Friday, 28 September 2012

Rocking her holeyness on the daily grind.

Canadian Beavers need hard wood!! 

It's true. A lot of people might not give a dam, but it means the world to beavers.  Sure, you can point to other issues like a global bacon shortage, millions of missing barrels of maple syrup, and a minor financial meltdown, but we're talking beavers here, people.   Everybody loves beaver.

Have you ever noticed that the defining feature of a beaver is its tail? (spike)

Here's an age-old question you may or may not know the answer to...  Can Catholics eat beaver during Lent?  Sage, venerable and trusted purveyor of fine news, photographs, and information in the digital era, Spike, says that when missionaries were "assimilating" the original North Americans, the pope decreed beaver a fish so that the good peoples of the first nations wouldn't starve during lent.

Therefore Catholics CAN eat beaver during lent.

Blessed be. 
(Spike again)

There. That was a bit random, for sure, but you probably didn't notice because I mastered random ages ago. You didn't know it at the time, but you were just party to a feeble attempt at Search Engine Optimisation. Obviously, I know nothing about the subject whatsoever, but I do know that some very interesting key word searches are happening out there in the ethosphere, and this was my first lame attempt to capitalize on a few of them.

OHOHOHOHOHOHOH!!! I learned a new word!!  I learned a new word!!  It's a good one, just wait till I tell you...

Oh but wait!!  I can't. Not yet, anyway.

There's a bit of serious business to take care of first:


Further to last week's post, there are two things to mention, thing one and thing two:

A kind and lovely reader took me to task over my choice of descriptors, and asked me very politely to please remove it from my lexicon because it is "clearly pejorative in meaning."  He's right.  It is, and as I was using it to describe myself I used the VERY BEST word I could come up with.  I thought I had made the stooopid  thing up all by myself, but the good reader disabused me of that notion by letting me know he found it on-line.  This left me feeling conflicted. (You may be drawing the conclusion that either my ego knows no bounds, or else I am naive and sadly dim. You would probably be right on both counts.)

I am very sorry if I have offended  you.  I do want to make people question their own presumptions, but no malice is intended. Toward anyone.  The word I used was mutard, and for sure it is a very pejorative word.    Trouble is, ol' clever clogs here can't think of another word with which to replace it.  If you, dear reader, can think of something which performs the same function and which doesn't cause offence, please do share.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of you, thank you kindly for wandering through these babblelogs. You've already demonstrated that you're tolerant, forgiving, understanding and open-minded, just to have come this far. Either that  or you're just twisted like me.

And you have a great sense of humour.  Thank you for humouring me.

Which brings me to THING TWO, (and two horrible pictures, too):

If words easily offend you, maybe it's best you stop here. This post, and indeed most posts, will probably include plenty of words which a good many people find offensive. As noted before, I write under the caveat that I'm likely quite mad.  Apparently I'm passing it on...

but as a defining feature, it suits me...

I told you they were terrible photos. 

Where were we?  Oh yeah! I learned a great new word. It's a good thing, the changing, ever evolving nature of language. Words are the umbilical cord to our Zeitgeist, the flavour of our times. One might even go so far as to say that words are the defining feature of our entire civilization.

"O RLY?" you might ask, before you point out that there are, in fact, three horrible photographs.

Really. Words bring us together. What if I were to tell you that I am absolutely exhaustipated?  You know right away that it means I am waaaaaaaaaay too tired to give a shit, right?? So later on when you hear "I'm exhaustipated. There's no clean laundry, so the boy chose his clothes from his floordrobe," that kindov makes sense, too, doesn't it? You see? Now we've shared something, we belong to the same club.

I love all the wonderful new frankenwords out there, like frenenemy and mantastic, or any and all of those important manswers you'll find on Spike.  It's like healthy GMO. There are an infinite assortment of new words coming to light these days.  Mostly they're fun, but as much as some words bring us together other words drive us apart.  Like mutard, and cunt, except mutard really is a horrible, pejorative word, whereas cunt is simply demonized.  It's taboo.

As is making very bad movies about certain deities. Heaven forbid.

Cunt is supposed to be the most vulgar and profane of all words, but that's madness. We all come from one.  Life itself starts with the most magical act of all - making love.  Of course, the blessed orgasm goes on down there, and most of us are born through that place, too. You'd think it would be held sacred. It pleasures, it creates, it eliminates - it's pretty hard to have a civilization without it, and yet we pretend it's the worst thing ever.  Ever.  WTF??!

Oh, and it bothers me that fuck is considered bad form, too. The great Wiki says that fuck, which quite possibly originated thus:

"from the Old High German word pfluog, meaning "to plow, as in a field." This is supported in part by a book by Carl JungPsychology of the Unconscious: A Study of the Transformations and Symbolisms of the Libido, in which he discusses the "primitive play of words" and the phallic representation of the plough, including its appearance on a vase found in an archaeological dig near Florence, Italy, which depicts six erect-penised men carrying a plow." the third most taboo word in the English language.  What's the silver medal word?

I don't know who "they" are, and I don't get why everyone listens to what "they" say, but "they" are just all bass ackwards.  Something as benign as sowing seeds comes in as the third worst word you can use??  Really?  I don't care if you're talking food or babies,  sowing seeds is a good thing. A Fuck is a good thing.  And Cunt is certainly a good thing. I love mine.

OHOHOHOHOHOHOH! Hey!  I know!! Maybe the silver medal word is cocksucker.  People always say that like it's a terrible, nasty, hideous and hated thing, too, but come on now.  That's a bit of a lie, isn't it?  Why do we take the greatest  pleasures known to humanity, like fucKing and cocksucKing, and turn them into our most hated, vile, and taboo curses?

You can understand how someone might say "Oh shit!" when something goes wrong, because poo is by nature, well, it's self evident why it's so crappy, isn't it? And please don't talk to me about how it's good luck to have a bird poo on you, either. That's a lark.  It must be the great, white egg-like helmet I wear, because three times this year - THREE! - I've been the target of those avian swooping poopers, and the first time  was a real shitstorm.  I was covered in it from head to toe.  If there was any luck in it at all, I'd have won the world's biggest lottery by now.

You can also understand someone crying out to God in alarm.  After all, who hasn't silently prayed to the almighty for help when things got tough?  It's not second nature.  It is our nature. 

Why are all of our favourite things so abased? On the other hand, why does something as perfectly evil as Monsanto start with Mons? It's all wrong. Venus is the Goddess of love, and Clitoral Hill is a heavenly place.  Can I share something with you?  One of the reasons I love to ride my bicycle is that it helps awaken and raise Kundalini.  

You might be thinking "Oh here we go...she's one of those yoga wing-nuts,", and again, you're  right. I am definitely a yoga wing-nut, but please hear me out anyway. Kundalini heals. It is the same thing as chi or ki or holy spirit or higher power or whatever word your culture calls it, and when you learn to work with it, everything is possible.  It is a piece of the phenomenon Deepak Chopra refers to as Quantum Healing. My body has been through the wars.  I have a strange mutation, as mentioned last week, and after falling from a great height one day, I spent quite some time in a chair,. and yet despite all that, my bike and my kundalini practices make me stronger than ever before.  Actually, don`t listen to me. Here`s what someone who actually knows a lot about kundalini has to say:

Divine Marriage -- kundalini and tantra

Throughout the annals of mythology and spirituality, the devi - Kunti - (the Yin/Shakti opposite Yang/Shiva) has taken many forms and faces; some of these are translated accurately, others are not. Many have become owned (over time) by some cannonisation, doctrine .. or set of dogmatic rules.

Wholeness and the first separation

At the deepest and most primordial, Yin and Yang .. deva (he) and devi (she)  are the first separation but, they are never separate. In Hindi, she is Shakti (or Kunti), he is Shiva.

Did you hear that?  In Hindi, she is Shakti, (or Kunti), he is Shiva.

In Canada, she is Beaver, he is wood.  They are sometimes separate, but in the end they are one, and life is better when they are together, anyway, don't you think?  Add a bit of kundalini powered sex drive into the mix, and it gets waaaaaay better.  You don't believe me?  Check Wiki's take on it:

Kundalini awakening results in deep meditation, enlightenment, and bliss, and sometimes to a state of constant, or whole-body orgasms.

Did you catch that?  Hard to miss, isn't it... a state of constant, or whole body orgasm. You're with me now, aren't you? As if enlightenment and bliss weren't enough.  You see now why I call it the bike path to world peace, don't you? Soon as you start pumping away on your bike, you're rocking the Kundalini, baby. Don`t get me wrong.  You can`t accidentally turn it on, and you can get hurt if you go off half-cocked, but riding your bike is always a moving meditation anyway.  There is tremendous potential in meditation.  Make the most of the moment...  ;)

You're moving, you`ve got endorphins, dopamine, seratonin, all your happy drugs. (As you should, by the way.  Happy is your natural state of being.) Riding a bike works better than prozac and all the rest of those nasty seratonin re-uptake inhibiting drugs.  You're happier, you're fitter, you've a much cuter defining feature, and ba-da-bing you're having more sex.  More sex means you`re floating on oxytocin.  Sweetest little drug ever.  It's the love drug.  People with lots of oxytocin floating around are actually better people.  They are kinder, more loving, more honest and trustworthy, and they perceive others as kinder, more lovable, honest and trustworthy.  You know where I'm going with this:  "It's the bike path to world peace..."

If you haven't yet, please do get the fuck on it.

Ok, I've been holding out on you.  It's time for the unveiling of my new favourite word.  I hope you will welcome it into your vocabulary as warmly as I do into mine. Are you ready? (Drum roll please!)

 Here it is...!

 Cuntipotent: one who possesses all powerful cunt magic.  :D 
Isn't it beautiful?

Photo by Ryan MacKay

When I grow up I want to be cuntipotent so I can make sure that beavers everywhere have all the hard wood they want.  

That way, when I die, people will point to a happy planet, and call it my defining feature.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Confessions of a True Dope: thing one and thing two.

I pity my children. For one thing, their mother is almost certainly mad.  Starkers. That's never any fun to grow up with. I try hard not to warp their minds with all my cock-a-mamie ideas, but it's insidious.  It's all I know. (I did a happy dance last year when the good folks at CERN figured that perhaps it is possible to travel faster than the speed of light after all, because I've known it all along ;)  My therapist says that despite everything I am a good mum, but my children might beg to differ.  What does she know, anyway? She's never heard me roar.

Loads of people have crazy parents and still turn out alright, but my kids have more to worry about than a little garden variety insanity. I spent my early years in Alberta and it looks like the effluence leaching from the tarsands tailings ponds went straight to my dna. Or maybe I'm an alien.  Either way, I'm a mutant. That means my boys might be mini-me-mutants, and that's gotta be a tough pill to swallow.  The tall one seems to have escaped nearly unscathed, but the small one?  Oh dear, he's so much like me, it doesn't look good...

Day care took them to circus school.  They said he's gifted.

He's always covered in bruises, though he comes by it naturally.  My mum will tell you that she used to worry the neighbours would think she was battering me six days 'till Sunday, fifty-two weeks a year, and she'll point to my latest bruise.  She always has fodder for her little joke, too, because door frames move sometimes. Sure.... you're thinking "You're not a mutant, ya dozy mare, you're just a klutz," while you quietly deduce the real reason I wear a helmet...

Would that it were so, but no.  I'm a complicated woman. (Oh yes, one of those.)  A wonderful naturopath, acupuncturist and prolotherapy specialist at Integrative Healing Arts, Dr Hal Brown (aka the pain doctor) says I'm evolving, bless him.  He gets paid to say things like that.  It's a euphemism for "girl, you're messed up."

Pretty sure my ancestors emigrated from here.

Plus, I have a million personality flaws.  Probably pretty much all of them. AAAAAAnd, you already know I'm not the brightest penny in the purse.  Gullible?  Check.  Absent-minded?  Check. DAFT?? Double check.  You see?  You're starting to pity my children, too, aren't you, with their loopy, mad mutard for a mother. Thank goodness they're both strong characters.  But then, they'd have to be, wouldn't they?  And lucky for them, they both learned to ride bikes. It will come in very useful when they run away to join the circus.

My bike was unexpectedly useful to me this summer.  I got  waaaay-hey-hey more than I bargained for when I signed up for the Whistler Gran Fondo.  I scored a long, hard look in the mirror, and finally figured out out who I am.

(My entry to Bike Snob's cock-off cockpit competition. The bike's actually a sandwich board in disguise.)

Two things appeared in said mirror.

Mad mutardation manifests in many ways.  Long story short, I began the Fondo in pain.  I couldn't bend over to pick something up without supporting my back somehow.  The fact that I was determined to do the ride anyway probably says something unsavoury about my character, but let's gloss over that. It gets better. Instead of resting my back, I chose to pack pharmaceuticals into my fanny pack.  And the first time I had to stop to rest in the medic tent, I took them. Yes, I doped. I am not sure that 2 tylenol threes and a muscle relaxant are precisely 'performance enhancing' drugs in the strictest sense of the term, but they certainly made it possible for my body to continue performing, so draw your own conclusions.

Thing one:  I doped.

It gets better still.  When the road narrowed from two lanes into one, and we were cruising at fifty five km/hr or so, I came up behind a team of riders who were hogging the road and blocking anyone coming up from behind them.  There was room to pass on the right, but not quite enough space left on the left.  Usually when I come up from behind someone and say "On your left!" they move to the right.  The girl in the back barely pulled over, and I started to pass, but it was very very tight.  The girl in front of her wasn't going anywhere.  I kept saying "On your left!" and she started to move to the right, but she stayed behind the riders in front of her, who stayed behind their fearless leader, Lefty.  As I was passing she wouldn't give me enough room because she was trying to stay in the draft behind the rider in front of her.  At one point, I went out of bounds to the left of the cones, and there was a car coming up from behind me at speed.  I had to hit my brakes, and dodge the cone, and my back wheel jumped a bit, which was very scary and something I never ever wish to repeat at anywhere near that speed.  D.O.P.E.  Yep.  That's me.  Why didn't I slow down and wait until it was safe to pass? Why? When I started on the left of that team, I expected them to play by the rules and stay right, but when they didn't, why did I keep going?  Why didn't I slow down and pass on the right instead? Why would I risk life and limb like that on a silly Fred  ride?  There can be only one conclusion.

Thing two:  I am a dope.

What was I thinking??! I'm already lucky to be alive.

I did eventually pass the whole team to extricate myself from mortal danger, and as I finally passed deaf Lefty, he informed me that I could have caused an accident.  He said "You should have called out that you were on the left!"  His team-mates and several other riders who had witnessed my near accident all said "she did!"  I kept on riding, thankful that I was still alive and in one piece.  A few minutes later, he rode up beside me to tell me that I should have shouted louder. I didn't want to get into a shouting match there and then so I said, "Yeah, sure...  Sorry," and rode on. (Canadian conditioning at work.)  Later, after a rest stop, I found myself behind him again, and yet again he was hugging the left side of the lane. This time, (along with five or six other riders) I passed him on the right.

...and lived to tell the tale.  Blessed be!

And that's the thing.  Yesterday, a woman went to lean against a pole to adjust her shoe or something at the intersection of Main and Terminal, only the damned pole moved, and she fell under a bus and died.  She wasn't even mutarded like me, but she could so easily have been me.

Every day above ground is a good day.

I want my boys to see the gift in each new dawn.  Everything, even pain serves a purpose.  My body teaches me how to heal, and by listening to it, I become better, stronger, fitter and healthier.  When I ride my bike and I'm cruising along at fifty, sixty, and every so often even seventy kilometres an hour, I am perfectly happy.  I'm alive, fully aware, and completely present in this dopey, mad mutarded body which serves me so well.  If I can encourage my boys to find the pursuits which allow them to feel that powerful feeling of presence, of purpose and passion, then they'll be alright in the end...

...mad mini mutards or not.

Friday, 14 September 2012

If "fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity", (carlin) what are we going to do with all this bad blood?

Have you ever walked away from a conversation feeling perfectly awful?  This morning, a man I respect told me he hates cyclists.  Hates them.  He was very passionate about it - he meant it, and he went on about what assholes we are.  I was tempted to ask if he happens to drive a Ford Escalade, but he's a decent guy.  I like him. The conversation left me feeling miserable.

It's true, too.  There are a lot of asshole cyclists out there.  Just today, as I was stopped for a red light - the green light you see in the photo?  That one, only in red...

Just as I stopped, a cyclist going the opposite direction stopped, too.  The cars stopped, and a pedestrian was crossing through the bike lane - legally!- when a mad woman cyclist came barreling through, yelling at the poor pedestrian, and making a complete jerk of herself in the process.  What an ambassador! You can understand why some people might have a problem with cyclists.

But you'll find the good, the bad, and the ugly in every walk of life.  Just before he started on his rant about cyclists, the lovely professional man at the office was talking about how long it took him to get through snarled traffic on Friday.  "You could ride there faster on your bike," I said.  It's true, too!  He confessed he would never do the trip on his bike.  Why? "Because one of those asshole drivers out there would kill me!"

And guess what? In this city, we're three for three, because we also have an epidemic of dumbass pedestrians. Plenty of people in Vancouver walk out onto the streets without looking before they cross the street.  In fact a shocking number of them downright refuse to acknowledge that there might be someone approaching as they step off the curb onto the street.  Talk about living in denial. They refuse to even look!! What is going through their heads? Hopefully it won't be my brake lever.

 photo from psychocarnival

You'd think Darwinism would kick in and quickly reduce the number of  fools walking this town, but remember we're Canadian.  We actually gave the pedestrian the right of way, and they invariably take it, even when it means stepping out on the road in front of  a moving vehicle without so much as a glance.  And as Canadians, most drivers (and cyclists) are too damned polite to hit them, even if it means skidding out of control in an effort to avoid them.

The cyclist who made an ass of herself today didn't look like a messenger, nor a guerilla commuter, nor did she appear to be a Wilma  with the need for speed.  She was just an average woman. She wasn't edgy or goth.  She wasn't street hardened either, and she didn't look emotionally disturbed.  She was mid thirties, pleasant looking, dressed business casual, riding your run of the mill hybrid bike.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  She was just your average, everyday Jill, riding to work.

But hang on a minute.  Average, everyday women don't flagrantly break the law, endanger themselves and others, and shout abusively at innocent strangers.  Come to think of it, easy-going professionals don't typically foster a hate-on for thousands of fellow citizens, either.

Or do they?

When Bike Snob Eben Weiss came to town, I heard him talk about his new book for a few minutes before I had to dash and pick up mini-me II. Before I left, Snob said a couple of things which really struck a chord. My memory is great, even if it's kindov short, and while I can't remember his exact words, the messages I took away that day sure stuck.  For most people, the only time they ever face life and death situations anymore is when they're out on the road.

Life On the Edge via Bicycle Network Australia 

North Americans don't have to go out and hunt for food, we don't have to worry about being food for predators, and we don't really brave the elements.  We are not the victims of famine nor war, but we do have to get to work every day, and it's on that journey, and the others we undertake during the course of our busy modern lives, where we come face to face with our mortality.

Wayne Dyer said "When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out.  What happens when the universe squeezes you?"

Life is stressful. Everyone gets 'squeezed' at various times.  When the universe squeezes me, all sorts of character flaws come oozing out.  For example, on four separate occasions this week, the only reason I wasn't doored and likely seriously injured is that I ride far enough away from parked cars that the doors just missed me on my bike.  On the last occasion the door caught my pannier and threw me off balance, and though I recovered without further mishap I was seriously pissed off.  Three out of four times my immediate and unchecked response was to yell "JESUS FUCK!" at the top of my lungs, as I glared hate daggers at shocked and shaken drivers.  The fourth time it happened, I was more colourful.

I'd like to whizz by with a leap of gratitude in my heart and a blessing for the poor sod who just pooed his pants cause he had no idea I was there till I was right on top of him, but so far... ahhhhhhh no.

The road offers more stressful, dangerous 'squeezes' than nearly any other aspect of our urban existence. The character you reveal in stressful, tight situations says the world about who you are inside.  When nasty man in an Escalade was raging at me, I had a glimpse into his soul, and man, it was some kind of angry.  When I see my life flash before my eyes because some driver didn't bother to shoulder check before he swung his door into my path, I never stop and think, "oh hey, I've probably done that, too, and geez, look how shocked he was to see me whiz by like that. He'll never do that again."  Oh no, not this chick.  Swear first, think later, that's my modus operandi.  How that speaks to my character is rather awkward to contemplate, but it looks like the good, the bad, and the ugly is me in a nutshell...

There's so much bad blood between motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians these days that it's hard to find anyone who doesn't hold a polarized and passionate opinion on the matter.  In Toronto, voters chose an anti-cycling mayor with a war-on-bikes agenda, and city counsel has since proceeded to tear out bike lanes and other infrastructure, so that more than ever, cyclists are vulnerable to distracted drivers.  (And they are especially vulnerable to busy drivers who have to read on their way to work so that they don't miss football practice.) On the other side of the country, here in Vancouver, we have a  pro-cycling mayor, and a developing infrastructure, but there is a loud, strong and vocal group of disgruntled drivers who would happily see the bike lanes come out.  It's two sides of the same coin,  and this very struggle is happening in cities all over the place.


It's a pitched battle which brings out the good, the bad, and the ugly in all of us, and it's not going to go away any time soon.

People are attached to their cars, and to their car-centric lifestyles.  As cyclists, maybe the best we can to is to heed Gandhi's advice and "be the change (we) want to see in the world." Show them a better way to live.  As tempting as it is, we can't drag them out of their vehicles and force them to see the light. They don't get it, poor things.  Most of them will never know how good it feels to become stronger and healthier day by day. They may never know the joys of a strong and healthy sex life, either, bless 'em.  It's impossible not to feel sorry for them, trapped in their cars, and their toxic lifestyles, but you can spend years trying to convince them to give it a shot.  In the end, they get to choose their own path, and all we can do is let them go.

Besides, bike parking is getting pretty tight downtown these days, so I'm just going to enjoy the rarified perks of life in the bike lane before the rest of the world catches on. Let 'em go suck gas then... know where I'll be.

Friday, 7 September 2012

What's in a name? That which we call a bicycle would by any other name also be as sweet.

When is a bicycle not a bicycle?  When it's an MB 2000, that's when.  

 This is not a bicycle.

You probably thought I was joking, but... no.  According to Lieutenant Colonel Alex Gould of CFB  Sicamous during his CBC interview, this is not a bicycle. "It's based on cycle technology, but this is sturdy.  But also it's been painted camouflage so it's something very hard to spot."  They might want to rethink the stickers as they're not very camo. Might just as well put reflectors on the spokes.  Besides, if the good colonel had been on a bicycle at any time during his adult life, he would understand that all bikes are invisible, no matter what colour you paint them. It's one of the laws of physics, I can't remember which one.

When asked whether these bicycles will be replacing current military vehicles such a jeeps, humvees and tanks, the good colonel replies "I'll allow you to use the word bicycle, but again, it is an all-terrain military issue two wheel ground apparatus that gives our troops unlimited mobility and agility in most circumstances."  I wonder if he has to practice that in the morning. You try saying that ten times fast. Then listen to the interview and try not to laugh when Colonel Jive slips up time and time again and calls them bicycles himself.

He does concede that MB stands for Mountain Bike, but then he warns that you must let go of all thought of conventional bicycles, because these are Military Issue. (That means they're special.) He goes on to explain that they're silent.  They're collapsible.  This  bike MB 2000 all-terrain military issue two wheel ground apparatus that gives our troops unlimited mobility and agility in most circumstances can haul 500lb! That's one Robba the Ford.

He admits that "Yes, they will replace jeeps, humvees and tanks."  I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried, but honestly, it's a stroke of genius, that's what it is. Bikes MB 2000s all-terrain military issue two wheel ground apparatus that gives our troops unlimited mobility and agility in most circumstances  instead of tanks is simply a brilliant idea.  Why doesn't someone tell the Syrian rebels about that one?!?  That whole thing could have been over ages ago if only they'd known.  You might think bicycles MB 2000s all-terrain military issue two wheel ground apparatus that gives our troops unlimited mobility and agility in most circumstances are benign objects whose primary purpose is pedal powered people transport, but that's just 'cause you didn't know that the ever so clever Canadian military is probably using a secret weapon. It's  Mavic wheels.  Canadian soldiers can hurl them at unsuspecting enemy operatives. They will fail spectacularly, detonating like some new form of plastic explosive, and the Taliban will go down forever in a hail of crabon fibre splinters.

You try hauling 500lb up and over the dunes of Petrochemicarabia for the duration of a tour of duty, why don't you?  You'll be smiling, too, as you face off against the home tanks while you're keeping the peace, because you'll know that you're armed and dangerous. The bad guys will see the cute little maple leafs on the uniform, and will wet themselves laughing at all the pretty soldiers on bikes MB2000  all-terrain military issue two wheel ground apparatus that gives our troops unlimited mobility and agility in most circumstances.  While they're killing themselves laughing, off come the Mavics and -BOOM! Sorted.

You see?  Genuine Canadian Genius.

What's in a name? Shakespeare was right: a rose is a rose and so is a bike a bike, even when it is an MB 2000.  Still- be careful.  Don't underestimate the magic of a name. Words measure our evolution and language defines us.  The name you give something doesn't necessarily alter the nature of the thing you are naming, but it does say alot about you.

I was painfully aware of the influence of young boys in my life when I caught myself singing Up. Butt. Coconut. out loud at work the other day. I know words other people don't know, too, thanks to him.  It's true. Words like poomerang and other things that most people don't really want to know about. I am a product of my environment, just as you are, and as we all are on a larger scale, too.

What does it say about our world when you can say something essentially meaningless, like "Facebooking," and everyone knows what you mean? The web makes the world a tiny wee place, where words, thoughts, experiences and ideas sometimes spread like wildfire.  The rate of change is accelerating, too.  Used to be it took a generation to change a word through usage.  Now it can happen overnight.

In France, the Ministry of Culture and Communication ensures the continued usage and preservation of pure,  unadulterated, correct French, bless them.  It must be a bit like trying to alter the cycles of the moon, don't you think? Talk about king sized control issues... Quebec didn't fall far from that tree, did it? In the rest of the world, language is more than just grammar, syntax, words, and rules. In fact, if you're 'Facebooking', or 'Tweeting," grammar and syntax appear to be altogether unnecessary, though an urban reference guide may be useful.

For example, did you know that this bike is murdered out?

Pretty, isn't it?

People who love customizing their cars get it, but how was I to know that using flat black paint and accessories constitutes a homicidal habit?  You've gotta love how English evolves, though - that's the best bit about it. Ginormous needs no further explanation. What a great word. And I'm ok with heteroflexibles... isn't everyone?  There are lots of dictionaries out there, but the urban dictionary is my fave...  Where else will you find Lance Armstrong defined as: a man who can do more with one testicle than most men can do with a pair?  ie) Lance Armstrong rides his bike fast. With one testicle.  

Testicles... what an interesting word.  When you articulate it correctly, it leads naturally to one of my all time favourite words... Chubby. Mmm...  chubby. As in Dude, when I looked at Sara I got a chubby. What's not to love about that? That's why Henrik Rummel's salute to the flag caused such a flap in London this year. It was a purely linguistic flap of course, since it's patently obvious he's been circumcised. Don't be too hard on him, though. He is a world class athlete after all.

Like Mark Cavendish, seen here accepting the award for his second stage win at the Tour de France 2012. Once again, you've gotta love seeing world class athletes rise to the occasion like that. Specially in spandex. Mmm... spandex chubbies.

There's always a right way and any number of wrong ways to spell words, but there's more to it than that. If enough people spell something wrong for long enough, then everyone just calls it American English and ba-da-bing! There's a whole new spelling! Same thing with how we use words.  Sick used to be a bad thing, but now people use it to describe a good thing.  Why? Prolly just 'cause someone felt contrary.  And look what happened in London with rhyming slang!  Donkey's ears rhymes with years, right?  Shorten it to Donkey's et voila!  Donkey's means years.  Gandhi would be proud of all of those cunning linguists out here, working hard to be the change they want to see in the world.

Last week when the winds of change were blowing that wee hurricane Isaac toward the Republican convention, I recalled something Pat Buchanen said about God's punishment on New Orleans when Katrina hit there seven years earlier.  I have all kinds of names for men like him, but the Great Wiki calls him a Paleoconservative.  There's a word for you. It reminds me of everyone's favourite Paleoasshole,

Robba the Ford, the soon to be former mayor of Toronto.

Speaking of cunning linguists...  if we're going to fix this mess, we need to come up with a vision of something better.  We'll have to define it if we want to make it so.  We'll have to put ideas into words and words into action, but if we can envision it we can create it, so think of what kind of world you would like.  What do you see for us?

I'll think about it if you do. 

Today we're picking up our registration packages for the Whistler Gran Fondo.  Tomorrow is the best Sea to Sky highway ride of the year, with clean roads and no cars... fun fun fun!

Thank you for joining me, dear reader.  Ride on and have fun!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Sanity is madness put to good use. (Santayana)

Do you know any crazy people? Maybe they've been tested by aliens, or perhaps touched by the hand of God...?  Have you ever noticed that crazy people believe that they are sane while the rest of us are crazy? Neurotics build castles in the sky, and psychotics live there. It's true.  The best, sure-fire sign you've lost the plot is when everyone around you tells you you're mad, yet you figure they're the ones who are all insane.

Back in the eighties when I first quit cars, people were always telling me I was stark raving mad 'cause I rode my Cannondale every day through winter in Alberta. Have you ever known the wonder of Edmonton during an old-fashioned cold snap two weeks or more ?  You could expect to face temperatures at well below at -30 c (-22 f) plus wind chill for a week or so, and you could expect a snap like that a couple of times every year. Mean temperatures that are truly mean. You know that term "When Hell freezes over?" That would be Edmonton then.

Back then, I didn't know another soul who rode year round.  Most people really thought I was starkers, and perhaps that is still true today. Some of them would get all chivalrous fearing for my safety, some incredulous, and some would even get upset and insist on putting my bike in the back of their truck to give me a lift home. "It's dangerous.  You're crazy.  You can't do that."  Over and over again "you can't do that."

I bought in.  I was clearly different from everyone else, and top of it all, my family tree is chocka blocka nuts, so I figured the shoe fit... and sought therapy.

Growing up, we skied the Rockies in the winter, so riding through the year was a no-brainer, even at thirty below.  Just dress for the weather, and's an adventure! It always feels good to get where you're going when you're going by bike.  Literally.  And compared with skiing, cycling is more comfortable, because there are no long cold lifts to sit through waaaaay upon high on a windy mountain peak.  When you're on a bike, movement keeps you warm, so that by the time you get to the top of the hill, you're plenty warm enough to enjoy the breeze as you cruise the curves all the way down.  Besides, there is something infinitely romantic about the sound of a tyre on hard packed snow in the dead of winter under those breathtaking Alberta skies.  'Specially early in the morning and late at night.  The nights are long, but the snow reflects the moon, the stars, and the city lights, so it never really gets dark.

It can be very illuminating!

Riding year round makes perfect sense to me, but people have been pointing out my insanity for a generation now.  There are  way more cyclists on the roads today than ever before, at least here in Canada, but we're still very much the exception to the rule.  I can accept that I may be off my rocker, at least if I am to be judged by how well I conform to norm, but I wouldn't change my lifestyle for a parkade full of cars.  Even now, every time I join the car culture and get behind the wheel I am reminded of all the reasons I love bikes.  It's better to be a freak living on the lunatic fringe than to spend hours in traffic every day.  Commuting, running to lessons or practice, shopping, a night on the town, you name it... people drive everywhere.  Every day there are more and more cars clogging up the roads and later stocking our landfills, too, and I can't help but think "THAT's absolutely crazy." Pure madness.

I look around at a world where sex is taboo, but violence is acceptable, and I have to shake my head.  That's seriously back-assward.  That's where real madmen like Todd Akin are hatched, with their delusions about sexuality and reality, and that's the reason violence is so prevalent in the world today, too.  How is it that teenagers graduate from high school having seen tens of thousands of murder on television, in movies, and in games, yet having had no exposure to nor understanding of the beautiful, wondrous, healthy joys of making love?  They certainly have the hormones and the inclination, but we riddle them with guilt and conflict over their natural, healthy sexual urges.  Um... people?  That's crazy.

How did humanity get to the place where a woman's nipple can cause shock and outrage? Janet Jackson sure made the most of it, but why is this so?

Fer fuck sake, people, it's a nipple.  It feeds, it comforts, it pleases.  It's a good thing.   

You want to shield youth from obscenity?  Bare the breast. Ban the bullet instead.

                                                    Nippliscious photograph by BB Webb

Why do paleo-people still object to public breastfeeding?  Watch what happens when a woman walks down the street topless down-town in  Vancouver.  Watch what happens if she tries it in Indonesia, or Pakistan, or, heaven forbid...Toronto! At least if you believe Krista Ford, (neice to warlords Robba the Fords).  Krista says you'd best not dress like a whore if you don't want to be legitimately raped. She says so dressed for work...


Imagine poisoning your children's minds against their very own nature... yet we do it.  Worse yet, we are poisoning their bodies, too!  I look around at our world, especially here in the United State of Canada, and I notice that seventy percent of the crops grown here are genetically modified. Seventy.  Frankenfoods are in pretty much everything with a label, and the labels don't even have to say that they're GMO!  These days, unless it's organic, it's most likely GMO, too, which means it IS its own pesticide.  Isn't that convenient? Apparently, we're all ok with eating poison here. Hey, now that's seriously crazy.  You definitely can't do that for long.

And if you happen to get sick, and you go to the doctor, he will prescribe some more toxic compoundsd, and he will likely irradiate you, too, before he either cuts you open and then gives you more poison, or just gives you more poison.  The healer who offer sound nutritional counselling, the acupuncturist, the masseur and chiropractor who heal without toxic chemicals and radiation are not covered, but drugs and radiation are.  Ridiculous. Crazy.

Heard of the Codex Alimentarius?  Chills my blood what's going on out there, but most people still believe they elect a government of the people by the people.  It's bizarre. C.R.A.Z.Y.

So let me see. We're fed by an agriculture industry which cares nothing for our health, and healed by a medical system which pays no attention to our food. We espouse a belief system which glorifies violence and vilifies sex.  We're quickly killing off ourselves and the planet, too, aware of all the facts and where we're heading, yet we've been living in denial for at least 30 years.  Worst of all, we remain wilfully blind to the simple yet elegant solutions available at hand.  Kuh Ray Zee.

Everywhere... there's madness everywhere.  So many things make no sense at all... no sense. It's all nonsense. Crazy.  Oh shit.  You see? Madness.  I see madness everywhere! Everyone has all gone mad!

Oh.  No.

It's the one, sure-fire sign from the universe that I've lost it completely.  I have a lovely little castle in the sky vision of the community, the city, the world I want to live in, and on a good day I can see a glimmer of hope, I can sense a seedling emerging, rising up from the manure of this mad modern civilization, but today?  Today it's all just madness...

Time to clear my mind.