Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ignorance and politics

Those of you that are frequent crisis visitors will probably have noted my penchant for bad alliteration.In today's post I am ripping off Strawberry Alarm clocks incense and peppermints. Thought this video here was cool and I spent a big chunk of the day in political junkie mode hence the politics. The ignorance I will explain later but first a little bike related news.
My workouts are going well did 140 miles this week and hit a milestone, 1000 miles on the odometer. Considering it is only a few months old I was impressed. I am planning to ride north again first part of next week. I had wanted to get out sooner but I have a doctor visit Monday and was supposed to be attending camp Obama this weekend but it was canceled. This time I am going all the way to the Oregon border if it takes a week each way.
Today was the Rules and Bylaws committee meeting for the democratic party. Generally a snore but because of the cluster frack of Florida and Michigan there was some actual drama promised and sort of delivered. As usual the Clinton camp acted like asses and Obama showed an amazing amount of class. In a for Democrats pretty organized event they argued and eventually compromised on the seating of delegates from the two rogue states with the only sour note the performance of Harold Ickes a douche of the highest magnitude trying to claim that Hilary Clinton was getting screwed because they did not let her have all the delegates from the illegal primary. He ended his whine reserving the right to take it to the credentials committee before being embarrassed by the speeches of the other members of the committee. This may be a little inside baseball for most of you but Obama had given Clinton what she wanted on Florida and the vote on Michigan was 19 to 8 against her by a group that was supposed to have at least 15 of her supporters on it. The Clinton supporters pretty much made asses of themselves shouting down speakers and yelling out non sequiturs. When all was said and done Obama was still in the lead by an insurmountable number and Hillbilly was vowing to fight on to the bitter end. Not a bad days entertainment all in all.
And now for the ignorance portion of today's program. I was pretty up beat having written the 2nd instalment of A New Obsession an adult story that I posted on my rude blog. Then my friend Mina was shooting some pictures with some of the props I had sent her and I was watching on the Spycams. Then the folks at CNN killed my buzz with more fallout from the latest crazy preacher scandal at Trinity United Church. You know home of the Reverend Wright that wacky spiritual advisor to the Obama family. Turns out that He and Michele were having to quit their church after a visiting preacher gave an insulting little moronic ridicule filled rant about Hilary. Father dipstick made the mistake of making it all about race and the idiots in the pews danced around like, well idiots and Fox news had another weeks programing. If Obama is not the next president we will have the good folks at a little south side church in Chicago to thank for it. I have spoken before about the Ignorance of faith but today I have a slightly different take on the theme. I watched the presser from South Dakota Barack had to explain why he had quit the church and felt genuinely sorry for the guy. He takes this shit seriously and so does his wife so it is really crappy that the news goons have hounded him out of his little social club. Especially when these same dickhead media morons can't seem to be bothered to investigate real stories like say lies about WMD or contractor fraud. Running for president is not supposed to have a religious test, look it up the Constitution prohibits it, look it up.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A propaganda lesson

The war in Iraq has been a study in propaganda in its most pernicious form. I was listening to the archivist and folk singer Utah Phillips the other day in an interview recorded before his death and he pointed out that before the Nazi party the word had a much more benign meaning. It was the conveying of information to support a position. In other words making an argument based on facts that supported your side. Goebbels corrupted that idea to mean making up the facts to support your side and the folks in the White House today have adopted this use of the word as their model. In making the case for the invasion it was not incumbent upon those that took the position that we had to invade to put forth the facts that did not favor their argument. In the market place of ideas that is the responsibility of the opposition. We can get to the failure of said opposition in another debate but the current administration new that the facts they were asserting were untrue. That is why they should be prosecuted as traitors and war criminals. When Dick Cheney went on television and said they knew the location of the WMD he knew that the fact he was asserting was a fabrication. The center for public integrity documented the 100’s of instances of this so I will move on to the present and the need for this little exercise in propaganda as it was originally defined.
The idea that John McCain is a teller of truths in the language of Bill Clinton is a fairytale. Let me provide a few examples. When the good Senator visited Iraq in 2007 in an effort to garner support for the ill-conceived war he visited an open air market. He then went on television to tell us that his visit proved that we winning the war because he could walk around and shop. One of his companions compared it to a farmers market in Indiana. Not having been to Indiana in a few years I can’t say that you do not need armed guards to shop there but here is the truth about Baghdad. For the Senator to walk around this safe secure marketplace he had to strap on a bullet proof vest, surround himself with 100 of our finest young soldiers and put 4 helicopters overhead to circle the area. A few weeks later this same market was closed by suicide bombings but as I stated before that is not his responsibility to bring out. Just don’t lie about your trip that’s all I ask. Did he forget that the cameras were running as Hilary Clinton did in Bosnia or was he counting on his pals in the mainstream media to go along with his lie as they had with the Bush folks.
McCain is pushing the, “the surge is working” meme so hard he make Sisyphus look like a piker. He quips in his speeches that General Petraeus drove around in an unarmored Humvee.The pentagon was denying this nonsense the moment they heard it and again McCain was forced to admit he, “misspoke” but in the same breath he uses the lie to support his bigger lie.
For those that try to advance the idea that we are winning in Iraq the phrase that our troops are doing everything we ask them to brilliantly tumbles from their mouths with ease. They deify the generals and when anyone dares to question their wisdom or competence that questioner is called un-American and traitor. I have one but one question for those folks. If they have done everything they have been asked and the surge strategy was so brilliantly designed to win why are they not on their way home to a well deserved victory parade?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dual rant

I have a very smart young friend that I met out on the internets and one day she was talking about Descartes and how The idea of dualism has fucked up the thinking process of our society. She was naked at the time so she had my full attention. While there were many points that she discussed the area that brings it home to me is in the area of politics.
America was not design as a two party system but that is what it has decayed into. Listening to the plethora of pundits endlessly pontificating about one side or the others talking points prevents us from actually solving the ills that face us. The mistaken impression that there are two sides to every story is so infantile. I guess that is why it is successful as we have a pretty infantile electorate in the land of my birth.
I will attempt to illustrate my point using the war in Iraq as my example. In January of 03 we were deluged with lies about what was going on in Iraq and that was bad enough but the true problem was in the way the liars framed the solution. We had to invade and destroy the regime or face the threat of nuclear attack. The only other possibility was that the regime stay in power and we do nothing. Do you want to let the Evil man continue to abuse his people or shall we invade? This is still being used by the right wing apologists “would you rather have Sadaam in power or the cluster fuck that we have now?”. It just never occurs to them that third or fourth options existed. We could have offered him a huge some of money and exile to a tropical Isle for instance or we could have called upon some of our super spies to assassinate him. I would prefer either of those unpalatable ideas to the million dead Iraqis but I find wholesale repugnant and that is an example of a case when there is only one side to the story. Much like gravity and evolution they just are and any made up counter argument is worthless.
The solution to the problem is complex and I doubt it will occur but I think it is time for a constitutional convention. Let us take what we have learned in the past 200 odd years and revamp the system so that we can live in a better world. Get rid of the long delays between election and relinquishment of power, get rid of all the nonsense that makes our system the so far from actual democracy. We are not trying to preserve slavery so why do we need a Senate that give the 600,000 clowns in Wyoming as much power as 36 million in California. And yes you people in Wyoming elected Dick fucking Cheney so you are Clowns of the highest order. Let us quit fearing the masses and instead improve our educational system, strengthen the protection of civil rights in the constitution and allow the majority to actually rule. No that will not solve all our problems, remember the point about dualism, but it will be a huge improvement. I give as my best argument the fact that the majority of us voted for Al Gore but the undemocracy we live in gave us the disaster that is Chimp W. Bush. Once again a case that only has one side.
I know I promised less politics and more biking but consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds and as the assholes in charge are want to say, “Go fuck yourself.” Dick head Cheney to a sitting Senator.
My smart friend has a webpage at or go by and check out the entire naked truth about dualism and see if you don’t agree.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Battle Field Blues

I am not sure why history in America seems to be the story of war. Possibly it is just so simple since we seem to have so many of them. Could be that men that never fight them find them romantic. I do not share that opinion even though I was a peacetime soldier, airman actually. I suspect that is because I was a medic just post the Vietnam war and took care of a lot of guys with some pretty nasty problems from that conflict. Could just be I may have studied more of them than other people and I just have a perception problem. Whatever the case we have a great number of battle fields preserved in one form or another around this nation and I have visited many of them.
Visiting these places always stirs me but the reactions are never quite the same. The history of the war ,why it was fought has some impact combined with my sense of right and wrong. Walking in the fields and thinking about what happened there, the death and destruction as well as the desperation and bravery coat the pallet of my emotions. The day that I visited Wounded Knee and the Little Big Horn in the same afternoon created such an odd blend of sensations on that pallet I am still a little disturbed by it as I set the tale to paper.
The Little Big Horn in southeastern Montana and Wounded Knee South Dakota are close enough together that one can easily see both in the same day which I wanted to do. I was curious to experience both sides of the coin so to speak and compare the locations while they were fresh in my mind. The Black Hills Badlands area is a place that a man can go to feel insignificant. “Big Sky”, and vast tracts of emptiness with the lone surviving large herd animal left in North America lend a unique perspective to a day. Dances with Wolves was filmed there if you want to see it without braving the constant wind.
I wish I could remember the location I camped the night before but in those days I was all about escaping and failed to diary many details. It was in October, not long after Columbus day of that much I am sure ,arrived at Harts ranch on the 14th that is the closest I can pin it down not that it really matters but the timing was not lost on the natives I encountered later in the day but I am getting ahead of myself.
It is hard to know how much of the emotions one feels at any place are due to what you know going in and the vibe that the location retains. I am not talking about spirits just the energy that seems to linger at the site of terrible happenings, information in the physics sense so to speak. Growing up I watched lots of TV westerns and there was a show about Custer that painted him as some sort of heroic victim of the savages that was of course weapons grade bullshit but it was on my mind at the time.
Starting out at the interpretive center you get the “white mans” side of the story as told by the surviving cavalry officers in the newspaper accounts of the day. It is not my desire to relate them here as the greed and bigotry that were the “Indian Wars”doesn’t figure into my tale other than as backdrop. From there a walking tour lets you see the location as marked out by succeeding troops when they came and buried the dead, the white bodies anyway. Small white marble markers are spaced about the hills and gullies with the names and ranks of the men. The army was very good at identifying bodies even then. The wind is constantly howling making me think about the screams of the warriors and the cries of the wounded and dying. Little clusters of men in depressions in the earth waiting for the relief that was never going to come.
I cannot imagine what it would be like to be running out of water and ammunition as men that hated me and that I hated for no good reason crept up intent on my death. That to me is the horror of war and why I am a pacifist at heart. Listening to men groan in their death throes knowing that my time is probably next. I have been with lots of people at the end of their lives but not like that. Most of the folks I attended at their end were actually quite peaceful, the feelings this place imparts to me say that is not the case here.
I stop reading the names as unlike the civil and revolutionary war battle fields I don’t want to find any of my ancestors in the place. It just screams senseless waste, all this open desolate space all this empty land that men are fighting over for some oddly colored gold saddens me. I walk on in silence until the pain in my back and legs forces me to retreat to the RV.
Fortified by hot tea and a sandwich I drive east into a cloudless sky. The sun is at my back and the long prairie grass ripples waves in waves the color of tide flats at ebb. The Story of a young child, Black Elk runs through my mind as I pull into the dirt parking lot at the Wounded Knee monument. I am struck by the contrast of the after thought quality of this site when contrasted with the effort that went into preserving the Big Horn site. No rangers or interpretive center here. A wrought iron and brick gate with 3 Sioux at a card table and an old El Camino black and rusted. The men are dressed in wranglers and boots selling dream catchers.
I walk up the hill to the monument and see the names of the slaughtered, women men and children by the hundreds. This gray colored obelisk surrounded by empty fields of grass conveys the loss in much the same way the wall in Washington does. Death writ starkly on stone name after name until the power overwhelms one unhappy little man on the plain drowning in his own losses. I do not weep for the dead. I can find no tears, only shame at what happened here and the sense that it is only begrudgingly acknowledged.
It is late in the day when I walk back to the parking area my face red and wind chapped. I am tired deep in my joints and break out a chair to sit for a while before looking for a place to spend the night. The three men join me for a cool drink, rum and coke I think and I offer them each one of my cigarettes in an attempt to honor their customs. We sit and smoke and sip the cold liquid and Mike Brown Beaver tells me a little of the story of his people. Not the massacre, he can tell by the reverent way I have behaved that I already know that tale but of the struggle his father went through to get the monument built here. Of the AIM sit ins and the continuing struggles he and his friends have to stay on this land keep the old ways in some small way alive.
By the time I depart the sun is low in the west and I want to be away from these places. I do not want to think about the things men do to each other in the name of fear or god or greed. I want only to hope that next time it will be different that when we encounter the other we will embrace the differences and celebrate the common ground of all human experience. As I drive east into a darkening sky I am filled with despair knowing that my hope is still just a fantasy.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Kinetic roundup

The Kinetic sculptures are on their way to Ferndale and I am wimping out and heading for the couch., the recliner actually. Chasing the race kicked my butt and It shouldn’t have. The problem was all the walking on the sand. I have gotten to the point that I can peddle for 5 or 6 hours in a day with only mild swelling in the knees but walking even a mile or two kills my joints.
Yesterday was land today was water. I first rode to Arcata and watched the start of the race. The prerace takes a couple of hours when they safety test the sculptures making sure they can steer and stop. Then after clearing the wandering stoners from the street the noon whistle blows and they are off. Twice around and then out Samoa boulevard to the school at manila. Then things get tough as the contestants ride for a few miles in the sand before they head down dead mans drop. The folks from “glory hogs” even set up a BBQ at the bottom of the hill and passed out hot dogs to the spectators.
It is a great community event and almost everyone is in the mood to make it a great time for all. As usual though the local police presence does what it can to kill the buzz. Humboldt county sheriffs are just such huge dicks cruising around in their boat ragging on kayakers about life jackets when even if they went in the water there are hundreds of folks to pull them out. A bunch of little Cartmans with “authoritee” but what can you do.
Day two shifts to the water as the sculptures paddle, row, float and sometimes sink along the F street boardwalk in old town before heading to table bluff for the night. I again took the pussy way out and rather than camp I slept at home. The allure of a warm bed after being in the cold wet all day was just too strong. The sky was at least clear on Sunday but the wind was still a bit on the brisk side. I for some stupid reason forgot sunscreen on Saturday so on Sunday I was Radmul the red nosed rider.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pictures from the race

A few shots from th 40th annual Great Kinetic Sculpture race on the Arcata plaza. The egrets were out along the highway between Eureka and Arcata. Today rode 24 miles on the roads and another 8 on the sand. My legs are on fire as I write this so I will be crashing early but will get more shots up tomorrow. The videos may take a little longer as I will be attending the second leg . This week will be more about bikes and less about political rants you have my word.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Radmul is an elitist ass

The photo is of the Ingomar club. It was built by one of the timber barons in the late 1800’s and is the most distinctive building in my little corner of the universe. It always reminds me of the Winchester Mystery House, the gun makers widow haunted by the spirits of dead Indians thought she would live as long as they never stopped building on the home. What does this have to do with elitists you might ask? Well the difference between being elite and elitist is in the details and a story I am working on for you guys from a trip to South Dakota put me in mind of dead natives.
I am not of the elite, it took me 18 years to finish a BA for Christ sake not exactly Rhodes Scholar material. That being said I am a liberal latte sipping pinko bleeding heart elitist and proud of it. Well I really don’t like lattes that much but the phrase is so evocative I couldn’t resist. Allow me to elaborate.
I live in America. I was born here and it is a pretty nice place to live. I have had the chance to visit a few other countries and some of them are pretty nice as well. In my time in the good ole USAF I also got to meet lots of folks from other lands, Asian dependent wives, middle eastern pilot trainees and central American refugees serving to become citizens to name a few. I point out these facts only to show that my position is not one of ignorance of other cultures but from my own sense of morality.
The term elitist is probably inaccurate to some extent, it might be better to say that the upcoming rant is more cultural imperialism but the world will be a better place when we adjust cultural diversity to exclude nonsense and barbarism.
I want the guy in charge to be smarter than me. If you are a legacy to a school that isn’t exactly noted for academic brilliance and finish at the bottom of your class you are not really qualified to run the worlds largest military. I think the last legacy guy proved that point. Oh I forgot evidence isn’t important only faith.
If your religion thinks that mutilating genitals of children is acceptable then your religion is not period no exceptions All religion is a problem in my opinion but that is just an opinion and we already established that as an ass I have one but your right in a free society to think whatever nonsense you like stops when you start cutting the fun bits off other people especially children that have no say.
If your culture treats ½ the worlds population like second class humans than screw your culture. It is inferior not the woman get over it and join the civilized world. No honor killings, rape is not a right that comes with a marriage license, nobody has to wear a sack over their head because you can’t keep it in your pants. You do not have the right to tell one person they must die rather than remove your DNA from their womb. These points are not negotiable either All humans are equal and endowed with inalienable rights or none of us are.
My anti theism does not negate Jefferson’s assertion that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator ….” the fact that the creator was a pool of primordial ooze and the creation took several billion years doesn’t alter the fact that human rights are given to us all by virtue of being human. I have mixed feelings about Thomas, a brilliant thinker as well as slave holding rapist. How did he reconcile these dichotomies in his own mind. Sort of the same way that so many in our culture believe that separate but equal is horrible for blacks but just fine for the gays and lesbians among us.
Many of the worlds great thinkers held some rather strange beliefs so I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised I should just be thankful that Newton didn’t let his religion interfere with his mechanics and that Darwin didn’t either.
My culture is full of its own viral memes, rampant commercialism, the elevation of private property over the environment and the most destructive of all Manifest Destiny. I freely admit that this glass house rock thrower is far from perfect and invite corrections from all quarters. After all as an over privileged white male I am way past due for a little comeuppance.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Close encounters ofthe Radmul kind

A trip that began with watching Roy Neary play with his mashed potatoes and ended on a wind blown plain in Wyoming was 25 years in the making and with the help of three little birds it is one I will spend a lifetime remembering.
I am by no means ancient but today’s Sci-Fi fans have no Idea how lucky they are that they live in the age of computer-generated effects. Lets face facts the original Star Trek was pretty lame but it was all that we had. That was Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The space ship on the Devils Tower scenes were cool enough to make up for the corn, in addition I did develop a crush on Teri Garr. As with everything Spielbergian it is too schmaltzy for me, he ruined Jurassic Park by not getting the book but that is a separate matter.
The lingering image of the Devils Tower stayed with me as it stayed with Roy and when the chance came I took a day and watched the clouds race across the face of one very unique landmark.
The geologists call this type of formation an igneous intrusion. Magma crystallizes underground forming a Pluton, (named for the god of the underworld) and when the softer sediments erode around it you are left with one ancient hard on. The oldest rocks date to the Triassic period. While the details of its formation are still being debated it is undeniably cool.
The landscape approaching the Tower is straight out of a western film. It sits in the northeast corner of Wyoming near Sturgis S.D. and in the days of the cattle drives
This area was one of the largest shipping points for livestock in the country. Lots of grasslands and Ponderosa Pines the Black Hills are the homeland of the Lakota Sioux. They have some legends about the forming but for me sitting there watching the shadows of clouds drift across the face imagining the millions of years it took to emerge from the earth is much more awe-inspiring. For me the truth of nature is more wonderful than superstitions and legends.
I approached from the south about midday stopping in a large turnaround approximately 10 miles from the base. Had the place to ourselves as in November the tourists are nowhere to be found. The wind blows all the time or so it seems, wind power should do well there and cold. man it was cold.
After fixing a beverage I stepped out to stretch my legs in the sun and take the measure of the place. It was loud; I am talking hard to stand up to rushing past your ears driving rational thought out of your brain loud. The long grass was rippling and the tree branches swayed as a few isolated clouds cast fast moving patches of blackness against the green and grey. Writers throw the term azure blue sky around but that is the only phrase that fits that day. Eventually the wind drove me back inside and the silence was a relief but it was also a disconnect cutting the line to ET so to speak.
No army helicopters with sleeping gas flew over, not a single saucer with flashing lights and sounds like a Simon game landed on top and the few cows and sheep in the fields were immune to the nerve gas if it was around. These were the thoughts running through my mind as my wind chapped face warmed in the gentle rocking of the RV.
A movement caught my eye off to the west as a large majestic bird drew my attention away from the tower. I was expecting a hawk or crow but the white crest and dark brown body screamed eagle at me. I followed his path westward a second bird came into view and then I spotted a third much higher in the sky.
The two lower birds began to circle alternately flaring their wing and tail feathers to catch the wind. They rose 100’s of feet with barely a flap of those graceful wings over several minutes. I thought they were going to join the third and drift off into the heavens but that was not the case. The two stayed about the same level as each other as they rose but always kept a respectable distance from each other. All at once they both folded their wings ducked their white heads and dove at the central point created by their circling. It was so sudden and utterly unexpected that I let out an audible gasp.
After passing within what appeared to be an inch of each other at breakneck speed they spread their wings into the wind and began to climb once again. As the dance continued for pass after pass eventually one bird emerged higher than the other after each run and the two were gaining altitude over time.
As I watched in awe at the power and majesty of their ritual it ended as abruptly as it began. One of the two finally came level with the third and those two flew off together as the laggard turned west and sailed away alone.
I felt a twinge of sadness for that lone bird and wonder how the other two faired. Were they going to mate? Did they nest and start the next generation? I like to think so just as I like to think Roy found happiness on that alien world.
While writing this I learned that Teri Garr has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This is the same horrible disease that claimed my wife Cary. They have a few treatments for it now but still no cure. If you are so inclined drop by here to learn more or possibly help out with a donation.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fuzzy Logic

The world is a very weird place and I am so far outside the mainstream I don’t think I can even see the lunatic fringe from my vantage point. As an example I am an anti theist, I actively campaign against religion and spirituality in all forms. The magical thinking is horrible for society and prevents almost all forms of progress. To me the moron chanting with crystals and the preacher condemning gay marriage are equal in their damage. They both promote a belief for which there is no evidence and this is dangerous to all of us. It perpetuates the concept that there are two sides to every story , that all points of view are deserving of equal respect and that is simply a fantasy.
These fantasies lead to a world in which all the candidates for the highest office in my government feel that being bigots is perfectly acceptable because of their religion. This is particularly disturbing in the case of Barack Obama, the man certain to be the democratic parties nominee, as his only qualification it seems is his claim to be a constitutional scholar. How does one become a constitutional scholar without reading one of the seminal court decisions of the 20th century. I am referring to Brown vs. board of education that struck down the terrible practice of Jim Crow and made the concept that separate but equal can never be equal the law of the land here in the U.S. Now because of his religious hatred he states that it is fine for the gays and lesbians among us to be consigned to the ghetto of domestic partnerships because god said it was icky and the rest of the ignorant horde that have the same imaginary friend know in their hearts that this is the way it should be. Sad what passes for scholarship in today’s world.
This acceptance without evidence infects all aspects of our society. The right constantly touts the free market as a solution to the worlds ills with no evidence that it has ever worked to solve any problem. To the contrary all evidence points to the conclusion that the unregulated market is a disaster. I have issued this challenge in the past and offer it again to the Ayn Rand lovers out there, show me an example of the free market solving a problem without government intervention, just one bit of evidence will suffice. I can sight countless examples of the reverse. The California power crisis artificially created from deregulation, the lack of media scrutiny leading to the criminal war in Iraq created by media consolidation as a result of deregulation. The current foreclosure crisis in housing is a direct result of banking deregulation. I can go on but as Einstein once said when confronted with the book “100 authors against Einstein” , responded , “If they were correct it would only have taken one.”
Science and reason do not have all the details but that is not an excuse to make up the answer. We will probably never know the details of life’s origins on earth. We already know the mechanism for the progression but how the first single cell was organized is at this point unknowable because the data is not retrievable. There are a lot of really clever people out there but the fossil record is periodically wiped clean by natural forces so I hold out little hope it will happen.
This is a problem with cosmology as well. There is a time in the history of the Universe that may remain forever outside of our ability to collect data as it is obscured from observation. The difference between the scientific speculations put forth in the String and M theories and the god did it nonsense is that the scientists/philosophers, until they develop a way to test it String theory for me remains philosophy, is evidence as a starting point. There is no I repeat no evidence for the existence of the supernatural but there is particle physics supporting the jumping off point of the String.
Speaking of hanging on by a thread we have the non overlapping magisterial nonsense put forth by Gould.In an attempt to appease the imaginary friend set the idea that science and religion looked at different things and so were not contradictory that religion shouldn’t be subjected to scrutiny because by its definition it requires faith. Sorry but what a load of crap. Since there is no evidence that this realm of the spiritual exists once again it is only harmful to perpetuate it. Christopher Hitchens, a rather loathsome man said it much better than I in the subtitle to his book, “How religion poisons everything.”
I have become fascinated by the argument over free will and whether or not we live in a deterministic universe with all future actions predicted by initial conditions. For me it started when I read “Foundation”by Asimov in which the mathematician Harry Seldon does the math and predicts future history. Then I took physics and came up against Heisenberg and probability waves and observational effects and Fritjof Capra’s Tao of Physics. Libet’s work seemed to answer the question when he showed that the brain is already sending the impulse to act before we are even aware that we have made the decision to act but the question remains open and we are w2ith the help of functional MRI learning more about the function of the brain and the illusion of free will may still become a reality but it will happen with evidence and the persistence of superstition only hampers that investigation.
In conclusion if you are religious and this offends you good. If you have some evidence for your garbage feel free to put it forth otherwise grow up and put your imaginary friend away and join me in the real universe. The actual explanation for the lights in the sky is so much more interesting that the nonsense that god put them there I think you will enjoy it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Grey Monday

Our mini heat wave has passed replaced by some serious fog.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Heat wave

The weather has changed in radical fashion. The temp hit 100 yesterday and mid 90's today. I have never seen it that hot here even in August let alone May. 1oo on the bay is so muggy it is hard to breath but what the hey it is what it is. After the last long ride I broke down and picked up a pair of bike pants. I hate looking like a yupster but the jeans chafe like a bitch and the new pants are very nice. With the underarmour shirts and new helmet I no longer have that hobo look and it is really quite amazing how different people act towards me now. I find it very sad that to be treated as a person one can't wear jeans and a T-shirt on a bike. Still waiting on new part so I am hanging close to home, also Don blew up his Jeep yesterday so we will be working on that this weekend.
On the horizon next weekend the Kinetic Sculpture Race. After that I have Camp Obama a training session to work on the fall presidential campaign. I am still not thrilled with all of Barack's positions but he is so much better than the alternative I will put in as much time as I can to get him elected.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Another wierd Wednesday

Spent the day in a funk from the foggy morning to a spacey night. I had a good ride but the new bottom bracket for the machine has still not arrived. The slop is getting a bit worse leading to occasional shifting problems. When your knees are sore missing a shift hurts like a bear. I feel better after this long ride than I did after the last so that is an improvement but I need to figure out a way to keep from getting as dehydrated as.I have been. I am going to sweat and I am drinking lots of water but at the end of the day I am still low on fluids leading to cramps and constipation. Tried the electrolyte drink they were handing out samples of at the tour but it was not the tastiest of beverages. Gator aid and the like tend to have more sodium than I want but at least it tastes good.

Did find an interesting new website from Microsoft called the World Wide Telescope. Killer space shots and talks on astronomy and cosmology but as with all things from the Micro softies it is a pain in the ass to install and get working. Another in a long line of mixed outcomes today. Anna's cam show was the same thing. Enjoyed the chance to chat with my friend but tech problems screwed it up half way through so I was frustrated waiting around for a tech fix that never came.

Want to ride north again this weekend after laundry tomorrow. The Kinetic sculpture race is coming and I plan to hang out and shoot some footage as I ride along. Rocky the porch cat says "hey."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Touring the Unknown Coast

Rode the 100k of the Tour of the Unknown Coast and I am worn down a bit. Left here noon on Friday and went first to Fortuna for some carbo loading and then to Ferndale. Fortuna is an odd place, seems that I see something strange every time I am there and this trip was no exception. As I headed down main street to find someplace to eat I happened upon a knife fight in a gas station. Two morons going at it with the typical white trash woman yells and sirens wail in the background. When I moved to this area we checked out Friendly Fortuna and picked up on a very odd vibe so we went further north even though the rents were major cheap down there. Guess that’s the reason why, rednecks abound.
After the freak show I ended up at a KFC buffet to pack on some starch. It was the first place I came to that wasn’t filthy and as the wind was rising I did the “devil chicken.” I try to avoid fast food but I am not into dirty restaurants and I was starving.
Full I rode back to the Humboldt County Fairgrounds in Ferndale and pitched my camp. The vids will be up on You Tube for your viewing pleasure including a ride through a section of the Avenue of the Giants. The wind kicked up to 15 to 25 MPH so it took about 45 minutes to ride the three miles Fernbridge to Ferndale all with a pungent manure smell permeating the breeze.
The weather was perfect for the actual ride with clear skies and almost no wind but the minute I finished the worm turned. I crashed in the tent when I finished the ride before showering and heading to dinner, killer burritos, and after a short nap I emerged to fog and drizzle. Rained all Saturday night with wind and a bit of lightning. I stayed dry but slept poorly and packing up and riding home sucked the big one. At least the rain stopped mid morning.
Once I had set up camp and did the registration thing I took a little ride to shoot some of the Victorians but I was under whelmed. Did see a killer mountain ash in full bloom so it wasn’t a total waste but the houses I shot in town here impressed me more.
The tour ride was awesome for its scenery and for the challenge it presented. The amount of total climb was thousands of feet. Up down up down hit a top speed of 32 mph. The hairpin at the end of that was thrilling and I was glad that I had good disc breaks. Only one person ate it there as far as I know.
I enjoyed the experience but I don’t think I will be doing a lot of that type of thing as it was a lot of yuppie types that wanted to dress up and talk about high tech gadgets and compete with each other and that is not my thing. I enjoy sitting around the campfire with the homeless guys at clam beach more, they have a lot more interesting stories.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Picked up a helmet today for the Tour of the Unknown Coast this weekend. I am going to do the 100k as the 100 miler I think will be a bit long. I am getting in a lot of miles but I am not up for exhaustion and the hills are a bit intimidating on much of that route. I plan to head south about noon on Friday so I have a good shot at beating some of the wind. Wind has been vicious this week 20 plus and cold so not a lot of fun training this week. Also on the not fun front had some dog problems. Leash laws are not enforced much and had a German Sheppard attack at of all places the hippie stoner coffee shop. Those people have become useless since they changed owners anyway, never have any coffee. When you are in the coffee selling racket how do you constantly run out of beans. Anyway didn’t get hurt that bad but wrecked some jeans and ate up a bunch of time filing a complaint and I still had to find another source for my dark roast.
Spent some time writing and part 4 of the Black Mina is up on my rude blog. It is intended for mature audiences and that is an easy way to protect the youngsters. Rude is free to join so check it out and if you want send me a rude mail and I will hook you up with some free house passes for access to voyeur cams and the like. Part of the crisis attitude is to do as much as possible using free hosting sites free storage for photos and videos, basically to add content in exchange for usage. I have added a bit of advertising but I hope to keep that sort of thing to minimum as this is not really a money making venture. The ads are supposed to be tailored so I hope they are not too annoying.
Speaking of annoying I am still having problems with the laptop so for the time being I will only be uploading from the homestead. I will need to find a repair spot but I just haven’t gotten round to it. Also had to order a new bottom bracket for the machine. It has a bit of slop but not a real problem I just don’t want to breakdown in the middle of nowhere. Dan at Sports Cycle assures me it will hold up for the tour as the new parts will not show until the middle of next week.