Saturday, February 26, 2005

He is obviously not an expert

So just how desperate must the Bush administration be to resort to this stunt to push their social security privatization scheme?

"The battle over Social Security has been joined by an unusual lobbyist, a 9-year-old from Texas who has agreed to travel supporting President Bush's proposal."

(Apologies in advance if you need a New York Times online account to access this article ... I'm not sure whether you do or not.)

Feb Mass Ride

I showed up 'round 5:20 or so, I think, and there were about 7 of us at that point, with Darkling Child being the only person I recognized. Wasn't looking super promising. But as I began to wonder just how big (or small) the mass would be, more riders started to trickle in (including Fritz, Gilby, Evil Chuck and Jennifer) until we had around 19 or so. Chuck showed up riding a red, white, and blue mtn bike I hadn't seen before, pulling a trailer containing the world's most laid-back puppy dog I've ever met. That dog has the bomb gig, to be sure - he get's the breeze in his face without so much as having to hang his head out the window - sweet. Although it's probably not totally without cost - probably gets a face full of slush once in a while, too!

I was hoping to meet Peter at the ride, as we've only met through the blogosphere so far, and he has a Stupor Bowl tshirt that he was going to send my way, but I didn't see him. Checking my email later, I discovered that he's still ailing and he's staying home instead of riding. Good idea.

Pace of the ride was a little more brisk than usual, and for a small Mass, we did a pretty good job of occupying all lanes in our direction, keeping left as necessary to keep autos from racing past. However, let the record show that I do not agree with the few massers who choose to occupy opposing lanes (riding against traffic) to prevent cars from crossing the center line and passing us when there is no opposing traffic. If one of goals of Mass is to promote the idea that bikes ARE traffic too, then we shouldn't prevent autos from crossing the center line and passing us when the opportunity presents itself. To not do so just makes us into huge pains-in-the-asses ... erm, I mean, even bigger pains-in-the-asses than we generally are. And apparently we generally are pretty big pains-in-the-asses, since one pedestrian gentleman on University informed us "If I had a shotgun I'd kill every last one of you sons-a-bitches." Interesting. And why a shotgun? Why not a 9mm or something? Must just be his weapon of choice, what he usually packs.

Anyway, I'm gettin' off the soapbox now. Of course, any masser can do whatever they want, but you won't see me riding in the opposing lane ever.

Afterwards, the remaining 6 or 7 of us swung by One-on-one, tried to hit Luce but the wait was too long, so ended up at Urban Wildlife for beers. Afterwards, the rest headed back to One-on-One, while Jennifer and I were starving and headed back to Uptown to grab some Thai foodies. All in all a good night.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Loppet Snow Madness

Warning - catch up post. Feb 5th timeframe.

I know some readers are just dying for some new posts, and they're right - I haven't been throwing up many new posts of late. So for all those afflicted with blog-reading-OCD (you know who you are) here you go :-)

The Loppet xcountry ski race was to be held several weeks ago (same weekend as the Stupor Bowl race, actually.) The City had set up snow-making-machines in the little park on the west side of Lake Calhoun, and had been blowing snow all week. They were building up a snow stockpile to be used to build up the race course, which meant they needed veritable assloads of snow.

Problem was, a major heat wave was rolling through (OK, "major heat wave" is maybe a little overdramatic, but 50F in February qualifies.) So that Friday night, the night before the race, the City dispatched several large front-end loaders to push all the man-made snow into a giant pile. I don't know if they did this to prevent it from melting, or just to make it easier to load up the next day ... I'm not sure. But their reasons don't matter - what matters is that the City had created a nice artificial sledding hill that few people knew about (although CB mentioned that there was a news crew filming out there before I arrived.) I worked a little later than usual, until CB gave me call to clue me in. So I headed home, grabbed my 2 plastic sleds (duct-taped them together so I could carry them under my arm on my mtn bike) and rode over to CBs place. (By the way, sometimes I love my life - 31 yrs old, no kids, riding to a friends place on a Friday night to go sledding. Gotta love it. So yeah, my life rocks!)

The hill was better than expected, a big 2 story-high wedge-shaped hill with a nice slope on the front (perfect for sledding), and a steep dropoff on the back (perfect for pitching yourself off, on a sled, while hoping not to die.) CB was in self-preservation mode (not wanting to get injured before his trip down-under) so he didn't tackle the back dropoff - his loss.

The next day, they hauled the snow out onto the lake, and into the streets in preparations for the race ... which they then cancelled anyway. At least some of us got to enjoy it!