Left Field part Two.

Posting this from Windows, which I abhor with the fire of a thousand suns. Near as I can tell the thing is riddled with malware out of the box, and while I have managed to get a couple of linux distros going, the last one did not want to play and the muse is speaking and you have to roll with it.

A couple of days ago a post attracted the attention of a visionary with whom I was familiar, one of the founding fathers of the Mountain bike, one I have referred in passing as the Jefferson of the concept.

This post is gonna include a great deal of inside baseball, and if you are completely uninterested in the subject feel free to wander to more comfortable climes.

Speaking of climes, here in south central Indiana, Bloomington to be exact we are having a most magnificent day. It is around 70 degrees (freedom), low humidity with wisps of clouds painted upon a robins egg blue sky. A day that one would design for every day of the year if one had the power.

OK, now begins the part where regulars might not find an Interest.

Mr. Kelly,

Since you asked for a trading of stories, I will begin with the development and design of my first bicycle frame.

I had purchased my first, a mid range Nishiki in 1983. Later a top end fillet brazed Ross (a model whose name I have forgotten.).

I started work in a bike shop, in fact I was recruited by the owner of said shop in ’85, but I had known the dude within a week of opening his shop because as a teen, when I was not riding I visited every shop in town nearly every day.

Fast forward to the fall of ’87. we had a torch, and the boss showed the man I consider my best friend and a phenomenal mechanic to boot, how to use it. We also had a supply of thin walled tubes on which to practice, from that point on it was off to the races.

My fighting/raciong weight was 140 lbs. we tore up everything resembling a trail we could find, mostly singletrack, went on the equivalent of raiding parties all over the county to discover more places to ride, It may have taken nearly a decade to discover the wonders of fat tires and hill bombing (as is usual in this state before the internet, the lag time of cool things that is.)

Point being is that I suspected that the commercial offerings vis a vis Mountain bikes were heavier than necessary. So I set out to see if that was in fact the case.

My primary ride at the time was a Holdsworth Professional, a High end British road bike. It occurred to me upon close examination that I could fit 26 x 1.5 inch mountain bike tires on both ends, and so I had the platform of discovery. A lightweight road bike built with Reynolds 531, and a torch.

I fired up said torch to solve the primary problem, brakes. I brazed cantilever bosses on the fork and seatstays, knew that drop would be an issue, but one that I could work around. I beat the shit out of that mongrel contraption on many of our discovered trails and to my satisfaction the road, cum mountain bike performed admirably. I did plant a pedal in a few tight corners, but hell you gotta roll with what’s at hand.

Satisfied with the durability of 531 road tubing (at least for a guy of my size) an order was placed, and a box of gleaming silver tubing arrived. I also ordered the two investment cast lugs and fork crown, that would work with my design, from Henry James, a lugless bottom bracket from Quality Bicycles.

For those who might still be following and know not so much we will cover wheels.

The front wheel on nearly every bike on the planet is dishless. What that means is that the rim is centered between the flanges of the hub and thus symmetrical. Like an arch in architecture it is a very strong and stable structure. The rear wheel on most geared bicycles on the other hand is asymmetrical. The spoke tension on the geared, or freewheel side is considerably higher than on the other side. Generally speaking it is not a problem, but I had an Idea.

I am designing and building my first frame and the idea of a dishless rear wheel creeped into my brain. While it would have been easier to recreate a standard frame, I just can’t help myself. I wanted to try something no one else had. At least to my knowledge of the state of the art at the time.

The problem with the offset rear triangle involves bottem bracket width, q factor, and crank clearence, but after a couple of drawings it seemed that I could manage with a rear hub spacing of 126 millimeters with an 8 speed cassette.

During the spring of ’88 my best friend and I both launched into our unique designs. As he was a bigger guy, 6’2″ 200 lbs, and also very bright in the amateur engineering department, had different needs and opted for different parameters to serve his needs.

Forty hours later two new bikes were properly kitted and ready to roll. We had spent an all nighter at the shop and managed the initial parking lot tests abt 20 minutes before we were supposed to open the shop.

To my amazement, the fillet brazed bottom bracket did not fall off, and around mid day, after getting another dose of needed cafiene from a shop across the way, I witnessed one of my co-workers on my newly minted machine executing a perfect Rockford maneuver (a full on tailslide with the front wheel at 90 degrees to the rest of the frame) with horror. I had not had a chance to do anything but a ride around the parking lot, was not still convinced of the soundness of my design and felt that I should have been the first to pull that move. At the same time I have to admit that the Horror was accompanied with a bit of pride.

At the end of the day, I pounded the shit out of that ride for nearly a decade, only had to touch up the rear wheel with a spoke wrench on two occasions, set the big ring hill record (a really short, really steep traverse of a ridge around a tree with a very short run, in short, an extremely technical exercise) with a 48×14.

The thing worked, and well. One of these days you might hear of the heartbreaking collision into the back of a parked car at speed, cratering the front end, and of the means that resurrected the sled.

If anyone has a copy of the January ’93 issue of Winning Magazine, you will find a picture of me riding that steed at full speed in my last race. You will find it in the weekend warrior section.

And if anyone has a copy…I no longer have one of my own…I would love a scan….

To the regulars, thanks for your forbearance, I’ll be back to mocking wingnuts soon enough.

To Mr Kelly, thanks for the inspiration.

OBS Edit:

If you haven’t checked it out yet, you need to look at Mr. Kelly’s website to get a true feel for what kind of legend we have here. This dude was there at the beginning of the revolution. We’re extremely happy to have you here good sir.


It’s August, the stock market is cratering and here I am daydreaming

I was going to post this stuff on my personal blog, but with my esteemed co-blogger’s recent post I figured what the hell. Not every post can be a complaint. Nor should it. I have a confession to make. I dig steampunk. I don’t play dress up, I don’t hot glue gears on stuff, and I don’t sport luxurious muttonchop whiskers. But I like the aesthetic. I dig brass and leather and the idea of having goggles close at hand just in case one might want to braze something. I like steam engines but I understand why belching coal smoke has made them passe. I understand the shocking inequality of victorian england and don’t miss the sexism, classism, racism, and pandemic levels of venereal disease one bit.

What I’m getting to in my roundabout fashion is I’d like to build and ride a pennyfarthing bike. I’m broke as a very broke thing so it won’t happen anytime soon, but it’s been a minor obessession of mine for months. And here’s why. Dorian Schlupf of Schlumpf innovations has invented a geared unicycle hub, that can be shifted with a tap of the heel while riding a unicycle. That same geared hub would work just as well on a pennyfarthing (or “ordinary” to the purists) bicycle to add either a low gear for climbing or an overdrive for high speed biking. It might even be possible to design a hub with more than two speeds for even more pedaling options. Imagine it, a five speed geared hub, the size of a dinner plate, on a brass and steel 48″ pennyfarthing wheel, with (as long as I’m dreaming) big cushy pneumatic mountain bike tires. It would be awesome. Awesome and absurd and expensive and impractical and pointless and not one iota safer than a vintage Victorian boneshaker, due to still having the same tippy rider catapult ejecting geometry as it’s less advanced forbears.

Better yet, imagine founding Helmut J. Monotreme’s bespoke velocipedes, selling geared hub pennyfarthing bicycles to discerning enthusiasts. Like all 5 other people in the world who’d ever want one, and ideally not getting sued by their estates when they break their neck trying to ride them.

Anyway, here’s a bunch of links that inspired me on this daydream.
Schlumpf Innovations
crazyguyonabike’s explanation of bicycle gearing
bikefourm.net discussion on building a pennyfarthing
explanation of a Schlumpf geared hub
The one schlumpf-hubbed bike I could find on the internet
All the ways to change the drive ratios of a pedal-hub drive


These Guys, Way Oustide the Box

Because I consider myself a “Rider” first and a “Writer” second, we’ll start with this guy: His name is Graeme Obree, and he came literally out of nowhere Scotland in 1993 to set a new record for the hour and win the world pursuit championship, setting two new world records in the process.

As admirable as these accomplishments are he managed it all on on his own, with an unorthodox position on a bike he designed and constructed on his own.

Let us take a look at a clip, shall we…

I became aware of this character a month or so before when he broke Francesco Moser’s eight year old hour record. You have an hour, cover as much distance as you can within that time. The difference from a time trial is that a time trial covers a specific distance, and the person with the fasted time wins. The event above covers 4 kilometers, and the amount of time it takes the top notch athletes puts it within the realm of the mile in track and field.

Having myself been, generally speaking, an out of the box thinking type of guy, a person who came somewhat out of nowhere to qualify for the national championships in only my fourth race, and ending the season with an invitation to try out for the National team in my first year as a Junior, I kind of identify with Obree, Oh and I built bicycle frames and raced them. This is where we intersect. A bit (I never got to the world championships, let alone won one.)

However, there are very few people in the world that can say they have a reason to be members of the club.

The first frame I built was revolutionary on a couple of accounts and built 4 and a half years before I had heard of the flying Scotsman. It had a fillet brazed bottom bracket (not revolutionary) and an offset rear triangle and dish-less rear wheel (revolutionary, still so, as I have yet to hear of anyone else doing anything like it.)

Graeme’s bike was even more so, given that its design also incorporated his new and more aerodynamic position, his bike was not just revolutionary, but a revelation. In any event, I had found a new hero.

Here is a shitty copy of a documentary on the breakthrough year including preperation for the hour record, Graeme at the torch, and the compitition with his compatriot Chris Boardman who was the Gold medalist in the pursuit in Barcelona the previous year and the guy who set a new record in the Hour about a week after Obree had set the new standard.

Here is part one of of eight:

For those so inclined, the rest should not be difficult to find.

In 1994 he returned to the World Championships only to find that his position and bike had been disqualified, literally minutes before qualifying, because a fucking asshole was running the UCI (world cycling body) at the time. I happened to get within punching distance of said asshole at the 1996 Tour du Pont, bit my tongue, unclenched my fist and walked on by. The same asshole would basically allow Lance Armstrong (another person with whom I have been within punching distance) get away with his lies.

In 1995 Obree made sure his bike and position were within the “rules and won his second World Championship. His new position was dubbed the “Superman” and became the standard position for all races against the clock, Until asshole decided to ban that as well.

In any event I was amazed at the time 22 years ago, and recently came across the videos above so here we are…

The second part of this piece is inspired because I like to call myself a simulacrum of a Writer, and have the following video interview of this master-craftsman and innovator on one of my puting devices: Rod Serling with Mike Wallace:

I’ll let the man speak for himself. and just note that he filled my curious childhood full of dreams good and bad, and I wouldn’t change anything.

An amazing person, a visionary, genius. He also penned the screenplay for one of my favorite movies, “Seven Days in May”


I miss Fenwick.

I hope you are doing well.

I miss a bunch of others as well.

Personally been processing, or more accurately, attempting to process the variety of a many splendored bullshit sandwitch.

I keep looking north, and have some shit in the pipeline.

Thank you Helmut. You have done a wonderful job.

Those with keys feel free to use them.

I will get over the current blok, I will reintice my muse.

Love all that bother to visit.


Thank Heaven for Little Girls

You know, I thought I couldn’t possibly have less respect for this fuck… I thought wrong.

Jack Cashill, American Morality:
Would you let your 12-year-old daughter sleep in a tent with an 18-year-old boy?


As the demonic hordes have scourged the lands swallowing the once mighty Christian masses with their mighty rainbow powers in the wake of national legalization of gay marriage, professional homophobes have belatedly started to take down the victory bunting and shift the fundraising apparatuses to whining about the evils of those dastardly trannies out there.

Perhaps it was the indomitable power of Satan’s victory yell or the marriage-crushing reality that was some long-standing couples finally getting legal rights for that or maybe just the fact that now that the magic 50% mark in public approval has passed, all the mushy middle has jumped ship on the hate train and so there’s just no money slipping into the anus of history.

Who would ever be able to tell?

Well, whatever the cause of the exodus of the righteous, it nonetheless fell hardest on the true believers. Those who steadfastedly have kept the fires of outrage lit in their hopes to signal to all the bigots of the world that they at least are willing to stand proudly as anachronistic as ever, still yelling about that golram gay marriage that is ruining the soil, donchaknow, forever.

And while it would be simplicity itself as a heartless God-despising demonic entity to simply laugh at their “suffering” and continue on my merry rampage, sometimes you just have to take the time to witness the sheer level of what the fuck is possible when only the dumbest bigots are left to mind the hate shop.

Shorter (or the last port before Jungle):

  • Listen, you don’t understand. The reason we can’t let gay men serve as Scout Leaders isn’t because gay men are pedophiles. It’s because every man is a pedophile. Man, if I could have gotten away with molesting some pre-teens at a summer camp, you bet your damn ass I would have done it! Ahh, memories.

Read the rest of this entry »


In the news

If you read the news, and I can’t really recommend it given the dullards who are writing it, the quota of advertiser-vetted bilge they are asked to write, and the richer dullards who edit them, you may have noticed that people are getting shot and otherwise killed at the hands of the police. This has lots of people upset. Some people are upset that their family members and neighbors are being killed faster than innocent bystanders are when Blackwater goons get rowdy, others apparently are upset that people object to what until now was apparently a fine and ancient American tradition with as honored and venerable a history as stealing Native American land. Some people want to blame the victims of these police killings as if anyone who wasn’t bulletproof with an uncrushable trachea and an unbreakable spine is basically begging everyone they meet to kill them as soon and as brutally as possible. And that upsets me. I get upset that public employees are spending their time on the public payroll assassinating members of the public. It seems counterproductive. As a taxpayer, I object to paying the salary of someone who might return the favor by giving me (or, to be more accurate, an African American) a few new interesting holes through which to breathe, or to drown in blood as the case may be. Perhaps I am limited in my horizons, perhaps I lack perspective, perhaps I am too distracted by blood on the pavement, and grieving family members and the nauseating spectacle of yet another remorseless stormtrooper defending their butchery as just another tough task they dutifully perform with no expectation of recognition than a modest paycheck and a pension, except they totally do want to be seen as a thin blue line of heroes valiantly defending a soft and innocent (or decadent and naive) public from the savagery of an African American’s failure to affix a front license plate to their bumper. And the police have no shortage of defenders who seem to think the penalty for not displaying instant obsequious obedience to the police ought to be summary execution.

And I don’t get that. I get that we think a civilization needs rules to keep from descending into anarchy. I get that a group of people is necessary to enforce those rules. What I don’t get is why so many people think breaking a small rule (like a missing front license plate) justifies breaking one of the most fundamental rules in all of human civilization (don’t kill people). Why do so many people think there’s an “unless…” after “thou shalt not kill”?

I was going to highlight Jonah Goldberg’s nauseating call for calm in the face of summary police executions… but he didn’t write one. Good for him. He also doesn’t seem to think the murder of another black man by police in Cincinnati is worth writing about, maybe because he has nothing to say about what appears to be an open and shut case of murder caught on tape. But that is perhaps mean spirited of me, and an unfair criticism, given that I have spent time explaining that it is possible to care about multiple issues, and that silence on one issue doesn’t necessarily mean indifference. Lord knows there are plenty of issues Jonah cares enough about to write his special type of glurge, opposing the minimum wage increase, tantrums that people are supporting Trump for having the nerve to use a foghorn while other republicans were still farting about with racist dog whistles, criticism of Obama for not being bipartisan enough, as if there was anyone with an (R) after their names in congress who didn’t campaign on a platform of opposing everything Obama stands for. It’s kind of refreshing to hear Jonah’s silence on an issue he’d only get wrong. So here’s a rare congratulations and a job well done (so far) for mister Goldberg of the National Review. If only you could bring your new found reticence to bear on every other issue you know nothing about.

One of my personal favorites Victor Davis Hanson also has insightful commentary on this incident. Which is to say, he hasn’t written a damn thing about it. Good for him, and again, well done.

You know who else hasn’t written about it? George Will. John Hinderaker, normally the loudest of loudmouths hasn’t touched it with a ten foot pole. I was going to go looking for more, but I really don’t want to. If conservatives don’t have anything to say about this incident, maybe just maybe, it indicates they aren’t the complete moral vacuums they so often appear to be. I’m going to assume they’ve heard of the incident (I was going to write “are not ignorant of the incident” but stopped myself, because seriously is there any subject they aren’t ignorant of?) It’s nice to think they have a line. It’s nice to think there are some actions by police that are so egregiously evil, that they will not find defenders among the talking heads of the right.

And so on that happy thought I will conclude. Start your weekend early, if you need me to, I will write you a note to get out of work.


David &%#@$! Brooks

Ta Nehisi Coates’ new book “Between the World and Me” has just been released. It is an intensely personal look at the hazards of growing up black in the USA. I haven’t read the book myself, (Once the public library gets it, I will check it out) however I am moderately familiar with Ta Nehisi Coates’ work, especially his very important article last year in the Atlantic last year “The Case for Reparations” if you missed it, read it now http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/05/the-case-for-reparations/361631/ and if you only have a limited amount of time today, read that instead of the rest of this blog entry. But, now that you’ve read it, you know that Mr Coates’ work is personal, very well researched, and very well supported by actual history. So when I read David Brooks talk about Mr Coates’ work I get a stabbing pain behind my eyes.

Because David Brooks… …is a pundit. He’s a goooooooood pundit. He wrote this in the New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/17/opinion/listening-to-ta-nehisi-coates-while-white.html?_r=0 The Grey Lady. The first draft of history. The newspaper of record. The ol’ fishwrap. The canary cage liner. The toilet paper of last resort. Don’t they have a single editor there who doesn’t show up to work already drunk? Isn’t there someone there who could take a red pen to David Brooks? Or worse yet, what if they already did? What if they trimmed out the worst and quotes like the one below made the cut?

I think you distort American history. This country, like each person in it, is a mixture of glory and shame. There’s a Lincoln for every Jefferson Davis and a Harlem Children’s Zone for every K.K.K. — and usually vastly more than one. Violence is embedded in America, but it is not close to the totality of America.

Just what is he trying to say? That Lincoln freeing the slaves makes up for the fact that African Americans were enslaved in the first place? What kind of Stockholm syndrome bullshit is that? You know what’s better than being rescued from slavery? Not being enslaved in the first place. You know what makes up for slavery? Tell me. I’m all ears. Because I suspect it’s “not a goddamn thing”.

“And a Harlem Children’s Zone for every KKK”? What kind of insulting horseshit is this? Does the Harlem Children’s Zone have a time machine and a resurrect-o-tron and go on merry adventures throughout history and unlynching black people and unburning their houses, farms and businesses? Cause if they don’t, it may just be that this is a candidate for most mendacious false equivalence of the year.

Look, I get it. David Brooks has no idea how to solve a problem. I was going to say “if the Aspen Ideas Festival or a TED talk can’t fix it” but I realize that’s an unnecessary qualifier. David Brooks is a champion of the kind of thinking that says American ingenuity, American good will and American love of justice can solve any problem. For example:

This dream is a secular faith that has unified people across every known divide. It has unleashed ennobling energies and mobilized heroic social reform movements. By dissolving the dream under the acid of an excessive realism, you trap generations in the past and destroy the guiding star that points to a better future.

And maybe the American dream got David Brooks where he is today. But his version of “the American Dream” is a license, even a mandate, to forget and ignore the injustices that continue to kill and impoverish people today. Ask a Native American what they think of manifest destiny. Ask a an undocumented immigrant working in a slaughterhouse for less than minimum wage for 12+ hours a day what they think of American capitalism. Ask an African American in New York City what they think of “Stop and Frisk” or the “war on drugs”. Because Ta Nehisi Coates got where he is, by fighting the American Dream every step of the way.


Let’s check in with one of our favorites

It’s been a busy year for me, but I am going to make an effort to post more often. It’s not like the usual gang of idiots has quit shooting their mouth off in ignorant and offensive ways. So lets turn our eyes dear reader to one of this blogs oldest and most reliable sources for getting it wrong and getting well paid for it: Victor Davis Miles Gloriosus Hanson. In his most recent post on his web site (I hate to give him the link or the page views, but for the benefit of those following along at home: http://victorhanson.com/wordpress/?p=8524#more-8524 )he asks, “Is the world becoming fed up?” I’m glad he asked. He asks if Europe is fed up with immigration. He asks if Europe is tired of socialism. He asks if Trump is really so outrageous? He asks if Americans are fed up with the alleged hypocrisy of Hillary Clinton. Victor is truly mailing this one in.

And so, let’s ask ourselves, is the world becoming fed up? You bet your ass. But it’s a curious kind of world for Professor Doctor Hanson, who after breezily mentioning European socialism and immigration, spends the rest of his time talking up Donald Trump, scaremongering about murders committed by undocumented Mexican immigrants, and criticizing Hillary Clinton and President Obama. Why you’d almost think that Victor Davis Pyrgopolynices Hanson’s view of the world was the view from his front porch as seen through lenses of nativism and paranoia. Hanson may not agree with me on many things, but he is right that change is coming. He is old enough to recognize that pressure is building, and smart enough to know that America is going to have to make a serious choice as to what kind of nation it wants to be. And like the lifelong toady that he is, he chose the wrong side. He once again has taken as good a look at current events as his biases allow, and has learned they confirm everything he already believed.

For example, immigration. Ever since the US conquered and stole the entire American southwest from Mexico, and finished the subjugation and displacement of the Native Americans to it’s most desolate corners, Mexicans and Americans have been crossing the border, in both directions seeking jobs, freedom from oppression, and a place to call home. Official US policy has brought guest workers from Mexico to California to work in the fields for decades, only to bus or fly them back when the crops were harvested. It’s possible Hanson’s own family farm has taken part in this program. And even the Hanson family didn’t participate, I would put down money that many of his neighbors have. Hanson doesn’t seem to care where the poor, the homeless, and the starving masses of the 21st century go, as long as they don’t come to the US or Europe. It’s funny how when famine, war, plague or economic depression strikes the far off corners of the world how quick people like Hanson are to say that the inhabitants should leave their backward, war torn, homes and go somewhere less prone to the depredations of the four horsemen. And when the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free queue up at the golden door, people like VDH gleefully slam it in their face. Because to VDH nothing is more important to civilization than law. Hanson thinks that undocumented immigrants are this country’s greatest threat. I’m not mind reading, I’m not putting words in his mouth. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/8/victor-davis-hanson-hillary-clintons-disregard-of-/? his opening paragraph is particularly rich

Barbarians at the gate usually don’t bring down once-successful civilizations. Nor does climate change. Even mass epidemics like the plague that decimated sixth-century Byzantium do not necessarily destroy a culture.

Because for an alleged historian, he manages to cram a heaping helping of wrong into those three sentences. I’d like to hear what the Romans, the Carthaginians, the Israelites, the Celts, the peoples of India, the pre-Belgian people of the Congo, and a list of other civilizations very nearly too long to mention have to say about invasions of barbarians not being a serious threat. Likewise, plague can and has been the final blow to multiple civilizations of which a Professor of history ought to be aware, for example the Aztecs, and nearly every other Native American nation that was thriving in 1491. Climate change too has put paid to more than a few civilizations. For example, Assyria, Babylon, and every other ancient civilization of the fertile crescent. Right goddamn now, Syria is a current country imploding under climate change as displaced farmers revolted under the Assad regime’s refusal to provide relief in the midst of the longest drought in recorded history in that area. And in that area recorded history goes back more than 2000 years. So he’s repudiating the evidence of basically all of recorded history so he can fear monger about people from Mexico and further south coming here to not starve to death? He spends breathless paragraph after breathless paragraph excoriating immigrants, the Greeks, the IRS and prominent Democrats for breaking laws, for creating a ‘culture of lawlessness’ that threatens to end the USA forever. He fails. He fails to show that there is any kind of causal connection between ‘lawless’ behavior and civilizational collapse. He cherry picks and as far as I can tell, invents, perfidious acts by Democrats, and fails to say how they are worse than the totally unmentioned crimes of republicans. Like for example wasting a few trillion dollars on a war justified by intelligence whose kindest description is “wildly exaggerated” and whose actual description would be more like “utterly fabricated bullshit made to order by the direct command of the president and vice president”. Or even if we give the previous administration the biggest mulligan in history, and sweep the death of thousands of Americans and a few hundred thousand (or just over a million, sources differ) Iraqi deaths under the carpet, we could point at things like Wall Street and the biggest banks in the world running a pump and dump scheme with sub prime mortgages, bundled in to worthless securities, and sold to unsuspecting customers and insured with credit default swaps that meant giant windfalls even as banks collapsed. Now I’m just a simple private citizen with no greater understanding of the complexities of finance than I do of rocket science, but I can’t see how that is anything but deliberate, massive, systemic, premeditated fraud and plunder on a historically unprecedented scale. And so when VDH complains about lawlessness, it rings kind of hollow to me. It almost seems like he’s trying to distract people by suggesting and implying that lawlessness comes from and is only perpetrated by people to his political left, and that his own chosen team is pure as the driven snow, because otherwise a person as wise, as informed and as fair minded as he imagines himself to be would clearly have mentioned any faults they may be even suspected of possessing. I mean give him this, he’s no David Broder writing column after column of false equivalence, so he has that crumb of ‘integrity’ he can claim.

But you’d think a guy whose entire life has been devoted to reading the classics would have more than a passing familiarity with the concept of ‘hubris’ and maybe, just maybe be able to recognize it, even when the people most deluded by it are his closest ideological allies. Or maybe, he’s just bored with the idea of peace and prosperity. Maybe government that isn’t crushing dissent at home and conquering enemies abroad, seems like laziness to a man whose dearest wish seems to be recreating Sparta in the supposed land of the free. Sparta, where there were ten slaves to every citizen, where every healthy male citizen was drafted into the army at around 10, and had to spend 2 years living off the land as a bandit preying on slaves and the defenseless, before taking his place in the phalanx fr then next thirty years or so. Sparta, where they didn’t do abortion, because infanticide worked better for them. Well, to give Sparta it’s due, there’s almost no way they’d willingly suffer under lectures from VDH. If they didn’t toss him down a well shortly after birth, they certainly wouldn’t have listened to the tedious drone of a slave lecturing his ‘betters’. Because in ancient Sparta, he and everyone he knows would have been dead or enslaved. That’s what 10 slaves for every citizen means.

I’m certainly puzzled by his antipathy toward Mexican immigrants. There’s nothing more traditional in California than Mexican immigration. You’d think he’d want his family’s crops harvested.


Laura Bassett: My Heart Broke for Her


As a person with a very competitive nature when it comes to athletic competition, and one for whom it took some time to become a graceful loser, watching that goal at that time broke my heart.

And while I was rooting for England in this particular match, I would have felt the same way if the result had been reversed. No one in that stadium could have felt worse than Laura Bassett. Watching her reaction brought tears to my eyes. Seeing it again this morning brought more.

I have an abundant well of empathy, which is why I am not a conservative, and as an athlete, the cruelty of that ending left me a bit hollow. But such are the vicissitudes of life.

I was thinking that I should do something in support of a young woman I would like to hug, to tell her that everything is OK, that she is loved, respected, and that we all make mistakes. Because nobody with a passionate and competitive nature would ever want to walk in those shoes.

And then I remembered that I had the keys to a blog.

While I doubt that this will ever catch her eye, I want it to be known, that had I the extra scratch to get one, I would proudly wear her number on a jersey with her name on the back of it. And I haven’t done that since I was a preteen.

By all accounts she is a wonderful teammate and gritty competitor and excellent defender, without whom England might very well not made it to that point in space and time, the intersection of which, good people would not like to place their enemies.

And contrary to this articles main point. I would most certainly feel the same sympathy for any male own goaling during such a point, in such a game, and on such a stage.

I know from own goals, my life seems to be riddled with them. I test limits, push the edge, attempt to find the breaking point, and often find myself on the wrong end of it. Yet I am still on the proper side of the ground, trying to keep moving forward. I also know that when they occur, there is no one in the world (however small it might be at the time) that is more upset than me. Letting others down in any situation is tough, letting others down when you have a reputation of doing the opposite, is even harder, that is, if you have a soul.

Something tells me that this one is not gonna let last night keep her down.


This thing, Let’s Do It

Before I descend into the fevered swamps of asshattery looking for examples of magnificent examples of how the recent spate of church burnings have nothing to do with racism or terror, and everything to do with faulty electrical installation, or lightning, I figure a little sugar with the medicine is in order.

Via Gawker.

Fucking awesome!!! And on a similar note, I hope Cerberus killed it during the pride sporting competitions.

Before we get to the gristle let us view in awe and respect the opening to something in “the Hill” written by one cat with the surname Budowsky discovered on the frontpage of memeorandom:

Nothing better dramatizes the damage that President Obama has done to Democrats than the fact that Republicans now control the House of Representatives, the Senate and a majority of governorships across America.

Yeah he did that. Reminding myself that he probably got paid for it will only further to ruin my day.

Anyway, on to random sparks hitting African American Churches built out of the bark of the birch tree and the tar of pine.

Three of the attacks in Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Ohio have been confirmed to be arson, while the other three are under investigation, though the Southern Poverty Law Center believes this many church fires so close to one another “may not be a coincidence.”

One might be inclined to agree, if that one might be me…

On Monday, the College Hills Seventh Day Adventist Church in Knoxville was burned down when, according to church sources, someone stacked bales of hay against the door and then lit them.

On Tuesday, the God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia, was hit by fire, and while authorities say it has the usual indicators of arson, they are still investigating.

On Wednesday, the Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, was hit by fire that authorities are sure was arson but have not yet released their evidence to show it.

On Wednesday, the Fruitland Presbyterian Church in Gibson County, Tennessee, also caught fire, and investigators have not yet ruled out arson.

On Friday, the Glover Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Warrenville, South Carolina, caught fire, and authorities have not yet announced whether or not it was arson.

On Saturday, the College Heights Baptist Church in Elyria, Ohio, caught fire, and authorities are still investigating the cause.

There was a seventh church fire, the Greater Miracle Temple in Tallahassee, Florida, but it is likely the fire was caused by a tree falling on power lines.

Speculators might conclude that a race war has indeed been started by that whitepower gunslinger who shot nine to death in Charleston. They would be wrong, as the recent events are simply the extension of a race war that has been transpiring in this country since 1609, when the first Africans arrived on these hallowed shores of a land not yet called America.