Archive for May, 2011

28 May, 2011

One of my favorite shows is In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman. One of my favorite podcasts is Doug Loves Movies. Anyone heard from D. L. Hughley?


I Agree Wholeheartedly
24 May, 2011

A fortnight ago my spouse noticed signs on local roads warning that hundreds of cyclists would descend last weekend as part of an organized ride. I have written in the past about my frustration with cyclists who insist on all the privileges of motor vehicles with none of the responsibilities. Apparently Chief Dan Brown of the Amity police department shared my frustration as he instructed his officers to cite any cyclists who failed to obey the traffic laws.

It’s about damn time.

The road on which the warning signs were posted has no posted speed limit. It also has no shoulder, let alone a bike lane, and poor visibility. Even without organized rides it sees too many cyclists, due in part to its inclusion on maps given out at bike shops. A resident has even posted a sign that says “Ride single file”. I consider the fact that there has not been a cyclist fatality on that road a testament to the abilities and character of the motor vehicle drivers.

Farm equipment also uses that road. Even though the tractors travel at much slower speeds than the cyclists, they form less of an impediment. The difference is that the drivers of the tractors keep a steady line, ride as much out of the way as possible, and pull over to let others past. The cyclists swerve all over the lane, routinely ride line abreast instead of line astern, and only pull over when they are tired, regardless of the number of vehicles stacked up behind them. The tractor drivers behave like members of the community who are sharing a resource; the cyclists behave like spoiled children who believe they are entitled to do whatever they want without consequence.

I know several people who are keen cyclists, some of whom ride to and from work. So I know that some cyclists have control of their vehicles, share the road with others, and work hard to keep themselves out of danger. I formerly assumed that most cyclists were like that. But experience has shown me that the good cyclists form a minority. In that I agree wholeheartedly with Chief Brown, who says: “I wish I could say it was just a few riders, but it seems to be the majority of the riders that disregard the traffic laws.”

Ace Couture
18 May, 2011

We went to see Adam Carolla last Saturday night. As Mister Johnny-on-the-Ticket-Master-web-site, I managed to score us second row seats. He put on a great, ninety-minute show and stayed after the show, though he was obviously beat, to sign stuff. (We even got our photo taken by Mike Lynch.) On the way home, we were talking about how it seemed that Carolla had just walked in from the other room and started talking. When I mentioned that someone in the crowd had yelled that he was wearing the same shirt as the last time he came to town, my spouse commented that he spends most of his day wearing sweats and his pants looked a little like sweats.

“You’re right,” I agreed, “they did look like poplin sweats.”

My spouse laughed and said, “Are you Carson Kressley? Not just sweats. Not even cotton sweats. But poplin sweats.”

“No,” I corrected, “poplin is an inherently funny word.”

Seated Currrl
11 May, 2011

One of my Christmas traditions is watching the World’s Strongest Man marathon on ESPN. So perhaps I have Dougie Edmunds on the brain. But I often find myself during my strength workouts announcing the next lift in a Scottish brogue.

Amateur Humoredian
7 May, 2011

My youngest had a friend for a sleepover a fortnight past. During dinner table conversation, my spouse introduced as a topic the recent archeological find of a male skeleton buried in the fashion of a female. Ignorant of the degree to which the friend’s family had addressed gender issues, I glossed over the concept of the two-spirit. My eldest, who is really developing quite the comic mind, said in a caveman voice, “Foot-Smash is strong in battle but knits a nice afghan.”

The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree, eh?

Viva Zapato
5 May, 2011

Our yogi does not care for John Canzano because he perceives him to be biased toward a local university due to the influence of a certain, locally-headquartered, footwear and apparel company. While relating this my spouse said, “He doesn’t like Canzano because he thinks he’s in the pocket of…”, and then paused, searching for the right term.

I offered, “Big shoe?”

(I can not be the first person to use this joke. But I have not heard it before and it quite tickles me.)

I Consider Myself … a Nerd
4 May, 2011

This morning I had just started on something when I realized that I would be a lot prouder of it if I eschewed the usual format and spiced it up a bit. Fifteen minutes later I left the draft to sit while I showered, etc. When I returned to it, I decided I wanted to try to take it to eleven, which required a trip to the garage to fetch reference material and another fifteen minutes. Noticing that I was going to be non-trivially late for work, I asked my spouse if it made me a nerd (although I do prefer “geek”) because I was spending this much time on a task like this. I detected quite a bit of sarcasm in the replied “Little bit.”

3 May, 2011

The images of people celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden bothered me. I am aware of no evidence that bin Laden was not a bad guy. He seems to have willingly participated in multiple terror attacks and shown no remorse or willingness to negotiate. The world is probably a better place without him. Still, several people died in Operation Geronimo.

There is a primal exultation in emerging victorious from combat and one can not criticize the combatants for it. Nor can one criticize those who have been injured by or lost loved ones to the attacks for which he was responsible. I would expect a certain amount of relief and a feeling of vindication, that justice was finally served. But I suspect that the people shown celebrating fall into neither of those categories.

The fang and claw nature of life leads to zero-sum conflicts. In order for me to eat, plants and animals must die. Yet I would be very concerned about someone who enjoyed and celebrated those deaths. Those who assume the burden of taking life, whether in the slaughterhouse or in the battlefield, do what they believe needs to be done. That people only indirectly involved would celebrate the loss of life, no matter how justified, strikes me as shamefully barbaric.

The details of the operation show that, despite promises to the contrary, nothing has changed in government. The Obama administration authorized a military operation that violated the sovereignty of another nation, a behavior for which it heavily criticized the Bush administration. To my knowledge, bin Laden had only been indicted, not convicted, by U.S. and international courts. (So much for strengthening diplomacy and international cooperation.) That the government continues to take unilateral, military action gives me substantial pause.