels would heat the cabin once this trail turned again towards the magic forest. When the final brick is laid, what then?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bobby


Has it already been 40 years?, he asked himself in disbelief. What the hell did we learn from the Tet offensive, the Chicago 10, MLK, LBJ, or Cool Hand Luke? Not a damn thing was the sad retort. We're doing it all again, like clockwork. Same stupid mistakes but this round in the name of homeland security and our foreign "interests". Worse, they're not even mistakes, they're out and out planned and orchestrated crimes against humanity. By our own hallowed standards we have violated every moral, ethical, political and spiritual standard ever established, and had the outlandish arrogant audacity to spin it off as necessary because if we don't do it there, we'll have to do it here. Excuse me while I go puke, he gurgled.

So it was 40 years ago. The Tigers behind Mickey Lolich and Al Kaline beat the Cards (behind Bullet Bob Gibson and Lou Brock) 4 games to 3 in the series. Ohio State went 10-0. Hey Jude was number one on the Billboard pop charts. The average household income was $7,743 and a first class stamp was a nickel. There was no e-mail. Arthur Hailey's Airport was at the top of the NY Times best seller list and "In the Heat of the Night" won the best picture award. I was a sophomore in high school, he mussed, remembering it as a time of great change.

As his thoughts began their quasi-scientific dot connecting journey, he saw John Lennon, Bill Freehan, Rod Steiger, Paul Newman, Charlie Escalier, Lt. Calley, Jane Fonda and twenty thousand Vietnamese, all shaking their heads in disbelief. "Wait, there's still hope", he shouted, desperately wanting to change the course of the river with his bare hands, "all we need is some truth, courage and integrity, it CAN happen. Please let's just try, all of us, together, and NOW". His call to action faded as his eyes welled with tears understanding that, "Tomorrow may be too late." And he heard Bobby say:
"Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product, now, is over $800 billion a year, but that gross national product — if we judge the United States of America by that — that gross national product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife and the television programs, which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. "Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."

RFK, 1968.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Olfactory Hues


Ahhh, books. We all love lists, do we not? And in case you're wondering a list counts as one (of the ten thousand) in its entirety, vice each individual tome counting as one. Therefore, I humbly submit a sampling (ten, of course) of my favorite works, in no particular order other than the joy that they provided upon completion.
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
  • Jitterbug Perfume - Tom Robbins
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • On the Beach - Neville Shute
  • The Magus - John Fowles
  • Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert Heinlien
  • Sometimes a Great Notion - Ken Kesey
  • Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
  • Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
  • Franny & Zooey - JD Sallinger
And leave you with this (today as we head out to pump and repair the septic):

If the waft that streams from a freshly opened hive is intimate to the point of embarrassment (ask any sensitive beekeeper), so it is with beet pollen. There is something personal about it, and something primeval. If there is a comparable odor, it is indeed, the moldy inner sanctum of some fermenting, bursting hive, but beet pollen is honey squared, royal jelly cubed, nectar raised to the nth power, the intensified secretions of the Earth's apiarian gland, reeking of ancient burial chambers and intimacies half as old as time. Tom Robbins, from Jitterbug Perfume.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring




Cultivate the garden within.

Cedar and stone.

Gardening is a way of saying you believe in tomorrow.

Every day should feel like Valentines Day.

A bumper crop, 1949 Oregon.

So glad spring is almost here!

Friday, March 14, 2008

On the Right Track



Train songs, he said aloud, have a special place in the history of American music. As if on cue, his right foot began slappin' time to the distinct sound of a freight train pourin' down the tracks, (not to be confused with the sound of a horses foot in gravel he reminded himself) as his left hand joined the tour, flinging flesh on the upbeat to faded denim on the down. chuckka chuckka chuckka BOOM chuckka chuckka BOOM BOOM. Add a cardboard box for the kick, a trashcan lid for the snare, a bottle of Tokay, and maybe he could invoke the spirit of Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams or Chuck Berry, BOOM chuckka BOOM.
He remembered maybe the best one line he had ever written and it played sweetly over the growing cacophony of his one man hobo percussion ensemble,

"My soul is a freight train and on the right track,
can't tell if it's going or just gettin' back."

Coal, steam, diesel, Electro-motive. Fuel. Takes money to move honey. First class, coach, economy, cattle car. Classes and compartments, all going far. Engineer, conductor, baggage man, cook, all hear the rhythm and all hear the hook. Boom chuckka chuckka, boom boom.

Photo of Old Number 7 by Jason Elhart.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Standard Disclaimer




The standard disclaimer

Before each of our 22 shoots last year I would spend the requisite time with my driver, motorcycle pilot, and crew (if any) going over the shoot details. This is the big picture, this is your role, here is what I need you to do, if "A" happens, respond with "B", if "B" happens respond with "C", and should "C" happen just keep doing what you're doing until I make up a "D". That is just the way it went as each course dictated its own special and unique set of challenges on race day. I would finish the indoctrination session with what came to be known as "the standard disclaimer", or the communication that whatever happened over the course of the next 56 or 112 miles, that under no circumstance were they to take ANYTHING I said, personally. This is the heat of battle, gentlemen we have a job to do, there are precious few rules, we invent protocols as we go, and, worse, out there are power crazed volunteers, off duty rent-a-cops directing traffic and the frustrated general public in overheating vehicles stuck at (hopefully) closed intersections. Not to mention several world class athletes trying to earn a pay check and two thousand or so age groupers going, sometimes out of control, as fast as they can. All in all, a cookbook recipe for disaster. That we made it through the season without serious* incident only affirms my belief in the validity of the project. There were times I'm quite sure we were being watched over and looked after by a higher power. A smiling higher power I might add, 'cause we were having some serious fun out there, and that is what makes it all legit.

Which brings us back to the standard disclaimer. It was brought to my attention that some of my posts, comments, opinions and/or tales of the dance, are borderline, ah, self incriminating. Yes, I have touched upon such sensitive subject matters as sex, drugs, alcohol abuse, rebellion, anarchy, God, rock and fucking roll, war, mans inhumanity to man, race relations, sex (again), corruption and greed, the R rating, erotic literature, fast cars, alternative religions, organic food, pollution, industrial waste, relativity theory, beautiful women and sleek bikes, and that these opinions, comments, points of view and/or observations are not necessarily shared by those of management. Have you heard this before?

So let it be known. That the opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of, well, anyone but me. It's kinda like the Miranda of RCVman.

* I will define "serious" at another date.

OK. Let's rock 'n roll, he said grinning with gumption.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Wall (with all due respect)



The Ten Suggestions

OK, we all know bout the commandments that were handed down on stone tablets well over two thousand years ago (620 BCE). Cool stuff, sure, helps all kind of folks seeking dogma, ritual, guilt and fear as ruling factors in their lives. Oh my, too harsh already? Better tune out now then cause it's gonna get worse (or better, depending on your current view). I humbly submit that they (we) are in dire need of an update for the times. Cut the Thou shalts and all the fear factoring, thou shalt NOT do this or that. Make it a touch more in touch. Dig? Maybe we'll (and we're all in this together) reach more people this way and make earth a little more tolerable on our way to heaven. All this despite the fact that the Buddhists get it closer to right when they say that THIS ALREADY IS heaven and all we have to do is to wake (TF) up and recognize it as such (silly humans). Regardless of your theology du jour, the Ten Suggestions, could go a long way towards solving many current socio-politico-economico-environmentico issues. Says I. So here they are: Please feel free to add as many to the list as you like. They are kinda like mosaic tiles, each one unique and beautiful, together a work of art.

1) I suggest that there is no one true religion, nor one supreme being. Rather a Great Spirit, going by many names.

2) I suggest that we practice a little more tolerance towards those that are still struggling with this concept, and attempt not to convert, control or kill them.

3) I suggest we don't kill ANYTHING.

4) I suggest that we don't littler, pollute, spoil, contaminate or damage our little orb of a planet.

5) I suggest that we attempt a quantum leap of global consciousness and understand that love means service, and henceforth start to serve mankind instead of exploiting it.

6) I suggest we not only honor our mothers and fathers but our bosses, bus drivers, bank tellers and buss boys as well.

7) I suggest that we keep holy EVERY FUCKING DAY OF THE WEEK.

8) I suggest that we use a little more tact and diplomacy when making suggestions (and drop a few less F Bombs along with all those "smart" drone bombs).

9) I suggest we redefine adultery. Really, it's just for adults?

10) I suggest that we, as a global tribe, try to find more common ground, appreciate, respect and celebrate our cultural differences, and, most, importantly, LIGHTEN THE FUCK UP.

OK, that's all the room we have on this wall today. Tomorrow's two tiles: Women and "Minorities". Oh my.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bushido


The warrior protects and defends because he realizes the value of others. He knows that they are essential to society and, in his gift of service, recognizes and values theirs... take the extra moment in dark parking lots at night to make sure that a woman gets into her car safely before leaving yourself. Daily involvement in acts such as these are as much a part of training as time spent in the dojo, and indeed should be the reason for that time spent training... When faced with a woman or child in a situation in which they are vulnerable, there are two types of men: those who would offer succor and aid, and those who would prey upon them. And in modern society, there is another loathsome breed who would totally ignore their plight!

James Williams from The Virtue of the Sword.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Monologue



Three great cinematic scenes delivered with impeccable oratory aplomb. Submitted for your consideration. There is nothin' like good dialogue.

VoilĂ ! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it's my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V. V.

I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn't work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there's no guilt in baseball, and it's never boring... which makes it like sex. There's never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn't have the best year of his career. Making love is like hitting a baseball: you just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides, I'd never sleep with a player hitting under .250... not unless he had a lot of RBIs and was a great glove man up the middle. You see, there's a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds. Sometimes when I've got a ballplayer alone, I'll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him, and the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. 'Course, a guy'll listen to anything if he thinks it's foreplay. I make them feel confident, and they make me feel safe, and pretty. 'Course, what I give them lasts a lifetime; what they give me lasts 142 games. Sometimes it seems like a bad trade. But bad trades are part of baseball - now who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God's sake? It's a long season and you gotta trust. I've tried 'em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.
Annie Savoy.

Why shouldn't I work for the N.S.A.? That's a tough one, but I'll take a shot. Say I'm working at N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I'm real happy with myself, 'cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people I never met, never had a no problem with get killed. Now the politicians are sayin', "Oh, Send in the marines to secure the area" 'cause they don't give a shit. It won't be their kid over there, gettin' shot. Just like it wasn't them when their number got called, 'cause they were pullin' a tour in the National Guard. It'll be some kid from Southie takin' shrapnel in the ass. And he comes back to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, 'cause he'll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And of course the oil companies used the skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices. A cute little ancillary benefit for them, but it ain't helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. And they're takin' their sweet time bringin' the oil back of course, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and fuckin' play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain't too long 'til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So now my buddy's out of work and he can't afford to drive, so he's got to walk to the fuckin' job interviews, which sucks 'cause the shrapnel in his ass is givin' him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile he's starvin' 'cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat the only blue plate special they're servin' is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what did I think? I'm holdin' out for somethin' better. I figure fuck it, while I'm at it why not just shoot my buddy, take his job, give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president. Will Hunting.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Spin Kids




Our Saturday morning group gathered together in the House of Fun (formerly known as The House of Pain). We go to see my buddy MAX quite often all the while cranking Zep, The Who, Gabriel, Stones, AC/DC, Stevie Earle, Phish, and lots of classic R&R oldies you've probably forgotten. Like Telstar, My Maria and The Lonely Bull. It's more fun than a barrel of primates, and a monster workout, to boot.

L to R: Steve, Philip, Heather, Jan, Matt, Thom, Dianne, Mike, Cheryl, Chris, Lynn F. Bernie, Steve R., Steph, me kneeling in reverence and awe, Lynn, Chris and John.

Later that same day (top foto) at the Seattle Bike Expo. Ray and Charles are selling Real Course Videos faster than I can make them. Good work boys! Thanks to the Seattle Triathlon Club (Sea-Tri) for working the booth with us and handing out 300 VHS (I know) copies of the film that made Trevor Griffith a household name in the Puget Sound: Northwest Triathlon 2002: One Perfect Race. And, yes sport fans, OPR contains the hit singles, "I wanna be a Wahoo", and "One Perfect Race". Still available on DVD, it is.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Your Call





Let's take a quick look back on what we've accomplished so far, shall we? Heads: Or Tales of the Ten Thousand Things. A random arrangement of persons, places and things with no categorical or chronological priorities. Complete chaos. Very much like life. It's only structure is that it tries to have none. Rule Number One is that there are no rules. It follows no leader, pays no tax and marches to the syncopated beating its own drum. A rara avis of both monumental and inconsequential proportions. Lost in time and free in space. Humor, paradox seeking change. We realize that all roads eventually lead to the same place, hence the thrilling choices of how we get there, not when. Is there order in chaos?

From the top:

The dream
27.3 years
Buddha
The Euro
My passport
A beautiful hand made vase
Albert Einstein
My nephew
My brothers
War
Ice Cream
The Dead
Tools
A female crow
Dinner
The Canon XH-A1
Peace
Carrots
X-Rays
Tecate
David Lindley

Fumbling for his pencil and pocket notebook, which he preferred over his Macbook Pro when jotting flow of consciousness, he tried to arrange these seemingly unrelated nouns into verb form. Give it some life, animate it, advance the plot, tell the story. There is a common thread to all of the above. They may be 10,000 things but they are all of one mind. They are all connected. There is nothing that is not part of it. Sadness is a part, hurt, pain, rejection, loneliness, hunger. All connected dots. All the same coin. Just different sides. Heads: Or Tales of the Ten Thousand Things. You call it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

El Rayo X



He paid another visit to the Chiropractor today. And got worked. He was hoping that somehow the familiar pain in his right temple, the effect of his metabolism losing yet another mixture battle 'tween blood and alcohol, might be adjusted (and henceforth less annoying) along with his spine, lower back and neck. Did he self medicate because of the neck pain or did the imported NAFTA medication cause the pain in the first place? he wondered aloud punching button number 2 in the down elevator.




He did have a fondness for Mexican beer. And a few cool ones always seemed to salve whatever current ailment persisted. Seemed like just yesterday he was in Baja at Estero Beach running barefoot at sunrise with David Lindley on the MP3. I am El Rayo. Intrepid protector of all things causing pains in the neck, X.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Peace and Carrots





He sat cross-legged under the shade of the fragrant cypress tree thinking about how the current challenge was not unlike setting the table for dinner. You want it to be the best it can be, BUT, there are issues, always issues. Like if the lens of your social camcorder is scratched or dirty. Clean it, replace it, learn a new or better way to use it. And keep the bastard in focus. Then, another issue, give all the credit for "your" success to those on the team: The farmer, the harvester, the vendor, the sous, the waiter. And take full responsibility for any, repeat, anything that might go wrong. The dinner cruise doesn't have to sink just because the carrots taste like lifepreservers and the peas like green steel. Or like peace and carrots.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Tools





Even though the capability and power of modern tools allows quick and profitable labor, he suggested to the crow, I'm not convinced that we have made much progress. We have tools with which to stack steel, tools to grow food and tools to control. You decide then, if using a kettle to brew tea, or a hoe to cultivate oranges, is of any less nobility than building 55 floors of commerce to vend jasmine or citrus for profit.

In leaving, she seemed to say that the only straight lines in nature are as the way I fly.



WAMU in Seattle

Tea House on Kawai

Appartamento a vicino Mirano

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Ice Cream Kid



His head hurt. A sharp stinging pain like that of a heart about to break. The pain that you feel when someone you deeply love starts their goody-bye-it's been nice speech. Your heart simply stops and your head starts to throb. You wonder just what in frozen hell it was you did to deserve such treatment. With the abrupt change of stasis, he stopped the flashback of his life at 1975, he was listening to The Dead, Europe '72, I know you rider, gonna miss me when I'm gone. He saw the triple album's cover and his ice cream headache melted like morning dew. If you're lucky and awake, you'll get over it, he thought. There aren't many Bozos on this bus.

Knowing that there are no good-byes among friends, he wondered if hellos can happen twice. He missed Jerry and Julie.

WAR


Towards the end of 1943, the US was issuing almost 100 million ration books so that American families at home could get sugar, coffee, shoes and meat. My Italian Grandfather was a meat cutter in Venice, Ca. at the time. My Grandmother Naomi's ration book is the top one. I was born nine years later during the Korean "conflict", and in college during Vietnam. My birthday gave me number 111 in the draft that ended in 1971. They took all eligible boys up to number 109. I remember my Mom saying that she would come and visit me in Canada if they got to 111. Now we're at it again in the Middle East. Why do we ration peace, love and understanding?

They wondered aloud if there might be a shortage of common sense afflicting those elected to public office. After a while you forget what it's about, who it's for. So you just keep fighting and spending and spinning lies. Power and greed and corporate profit. And then we get a recession and out of control inflation and another million enemies. My Papa Ralph would not be happy about this. Basta cosi, he would have said.

Moving fast





One of the most astounding correlates from the relativity theory is that the faster you move, the slower time passes. The classic example is that of the space traveler leaving his family on Earth to explore another solar system and returning in 25 years to find that his family had aged faster than he. Master Kubrick nailed this (in 1968) with 2001: A Space Odyssey. Light waves move at 300,000K per SECOND, almost as fast as my nephew, who wasn't around yet for my brothers bachelors party in 1997. Move fast, then.