Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Happy heatwave. I got back from a balmy 8 days in the UK a week ago and we plunged into the negative digits for overnight lows here in Mpls. I found myself wishing I'd extended my stay across the pond.

Last weekend we swung 'round to highs in the 40s. It's been holding there, so we're in the middle of a slush-n-puddle festival. I was craving the end of winter but this sudden end was unexpected. There has to be a walloping storm around the corner. (Weather's other shoe is perpetually ready to drop in Minnesota.)

I've had a couple of interesting bits drop into my email inbox of late. The first is amusing, perhaps downright funny, while also revealing a few disturbing presuppositions regarding cyclists. Still, it is interesting to note that a competitive cyclist logging thousands of miles in a single race wouldn't be tempted to use drugs to keep himself going. However, the leap that only kids would dare ride bikes without the benefit of drugs to inspire them is narrow if not utterly spurious.

In defense of this mindset, it re-occurred to me recently that what we serial cyclists do is not normal. So if you are among this crowd you should keep in mind that many of the drivers passing you believe the "normal" thing for adults to do is buy a car and drive it places; that riding a bike to get somewhere is what people who've had their licenses revoked must resort to. Have patience with them and remember that oil prices are hiking.

But without further ado, here's Lance Armstrong Does Drugs.

The second tidbit was simply astounding. I didn't dig deeper into the work of Michael Rakowitz, but the concept of building low cost shelters for the homeless (seriously low budget) is fascinating. There's also a pleasant theme of subverting discriminatory city laws. I dig that.

Not long after moving to Minnesota in February of 2002, I was invigorated by the winters. I walked a lot and every time I passed a large building with its heat exhaust spilling onto the sidewalk I wondered, "Why can't this warm air be recycled?" Rakowitz's bivvies do just that.

How much more basically can a theory of conservation be extrapolated? Why should we waste such vital commodities as heat during a MN winter? We Americans have myriad ways to mend.

Here are a few of the Project Parasite examples, or as Johnny Nebraska coined them "Bivy Sacks for the Homeless."

I love new ways of looking at things, new thoughts on a topic. Don't you? Well, if you don't I wholeheartedly encourage you to get right with the lord and start embracing differences, challenges and shit that generally rocks your world.

Make love to your fear. Hug your hate. Water the seeds of your hope. Spring's just around the corner.