Who are we? We are our stories.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hepatica acutiloba

It ain't much, but the last snow only melted yesterday. It's the best we can do right now.

Midwest Diner Racer

Spring! I changed out the knobby tires for smooth tread, installed old red Casiraghi cable housings and a bell. The chain still has a nice coating of winter rust. I took it to Nancy's Cafe for a late breakfast today and nobody seemed offended.

Trek Bar Bike?

Jack Gabus claims this, his Caroline, is his "bar bike", as defined by Reverend Dick. If this is a bar bike, it is obvious that Jack hangs out in a better class of bars. I think this is more of what Michael White referred to as a "cafe racer", in the style of his and my Colnagos. The coffee holder is the first slightly effete tipoff. Jack, being a gluten for punishment, would like your opinions on this bike. I'll be out of town so you're on your own here. Give'm hell.                Nice bell though - like something you'd expect to see on a mixte. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Italian Gentleman

Cino Cinelli ........ just because he was cool .

Wild Things

To any one of the daughter's of the late Nanko and Jennie DeRaad, dead or alive.

Pastry Run

Coming back from a lunch and pastry foray, we noticed a couple of common loons on Fountain Lake - our elusive state bird. It's difficult to understand calling any bird that is as rare and intolerant of humans as the loon as "common".
It's 73 degrees and windy. The ice will be off the lake within hours and it will be OFFICIALLY SPRING!


"When people speak of their low self-esteem, they imply two things: first, that it is a physiological fact, rather like low hemoglobin, and second, that they have a right to more of it. What they seek, if you like, is a transfusion of self-esteem, given (curiously enough) by others; and once they have it, the quality of their lives will improve as the night succeeds the day. For the record, I never had a patient who complained of having too much self-esteem, and who therefore asked for a reduction. Self-esteem, it appears, is like money or health: you can't have too much of it."

"One has only to go into a prison, or at least a prison of the kind in which I used to work, to see the most revoltingly high self-esteem among a group of people (the young thugs) who had brought nothing but misery to those around them, largely because they conceived of themselves as so important that they could do no wrong. For them, their whim was law, which was precisely as it should be considering who they were in their own estimate."

 For you sorry people who demand MORE from life.

Bike Snob

The best cycling blog is probably The Bike Snob NYC. While we may have a half a dozen comments here(which I blame solely on lackadaisical commenters, rather than blog content), he regularly has more than a hundred. The writer has always chosen to remain anonymous, but has recently stepped from the shadows to hype a book.

Monday, March 29, 2010


We took a quick spin around Geneva Lake (no, not that Geneva Lake) after Lorna had her tooth capped this afternoon. Lita Nelson reported up to 50 bald eagles on or around the lake yesterday. We saw eight out on the ice on the edge of open water where the creek enters out in front of where my parents used to live. Mostly immature plumage. Lita said there are three nests on the lake, but we could only see one obvious nest, which even from a mile across the lake looked like someone parked a pickup on the top of a tree. There were also a lot of ducks, mostly divers, in the large pond west of the highway across from the old Berg place - the low ground that Walt Cook tried in vain for years to drain. A few pairs of local canada geese, but no whistling swans so far.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Owl Calls

Barred owl calling this evening. Lorna says that doesn't mean it's actually nesting in our house. I'm having none of her pessimism. It's MY owl until proven otherwise.

Oakwood Ice

I took the picture at 8:00 PM this evening. The remaining ice is floating slush. Temperatures are predicted to reach 70 degrees tomorrow, but I suppose the water temperature is still in the 30s. There are rafts of hundreds of divers - bluebills, cans and redheads on the big lake. Also a few assorted mergansers, golden eyes and spoonbills. Yesterday we saw a bald eagle on the soft ice shelf tearing apart a large fish, probably a carp, but maybe a northern pike. It's spring.

Fish Pictures

Larry Ravenhorst with a 52" musky. And who among us manly men doesn't like a good fish picture?

Note From Thailand

Photo of my daughter with Thai friends, only for a sense of racial size variation - followed by a short street conversation.

Random Thai woman: "Oh, you are so beautiful..."
Random Thai woman: "My friend is a ladyboy, she is beautiful..."
Me: "Oh? But I'm not a ladyboy."
Random: "Oh ya... Sometimes people think I'm ladyboy too..."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

“When your memories exceed your dreams, the end is near.”

Friday, March 26, 2010

1970 Gil Scott-Heron

If he shows up, Gil Scott-Heron will be appearing at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis in a couple of days. I will be there in spirit, if not in body.

Miscellaneous Thoughts in Passing

Hennie Kuiper

Winner 1983 Paris-Roubaix

Real World Bicycles

When Margadant was young and still an operator he had a number of bar classifications, the extremes being Fern Bars , which he had contempt for, and Bar Bars, which he loved not wisely but too well. I believe Reverend Dick of the Church of the Sweet Ride is speaking here of Bar Bars. I enjoy reading good writing. I like bicycles.  I love it when they come together in a perfect union. Praise the Lord and pass the collection plate! 

There are categories of bikes.
Within these categories are niches.
Within these niches are windowless dive bars peopled by shady lowlifes. It may happen that you need to lock your bike up here, and when it does happen you will count yourself fortunate to have prepared for this inevitability by building a bike to fit this particular seedy niche:
the bar bike.

The bar bike is your townie, stripped of all precious componentry.This is harder than it sounds. You think to yourself, "Whatevah!" (because that is how you talk ) "I have a huge booty bin of parts! I can whip something together in no time." But, before you know it, your beater has been turned out with that sweet high flange intricately cut-out Campy Record wheelset you have hanging up in the workroom. Or those undeniably comfortable yet slightly too narrow Ti 16*bend WTB handlebars. Or that rough around the edges and heavy as a boilermaker 3 sprung Brooks touring saddle, or that sweet 40spoke tandem front wheel... Etc.

Now you see.

Those are all parts you are not currently using, yes. But you would hate to lose them even so, and that is the complicating factor in this build. A true bar bike requires mechanical soundness (who can fix anything demanding more than a good kick when departing the 4th lube joint en route to the 5th?) and a modicum of comfort (seedy bars are not all gathered in one convenient neighborhood), yet also demands that the bike be subject to prolonged exposure in the most debauched of locales...yes, sometimes even overnight. Frankly, crashing is to be expected at some point, too.

There is the latest iteration of my bar bike. If you're out driving in your car and rekanize me, just roll up next to me and yell "FAGGOT!" or throw something...I'll know it's you.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Blue Skies

Years ago we dragged Kurt to Red Rocks to see Willie Nelson. I don't think he'd heard much Willie before that. Willie was still a niche counter-culture performer then. It was maybe the best concert I ever saw - Waylon, Willie and bunch of others when they were still young and hungry. If my memory is correct, Kurt and Sherye had Blues Skies at their wedding a few years later.

Lately I've been thinking about them. For years they've been taking people into their home who needed a little help in life, sometimes two or three at a time for extended periods - just because it's the right thing to do. Recently they've had some serious setbacks in their own lives. I think there's a new dawn on their horizon. They set the bar pretty high. I'm proud just to be in the same family as they are. Be well.


I lifted this from Gabriel Romeu's Facebook page. Sometimes watching the evening news with all of the horrible things that go on I forget how wonderful America is at it's best.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Above and beyond the question of how to grow the economy there is a legitimate concern about how to grow the quality of our lives."
-Paul Wellstone 

Contraband and Ashtray

Pictured are the necessary accoutrements and couple of illegal Cubans, one lit, the other to save for another day of lazy sunshine. Thank you to the brave soul who smuggled them past the ill conceived foreign policy for me.

What I really want to talk about is the ashtray. My father-in-law, Bob, was a volunteer fireman for years and a packrat supreme. When he died we were picking through his life's flotsam and jetsam - the things that he had decided were too heavy to take with him on his journey. Among the musty clutter of old paint, broken tools and junk in the garage were the ends of a rotted old firehose. They were heavy, each about a pound of battered bronze. They had nice heft and felt good to hold, but were completely useless. I didn't really want them, but for some reason I was drawn to them. I picked one up and tossed it in the car. It lay in the trunk for awhile until the thumping of it rolling around drove me nuts and it migrated to a shelf in my garage.

Like most men of the time I was a cigarette smoker and one day it dawned on me, it wasn't a hose end at all, it was an ashtray! albeit one without a bottom or any way to hold the lighted fag. I pulled off the canvas hosing and took the end to my friend Phil Wylie and explained my dilemma. A few days later he returned it. He had cut a 10 or 12 gauge circular steel disk, brazed it in place about halfway up and milled two slots in the top rim to hold the cigarettes. Worked good. Eventually I was overcome by wisdom and a will to live, so I quit smoking. The ashtray went down to rest in the basement for a few years.

Later I discovered another vice - cigars, but there was no way to prop a lit cigar in Bob's ashtray. By then Phil had gone to the great chopper shop in the sky so I took it to Al Dahl who milled one of  the slots larger and fit it with a cigar rest made from a piece of brass pipe.

It ain't nothin' special. It's just a old free ashtray that two old friends reworked along the way.  Don't mean nothin' to me. Nothin'.

Lorna's Turn In the Spotlight

Bicycle content: One of her projects was to provide a bicycle helmet to every child she could find. They found a bunch. Thanks to the Lions Club for everything they did. Yesterday she received a nice plaque from them too. Originally I was going to post a picture of it, but I think it went with her to school today. The letter is nicer anyway.



If a person can't use a blog to embarrass a friend just a little, what's the point of having one? I guess he must be 63 today?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mimbres Man: Me and Lance...

Barin and I were having an exchange about Pantani and box kites (really) and somehow the subject of Armstrong came up. He wrote, "Have I ever told you about my race with Lance Armstrong?" I replied that he had not. I couldn't sleep (it's 12:45) so I checked the computer. This was waiting for me. He has not given explicate permission, but when one writes an email this long to a known thief, I'm assuming permission is implied. Incidently, Barin is presently training for the Great Divide Race, one 2745 mile self supported stage from Banff, AB CA to Antelope Wells, NM. As an old fart who is hoping to ride five miles around Fountain Lake tomorrow, Barin's feats are a little beyond my radar or comprehension.

"It was February in the Big Bend country of Texas in 1991. (I would be 30 years old then but a racing age of 31.) I was on Merlin #1 with its rigid fork. I was feeling good and having a good race. I had already passed the 1990 World Downhill Champion, Greg Herbold on the climb. He was suffering. After Herbold, there didn't seem to be many riders in front of me. There were a few up ahead, and I'd do my best to reel them in. I was in the zone, mostly riding alone, enjoying the desert and the ride.

As I reached the summit of Tres Cuevas (Three Caves) Hill, I saw Armstrong in his Motorola jersey. He was the buzz all weekend...the new kid...he's really good...some kind of prodigy...When I saw him, I thought to myself, "That's that guy! He's supposed to be really good!" He was just getting back on his bike after fixing a mechanical or flat. I pedaled faster to catch him before he got away.

It was a two track "jeep road" so we rode side-by-side, me left, him right. We exchange greetings, and I asked him if he'd ever gone down Tres Cuevas before. His reply was no. I told him to be careful because it gets really steep.

We did a couple of little stair-steppy drops still side-by-side, and road got steeper still. We soon came up on a guy wearing a Wild Oats team jersey who was obviously a roadie...this guy was flailing...literally. I was still on the left line, Armstrong on the right. We split and passed the guy, going around him on either side.

About a 100 meters ahead was the first switchback. Armstrong told me to take the lead. I lead the way through the hard right-hand turn, popped over a little berm/rock outcropping in the road, and set up for the second switchback coming up, a left-hander. A few meters down from this point is a ranch house on the left with its barn on the right. I knew the road was smoother and improved here so I got into my best aero tuck and took my hands off the brake levers. I maintained this position as long as possible. I couldn't pedal any faster. I must have hit about 40 - 50 mph...fast for a full-rigid XC mountain bike.

The road gets to the desert floor where it is a series of small rolling hills. It was here where I dared to glance behind me and saw Armstrong at least 200 meters behind me. I pedaled like crazy in my biggest gear.

I reached the final check-point at the final major turn of the race. 9 miles to go!

As I went through the check-point I refused water and just wanted to stay ahead of Armstrong. I was hammering hard when Armstrong pulled up next to me. He said, "That was fun! Let's ride in together." I replied, "I can't...my legs are spent...you go ahead." and he did. He dialed it up to the next level and left me in his dust.

The next 7 miles was single-track through the Chihuahua desert. Really beautiful stuff, and all I could do was try and keep Armstrong in my sights, which I did for about two or three miles. The final 2 miles parallels the landing strip and on to the finish line in Lajitas. When I got there, about 2 minutes behind Lance, he was still there talking to someone. I rode through the finish, then coasted over to him, shook his hand and said, "Good race!" He said the same and said thanks for leading him down the hill and that it was fun!

It was one of my better expert category races. I don’t remember my placing…in the top 20 though.


He was riding an identical bike to mine, a Merlin, but he had a Unicrown suspension fork (an early crude suspension fork) on his. I think one of the Grewal brothers (Axeli or Rishi) or Tinker Juarez won that race."

Monday, March 22, 2010


I had Saturday breakfast at Trumbles with Lorna. Nice, but not the same. I hope everything works out for you. I'm seeing Dr.G on Wednesday afternoon. I'm hoping things work out better for me.

Be Here to Love Me

Over the weekend I listened to the Leonard Cohen Silly Hat Club Band London concert. He's okay, but compared to Townes Van Zandt his songs are like little lightweight ditties. I have posted a few too many songs by Townes, so here's a little background. Townes was born into Texas money and privilege. For instance, east of Dallas lays Van Zandt County - he was old money. As with so many of the upper classes he was sent away to a private school, in his case Shaddock School in Minnesota. While there he began abusing drugs. After school it became more of a problem, probably self medicating his manic/depression. His parents eventually checked him into a mental hospital in Texas where he got state of the art treatment. He was submitted to insulin shock therapy. Unfortunately this had a small side affect. It erased a major piece of his memory, including all of his visual childhood memories. He came out a severely damaged human being, but it did leave him with his intellect intact. Throughout his life he suffered from depression and night terrors. When he writes "hold me" and "help me make it through the night" it's a literal request. Money or selling records never seemed to enter his conscientiousness. For years he didn't have a home or possessions other than a guitar, preferring to drink, travel and live with friends. His increasing consumption of drugs and alcohol affected his songwriting and eventually killed him at the age of 52, leaving behind ex-wives and three children. He lived a life filled with anguish, but his pain can be a beautiful thing to listen to.

This is 1 of 10 of a documentary of Townes's life. The whole thing is posted on YouTube if you're a glutten for punishment. It's well done, but brutally hard. To live is to fly.

Tim and Carolyn

(Pardon me using the airwaves for a personal missive to neighbors and family).
We went to my first wedding shower out at Bonnerups yesterday. They called it a brunch, but we were all asked to bring tools for the couple to be, and a cute stories from Tim's past to tell. He told carefully edited little stories about Carolyn. I know a shower when I'm in it. Chestermans, Wedges, Bonnerups, Johnsons (from out of town) and us. There was also a note from Mary (Cuden) Somerness. Tim's closest family friends I guess. We had four kinds of exotic quiches, a nice cured ham and other sides. Tim likes his new job at the Minnesota Historical Society in St.Paul - misses being the lighthouse keeper. They are living in a condo in Stillwater which was Tim's grandmother's. Carolyn is going to be working a real job, probably at Target, until school in the fall. She will be studying British Literature (as opposed to English lit), possibly in Edinborough.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pantini '98

One Night With You

Wanda did this one earlier a young woman. This one is Old Wanda from Old Gunnar:

On Gay Soldiers and Negative Charisma

Queer as a three-speed walking stick and as bent as a nine bob note.

By Toby Young from the Telegraph, u.k.:

"I was shocked by General John Sheehan’s remarks about “open homosexuality” in the Dutch Army being to blame for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. (He was testifying in the Senate against President Obama’s plans to end the ban on allowing gays to serve openly in the US military.) Not shocked by his bigotry, but by his ignorance of his own profession. Isn’t the General aware that some of the finest soldiers in the history of warfare have been “openly homosexual”? As Churchill himself said, the three time-honoured traditions of the Royal Navy are rum, buggery and the lash.

I’ll give just one example here, a personal hero of mine: Orde Charles Wingate. Born in 1903, he was educated at Charterhouse and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, before being commissioned in the Royal Artillery in 1923. He had what I call “negative charisma” — almost everyone he came into contact with took an instant dislike to him. “As he shambled from one [office] to another, in his creased, ill-fitting uniform and out-of-date Wolseley helmet, carrying an alarm clock instead of wearing a watch, and a fly-whisk instead of a cane, I could sense the irritation and resentment he left in his wake,” wrote Wilfred Thesiger, who served under him in Abyssinia. Thesiger, incidentally, was as gay as they come, yet he won a DSO after forcing 2,500 Italian troops to surrender to him." More fun Wingate history

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Profound Piece of Pain

My daughter tells me this blog is depressing. Maybe. I have always been drawn to low songs. And when you get to Townes there isn't much lower, more pain to feel. It makes my life feel purely exhilarating. I can fly.

Hey mama, when you leave
Don't leave a thing behind
I don't want nothin'
I can't use nothin'

Take care into the hall
And if you see my friends
Tell them I'm fine
Not using nothin'

Almost burned out my eyes
Threw my ears down to the floor
I didn't see nothin'
I didn't hear nothin'

I stood there like a block of stone
Knowin' all I had to know
And nothin' more
Man, that's nothin'

As brothers our troubles are
Locked in each others arms
And you better pray
They never find you

Your back ain't strong enough
For burdens doublefold
They'd crush you down
Down into nothin'

Being born is going blind
And buying down a thousand times
To echoes strung
On pure temptation

Sorrow and solitude
These are the precious things
And the only words
That are worth rememberin'

A Review

I picked out a book at random from the stack by the back door. I just finished it - Pontoon, a novel by Garrison Keillor. If I couldn't write a better book than that, I would never type another word. One can only assume he was fulfilling a contractual obligation.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Phil Wood

Phil Wood & Co:  "Build it strong. Keep it simple. Make it last."

I have four bicycles with Phil bottom brackets and one with Phil hubs, arguably the best hubs and bottom brackets made.

Phil Wood died from cancer last Sunday.

Lumix DMC-LX3

Remarkable for a little camera that will also shoot video with sound, wide angle, or up to 4.5X telephoto out of the box, 9X with an extension lens. I'm still way low on the learning curve. These were shot with normal overhead light. I also tried the built in flash, but close up on metal gave me hot spots. Click 'em to see how dirty my bike is.

Half a Everest Special chain link.

Ricco's Puch

Not much else to say except Christian found a '75 Austro-Diamler Puch Super Leicht still in the box! More here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Lady I Live With

She was cranky because I was talking, playing with my new camera and interrupting her reading. A lot of readers in our house. You will note the reading lamp in the dogs kennel. It's a real pain because he doesn't have opposable thumbs and he can't turn his own pages. Mostly he just looks at the pictures anyway - likes books about bunnies. Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 - a nice compact set up with Leica optics. I've ordered a 2x telephoto extender which will give me up to 9X for the Sandhill Crane watching expedition over Easter.

The Trinity

The Trinity: McLean, Confente, Moulton. The first two died young. Dave Moulton is alive, but hasn't built bicycles in years.
Some time ago I wrote a snippet about Dave. He is an interesting man. Originally he was a bicycle builder in England who emigrated to America to join the Carlsbad Masi group in California, which spawned most of the west coast bike builders. He went on to become a composer/musician and novelist. Later in life he found himself without a bicycle. Records indicate that although Dave made several thousand production frames, he only made 216 top custom frames and only 15 were his size. A group of his fans found a needle in a haystack, restored it, and presented it to him. The pictures and copy below are from Jack Gabus. Although he refers to this as an American gem, the headtube would seem to indicate that this one was actually made in England. (See Gabus comment)

"In my collection I have what I call the top three. Of course the McLeans are in that conversation, but here is one of my hidden American gems. It is a Dave Moulton Special Professional Road made with Reynolds 753 tubing, only two of them were made. Out of all of what I have this is the Rocket. It loves the flats at the same time it flies up hills, a great all rounder.

McLean, Moulton and Confente. Then I have the one day race classic pack from Sunday in Hell: Gios, Benotto, and the Merckx (Colnago). So it is a tie. That is why I am looking for the beater Colnago. I have the Gios and Benotto."

Back to Dave Moulton: if you ever get a chance to bag a Moulton Pro, Fuso or Recherche do not pass it up."

(Note: Eddy Merckx rode Colnagos in his prime before having a falling out with Ernesto and going over to DeRosa. Later his name was licenced to three other companies besides his own. So you can get a bike painted Molteni orange with blue trim and EDDY MERCKX emblazened on the downtube tube, manufactured by half a dozen different companies with different skill levels. The Colnagos are the "real" ones, with DeRosa a close second. IMHO.) 

Goin' Fast!

32-20 Blues

Rick M. commented about how we can't do violence and race like the the old 78s. This is about as violent as it comes and is considered a classic - because everything Robert did is hallowed. "Take my 32-20 and cut her half in two" is approaching violence.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Snow and Bud

The snow is melting fast. March has averaged 8 degrees above normal, but we had a lot to melt down. It's still about 6" deep with patches of grass showing up around the trees. The pug was noticeably excited today. This is the first time in months he's been able to take a proper dump on the grass of his favor corner. It doesn't take a lot to bring contentment to an old dog. A lesson for us?

Tall Tony's Merckx

This is Tony Tambini's 1982 Merckx. It's a beautiful, functional machine. I notice it appears to have Simplex Retrofriction shifters as well as the changes Tony mentions to make it a more practical rider for him. 

"Here are the pictures of my Merckx. I ride this bike a lot, this is not a wall hanger. The original sew-ups, crank & shifters are hanging in my garage. I replaced the original wheels with the clinchers in the photos for practicality purposes, and the crank because it had those small black oxidation marks you find in vintage aluminum parts. I've seen a few snapped super-record cranks, and am not eager to have this happen to me. The late '80's Chorus crank was purchased NOS a few years back and is my size. I know the saddle is out of place, but my choice is based on comfort, and these newer Specialized saddles fit my anatomy. (besides, when I'm sitting on it, you can't see it!). Hope you enjoy!

Ragged But Right

For Ruberg and Rick M.:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thoughts on My Ideal Bicycles and Bicycling

This is my reply to some recent comments by online friends regarding what constitutes an ideal bicycle. First of all let me say that right here that I have no money, no room, and do not have the energy nor desire to start another project. All I want is for spring to come so I can ride my bicycles in warm sunshine.

Echelon says that the blue Galmozzi has my name written all over it.Maybe, maybe not. Vlad Luskin, who owned them both and has seen them side by side, says he thinks the Rooster is prettier than my silver McLean. To his eye it does. We may have different aesthetic ideals. While the Galmozzi is striking, to me it's just a very pretty old Italian bicycle. Honestly, my heart is with American built frames of the Campagnolo Super Record era, or if newer, still with solid subtle colors, and the classic lines, materials and methods of 1980. Bicycle components became perfect and complete for one cycle of their development at about the time that Tullio Campagnolo died in 1983. After that Shimano and other players forced Campagnolo to rethink it's business plan and the era of indexing shifting from the brakehoods began. It turned bicycles into an arms race of more gears and lighter weight. While that's a fine thing, I do not relate to any of it.

It's an age issue. We had friends over last Saturday evening (so the hockey game had to be muted). Duane is a bow hunter - an older bow hunter. He shoots custom made wooden arrows that look like miniature fletched pool cues. He launches these feathered missiles with a handmade laminated wood longbow. A reflex compound bow shooting carbon fiber arrows would be more efficient. That not his goal.

Dexter, a sometime commenter here, before he fell in with literary types, in a past life was a member of the PGA. It was the family business. He seldom plays golf now, but when he does he plays with his father's hickory shaft clubs with heads that are made of persimmon (?). He plays two balls, his and one for his father. The lowest score possible is not the point.

Young people are often looking for the next great thing. At some point in our lives some of us become old fogies. We don't care if we catch the biggest trout, kill every deer, win every sprint. We enjoy dropping a handtied fly perfectly at the head of a pool, dropping two golf balls within a foot of each other, timing our shifts cleanly. Time has forced us to appreciate the process rather than the result..

Gabus on the Cinelli Holy Grail

"Why is it that the famous Cinelli frame (you know the silver one that everbody covets) has such a following when from what I can tell It hasn't won much or been on any famous team. I will give it its due it is truly a beautiful frame but it has an aura all it's own and seems to me to be based on design and looks alone.

Kind of the Grace Kelly of frames. Taken out on the weekends and looks stunning hanging out at the coffee shop.

One other thing how does one take out a busted adjustment screw from a back drop out."

Jack makes a good point on the silver Cinelli SC. We all want one. We might pretend we don't, but in our hearts, we do. It's a color that is worth a 50% increase in value for no logical reason. What makes a Holy Grail? We want to say it's because Elmo Zanto rode one like it in his famous climb to win the '48 San Remo. But then something like the silver Cinelli that never won anything shows up. ???  It's the silver gullwing coupe of bicycles. 

Any thoughts out there on the dropout adjuster screw?

Google Maps: Bicycling

Here's one that may have been around awhile, but I just became aware of today - Google Bicycle Maps. Under the "More" pulldown in the upper right of a Google map is a Bicycling option! There is also the ability to "Get Directions" for bicycle travelers. Now, is that neat or what?

This is not complete, as apparently Google thinks everyone in backwaters like Albert Lea drive cars. Or maybe boats, from this photo link on the Google map. It's kind of eerie, looking to see if you can make out your own home on photos posted to the world. At least the trees protect me from Google Earth, so people can't peek in my windows.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thai Red Shirt Protests

Thailand has a political system where people declare their political allegiance by wearing their party colors. News From the Bangkok Post

"Reinforcements of troops have been called from the Second and Third Army Regions to the 11th Infantry Regiment in Bangkok after the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship announced red-shirt protesters would go there on Monday if the government did not respond to its call for House dissolution, said the website of the peace-keeping operation centre."  

My daughter works in Bangkok. For the past week she has been traveling in Laos, keeping an eye on the Red Shirt protests before returning.


Okay, you're right. I can not resist the urge. Just pardon me a fogey moment ;-) If you punch "Van Zandt" into Google you'll probably come up with Steven Van Zandt. Now I have nothing against Steven Van Zandt, but it's comparing a poet to an assistant song and dance man. And worst than that, damned few people have even heard of the dead poet.

Well, won't you lend your lungs to me?
Mine are collapsing
Plant my feet and bitterly breathe
Up the time that's passing.
Breath I'll take and breath I'll give
Pray the day ain't poison
Stand among the ones that live
In lonely indecision.

Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another.

Salvation sat and crossed herself
Called the devil partner
Wisdom burned upon a shelf
Who'll kill the raging cancer
Seal the river at its mouth
Take the water prisoner
Fill the sky with screams and cries
Bathe in fiery answers

Jesus was an only son
And love his only concept
Strangers cry in foreign tongues
And dirty up the doorstep
And I for one, and you for two
Ai'nt got the time for outside
Just keep your injured looks to you
And we'll tell the world we tried

Old Boy Fishing

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pure Hockey - Four Overtimes!!!!

State Tournament Summary
By Howard  Voigt
Erik Baskin ended a 71:59 scoreless streak and notched the game winner as Minnetonka defeated Hill-Murray 2-1 in four overtimes. Minnetonka scored the game’s first goal at the 12:09 mark of the first period when Andrew Prochno walked in from center ice and slipped one past Tim Shaughnessy. Chris Casto would tie the game with 28 seconds remaining in the first period as he got the puck past Jim Kruger. The next goal would have to wait until the fourth overtime at the 3:31 mark, when Baskin put the puck on the short side of Shaughnessy to advance the Skippers to the Class AA Championship Game. Shaughnessy had 42 saves on the night. In a hockey oddity, there were no penalties called in the game.

Economic Darwinism

"Too often in the United States, co-opetition is conflated with destructive, lowest-common-denominator competition, which has led to predatory lending, underregulated capital markets, and our costly and ineffective health care system. Our counterparts abroad, however, have more prudently (and prosperously) distinguished them". More (except for Gabus)

"co-opetition" was a new one for me. It's always nice to add one more slip of paper to the already over-stuffed mental manila folders of words that I only vaguely remember and will never use.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Quicksilver Dreams of Maria

I decided not to post any more music on the advice of Larry. We need not get into his opinion of my music again.
Five members of the U.S.Olympic hockey team went to Shattuck High School in Faribault, Minnesota. They have 15 alumni playing in the NHL. Non sequitur you say? Well, yes and no. Shattuck also produced Marlon Brando and Townes Van Zandt, neither of whom went on to a hockey career. Send your kids there if you can afford it.
Recorded at the University of Minnesota in 1973.

A diamond fades quickly when matched to the face of Maria
All the harps they sound empty when she lifts her lips to the sky
The brown of her skin makes her hair seem a soft golden rainfall
That spills from mountains to the bottomless depths of her eyes

Well, she stands all around me, her hands slowly sifting the sunshine
All the laughter that lingers down deep ‘neath her smilin’ is free
Well, it spins and it twirls like a hummingbird lost in the morning
Then caresses the south wind and silently sails to the sea

Ah, the sculptor stands stricken, painter he throws away his brushes
When her image comes dancin’ the sun, she turns sullen with shame
And the birds they go silent, the wind stops his sad, mournful singing
When the trees of the forest start gently to whisperin’ her name

So as softly she wanders I’ll desperately follow her footsteps
And I’ll chase after shadows that offer a trace of her sight
Ah, they promise eternally that she lays hidden within them
But I find they’ve deceived me and sadly I bid them goodbye

So the serpent slides softly away with these moments of laughter
And the the old washy woman has finished her cleanin’ and gone
But the bamboo hangs heavy in the bondage of quicksilver daydreams
And a lonely child longingly looks for a place to belong

Still Watchin' Hockey

Lou Nanne played for the U of M and then the Northstars. He became the head coach and eventually general manager. In between that he has announced the state tournament for 46 years. Tonight Edina won, going into the finals tomorrow night. They are a very good team, coached by Curt Giles, another old Northstar, and have a pretty fair player named Lou Nanne. It's gotta be a kick announcing your grandson's tournament games.

Hockey Tournament!

The Xcel Center sits 18,000 people. This week it's full for every session with hockey fans who file by Herbie Brooks signaling his Miracle on Ice, to watch the Minnesota State High School Tournament  - a big deal out here on the frozen wasteland. I'm supposed to be cleaning house today, but they televise all the games, all day and all evening. I've passed on the evening sessions, but I'm half way through day three with one to go and I'm approaching zombie status. Maybe it is time to go clean the house.

Factoids from Wikipedia, only slightly obsolete. The numbers are a little higher now:
In Minnesota there are 156 high school hockey teams with over 6,500 participants. Attendance has been strong throughout the years with 22 tournaments eclipsing the 100,000+ barrier and in 2004 a record setting total of 120,114 (both classes). In the 2006 State Tournament, the average attendance per game in the championship brackets was 18,000 people. The Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament is currently the largest state sports tournament in the United States in terms of viewing and attendance, beating both the Texas and Florida's State High School Football Tournament and the Indiana State High School Basketball Tournament.
Jim, It's just like soccer, only faster and they do it on ice!

Want to Buy: Moby Dick or Holy Grail

For you non-bicycle types out there, this is Eddy Merckx, the greatest rider in bicycling history. I do not want to argue the point. I am stating a fact. I have a friend who ate a meal with him, but couldn't talk.
 "It was like looking into the eyes of God."  
(this hangs in my shop)
From Jack Gabus:
I am looking for a mid 70's Colnago BEATER, and I do mean beat. Because it going to a Merckx Repilcant.  I now have the fork and all the other parts.  All I need is the frame...Size:  seat tube can be 54 CtC or 55 CtC.

One man's beater is another man's Holy Grail, or another man's Great White Whale ... or his Rooster.

Roosters For Sale

I hinted that the blue Galmozzi frame might be for sale. It is. I would love it. It's in my size range, but it's not an option right now. Probably ever. I would like to see it built up by someone who would ride it, rather than hanging on the wall in someone's rec room. Newly repainted, never built up. With head badge. The price is $850 shipped with Nuovo Record headset and bottom bracket. The bottom bracket is stamped 60. By actual measurement the seat tube is 60 c-t and 58 c-c. The top tube is 57.5. Any takers out there? If so, drop me a line at neilmberg(at)gmail.com and I'll connect you with Vlad. Peter Johnson lovers? I believe he has one of those in a similar size also.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bryson's Marsh

"Bryson's Marsh" Mallards
I talked to Bill Bryson for more than an hour this afternoon. We talked about my late mother who went to school with him - he remembers her as a "real looker"  ;-), his family's health, vacations, both of our upcoming sandhill crane trips, and so on. Bill is a fountain of information. I should have recorded it somehow. Eventually we got around to the travails of the battle over the marsh. He said the local media, particularly the newspaper, was strongly against him, even printing skewed articles written by the opposing lawyer, and had no compunction at all about using their bully pulpit. They sent out reporters who told them the county was certain to win, they were threatening to charge Brysons for all the cost overruns incurred by the delays, and would that cause them to lose the farm? A sobering question. Brysons received midnight dead phone calls and threatening letters. There were potential drainage advantages involved and there are still people who won't talk to him. Even with reduced lawyer's fees and help from environmental groups, the court battle, including three rounds with the State Supreme Court, cost him over $18,000, a hefty sum in the 1970s. Eventually Jim Killen, a wildlife artist, did a run of prints, "Bryson's Marsh", signed by both himself and Bill to help defray the costs.

A commenter asked who actually wrote that poetic opinion. I thought it would be an easy Google. It turns out that Tuveson vs Bryson, or simply Bryson, has become a landmark case, establishing environmental rights for property owners. It's cited all over the internet and I was overwhelmed by lawyers. At 83 Bill has an amazing mind. He remembers everything, knows everybody, and remembers their addresses and phone numbers. He has been president of every state conservation group from the Nature Conservancy to the Audubon Society (and for Margadant, he's also deep in the Sierra Club). So I just asked him who wrote the opinion. It was Justice Lawrence Yetka who wrote the opinion for the court. Or as Bill says, "It was Larry Yetka", just one more person who went on to become a friend with a telephone number to remember.

According to Margadant, who made his living with this environmental law stuff with the Sierra Club, "landmark case" would seem to be a bit strong. Maybe it's mostly cited by wishful thinking philosophers. See his comment. I would expect more info from him in the future.

Bill Bryson

There is a Bill Bryson who writes quite good nature philosophy books. This is not him. My Bill Bryson is a local farmer, but he's a big deal to me. A hero. Bill and his wife Arlene are amateur naturalists, birdwatchers. Back in the sixties they set aside 68 acres surrounding their 18 acre marsh to protect it. In 1970 Freeborn County decided to run a new road through Bryson's marsh. Bill said, "No way!" The county huffed and puffed and issued an order of eminent domain. Bill fought it. He fought it all the way through the court system. It cost them a lot of money. They were threatened and harassed. Eventually it went all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court. It was the first test of the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act. This is from the 1976 ruling:

To some of our citizens a swamp or marshland is physically unattractive, an inconvenience to cross by foot and an obstacle to road construction or improvement. To one who is willing to risk wet feet to walk through it, a marsh frequently contains a springy soft moss, vegetation of many varieties, and wildlife not normally seen on higher ground. It is quiet and peaceful—the most ancient of cathedrals—antedating the oldest of manmade structures. More than that, it acts as nature's sponge, holding heavy moisture to prevent flooding during heavy rainfalls and slowly releasing the moisture and maintaining the water tables during dry cycles. In short, marshes and swamps are something to preserve and protect.

Bill slyly claims divine intervention. The day the justices came to view the marsh, it was covered with migratory waterfowl so close you couldn't see the water.

More: Maverick for the Wetlands

The Lutefisk of Literature

I read very little fiction. I want to say NO fiction, but I have been caught halfway through reading a storybook right now. This is from an article by Rob Nixon. I have no idea who Mr. Nixon is, but I like his comparison of nonfiction to lutefisk.

"Nonfiction has long been treated as the lutefisk on the literary menu, unlikely to be the special of the day. The genre emits a whiff of the déclassé, served (especially in literature departments) with a garnish of condescension. The problem starts with the word: Like "childless" (why not "child-free"?), "nonfiction" packs a lot of social judgment. Nonfiction may be real, but in matters of creativity, it's not quite the real thing."  Etc.

One More Rooster

One more and then we'll move on. This is the Aldo Ross Galmozzi pista that some of you are familiar with. It is old enough that we don't see some of what later became Galmozzi signature features, such as the drill holes in the head tube lugs. More photos here.

And here is a comment from Masini on this bike last January. Little did he know what he was in for:
"WOW... after the Legnano and Ciocc are finished, I HAVE to find one of these, or maybe a Gloria. My Moby Dicks..."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Frame Builder Issues

I have had discussions off list with three different parties who are frustrated customers of established name frame builders who take a 50% down payment, with a promised delivery date. Time drags on with promises unkept, sometimes dragging on for two or three years. This is from Jack Gabus today: 

"Oh!  don't get me started.  This would be a good blog discussion with the troops.  I love all the frame builders that collect up front money from their clientele.  Then there is some up in the air time that the frame has been promised to the unsuspecting rider.  Do the words Madoff or Ponzy come to mind?  The frame builder has the cash, the econ goes in the tank and the frame builder has spent the money on his supplies and life style without building a damn thing.  The frame builder has basically put himself on a MARGIN call without knowing it.  They are artisans not financiers.  Would be interesting to see what the gang has to say."

Peter Johnson

Walter Inglis Anderson and Visual Poetry

I've been thinking about painting. Obviously I'm not driven to do it. Even though a watercolor might only take an hour, it's frustrating for me. Oils and acrylics you can work and correct. A watercolor just is. I seldom meet the standard of what Michael calls my inner critic. While I enjoy sharing it, particularly after years have lessened the pain, the idea of hanging them on my own walls is frankly creepy. I guess it's for Addy and hopefully her children some day. "Mommy, what was Grandpa like?" " Oh, I don't know, he liked bicycles and gardening, and he painted those pictures on the wall."  Maybe that's enough.

For some reason I've thinking about Anderson, potter, painter and writer, who saw small pieces of nature with such clarity, but lapsed in and out of depression and schizophrenia. I don't think I'm crazy, at least not as severely as he was, but somehow I identify with him or at least understand him. When he died he left a tiny studio crammed with paintings, drawings and writing in notebooks, scraps of wrapping paper, typewriter paper, whatever he had. I seem to recall that a lot of it was lost or damaged with the floods of Katrina. A loss.

From one of the spiral bound log books he kept for himself:

“Why do I write this? I think writing has a cleansing effect, and although it is easy enough to keep the body clean, the mind seems to grow clogged.

The first poetry is always written against the wind by sailors and farmers who sing with the wind in their teeth. The second poetry is written by scholars and students, wine drinkers who have learned to know a good thing. The third poetry is sometimes never written; but when it is, it is written by those who have brought nature and art together into one thing.” 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Luskin Galmozzi

This is a newly restored Galmozzi belonging to Vlad Luskin, the gentleman from whom I purchased my McLean. To the best of my knowledge this is for sale too. He also tried to sell me a Peter Johnson - tempting, but I resisted. Stay away from those who ride the same size frames as you do. They can be dangerous people.