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Month: September 2006 (Page 1 of 3)

dems who don’t believe in true national security (senate version)

After today’s votes in the Seante regarding S 3930: Military Commissions Act of 2006, here’s a list of Dems who feel that it’s OK to torture detainees captured during the so-called “war on terror,” as well as ignore the Geneva Conventions:

Carper (D-DE)
Johnson (D-SD)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Lieberman (CfL-CT – still technically a Dem)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Stabenow (D-MI)

….and a special category:

Beyond The Pale (voted against the habeas amendment):
Ben Nelson (D-NE)

And just in case people think I’m a “cut-and-run liberal,” I offer this: yes, we need to prosecute terrorists and interrogate persons of interest to get information to preserve national security. Given how little the current administration has actually done to reduce terrorism in the world, we need all the help we can get to keep our coutry safe.

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workout log: 27 september 2006

Activity: road cycling
Location: Georgetown University > Potomac/Avenel, MD
Distance: 20.1 miles (moderately hilly)
Duration: 1:05
Weather: clear and crisp, 73 degrees
Avg HR: 162 (max 185)
Type: aerobic

A nice post-work, pre-class ride. The traffic heading out on MacArthur Boulevard was a bit much, but it kept the pack brisk. I did a little bit of hill work on the return leg, in anticipation of this Saturday’s PPTC ride – click here to see the route, which I’ll be riding clockwise from the intersection of Routes 55 and 688 (at Naked Mountain Winery). I felt good on the ride, and saw quite a few deer and hawks along the route.

review: roger waters @ nissan pavillion, 23 september 2006

Last weekend I revisited more of the music of my teenage and college years when I went to see Roger Waters at Nissan Pavillion in Bristow, Virginia. Waters treated the audience to a generous selection of songs from Pink Floyd, a few solo nuggets, and a complete run-through of The Dark Side Of The Moon.

The night was perfect for an outdoor concert: mild, with temperatures around 72 degrees, with clouds that cleared as the concert began. And it began right on time, at 8:00 pm. Of course, very few in the audience realized that it had began, as the first 12 minutes involved an image on the gian LED video screen behind the musicians.

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workout log: 25 september 2006

Activity: road & trail cycling
Location: Capital Crescent Trail and C&O Canal Towpath
Distance: 8.1 miles (mostly flat)
Duration: 0:47
Weather: sunny and beautiful, 78 degrees
Avg HR: 125 (max 140)
Type: aerobic

A nice cool-down, post-work ride with sprite. She’d had quite the day at an office outing, playing volleyball and spending time in the sun, so she was fairly wiped out. We saw some late-season fawns along the Crescent trail, and I snapped a few pictures that’ll appear on my Flickr page tonight. I mostly spun at an easy pace, which was great for clearing the weekend’s worth of lactic acid out of my legs.

workout log: 24 september 2006

Activity: road cycling
Location: Riley’s Lock (Seneca), MD > Poolesville & Dickerson, MD
Distance: 52.2 miles (hilly)
Duration: 2:58
Weather: overcast with some drizzle and wind, 78 degrees
Avg HR: 155 (max 180)
Type: aerobic

PPTC “Good ‘Ol Poolesville” ride. A great ride, despite threatening weather. About 10 rider showed up, most were A-pace riders who had made it to Warrenton (unlike me). However, the pace was conversational for most, and I had a great time. I felt like I didn’t expend too much effort on the ride, and I concentrated on keeping a good spinning cadence going throughout. Regardless, I helped drive the pace of the ride (somewhat to the chegrin of the ride leader, though she also rode my pace by the end), so I felt good about that.

workout log: 23 september 2006

Activity: road cycling
Location: Dupont Circle > Potomac, MD
Distance: 41.4 miles (moderately hilly)
Duration: 2:23
Weather: cloudy with a breeze, 77 degrees
Avg HR: 160 (max 185)
Type: aerobic

Okay, I didn’t get up as early as I’d wanted, so Warrenton was out of the question (pity, as it was reportedly a great ride). So what did I do? A solo ride, of course. I ended up celebrating the autumnal equinox by riding the PPTC “Summer Solstice from the City” route – not bad, right? I actually amended the route a bit, adding distance and hills in Potomac while nixing the return through Rock Creek Park.

ich muß schlafen (and other thoughts)

Some random thoughts this Friday night:

I realize that I need more sleep, but I’m such a night owl that it’s tough to get the message across to the rest of my system. But I need to get up early to trek out to Warrenton, VA, for a PPTC ride. Such is the price I pay to ride with folks I like….

Last night’s Pink Martini show was simply wonderful. It’s the second time I’ve seen them perform, though it was sprite’s first time. Seeing them this second time allowed me to appreciate the fullness of their sound. Of course, two things likely contributed to that kind of observation:

  1. Lisner Auditorum is much, much larger than The 9:30 Club; and
  2. They had an additional musician this time around (a violinist)

But it was a great show. They performed a few new songs, all of which were fun (including one that sounded almost “mainstream” in its arrangement and delivery). And in case Luny is reading this: Gavin sounded great, and looked sharp as well….

Tomorrow night I’m going to see Roger Waters out at Nissan Pavilion. Should be a fun show, as he’s playing the entirety of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon for the second act. Given that I’ve seen David Gilmour’s post-Waters version of the Floyd perform the album back in 1994, it’ll be fun to compare. Maybe I’ll watch my video of that ’94 show before I head out to the venue….

There are new “Monthly Crush” postings out at Selective Service. This month’s crush topic: protest songs. Featured artists include Waters, Pink Floyd, R.E.M., Dylan and others. Check it out….

looking back on bikes: part 3

In part 1, I looked at my first bikes. In part 2, I reminisced about my first performance mountain bikes.

Now let’s look at my first exotic bike:

Slingshot (1990)

After the insurance payment for the Marin Eldridge Grade showed up, I went shopping for a new bike. A teammate of mine on Team Flowerchildren, Martin Stenger, was a factory racer for Slingshot Bikes, a small frame manufacturer in Michigan. Slingshot made one of the first full-suspension bicycles, using a technique that is odd, to say the least: the downtube of the bike was replaced by a steel cable that was anchored with a high-tension coil spring at one end. The entire front half of the bike was attached to the rear triangle by a fiberglass leaf spring. Thus, the bike hinged under the rider’s weight.

SlingshotThe benefits of this design are many: really efficient climbing, excellent transfer of pedal power to the wheels, and excellent climbing ability. The drawbacks included a lot of lateral frame flex and a very frightening tendency for the frame to “fold in” on technical downhill runs. This was somewhat mitigated by running a shock fork, as well as a 1991 modification of the cable mount and spring location.

The picture here is a mock-up of my frame. It had a grape rear triangle and a pumpkin front “triangle.” The top tube was a split design, with the spring mount about 1/3 of the way back from the head tube (the 1991 revision had the spring mount at the bottom bracket, with the cable attaching to the head tube). My Slingshot ran a mix of Suntour XCD and XC Pro components with 7-speed indexing, as well as Sun Ringlé rims, Specialized Ground Control 2 tires. The original, rigid fork that came with my Slingshot had a deformed steerer tube that destroyed the original headset – it was temporarily replaced by one of Martin’s spare forks, and later permanently replaced by a Scott Unishock coil-spring fork. It was a really unique looking (and riding bike).

Team Flowerchildren 1990In my third year with Team Flowerchildren, I found new competition in the junior ranks, and failed to defend my overall series championship in the Utah Mountain Bike series. But I had a blast racing and riding the Slighshot. The rear derailleur was replaced by Suntour at the Deer Valley UCI World Cup race, upgraded to a XC Pro unit. I also had a set of Specialized Turbo/S ATB tires for road riding, which were very, very fast treads.

I rode this bike until I went to college in Connecticut. At one point, I had it all boxed up to ship to Connecticut, but never managed to get it to the shipper.

And sometime during the 1995-96 academic year, thieves broke into the garage at my mom’s house again, stealing both the Slingshot and my old Scott, while leaving my old Schwinn and a bike bought for my mom but never used.

I still miss my Slingshot a lot. It’s the best bike I’ve ever owned, bar none.

looking back on bikes: part 2

Back in part 1, I mused about the first few bikes I rode, up to the point where I started racing.

Scott Axis XT (1987)

This was my first performance-grade mountain bike. Built from Tange chromoly steel tubing, it was lighter than the Bianchi, weighing in at only 28-or-so pounds. It was painted a pearlescent white with black forks, and had the full Shimano Deore XT 6-speed indexed drivetrain. It was a big step up, to say the least! It was bought directly from our local Scott USA rep, Barbie Patterson, who was also a local ski coach.

Assembling the bike was a fun challenge for my dad and me, as it arrived in the same kind of shape as any bike arriving at a bike shop: partially disassembled. The bike rode well, though it was of the “classic” construction, without a sloping top tube that would give more crotch clearance (essential on a mountain bike). It also had one of the then-fashionable Shimano U-Brakes in the back, which often got clogged with mud, sticks and other debris. And until I fitted it with a “shark tooth” post cap, the chain would often wedge between the brake, chainstay and chainwheels – ugh.

Team Flowerchildren 1989When I got the Scott, I also joined a local bike racing team: Team Flowerchildren, the mountain bike squad for Wild Rose Sports. Tim Metos, the shop’s owner, sponsored a lot of the SLC-based races in the then-new Utah Mountain Bike Championship series, and he was happy to have me race for his store.

The first team jersey we had was a tie-dyed t-shirt jersey. It had the full assortment of rear pockets as any jersey, but was made of cotton t-shirt fabric. It suited the team perfectly, though, and I raced in some fun races that year: the Iron Horse Bike Classic NORBA race, the Blue Mountain Bike Chase, and the Tour des Suds. I finished that first racing year in 1988 as the top junior mountain bike racer in Utah.

Marin Eldridge Grade (1989)

Eventually, I felt the need for a lighter, more nimble and race-worthy bike. This time, I had Tim and his folks at Wild Rose help me find a suitable bike. While I’d had my eye on the Fisher Procalibur, I ended up getting the Marin Eldridge Grade. Like the Scott, it had a Tange chromoly steel frame. However, it also had more compact geometry and a sloping top tube for more clearance. Its paint scheme was a gloss white base with a splattering of red and blue bits – very hip for the day. It had a full Shimano Deore 7-speed indexed drivetrain with the vaunted Hyperglide rear cassette, which meant downshifts under full power. (Of course, it also meant going through three chains in that first year, as Shimano had yet to iron out the durability issues with such torque-laden shifting.)

But the bike was good and fast, both on-road and off. I took it with me to Rowmark’s Yuba Lake conditioning camp, where I rode the second-fastest time on the 42-mile biking circuit. I did well with the bike in the 1989 Utah Mountain Bike Championship series, again winning the overall championship for junior racers. I rode the bike to school, rain, snow and shine (it even appeared in the 1990 edition of the Rowland Hall – St. Mark’s School yearbook, in the class photo for that year’s graduates, locked to an unused fire escape). I loved my Eldridge Grade, no doubt – it was a great bike.

And then it was stolen from the garage at my parents’ house in the late spring of 1990. So I was back on the Scott for a while as homeowners’ insurance processed the claim for the theft.

obama does his homework

Had the chance to see Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) speak today on the subject of renewable energy and energy independence. It was a great speech, focusing primarily on the auto industry. He cited examples of Japanese and European automakers getting the point: that hybrid and alternative fuel technologies are for today, and that the demand is there. He chided U.S. automakers for not seeing reality, clinging to outmoded technologies and business models that cost them sales, which in turn cause them to bleed money and lay off dedicated workers.

He proposed many things, including a “healthcare for hybrids” model, where the U.S. goverment will assist the “big three” U.S. automakers in providing health insurance for their workers, in exchange for their active pursuit of cars using hybrid technologies, biodiesel, and better overall fuel efficiency. He deftly tied the whole energy issue to national security, and to the shortcomings of not only the Bush administration, but to politicians on both sides of the aisle. He was blunt without insulting, but he made his point.

He also answered many questions about biofuel, and wowed the audience with not only his depth of knowledge (e.g. he knew that cellulose-derived ethanol is 8 time less energy intensive to produce than the corn-based ethanol that’s the darling of the U.S. petroleum industry), but his ability to clearly articulate the issues without sounding like a wonk, and without talking down to the audience.

It was great stuff. Obama gets it. He knows how to stay on-message without sounding like a stale, Washington-lifer congressman. He’s willing to admit when he doesn’t know something, and he’s also attentive to those around him.

I got to speak with him briefly, and he and I discussed something he said during his Q&A time. One of the questioners said that she was a resident of the District of Columbia, and thus didn’t have voting representation in congress. Sen. Obama very quickly said that, until we have full representation, that he will be our voice, our vote in congress.

I asked him if that was true, and he said that he stands by it: he’s there for the citizens of DC, so long as we don’t have a voting voice in the Senate. I give him major props for such candor and willingness to listen to people who don’t live in Illinois.

He does his homework, and he’s a man of integrity. Let’s hope he stays that way.

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