Monday, February 27, 2006

New Report: Bush Can't Ride Bike

Does everything this guy touches turn into a disaster?

According to newly released police papers, Bushie's infamous bike crash from months passed occurred when he ran into a Scottish police officer while waving to and thanking other officers on the scene.

I love the BBC photo caption, "President Bush is a keen cyclist who has taken a few tumbles".

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Chappelle Bloc Party: Me So Happy

Before entering the Paramount Theatre for Dave Chappelle's Bloc Party show on Sunday, I was forced to reveal to a security man that my jacket pocket contained insulin, an inhaler, and glucose tablets in case my blood sugar got too low. In the plastic B&N bag? Two computer programming books. Yeah, I was there to party.

Thankfully it was up to Dave, not me, to bring the cool. And Dave's cool includes putting Mos Def and Erykah Badu up on stage in between his comic banter.

Best moment with Def: He performed his acappella Katrina song. Beautiful and haunting.

Best moment with Erykah: Uh, there were no un-best moments with Erykah. Wow. Just wow. She is a performer through and through. She came out in a super-classy 40's inspired outfit, flowy bright red dress, lime green stockings, high heels - whew!

Dave was hilarious, of course, and the enthusiasm and awe he felt for his co-performers was apparent. His show was a big 'ole love fest. It actually did feel like a party.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Chappelle's Back and Coming to Seattle

J scored us tickets this morning for Dave Chappelle's Paramount Theatre show in Seattle.

And to that I say, "I'm Rick James, bitch!"

Thursday, February 09, 2006

"For He is the Kwisatz Haderach"

Just received my Dune: Extended Edition DVD from Amazon, and I'm happy as a Guild Navigator in a spice juice hot tub.

Of course, only buy this for the David Lynch cut theatrical version and the extras (which I have't watched yet and can't vouch for). The extended version was hobbled together in an attempt to explain the story via lengthy, tedious, ridiculous voice-overs and they destroy the movie. Lynch took an Alan Smithee on that one. The DVD includes both versions.

Granted, when I first watched this as a kid, I had no idea what was happening, but I wore out our VHS tape just the same. Even then I knew there was something creepy, sexual, and really cool going on that I would never forget - as evidenced by the fact that often I drop Dune quotes like lyrical flow (much to J's delight), and I've had entire email conversations with my buddy Seamus using nothing but references to the film. When Seamus and I lived together he hung a banner across our door that read, "God created Arrakis to train the faithful". Indeed, Muad'Dib.

I saw a stillsuit from the film on display at Seattle's Science Fiction Museum, and yep, I still want one.

On that note, I leave you with the fan-created Spice Opera, one of the dumbest things I've seen on the nets to date.

PS: Did anyone know that Alicia Witt played Alia? Damn.

Journalistic Slant on Cyclists

I find this article about the recent altercation between a cyclist and a motorist in Toronto quite distressing.

The author chooses to focus on "militant" cycling and the conflicts caused by activistic riders. He chooses to compare Ms. Hollinsworth, the cyclist who was attacked, to a heroin addict and former messenger whom he touts as a militant cyclist pioneer. According to the article, his militancy consisted of wearing torn-out jeans, riding 12 months a year, and referring to motorists as "sellouts".

The article glosses over the fact that Ms. Hollinsworth was physically attacked by the driver. Throwing the littering driver's trash back into his car was confrontational, yes, but not violent. I feel in this situation the motorist clearly is the militant, yet I've discovered a similar journalistic tone in other articles addressing cyclist/motorist conflicts - the general idea being that a cyclist invites conflict by not conforming to a standard and thus gets what s/he deserves.

I'm reminded of a controversial article about a Boston messenger who collided with a pedestrian who happened to be a prominent banker. This much publicized accident was the impetus for the introduction of licensing laws for messengers and a general crackdown on "renegade" cyclists. Had this gentleman been hit by a car, I strongly believe it would have been dismissed as an unfortunate accident rather than a cause for public outcry and unnecessary legislation.

I like this quote:
"It's a built-in conflict," said Darren Stehr, a Toronto-based activist who has spent years campaigning for cyclists' rights. "You're on a bicycle, and they're in a steel box."

He blames the drivers. "They're in a deteriorating situation. There are more cars out there every day. The traffic is worse than ever. They're not getting anywhere. They get angry at us, but we're doing them a big favour. We take up less of the road. We're creating space for them."

I should add that I am confrontational with motorists on occasion. Ususally, it is because I feel endangered by a motorist's carelessness or deliberate action to intimidate me. Sometimes it's because certain people think it's fun to be verbally abusive and I'm not big enough to let it go. But in the end, I'd like to reiterate a sentiment in the above quote: cars are gigantic, fast, dangerous, and they protect the driver. I don't have similar protection on a bike, yet nearly everyday a motorist will attempt to use their vehicle to muscle me. Somehow, however, I'm the militant.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Further Critical Mass Escalation

I think NYC Critcial Masses are getting out of hand.

In their fervor to curtail the demonstration, two scooter cops collide and have their injuries tended to by a cyclist.

As far as my thoughts on the cyclists' role in this matter, I've blogged about my dubious feelings before.

Still, some more thoughts:
(1) Once in Boston I was cut off and honestly nearly killed by a driver who floored it across an intersection to take a left turn in front of me. I ended up crashing in my attempt avoid getting t-boned. I got a really good look at the tread of the car's rear tire before hitting the pavement. A cop standing on the corner saw the whole thing. The car had stopped, but after I stood up, the driver took off. I shuffled over to the sidewalk and the cop asked, without concern, if I was ok. A little shaken, I said that I wasn't sure. He started to walk away. I stopped him and asked him what he was going to do - my cell phone was broken, my tire pump had bent in half, and there was no way yet to tell if my bike was damaged - let alone if I was injured. He looked at me and said, "I thought you said you were ok". And that was that.

(2) Another thought: A friend who stopped off for a visit during a bike trip up the west coast observed one morning that we could likely fit every bike in the city in a two block area where maybe 20 cars were parked. Seattle's a city full of environmental proponents who drive single occupancy vehicles to work and vote against mass transit systems. Getting just 25% of these vehicles off the roads would be a vast improvement.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Meet My Neighbor: The Bobacabana

Judging by the picture on his home page, this dedicated collector is practically a neighbor of mine.

Quite a spread he's got there. But, owning yearbooks for Harrison Ford, George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, James Earl Jones, and Natalie Portman is a little extreme, no?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Behold and Savor: "Mortiis"

Ah, the splendor.

The rapture.

The t-shirt.