Strix the harbinger
guards the exit gate, quizzing all
Who will pass this night?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Statesboro Blues

Blind Willie McTell - Bob Dylan
Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem”
I traveled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

I must confess, I am totally out of it. I know Blind Willie McTell and his work pretty well. I did not not know that Bob Dylan wrote a damned song about him. Apparently a damned famous song, judging by the number of covers on YouTube. Out of the loop again. Damn. That's the story of my life.

The Great Auk



This image is from Jon Guinea's blog, Consequences Dictate. Jon is on an epic adventure in Iceland. It's a long story, both terribly sad, yet uplifting. PLEASE go look.

Note: Do not let given names throw you. This are very own Jonny Hamachi.

Monday, August 30, 2010

1410 Garden: August 30, 2010

Summer has crested. It's still 85 and humid, but little drifts of leaves are starting to accumulate in wind protected nooks and hollows. So far it's mostly grape and bur oaks, not enough to take a rake to, but a harbinger of what's coming a page down the calendar. There are not many perennials blooming, an occasional rose or two, but the garden is overflowing with lush green growth. It's a continuing process of hacking back some plants and encouraging others. Most perennials only bloom for a couple of weeks. It has taken me most of a lifetime to see past the flashy flowers and anchor my garden with plants that have foliage that will carry them, that can justify their existence without the flowers. (There has to be some analogy about women tucked in there.) So I'm relying on the annuals, little more than so much colored hay, to carry me through until the Fall flowers - asters, sedums and mums kick in for the final show, along with a few roses that will bloom again in the coolness of autumn.


Late summer is weed time. I've spent the last week doing some serious weeding, pulling up a bumper crop of tree seedlings which have been gaining tap roots while lurking beneath the foliage. I usually put down a layer of mulch down in Fall to help control the weeds, not because it's the ideal time, but because that's when the stores look at the pallets of mulch still left and have blow out sales. It is amazing, my little postage stamp of a garden ate 22 bags of mulch and was still hungry for more. I have my eyes on some bags of river rock too. I'm waiting for them to be a little more motivated before I pull my financial trigger. When I stopped to pick up groceries a couple of days ago they were putting out buckets of Sweet Autumn Clematis. I didn't buy any ... yet, mostly because they caught me off-guard. I did plant them in my imagination later while I was sitting on the bench smoking a maduro. Maybe. A little weedy, but you can never have too many clematis. One of the local nurserys also has a weeping Siberian pea tree, Caragana arborescens pendula, that I have eyed for two years. It's grafted as a small tree so it is a little pricey. The manager says she is NOT going to overwinter it again this year and she'll give me a call with an offer I can't refuse if it's still there in a month. I'm praying for the recession to hold for one more month. Unfortunately, I think I'm safe.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Great Minnesota Get-Together


Good God! Food on a stick! The Minnesota State Fair is on! In the next two weeks over a million and a half people will eat food on a stick until they are ill. People really know how to have a good time out here in Flyover Land. Following stolen from red Ravine who stole it from F.Scott Fitzgerald.
The two cities were separated only by a thin well-bridged river; their tails curling over the banks met and mingled, and at the juncture, under the jealous eye of each, lay, every fall, the State Fair. Because of this advantageous position, and because of the agricultural eminence of the state, the fair was one of the most magnificent in America. There were immense exhibits of grain, livestock and farming machinery; there were horse races and automobile races and, lately, aeroplanes that really left the ground; there was a tumultuous Midway with Coney Island thrillers to whirl you through space, and a whining, tinkling hoochie-coochie show. As a compromise between the serious and the trivial, a grand exhibition of fireworks, culminating in a representation of the Battle of Gettysburg, took place in the Grand Concourse every night.
–F. Scott Fitzgerald,  A Night at the Fair

Saturday, August 28, 2010

N' Orleans - Change Coming

One face of New Orleans is racist and corrupt - just awful; the other is wonderful, optimistic, the best of what we are.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Chieftans - Sting & Marianne

I give the Long Black Veil CD a rare 5 stars. A Sinead O'Connor cut of Danny Boy is also included. Also the Rollingstones, Van Morrison and a lot of other great stuff. I like the Chieftans because they all look like they could have lived in Clarks Grove in the 1950s, a great time to be a kid.


Also on the Veil:

Better World Books

Better World Books collects and sells books online to fund literacy initiatives worldwide. With more than six million new and used titles in stock, we’re a self-sustaining, triple-bottom-line company that creates social, economic and environmental value for all our stakeholders.

I don't understand their business model, but the books are cheap, the shipping is free and the profits (?) go to a good cause. Lorna buys a lot of her book club books from them. I just bought a used hard copy of a wine book, Educating Peter, for less than $5.00 including shipping.  Better World Books                                                  
 

Horrible People

This is great stuff.  I don't want to go to the hassle, so go to the Church of the Sweet Ride and pray for us all.

Help! Quicksand!

This one is for Rev Dick. Why the Rev? I dunno, it just seems a Rev Dick thing. Ya know, a religious experience - the sort of thing he photographs on his adventures discovering the single track backwoods.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bicycle Crashes


On the risky "Coffee Shop Run" a couple of days ago, Jack Gabus had an accident with his old Gary Fisher. The pavement won. He was skinned up, a broken rib or two and a badly bruised hip, but the Fisher came away unscathed. 

Everyone who rides for any length of time has had these falls. Fortunately I have never had an altercation with a car. My worst was a fall I had ten or fifteen years ago. I left Lanesboro, Minnesota on the Root River Trail in the morning on my old Colnago Super, headed the thirty miles to the end of the trail in Houston. As the trail nears Houston it climbs out of the river valley up to the high ground. Apparently the state had issues acquiring the right of way because the trail is silly steep with a couple of switchbacks to gain the elevation. It's one of those hills that has you looking back between your legs at the freewheel, praying there is just one more big cog left. I am not a good climber. I won't say I conquered it; I survived it. I did not become a pedestrian. 

After the hill it's more or less flat running for a couple of miles into town where I rested and had a snack under a tree in the park. As I was coming back I was thinking about the pros screaming down those twisting alpine roads. By the time I crested the hill I had convinced myself that I could do that too, and I let 'er roll. This was a terrible mistake. I don't know what I was thinking. The pros are riding down automobile roads with wide, sweeping curves. I wasn't. By the time I realized my folly the vintage Campagnolo brakes were not up to the task. I hung on the outside lip of the trail through the first curve, went into the second curve all jacked out of shape and shot off the road. The trail is steep enough that they were having erosion issues and had orange plastic erosion fence strung up on steel fence posts across the ditches. I hit the fence sliding broadside in the weeds. The bike and I somersaulted over the fence. I instinctively threw the Colnago up to protect it. Unfortunately, in the process, I impaled my guts on the top of one of the posts. I lay in the weeds for a quite a while holding my stomach, afraid to look. My shorts were ripped, my skin torn, bleeding and bruised, but I was okay. I felt like I had been gored by a runaway bull, but I was okay. The bike didn't have a scratch.

I think it was the longest thirty miles of my life. I had no juice left. By the time I got to Rushford I had bonked completely. I had no money on me, but I was desperate. I stopped at a cafe and threw myself on their mercy. I must have looked pretty bad. They didn't hesitate. They gave me a chocolate malt and a banana and I was able to ride the twenty miles back to my truck and the trip back home. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Belgium. BELGIUM, Belgium, Belgium!

"To a bike-mad American daydreamer, that utterance, Belgium, it arouses skin-tingling romantic visions: Shit-streaked cobbles, machete-like crosswinds, ceaseless overcast and wet and a hundred riders surrounding you who'd sooner stiff-arm you into the gutter than give up their spot in the echelon: Belgium is the muse that motivates everyone we know (or at least everyone we like) on those days when the cold and the rainshowers make training seem like a longshot.

Belgium is mecca. We made our pilgrimage once and experienced such a totalizing harshness that, in retrospect, it bore no resemblance to our Belgium daydreams. And that's where Joe Parkin's life took a different tack from ours. At the behest of an in-his-prime-with-7-Eleven Bob Roll, Joe left the soft world of California road racing in the late 80's to see if he could stick in Europe's ultimate proving ground. Joe's experience in Belgium is the basis for the astonishing book, A Dog in a Hat.

Joe spent one year tearing it up in the amateur scene in Belgium, before turning pro for 5 years and traveling Europe trying to make his mark. A Dog in a Hat is outstanding for many reasons, perhaps none so important as the fact that Joe didn't have a superstar's engine. Breaking through to become a Tour de France KOM or a Classics winner wasn't an option for him. The very fact that he was a 2nd-tier quality pro makes the substance of this book eye-opening. You'll be fascinated by his humility, his determination, and by the warped way domestiques set their goals and weigh success.

Is A Dog in a Hat the best book we've ever read about bike racing? Undeniably yes. The essential truths you'll learn about Belgian bike racing are timeless. And the self-effacing (and often hilarious) way Joe narrates the absurdity of these traditions will make you laugh out loud. Of everything written about bike racing throughout the history of mankind, Chapter 3, "Kermis Don't Play Fair," is the most important 20 pages ever penned. No one should be permitted to own a USA Cycling license without being able to recite this chapter from heart. If you have the least bit of interest in Belgian bike culture, you owe it to yourself to read A Dog in a Hat. And if you don't, then you need to trade in your bike for golf clubs."

Amazon $15, pick up The Rider, by Tim Krabbe on the way by for only another $10.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Miss Patsy Cline

Coconino

Here is a snow bike built by Steve Garro, a longtime friend of the Mimbres Man. It's a straight forward bike with beautiful fillet brazing and wonderful tire clearances. Inspired by the adventures of Rev Dick, Jack Gabus is making rumblings about ordering one of these. This fat tired baby makes my old Coldnago seem ... inadequate.

Waiting in the barn.

The beast in it's element.

Bike Wall


I told you Gabus had a lot of bicycles.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

George and the Dragon

A Frank Patterson drawing from Phil Van Valkenberg. A rural pub named George and the Dragon! We know the rider is not mounting his bicycle to ride away. He's looking at the pub door, ready to make a dash for it. We cyclists are a perennially thirsty lot. Looking at the picture I want a pint in a friendly pub right now. The Patterson drawings are evocative of the best of rural cycle touring. You look at them and you can just picture Frank under a tree with his pencils, capturing a special moment on a beautiful ride. Alas, I was crushed to read that he spent most of his time at home sketching from photographs. So ..... do you want facts or truth?  Me, I'm siding with truth. 

Jack Taylor

Phil Van Valkenberg sent this picture. Very cool. Thanks.


Taylor Brothers. Jack, Ken, Norman, not necessarily in that order. They built about 9000 bicycles from 1936 to 2001.  9000 seems like a lot, but it's only about 150 a year, probably twice that in their heyday.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010



It's Raining Jacks

Mr. Jack Gabus is going to be documenting the build of his Jack Taylor on his blog, Echolon 133. Expect some cross posting in the near future. (Nice chairs)
Link to his blog.



Coincidentally I received this from Jon Guinea within minutes after receiving the note from Jack. It belongs to a Phil Van Valkenberg, whom I don't know, but it is very nice. 

Steel Is Real Milwaukee, Saturday, September 11

Special Appearance by Jack Taylor  Itself!

This is What My Old Jack Taylor Looked Like

The Taylor brothers, Jack, Norm and Ken, hand made bicycle in Stocton-On-Tees, England from the 1930s to the '90s.  They crafted a total of only about 10,000 during that time.  Jack Taylor frames were noted for workmanship and finish.  Tandems were a speciality as well as touring bikes with integrated racks. Road racing and track bikes were made too.  "Custom" was the norm.  Reynolds 531 tubing was used almost exclusively.


Norm made the frames, Jack painted and stripped them and Ken built the wheels and did the packing hand writing on each box, "Have a nice ride."  Norm specialized in "magic hands welding," a method of joining tubes without lugs by laying down brazing metal smoothly around the joints.  He began doing it in the post-WWII days when there was a shortage of lugs.  It's said he was so good at it he never used a file.

This photo is my Jack Taylor Clubman when I got it back a couple of years ago after hard use and years of storage in a barn.  It was in pretty rough shape.

I had it restored at Waterford Precision Cycles.  They matched the paint, found replica Mondrian decals and duplicated the original box stripping.  It's a total babe magnet bike - good since I'm not.

I plan to ride it at Steel Is Real Milwaukee this year, weather permitting.  Otherwise I'll try to have it on display at Cafe Hollander.  Maybe some lady will have the ultra beer goggles on and I'll get lucky (lol).

Not to worry, I won't be entering it in the Best Steel Bike Contest.  Riders will vote at Cafe Hollander before the start for the best Road Bike, One-On-One, Balloon-Tired Bomber, Mountain Bike, Bagel Wheels (24" or less), Extemporaneous (high degree of creativity), and the coveted "Should've Taken 'er to Ziebart" award for the best rust bucket (must be ridden) that looks a few pedal turns from the junk yard.  We might do a best tandem award too if more than one shows up.

At registration everyone will get stickers for each Best Steel Bike category.  You'll vote for your favorite by putting the sticker on the bike of choice.  We'll call up entrants for each category and if you've got one entered you can do the show dog routine and tell about it.  You can also buy votes.  Beer bribes and flirting seem to work best.

Koerner, Ray and Glover

In spite of the (2005) label on the YouTube, it was recorded in 2002 shortly before Dave Ray died. John Koerner, Tony Glover and Dave Ray were part of the Minnesota West Bank folk scene in the early 60s, which included Bobby Zimmerman from up on the Range. He learned from these guys, became Bob Dylan and went to Greenwich Village. K, R & G stayed home playing traditional music for tips in bars. Koerner continued playing every Sunday at the Viking Bar until it was razed in name of "progress" about four years ago. The last I heard he was building boats and playing he can get a gig. The keyboards are played by another old home boy, Willie Murphy.


LP Cures Another Bad Habit

I have known LP all my life. I knew him as a young child. I worked with him for 30+ years. I have breakfast with him once a week. After all of these years you wouldn't think there would be many surprises left. You'd be wrong. He can still regularly throw me a curve.


When LP first started playing the trombone he couldn't reach the long slide positions. I remember visiting their home and having his father requesting a song or two from young LP and his older sister Dolly (clarinet?) to entertain the guests. As he got older he played in bands. He knew the name of every major professional trombone player who ever lived. He particularity loved Dixieland. Eventually the trombone moved to the closet, coming out only when he had had a little to drink. Late in the evening at parties he would feel the music coming on and go home to retrieve the sliding brass beast. I think the longest was a 50 mile round trip. Now that is passion.

Last Saturday at breakfast I asked him if he had seen some music program on television. He said no, he doesn't listen to any music now, not even on the car radio! How can this be? It's like an artist deciding he's not going to paint again. Okay, maybe that's a bad example. But how can a one time musician completely divorce himself from music, giving it all up like a bad habit?  Another curve ball.

Monday, August 16, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

Yngwie Johann Malmsteen from about 20 years ago. All you non-Scandihovians out there, say "Ing-vay". For Jackson. Bless his old weathered Swedish soul.

Blazing Star Trail


Or, how I wasted my day today.
An easy two mile ride from my front door, down Highway 13 and then east on Front Street, takes me to the Blazing Star Landing, the beginning of a paved state trail.  

The oppressive humidity and heat has broken and it was a blue sky 75 degree day. I was rolling like the wind. Later it turned out the wind was merely pushing me along to set me up to pay his price on the return run. Ol' Wind has been using this ploy on me for 40 years and I still fall for it. I should know by now, I am not that strong!


The first half mile from the landing snakes around a cattail marsh before climbing up the grade and running east, a straight line wedged between farm fields and a railroad right of way. After a mile, maybe a little longer, it goes under Interstate 35, takes a sharp right turn and heads south to Myre-Big Island State Park. 








The 1600 acre park is a mixture of tallgrass prairie and hardwoods, what the early settlers called "Oak Openings" and the Big Woods timber of the island - a mixture of maple, hickory, cherry and such. A mile after entering the park the trail crosses the road. I opted to turn right off the trail onto the road which swings through the tallgrass prairie, the flowers just starting to show themselves above the Little Bluestem and Indian Grass, and heads east to the islands - Big and Little.









The road crosses a causeway and terminates at a picnic grounds on Big Island, a 117 acre wooded island surrounded by the 2,600 acres of Albert Lea Lake. The computer says the park has eight miles of shoreline. Having walked and paddled every foot of it, that seems about right. Give or take.


The gloves say "Benson". It must be the Korean branch of the Benson tree. 

I kicked back a little and tried to nap on the Laurie Sather Memorial Sleeping Table before the return trip. No luck, it requires a certain mystical quality that only Laurie seems to possess.

It was a clear blue sky, dragonfly, bobolink, white pelican drifting with the wind day. A day for bicycles and twin fawns bounding across the path, standing white tails twitching, smug but nervous in the sun dappled underbrush. Life is hard. Life is earnest. Even for first summer whitetails. They escaped the cyclist. This time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The PGA Championship

A couple of days ago Dex Westrum was over helping me deal with a surplus of Bell's Two-Hearted Ale. The PGA was on and we started talking about the qualities of the Whistling Straights Golf Club. Dex, who is or was a member of the PGA, is the spawn of a family of club pros and in his day was a pretty good golfer, mostly of the hustler ilk - that is, in his family, golf was something one did for money, not pleasure. 

He told me about our high school classmate, Dick Jones, who won everything he touched in high school, including the Minnesota State Tournament. As an adult he continued playing amateur golf, winning 40 some tournaments. This is to say, he is a pretty fair golfer. He lives in Milwaukee and has played Whistling Straights half a dozen times. Only twice he broke 100. Twice. It makes one appreciate what the touring pros are able to do. Grounding the club in a quasi-sand trap! Oofda.

The Blaine Velodrome

The National Sports Center is in Blaine, a northern suburb of Minneapolis. The Sports Center is a large complex with indoor facilities (8 sheets of ice) and a number of stadiums and athletic fields for various sports. For instance there are 52 soccer fields! But enough about obscure sports. It also has maybe the finest velodrome in North America (which in 20 years I have never even bothered to go up and look at).



Saturday, August 14, 2010

Kenneth Koch

You want a social life, with friends.

A passionate love life and as well

To work hard every day. What’s true

Is of these three you may have two.

Friday, August 13, 2010

"...please ride responsibly." ???


Lorna Berg “May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.” (sang at Geri McShane's funeral and celebration of life ceremony)

Minneapolis Nice Ride




Wednesday, August 11, 2010

At the Intersection of Lawnmower and Bicycle

This was forwarded by my nephew, Chris 'Beer Boy' Anderson, who's life title is something like Digital Media Marketing Mangler for the Toro company.

 A group of urban activists known as The Mower Gang have cleared the half-mile Detroit Velodrome track of weeds, beer cans, and other trash that kept bicycles away for decades. "It's really not about getting some 45-year-old guy a better place to ride his bike," said the Mower Gang's founder. "It's more about getting 10-, 12-, 13-year-old kids a better place to spend an afternoon.

Lawnmower, bicycle and good deed content! My question to Chris is, "Why are these people not using free Toro equipment? This is within your power. Use it."

Monday, August 9, 2010

Cambio Corsa Watercolor

Masini would like to buy a print of this painting. Anybody have a source?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Battle of the Elmores, James vs Leonard



Geri McShane

Lorna's friend, Geri died from breast cancer yesterday. The last time I saw her was back in April when she was over here writing a story on Lorna's family surviving breast cancer. Sad time.




Obit

Big Thanks to Big Mikey

I would like to thank Dr. Micheal White for this. For the single Canadian reader that I'm aware of, do not worry, I will be a stern, but fair master:

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura.

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate. 

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also
tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family
affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14) I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan.

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia PS (It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Remembered the Camera Today

 The trail follows an old rail bed which ran on the bottom of the valley so most of the time it is next to, or over moving water. Posted in order taken. Tried shooting from a moving bike with mixed results.

Green patchwork fields near Preston. Amish country
The trail north out of Preston along the South Branch
The Old Barn Cut, long and always cool


















.

Trail nearing Lanesboro.
New paving. Brand new, eight feet wide,
flat and straight. Wind her up and timetrial
your ass off.

 Cut below the Ox Cart Road.




A lull in business at the Wursthaus. Arv on tuba, his wife on piano,
 and a regular who showed up just to play a little. Music played badly,
 but with passion.





Stopped to see Bill at his ice cream shop. He couldn't come out and play bikes because he was too busy selling ice cream cones. :-(   What the hell? He's retired from IBM. Why the hell is he selling ice cream cones instead of riding? ...with me?




The trail rolls over 48 bridges. Big bridges, small bridges, bridges spanning rivers and creeks, fast water and slow water. The fisherman below was working the confluence of the Root and the South Branch. Three years ago a flood wiped out 100 feet of high causeway to this bridge that had been there 150 years. It was rebuilt within a year. I watched him for a while because he had beautiful technique. Alas, skill does not always equal fish.






Hummingbirds, taken through the window while I was
on the porch killing peach pie ala mode with coffee.
World Famous Pies.  Great pies, bad music. When it was the Overland Inn, Overland advertised the "Best Music On the Trail" - blues piped in all day, every day. Now it's modern country of the worse ilk. 



The McLean when I stopped 10 miles from the car to check out an ever increasing noise, which proved to be a failing old Regina freewheel . It became a scraping grind, but made it all the way. 

Z-Man Pictures From New Yoork City

Roof top view.

Visp.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bike Agenda Spins Cities Toward U.N. Control

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are "converting Denver into a United Nations community."
"This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed," Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.
Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor's efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes "that's exactly the attitude they want you to have."
"This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms," Maes said. continued

Calvin Russell

Sometimes early in the morning the face staring back at me over the bathroom sink looks old, tired and haggard. Puffy. Weatherbeaten. Bad.  But never as bad as this man looks, three years my junior.  Wanna look handsome? Hang out with ugly people.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Z-Man Report From the Big City

So it's been a while since my last shout so I'll give her all I got. A while back after riding down to boston on the back of a dirt bike, after kicking it hard in cape cod for the 4th (great time by the way, met back up with some dear friends from vail for tons of shenanagans in the ocean and islands around marthas vinyard),  after time in boston with another dear vail friend, I made my way down to the big apple. Had just a couple days planned with sara, amazing loud new yorker that had spent a month in vail, hooked up with a roommate of mine out there so she was practically a roommate as well. Situation was; she was paying double rent for july in the process of moving from manhattan to brooklyn so she had 2 rooms...reason enough to stick around for a while. I bought a $100 bike. A week turned into two. I knew it was time to get the fuck out and hike AT or some shit. Right before I'm about to make a move someone suggests that I give bike messenging a shot. Why the fuck not, right? So I apply a quite a few places. Turned down at all of them, I don't have enough experience. I finally decide that I will just have to lie, so I do and get the next job I apply for. Ding dong. In the process I buy a smart phone...need the maps for work. Bought another bike...super hipster fixed gear. It's not all complete, show it to you when it is. So I'm a new york city bike messenger. I have a boost mobile phone the a ring to dispatch with. They give me an address with a package, I pick it up and deliver it...on my bike, in manhattan. I see some of the coolest offices. One, chandeleer, is a huge open room with a buch a large apple computer and sculptures. Huge ones. A horse with bows and a wacky helecopter. Fuckin crazy shit. I take packages to and from, victoria secret, ABC, fuse channel, bath and body works headquarters, cosmo magazine. A lot of HD tapes for tv and a lot of prints from photography studios. I am always picking up packages from "major models" some modeling agency. There are always a bunch of beautiful people there. If someone is sitting waiting and they obviously aren't a model, I ask..."you a model?" We laugh, hasn't back fired yet. I secretly hope I'll be discovered delivering a package there. The mix of people that are messengers is interesting. Not a lot of super hip dudes. A lot of black dudes. Fun to shoot the shit with my brothers. I was riding up 6th ave around 40th to 5oth, a block east of times square, just ripping. Its 5 or 6 lanes here, another messenger comes along side and we start spinning fast. Weaving super tight traffic. I pick a faster line and pass him back. EEEYAW! He yells back and then we're ripping side by side pedaling our faces off. Diving in and out of a sea of yellow crown victoria yellow cabs. We go for 10,12 blocks like this just making yellows and then running reds. Fuck he was fast, but so am I. It feels so good to yell out in manhattan. The hoards of pedestrians standing in witness of a gay little sprint up an impossibly busy 6th ave. My man calls out that he's turning and I coast the next 3 city blocks. Fuck, when its good its good.

I've been at it for a week and a half now. It's pretty solo work. Just me and my bike, a cranky dispatcher and clueless folks making a shitload of money in swank new york offices who need their shit somewhere else in manhattan right away. I couldn't sustain life as I live it right now, messenging doesn't pay shit. Jack shit. Last week I grossed $240 before taxes. Fuck me right? I applied to a different place and got the job, don't know if I'll take it, might be just as devoid of earnings. I guess if my real goal was to be making money I would go at it some other way...just wish it weren't SO shitty.

Anyway, living in a new place in brooklyn, moved my backpack and bikes over here yesterday. I live in a nook loft accessable by ladder for 600 a month, pretty outrageous, cheap for here though. It's a big place though, very old industrial. The deal sealer is the roof, full manhattan view. I'll try and post a photo with my fancy ass phone. Having a droid is like having a two cocks, I just gotta make sure I'm not playing with my second cock too much.

 Anyway. India after a bit then I'll be good and broke.  I keep riding around thinking I might see a McLean chained to a pole, but alas, I never do.

Anyway, some photos. The track bike is a visp. Gaudy (sp?)? Yes, but I just have to dial in a no handed wheelie on a fixed gear. The one I ride around the city is a kona with a front brake and freewheel. Its got like a 40/18 on it so my spin is amazing right now. $100 bike with a $100 lock. That's nyc.

Soccer on South Sister Summit

My friend, Dan "Black Cat" Calkins, and his boys have obviously gone crazy. Soccer at 10,300 ft! Wind sucking? Talk about a game of heart. And I know how old he is. Amazing. Way to go old man. I have to admit that, all things considered, the soccer skills were pretty good. Thanks to Ms. Jayne for the heads up. For those who need a scorecard and want to cheer fro a team, Dan is the first face to flash on the screen.

Another Horse To Beat To Death

Enough with the Runestones for a while. Mr.Gabus is kind of throwing down the gauntlet before Rev Dick here. Personally I love the machine - form follows function in spads. I get the feeling that every piece taped onto this baby is a reaction to a past accident or shortage. Bless his anti- Nazi heart. And honestly, haven't all of us Brooks riders craved this seat at one time or other. Thoughts? Anyone?

Wanna get some yuks out of Rev Dick here is my Danish Uncle’s (Johnny Albertsen) Beach Cruiser.  Note the Survivalists gear.  As a child he lived in Copenhagen during the Nazi occupation.  He helped the resistance by putting sugar in the gas tanks of Nazi officers.  What a real adrenalin rush knowing you could get killed for just a cup of sugar.

Anyway he is still very paranoid today.  There must be a dozen black helicopters spinning around in his head everyday.  Thus I thought his bicycle was a real scream.




Kensington Rune Stone Revisited

Krs
For you West Coastians, the Kensington Runestone was purportedly found by a farmer in west central Minnesota. Olof Öhman came out of his fields in 1898 carrying the tablet like Moses coming down from the mountain. For some Scandinavians it is akin to the Ten Commandments. Or more important.


"8 Geats (Swedes) and 22 Norwegians on ?? acquisition expedition from Vinland far west. We had traps by 2 shelters one day's travel to the north from this stone. We were fishing one day. After we came home, found 10 men red with blood and dead. AVM (Ave Maria) Deliver from evils."

"have 10 men at the inland sea to look after our ship 14 days travel from this wealth/property. Year [of our Lord] 1362"



The following was posted by Michael Zalar as two comments to my earlier posting on the rune stone. While this is not something I lose sleep over, I would have to say that he has has changed my mind on the this issue.
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Michael Zalar:

Regarding the Larsson papers, there were two sheets of paper, one pretty much a copy of the other with rune rows dated to different years, both prior to the finding of the Kensington rune stone. Larsson did not write in runes. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no attempt (such as handwriting analysis comparing other writings of Larsson at various stages of his life) to verify the dates on the papers. There appear to be slight variations between the Larsson and Kensington runes, though the Larsson runes seem to fit better with early published illustrations of the Kensington runes. 

The attempt to connect the Larsson runes with any sort of guild or secret writing is pure speculation. There was no evidence presented that guilds or other societies used runes of any sort for secret writings, and no usage of the Kensington/Larsson runes has been found in any other 19th century writings.The Larsson runes show variations from the known runes of the time, but there is not enough variation that the odd runes would not be easily decipherable by someone with a book of runes. There is no reason to create 'odd' runes that are as easily readable as known runes. The 'secret writing' speculation has no basis in fact whatsoever, and in my opinion is simply a means to try and draw attention away from the possibility that the Larsson runes were actually written after publication of the Kensington runes.

There is no indication that the Larsson papers are either a hoax of a fraud. They were never published during Larsson's lifetime, and there is no indication they were meant to be published. It may have been something that Larsson was contemplating doing and discarded (two inscribed forgeries have been made in an attempt to undercut the Kensington rune stone claims), it could have been a joke meant to fool friends, or simply a misdating of the papers.

If the papers go through any actual authentication process and found valid 19th century documents, then it could be considered good evidence against the Kensington stone's authenticity, but as it stands, the Larsson documents provide no "smoking gun".
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I've been studying the Kensington rune stone for over a decade now, and have published several peer reviewed papers on the subject, the latest just out in a Minnesota Historical Society publication "The State We're In" 

Yes, I believe the rune stone is authentic, for several reasons which are too long to go into in depth. 

The philologic (linguistic) evidence has never been conclusive. While there have been many papers published condemning the paper on linguistic grounds, others, equally professional and well documented which have disputed the claims. Not having the backround it is hard to make an absolute ruling on the subject. The most recent colaberation beteween and advocate and a skeptick of authenticity suggests that the language is possible for the time period (mid 14th century), though many exceptions need to be made.As a historian, I tend to find grammatical errors to be not uncommon in letters from the field, such as Civil War letters, so I tend to fall on the side of those who believe arguments against the stone from a linguistic standpoint are at best inconclusive.

Geologically, experts have mostly come down on the side of authenticity. Dr Newton Winchell, a famed geologist studied the stone in 1909, a decade after its finding, and believed the inscription to be "of the era" of 500 years old. An examination taking place just this decade found a certain form of mica had apparently decayed, which in other similar stones took over 200 years to decay, but this report is under some dispute. 
Regarless, all reports show the inscription to be quite weathered - if only 50 years old, it would still be prior to the first settlement in the county. Another dozen years and it predates the first European trails into the area.

Antique maps show knowledge of Hudson Bay prior to its 'discovery' in 1612, at least as far back as 1507 (with a possibility of it being even early). Some of these maps refer to a book, the Invetio Fortunatae as a source. We do not have a copy of this book, at best there is a letter describing some of what is in the book, and it acknowledges that the voyage (which went beyond Greenland) returned to Bergen in 1364, two years after the date inscribed on the stone. In other words this know historical voyage fit perfectly with the time of the purported Kensington voyage.For the paper I mentioned earlier, I did a search of Google Books to find if the Inventio was known of in the 19th century and could be used by a forger. I did indeed find several (usually very brief) mentions of the trip. But in every case it was acknowledged to be an ENGLISH voyage - not one that a forger would tap to describe a Norse expedition. A better date would have been circa 1347 when the Icelandic Annals refer to a boat arriving from Vinland having been blown off course. It was not until the publication of the letter I mentioned, between Mercator and Dee, that it became obvious that the voyage was a Norse exploratory voyage.

I have found no unsurmountable difficulty for the expedition to have gotten as far inland as it did. The Red River of the North and the Ottertail River are navigable (even by 19th century steamboat) as far south from Lake Winnipeg as the vacintiy of Fergus Falls. That would be roughly the day's journey from the site of the killing mentioned in the inscription to the place where the stone was uncovered.

I hope this brief summary of why I believe in the stones authenticity will be helpful to those interested in the inscription.