What happened to all the pronouns Motherfuckers?, and who stole all my fucking adverbs? In some lunatic late night caper, likely in the darkest hour of our discontented dreamtime, somebody actually snuck crazy pills into our bedside drinking water. When we surfaced from the nightmare, we all became sterile, woke, and stoopid.
If there were to be an elephant guarding my room last night, they may recall better than I, who spiked my bedside beverage... but last I checked that elephant in my room, was certainly a female. Sensitive plush creature she is, but she didn't care about my pronouns, nor I for theirs. (Her's). Until the shit hit the fan.
"All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them". -John 17:10
When we rid ourselves of Gender Pronouns, Adverbs, and Possessive Pronouns, we will all rightly own the universe, Right?
Wrong! But we will struggle to work on this more perfect union if we are to keep it.
The alternative pronoun most commonly used is 'they', often referred to as, singular they. Here’s an example:
Someone left his or her cellphone behind. → Someone left their cellphone behind. Since we don’t know the gender of the person who (in fact) left their cellphone behind, we use 'they' (or 'Motherfuckers') to include all genders as possibilities for that mystery person. In addition to being respectful of people of all genders, this makes the sentence shorter and easier to say. In fact, almost all of us use this language on a regular basis without even thinking about it.
You have yours, I have mine, and they have them. Cool!
Motherfucker (/ˈmʌðərfʌkər/ muhth-er-fuhk-er) mf'er: refers to a mean, despicable, or vicious person, or any particularly difficult or frustrating situation. Alternatively, it can be a term of admiration, as in the term 'badass motherfucker', meaning a fearless and confident person.
For the French Speakers in the room, well... You will have a tougher time with this one, because you first have to forgive 'their' desecration of your elegant language, whilst They destroy French pronunciation, and also make a general mess of your language. You'll need to absolve me for sins of pronunciation and pronoun-ciation. French & French Speakers (I've come to know) strictly speaking, don't despise Anglicans, nor Americans, but rather they (Plural) ask simply that 'one' (singular) at least attempt momentarily to convey their idea in French, just before forgiving them (you) and switching back to the Queen's English. It is after-all rather comical to observe we Americans order or ask directions in French. I personally don't care too much for the red meat by any other name, but my Brother-in-Law will insist to a French server in Cannes, or Nice that the proper pronounciation for the strap of beef along the spine is pronounced (Mee-jaahn_, and not Mignon (/ˌfiːleɪ ˈmiːnjɒ̃/), with a stout 'i' a quick 'o' and a silent 'n'. Sigh...
The French can now grow rouge with rage as we bring to their parlay yet another cultural black hole. This, our dreaded hack of unknowing one's own preferred gender pronoun can be a road-block to fluid parlance. Not that they (the French) want to become acquainted with us at all..., but Madam (/ˈmædəm/), and Monsieur (/məˈsjɜːr/ mə-SYUR; we can no longer rely upon you, lest we offend. Which brings me to another lunatic point. While we are handing out trophies to everyone who've changed their minds, their gender, or their native language last year -- And, regardless of whether you've deciding to stop shaving, showering, or even leaving 'one's' parent's basement... We happen upon another onerous rhetorical missile so culturally uncouth, that it threatens to forge Oxford Grads into Forest Gump's. This disaster is of course the truncation of 'LY' from our lovely lunatic lexicon.
To quote One Writer's English grammar manual:
"Mistakes Happen: As long as you are earnestly putting forth effort (As most French speakers should expect); To be respectful to someone’s pronouns, small mistakes can be forgiven (as long as you learn from them). Being aware of gender pronouns expresses to individuals that you are an ally. People are allowed to be people and ask how to be addressed since that is inherently their right. Or better expressed: "Since that is that Motherfuckers right". Right?
With this friend or foe handshake over with, let's discuss the destruction of another important part of speech which we once took for granted. Perhaps this bastardizatrion began with the description of something so rapidly rocket-like, that we needed to spit the words out like a bullet. ...And so we articulated 'Fast', instead of 'Quickly'. Once this slur occurred, we'd forgotten how to merely truncate 'LY' from Quickly; And we moved directly from 'quick' to 'fast'. e.g. "You catch that COVID shit fast if you ain't careful".
There is no part of lay speech today where we lazy Tweeting Americans are not saving ourselves fractions of seconds every day, to later piss this away trolling instagram, And so we continue cutting beautiful adverbs into nasty bits, to consume them.
So we end up with They, mostly out of laziness, as with most of our sloppy mod lexicon.
We no longer teach cursive -- Fine!, you can exchange that for keyboarding, but today it seems that everyone is "All Thumbs" and we are perhaps struggling to keep this car on the road. In a bygone era of Cold War, espionage, we developed the secret weapon "They" to refer to the Gestapo, The Government, The Man, and even the fledgeling Internet to refer to anyone who was watching you for a mistake. To be sure that your allegiance remain pledged to the right state control. Now, we believe that "They", is all, "Over there someplace" meaning we exchange convenience for privacy, and WE do not give a fuck if "They", (Google, Fakebook, The NSA, or the CCP), read our private messages. We no longer care that as we've become products, "They" keep us in line by controlling what we read on the internet; Dropping us into sugary silos, like dipped mini donuts -- Allowing us to surface only long enough to buy more shit from "Them". What flavor is your glaze?, Vanilla? Yes Vanilla... I think.
"THE MAN" whom we used to call "THEY / THEM" was real (at least in my youth), and still is for most eastern block nationals, and "THEM" (the collective they, as in They are watching) <Meaning> the not so secret police, assured us that even your dear grandmother would narc on you for disparaging the dictatorial apparatus.
Whew!, well I'm sure glad that the "They Them" that I used to fear no longer exist, and that The current marshmallow version is too proud to give two shits about what I think or say.
I can Trust Google, Facebook, Tic Tock, and others with my passwords, my social status, my logins, my very likeness, after all, I am nothing in real tangible life -- Online I am amazing. They follow me everywhere showing me just what I want. to see.. Or rather that version of me which they'd hoped I'd become. They warned me against getting a 5G chip implanted with my vaccine.
Freedom, means giving in. Giving up, or perhaps just giving up control.
In my youth the scariest moment was believing that someone like Donald Sutherland would single me out with a pointing finger.
Why all the tension about tense, and grammar, when I'm the only one who matters? -- And my feelings are the important story here? Right? It's OK, as the saying goes, "I see dumb people everywhere, they are living amongst us, and they don't know they are stupid."
My real adversary is the adverb, and I'm going to fuck that thing up too.
Not unsurprisingly the English word 'Adverb' derives through French from the Latin adverbium, from ad- ("to"), verbum ("word", "verb"), and the nominal suffix -ium
If you listen to anyone today from News Anchors to "That one Motherfucker over there..." You will find that basically everyone changes the way they describe action today as follows:
Quickly changes to Quick
Slowly to Slow
Crispy to Crisp
Fatty to Fat
All get stripped of their ADD-ON to yield Despair... this short speech strips our adverbs bare without 'LY'. Hence, 'they/them' are left both naked and afraid. And without a unique pronoun, what are we?
But not the adverb "Stinky"... Why? I suppose in dropping LY, we are left with stink, without tense, nor context. "That shit stinks", is what we now say, and even "dat stank!" Whereby every adverb becomes an adjective again, or simply a noun, or even just some short hand version of how we "Should Speak". My Brother recently bought a new home with a Giant Topiary shaped like a Penis on the front lawn. Later removing this phallus' balls, required a landscaper to neutralize said "Gender Threat" to the neighborhood, Lorena Landscaping groomed the bush, removing the so called nasty bits. He (my beloved brother) did this to keep peace in the kingdom, and NOT because he gives two shits about Their Pronouns. After-all, in all of my youth any Bush could have been interpreted as female, or most "Bushes" were simply pussies, with rich parents "holding office".
In English, adverbs of manner (answering the question how?) are often formed by adding -'ly' to plain adjectives, but flat adverbs (such as in: drive fast, drive slow, and drive friendly) have the same form as the corresponding adjective; drive quickly motherfucker!, or drive slowly homie.
So much language evolves out of laziness, because we no longer want to labor in a description. Hence we have created ugly & pejorative short-speak to express a concept, and look what that has done for us as a society. e.g. "That Asian Girl over there" -- Instead of, "The dark-haired person in the yellow jacket". Or, "The person of color wearing yellow", or simply point, and say "Them!". Where could we trim the fat from laborious speech without the risk of offense, let alone prejudicial stereotyping. Simply shutting the fuck up would be a solid start. Nay, "That scary man over there" sets the balls rolling where handing this description to local Police could lead to many bad outcomes. (You Woke Prick).
So where does this all shake out? As long as we are short-sighting our language for They and Them, AKA the Bushes -- Could we not have easily expressed them as "This One", "That Individual", "This Person", "That Human", "Dude", "Beotch", "Highness", "Majesty", or simply 'It'... Could we not stay the course and protect people from the dogma of all stereotypes. 'This Black Dude', 'That White Chick', 'This Person of Color', 'That Honky White Bitch...' The person seated upon the Bench, The one next to the Bouquet, but behind the Champagne tower. Let's Learn from Samuel L. Jackson, and just call each-other Motherfuckers.
We will always use short speech to shorten these expressions, rushing our precious ideas over to another human as quickly as possible. For those of us still circulating out of doors, should we actually interact, (Gasp!) -- We could do a lot worse than to try a few new things out. ONLY, 'Them' to me remains plural. While my daily speech will nearly always offend someone, or at least lead to a bad outcome, I will certainly try to get it right, and you could try a lot harder to forgive.
Consider the expression people often use for me: "That Smug Fuck"... Born from the puritanical intent to not express my gender incorrectly, Those who are not quite sure where my XX or XY, lie simply substitute "Smug Fuck" for Highness or Dude. (Which by the way is also Gender Neutral). Could we not simply call each-other 'Fuckers?' or 'Motherfucker?' Our beloved Samuel L. Jackson Built an empire on this Majestic Pronoun.
"This one fucker"... "That one Fuck" is blissfully easy to spit out. Notice I don't use "Fat" in operating this machinery as in "That One Fat Fuck", BUT the universal "One" is still prevalent, As in..., "That one stinky fat fuck"... Which remains appropriate particularly when we tacitly remove the offensive "F-Bomb". What remains is just as handy and useful as 'They', and 'Them'. Right? You see I am truly trying here, and appreciate your plight, but Don't touch my gender, simply call me a scrawny smug fuck.
I was recently taken to task on this (my) misappropriation of 'Them' from Plural pronoun to Singular sensation, by my beautiful niece, who thinks I am "too stoopid and insensitive" to get all of this lexicography. But, I do get all of this, and if you do as well, then we should be slightly slighted that we didn't chisel out a little part of the grammar universe for our own special Pronouns back in the 70's. Can we not just use: One, Individual, Human, or It, as in "It's eating dinner now, can It call you back later?"
Here is the hard math:
Is it ‘its,’ ‘it's’ or ‘its’ ?
This is a common question. Here's the answer:
Oh Shit NO sir it's never Its' That will not fly.
But guess what? If you write "it" and you want to show that "it" owns something, you don't write "it's," you write "its." Yikes. That's just one of many quirky rules in the English language.
And if that's not enough stress, try this---when you want to show that a group possesses something, the typical way to do that is to add an apostrophe to the end of the word. For example, if you go backstage to the place where performers get dressed, then you've gone to the " actors’ " dressing room.
No wonder then that many English speakers naturally want to use " its’ " to mean possession by a group. But that's wrong, so remember—there's absolutely, positively no such word as its’. If you mean singular or plural possession, just write "its."
For answers to other questions similar to this, refer to:
Dr. Bruce V. Corsino
FAA Plain Language Program Manager
No Shit... this brilliant primer appears in the FAA Handbook!
Nostalgia is laziness wrapped in pretty wallpaper ...Or, is it a constant reminder of your better self? -- From whence you came, so to speak. Back when you were a good human. Well before things hijacked you.
Our brains are wired to track motion. Our empathy built to covet nostalgia. Struck by the gleaming-yellow glow of a Schwinn LeTour, steaming down the bike path -- Canvas Chuck Taylor's trace small circles around a shiny chrome chain-guard. This Bike's custodian mashing a pair of sharp steel rabbit-trap reflector-pedals... The clacks of its maxi freewheel winding down to pause for pedestrians. They are smiling. You are staring. You become lured by your past... transported to a cozy cave with your power animal. THIS, perhaps was your power animal, but you can't see it. The chattering background of the city softens to a numb murmur. Vision vignetting as you stare through a road cone of softened edges towards your past. Tunnel vision, indifferent to surroundings. Time silently slows, and then seems to rewind like magnetic tape. A moment ago you were considering your watts, and that nagging leak of air from your front Tubeless. Now we cut close to your soft eyes coddling something you used to cherish. An old friend perhaps?, confidante?... No longer considering the watts?, your watts?, their watts? No you are not doing douchy calculations. because there are no watts at this moment; Just a bike. Like a tree you'd carved your name into ages ago. An Oprah moment.
"Can you recall where it was when you met your first real bike?," She asks? A second hand store?, a Rummage sale?, Another hand-me-down?. You contemplate. You consider being locked in your safe place... In your cave trapped with two others, perhaps they are your brothers, and you are wearing hand-me-down jeans, and a plaid shirt with pearly snaps for eternity. Stuck for eternity without a bike, without a road, without an exit. Huis Clos / No Exit... Because you are a dick -- You've become a dick.
Summer Fades like facebook, as dusk falls nearer to Six than Nine, A buzzing cicada, like a dimming fluorescent sets the back-track. Banana Popsicles melt into the shirt of a kid you used to be. Soft buzzing, leaving your conscience like adrenaline --So subtle you nary notice that you are a dickhead, as autumn colors your daydream drifting to a skinned knee, climbing trees, and the awkward parkour you mastered to climb aboard this yellow bike which you could hardly even stand over. That magical day you developed a technique to dismount your hand-me-down bike, while in motion. Look!, I'm rolling through space aboard a time machine. A Banana-Yellow Schwinn LeTour, or was it a Collegiate Sport? Spokes increment a mechanical odometer bolted to the fork.
Nobody counts watts from a LeTour, right? But this one counts the clack of the hub rotating. Details are smoky, and vaporize in fits and starts like a choking lawn mower. You're contemplating the wide 5-pound, 5-speed chain -- Maxi Cranks ratcheting around, while static cogs latch, click after clack attached to a fifteen pound chrome wheel. Glazed orange brake-pads chatter textured rims to a halt... As you (the one you thought was the better you) sip your electrolyte punch daydreaming in a pit-stop upon Memory lane, squeezing some boutique energy gel between your clenched teeth automatically. Like a gagging force fed bird.
And there she is... The "Roller Girl" dressed in clothes you'd expect from when you were Ten or Eleven. Her brown suede skates with orange urethane testing tricks, and twirls, distracting you momentarily from the bike. The Vintage bike you may have actually ridden. She drops to one skate, leg extended bobbing to the rhythm of some track enveloped by giant closed headphones. Both of you isolated in a daydream, until she rolls past, and touches the pavement, losing balance. Headphones slipping sideways as she regains control over a tumble -- And you catch the slightest bit of the track escaping her open ear. Did you hear that right? No way! she is actually listening to "Cruel Summer", by Bananarama, as she swiftly skates past. They/Them, (Bananarama) cementing your crush on this moment, and all its participants.
Moments ago you were admiring your Matte Carbon Stealth fighter-bike, Contemplating Wattage, VAM, Pace, or some other triviality robbing joy from a bike ride. Now, you are just staring at the better traits you'd left behind when you moved out on your own. When This bike was handed down, SoulTrain, Roller-skates, and Generic's lined the stage of your youth. This crude but elegant bike you'd loved and then spurned when you began to climb the ladder of smug.
At 19 you knew that you knew everything.
At 21 you swore "to have one of those too".
At 30, you began collecting stuff.
Now you have more stuff than free-time, and more vices, than friends. Have you bothered to check yourself? THIS nostalgic pause should certainly take you someplace simple. Someplace beyond your self, as you consider this classic -- Your banana yellow ghost of cycling past... Whiiiiissssstt!.... It just Passed you by. This, your allegiant ghost bicycle; Your loyal 45 year-old 65 Lb. steel contraption asked nothing of you, and it would have taken you anywhere -- And it did (perhaps), before you left it for dead in your parents garage, along with your better self.
Today you are too good for this braised bionic banana. This is your past life, encapsulated. Your last hand-me-down. Fueled by adventure, selflessness, and joy, and now someone else is using it excellently. This steel transporter of happiness is perhaps superior to what you are riding today, as it is certainly more durable... than your fragile carbon ego. And yet, you will not concede this until you come of age. Your old Schwinn, LeTour, Raleigh, AMF, or Huffy after-all, is not cast aside annually for another piece of carbon jetsam. Today, last years tech is no longer holding your gaze, so you keep flipping the page and searching for the next one. "N" Plus One, and over again... But you failed the gobstopper test long ago. you are now indifferent to loyalty. Perfectly content to shed those who don't share your point of view? Capable of tending to oneself, but not to others. A pile of stuff tossed to the curb, perhaps a new bike every year? -- But never enough friends. Concede, fold, give up, You've lost.
Being true to 'oneself', means that if you were actually a good soul you'd be enjoying whatever 'bike' you own. The scrap-yard that you'd thought became the forever custodian of your first ten speed, did in fact spit-up the bike you'd forsaken.
Your Parent's call to '1-800-F'CK-JUNK' gave a new lease on life to your cryogenically frozen Banana Solo. Old yeller Bike loved you, and today you nary consider it's welfare, let alone feelings. Then BAM! you realize you -- You are a piece of shit, not simply for having cast aside your first real friend, but for doing it over and over again. This bike keeps time, and keeps-on keeping-on without your bad energy. But then, you knew that. This bike is going no place gently, and has more lives than your college futon. Today, You really DO need to take a moment and marvel at how it could be that the bike you struggled to straddle, now fits just as awkwardly beneath a far taller and more awkwardly upright version of yourself. Drifting back in time to when you were kinder, gentler, and without judgement. It is a battle with existential demons. As with all things "Terminator" from the slag-heap comes a groovy re-visited & re-wrapped Benotto festooned robot of white hot burning metal. It is here to destroy you. Melt down your carbon toys, like charcoal. Your bike is here to destroy you...? Wait!
For me it seems to have taken forever to realize one maxim of adulthood... That After one first learns to ride a grown-up bike, it will take another forty years to get over oneself. Wisdom it seems, means coming of age when a person comes to terms with the fact that oneself is not the center of the universe. Shedding ego, awkward ideology, and misguided consumerism will take an average human more than 40 years. Men far longer than women. Of course, If you've never yelled at another driver through the mute glass of your own motor-coffin, then you can stand and take a bow now, and sit this one out. If you are like the rest of us, you are but a pushing, drinking, munching, pill-popping, yelling, toiling misanthrope. You will find this fact out only slightly before you make the final Grande Departe.
"Give it away Give it away Give it away now..."
We cannot mend the fence of our own selfishness until we are either too weak to maintain the pickets, and it falls down -- Or we begin to leave the gate open. There seems to be three events in life worth remarking upon at the end of this "Cruel Summer".
1 The first time you learn to ride a bike, and find freedom.
2 The First person to love you, whom you love as well, (After your own mother of course).
3 The day you realize that you've become a selfish prick, and then this person fades into your rear-view.
For a cyclist finding and battling demons often means riding beside them, with them, or right on past. Pushing pedals through hardships, clawing back up the proverbial hill toward friends and fulfillment can be one's epic journey.
Looking down, we discover Newtonian irritation in, well
...basically we are irritated with you.
The Thing is... Everyone does the work, right? struggling to the summit; We wait at the top for our friends... then We all coast. We go someplace to earn barely enough for a new bicycle, and some of us will use it properly. We ride someplace on it for fun... A waterpark, lunch, a church, a hike, perhaps a bike ride up to the top of Mt Crumpet? Then, reluctantly we return to our caves, with stupid stories and stuff acquired along the way. Perhaps a Medal or a jersey laden with sponsors whom we don't give a shit about.
A filthy Medal, Lactate burning Lungs and Legs, Some Costly Carbon Bling... A Sour-Patch Stomach rumbling beneath a snug lycra uniform... A few gummies, a new Gel or a Gooey Tonic, enhance and unsettle the whole mess. But it's you. We are cheering for you.
We all strive a bit -- Some on Strava -- carefully stenciling the outline of our beloved's chin on a real roadway. We may choose to live an illusionary drama through pretend "Likes". citing data to prove we were there first. Others suffer in their lonesome basement with a Virtual ride atop a $10K mail-order bike strapped to motors and such, following Fake Plastic trees, atop magnetic mountains in upside-down land.
Many give it their all on a real road, without keeping score -- Without fanfare. With or without "Likes". A loathsome few, actually ride their bikes into the wind and rain, because they like to feel something real. Pissing of their bike-shop mechanic who nary gets a summer day out of doors to play nor suffer. These "Outsiders" do it to enjoy the ratcheted spree of a whirring freewheel, and the separation of thought from action.
A pencil-thin Puerto Rican pulls past into oncoming city traffic, slick wet pomade on raven-black hair, No helmet to douse the sheen. Carbon tri-spoke front wheel -- Some Blue spoky abomination behind it. Zero Brakes... Back-stroking to slow his single speed, with a final inhale, and his last kick-back before his fixie pride and his perfect hair land atop the hood of a Lexus. Thud!
He will survive his lunacy, (sans brakes), In-fact he will roll off the bent hood and blame a Soccer-Mommy for his hobby. But he will never know the thrill of the coast. The Buzz of the pawl heating up against a hardened circle of tool steel, as the descent becomes real. Really loud clicks purr, tears tickling cheeks, as the doppler fades whirring clacks to black numbness.
It's all in the coast. Rolling without regard for time, work, or worry. The descent is where we all level out. Fat fucks, Clydesdales, and Scrawny dicks, we all drop like stones as velocity heats beneath our calculated braking. The ratchet winds up to the ultrasonic pitch of a hummingbird's, We scream down a slope for 20 full minutes numbing hands and minds. The Coast... It's all about the coast.
The fixie fanatic, is an enthusiast, true, riding the razor's edge through traffic to feel something. To impress oneself with the unchallenged feeling of invincibility. Sovereign soaking head-nods from adoring friends for swerving just in time. But enlightenment never comes. The coast will elude this kid until they come of age.
We are ALL FAST IN THE FUCKING DOWNHILL!. Aren't we?
...I identify as Fast Motherfucker, so please afford me this one moment and Get the Fuck out of my sight on this one descent. Unless of course your jersey plainly states: "I'm doing this for Pussy" or has a Cigarette or Whisky sponsor, then you can cut in line, of course you can.
IF, you use your bike like a dildo, rolling through the motions on a magneto in your basement throughout summer, citing humidity and covid as a reason to remain "sheltered in place", You are not the problem, just stay where you are. You may be the VR analog of the clown-like pubescent kid that just guilted a coffee-clutching Yoga Mommy into 400 bucks for a bent fork -- But you will not know what it means to ride, without a freewheel. You suck only slightly less than the fool who races me in the downhill. DONT RACE ME IN THE DOWNHILL, Dumb-ass. We are all fast in the downhill, Duh!... you fucking idiot. Lithe, fat, thin as a triathlete's aero ass... we all have to do the work to get up the fucking hill, and the just desserts for said spent energy is this moment -- My Moment, The Coast. Kick Kick Coast. We the people, celebrate this sublime recipe of spent energy. We WORK toward this moment, because we are sledding, we are skitching, we are skiing slalom down the hill and we didn't bring an E-Bike to this gunfight. We earn the summit & the downhill. So my friend, could you please spare us all the humiliation of your smug face passing me on the interstate at 60 MPH and queue up behind my ugly gleeful ass... because my silent scorching ratchet whirrrs for me alone, It's mine..., and I need a bit of space to walk through my buzzing Zen garden alone melting brake pads tiny hot pawls and all, in a perfect whine. WITHOUT seeing your smug ass 2006 jersey from some Team-building exercise, or your Fake KOM jersey sponsored by some orthopedic hospital or worse an investment firm. Please!
I need you to kindly stand the fuck down while I listen to my ratcheting freehub warm with the lightening-fast click of the surrounding cicadas. I've earned the right to descend "My Mountain" with MY thoughts and even if we are on the same Fucking Fondo... I'd appreciate some respect as I burn some lithium grease without your fat spooging waistline rolling up beside me.
I'd like to descend alone, and without consideration of your chamois, your pseudo-sponsored jersey, and your unmatched bar-wrap. Leave this to me, and I will try not to encroach upon your decal'ed cloud.
No gripe with you folks who don't know how to enjoy yourselves out of doors. Hand Solo at home...? I'm good with you. No issue with you monkeys pressing backwards to avoid obstacles across town on your fixie-bike which never coasts. What IS annoying, however is the heavy-weight who has something to prove whence he arrives upon summit, and is dead-set to make up his sloven performance on the hill-climb. Really? My complaint is with the fair-weather downhill roller. My complaint of course, (Mr. Portnoy) was with my right to climb and plummet and contemplate my own chamois chafe without some hack making up his glacial ascent time in a tuck, while I'm forced to consider his in-grown thigh shag.
Peace is afforded when we all do the work together, but alas we descend alone, and when we all grant the space to enjoy the fruits of that labor, within the intimacy of one's descent we are whole.
Lay back! ...Lest I get my super-tuck on, and glow past your damp ass with a whirr only the cicadas respect.
We are all fast in the descent, aren't we? ...And as with skiing, there is a flat beer waiting for the first fucker to cop my line in the downhill. We know who you are, and we don't appreciate you ruining what we have worked for.
In an era with so much pent up potential, why is it that struggling "Artists" cannot find adequate ghost writers? With so many people spending the greater part of a year alone with their thoughts, it would seem to me that there would be both a surplus silo of creative content, and a crippled coven of shitty artists in deep malaise seeking a new Muse to lift them out of incapacitated stupor. As we emerge from our Cheeto coated cave It dawns on me that there is a symbiosis here, which should have been well brokered, even a cottage business to introduce the under-equipped "popular class" who drive internet clicks, with the fully competent cloistered mousey clan, who write just fine. (For the Bernie's to sell the Elton's their next hit.) In Upside-down land This might have been the special sauce which should have protected us all from a headwater of sewerage breaching the bank of good taste. Put plainly, Today there is both nothing to watch, and nothing to listen to. The former being understandable because in the past 14 months nobody wanted to stand beside, (let alone stage kiss) a pathogenic Nicholas Cage... On any given movie set -- The latter seems unfathomable, because most music can be made with a MacBook, and a small mixing console. Any given film does require a few more willing bodies. In a void of anything authentic, it happens that we have all been watching shit, with our daylight-sensitive weary brains. We have been consuming, commenting, even recommending all the new re-runs & canned shit-shows which would never have breached daylight, were it not for Covid's cessation of the entire studio production apparatus.
I know that I am not alone in lamenting the consumable crap which should have better remained upon the shelf -- So I won't list every marginally shitty show I've watched ten minutes of, in hopes of some dismal improvement, only to find that even the Romanian overdubbed sci-fi crime dramas are pissy shit. Not because they are not compelling stories in their own right, but because they are basically the re-hashed Eastern euro-trash version of a shelved (Nicolas Cage) Western drama, which was stolen from the Better BBC version before, being retold in another language, with laughable and pornographic overdub of English voice actors, from an eastern bloc language school.
So the 2020's shortage of anything worthwhile in entertainment, bled into the 2021's black hole which successfully sucked any nutrients from our starved brains -- We are left with cushions coated in chip residue, the occasional cracker or crust, and more bottles and cans than the recycle bin can hold. This ritual we do ungracefully to fend off the penultimate awfulness, whilst we await daylight.
So, today, in celebration of the Summer Solstice, strengthened by your MRNA re-code, it's time to cast aside the blue glow of LED's For the Warmth of a glorious yellow sunshine.
To Quote Van Gogh in one letter to his brother Theo, " For want of a better word I can only call it yellow -- Pale Sulphur yellow, pale lemon gold, How beautiful Yellow is!..." So in complete contrast to what we know, there is this lovely light at the end of our cave, igloo, or tunnel..., It is best to begin your journey forward before you learn a foreign language by the Netflix immersion method.
As a caution toward your blind thoughtlessness, and underexposed consciousness, I will assert what I find to be the talisman of what evil can come in a sort of "Ghost of Christmas Future", warning... Wipe your glasses, or better yet grab your far less chic Ray Bans, for here beware the ides of June.
If, upon this Solstice you should find yourself yet languishing in your cave hoisting hot pockets, and shaking the chip bag into your mouth like a baby bird -- Then what follows is quite literally the most outlandish defilement of our remaining filthy façade of fake cultivation -- What you will be left holding is The worst middle-school notebook scrawl, the most adolescent shit-story-board for bad lyricism. Whilst you were sleeping we've sent this "artist" to your dreams to deliver to you direct warning from his dumpster of reject writing. Your best reason to book a ticket, or host a party. You have been warned, but while you were in your virtual office, we've been waterboarded with this gibberish, and so here it goes:
"I've been waiting on a war since I was young
Since I was a little boy with a toy gun
Never really wanted to be number one
Just wanted to love everyone
Is there more to this than that?
Is there more to this than that?
Is there more to this than that?
Is there more to this
More to this, more to this than
Just waiting on a war?
Just waiting on a war?
Every day waiting for the sky to fall
Big crash on a world that's so small
Just a boy with nowhere left to go
Fell in love with a voice on the radio
Is there more to this than that?
Is there more to this than that?
Is there more to this than that?
Is there more to this
More to this, more to this than
Just waiting on a war?
Just waiting on a war?"
-Foo Fighter Extraordinaire
Please select your preference:
A. “On what day did God create Dave Grohl?, and could be not have rested on that day too?”
B. “Shit Sandwich”.
I won't argue that a good concert is precisely what we all need right now, Complete with bathroom-stall make-out session, smuggled whisky, and psychedelics. But if entertainment as an escape, is useful for a well formed soul -- Then a great performance does not equivocate great songwriting. In fact great songs are not (necessarily) required for a solid rock show. A great concert can thereby be pulled off, with showmanship, stagecraft, smoke machines, and decibel's, (even if most of the tracks are crap). We can hereby all just agree to self medicate until they/them, "Play their fucking hit already"... But please sweet baby Jesus save us from this hideous plague which has infected our brains. This vacuous scourge has made it not only possible to create such trash, but to take a cold bath in it, and thus accept this spiky ball of shit to bind to our brains. It's not your fault if you find yourself singing along to Madonna's "Borderline" Because we are all desperate for Something, Anything..., and heck!, "Borderline" is a good track, even in an elevator.
But the 'King Foo'?... Wow! when did "Borderline" became the breached border wall of quarantine, and why are we now forced to suffer the indignity of yet another junior-high notebook doodle, cum garage-band from that "Bearded Nirvana Drummer guy"?
You can do something before you slide so far down the slope that your friends catch you tapping your toe to this track. Before they can no longer help you out of the muck... Just say no. Being desperate for the company of good music does not mean that we should so readily lift our skirts for just any track (with or without a toy gun in it) -- Lest it be from this guy, This Song even smells like Fluorescent Lights and Blatz Beer, On-stage -- Hurling saliva droplets upon my 5th row VIP experience.
"I've been waiting on a wristband, since I was young" -- And to cuddle 3000 awkward strangers in the mud for the first Rock Show in 16 months. This has it's therapeutical advantages -- But, I'm not waiting on, "Smells Like Teen Spittle".
Play drums? Yes.
Form a Band? OK.
Be the front man if you wish -- But when you absolutely cannot conjure anything better than this banana hammock drivel, you need a friend to pick your next outfit. Stay home until you have something presentable.
Is there more to this than that? Fuck yes there is. It's called the back catalog by anyone, maybe even Nirvana.
To celebrate the summer solstice Open your Window Shades, Stretch, Vaccinate, Vacuum, Trade-up your TV for some Records. If you need some help with selections, phone a friend, or better yet have them over. Because friends don't let friends listen to crap, or Loverboy. But if you want to place your speakers in your open window sill, and "Blast" the neighbors, and it has to be Loverboy, Fine! just don't let it be the aforementioned "boy with the toy gun". Because well... Just Don't! It's the longest Day of the year, and it's a Monday -- So don't waste 4 minutes and 34 Seconds of glorious sunlight with this track.
"Relax, relax, relax just a little pin-prick, there'll be no more Ahhhhh... But you may feel a little sick".
Generation P (It Looks like The Meek shall Inherit All This Shit)
Are you out of breath pouring Oat milk over your cereal?
Who the fuck can afford cereal?, ...oh that’s right you live in your Mom’s basement.
So Bored with, "...How other countries still like fucking exist” and "how is it they have a completely different (if real) set of crises"?
Nobody Suffers like I do bro..., "Fuck! I cracked another $800. Android".
Sad that nobody clicked on your feed this week? You sensitive flower.
"But, um like... Everyone’s Posts seem so similar, so is it really plagiarism"?
Appalled with The inflated price of mainstream vape apparatuses?
And, "Shit man! they are out of White grape… Bro".
Pissed that you can’t grow an adequate ironic mustache?, or that your roommate’s boss said you can no longer ween at the teet of pilfered single origin cortados?
"Dude, I Absolutely cannot go to work without coffee, and who the fuck knew they were actually 5 bucks"?
Told your pal (while stoned) that you, "Make way better Ramen than that Uber Eats Shit"?
From a packet no less?, "...The secret is Mayo and Sriracha Bro".
You "Don’t vote, ever”, although your parents still pay your Car insurance?
You are so thoroughly “Gen - P”
Today you argued with your Sister and your Father, (who you also call 'Bro') because
they um like called you a lazy fuck, and you think that's a "racist slur".
You sensitive twat!, You are not the "Woke Pronoun" you believe you are because you sleep until 2 pm, and, you believe, "Jay Z totally invented Hip Hop".
Well, at least you believe in something.
Sad day and sorry to hear that you, "Crashed your One-Wheel E-scooter-Handicapped-Mobility-device-thingy?
It was bound to happen in the bike lane, at rush-hour, in traffic, while posting rad vids of your dragon wing tattoo to your instagram.
"...Won’t get a free vaccine, because", "the Lines are hella long"?
Yawn… Line? -- Wait... -- You actually wait in-line for brunch, bitch.
You didn’t know that cell phones "even had a Phone-Call App", until you started getting political spam. "They can, um like make it ring, and then you like listen and talk..."
Last Fall you blocked everyone, but the nine people in your contacts.
You're thinking that perhaps you identify as 'Bi', or 'Q', or "Whatever", because you can’t umm like talk to other notorious genders.
Maybe changing your name will help; But (Um Like) today, you actually just identify as “P”
Let's make it easy, we have a name for you.
You are the future Bro..., And we shall call you 'Generation Pussy'.
What an irony that Two Bicycle Makers, (brothers actually), became America's first gasoline-powered car makers. Charles and Frank Duryea were keenly interested in the compelling new gasoline engines and in imported automobiles., and so they set about to build themselves some cars. It should be noted that these two were certainly curious tinkerers, and continued to pursue challenges of both engineering, and to score them some wins in their need for speed. Somewhat laughable today, These were not the speediest machines, in fact some contemporaries on bikes rode beside them in their inaugural road race. The Duryea Bros. participated in races, nearly as soon as they had a working prototype; Of course they did.
Frank & Charles Duryea became the first Americans to launch a successful commercial automobile company, and they were thrilled to participate in any challenge which would get them needed market exposure. The brothers Duryea were also the first to incorporate their American business to build automobiles for sale to the public. They studied the internal combustion engine at their public library, and after begging, everyone for start-up capital, they set about to make something so pedestrians and cyclists would forever live in fear of crazy drivers.
At 8:55 am on November 28, 1895, six motor cars set off from Chicago's Jackson Park for a 54-mile (slow car) race to Evanston, Illinois -- and back through the snow to the park. Incidentally this is a route that I do in my bicycle in about half the time, but one could argue the roads are a bit nicer today... I'm not so certain.
Car Number 5 driven by inventor Frank Duryea, won the race in just over 10 hours at an average speed between 5.4 & 7.3 mph. This "Thanksgiving day Race" pitted him against three imported Benzes and two electric cars. Charles helped, his brother Frank cracking a crop to speed his horse-drawn sleigh through a snow-storm supporting his brother with parts and repairs for the car. Bad weather forced these cars to slip & slide into each other and snowbanks. Frank Duryea was the only one to actually finish the race.
The winner of the annual Thanksgiving race scored $2,000. (more than $50,000. In today’s money).
An automobile enthusiast from the crowd notable for giving these new horseless vehicles the name "motorcycles" won $500. The race was sponsored by the Chicago Times-Herald Newspaper and after the thrilling race they published, "Persons who are inclined to decry the development of the horseless carriage will be forced to recognize it as an admitted mechanical achievement, highly adapted to some of the most urgent needs of our civilization." Wow!!
As far as staying power is concerned, most early inventions explode, deteriorate, completely flop before getting legs, or immediately become eclipsed by a new fashion, or a far better contraption. The namesake Duryea automobile, and later sold only 13 units, before the brothers arguments split them up. Frank continued to tinker and became quite successful with his new "Steven's Duryea" automobile which was sold in a more-or-less similar and expensive limousine version from 1896 into the 1920's. The initial hand-built buggy was little more than a carriage, tiller for steering and a motor., It was a handsome, and efficient machine for its time. Fully Formed in Springfield, Massachusetts -- within one year of their Chicago Publicity race, the Duryea Motor Wagon Company soon disbanded, with Charles pursuing different trades, and Frank following his dreams to build a better machine than Benz. Before the two split and Frank formed his second company, the two made many new ideas work — But Frank would later invest considerable time in a 6 cylinder engine. Frank Partnered with the Steven's Firearm Manufacturing Company to build his new engines and 3 models, and so Steven’s investment in both the company and manufacturing brought Stevens primary naming rights. The second phaeton was an expensive limousine, which remained in production in some form for 20 plus years, making Frank and Steven’s quite wealthy.
Two months after their first winning race, "Customer Number 3" -- A New York City motorist, Mr. Henry Wells Esq., struck a cyclist piloting the original Duryea. The rider suffered bruises, and a broken leg..., and Mr. Henry Wells spent a night in the city jail. This auspicious incident became the nation's first recorded traffic accident, and injury.
Is it any wonder that the first ironic American Automobile crash of any kind, was some rich dude striking a cyclist, in a car built by Bike Makers?
It is only comforting to recall that these sweet rolling coffins hit a top speed downhill with a tailwind of no more than 14 Mph, the average speed of a bicycle in America today.
Chilled Beer, Cool Movies, even Cooled Seats... Go ahead and grab a cold one, but don't vilify those who brought it to you, because (perhaps) they brought more good than harm.
The term “air conditioning” actually originated with textile engineer Stuart H. Cramer. Cramer used the phrase “air conditioning” in a 1906 patent claim he filed for a device that added water vapor to the air in textile plants to condition the yarn. This invention became the Humidifier, which is essentially the opposite of what we now know as Air Conditioning.
In 1902 just one year after Willis Carrier graduated from Cornell University with a masters in Engineering He was making $10 a week at the Buffalo Forge Company, A year out of college, and Carrier’s “Apparatus for Treating Air” was already in operation for a Brooklyn printing company, Fluctuations in heat and humidity in his plant caused the dimensions of printing paper to alter and create misalignment of the colored inks. The new air conditioning machine created a stable cool dry environment and, as a result, aligned four-color printing became possible His first of several patents was awarded to Willis Carrier four years later. Carrier is recognized as the “father of air conditioning.”
In 1911 Carrier published his basic “Rational Psychrometric Formulae” to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. His formula remains today as the basis in all fundamental calculations for the air conditioning industry. Carrier said he received a “flash of genius” while awaiting a train on a foggy night. He was thinking about the problem of temperature and humidity control and by the time the train arrived, he said he understood the relationship between temperature, humidity and dew point.
Because of Carrier, temperature and humidity levels could now be controlled, and with impediments removed, Manufacturers could scale production regardless of the weather to improve productivity in Meat, Medicine, Textiles, Printing, Prayer, and even Office Work.
Charles Franklin Kettering invented many things, He invented an easy credit approval system, a precursor to today's credit cards, authorization system. In fact you’d likely wait the same amount of time from swipe to signature today as his O.K. system in 1920. Kettering also invented the electric cash register for NCR (National Cash Register), which remained in production for 40 years. These allowed sales clerks around the globe to manage transactions, authorize credit cards, and conduct commerce at a new clip. Later his electronic cash register would evolve into Code-Breaking devices for wartime cyphers, Followed by the folkloric Enigma Machine, and later your Computer.
Shortly after Joining NCR Kettering’s coworkers were encouraging him to improve the automobile, Charles Kettering modified an internal combustion engine to run on kerosene. However, kerosene-fueled engines knocked, as trapped kerosene droplets would crack the cylinder heads and pistons.
Thomas Midgley Jr. An associate of Kettering, discovered that the cause of the knocking was from the kerosene droplets vaporizing on combustion. Anti-knock agents were researched by Midgley, and subsequently tetraethyl lead was added to fuel. This led Thomas Midgley to invent leaded (ethyl) gasoline.
With a smooth running engine, Kettering (working now at General Motors), invented the first electric automobile ignition system. The “self-starting” ignition was first installed in a Cadillac on February 17, 1911. The invention of the electric starter motor by Kettering eliminated the need for hand cranking, but equipped the automobile with a Lead Battery. Lazy Humans could now go forth by automobile, And do so with very little effort, and even bright lights.
Lead would become ubiquitous when the new self-starting automobiles began to run upon leaded gasoline, ignited by a leaded battery.
We were now set to scale up simple knock-free self-starting cars for everyone. Convenient Cars could belch lead and cast their leaded sheen over the coal dusted landscape. Midgley, now called the most destructive inventor of all time, kept secret the known hazard of Leaded Fuel until his death. In fairness Midgley and Kettering, moved the Fuel industry to efficiency, and thereby reduced emissions, and waste. Kettering and Midgley experimented with a variety of fuels, and patented
many blends, He also discovered that the most interesting high-percentage anti-knock additive was ethyl alcohol (ethanol); Which is blended in fuel today to maximize it's efficacy, and reduce knock.
With full credit to Carrier, it should come as no surprise that two of the most influential inventions, (perhaps ever); The Automobile, and the Air Conditioner, would become substantially improved by Kettering and Midgley, en-route to destroying the Ozone, and poisoning our landscape.
But Air Conditioning and refrigeration, (arguably the coolest inventions of all time), were using ammonia, and other caustic, toxic, and flammable refrigerants, to cool and dry the air. In fact many arched top refrigerators stood in yards because of their propensity to catch fire, or sicken a household. These dangers became the devil you’d know.
Comfort cooling evolved along side industrial utilization, and in 1924 three Carrier centrifugal chillers were installed for the J.L. Hudson Department Store in Detroit, Michigan. Shoppers flocked to enjoy an “air conditioned” store. The revolution of human cooling flowed from department stores to movie theaters, Matinee tickets were cheaper in the hot seats, Before the Rivoli Theater in New York installed their Carrier Chillers. “Cool Comfort” signs soared sales for the Summer film business, and as demand increased for safer refrigerators and cooler spaces, demand outpaced ingenuity.
Refrigerators from the late 1800s until 1929 used the toxic gases, ammonia (NH3), methyl chloride (CH3Cl), and sulfur dioxide (SO2), as refrigerants. Several fatal accidents occurred in the 1920s because refrigerators leaked methyl chloride.
Charles Kettering was the vice-president of the General Motors Research Corporation from 1920 to 1948, when Thomas Midgley was chosen by Kettering to head research into new refrigerants. An auspicious collaboration with Dupont, General Motors, and Frigidaire, lead to the development of a safer, and more effective refrigerant. In 1928, Midgley and Kettering invented a "miracle compound" called Freon. Frigidaire received the first patent, US#1,886,339, for the formula for CFCs on December 31, 1928.
Freons, (unlike leaded fuel) are colorless, odorless, nonflammable, noncorrosive gases or liquids.
They contain several different chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, a group of aliphatic organic compounds containing the elements carbon, fluorine, as well as halogens (especially chlorine) and hydrogen. These have been deployed in commerce and industry at incredible scale for a hundred years to improve production of nearly every industry from filmmaking, to food-processing. They are invisible and odorless, and so it’s no surprise that nobody saw them destroying our planet, in tandem with Leaded Fuel. These Hazards became the Invisible Devil.
Willis Carrier developed the first residential “Weathermaker” air conditioner in 1928, for private home use. The Great Depression and World War II slowed the non-industrial implementation of air conditioning, which is just as well, because the new refrigerants would improve a rebound after the war.
Packard would become the first automobile manufacturer to offer an air conditioned vehicle in 1929. Massive units about the size of a window AC unit today bolted in the trunk, consuming more than half of the boot, while pipes were run the length of the car to deliver the chill via vents. This “option” was installed by Bishop and Babcock (B&B), of Cleveland, Ohio. The B&B AC upgrade were ordered on approximately 2,000 cars. The "Bishop and Babcock Weather Conditioner" also incorporated a heater. Cars ordered with this option were shipped from Packard's East Grand Boulevard factory to the B&B factory where the conversion was performed. When finished, the car was shipped to your local dealer for pick-up by it’s wealthy clients.
Packard warranted and supported their conversion. However, it wasn’t commercially successful in depression era America because of it’s price of $274. ($7500 in 2020 US dollars)
CFCs, or Freon, are now infamous for greatly adding to the depletion of the earth's ozone shield. High up in the stratosphere is a 3mm thin veil of O3, which blocks (filters) UV wavelengths. This blanket guards against Ultra Violet bombardment from our sun. Leaded gasoline is also a major pollutant, A double duty damager producing burnt carbon, and toxic lead in spades, and dumping the heavy stuff in our drinking water, while floating the lighter stuff upward. Thomas Midgley secretly suffered from lead poisoning because of his inventions, and tunnel vision, a fact he kept hidden from the public, until his death.
Before everything went to shit with The War, America enjoyed cool Theaters, Cool Cars, and Cold Beer.
Because of ozone depletion, Most uses of CFCs are now banned or severely restricted by the Montreal Protocol. Today, no suitable (general use non-flammable / non-toxic) alternatives to halocarbon refrigerants have been found to resolve problems innate to the original Freon
Brands of Freon containing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) have replaced CFC’s for the same purposes, but they too, are under strict control under the Kyoto protocol. CFC’s & HFC’s are deemed "super-greenhouse effect" gasses. If you believe in that junk.Kettering holds over 186 patents from the Neonatal incubator, to Guided Missiles, and from Diesel Engines, to Automotive Paint.
Of course every new feature comes with some bugs, and at a cost, -- So in consideration of a myriad improvement to human comfort afforded by your lovely Fridge, One’s car, or the humanity restored by your first 'Window Unit” — We have a few formerly unknown fellas to toast as the thermometer goes straight up.
As you pull a frozen Hot Pocket from your ice-box, reflecting that you were lucky enough to be vaccinated, then you can thank Carrier, Kettering, Midgley, and (of course) our frenemy Freon.
What do you get when you cross a McLaren with a Stuffed Toy? What happens when you shod your Ducati with doughnuts? How can I possibly make fast more comfortable? Can I have my couch mounted to my bike's seat-post? None of that is possible, as the dynamics of comfort are antithetical to the physics of going fast. To be efficient, is to shed every possible exceptional gram, and gadget, and perhaps slip the wind. Going Faster seems a direct proportion of effort, exertion, and efficiency. Is a Front shock the answer? Full suspension road bike, in your future? Maybe a "Road Bike" is not the "right bike" for you?
If I ride a bicycle wearing a baggy wind-breaker and a back-pack, I should expect these to luff in the breezes catching wind and dragging me slower. If I ride my 1956 Schwinn 3-Speed, I should expect to work a bit to push against formidable rotating weight, and heft. If I ride the lightest bike on the block, and wear my birthday suit, I should expect to slip the wind, powering forward without impediment, as I double or treble my Schwinn's-speediness, but be arrested, just the same. So with a sense of danger, ideal gear (a proper lycra kit on a fast bike) & perfect elements (lovely weather & conditions), the only thing slowing one down is ability, and (of course) the rank surface upon which you roll. For the city rider with perfect kit, speed may defy gravity, but one cannot become fast at all if the terrain plots to swallow you whole. It's best to levitate.
I recall fondly the first day I borrowed my friend's Peugeot Mountain Bike, and the deliberate reckless abandon with which I bashed into every conceivable bump, patch, and pot-hole. I felt empowered to do evil to the cushy tires, and sturdy steel frame. I cut across every lawn, and landscape, river-beds, and pathways, until I returned to put that mare away wet. I feel certain that this release of testosterone, and adrenaline, as counterpoint to my Custom Paramount with 20c SUP's, was cause for my friend never lending me her bike again. She was polite to not berate me for banging up her bike. But This set a fire beneath me to one day own my own fat-tire rig. I relived this very moment again when I picked up my new Cannondale MT2000 from Lay-away, and put it through it's paces. This was the same moment that I swore to learn to build wheels, swap rims, and hence I became a better mechanic. It is not lost on me that everyone has this primal YOLO experience, when given a deadly toy. Most "normal" people slip a bit when handed the danger keys. It is poignant that I can tap this very nostalgic empathy each time I help some sap fix something bad they did quite deliberately to their beloved bike. It is with this same Evil Urge to bomber into shit, that I clicked my heels upon my new set of wheels, and became belligerent with my bike but again. Ohh the sweet release of being negligent!! Like a rental when you have "Full Coverage"...
So today, quite deliberately I poked new valves into a brand-spankin' new set of custom wheels, and belted them with some Schwalbe's I'd had sitting about the house. I poured a few ounces of latex into these, and snapped them onto the rim. With my handy-dandy Silca Pista, I pressed the plunger down and the whole dream clicked together. My new custom wheel-set is at this very moment regretting ever having met me, and we are pressing forward with an undiscussed agenda, whereby I do the deed over some of the rougher roads my fair city has to offer. (We have the shittiest roads North of Nicaragua).
I spun the discs off my Roval's and checked the indexing, before setting out on a deliberate tear down by the abandon foundry. My new wheels are built from DT180's, 32 Berd UHMW String Spokes, and 32c Atomic Carbon Road Hoops. They are both bizarrely competent looking, (if a bit inelegant), and brilliantly lightweight. All tolled, as compared to my Roval CLX's, These Custom Berd wheels are a flat 1200 grams, and appear to be up to the task. My Current Roval wheels are a bit of a Magic Carpet Ride, because they are flat out the fastest wheel I've ever strode upon. They are wicked light, punchy, bomber strong, and wind-up like a fighter jet. Incidentally the Roval Alpinist CLX weigh about 1255g. So... It is my opinion that I can only be disappointed with my first test-ride, Right? Should the folkloric claim to comfort by Berd owners, prove false, I will be the first to say. As Prophesy goes, those who believe, shall be saved. So today as traffic subsided I set about to beat these wheels about the worst roads my fair city has to offer, and to see how they Koncede the Kush. It is fair to clarify two points... One, is that I'm a lightweight, so the punishment is not coming from Clubber Lang the Clydesdale. Two, is that I am just like the rest of you indelicate fuckers, who have tried to punish someone-else's gear, without regard for life or liberty. These are my wheels and I promised them I'd do my best to gauge their singular advantage as compared to my benchmark wheelset; The Roval Alpinist CLX. Are they Lighter? -- Not Much. Are they More Aero? -- Not at all. Are they cheaper? A bit. Are they faster...? Well -- We will find that out.
Out the door I felt the gears, and brakes, and ran through them to be sure no harm may come. Pursuing a course through a few washboard areas, where crucible train tracks crossed the road over and again to carry hot steel from foundry to prep areas in a space which was once a Stainless Foundry, This crumbling causeway allowed me to cruise through a quick patch of obstacles. After a few bunny hops, and perhaps not paying close enough attention, I can say that my headwind was strong, and yet at about 18 mph, most of what I noticed was not memorable at all. In essence, my ride through what is generally quite taxing on my hands, forearms, and ass, were not much to mention. This conspicuous missing data, where I really didn't feel beat up, was perhaps the special sauce I was looking to confirm. I checked myself, and thought as I hit a straight-away, "Was I just not paying attention?, or" was that not a big deal?" Maybe I should have paid more attention to the washboard, and the tracks, as well as those cracks and potholes, and so I vowed to focus when I hit the park. As the perfect sunny day released many varied people from their habitats..., Their strolling-about forced me to go off-road. through the park by Grass and Gravel. I hit some roots, ruts, and branches, as well as a few ledges. What again happened was this strange sensation that something was missing. I calculated that I should very well have perceived more shake, more shimmy, and more fatigue, but it just wasn't coming. Was this confirmation bias? Am I fooling myself? What the hell is happening here? There is a claim from some wheel builders who lace with these $8. string spokes that their wheels impart 20% more comfort. This of course is nearly impossible to quantify, unless by creating a custom dynamic testing rig in a laboratory, or by placing one's frail ass upon a road bike with a hard carbon seat. Problem: Rough Ride - Solution: Levitate.
I continued with a paved route, using the occasional dodging to grass and gravel maneuver off tarmac, and onto the shoulder. I rode like this for about 6 miles and then hit some parkland. Again offroad I was missing the general gentle jarring of a rigid wheel. Wait! what's my tire pressure? Is it leaking? Are they getting splashy? No. They were still at 80 psi, about 16-18 lbs. harder than my Roval reference. So now I soldiered onward, then turned around to hit the same terrain on the way back to make more notes. It's not unusual for me to not be passed at this time of day, as I swam amongst the minnows, but I was going quite fast both directions and felt none of it.
On the technical side the Berd Spokes are basically a high molecular weight Polyethylene rope. They have a threaded tip held on like a Chinese Finger trap, and a knot that stops them at the hub. They wind-up like a typical spoke, but require a few tensioning phases to ensure they are devoid of slack, They play a bit like a ukulele, and they are reparable the same as any spoke, albeit easier to pack. The spokes float on water, but won't allow you to ride upon it. Berd spokes are protected by US Patents 10,150,332 B2, 10,661,598 B2, and patents pending.
When returning i had a tail wind and so I hit the same terrain at about double the speed. Through each distinct obstacle, I rode with what appeared to be less impact to my otherwise pansy-assed constitution. I'm not getting any younger, but this new recipe of a bike lover's bike with a wheel lover's wheel seemed to be doing what's advertised. I cannot quantify with a percent sign what modicum of squish factor is being applied through this initial test-drive, but we will certainly revisit, the present fantasy, that my new Berd Wheels were legitimate contenders for my Sofa Seat fantasy. What will become of me with a wheel-set that allows me the freedom to ride it like I stole it? I trust that having faith in one's deity, whether a gadget, totem, or plain fantasy may very well be enough magic to sustain the faithful. I have ridden upon what appears at first blush to be a marvelous set of wheels, and hope to live to tell about it.
We will revisit this string-wheel review after a few hundred miles, and then again after a few thousand, and I hope the news is as good. Today, my new custom Berd wheels are magnificent. I was not initially mesmerized by the retro aesthetic as I changed from 24 spokes back to 32, but once I get over fat shaming my spokes, I will settle on these as my preferred go-to all-rounder.
Let's see how they climb next.
My wheels and all reviewed gear is paid for in full and all reviews here are without influence of $chwag.
Phone: (612) 308-8740
Address: 401 11th Ave S Ste 300, Hopkins, MN 55343
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm Central US Time
"My intentions are good and earnest and true
But under my hood is internal combustion power
...And Satan is my motor" -Cake
What type of motor does your bicycle have? Class 1? Class 2? Class 3? Pedal Assist?, or do you have a throttle? How fast does the whirring assist take you?
Mine is "Class Nil"... I have no motor to speak of installed in my bicycle. The principle reason is this -- Because batteries shoved into my frame are stupid. This will always be stupid. It was stupid, and remains ...well, Stupid! I'm a fan of getting everyone on bikes; even motorized bikes. I love e-bike riding? I've rented and long considered purchase. I have helped with E-bike companys & retail start-ups, and I've helped other's purchase, and rent E-Bikes.
So you would think that I would know exactly why most bike makers build a battery pack deep within the frames of their E-Bikes. It's almost like their are smuggling a shit-ton of button cells through customs. The question is a bit like asking why a Twinkie has cream filling rather than frosting. What is the technical benefit of concealing the battery cells deep within the frame? I have some theories, and they may not sit too well with you, nor their manufacturers.
An "E-bike" is initially a "bike" correct? Meaning that the bike is the place where the motor and batteries get attached, No? Yes... This is true, but what is an e-bike when the battery is detachable? It's still an e-bike. What is it then when the motor AND the Battery come off? It's a huge competitor to the fashion of selling
e-bikes for stratospheric prices. THIS is why e-bike makers shoe-horn li-poly cells into the frame.
You see, that a Fazua Motor is a self contained concept where the motor-battery assembly can be detached. This clever invention clicks into the downtube, connecting to the bottom bracket and cranks -- viola!, you have an e-bike. Take it out and what do you have?, well... It's still an e-bike, if a bit lighter. This design gets startlingly close to an acceptable form, but not quite. The concave downtube which houses the motor/battery looks a bit like a cargo helicopter, sans container. The bike comes quite close to riding like a normal bicycle would, but without attachments -- So with the motor detached is it still an e-bike?
I would prefer to believe in the magic of this Helicopter being powered by four VW beetles, but that is not the case here, however this illustrates how a cargo copter looks without it's payload. Yep..., basically like the Fazua Bike does without it's tiny genius motor and battery payload. It rides well either way, but I'm still wondering why the battery for most if all popular brand e-bikes is crammed in their belly. Why could these bikes not just have an attached battery-pack below the downtube, or even a bottle-style battery in a standard bottle-cage, to power a hub motor?
Because Satan is my Motor, I don't much care how you get your e-bike fix, but if left up to the marketing team -- one can draw some quick lines between Dolby Labs, and enumerable down-tube laden battery packs. Dolby created 90 different surround sound modes, to help sell a gazillion speakers over time. There was AC-3, 3.1, 5.1, 5.2, 7.2. 9.2, Atomos, and any manner of excessive speaker combinations -- then the world said, "Fuck It" I'll just buy a pissy little sound-bar. It was a great ride for retail while it lasted, but they spoiled it for everyone, by jumping a shark with a fuck-ton of speakers on their back. People now stream their music and movies through a speaker the size of their palm, and they want their bike to charge their speakers, and pedal for them as well.
Today nearly all my friends have shitty sound-bars for their party tunes. Casting aside any complexity, in favor of a single cylinder. These sound like shit, but I don't mention it. So E-Bikes play this game of slow evolution selling a different form factor every single year, expiring last years design without support for last year. Sure the Bosch motors are generally BB loaded, and yes the battery being held down low will best center the COG (center of gravity), but engineering a frame with a shitload of tiny Li-Poly cells in it like a pregnant fish, is merely done to maintain propriety over a "System". For Trek it seems to preclude compatibility with another brand, and for Giant and Specialized the same seems true, but the core design of the Bosch and or any system is an architecture where the motor maker gets paid and hands you a set of specs, and even some skeletal carcass, like a rib-cage and you slap carbon plies around it like papier mache'. "Here, Build your bike around this thing".
So if you cannot travel on the airlines with your e-bike it is because of two things which could have been different: One is that the battery cannot be removed for travel, preventing air travel adventures, and also preventing Fedex and other Express curriers from moving it around for you. Two is that the Bike is not modular and hence it weighs a Metric Ton, and none of that weight can be removed and divided for travel.
OK, so I know what you are thinking..., you say, "well on many the battery is removable from the downtube"; Which is true. But you cannot get around the fact that the bike was shaped around the battery pack, and THAT is the issue, My issue with e-bikes.
The only good reason to shape the battery du jour within a sculpted frame is to make it proprietary, and hence you see a "System" because as soon as the Mahle Motor and a Bottle battery are sold separately, why in the fuck would you buy an $8500.-$12,000. e-bike from Specialized, Trek, Giant etc...? You wouldn't. Those who wanted an e-bike would simply buy a 'Class X' kit, (Likely from Mahle) and drop a battery or two in their bottle cage, and off they roll.
Here is another con against the con for integrated Batteries in your downtube; When Trek stopped asking their Taiwanese OEM to build you a Domane-E, and the following year they pencil a new plan, that is the very moment that the Battery and parts for your precious e-bike become obsolete. Add to that the Charger, with proprietary connector, and the silly glowing buttons on the top-tube. If you trash a battery with the wrong charger, get it wet, or short it out, then you now have a pedal bike like mine, with 30 spare pounds to lug about, that nobody wants to buy from you.
Why do e-bikes have a large doorbell button glowing on their top-tube? This is a throwback to electric skateboards from 1997. Can't the "controls" be a wireless button, or wired mount for the stem or handlebar? Yes..., yes they could, but they have to integrate these things to keep you aligned with the cult of integration. This makes it look like they are delivering to you (a system) something other than a bike with someone else's motor and battery attached. This is not intended to bash a brand, but for crissakes, let's move this slow evolution forward a bit faster.
I'd like an e-bike which has a bottle battery, and a rear wheel motor, and nothing more. Heck, I may even want a two wheel drive e-bike with two wheel motors, which can pull me through the snow or sloppy mud, but that would ONLY require a new set of wheels, and a battery. A' la-fucking-carte is my future e-bike. It's OK to sell me a proprietary system, but I really don't need to encase my nuts and such in carbonite to make it go. You could say that my e-bike wouldn't be much of an e-bike at all... Mine would only be my bike, but faster (bought and paid for with a few grand into the conversion). I'd have a modular and versatile, shippable airline-ready e-bike for those days that I feel flu-like symptoms, or feign an injury. If I were to feel lazy and wish to, "roll like me, only faster", I could slap that kit on any one of my bikes, and have a go.
So the "e-bike thing" today, is betwixt between a beguiling bafoonery of glacial evol., and poncy proprietary piss-me-off integration. Your e-bike will sport a bewitching button beset upon the top-tube -- This glowing cyclops door-bell, is wired into 'Brand-X' motor but this will be obsolete next season, along with it's custom painted battery. We've all been taught that our "ON Button" is somewhere near our crotch, but for a bike the position of that bionic button is bunk. I want to look down and scratch whilst charging forward at 22mph?
You can see the evolution happen so fast that last years e-bikes are being sold beside this year's models for different prices, with essentially the same feature set, only today's are smarter. You can also see the evolution toward any relevant standard of retrofit, as glacial. Today, if they cannot find owners to adopt last years tech, these surplus e-bikes will soon dwell in a land of misfit toys. This is obvious when visiting any brand retailer, who is completely out of regular bikes but is sitting on a half dozen of last year's over-thought pregnant down-tubes.
When you say, "...just maybe, he is getting carried away with his rant" -- I have no reasonable retort, except to say that, "it's MY rant". Today when i wish to be wisked away with a whoosh, I will likely do so under my own power, thank you... Because well, "Satan is My Motor".
Hear my motor purr
Satan is my motor
Hear my motor purr
Satan is the only one who seems to understand
Satan is my motor -Cake
I have mixed feelings about plagiarism. Not ethically, per se' because I may have copied someone's Math and English assignments in the pre-google period. (B.G. Before Google). Criticizing 'copy-cats' would make me a hypocrite, but I do believe in intellectual property rights, and more loosely in Trade Marks. How does that saying go?... Plagiarism is the fondest form of flattery? Nah... And as insulting idioms go, we all know the feeling when the new guy starts -- And the smug fucker, (barely out of school), projects airs of superiority, and innate wisdom -- which could not possibly be merited, right?
Born back when there was something called "the school of hard knocks", I was run through the grinder with every attempt, advance, and shift in position. This fo course sucks as much as it evolves stronger character, thicker skin, and better equipped humans. But what of the copycat, who observes and makes a copy without fully understanding how it works? Can this be hazardous? I dreamt last night of inexperienced youthful self-assured snowflakes being ground into a fine powder by those with actual experience, and expertise. Alas, (sigh) above all we seem to stamp-out freshly minted "New Kids" with ZERO experience, and even less grace, while we coddle them as creative 'fresh talent'. They will, "help us connect with our market", we older crew recite. But what do copy-cats, and these un-formed babies have in common? Perhaps they have a desire to play out a fraud, amongst the genuine. Swimming in the pool of doers, where larger sharks lurk until the wee ones, and the fakers slam their heads squarely against the ladder, they should have grasped. Drawing a line between authenticity-and-clones, as with capability-and-clowns, can be a useful skillset. But when the information appears legit, and nothing bounces back in the background check -- Then you have to take a leap of faith when buying that generic brand of cat food, a knock-off toddler toy, or cheap kite-board. The rub is, just how much do you trust the one trillion positive reviews, before you pull the rip-cord, and assume your life will be saved by a Brand "X" Parachute. When drawing a line between inventiveness and copy-cats, it may prove a critical boundary, to assert some rules, before someone gets hurt. ...And so we have laws. Copyright laws, Patent Laws, Import Laws, and Property rights Laws, amongst other's. When Brand "X" makes a Bottle of glass cleaner to look exactly like Windex for the Dollar Store, a trademark boundary is traversed, and the agreed upon norms, and laws which protect brand rights are broken. Owing to a corrosive vortex called the internet, and with ancient US Postal legislations, anyone abroad can copy your product and sell it into your market for less than you can. In fact this is now so simple that what you thought was the "Next Big thing", gets rubbed out by some crap-tastic brand like "Shinoma".
Quick Question: Why even change the name?, why not just make fakes?
When moving two letters around to create a "me too" brand using the same font-type, do the Makers of Shinoma, or Shinano know how close their Product's brand name cuts against the pejorative word for a shoe polish, feces, or a bad TV band?
So there is this brand called Shimano, who have been innovating many industries with intricate machining and blissfully brilliant functionality for nearly 70 years. Then along comes some Chinese knock-off, who moves two vowels around, and begins selling into the US market with, well basically shit.
Have Shimano made crappy devices in the past?, not really, even a bike wrench will tell you that when setting up their worst derailleur, 'Tourney SIS', "it basically needs nothing but lube or occasional cable for a decade or more of riding".
Any Internet inducement can advertise similar specifications, with similar weights, and one can even instantly create credibility by buying 10,000 positive comments, with links to all sorts of fake reviews, (thank you social media, you greedy whore). One can pay Yelp, Google, or Fake Book to leverage your new clone brand to the middle top of the food chain, by equal parts mimesis, fraud, & false marketing. I can now buy any fare of junk on Amazon, which look (from a distance) just like the "real thing". Your newly minted clone falls far short of it's performance, and safety threshold, because there is no expectation for function, durability, and authenticity. We perpetuate the fraud with a fake Louis Vuitton, bag, but that of course will only hurt the brand, and not the user. So what of a Bicycle, featuring real Shinoma Parts? Will you love it? Will your new toy bring joy, and many years of fond outings. To induce your online purchase of the latest gadget today, requires a whole new lexicon of promises such as, "Designed in California", "Free Delivery & Free Returns", "Guaranteed Highest Quality", "Just Like the Real Thing", You are possibly purchasing something which will fulfill your wildest dreams. Or, Perhaps you are procuring a total piece of crap which was engineered to imitate, forged from faulty parts, with inferior standards. To the unwitting consumer we have but one caution; Buyer Beware. The makers of fake shit are laughing when they sell you truly crappy stuff. They mock your disposable lifestyle -- Your empty life full of cheap broken shit filling your garage and basement. Tisk tisk for walking out of your local bike shop saying, "C'mon, we can just find one on Amazon/Ebay". If the vendor knocks off something great, can you guarantee it will be even good? When they make something crappy and then move two syllables around: swapping 'ma' for 'no' exchanging 'mano' for 'noma', you go from Shimano to Shinoma, you don't have to present too much to the judge to see that this is about as graceless a grab as they come. But fear not because there IS a sucker born every minute, and they just left the qualified and helpful staff of the local family owned bicycle retailer, to endeavor to buy five bikes through the lifespan of the one they didn't buy today from the local bike shop. Searching their smart-phone while speaking with the salesperson.
"Oh well, He can't tell Shit from Shinoma!", they may mock.
So what could be wrong with saving a little money, If it looks like a duck and sounds like Shimano?, right?
So what's wrong with knock-offs, if they save me money? What's wrong with blatantly copying other people's stuff, and selling stuff under the guise of a conspicuously similar moniker? What harm can come to anyone if the free market will leverage down the cost of similar products cloned from the original? Millions of people get to save when they exchange their soul and freedom for cheap junk, right?. Everyone has one product in their lives which simply has not failed them. They may revere and covet their wallet, money-clip, pocket knife, turntable, camp-stove, hiking boots -- a backpack, chair, press-pot, or an ashtray, as precious... Some things, be they simple inelegant tokens, express innate worth. These are simple intrinsically valuable objects by their quality. Whatever that one coveted object is for you..., The fact remains that you stagger upon a plank above cheap gratifications holding one thing of intrinsic value. You have some things which always produce a smile or cozy satisfaction, but daily you may piss money away upon junk which fleetingly fills only a gap in your own self-worth. A new piece of junk cannot be ascribed to measure against your confidential consumerist void -- Only quality and utility will steady this journey.
Can't tell shit from Shinola: rude slang; To be exceptionally naïve, unworldly, ignorant, or undiscerning.
This definition is concise, and needs nothing added to be wholly understood. Shimano, and SunRace, have built a reputation upon quality products. Whether it is the revered Deore from the 80's or a cogset on your trainer, you know what to expect when you exchange money for parts. Trying to locate the source of fakes, and knock-offs has proven elusive for this article, but the truth is that Shimano and SunRace have been vigilant since the 80's to quash fakery.
Yet for fakes to exist and constantly flow into the consumer eco-system, means that there is indeed a sucker born every minute, and as Tom Waites says, "You just happen to be coming along at the right time".
Our best defense against being bamboozled to buy junk, is of course research, but when the factoids come slamming against the back-side of your LCD screen as dishonest photons, it is best to seek professional help. You are far better served by a dishonest sales-person, than a dishonest internet. The shopkeeper stakes their livelihood upon honest advice and quality, which is innately not the case for the cowardly internet. The internet nearly singlehandedly invented conformation bias. Good luck with an honest opinion there.
So why not case your local camping store, when you want a tent, Peruse your local wine store for a Pinot, and shop your neighborhood bicycle store for a bike? Call a friend for advice on something which they remain passionate about?.. Friends don't let friends buy shit. To shop outside of a wealth of sound opinion is to live outside of the very society which brought you up. The only thing worse than buying junk, is buying it twice from the internet. And the only thing worse than that is to be the dickhead who sold it to you -- And the only thing worse than being that dickhead is being fooled by that dickhead.
Age and Treachery will overcome youth and skill.