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Monthly Archives: November 2015

Great Children DON’T Just Happen (my wife makes ’em)…

Great Children Don’t JUST Happen –

In all seriousness, this is an awesome post.  Check it out, especially if you’re new to the parenting game.

If I had to add one it would be this:

Raising great kids is a lot like raising a great marriage.  You get out of it what you put into it. 

Coming from a father’s point of view, if you think you’re just going to bring home the bacon and let your wife fry it up, to quote one of my favorite TV shows:  Dude, You’re Screwed.

Winter Cycling: I Just Can’t Like the Cold…

It’s below freezing.  I’ve got three layers on my upper body and I’m comfortable.  My head is merely “okay”, I’ve got a light balaclava on but anything exposed is cold.  My legs and ass are freaking freezing, even with knee warmers over my leg warmers.  Sadly, I didn’t think I’d need my foot covers because my wool socks are so good…  I was wrong, my feet feel like bricks.  Cold. Frickin’. Bricks.

My wife and I are on the mountain bikes so we’re not even moving all that fast.  Still, it’s kinda ugly.  We get 53 minutes in though, better than polishing the leather sofa with my butt – especially after everything I ate this weekend.  That was Saturday…

We’re out Sunday too.  We’re home so I’ve got my foot covers now and my feet are warm.  My legs are cold again.  I asked for a real pair of thermal tights for Christmas, the first time in years I’ve asked for something specific.   Managing the cold on a bike is like trying tamp out a brush fire in high winds.  Hands are cold, new gloves.  Head is cold, new hat.  Ears are cold, new hat with ear flaps.  Core is cold, one more layer.  Feet are cold, merino wool socks.  Feet are still cold, foot covers.  Eyes are cold, actually thought about goggles.  Now my legs are impossibly cold and I have to do something about them.

The truth is, I just hate the cold. Below 35 degrees, I’m miserable. Oh, I put on a good show, but I hate it.

In the end, I’ll keep riding till it’s too icy for comfort – no matter how much I hate cycling in the cold, I hate cycling on the trainer more and as has been usual for the last four years, I’ll keep throwing darts at cold body parts till I finally get it right.  Who knows, eventually I could come to love being cold – but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

In the end, I’ll always suck it up, because there’s one thing I can think of worse than being a little cold and whiny…  Being fat.

Locked Away, a Point and an Answer… A Comical Look at a Stupid Question.

“If I got locked away
And we lost it all today
Tell me honestly, would you still love me the same?”

So asks a new song by Rock City featuring Adam Levine

So is asked what is tied for the dumbest question in music history.  Don’t ask me for competing idiotic questions, they abound, but that’s not the point. Fair warning kids, you might need your “safe space” and your pacifier after this one – we’re going to leave the micro aggressions in the rearview mirror and tap dance on macro for a bit… To quote a legend, “It’s gonna get bumpy”.

The correct answer the question the song asks is “no”, which shall also be preceeded by a four-letter explicative that begins with the letter “F”.  We’re not quite done with that answer though.  Let’s press on ladies, with:  “If you loved me, even a little bit, you would refrain from doing something so stupid that you could land in prison in the first place.”

Let’s look at that question another way:  “Honey, if I lost control and beat the shit out of you because you didn’t have dinner on the table on time, would you still love me the same?” Put that way, hopefully we can all agree the answer should be “F@€k no! I would leave your stupid @$$ immediately if not sooner.”

Now, I’m not going to call for a boycott of anything, I’m not going to call for some idiot to go to sensitivity training. I am not going to complain about the younger generation “not getting it”. Nor am I going to whine that I need a “safe place” with a year-supply of fresh diaper wipes and pacifiers on the shelf so I can hide from the fact that the world is sometimes an ugly place. Boys and girls, Democrats used to call safe spaces “separate but equal” in the past, and used that to make people ride in the back of the bus, or go to inferior, run-down schools so those kids really had no chance to hope for anything better than a job in the “service industry” (as they call it). Look it up.

The attitude, that a person should forgive and love, unequivocally, the other for being a loser was around before Jesus roamed the Earth.

This reminds me of a funny ex-girlfriend. My then girlfriend and I were having a disagreement. She was verbally pushing my buttons and I, hers. On the way up the stairs she paused at the landing, wheeled around and punched me right in the gut. I’d seen it coming so I tensed up enough that I was able to keep my composure and I asked her, “What was that, should we call the cops and get you a room at the jail for a night?”

Her classy reply was, “What, now you’re going to be a pussy about it?”

I chuckled and said, “No dear, I’m not. You try that shit again and I’ll knock your block off.”

That punch to the gut was the beginning of the end of that relationship. First, had I stuck around, eventually she was going to take another shot at me. Second, I would have responded by punching her square in the mouth**, probably landing myself in jail. Third, I couldn’t stop asking myself, who in their right mind would stick a relationship out through that? Why?! While I firmly believe in the old “men don’t hit ladies”, I certainly don’t believe in sticking around to be a punching bag for a bitch with issues either.

For the first time in my young life I started to understand that just because I happened to be dating a woman, or in this case, living with one (out of wedlock), it didn’t mean I had to stick with it as if I were indeed married – if the woman I was with wasn’t capable of giving me the relationship I wanted, there was no sense in prolonging the agony, hoping for a change that would never come.

I broke things off, entirely, within two months and I would go on to take a little more than a year off, no relationships, to work on being a better me so I could attract a better woman. She wasn’t so lucky. She expected me to stick around, so the break up hit her pretty hard. She ended up in a psych ward shortly thereafter. Now, you might think, “Oh, how sad for her.” and I agree, but I called it right when I decided not to stick that unnecessary drama out…

At the end of my hiatus from dating, when I was ready, I met and dated a woman who just didn’t want to commit. I broke up with her immediately. Why waste my time? After all of that work getting myself straight, I fully got it: If the woman I like can’t give me what I want, move on and find the one who can.

I started dating the woman who turned out to be my wife shortly thereafter (like a week later, maybe two at the most) and we’ve been together since… More than 20 years and my wife is everything I hoped for. Now the relationship is worth sticking through the hard times… but because I picked a good woman, those hard times likely won’t involve either one of us enduring a long stint in the slammer. Incidentally, we both laughed and answered the question the same way: “Um, no.” The kids were listening so we didn’t bother with the explicative.

Now, to young ladies… If the question, “If I went to prison, would you still love me the same?” seems like a romantic question, there’s something wrong with you that needs to be fixed. Seriously. Real love is never having to ask that in the first place. Real love is a man who asks, “Honey, shall I grill steaks for dinner tonight, or would you like to go out?” Real love is “Would you love me the same if I was a carpenter?”, not an inmate.

So, if your man sings you that song, with a sparkle in his eyes, he obviously has no clue what love is. Run away. Very, very far. Very fast. Don’t wait until it’s too late and you have to answer that question for real.

**My thoughts on how things should be handled when it comes to physical assault in a relationship: Obviously, there should be none. Zero, zip, nada. However, perhaps I’m a bit old-school in believing that ladies should never be struck. Now, here’s the trick: a lady would never strike a man, more than a slap, which is fair and good. On the other hand, I also believe in equality. If a woman is going to punch like a man, she has every right to be treated equally. If that angers you, well okay. What makes a woman so special she can hide behind “the lady clause” and run around trying to be a thug? It doesn’t work that way. I think the belief that a woman has the right to commit assault without expectation of reciprocity falls into the macro aggression category, but who knows, there was no such thing as micro aggressions when I went to college, so I only learned how to make a living, not tap dance on eggshells. And it shows from time to time. My apologies.

25 Slow, Chilly, Wet, Windy Awesome Miles…

Wind is an ugly thing.  Sometimes.

For most, the wind brings out that inner whiny brat that screams, “But I don’t wanna! ”  The wind does that to my wife, God Bless her.

It used to me but after 25,000 miles, the wind now elicits a wry grin from me.  The wind, she’s a real bitch so as I’m clipping into my pedals, I’m thinking some exceptionally impure thoughts about what I’m about to put her through.  Oh, she’ll smack me around a bit, there’s no doubt…  But I’m gonna win.  I will ride that ride with a smile on my face.

It was ugly.  A minimal chance of rain (15%), but the sky was plain old ugly.  Wind out of the north at 15 to 25 mph, give or take, but only on the high end.  That said, at 58 degrees, the temp wasn’t all that bad. 

Arm warmers, knee warmers, my Hammers kit, a head sweats cap and my new Sugoi Zap rain jacket (oh, now that’s a rain jacket, but that’s for another post, another day) and I was perfectly comfy.  Perfectly matched for the crappy weather.  It was bad enough I took the Trek and my wife took her Secteur. 

Mrs. Bgddy and I rolled out with a goal of 25 miles.  I took the first three miles into the wind and my wife took the next two with a cross tailwind – she’s a funny one my wife.  Let her pull and she’s two or three miles an hour faster than what she’ll do with a train in front of her.  The next – hang on, let me count them – fifteen and a half miles were mine. 

We were cruising into this little town about nine miles in, I had my head down and shoulders up so I could block more wind for my wife and here she comes, cruising by.  I was dumbstruck for a second before I saw the Gaines Township sign…  That turkey was racing me for a Township sign!  I mashed on my pedals and caught her, but she swears she edged me out.  We’d have to go to the tape on it so I reluctantly gave it to her.

What she didn’t know was that there was a second sign (still doesn’t) an eighth of a mile up.  I took that one, it wasn’t close.  Mrs. Bgddy caught me napping at another one a mile later, when she asked to check out a road we’d never ridden before.  I was three feet shy of the back of the sign when I turned around because the pavement ended and the road turned to dirt.  Crap.

It had started sprinkling a little bit, certainly enough to notice, but I stayed high and dry in my quintessentially perfect rain jacket. As the rain picked up and wind intensified, I got faster. Unfortunately my wife had the opposite reaction. I ended up pulling away from her whenever I tried to drop my shoulders and cheat the wind a little bit. I picked up another Township sign along the way.

We lumbered along till we finally hit mile 15 and had a bit of a break from the wind. We turned west and had a bit of
a cross tailwind. I accelerated. My wife didn’t. So I took our City Limits sign too.

It was sprinkling again when we rolled into the bike shop parking lot and went in to say hello. After talking to the fellas a bit and teasing my wife about the new Madone 9.9 I’ll be getting sooner than later, we split for home. We spent just enough time in the shop to freeze once we stepped outside. Crap.

A little more than five miles later we rolled into the driveway.

Sometimes they ain’t pretty, you just have to put your head down and get it done but it sure beats gettin’ fat.

This post was written earlier, maybe late October… We are taking the mountain bikes out today… No wind, for once, but I’ll need all of my cold weather gear… 20 degrees this morning (-4C).

My $500 Advanced Mechanical Sleep Inducing Machine – Works Better than a Sleeping Pill.

I always love sleeping pill commercials…  Butterflies and rainbows, happy prancing unicorns…  It’s all so wonderful!  Especially getting to see a fellow unicorn get some air time… I can remember back in the good old days when we took, what was it?  Sudafed?  Yeah, but that was before they were making meth out of it, so there’s that.  In college I used to down a couple of Sudafed because my roommate needed my Magic CPAP Machine…  He snored so loud it was like trying to sleep above a freight train (I had the top bunk because ain’t no way that big fella was climbing to the top bunk).  The only hope I had was to fall asleep (or pass out) before him.

It was a fun time.  Not really but whining is unbecoming…

In any event, as one might imagine, medicated sleep may be “technically” considered sleep by some but I can think of a much better way of getting some shuteye:


Now, if you know anything about bikes, that’s an old-school racer right there.  Aluminum frame, chrome-moly fork, down tube shifters…  It’s a bit heavy, the frame is about a pound heavier than today’s modern frames and it’s exceptionally stiff – which means its fast but you can feel every grain of sand you run over.  What differentiates this bicycle from my Magic CPAP Machine and my over-the-counter Anti-Alzheimer’s Machine is that it takes some serious work to keep it rolling.  This means you’ve really gotta put some ass into it.  In other words, if I want to sleep like a baby, all I’ve gotta do is take the Cannondale out for a ride with the guys.  Of course, to make it really tough, throw in those down tube shifters… It’s a tough bike to ride, but it is definitely cool – and good for a great night’s sleep.

So, don’t bother with drugs, buy an advanced mechanical sleep inducing machine of your own. Turn out 50 or 60 miles and find out what it means to sleep like a baby.

Power Line: Thanksgiving in Pictures: Gobble Edition

Power Line: Thanksgiving in Pictures: Gobble Edition.


Now that’s a Happy Thanksgiving!  Be sure to check out the rest, the others are hilarious, especially the visual instructions for allowing the turkey to chill in the sink…

Happy Thanksgiving my Friends… And I Truly Mean Happy.

I always love the stories that come out about Thanksgiving…  From the hardly believable Indian (or Native American, if you so choose – maybe we should do like the Australians and push for “Aboriginal American”?) perspective which will quite literally leave your head spinning…  Wait, a group of Indians were taken to England to be a slaves but one mystically got back home and then taught the pilgrims to plant corn and to fish (hey, I didn’t know they didn’t have fish in England back then!)?

Or then there’s the New York Times’s version, where a platoon of heavily armed pilgrims landed on Plymouth and promptly mowed down the Indians with their Uzis and night-vision goggles and ate them as their thanksgiving feast.  [ED. That whole last paragraph is a parody of the nail biting ninnies who consistently write bigoted accounts of the first Thanksgiving]…

Then, of course, there’s the actual story of what really happened… And hold onto your shorts, the occasion was attended by both pilgrims and Indians and was happy, a celebration.

Native Americans (I switch tones if you notice, this isn’t an accident) and the Pilgrims had a fair relationship for decades.  Yes, the pilgrims brought smallpox, but they also nursed for Native Americans and they didn’t spread the disease on purpose for God’s sake.  In fact, according to William Bradford’s journal, half of the pilgrims died that first year.  Eventually, they divied up a small chunk of land and set up a community in which everyone worked for the collective.  The pilgrims struggled mightily because there was no incentive, other than survival itself, to work for another’s wife and children (paraphrasing Bradford in his journal).  My friends, they set up their system according to what they knew.

Eventually, they changed tactics.  They granted each family their own plot of land and allowed each family to keep their own harvest and trade the overage.  They set up the first free market system.  Once an individual was given the ability to further his own family for his effort, the pilgrims prospered.  The first Thanksgiving was a celebration to thank God for their prosperity and they celebrated with the Indians who did indeed have a hand in helping the pilgrims survive. 

Now, this account is rather crude and certainly short, but it is far more historically accurate than most narratives out there.  Certainly better than you’ll find coming from the New York Times or the Native American account.  Indeed, I would far more trust the journal of a man who lived through the first Thanksgiving than I would the advertising arm of the Democrat party.

Either way, and I do, upon second thought, apologize for that last crack, because we are in need of a better message this Holiday Season…

We in the United States of America are a prosperous, decent people.  We have our flaws, just like any other group of people on the planet.  I include myself in the collective “we” even though my grandparents and great grandparents were all immigrants who “yearned to breathe free”. 

For months now, we are being divided to further politicians’ whims.  This will continue to be the case for another year…  The truth about politicians is that they like us afraid and dependent, when we all live, with the exception of Washington DC, in free States.  If we are afraid and dependent we cannot possibly concentrate on that which matters most:  The politicians are the servants, not the masters.  From the President to the Congress person.  They do as we say, not the other way around.  Maybe it’s time we stick together and remind them of this fact.  Legally and peacefully but loudly.

So for one day, eat some turkey (or tofurkey as the case may be) and mashed potatoes (or sweet potatoes as the case may be).  Have some gravy and green bean casserole (WOO-FREAKIN-HOO!).  Have some pie and remember, we’re all in this together, one way or another – and the powers that be don’t like us to look at it that way.  They’re much happier when we’re agitated and hating one another – we are much easier to manipulate that way.

Cycling: Now is the time to make your leaps for next season… A few tips for the turbo trainer when snow shuts you down.

Cycling season is winding down – it’s not quite dead yet, but it’s not all that far off either.  Assuming you’re not out on the bike through the winter, there are few ways to have a go at next season:

  1.  You can hibernate.  Take some time much needed time off, maybe hit the gym a time or two a month.  You plan on going more often but life gets in the way as it always has.  Thanksgiving through Christmas is eating season anyway…  You can get going after the first of the year anyway, right?
  2. You can do enough to get by.  Spin a couple of times a week to keep your legs, maybe take advantage of a decent day or two during the week to squeeze a ride in and worry about hammering into the spring, later.
  3. Use your turbo time to your advantage to get you in shape to be a better cyclist, right now so you’re ahead of the game going into the spring.

Folks, options one and two are pretty much par for the course but what if you could actually use this time to get used to being better on your bike?  Look, if you’re going to ride on a trainer, there isn’t much you’re going to do to get stronger but what if there were a way to work on riding better?  I opt for that.

A fellow blogger wrote a funny little quip the other day…  He wrote, “Running is hard, until it isn’t anymore”.  The way I take that is we end up hitting our stride once we adapt to the effort.  Make sense?  Well, that’s cycling in its entirety – hitting your stride.  I always look at turbo season with disdain but it’s always useful, and here’s how.

First, having been a runner, I tend to be a masher.  Too hard a gear, too much effort up and down.  Trainer season means it’s time to turn the up and down into more of a circular pedal stroke.  This is simple enough, it’s just a matter of getting used to using the full pedal stroke again (I’ve gotten better in the last four years, of course, but there’s always work to be done, yeah?).

Next, I love to do intervals twice a week.  It’s a shorter but much more intense workout that just turning the crank.  1 minute on, two recovery, repeat 6 more times…. with a 4 minute warmup and 5 minute cool down.  I think, if memory serves, that works out to 30 minutes.  By the time I hit that cool down I’ve usually puked in my mouth at least once.  I did this last year and I went into spring stronger than I’d ever been and I felt ripples from that throughout all of the spring and even into summer.

Finally, I like to devote one day a week to riding in the drops, taking the opportunity of not having to worry about looking up for traffic to get used to being lower than I normally ride.  For instance, just yesterday, I’d ride for a while then rest the top of my head on the stem while pedaling.  I’d pedal till that was uncomfortable, then raise back up to my normal position in the drops.  The lower I ride now, the more comfortable I’ll be come springtime. The lower I can ride, comfortably, the better I’ll be come April because riding in an aerodynamic position on the bike is free watts.

As a last little note, my normal way of getting through Thanksgiving and Christmas is to continue to train but keep my diet the same as it was in riding season.  Not this year.  I made some serious headway into becoming a slimmer, more muscular me this past summer.  I’m not going to throw all of that hard work under the bus.  I took a couple of easy weeks but I’m right back on the ball, making the most of my time and eating better than I ever have in the process.  Thanksgiving dinner will be no different than years past, it’s the one day a year where I really don’t care – I eat like I mean it, but I’m not going to continue that through Christmas.

My $700 Anti-Depression Machine… You Can Have One Too! Just not Mine – I Need Mine.

Depression is a tough problem to work through in the best of times without a little help.  As a sober fellow, it’s even trickier because the medication often prescribed can be abused… and if it can be abused, I will abuse it.  I’ve actually seen the effects of someone doing this and it’s not pretty.  In fact, one of my good friends is now feeding worms because he couldn’t treat his medication properly.  It’s a sad story.  Now, rarely will I advocate for medicine over fitness, but in the case of depression, my bouts with it were minor enough and the cause for which was obvious enough that getting myself back on track was possible without a doctor’s help (medical or mental).  There are those who aren’t so fortunate.  There are those who need professional help and they should, without reservation, seek it.

That said, as numerous studies have shown, one of the best, simple steps to achieving excellent mental health is to stay active.  Whether it be running, hiking, riding, swimming, kayaking, camping, or any of the hundreds of ways to enjoy oneself while being active, as long as you’re moving and enjoying yourself, it’ll help.

Enter my $700 anti-depression machine:


While my anti-depression machine looks an awful lot like my Magic CPAP Machine:


…the two should not be confused.  The Magic CPAP Machine is awesome, of this fact there is no doubt, but my Anti-Depression Machine is something special because it provides the owner with a special ability:  The ability to ride it darn-near anywhere.  Single-track bike paths, over roots and rocks, up ridiculously steep hills, the mountain bike can laugh at most terrain and this is special to fighting depression because, with enough practice, it can make the user feel like a kid again – and the key to happiness is to see the world through the eyes of a child.  Now, I had a great childhood, not everyone was so lucky – but that’s where the magic of the mountain bike shines through…  This isn’t the key to the childhood of your past, it’s your key to the childhood of right now, the one that you always wanted to have but circumstances made impossible.

I encourage you, if your childhood sucked and you didn’t have much of an opportunity to smile, buy a mountain bike, put that baggage in a Camelbak backpack, and ride your ass off.  Chances are better than not, you end up with a smile on your face before long and you’ll come to know exactly what I mean by “your childhood of right now”.  No better time than the present.

My $800 Over-the-Counter Anti-Alzheimer’s Machine…

Anyone who’s had a parent with Alzheimer’s knows the medication that keeps them from falling off the Alzheimer’s cliff is expensive.  My dad’s medication, after Medicare cost more than $800 a month (if I remember correctly – it’s been a while) while he was in the medication donut hole.  The point is, that stuff is expensive.  On the other hand, once you get over the side effects, it does slow the progression of the disease.

That said, it is well known that there’s something else, available over the counter without even a prescription, that costs around $800 but only once (not once a month) and actually works better than the medication, if used on a regular basis:


Ladies and gentlemen, meet the common, every day, bicycle.  Actually, my 5200 isn’t exactly what you’d call “common”, that frame is responsible for more State Championship wins than any other frame made.  Still, studies have shown that regular exercise (no easy task, I know) delays or can even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms.  The trick, of course, is that one can’t simply start exercising once they’re diagnosed and hope for the best results – you’ve got to maintain your fitness as a lifestyle.  I know, this is hard too…  On the other hand, it’s a lot easier than dealing with Alzheimer’s at an early age.

So, pick your poison.  Fitness now or a medication that costs more than a decent mortgage later.  Of course, on the negative side, you’ll need a new set of tires, a chain and new brake and shifter cables once a year for a grand total of about $100, so there is that…  Oh, that’s $100 a year, not a month, by the way.