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Mask Mandates and Fun with Science.

Ah, I can still hear the popular refrain from two years ago, “we have to follow the science!”

Well, let’s see how closely we have to follow the science now that science has spoken on mask mandates:

The word “useless” works.

I’m not going to suggest we get all snarky about this. If you were one of the gullible who bought into the mask hoopla, please accept that you were wrong with humility and remember this in the future.

Thank you.

Lest you believe the chart above is fake and likely produced by some anti-vax right-wing Trump supporting tabloid,

Try the former New York Times science correspondent, John Tierney for the City Journal. Via Power Line.

Well, part of that isn’t left-wing… but you gotta ask yourself, would the left-wing actually give you the story straight?

Don’t count on it. More on that later. In the meantime, burn those silly things.

Is Civilization Really Headed for Collapse? Don’t Hold Your Breath…

There’s been a lot of hubbub on the web lately about the end of civilization as we know it. Ah, it isn’t 2012 anymore…

Look, rather than make a big deal out of this post, I’m going to keep it simple. They’ve been calling for the end of civilization since Jesus swung a hammer. Sure, countries come and go, and politicians have a funny way of playing the leading role in that, but let’s remember one thing before we start burying freeze-dried food in the backyard: Don’t worry when people are shouting, “The end is near, the end is NEAR!” from the rooftops. No, it’s time to start worrying when they start yelling, “Nothing to worry! All is well!”

Just sayin’.

Is Magnesium A Superior Bike Frame Material… When Compared to Carbon Fiber?

Trigger (heh) warning: This is some funny $#!+. Read at your peril. If you’re allergic to laughter and happiness. Err somethin’. Anyway, without further ado:

So sayeth Ollie at GCN, that magnesium could be the new frame material of choice for frame building. It’s plentiful, easy to manufacture, easy to manipulate, repair and coat… and it’s fairly light. It’s less dense than Titanium, therefore lighter, so that’s a great start.

It’s not all a bed of roses, though. Magnesium is flammable when it’s met with water. Take a little bead and drop it in some water and see what ha… you know what, don’t. Take my word (or watch the embedded video below). That, you might think, would be a problem for a cyclist getting caught in a rainstorm and having their bicycle burst into flames! Well, it’s not so disastrous, really. But it makes for a funny point.

If you’ve been following GCN’s videos of late, Ollie is very excited that magnesium is the eighth most abundant material on the planet, even more abundant than aluminum! Impressive indeed. GCN has been running the green theme for a while, now, presumably trying to be sufficiently woke that they remain relevant in today’s “we’re woker than you, and here’s why” environment (where everyone tries to out-woke the next to a point you can only win by being so woke you kill yourself to show how woke woke really is – a game I’m content losing to someone else). Where this gets fun is GCN having just done a video in which they explore the idea of running out of carbon fiber.

If you don’t get the irony, carbon is the single most abundant element on the planet. I didn’t bother watching the carbon fiber video, but presumably, while we might run out of the chemicals to make the epoxy, we won’t be running out of carbon any time soon. Hell, just the amount emanating from Washington DC would keep the bicycle industry in decent supply for the next 138-years. Give or take.

But let’s get real about this. Let’s go beyond the petty virtue signaling and posturing of which material is “better for the environment” – it’s probably magnesium, but there will be flaws that must be ignored in order to make that idea work. The dreaded trade-offs are unavoidable and I highly doubt the only one would be weight or the metal bursting into flames. Simply put, if you’re not building out of bamboo (a fully sustainable grass), they’ll be able to out-woke you. If that matters to you.

In any event, with a proper ceramic coating inside and out to keep your frame from bursting into flames should it get wet (it’s a little more stable than that, I’m being a bit facetious for fun), magnesium could be the wave of the future for bike frames, so smack my ass and call me impressed. While they did make a point of how recyclable magnesium was, they didn’t say how recyclable it would be after being coated with a ceramic-based finish… but let’s not allow reality to intrude on feeling good about magnesium, eh?

Come to think about it, I’ll probably still keep my Venge, thank you very much. Virtuous or not. It’s light. And fast. And aero. And beautiful… and whilst made with carbon and chemical epoxies, it’s painted with… erm… you know, paint. Now, should my beautiful Venge break (because carbon won’t burst into flames when wet), well, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in that event.

How long does it take to (re)learn how to properly throw a bowling ball?

I learned how to bowl, I mean really bowl, during a college course. I chose the old style of bowling. Three fingers with a triangle layout, hand holding the ball on the side, arm swing, lift to impart rotational spin which will create a small hook as the ball travels down the lane. Bam. Bob’s your uncle.

That’s how I bowled from 1992 till December of 2021. There were different variations on the theme, of course, but everything changed a few months ago when I committed myself to learn the modern way of throwing a bowling ball. The original plan was to just get new equipment and keep my old college style but YouTube and Brad & Kyle messed that plan up.

I changed one little aspect of my release to start after buying my first brand new bowling ball (ever). Rather than start with my hand on the side of the ball, I started with it behind the ball and I’d rotate my hand to the side at the bottom of the forward swing and get some good rotational spin on the ball. That lasted a few weeks but I was quite inconsistent. I started watching videos from JR Reymond and Brad & Kyle after Googling how to throw a better hook. At first, it seemed too far out of reach for me to pick up the full modern way to throw a bowling ball – there were too many moving parts at the release that made the mechanics of it seem to difficult to bother with.

Then I picked up a stronger ball (in terms of the coverstock – the shell of the ball) that I could trust to hook if I rolled up the back of the ball on oily, slippery lanes. A strong ball grips the lane, even through oil, and I can trust it to hook. With that new revelation, I decided to change fully – and that’s when the serious practice started.

I did practice drills three or four nights a week in the spare bedroom, rolling my ball on the carpeted floor into pillows or an old mattress (the mattress was pretty cool, it actually returned the ball back to me for another throw). The key was learning the timing in getting my thumb out of the ball before my ring and middle fingers. Getting the thumb out early led to the ability to ride up the the back of the ball, putting more revolutions on the ball than I ever could have before, which helped the ball hook that much more.

After a week or two of drills, I started practicing a lot more. I’d go to an alley once or twice a week, in addition to my two league nights, to practice. I learned how to aim with the new release. I learned that I needed different bowling balls for different lanes. I couldn’t use the strong ball on two of my favorite lanes because it would hook too much and too early. Practice, practice, practice…

And now I’m comfortable with the new release. Enough I don’t resort to the old way of throwing a bowling ball and I’ve finally gotten to a point where I’m much more consistent.

All in all, with bowling three or four times a week, plus 15 to 30 minutes of drills in the spare bedroom a few nights a week, I completely changed how I bowled in about four weeks. I went from the way I learned in college to a modern bowling release, then learned how to aim that new release, in a month. The tough part was getting through the rough patch where I struggled with aim, hook and speed – while I was trying to put everything together. It took a lot of patience.

To my fellow bowling enthusiasts, my apologies for being a day late with my bowling post. I was too proud of my Cooter Yoga post to wait. I was laughing too hard to think rationally as I hit the schedule button. Cooter Yoga… now that’s funny.

Cycling, Soreness and the Key to Loosening Up Those Hips; A Humorous Look at YouTube Yoga.

So, every now and again I have a yoga instructional video pop up on my YouTube feed. Now, how instructional it is would certainly be up to interpretation. Generally speaking it’ll be a scantily clad woman, usually in some form of a thong, spreading her legs or putting one or both legs behind her head or sticking her butt out at the camera… It seems to me, the main idea is for the woman to generate clicks by flashing her barely covered vulva at the camera whilst, and at the same time, performing some form of yoga or stretching activity. We’ve all heard of “hot yoga” and “goat yoga”, right?

I’ve taken to calling this “Cooter Yoga”.

So here’s where this really gets funny (even more funny than “Cooter Yoga”). I rode my bike every day last week but one, after being stuck indoors on the trainer all winter long. I was sore. My legs, hips, knees, ankles… anything from my belly button down was giving me a hard time. So, after I showered up one afternoon, I laid on the bed in pain, just hoping for a little relief by laying there… and the thought hit me, “Wait a second, Cooter Yoga.”

Right there on the bed, I flared my legs wide like one of the Cooter Yoga girls on YouTube – or at least my approximation of what goes on there – let’s face it, it’d take a year of Cooter Yoga for me to be loose enough to emulate what’s on the video channel.

But… son of a bitch if it didn’t work. I couldn’t freaking believe how much better I felt, all of an instant. I did it again. Both legs, then one at a time, then knee bent over the other knee… it was better than two AdviNol (or TyleVil if you prefer).

And so it was, Cooter Yoga saved the day after a heady week of cycling fun!

If your hips, legs knees, etc. are sore after a lot of riding, it’s worth a try. I’m hooked. And laughing. Hysterically!

Now, in fairness to my wife and the PG nature of my blog, I’m not going to post a link here… but you hopefully got a funny enough idea to search to your heart’s content. Or content.

You say tomato…

How God Works In Recovery… My Personal Experience

My name is Jim. I am an alcoholic. I’ve been recovered, or in the process of recovering, for 29 years. When I was just two weeks in, I asked for a deal with God. I’d give recovery everything I had if He would help me.

The next morning I woke up a free man, though a young and dumb one at that. God had removed my desire to drink and get high. Just like that. It was, in a nutshell, a miracle. I hadn’t gone 30 minutes without wanting a drink for years.

That’s a pretty big thing, though, right? Of course it is.

God will help with small problems as well. All I have to do is humbly ask (Humbly is the operative word in that last sentence, in case you missed that).

I have a massive project due tomorrow. I am beyond an expert in my field, but this one is hard. The specification manual is just one page shy of a thousand. There are more than 200 relevant blue print pages I’ll be responsible for, and I’ve only had a week to work on the job while attending to my other responsibilities as well. It’s an impossible task. The project is due Thursday so I need today to be massive so I can get the project completed.

I stayed up 20 minutes later than I should have but went to sleep 45 minutes before my wife wanted me to, knowing I needed to be up and at it today. That’s the discipline. But I woke up at 1:40 in the am. Just 3h:50m after falling asleep… and my mind started cranking up about the day ahead.

This is trouble. This is a recipe for me sitting out on the computer at 1:50 working on a couple of posts. I said in my thoughts, “God, I can’t do this today. I need your help. Please clear my mind so I can get the sleep I need to do good things.” I laid down in my most comfortable position, straight on my back, pillow positioned perfectly and I was asleep 30 seconds later. I woke up at 4:28. Two minutes before my alarm went off.

I thanked God as I rolled out of bed and started getting ready. I had to be a little motivated, too, because I never sleep in that late. I had to skip my morning coffee, though I made a pot to split with my wife so I could take some in my travel mug. I didn’t write my morning post till I got to the office, then cranked it out in 20 minutes while checking emails and getting the office ready for everyone else to show up.

Now, there will be skeptics who would point to all manner of reasons it wasn’t an act of God to help me sleep. I know it was, though. I don’t possess the ability to fall asleep like that, on my own. It takes time for me to slow the thinking down – as much as an hour. Last night, the gears didn’t wind down to a crawl when I asked for help. They stopped. Immediately, as if someone stuck a wrench in the gears.

The other night, while out with my wife, mother and sister at a wedding reception, a glass of wine got to looking a little too attractive. It caught me by surprise (but not by too much). I asked God to take away any creeping desire. It was gone, just like that. I didn’t think about it again till just a few minutes ago.

And that’s how God works. When I ask for help fulfilling His will for me, I get what I need to make it happen. Every time, without fail. That’s how I know to go to the well when I need water.

So who’s right, me or the skeptic?

I say who cares? I’d rather believe and find out I’m wrong than not and find out I was wrong. Wouldn’t that be the biggest “oops” of your life? “Wait a minute, Pete. Those are some shiny gates… you mean all of that God stuff was real? Oops.”

You know that aphorism, there’s no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole?

My life as an alcoholic was one giant foxhole that I couldn’t climb out of alone… and my beliefs don’t require everyone’s participation. I don’t believe in tooting my saxophone on a hilltop, but I won’t be ashamed of or hide my beliefs, either.

And all of a sudden, people are trying to justify being chronically late as something noble? BS.

I recently read three quotes on two different blogs spinning being consistently late and making other people wait as some noble exercise.

Punctuality is the thief of time, they say. I’ll be five minutes later than you think I’ll be, is another.

Here’s one of my own: “I’ll have left five minutes before your five minutes later… and I won’t be seeing you again with your attitude because next up in your life’s progression is psychopath. Good luck with that.

Psychopath is too strong a word, you say? Let’s see what Merriam & Webster have to say about this:

a person having an egocentric and antisocial personality marked by a lack of remorse for one’s actions, an absence of empathy for others, and often criminal tendencies

The only thing left after “the thief of time” is criminal tendencies, folks. Do you want to be around for that? That’s a shit show I’d rather see on the news than up close and personal!

Being ten minutes late, consistently, is a manipulative display of childish dominance and aggression. And friends, you don’t need that in your life when it can be avoided. People who can’t smell that they’ve shit their pants in the form of being chronically late are better handled by someone who has an inordinate amount of joy and happiness to spare. The chronically late are rarely forthright enough to let you know why they’re always late. In fact, they’re so weak, most will make excuses rather than give you “punctuality is the thief of time” because they know most well adjusted, decent people won’t have the time for such horse shit.

Best to leave psychopaths to the doctors. Either that or make them wait… and don’t be weak like them. Drop the “punctuality is the thief of time” quote on them. Maybe you can make it a contest and see who can be later till you get to a point neither shows up. That’d be a hoot. In fact, if you handle this properly, I’d bet you find out that punctuality is only the thief of time when it cuts one way.

The other way to handle this is to lie, honestly. Tell the person they have to be wherever fifteen minutes early. They can be their ten minutes late and still be right on time. Technically, fifteen minutes is right on time, but let’s start with baby steps.

One Of Jordan Peterson’s Videos Saved My Marriage and Made Me a Better Man (In Recovery) In a Little More than 10 Minutes.

Now look, I’m not going to get dragged (or drag anyone else, for that matter) into the political discussions right now. If you choose to argue based on the designed playbook the politicians to keep us angry and fighting, that says a lot. While I used to get into that battleground and roll around in the mud, I’m going to try to have better things to do with my peace and sanity. Also, it’s a rare post I talk about my wife other than in passing and this will be one. That relationship is off limits in terms of my writing and recovery… but this is one of those times where the two crossed and the story matters to my recovery immensely.

And that leads me to Jordan Peterson. My wife and I have been married for almost 25 years. Together for 27. Even in recovery, there’s a lot of room for resentment and unresolved problems to build up in that time – for both my wife and I. For years I’ve listened to either talk radio or music on the way into and home from work. About an hour and a half a day. About three weeks ago, I came to the realization that I could possibly use that time constructively when Jordan Peterson’s lectures started popping up on my YouTube home screen. And, as it turns out, I needed what came from the positive things he talks about for a person to be better.

Last week, my wife had set it up to go to see a concert with her cousin. I’d expressed a desire to take her to that show way back in December so we could go on a special out of town date months before but she dawdled in getting the tickets. While I appreciate Tool, I’m not a massive fan, but my wife’s gone with me to see bands that I loved so I figured I’d do the same for her… but nothing happened with it so I didn’t think much of it until, three days before the concert, she woke me up and asked if I minded if she went with her cousin (they’re both big fans of the band) and stay with her aunt overnight.

That hurt. Bad. Here’s the real kick in the pants; my wife would rather go to a concert with a cousin than on a date with me. Now, I could have taken that choice out on my wife, but that’s about as constructive as dynamite. I played a part in her choice and for that part I am responsible. That’s also the only part I can do anything about fixing.

Anyway, I spoke with our youngest daughter in the morning, the day before the concert, and she said that her mom had told her to find a friend to stay with because she was going to ask me to go with her to the concert and we’d be gone overnight. My hopes were buoyed. Right up until I got home and my wife said that she’d talked to Josie and thought about asking me to go but changed her mind.

F***. Double the pain. I prayed a lot.

My marriage to my wife isn’t a commitment to my wife. I view it as a commitment to God. My wife benefits from that commitment… so things were crashing down and I had to find a way back from that mess. It was on the way into work at 5:30 am that I decided to listen to a few videos that interested me on YouTube. Now, I don’t watch anything while I’m driving but I do listen and the third video in was this one:

The morning of the concert, my wife called and said her cousin’s girlfriend had come down with a serious illness and he wasn’t going to be able to make the show. She asked if I’d go with her.

Now, there comes a time when doing the right thing for a marriage is very hard. I was hurt and wanted to do some damage. I wanted my wife to feel the hurt she put me through. For all of two seconds. The silence on my end must have been something… but I broke it by agreeing to go. We said a few more words and I hung up and got ready to head home.

I listened to a couple of more videos on the way home, including the one I’d linked to above. In fact, I listened to one in which Peterson suggested, for the sake of the relationship, just table all of the bad crap until the next day so you can remember what it’s like to have fun before you go into the negotiation phase. That seemed pretty relevant, along with negotiating for peace by doing the least damage possible. My wife and I never fight like that. We always go for maximum carnage to win.

Well, within five minutes of being on the road we were already at each other and I suggested we table everything and just have a good time. We could pick the discussion up on the way home. My wife countered with ‘how about I take you home and go by myself’. Now, this was one of those ‘can we come back from a really bad decision in tactics’ moments for me. We took the next 45 minutes to work through it and by the time we were halfway to the concert, we’d gotten things to a place we could be agreeable.

As we approached Grand Rapids, my wife asked if I wanted to find a Qdoba. I offered for something a little more high-end as we’d be in the big city. I said, ‘let’s make a night of it’. She called her cousin to ask for suggestions and I called a friend I work with who lives just north of the city. He provided two options a couple of blocks from the venue. One was a high-end pizza joint a friend owned and the other was an upscale seafood and steak restaurant. My wife expressed doubt about the seafood part so I checked out the menu on line and it looked fairly diverse… so I reserved a table for fifteen minutes as we were parking the car. We still had two hours before doors at the concert.

We walked into Leo’s and I was surprised they let us in. It was really nice. We were seated and given menus… and the look on my wife’s face was not good. It was seafood heavy – the online menu looked a little more diverse. They did have an amazing looking brie appetizer that my wife ordered right away… and when the waiter came out with the specials and, even though there was a $74 steak on the menu, we both ordered the Fish & Chips. I know what you’re thinking – and I know I need to have my head examined, but that just sounded good. The cheese appetizer was astonishingly good and my wife’s mood lifted noticeably. She had her moment where she could have blown up the whole night in a rage but opted for peace instead. And the Fish & Chips, with homemade tarter sauce that should have been illegal, were astonishingly good. It was one of those, ‘oh yeah? how much better can a high-end place make fish & chips?’ moments. As it turns out, quite a bit better. We both laughed after taking our first bite.

And just like that, the mood shifted. We stayed on the positive the rest of the night and even opted to drive home rather than stay in Grand Rapids. The next morning I played hooky and we talked about how to ride the wave of decency we’d found ourselves on. We went out to breakfast and had a fantastic day together. I shared a couple of the clips I’d watched with my wife and we’ve been working for a better place ever since. It’s been more than a week, now and we haven’t fallen back into our old, destructive ways. Things genuinely feel better. I don’t want to take that too far, but it at least feels like we’ve got something to build on – actually, that’s a great way to put it.

Point is, I’m putting that video, and doing the least amount of damage possible down as the second-best marriage advice I’ve ever received.

Uh, No… I Believe You’re Mistaken…

Um, no. They’re politician problems.

And I don’t mean they’re problems for politicians to figure out. They are problems created by politicians.

Now, everyone, what did Einstein say about solving problems with the same thinking that created the problems?

And therein lies the rub.

Cycling and the Non-Controversy of Wearing a Helmet… or Not.

A small businessman in the United Kingdom recently, according to reports, banned his bicycle delivery people from wearing helmets whilst they ride, citing data that, if used falsely (and ignorantly), shows an increase in injuries with helmet use. The notion goes, people ride bikes more safely when they don’t have a helmet to rely on to protect their melon in the event of a spill. If we leave the argument right there, that business owner has a point, but that’s where the “ignorance” shows up to the party. This discussion is never that simple.

I ride my bike in a manner that is inherently more dangerous than anyone out for a little spin around the block. I rode solo, and mainly on back, dirt roads for a couple of years and could have legitimately justified not wearing a helmet but nowadays most of my mileage is with friends. We all wear helmets because we’re riding so close together at high rates of speed:

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, helmets were banned citing that same data. In that last photo in particular, we’ve got a bunch of hammers. We were cruising downhill at around 30-ish miles per hour or 45 feet per second. I have enough fun, even if helmets weren’t available, I would ride the same way. I’d risk it, as would most of my friends. In that case, you’d see catastrophic injuries from bicycle accidents skyrocket. Then the politicians, being what they are, would move to restrict how people are allowed to ride bikes; no more group riding. Politicians do stupid shit like that every day – restrict freedoms based on flawed data and the implementation of poorly thought out policy. Oh Canada!

That’s only a second third of that discussion, though. Here’s the final third: a very good friend of mine went for a 40-mile ride and didn’t bother taking a sip of water the whole ride. It wasn’t particularly hot out. It was mild, in the mid-70s (23-ish C). Two miles from home he passed out while riding. His helmet split when his head hit the curb, but he suffered no brain injury whatsoever. None. Without his helmet we’d have been attending his funeral. Another friend, riding in a group, stopped his bike with his face when another rider’s chain snapped in half in front of him. He grabbed a handful of brakes and went over the bar. He was in the hospital for a week. Without a helmet? Funeral. No doubt about it. Another friend who likes to ride mountain bikes and has crashed twice a year for the last three… well, let’s just say he’s not very good at mountain biking (though he’s since sold his bike and sticks to the road, now). Every one resulted in a busted helmet. He had one concussion but no other head-related trauma (he did have a bunch of scrapes, a couple of broken ribs, etc., etc.). Without his helmet(s)? Funeral. I was out for a leisurely ride with my daughters. My daughter fell when she went off the side of the asphalt and tried to bring the bike back onto the road too shallow. I fell right behind her rather than run her over with my bike. I was a quarter of an inch away from the asphalt with my melon and I wasn’t wearing a helmet. I bought one each that day – for my whole family. Another friend was hit from behind by a car. He’s alive because he was wearing a helmet. Still more friends would have suffered similar fates.

Folks, there are data out there that, if used improperly, can justify not wearing a helmet. The question is, are you willing to bet your life on it that the data isn’t manipulated? Not me. I’ve got one of the best helmets on the market because I know better than manipulated statistics. My own experience is good enough – add to that the half-dozen funerals I haven’t had to attend, and I’m good, thank you very much.

To put a bow on this, I do not advocate for mandatory helmet use. I say to each their own and compulsory helmet use is compulsorily stupid. I don’t get into mandates because in the USA, Canada, most of Europe, etc., etc. the job of politicians isn’t to protect my life. Their job is to protect my freedom.

Funny how they’ve lost their way and met with problems, innit?