Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Cyclist Weekend

It all started yesterday. The usual suspects were planning the monthly meet at Al's Breakfast in Dinkytown. Yes, 6 AM sharp for coffee and usually a short stack whole wheat wally blues. For those unfamiliar with Al's that stands for two whole wheat walnut and blueberry pancakes. Good for what ails you. Those that show can vary from Tim and Tom the racer boys. Then there is Jon, a man who's forgotten more about bicycles than I know. This follows with a man who needs no introductions, its BBBB. Or maybe you'd prefer just plain Bob. Then there is another guy who often shows up we'll call Curt. This week, I had a surprise guest, none other than our own, Misanthrope Cyclist. Now he's not a morning guy, so I had to lie like a dog to get him to show up at 6:00. He made it, sort of, a few minutes after we did, but he had time to eat before we felt guilty and began to make motions to leave. This time Curt didn't make it, most likely due to a heavy work schedule. Missed yah dude! Coffee, tea, juice, eggs, and cakes were as good as always.

Today, I added to the punishment. I joined the Hiawatha gang for their weekly ride. I'd forgotten the time and thought it was at 7:30 sharp. Huh, no one was there, so I amused myself by shooting photos of the shop through the window. To the right is a photo of the store front from across the street. It looks better without the snow so you can see the stands to lock up your ride while shopping. The top of one stand can be seen in the photo, its the bit of red sticking up from the snow.

After a few photos, someone started showing up. First arrived "Big" Jim, who politely informed me that my memory was faulty and that usually people start showing at 7:45 and they might get riding by 8, but don't count on it. Cool, just my kind of ride and I was early for once. Just ask my ex-wife for information on how often that happens. Or not. Here are a few photos from the gang of eight (or nine) that showed.
I didn't get names on all of them.

Since I don't wear a watch and never look at my cyclometer, I've no clue when we started. Then add to the fact that I don't live or really know the area, I was quickly lost. We meandered all over the place. Only two casualties. A young college gal, Laura hit a large patch of ice and her bike slid out from under her. She seemed to be just fine and the bike wasn't damaged visibly. Next was the owner of Hiawatha, Jim, and he and his ride a three speed went down. Other than his chain guard insisting on making tons of noise for the next 30 miles he seemed to survive the crash okay too. At one point they bunch could hear my growling stomach, and in an effort to drop me and still have some pity on me, they laid down some food for me to snack on. Then to add to the humiliation, they took some photos to document their prowess.

Their fatal error? They discovered that watching me eat made them hungry too and so they looked for a coffee shop and low and behold there across the street was Espresso Expose. So they parked their bicycles everywhere. By the time they were done, so was I, so I rode back with them. Sorry for the poor quality of the photos from inside Espresso Expose, I'm just not that interested in learning how to use my camera better. Yet.

Monday, March 05, 2007

What Exactly Is The Dilly-eo?

You should have heard that Walter Reed hospital is a dump. Okay, you can be in the ward where the generals, congress members, President and other "haves" will go and never see any problems. Only where our real heroes land when injured and go to recover. Lets see, I've read of roaches, patients lying in their own filth, and abysmal conditions. I wonder if Bob Dole would have recovered enough to become a long term congressman under those conditions?

So, where is the outrage? Doesn't exist. You know if it was Clinton or Obama's administration the talking point from Sean Hannity, Rush, O'Reilly and the rest of the GOP right would be that leadership at the top led to this. Of course they can't savage the Shrubbery, because that defeats their purpose. And they can't point out it is due to a budget horror, because they've held congress for twelve years. So we're once again treating soldiers as bad as we did at Vietnam. The public may not be spitting on them, but ignoring them isn't so hot either. Oh, but we've got millions of magnets on the assholes of SUVs and our fuel cost is still below $14 a gallon. And the Democrats haven't made any hay out of it, because who's against it? Its not like abortion where you know someone is against whatever side you pick. Everyone is for treatment of the veterans with honor, courtesy, and the best care available. Trouble is it cost money and we've already spent that sending them overseas to get hurt in the first place. And I'll remind you, Rumsfield sent them with inadequate equipment again because they foolishly didn't believe it would last long enough to require it. Morons, pathetic morons, in charge of our country. You go with the equipment you have not the equipment you wish you had. I hope he hears that lie every day for the rest of eternity in hell.

I mentioned March Madness already. That is I look forward to college basketball and the Final Four. High school? Pahlease. In Minnesota, few teams can score enough to entertain me. They're all football and hockey rejects. Except for those Chisholm teams of old. That Coach Bob McDonald could run one hell of a team. I miss his squads.

So, did you see the Duke Blue Devils exposed? Yeah, it wasn't an intentional foul, right. He intended to foul the scourer, and he intended a hard foul so he couldn't score. With an elbow. He could have grabbed him around the waist. No, he went for the nose with his elbow and he succeeded, he broke it and got himself ejected. Now that supreme whiner Coach K (and I don't care how he spells it, I refuse to type it, he lost my respect a long time ago, squeaky clean he isn't), shrilly yells, how it wasn't intentional, and his player didn't deserve ejection. Oh, I'm sorry, did the NC player get a little blood on the floor and offend thee? There is no coach in Division IA that whines more and convinces not only refs that his team is squeaky clean, but Billy Packer has been his shill for decades. I so wish CBS would get the guts to banish him to where that schmuck Michael Irvin lands. Maybe Michael could teach Billy how not to dress like a dick with ears? I so love any team that hands Coach K and his team of All-Americans their heads and they cry and whine and get angry better than anyone on the planet. We now have proof how little sportsmanship they really have. You can bet Coach K would NEVER have suspended that player for that foul. And his players still suck in the NBA.

So, did you see that our own dink Kevin McHale is the best GM in the land. Yeah, the proverbial "basketball guy" from Hibbing who is running our local losers the WoodMutts is the best GM in pro sports. Good grief, talk about a slow news day at Forbes. Who wrote the article, and the editor that approved it should both be fired for being complete and total idiots. Please God, let Kevin Garnett be traded to a team that deserves him. And heaven forbid there is Fred Hoyburg in the wings when Kevin gets fired ten years too late no later than the NBA finals this year. Do you know why they don't put an NBA team in Green Bay? Because then Minnesota would want one too.

Back to politics. Is there any location within the current Shrubbery administration going well except the gaseous space between the Shrub's ears and the Penguin's? They can't run hospitals for the troops they so love (and don't support), and they can't permit an attorney that won't file and run any case they dictate regardless of litigious merit? We are going to suffer with his horrid supreme court choices for decades. They couldn't handle the hurricane, the people still suffer. Newt Gingrich recently opined that those folks (you don't think he meant trailer trash do you? No, he meant black people.) were too stupid to get out of the way of the hurricane. Nice. Contract with American, my armpit. Come on press, run with that story and end that fat toad's career. And this Newt boy wants to be President!

Speaking of fat toads, have you seen the photos locally on the signs for a local conservative FM radio station? Seriously photo shopped photos of Sean Hannity and Rush "drug abusing" Limbaugh." Those two haven't weighed that little since grade school. Hannity's head alone is the size of a basketball. These louts are on TV every day and they still pretend like their handsome. Yeah, remove Rush's cancer sores from drug abuse, and the bacon oozing pimples from Sean, but this is an amazing level of lies.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Its March

March, for me it always brings up memories of March madness. In my home area it was like the movie Hoosiers. No, I didn't grow up in Indiana, but in a town where girls and boys basketball was the sport. The women's tournament at that time was in the fall, so it never competed with the men. It didn't become a big deal until I was not seeing eye to eye with my father. And for the record, the women's team of my peers were awesome, and went far into the tournament every year I was high school. They far surpassed the men's teams records.

When March came my father would drive me to the tournament games. Rarely trips of less then 100 miles. Often at night and on weekends, and without a complaint. I didn't whine and bitch to get this opportunity. I was never sure it would happen again. He gave it willingly. It was passing along his enjoyment of the game. Of sport. Of excitement. Too bad it only takes me thirty years to think of that blessing he gave.

Those trips were always in snow. I don't remember a single time when the trip didn't happen if there was a snow storm. Fearless. It was just snow. Never once crashed. Never once hit the bank or got stuck. Never once failed to make the first tip. Never once left early. At that time rarely saw my home town team in the tournament. Sadly we had a very shitty coach who I tried to play under. He managed to win a state championship once and so no one would fire him, but he had nothing to do with the win. He as much admitted it, he'd ask us after a loss, what was wrong with us. Pretty hard when you have no leader. I have little doubt he was as worthless then as he was when I was in high school and we had records of 2-17.

There was a great coach coming. He went on to win two championships in 25 years. The typical finals were against teams with every single player 3-6 inches taller. From all private schools that recruited from the finest of metropolitan players. And he beat them like they'd never seen it coming. How? Out hustle. We never stopped running in his practices. How would I know? I had the drunken flake in high school? Because he was the junior high/middle school coach when I was that age. And we ran until our lunch was in our throats. And then we ran some more. And then we shot baskets when we were good and tired. Fundamentals. And the worst error you could make is to miss an open shot or layup. Especially when the game was on the line. Or a free throw. Shaq wouldn't have played two games in a row for him. He didn't care how good you were in general if you weren't fundamentally sound, you rode the pine. No whining allowed. No loud daddies permissible. He was coach and you were just one of many players. Don't like it? Leave.

I got tossed from the high school team for refusal to cut my hair. Stupid yes. My point was, I could lose with long hair as well as I could with short. It wasn't fun. He sucked. I couldn't be a man and quit. So I created the situation where I couldn't stay. Trust me, if the coaches had switched when I played instead of after, I'd have cut my hair. He "resigned" my senior year because he was such an abysmal failure. To play for a winner, I'd have worn a crew cut like it was the sixties. I'd have shaved my head 30 years early. Between playing for a loser drunk, I'd rather have a pony tail.

Speaking of cutting the beard is gone. November to March was long enough. Just to prove it existed, here it is.

Yes, its gone. A neatly trimmed goat remains in its place. Ready to extend next fall. Maybe. Maybe I'll have forgotten my dislike for it by then?