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Month: June 2006 Page 2 of 3

apartment cleaning

Did I ever anticipate having so much crap in The Burrow?


It’s not like the place is very big. It’s actually quite cozy, and somehow it’s become even more cozy over the course of 2006. At least the kitchen is out of the way (and looking quite nice, I might add).

Still, tons of paper that’s been accumulated over the past few months is now in front of me. It all needs to be recycled, trashed or shredded before bed.


stein dems shoot selves in foot

Okay, why in the name of everything that’s good about the District of Columbia did the Gertrude Stein Democrats endorse Linda Cropp for mayor?

Did they not notice that Cropp doesn’t believe that the LGBT population should have the same rights as heterosexual couples? Are the Stein Dems not only acknowledging the “gay ceiling,” but reinforcing it? Is one of the longest-standing LGBT advocacy groups in the District officially throwing in the white rainbow flag?

There are three candidates for the Democratic nomination (and, by virtue of the electorate in DC, the actual office) who support civil unions – and, in some cases, full marriage – for lesbian and gay couples: Marie Johns, Adrian Fenty, and Michael Brown. An endorsement of any of these three would’ve been the strong choice: one in favor of making the LGBT population a full member of society in all areas.

Alas, they went with the candidate who, according to a gay acquaintance of mine, “gives great hugs… kind of like grandma.” Whatever – let the blood run from the wound in the Stein Dems’ feet. After all, the gunshot came from them.

This is typical of the cronyism that runs rampant through the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, and a key reason that I refuse to join such a sad excuse for an advocacy organization. An organization that purports to be a strong defender of a marginalized population, yet supports candidates who support the status quo, is one that has absolutely no relevance or purpose.

cycling pet peeve: improper use of aerobars

photo by Luc Claessen/www.ctm-images.comIf there’s one thing that creates heated debates among the road cycling set, it’s aerobars.

You know: the things that all triathletes use, the bars that likely made the difference in Greg LeMond’s 1989 Tour de France win?

The thing is, I love the concept: being able to cheat the wind, remaining aerodynamic on your bike while still having control over your ride. If setup and used properly, aerobars can be quite the perk.

But it seems the most of the riders I ride with who have aerobars simply don’t know how to properly use them.

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keillor’s wit

I’ve always found the humor of Garrison Keillor to be top notch: subtle, yet biting, reflective upon the quirks (good and bad) about the United States and its overall condition. A Prairie Home Companion (and its short-lived intermi version, American Radio Theatre) has never failed to entertain, and Keillor’s books are fun reads on a lazy afternoon.

With that in mind, I urge you to read his latest syndicated op-ed piece, “Note To Republicans: The Party’s Over.” Keillor has never been a fan of BushCo, and has seldom agreed with Republicans, but this piece is an excellent assessment of the BushCo tragedy.

workout log: 11 june 2006

Activity: road cycling
Location: Dupont Circle > Avenel/Potomac, MD
Distance: 30.8 miles (moderately hilly)
Duration: 1:55
Weather: sunny and breezy, 76 degrees
Avg HR: 141 (max 164)
Type: aerobic

A recovery ride on an adaptation of the usual course. The HR max came on a hill where I had to deal with traffic that was being ornery. In fact, I witnessed a cop pull over a driver for cutting off a cyclist during the ride – that cyclist being me. So that interrupted the ride for 15 minutes while the officer cuffed the guy, who was arguing that I had “no right to ride [my] toy on the roads.” The officer let him know that bicycles do, in fact, have the same rights as cars, and that he had not only cut me offi, but was speeding (50-something in a 40 zone) and didn’t signal his turn. I thanked him profusely for enforcing the law for cyclists – good cop. I also saw a family of red foxes: a mother and three kits.

workout log: 10 june 2006

Activity: road cycling
Location: Black Hill Park, MD > Jefferson, MD
Distance: 62.7 miles (hilly)
Duration: 3:24
Weather: sunny and windy, 68 degrees
Avg HR: 166 (max 186)
Type: aerobic

PPTC “Black Hills Picnic Ride.” A fun ride that drew almost 200 riders to the Maryland exurbs. The wind was fierce at times, but the temperature was perfect. I rode with the A group for the first while, then broke off from them when they turned toward MarLu ridge. S’ok – there were plenty of hills on this ride: long ones, short ones, steep ones, mild ones. Some were in the shade, some were in full sun (and full wind). There was a headwind for at least 60 percent of the ride. Even with the hills, I averaged 18.5 miles per hour, riding mostly solo with two tiny rest breaks (one for a bathroom break, one for a granola bar and to doff my long-sleeve jersey). It meant that I passed a friend twice during the ride, and that I finished well ahead of others doing the cued route I followed. A wonderful picnic followed, where everybody got to enjoy food and beverages with live bluegrass music in the background.

the commercialism of the world cup in the usa

Oh, to be a resident of the UK!

I say this because there’s no way to stream an audio broadcast of the World Cup here in the U.S.A.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. ESPN.com offers a live video stream, so long as you are a subscriber to a broadband service that’s paid their dues to ESPN/Disney. Granted, this is a sly way to keep workplace productivity up, as most workplaces use higher-level internet service providers that are beyond the financial reach of home users.

But it’s still annoying. BBC users who reside in the UK can stream BBC 5 Live to get their footie fix. Same for ARD in Germany, FR1 and FR2 in France, the CBC in Canada, and NipponTV in Japan. And these streams are absolutely free for residents of those countries (okay, they aren’t truly free, as residents of said nations subsidize their national networks via taxes). But here in the United States, the almighty dollar reigns supreme, and ESPN wants its money.

Granted, the Spanish language coverage of the World Cup is being shown by non-cable networks, like Univision, Telemundo and Telefutura. But they are hit-or-miss, and the dispersal of the coverage is tough to track. This schedule is the best way to keep things straight.

So I’ll watch the “live text” feed on Eurosport and watch the other games where I can. At home, I could watch on the internet via Verizon DSL, our home ISP.

Oh, wait a minute – I can’t! Seems that ESPN has decided to make their ESPN 360 service a Microsoft-only experience, requiring Internet Exploiter 6 and Windows Media Player 10. Heh – figures they’d marginalize their stream to the pandering of Bill Gates’ crummy, non-standard software.

However, most of the games are on during work hours, thanks to the 6-hour time differential between the east coast of the U.S. and Germany. Over the weekend, I might sneak off to a local bar or restaurant to see the games live, but it’d be nice to be able to watch at home.

Or listen at work.

(Granted, I should be working. But I usually have music or baseball audio on in the background, and live football coverage isn’t that different.)

Oh well….

a reason to ride

This morning marks the first time I’ve taken the car to work in over a month, and it makes me grateful that I usually ride the bike.

It’s not that I’m out of practice driving, but the drive – short as it is – is very stressful. Parents taking their kids to school are big stress cases, little islands of rage and anger. And people who think that they’ll squeeze into an intersection just as the light is turning red, only to get nowhere due to traffic congestion – what are they thinking? So the 14-or-so seconds they may save mean a lot?

So tomorrow, I’m back on the bike for my commute. And I’ll remember to move the car to a non-street-cleaning side of the street next week.

workout log: 6 june 2006

Activity: road cycling
Location: Dupont Circle > Potomac/Avenel, MD
Distance: 36.3 miles (hilly)
Duration: 2:04
Weather: sunny, 79 degrees
Avg HR: 164 (max 183)
Type: aerobic

PPTC “Downtown Breakaway” ride. I missed the ride start, but caught up with the group within the first mile. Then I got dropped due to car traffic around mile 11, and worked like mad to catch up, which I did at about mile 26. So I rode a blistering pace, for me, and the HR data proves that. Good experience, though. Went to dinner with 5 other riders afterward, eating Thai noodles outside in the cool night air.

r.i.p. billy preston

Billy PrestonIt’s a sad day for music fans – especially fans of The Beatles, George Harrison and Eric Clapton – as Billy Preston, the “fifth Beatle” during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions, died this morning after a prolonged illness. Preston was 59.

Billy Preston met The Beatles in the early 1960s, when he was one of the supporting acts on a package tour with John, Paul, George and Ringo. Their paths crossed again in January 1969, when George brought Billy into the recording sessions for Get Back to help smooth tensions within the band (“visitors brought out our best behaviour,” Harrison once quipped). And Preston’s keyboard work on the sessions was amazing – who doesn’t know the kick-ass keyboard solo in “Get Back,” such a classic bit of work.

Preston toured with George Harrison in the 1970s, with his appearance in The Concert for Bangladesh showcasing his stellar keyboards and smooth voice. And his performance at 2002’s Concert for George was so uplifting, with Preston turning the entire show into a soulful revival – the joy in his face was intoxicating.

Preston had been battling medical issues stemming from poorly-treated diabetes, which eventually caused kidney failure. This kept him in and out of hospitals for the final decade of his life, though he toured (both solo and with Eric Clapton) when his health allowed. His last recorded studio work is on the new album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Billy Preston is best summed up with his recorded work, so I leave with three songs that reflect my best memories of Billy Preston’s work:

“Get Back” – The Beatles with Billy Preston, 1969
“Don’t Let Me Down” – The Beatles with Billy Preston, 1969
“Isn’t It A Pity” – Billy Preston and Eric Clapton at “The Concert for George,” 2002

Find these songs in your collection (the first two are on The Beatles’ 1967-1970 (“The Blue Album”) collection, the last one on The Concert For George), spin ’em up, and remember Billy’s talent and warmth.

Rest in peace, Billy.

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