Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Cars scrape by
Dead Milkmen have nothing to say
bitchin' camaro ...
bitchin' camaro ...

If I emerge from the fire
will I then be hardened,
tempered against the iron will
of drivers
who --
guided by reptilian brains --
seek to ignore my existence?

Bearings and grease --
grist for the mill
of revolution.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Cars are for Cowards

Amid all the sunshine and happy thoughts yesterday I had completely displaced some incidents that happened while commuting last week. Twice within one day (last Monday) I had a driver and a pedestrian insult my manhood. Now, I'm not really too concerned with such words. They are interesting to note nonetheless. The driver yelled at me: "Get on the fucking sidewalk, dingle-dick!" Later that evening (like 11:15) on the Greenway some prowling ne'er-do-wells yelled at me "Hey, faggot!" as I pedaled by them. Both of these instances elicited the finger from me. It was cooly done (graceful pause, hand lingering high and proud for emphasis) as I'm gliding away. I consider it an experiment. I am legitimately trying to discover the best way to react to this sort of harrassment; because, let's face it, it takes the patience of a bodhisattva to do nothing at all. And I have a long way to go on that path.

I'm still collecting data. Suffice it to say that I have already stumbled upon what I consider to be one very significant discovery. Most perpetrators of harrassment do so only in the company of others. And most often they are men doing the harrassing. (I think I've only had two women get huffy with me on my bike.) The dude in the car had a woman in the passenger seat beside him. The chap walking who yelled at me was accompanied by two other folks (one man and one woman, I believe). This suggests something of power. If people think they can claim it, there's no joy, no release, no "Power Orgasm" if you will, if they cannot display it. This is helping me mull an oppression theory not unlike those espoused by certain psycho/social theorists. When a person feels oppressed they will project the resentment onto others whom they perceive to be weaker or beneath them. Of course, lashing out directly against the source of the oppression is far too repressed a notion to act upon. However, denigrating others becomes a symbolic substitute. And put-downs are most satisfying when it can be done in the presence of comrades or allies who will witness your fleeting and false sense of power. Simple stuff; we all know it from our painful socialization in grade/middle/high school. It is a bit disconcerting though when you see the same sad dynamic being perpetuated by "adults".

Last Thursday a friend and I were waiting at a stoplight on the ride home from work. The left turn light across the intersection cycled and a car proceeded to turn through. As it rolled by us and accelerated up the hill the driver leaned across his buddy in the passenger seat to hold up his right hand toward us. All the while he stared luridly at us through dark-tinted sunglasses. Presumably he was flipping us off. But he was wearing mittens. Dave and I were both extremely puzzled. I guess the kid understood. He looked to be high school or college age, but was already exhibiting the role that shared hate plays in American male homosocial bonding. That part I'm certain he doesn't understand. We got a good laugh as the light turned and we pedaled away.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Cruisin' on a Sunday afternoon

Finished re-building a bike last night after a stint down at One on One for the Artcrank poster show. Good times, lots of bike folk, bought two prints and didn't anticipate spending any money. The free beer formula works wonders for impulse purchases. Smart concept for art openings. That was the first show I'd attended at One on One. How many openings can you find where it's perfectly cool to BYOB?

Anyway, I went out for a rambling ride today, which is something I NEVER do. I'm always going somewhere, and usually trying to get to that somewhere rather quickly. Today, I just rode. I wanted to get off the road, too. It is a beautiful thing that 15 minutes (pedaling) from my house is a nice little network of trails around the Chain o' Lakes (5 or so of the 10K we boast in our fine state.) Nothing techy, and certainly not the gnar, but you can pedal peacefully through the woods and get away from the crowds sticking to the paved bike trails. It was sunny today and the temperature crested 30 degrees. Out of the wind it felt positively divine ... lie down in the grass and take a nap kinda weather. Mostly, I just used the down time to clear my head. For me that includes thinking and pondering just how magical the bicycle really is. You go places on a bike, physically as well as spiritually. Back-tracking, spontaneous turns, detours -- anything goes because there is no destination until you find it. Then, you inevitably realize that wasn't the destination at all. So you get going again.

One of my favorite things about a bike ramble is stopping. Yep, that's coming from someone who basically likes to carry a quick, constant tempo while on the bike. But stopping is nice. I heard the calls of song birds who have migrated back from points South, inspected snarls of cut trees blocking the path, carried my bike over railroad tracks and up steep ravines, snapped a few photos. And I stopped and took in the sun and the sky. I was gone from home maybe an hour and a half. But I returned in much better spirits.

Enjoy life, friends.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

A Photo of Friday

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Where do we go from here?

I tried to upload a happy-go-lucky image and attach something witty, but, alas, Blogger is failing me. We'll just wing it with text and hope that I don't get too carried away.

Last week, my friend Chris Zito was hit by a car at Hiawatha and Lake, sustaining fractures to the spine, arm, hip, etc. He got out of the hospital on Monday. His story was featured on the 10 o'clock news tonight. Bully, you say. Well, let's examine a few facts. Zito was struck from behind by a motorist who sped away. He was able to regain his footing and witness two more motorists driving over his bicycle in the roadway. The last part makes no sense to me. When you, fair reader, are navigating your car, don't you swerve for the slightest branch in the road? What of a whole fucking bicycle crafted for a man well over six feet in height? That's gonna leave a mark (on your precious car).

Well, blacklist me now. I am advocating the mandatory revocation of ALL such drivers' licenses. When will authorities begin to understand that there are a multitude of serially negligent and abusive drivers prowling the roads? I don't care if you've been popped for DWI or speeding. YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. Get it worked out and try to get your license back after you've addressed your problem. (You should have to appear before a board of cyclists and pedestrians.) Psychoanalytically speaking, your problem might have to do with a lingering sense of lack of freedom. If so, forget the license to drive and buy a bike. There's your real freedom, you miscreant nitwit.

Citizens observe war on foreign soil(s). And some do not understand why all of us ("Americans") do not back the war. Well, in part, (beyond many other obvious reasons) you may not understand that there are wars on American soil -- racial wars, social wars, religious wars and ideological wars. Well, speaking to the latter, the American ideology of the automobile cannot endure. Remember the civil rights movement? Well, it isn't over yet. And, I am not claiming to hold any ownership in that fight. However, I am aligning the cyclists' fight for recognition with the fight for basic, inalienable civil rights. Governments (and motorists) wish to hold cyclists accountable for a tyrannical system which has been created against them. Does the adjective "tyrannical" sound familiar? It should. It has been used to describe all that "America" is against, yet hypocritically, left and right, seems to uphold. The term was used in our Declaration of Independence -- remember that, when we called those bad Brits on their bullyish ways?

Yep, fuck you, automobile culture. When it's all said and done, millions will wonder why we spent billions combatting the mythical "war on drugs" in our fair land while ignoring the country's horrible and brutally addictive dependence on oil. Or will we? Hell, you boneheaded, habitual drivers so often seem impervious to the plight of humanity beyond your windshields. Maybe people outside of your cars appear as bugs. Sorry for the melodrama, but those who drive without brains are really irking me. Wake up, you fuckers.