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Why the World Sucks. In a Nutshell.

Trigger (heh) warning: This is going to be very difficult for certain people to read.

So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!

That excerpt was taken from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (page 62). If you think it’s a bullshit statement, it’s likely because it was written for you.  The truth tends to hurt.  It did for me the first several times I read it.

The most important line in that paragraph is “So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making”.  Victimhood, blaming our troubles on some other outside force, is the root of many problems in the world, and almost everyone engages in this dishonest practice.  Rather than simply going on a diatribe about how, ironically, all in life ain’t fair, I offer something better: another way to look at victimhood so that one can have something better than playing Don Quixote against “society”…  A solution.

In recovery, we learn something early on that is akin to cheating at life, when it comes to seeking out happiness; That we are powerless over other people, places and things.  I can’t change any of the three.  What I do have the power to change is me, or more important, the gray matter between my ears.  If I wait on others to change before I let go of the hurt that was inflicted on me (real or imagined), I’ll die miserable.

Oh, how I wish this were not the case.

I know many of the excuses to shy away from adhering to the principle laid out above, I’ve uttered quite a few myself, but the story ends the same every time.  If I seek to be a victim, I will be miserable because people won’t change just because I think something is unfair – nor should they, necessarily.  What if my perception is wrong?

My problems are of my own making…  My reaction to external stimulae is what creates trouble in my life.  Once one can embrace that their problems are of their own making, they find that there’s actually something that can be done about them.

Do it or don’t.  My happiness, thankfully, doesn’t require anyone else’s participation.

As a final point, I should add that we shouldn’t shy away from advocating for fairness, goodness, equality and decency.  Ever.  When we take that advocacy so far that it negatively affects our lives, though, that’s when we’re doing it wrong.  Ultimately, attraction rather than promotion (or worse, coercion) wins the day.

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The Dirty Little Secret of the Tree Huggin’ Hipster Crowd: They’re only Happy if They’re telling You how You’re Doing it Wrong. And now they want Your Bicycle.

Trigger (heh) warning.  Hang on Baby Jesus, this is gonna get bumpy.  You have been trigger (heh) warned.

Here we go…  My Google feed is finally getting around to figuring out that I’m a little more interested in bicycle news than today’s ignorant liberal political rubbish.  So what did my Google feed crap out at me?  Liberal bicycle political rubbish.  Dammit.

The second paragraph gets right into it:

In all the excitement to proclaim bicycles the answer to congested roads, polluted city air and our own health, the materials used to manufacture those bikes often get overlooked.

Now, if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, I predicted this years ago.  My one mistake was in a lack of understanding why and it’s the why that’s important.   The author goes immediately into explaining why we shouldn’t be riding on a carbon fiber frame, and then why we should choose bamboo in its stead.

Here is a photo of the bike, and I use that term loosely, used to showcase bamboo bikes for the article:

Bamboo Bike.jpg What an ugly, misshapen piece of junk… and she only paid $835 to build it.

What’s interesting is the amount of deception (or perhaps it’s ignorance but I have my doubts) the author uses to frame his argument.  For example:

It’s also incredibly wasteful. Most people replace a racing bike every three years, adding to carbon fiber scrap, says James Marr, founder of the Bamboo Bicycle Club and a former wind turbine engineer.

Did you get that?  A wind turbine engineer?  Windmill anyone?

Personally, I own two carbon fiber bikes, a 2013 and a 1999 and my wife owns a 2014… Let’s see, my buddy Mike, a 2003 and a 2014… The point is, I know of only three carbon fiber frames, warrantee claims all, that were ever discarded between all of my friends (and we’re talking upwards of 20 friends and dozens of bikes) and none were as soon as three years.  The statement simply doesn’t make sense.  Who would scrap a $2,000 to $10,000 (frame value from $1,500 to $7,000) bike in a few years?  Folks, nobody – and I mean nobody, scraps a bike every three years, let alone most people.  The average lifespan of a carbon frame is better than steel or titanium and vastly longer than aluminum.

Maybe we should look at the source of that data, though… the founder of the Bamboo Bicycle Club.  Now, I could see getting rid of that bamboo piece of junk in the photo above after a few days but there’s no way I’d give up my Venge or my 5200.  Even if I did, I’d sell the frame off rather than scrap it!  To suggest otherwise is one of two things, disingenuous or dishonest.  Take your pick.

Look, I could bother with going through the rest of the article but the whole thing leans in that particular direction – disinformation from tree huggin’ hippies which leads us to the obvious conclusion that we should be using bamboo to build our bikes as long as we “rel[y] on production standards, for example avoiding the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and ensuring natural forest is not cleared for plantations.

Okay, so as long as we don’t use a method that creates reliable bamboo and we grow it on the moon, we’re good…  We’ll just gloss over, for now, the urethane coating used to shine up the bamboo on that ugly bastard in the photo above, and the epoxy used to lash the pieces of bamboo together.  I’m sure they’re produced from iceberg lettuce fibers or something.

SO, in conclusion, the hipster author of the article wants us to ride ugly, creaky, slow, impossibly heavy bikes that will have a shelf-life a quarter that of a carbon fiber bike because?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Because some people can’t be happy unless they’re making everyone else miserable with their restrictive, fascist ideas of how everyone else should live.  Too harsh?  Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?

Hipsters these days are nothing special, nor are they creative.  They simply like to come up with ways to make a name for themselves by pointing out how everyone else should live, thereby proving that, because they can see the intricacies in their ideas, they are better than you.

Because Tom can see that making a bike out of carbon fiber is a messy process, even though carbon bikes are vastly safer than that homemade piece of shit shown above (especially at 60 mph), we should all ride in a way that Tom sees fit (slow, with no excitement whatsoever) so we can all be “sustainable” and sit by the bamboo bike bonfire singing kumbaya.  He’s smart, after all, and we should all bend to his will because he is.  The fact that he’s willing to bend the truth to prove it is just a bonus.

My friends, do the opposite of what the author of that article proposes.  Go out and buy the most expensive, lightest carbon fiber (or steel, or aluminum, or titanium) bike you can reasonably afford and ride the wheels off of it.  Not to get groceries or to save gas or CO2 (which you exhale with every second or third pedal stroke), though feel free, but ride a bike because it’s fun.  If you want to play Don Quixote with global warming, go right ahead, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re better than anyone else for that choice…

20180131_124641
My middle finger to do-gooder tree huggin’ hippies? Not quite, they’re not that important.

I would have to kick my own ass if I were pretentious enough to suggest we should all be building bikes out of bamboo.  People who consistently seek to influence others, bending reality and truth in the process, should be teased often and repeatedly, relegated to the lower levels of human existence.  They are naval lint.  They are a vile, fun-hating group.

So, from all of us fun-loving, happy people to you; do shut it.

This has been a public service announcement.

 

They say to drink a lot of water, I just filter mine through ground coffee beans first… Thanks Again, California. You give New Meaning to the Phrase “Stick in the Mud”… Ya Dopes.

Trigger (heh) warning: I don’t particularly like California or Californians. I don’t like their arrogance or the fact that, somehow, they’ve come to rely on politicians who continually screw up all things good and happy, causing everyone to hate everyone else. This post will reflect that disdain for politicians, Californians and other general sticks in the mud. This post will not be my fit in my usual PG category posts. You have been trigger (heh) warned.

California is at it again, taking the best in life and exploiting it to remove all of the joy and happiness, bastardizing scientific research in the process… and all in the name of your safety. It’s kind of what California does (that gives me an idea, but we’ll get to that in a minute). In California, nobody can ever be happy, people must live on the screwed up edge of: “We must do more! We MUST remind the people of how necessary and brilliant we are!” I don’t like California because its idiocy tends to infect the rest of the US. When they threaten session, I say they can’t get there fast enough.

In fact, did you know the self-esteem movement, that which has likely led to more unmarriageable men than any other single “idea” in the history of humankind, can actually be traced back to California? Better, and not surprisingly, the science that was used to back up the need for changes to the education system was skewed and manipulated to support that lunacy.

Well, California is at it again, this time training their keen brand of idiocy and ignorance on coffee.

See, according to California’s “Council for Education and Research in Toxics (CERT).” coffee causes cancer (specifically a chemical created in the roasting process). Now, if you don’t know already, the study used to suggest that there may be a link to the chemical and cancer was conducted using the overdose method, where testers take the maximum tolerable amount of a chemical and inject it into a small animal. If the small animal gets cancer, bingo. The rub is that the small animal would have to inject something like the equivalent of 486 gallons of coffee a week into its body to cause cancer. Then you have to adjust that to human proportions… And folks, I’m not over exaggerating… I’m under exaggerating. In other words, there’s just no freaking way.

In fact, and let this sink in for just a second, The American Institute for Cancer Research lists coffee as a food that fights cancer. Allow me to channel Samuel L. Jackson for just a moment. Mother f***er, click on the mother****in’ “Research” tab. I’m not even going to copy and paste the quote, mother****er. Better, have a look at all the cancers coffee is shown to fight. Hey, here’s a mother****in’ idea, what does the World Health Organization say about coffee? Well, let’s see:

The World Health Organisation has cleared coffee of causing cancer

So, in other words, everyone else on the freaking planet has discovered that coffee is actually good for you, and in many cases decades ago, but that’s not good enough for the anti-science fun police in California. They’ve deemed it necessary to make convenience stores label coffee as a possible cause of cancer.

Here’s that idea I wrote of earlier…. How about a little truth in advertising, there California? I want the next commercial from the tourism board of California (whatever that bureaucracy is named) to include a disclaimer that while California may be one of the more beautiful places in America, its political apparatus foments hatred and division of its people by constantly attacking happiness itself and that human contact should be kept to a bare minimum lest you accidentally bump into one of those who support a life devoid of happiness and are infected with that resident’s penchant for supporting those attacks.

Motherf***in’ @$$#oles.

It’s Simply too Cold to Ride…

I woke up this morning, it was -4.  Record cold yet again.  I wrote, earlier this year, that I figured we would be paying for the last two winters which were fairly mild.  I was not mistaken, this winter has been tough so far….

On the plus side, at least the trainers work.

Happy New Year, friends.  Here’s to another, hopefully happy, safe, and fit 2018.

I Gotta Buy Me Some Bitcoin!  The One Economist Who got Me to Change My Mind…

Paul Krugman says Bitcoin is a more obvious bubble than the housing market crash.  I thought the same thing… till I found out what he thought.

Anyone who knows anything about economics knows you do the exact opposite that which is recommended by the Pulitzer Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman.

UPDATE:  My friend, and fellow cyclist who actually reported on the market for many years commented that, for once, Krugman might be right on Bitcoin.  I really have no desire or plans to buy Bitcoin, this post is more to point out the humorous “Do the Opposite of Krugman” rule.

Is Pinarello’s Marketing of their New eBike Sexist or Do some People need to be Angry to be Happy?

I read a neat post on an uproar over Pinarello’s marketing ads for their new road eBike.  First, some backstory.

Last year, in the off-season, my cycling buddy Mike, my wife and I would regularly go out for dirt road rides on our mountain bikes.  Every once in a while, Diane would join us on her cyclocross/gravel bike.  I have a Specialized Rockhopper 29er, my wife has an almost identical Trek Marlin 29er.  My buddy, Mike has an older Stumpjumper 26, a hand-me-down from a friend.  My wife wanted a gravel bike so she would have an easier time keeping up with us, as Diane did.  I suggested against the idea, because if she got used to taking it easy on a gravel bike while we were on mountain bikes, that would adversely affect her fitness next season – at some point she would have to play “catch up” and catching up always sucks.

Gravel Bike

Mountain Bike

Back to the Pinarello kerfuffle… My wife would buy that Pinarello tomorrow, if we had the cash, for the exact same reason.  Hell, I’d think about buying one to keep up with our 24 mph average A Group for the same reason [ED. I wouldn’t, because I’d likely be excoriated for being a wuss].  I have to stay on track though, I don’t want to mess up the narrative….  Yet.

Along comes Pinarello and their new eBike, the Nytro.  Their ad campaign featured a young lady who wants a Nytro so she can comfortably keep up with her boyfriend and his cycling buds [ED Exactly like my wife, ahem].  The other side of the ad features an older fella who works too much to train but with a Nytro, now he doesn’t have to miss a Sunday ride with his buds.

Pinarello got my wife and me right – though in all honesty, I have my normal friends to ride with.  I don’t need an eBike to ride with the A guys (and yes, every one of the regulars in the A Group is a male of the species.  I only know of one woman who can ride with them.  She’s a pro).

So, the question is, is Pinerallo, who marketed almost exactly to my wife and I, sexist for doing so?

My wife absolutely does not want to work hard enough to keep up with us boys.  So if Pinarello’s marketing is sexist, my wife would have to be as well.  If anyone thinks my wife, because she wants to ride with us but would like a little assist with an eBike, is a male chauvinist, it’s because they are one of two things: ignorant or stupid.  Pick one, or be bold and go with both.

In this age of faux outrage, masquerading as care for real issues, I grow tired of the chattering masses who take umbrage with human nature and the differences between men and women and try to use those differences as a means to prove sexism.

It seems increasingly more common that some people simply have to be angry to be happy.

Observe:  Is Pinerallo sexist for marketing to women who would love an extra assist to keep up with the boys on Wednesday night, or are those who are angered by the ad campaign sexist for picking on Pinarello and for believing that women who want the assist are lazy for not wanting to train hard enough to keep up in the first place?  Touchè.

My money goes on the latter.

Unfortunately, my problem is that I’ve taken that latter tact with my wife.  She’s so close to fast enough to hang with us.  With a little more effort and willingness, she’d be right there.

Hey, isn’t that sexist?  In my case, I’m a sexist either way just because I was born a male, but that’s the point.  In truth and reality (neither of which actually matter), it’s simply how this works.

The simple fact is, you (especially if “you” is a male) can’t win, and the whole narrative is designed that way.  On the one hand, you have real sexism – all one needs for proof is the implosion of Hollywood (which I’ve been watching with glee, those pompous, arrogant @$$holes).  On the other, you’ve got this faux sexism that is used to bludgeon someone just for the sake of hammering them.  Call it bullying – I think that’s the new buzzword of the decade.

As I’ve also shown, for those who claim faux sexism, you can flip the narrative on them – you just have to be quick enough to do it and that ain’t easy.  For real, no BS sexism, the narrative can’t be flipped.  There is no justifying Charlie Rose walking around butt naked in front of female colleagues – you can’t flip that narrative, the behavior is just plain wrong.  It’s that fake narrative that we can work with.

The trick is to first reject the premise of the narrative in the first place; in this case, “Pinarello is sexist for suggesting that women need an e-assist to keep up with the boys”.  Pinarello didn’t suggest that at all, the hucksters added that to the narrative to justify their angry reaction (that’s the rejection of the premise).  What Pinarello did was offer an option to women who don’t feel they can or want to keep up with their spouse or boyfriend on a bicycle.  They offered the same option to men, if you were paying attention.

The trick is flipping the narrative:  “Claiming that women simply aren’t willing to work hard enough to keep up with the boys is sexist, and that means you’re a chauvinist.  You need to stop that sexist shit that permeates our society and gives men cover so they believe they can abuse womyn as a result.”  Women often simply have different priorities, and what really works for society is men and women living in harmony – if that means a spouse buying an eBike to keep up, who cares?  The important thing is the couple gets to ride together – whether the wife or the husband is the stronger cyclist.

Bob’s your uncle.

Just hopefully not a pedophile uncle.

The Great Bicycle Helmet Debate:  To Wear a Helmet or to Not…

The human head is said to have the same consistency as a watermelon when it hits the pavement…

That is a photo of my friend’s helmet.  While we were riding at what they consider a leisurely pace up to Otter Lake, the A guys were doing their weekly Saturday hammerfest to the west of us.  Their ride is one of those where they will tell you ahead of time, “Don’t show up hungover and bring your good legs”.
The man who normally wears that helmet is a better, faster cyclist than I am.  Hell, he’s better and faster than you too.

The point is, the guy knows how to ride, and well.

On that Saturday ride, there was a slight surge coming up to a stop sign, followed by a slowdown.  One of the front guys slowed a little faster than the rest of the group anticipated which brought the group together too quickly.  One of the guys darted left to miss a wheel and hooked my friend’s front wheel.  My friend went down, hard.  He broke his hip, which really sucks.  On the other hand….

Zoom in.  On the other hand, his wife won’t have to change his diaper for the rest of his life because his brain isn’t mush because he was wearing that helmet.  No brain injury was found after a CAT scan.

If you pay attention to the great helmet debate, you will be inundated with faulty arguments masquerading as reasons to avoid helmets, about torsional impacts and blaming the helmet for making injuries worse from the “helmets are unnecessary” side.  Most of these arguments will be made from a theoretical point of view by engineers and/or mathematicians and/or the ignorant masses who follow them.  They’ll even say wearing a helmet causes more accidents or increases their severity because if people didn’t wear helmets, they’d ride more like sissies (the old “remove airbags and weld a 4″ knife blade to the steering wheel to improve driving skills” argument).

I suggest speaking to someone a little more “hands on” than a theoretical mathematician.  Try a Sheriff’s deputy, a firefighter, EMS technician or, if you need some letters before or after a person’s name, a doctor – preferably a neurologist.  Each and every one, without fail (especially those relegated to the scraping of brains from the road after accidents) will recommend you wear a bicycle helmet.

As to the whole torsional argument, if you look at that first photo, you can see the skid mark in the helmet.  My friend had no neck injury.

Now, I’m not saying there aren’t instances where a helmet would add to an injury – there certainly are those rare cases, but it’s like the great seatbelt debate.  For every one instance wearing a seatbelt caused harm, there are hundreds where having one on saved the motorist (or where not wearing one killed the motorist).  For every one instance where a helmet added to the severity of a bike accident, there are hundreds where the helmet saved the wearer from a catatonic state, diapers, and drooling on themselves for the next decade while their body rotted inside out – and it literally doesn’t matter how slow you’re going.

My friend’s season is done, not life as he knows it.  He’ll spend the next several months recovering, but he will be back.  There’s no doubt, if he hadn’t been wearing that melon armor, he’d be looking at a much longer recovery period… or worse.

To wrap this post up, I do want to make one thing clear:  I do not advocate for government bureaucracies making a bunch of rules and regulations regarding how bicycles are ridden and whether or not helmets are worn….  Bicycle helmets, like motorcycle helmets, should be the choice of the rider – in every case.

I just happen to be a person who won’t leave home without his melon protector.  Ever.  Not wearing one is too stupid for me to even grasp.  I would be without three friends if we weren’t so adamant about always wearing them.  Three of my friends, dead or drooling.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is no debate.