Monday, June 29, 2009


First off my grandfather is doing a little better. I also found out that the guy who got killed on the bike was coming from a concert I almost went to. Several of my friends knew him and saw him before he left on that ill fated journey. I will say that it seems as if cars have been extra nice to me lately and I must wonder if its because of that, or maybe they're just in awe of my badass bike.

Speaking of which I finally got passed by a cyclist. The vast majority of folks on bikes in my town, and there are a lot of them, aren't in a hurry. Flying past a kid on a BMX bike isn't exactly thrilling. Although it is funny when they are pumping away going over one of the bridges, usually riding illegally on the sidewalk and I casually go past. Pretty much the same feeling when I blow by people on mountain bikes. So over the weekend I'm riding back from corning and I hear someone say something, I look over my shoulder and there's a guy right beside me, we say hello and he goes by. I then followed him for probably a mile or two and while he was clearly faster he wasn't that much faster which made me feel good. Maybe I'll try a group ride later this week. And while in the biking world a 13 mile ride is a freaking warm up I'm still pretty tired after riding 13 miles, doing physical labor for a 6 hours or so then riding 13 miles back home. There was one person on a forum claiming the first 30 miles of their commute is rolling country hills then 12 flat miles of increasing traffic as they get into town. I can't imagine what must be a 2.5 hour or more commute each way. My commute to my normal work is just under 2 miles, it takes like 6 minutes and I'm still drenched in sweat when I get there. Then again I do tend to move along pretty quickly, slow is boring.

UPDATE: Shit. It's a different story everyday. I just got a message from my sister, apparently grandpa's non-responsive and his kidneys are shutting down.... Shit.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My news

There's news in the world, Iran is in chaos, North Korea is pretending to be a tough guy, Jackson died, but none of that really interests me at this moment. I'll probably get informed about Iran at some point soon.

First I'll give my good news. I got a new bike and it's awesome!

And then there's the bad news. My grandfather is in the hospital, and he's not doing well.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bike Safety

A man was killed on a bicycle over the weekend. Several co-workers said they thought of me but assumed it wasn't just because of where the crash was and it would have been an odd place for me to be at 1am. I don't know anything more than what was said in that article but my condolences to the family.

It's never nice to blame a victim but if you're traveling, walking, bike, motorcycle, or car then you need to be aware of whats going on. If you're walking you're going slow enough that there is almost always plenty of time to react. I'll come back to bikes. On a motorcycle you know you're at greater risk than in a car, you can go just as fast (most motorcycles are very fast to accelerate) and are considered an equal to a car in terms of the law, one of the big dangers is from reduced visibility. A motorcycle is quite small in a rear view mirror. Another issue with motorcycles is that contrary to what many who ride them think, a motorcycle does not stop or turn as well as a car, well a sports car. Cars on the other hand are quite safe, which is their greatest danger, people become too comfortable and complacent while driving. And finally Bikes. Bikes are kinda weird, they're too fast for the sidewalk but not quite fast enough for the street. So first off stay off the sidewalk, it's dangerous and illegal if you don't believe me about the danger just think about crossing a street, are the people in cars looking for cross traffic in the street or on the sidewalk?

So how about some basic bike safety. First if you are riding at night you are at significantly greater risk, but their are some simple things you can do to reduce those risks, first USE LIGHTS!!!! If I was driving a car down the road at night with my lights off and got t-boned would anyone have sympathy for me? Hell no. So if you're riding a bicycle at night on the shoulder of the road without lights then you're insane. Follow traffic laws, at least most of the time. If I'm sitting at a red light and can see clearly both ways up the street I might not wait for a green, when I come to a stop sign, I slow way down, but if no ones coming I'm not going to hop off my bike just so I can hop back on. Once I get clipless pedals I really won't want to stop if I don't have to. But I think I'm quite sensible about when I wait for a green and when I don't, the short of it is I don't want to get hit by a car. One thing I'm not good about is wearing a helmet, I know I should but they're uncomfortable and I'm vain. The best retort to that was a friend who said, "yeah its hard to get laid wearing a bike helmet, its even harder to get laid if you're drooling on yourself." Considering the fact that on a bike I'm not just putting my safety in my own hands but in the hands of every idiot who drives past me, I probably should wear it. Some other advice, be assertive, a bike has every right to the traffic lane as a car, if you act like a second class vehicle you will be treated like one. If you get in the proper lane and demand respect you'll get it. That doesn't mean riding in the middle of the lane pissing everyone off but if you're turning left then get out there. I only have to make one left of significance on my way to work and its on a fairly busy street, also one of few places in town with a bike lane, so I stay in the bike lane till I'm about a block or so from my turn and start watching traffic behind me, as soon as their is a good break I quickly get in the middle of the lane, get up to a good speed and give a hand signal, I keep cranking and then just turn, or wait if their is traffic coming the other way. First thing in the morning barreling down the road with a big rig gaining on you beats coffee every time. The important thing in all of that is to make your intentions clear.

If you're on a bike, be careful, and if you're driving, be considerate. And if you think I'm being a dick by swinging further out into traffic than I need to to get around that parked car costing you an extra 7 seconds on your ride home, I'm just leaving room in case a car door opens, catching a door has to suck.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lakes on Mars?

When I see a headline such as "Evidence found for Ancient Mars Lake"my first reaction is to see if its true. My first place to check is of course Bad Astronomy. As of this posting their isn't anything about this which increases my skepticism. If there's convincing evidence of water on Mars, even in the distant past, it would be huge. I'm not saying it's not true, I'm just saying that I want further verification from people who know more about the subject matter than a journalist. A good reason why I like blogs, its easy to get info from actual experts in various fields.

But this is a freaking awesome video, unless of course you have an ego then it might hurt, unless you're Zaphod Beeblebrox...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Murder at the Holocaust Museum

I really don't have much to say about this. It's a terrible tragedy. I feel for the families, I'm not real good at expressing empathy. If its a friend I'm more the silent shoulder to lean on, I'll be there for ya, words of sorrow aren't my strong point.

Guess that report about right wing extremists should have been taken more seriously, although in this country there isn't much you can do about a psycho who walks into a public building with a rifle. He was a convicted felon which limits his legal access to guns, I'm not sure if the gun he used was legal or not but it's irrelevant because in this country it's not hard to get a rifle. Hand guns are more tightly regulated but the streets are obviously still awash with hand guns.

I want to say more but I gotta run. Heres some shit from the rude one.

Stupid Republicans

Theres so many examples of stupid republicans, come on they describe Newt as being energetic. More to the point is the threats about "not wanting to filibuster" judge Sotomayor. Claiming its the only way to keep it fair, because otherwise they'd be in too big a rush. And this is where it gets particularly amazing, part of their argument is that they need time because she has "the longest judicial record in recent memory," said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the minority leader. So it only took 72 days to confirm Chief Justice John Roberts, but to ask this congress to confirm Sotomayor before recess, 73 days, is unfair because she has a way more experience on the bench. Stick with that.

Of course the republicans are doing a pretty good job of making themselves irrelevant and that will be complete once Frankin is finally seated, so its probably not entirely stupid of Norm Coleman to kill his own political career by doing everything possible to delay that glorious day. But on the upside the court has told Norm that he owes Al about $95,000 plus interest for everyday he doesn't pay. If he actually had to pay it out of his own pocket he'd probably be concerned but I'm sure he doesn't. So maybe he's not a stupid republican but he is an asshole.

One Less Unwinnable War

US Drug Czar wants to end the "war on drugs" and it's about time. It's ineffective, a waste of money and far more importantly a waste of lives. Non-violent criminals shouldn't be in jail. They are heading off hopes of what many, myself included, consider the real solution - Legalization. They are NOT going to legalize drugs or marijuana. Maybe during his second term...

But yeah a war on drugs is a stupid as a war on terror, its like a war on sadness. Guess what people have been finding ways to chemically alter themselves for thousands of years. We know beer has been around for at least 4,300 years possibly more like 9,000. Oh and in case the beer reference seems outta place, alcohol is a drug, a very very popular one thats socially acceptable here but its still a drug, so is caffeine. Natural drugs like marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, and peyote to name the first three that come to mind have probably been used even longer but it's harder to tell, less evidence left behind. The only way to get people to not want to get fucked up is to make them perfectly happy while sober, which of course isn't going to happen and really isn't going to happen in our consumer driven keeping up with the Joneses society. So as long as people are going to be indulging in their vices we might as well make a profit (taxes) off it on the front end so that as a society we break even or maybe stay a little ahead when we then have to pay for the damages done by said vices. Its a whole lot better than the current situation where we lose money, time and resources ineffectively try to stop the flow of drugs, lose more time and money when we catch people and throw them in jail, ruin those peoples lives making them no longer productive members of society, and in the end still have to pay for the damages done by the vices cause you only stopped a tiny percentage of the users.

I'm not even going to get into the obvious similarities between the "war on drugs" and prohibition, I've done it before, so I'll just say how did we solve all the problems caused by prohibition?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Homegrown Terrorists

I didn't get a chance to finish reading this so I'm leaving it here to find later. This was a link in that article that sounded interesting. Oh and this too! Liars for Jesus.


They're bringing back Futurama! It's nice to have some truly good news to report once in a while. Much love Comedy Central, much love.

Clunker Bill

It's a hand out to the auto industry, they added the fuel millage part so that its a little bit environmentally friendly but this is about helping the auto industry. Then again considering how much we've got invested in that industry its probably not a bad idea. I wish it would apply to used cars but that wouldn't help the auto industry. The quick of it is this.

Under the House bill, car owners could get a voucher worth $3,500 if they traded in a vehicle getting 18 miles per gallon or less for one getting at least 22 miles per gallon. The value of the voucher would grow to $4,500 if the mileage of the new car is 10 mpg higher than the old vehicle.

Sounds reasonable. Feinstein has a plan that goes quite a bit further but for some reason only applies if your trading in a car getting 17mpg or less, what if I want to trade in my VW that gets like 32mpg for a Prius or to stick to the spirit of the bill one of the new ford hybrids thats supposed to get 40+ mpg? But that one isn't going to happen so instead I want to direct you to the udder stupidity that was shoved into the bill that has passed the house.

Owners of sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks or minivans that get 18 mpg or less could receive a voucher for $3,500 if their new truck or SUV is at least 2 mpg higher than their old vehicle. The voucher would increase to $4,500 if the mileage of the new truck or SUV is at least 5 mpg higher than the older vehicle. Consumers could also receive vouchers for leased vehicles.

So I can turn in a 89 K-9 Blazer for an H2 and get a check for $3500? Thats fucking retarded. Maybe we sould be encouraging both consumers and the auto industry to get away from SUV's already. On the upside I will be hanging on to my truck, wait till someone is buying a new car then sell them that and split the $4,500 with them. Its a hell of a lot more than its worth otherwise. Probably not really in the spirit of the law but this is America and we're all trying to make a buck.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Well of course a former Gitmo victim who spent 7 1/2 years in hell would claim he was tortured. But I wonder what Dick Cheney's opinion is?

Come on this terrorist worked for an elusive terrorist cell known only as "The Red Crescent" he must be evil!

Hope everyone catches the mockery here, I don't normally take torture lightly but you can't be serious all the time, and my real reaction to this should be pretty obvious to anyone with any sense of decency whatsoever.

UPDATE: when I wrote this I didn't even think about the irony of the fact that he worked for the Red Crescent, AKA the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement which helped create the original Geneva Convention back in 1864, the same series of treaties which the US violated while keeping him detained.

Ranting against Religion, again

A friend once asked me if I had a bad experience with church, trying to understand my disdain for religion in general. That simple question has stuck with me and I think I've mentioned it before. The reality is I was forced to go to church most sundays as a kid, I hated it and I fought against it but other than being boring it really was about as nice a church as one could hope for. I once asked the preacher how dinosaurs fit into the whole 7 day creation story, and he simply told me that it didn't necessarily mean 7 24 hour days, AKA it's not literal so don't worry about it. Even as a child I knew enough about the age of the earth that if he had tried to take the fundie route my battles with my mother would have had gas thrown on the fire. But it wasn't that kind of church, the lesbian couple had their child baptized there, the church was "open and affirming" and proud of its history as a party of the underground railroad. We imagined what it must have been like as we wandered the slightly scary dirt floored basement, only upon our return to find out that this church was build later, the one that was part of the underground railroad was on the other side of the park... Oh and I recently heard that the Beecher family that was long ago a part of the church was the Beecher family as in Harriet Beecher Stowe. Why do I give this little history lesson?

The truth is my experience with the church actually tempers my anger with religion, I've been to a mission in Guatemala that really and truly helped make people's lives better, otherwise I'd be even more angry about what goes on in this world in the name of religion. And that's a problem. I'm quite sure that there are a great many moderate people of faith who's own generally positive experiences with faith lead them to not blame religion when a crazy person invokes god while saying some crazy shit, or worse yet otherwise fairly intelligent people will listen to and even respect the word of a crazy person because they are a "man of the cloth." Guess what I'm legally an ordained minister myself does that make me an expert on a fucking thing? No, but it does mean I can legally perform marriages!

What all of this is getting at is that if a crazy person kills a doctor that crazy person should go to jail. And everyone should be outraged, if another crazy person says they had been hoping that doctor would be killed they should be watched carefully. If said crazy person then goes on to say they're also hoping the president will die and that the president is actually part of a conspiracy that killed the original doctor in order to advance his agenda then that person should be watched very very closely, by the secret service. (I'm too big a believer in freedom of speech to lock him up for that but maybe a little chat would be ok) Unfortunately because the guy is a pastor claiming he wants the president dead is just fine, and he can shout all the crazy he wants because their are millions of reasonable people of faith who shield these psycho's usually without even realizing it.

A "perverted notion of honour"

Sad story. Sure the murderer will be in jail for life but that doesn't bring the victims back.

Classic Henry Rollins

A friend of mine just reminded me of this old video and I laughed so here it is...
Henry Rollins Letter to Ann Coulter

"Ghetto Loans"

Great article from the NY Times about Wells Fargo's business practices and the federal lawsuit that is accompanying those practices. The company in its words had an "emerging-market unit" or as the employees who were more honest about their racism called it, "ghetto loans" for "mud people." I will say that I need to assume anyone using the term mud people was just a racist in their own right and the company shouldn't really be judged on that. But the rest of the shit they can, so fuck 'em.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Fuck Oprah

I generally don't care what she has to say but she has a frightening amount of influence so it's very important that she doesn't give harmful advice. Sadly she has been known to give some very bad advice and Newsweek of all places took her to task for it. I'm not usually a fan but this was a great article.

Dr. Tiller

I know I'm late with this, hey I was on vacation I tend to ignore the news and assume that the worlds been here a long time and it can take care of itself for a week, I was sorta right.

I'm not going to get into what happened, you already know, a Doctor was murdered by a psycho because he performed abortions. But I wanted to put up this link to the Rude Pundit who shares an e-mail sent to him by a person who at one time volunteered at Dr. Tiller's clinic and who was familiar with the deranged individual who killer the Doctor. The basic point is that yes this man was insane, but someone was with playing him like a marionette and just as important as bringing the killer to justice is to bring the person, or persons, who lead Mr. Roeder to do this.

Supreme Court Still Sucks

And don't expect the new nominee to fix that. The latest one is that they have said it's ok to discriminate against gays in the military. I wonder if these same justices would have upheld a segregated army? It was the same reasoning, "rationally related to the government's legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion."

Good to be Home

I had a wonderful time on vacation, went to Tucson for my cousins wedding. It was a wonderful reception, the ceremony itself was a freaking catholic mass type wedding to you can pretty much assume correctly my thoughts about that. Then we headed north to Sedona, which is spectacular. Well the area itself is wonderful, I had a very hard time trying to come up with a redeeming feature for the town itself.... smooth road. I rented a nice road bike (bicycle) one day so the roads did matter. We also checked out some huge hole in the ground.... the grand something. Although as cool as that was, and I'd love to go back so I could hike it, in many ways Sedona was even more picturesque. The Grand Canyon is just too big, Sedona you look at a red rock and think hey, I wanna climb that, and then you go climb it. At the Canyon it's like hey thats cool, and if you're good you can get there in two days.... oh.

But there has been quite a bit of shit going on so I feel like talking about the world instead of myself.