Monday, July 31, 2006

T-Shirt #6

BB in Sioux Falls -

Sasquatch has had similar thoughts about his mower. He learned this - "A conventional two-stroke gasoline lawnmower pollutes as much in one hour as 40 late-model cars running for the same amount of time."

I saw "An Inconvenient Truth" at the local multiplex during the one week it was in town. I firmly believe that even small things can lead to big payoffs; you just never know how your actions will influence others to take similar actions.

While you have the MinusCar Project; I have what I'll call the MinusMower Project. Earlier this summer I put away my noisy gas- and oil-guzzling 4.5 horsepower Craftsman rotary lawn mower and purchased an American push reel lawn mower for less than a hundred bucks from my brother-in-law, an Ace Hardware guy.

In the interest of full disclosure, my initial motivation for the purchase was the fact that it was hard to get that bulky gas-powered mower into my backyard. The reel mower is lightweight enough for me to pick up and carry over my deck and down the steps into the backyard.

But I discovered several things once I started using the reel mower. It always starts the first time (as long as I've had a decent breakfast), it doesn't belch out smoke, it cuts the grass just as well as my gas mower, and it makes very little noise. It's great to be able to hear the birds singing while I'm out in the yard. Granted, it takes a little longer to get the job done, but the exercise is good for me. Though with the recent lack of rainfall, I haven't had to get out in the yard for a few weeks. (I'm reluctant to purchase a sprinkler because of concerns about wasting water, but that's a whole other issue.)

I can't say that I won't ever use my gas-powered mower again. But the benefits for me and for the environment, not to mention the money I'm saving by not having to buy gas and oil, are keeping me using the reel mower. Who knows, the next step might even be the purchase of a bicycle! Ride on!

A River Bed Runs Through It

Sunday, July 30, 6:10AM

Saturday, July 29, 2006

T-Shirt #5

CP (no not THAT CP) in Sioux Falls -

I would like a shirt because I believe in the project. I advocate the three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle. Most people who know me know I am not a fan of politicians on either side of the aisle. I know they are tied to close to Big Oil and if we were to wait for them to do anything about global warming, we’d burn up.

I have adapted the bike lifestyle. I enjoy riding for the pure pleasure of it, I enjoy racing, riding with the local club, and I enjoy doing it as a replacement for driving. I commute to and from work every day. It’s a 22 mile round trip – approximately. I enjoy biking to the Starbucks of my choice, magazines in hand, on a weekend morning, to sit and read and have some java.

I am an active person. I lead a healthy lifestyle. I try to eat in a very healthy way and I love to exercise. Riding bike in lieu of driving is another way I can be exercising. On some days I take the hilly route to work. I do this because it is harder to do. I like to hammer hard to work and see how quickly I can make 11 miles.

A part of me, and the minus car project, makes me nervous. I find myself seriously thinking of not parking the car for a year, but actually selling the car. Since necessity is the Mother of invention it would require I learn to live the bike. I know I could do it. On the extreme rain days or blizzard days I could either take the bus or catch a cab. On the occasions on which I REALLY needed a car I would rent one. No more car payment and no more insurance to pay. More money in my wallet!

I embrace the minus car lifestyle. I encourage anyone who’ll listen to try it. It’s inexpensive, it’s fun, and is so good on so many levels. It’s putting Big Oil’s money in your own wallet. It is a very healthy thing to do. And, it is so much fun!

T-Shirt #4

JT in MLPS -

My cousin Travis is a pretty smart guy. Though he doesn't come across as brilliant at first, his mechanical aptitude must be off the charts. When I see the elaborate and useful contraptions he's built from the ground up (even when he was a kid), I'm impressed. Everybody is impressed. What's even more impressive is that nobody taught him how to do this stuff. He just knows it, or has picked it up a little at a time through trial and error. But Travis had some real challenges getting through high school. Now he has steady work, but it's mind-numbing labor, far below his real ability, and pays accordingly. I think the only thing that stands between him and real employment success is that he simply doesn't know what is out there for people with his unique skill-set. And his earlier difficulties in school has undoubtedly shaken his self-confidence and made him fearful of leaving the type of low-end employment that he has known all his life.

I spent 11 years in college and graduate school before I decided I should quit being a coward and get into something real (within the last 2-3 years, I came to believe I was going the wrong way in life). That's when I dropped out and opened my own business, a business which is completely unrelated to my education, where nobody cares what initials I have after my name. I don’t know if I’ll make more money along this career path, but, five months in, a decent income is not out of the question. More important than the actual dollar value (or cost) of this decision is that I'll be earning on my own terms, on my own schedule, rather than working for someone else.

I learned a lot of math, physics, and natural science in my 11 years of college, but I'll probably forget most of it, since I'll never use it. I don't exactly regret my education. But sometimes I think I'd have been better off taking my tuition payments* and other educational expenses to travel the country/continent/world, experimenting in real life instead of in a science lab. I probably would have learned more useful information that way, and I'd be no less prepared for my current occupation. I'd also likely be more interesting to talk to. I tried working in my field once. It was a 6-month gig that my employer called an "internship", but it was really an extended interview process, wherein they could get some work out of me before committing to actually hire me for a real position (my duties were commensurate with my education, rather than those of a low-level intern). Despite that this job was in my field, my educational attainment wasn't of much use. Sure, school gave me a certain fluency in the subject of the work, but most of what I learned in school was theoretical and beyond what I needed on the job. Most of what I needed on the job, I learned in my first month of work. My schooling isn't necessary in my unrelated business venture, and it wasn't necessary in my totally related "internship".

Formal education, or the school system that provides it to most of us, exists only to justify itself. Tests show that our 8th grade kids haven’t yet attained a sufficient mastery of diagramming sentences. So the education system sets about emphasizing the process of diagramming sentences. Test scores improve in this area, and everybody pats themselves on the back for a job well done. Now a new generation of future 8th grade English teachers can proceed, knowing how to torment yet unborn 8th grade students with diagramming sentences. Nobody needs to know how to diagram a sentence, nobody needs to be able to divide 1047.4 into 367,896,528 by hand, and nobody needs to memorize the chief exports of Ghana. But that’s the kind of crap I learned as a young student, and I suppose I believed it was going to be important someday.
The trivia I learned in more advanced courses in college and graduate school was even less useful.

I’m not saying a formal education is a bad thing. It isn’t. I'm just saying that it isn't as important as it is billed to be. At its best, it’s training for a career. At its worst, it’s mindless, time-killing, redundant, self-serving rote memorization of trivia. Usually, it's some mix of those two.

*My tuition was actually covered by a scholarship in college and by assistantships in grad school, but, to make a general point, I'm writing as if that wasn't the case.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

T-Shirt #3

ND in Lancaster, PA -

What's it like to live without a car? We put that question to our two kids (ages 11 and 15) four years ago and they were not going for it. So we decided to start out slowly - if we could go for a whole month without using the car in town, we'd go out for a nice dinner as a family. After a few months of that, we realized that the car was not truly necessary. But it still took some convincing that selling the car made sense. What if someone got sick?

So, what was the "plus" that put us over the edge? There were actually many. For me, it was the idea of putting a vegetable garden in my back yard. In our case, that meant hiring someone to do lots of excavating and building planter boxes. So my plus was having a vegetable garden out my back door.

But we discovered other pluses. Believe it or not, one of them turned out to be more family time. When you can't run your children all over town for various activities, schedules change. We chose to keep free time in our schedule, to be at home together or do other activities together. Also, if the weather does not cooperate, you tend to stay at home rather than go somewhere - who wants to bike in a driving rain storm?

Getting in better shape is definitely a plus. So is getting other people to question their car use. Seeing us bike or hearing about it does tend to help others to think about how much they use their car for short trips or multiple trips in a day.

And, with the price of gas these days, we're saving big time by not having to fill up at the pump!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

T-Shirt #2

AF in Nashville, TN -

In an age of massive consumerism, bigger is better, the person with the most toys wins mentality, some folks are starting to see that the Emperor is not wearing any clothes. For some they caught a glimpse of the recent movie concerning global warming, others it was their empty pocket book at the pump, others still have been riding their bikes around town all along.

And slowly, some people are getting it. Some of us are realizing it's okay to slow down. Two car garages don't necessitate two cars. Bike lanes aren't a waste of space. Rush hour and traffic jams really are stealing away our lives. Suddenly people realize using your muscles and breaking a sweat isn't just something you do at the gym or on the toilet.

Before you know it, the local grocer down the street seems a lot more appealing then a day trip to mega-mart and the mall. Stopping at the post office isn't a chore; it's a destination on a Saturday stroll around town. You find out the person you pass by in your respective air conditioned personal bubbles is actually your neighbor you'd never met. No longer do you need to build tall fences to avoid them. Now, your weekend entertainment doesn’t require a drive to the consumer-plex, an evening BBQ with your new friends next door seems so much more fulfilling.

Economist and capitalist can crunch the numbers all they want on how much our society has improved because of vehicles. We can certainly acknowledge how accessible it's made our world. But let's be careful of letting the machines control our lives. It's time to do some of our own arithmetic and start subtracting one car at a time. Our lives will be better for it.

Remember - "Minus is the new Plus."

T-Shirt #1

From Justin:

Justin - send me an address. I'll send you a shirt to wear while you're "doing something else

As of 5:00 pm on Thursday, I will be unemployed. I have had this job for four years and six months and it has been pretty good to me. But even though I don’t have another job lined up – I’ve barely got one in mind – I’m leaving my job on Thursday because one day I got to thinking...

We all know that you only go through this wash cycle once. You only get one shot at life. And your job, here in the good ole U.S. of A, is a big part of that life. Now, here’s the part I hadn’t thought of before. Your job is not just something you do. It is the thing that keeps you from doing something else.

Maybe you’ve thought of that before, but I’m damn near 40 and I hadn’t. So I’m going to say it again: Your current job is the thing that keeps you from doing something else.

Sure it’s self evident – after you see it. But I didn’t see it until recently.

I didn’t see that the very simple reason that I wasn’t doing my dream job – the work I was born to do – was because I was busy doing the job I had. It was quietly filling that very substantial space in my life. I didn’t recognize it, but, day after day, I was filling my only job spot out of habit. I was permitting such an important part of my identity and my life to be filled by default.

And then one day I saw the light – My job was the thing that kept me from doing something else. Just as long as I kept the place where something else could go occupied with the job I was doing, I would never, ever, get around to doing something else.

So, as of 5:00 pm on Thursday, I will be unemployed. I’m putting a minus where my job has resided for 54 months so that it has a chance to be filled with a new plus.

Cross your fingers.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Want A T-Shirt? Write An Essay

8/10 - I've got two in the hopper and I'm no longer trading t-shirts for essays.

This blog celebrated its first birthday a couple months ago and I don’t think I celebrated properly (at all) so…Happy Birthday Blog! Seven years (plus or minus what, 8?) ‘till we reach climate tipping point.

For his 60th birthday W gave an interview to People Magazine. He claims he’s in the process of solving global warming. That’s cool…Al Gore invented global warming. Anyway, I’m going to keep solving it my way because I don’t think the climate solution looks anything like New Orleans or Iraq. Actually I think the climate without a solution looks like New Orleans.

During the year I’ve learned something from the Fat Cyclist…talent and good stories go a long way. Having something to give away doesn’t hurt either.

I also think it’s time to have a reader appreciation event. Don’t you? Of course you do…you’re a reader. You can’t fool me. Seriously, thank you readers. When I started this it didn’t occur to me that people would actually read it let alone come back to read it more. Yep, it’s true, there are a handful of regular readers and I’m almost positive not all of them are my mom (The Dad reads too!) I gotta give special thanks to the Fat Cyclist and Oil is for sissy’s for mentioning me once in awhile. Lot’s of people reading this are here because of you two.

Here’s the deal: with design help from The Owner (he’s made a few in his time) I’ve got some t-shirts to give away. It’s a limited number but making more isn’t out of the question (remember the 31 lbs of coin?). The sizes I have are XL and XXL (that’s payback for all the shirts I’ve gotten at bike events that I can’t wear because they’re too small...and you thought the Fat Cyclist was fat.)

Business up front:

Party in the back:

For better perspective look at the bottom of this post.

The shirts are monetarily free… you gotta pay with words. Write something around the “minus is the new plus” theme. 300 words minimum. I don’t care if it’s good or bad. I want to publish it on this blog but if you say no I’ll honor that. Leave it as a comment to this post, or e-mail it to me. Any address information exchanged in this transaction will not be used by anybody but me and only for shirt delivery. Upon request I’ll wear it on a commute prior to mailing. Icky. I will make every effort to supply a shirt for every essay but I cannot guarantee every essay will result in a shirt.

I first read “minus is the new plus” in the comments to the Oil Is For Sissy’s post “Freaking Out the Unimaginative.” The comment was left by Mike Beganyi.

Write on. Ride on. Go. And yes…thanks for reading.

Monday, July 24, 2006

July 17 - 23

New report feature: Destinations - the number of places I stop for useful purpose.

Trips -
MinusCar: 12
Multi-occupant Auto: 5
Single occupant Auto: 2
Destinations: 37

I’m noticing a pattern. I seem to be a bit lazy on Mondays. This week and last, if I hadn’t driven on Monday I would have had zero single occupant trips. Today (another Monday) – I was sure to ride.

Saturday was a big day. The Boy 8 had 7 hours of party split between two people’s birthdays. It took a bit of thought to figure out how to minimize car use for this day.

We drove together to party #1 with the bike on the car. While he was bowling I went for a bike ride. I was going to run errands but I rode too far and enjoyed my cookie and apple juice on the deck at The Namesake too much. I returned to the party with time enough to enjoy South Park pinball with KT. He got two multiballs on this third turn. He won. Multiball rules!

With an hour to kill between the parties we got my errands done. Honestly this added distance to my car miles, but hey, what’s a MinusCar Project without a little inefficient fun. One errand was the purchase of printer cartridges at Staples. They gave me a baggie. Printed on the baggie are instructions to return my used cartridge to Staples for $3 off my next cartridge. Very cool.

For party #2 he swam while I rode home to get stuff done and eat the suppertime meal…and then rode back for the final leg of the day…the return of the car to home.

My Car Miles: 38
My Bike Miles/Hours: 129/8.9

Sunday, July 23, 2006

July 10 - 16

Trips -
MinusCar: 12
Multi-occupant Auto: 2
Single occupant Auto: 2

My Car Miles: 21
My Bike Miles/Hours: 108/7.9

Saturday, July 22, 2006

More. Adventures With BOB

It was an errand running day for me. I started with coaxing The Owner out of the shop for lunch an hour earlier than he had intended. All the new people dusting off their bikes have been keeping him pretty busy.

Yesterday I followed two commuting bicyclists on the same street at the same time going the same direction. They weren’t together and I didn’t know either of them. Unprecedented!

I left home with 31 lbs of coin and a box of household hazardous waste in the trailer. I was ready to make an unattentive driver’s day - “Holy cow! Look at all this money!” “Uhh…yeah but it’s all covered in paint, lawnmower oil and miracle grow…hey, what’s that guy doing laying on the road over there?”

We went to the bank. We dropped the waste at the haz-waste-place and had a nice chat with an employee about the prospects of the state adopting more aggressive recycling laws and the city’s leadership in that effort. It was an unexpected and engaged conversation…and the prospects seemed low.

The next stop was the t-shirt shop. We rode about a mile on one of the more busy roads in the city. It was loud and required concentration…perfect conditions to forget my companion has been busy running a business while I’ve been riding around town all summer. Here is a picture of what it looks like to get dropped by the MinusCar guy:

Uhhh…sorry ‘bout that.

Next stop. Lunch. We parked our bikes, I grabbed a t-shirt sample and we sat down in the available outdoor seating. Apparently we were quite the spectacle. The people next to us wanted to know if we were giving away t-shirts. “Ummm…no.” One asked where we were riding too…a question reminiscent of the time I was asked if I was touring the country. “Ummm…we went to the bank and the haz-waste-place?” They wanted to see the shirt. I obliged and invited them to the site...I wonder if they'll visit.

The ‘Ladas were awesome…as they always are!

Here's what the t-shirts look like:

Now I just gotta figure out the best way to give them away.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

And I Thought I Had A Rough Day!

I came upon this on the ride home today. A construction crew was keeping it controlled so the picture is less dramatic than I'd hoped. If you listen closely you can hear the approaching fire/rescue trucks.

Reports: June 19 – July 9

Playing a little catch-up tonight.

June 19 - June 25

Trips -
MinusCar: 7
Multi-occupant Auto: 5
Single occupant Auto: 4

My Car Miles: 27
My Bike Miles/Hours: 69/4.8

June 26 - July 2

Trips -
MinusCar: 10
Multi-occupant Auto: 4
Single occupant Auto: 1

Bike miles are low. This was the week of the MinusCar trip to MLPS. There wasn't much opportunity to ride.

My Car Miles: 17
My Bike Miles/Hours: 56/4

July 3 – July 9

Trips -
MinusCar: 2
Multi-occupant Auto: 4
Single occupant Auto: 8

THIS was not a good week. I guess I fell back in love with my car. There was one whole bike ride. I can’t remember what the other MinusCar trip was.

My Car Miles: 55
My Bike Miles/Hours: 15/1

Graffiti. Artist.

My city doesn’t have much graffiti. The graffiti we do have isn’t normally very imaginative. This one is new. It’s intriguing. I don’t know what it means.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I (Heart) My LBS And My BOB

Today Bill O’Reilly told me this has been the hottest year recorded in the US. Ever. A three degree rise in average temperature. I think he said global warming is occurring. Bill O’Reilly is a nutjob.

The weekend bike trips began Friday with my first bike camping trip. The Cub Scout den hosted a backyard campout a mile away so The Boy 8 and I loaded the BOB Trailer with two tents, two sleeping bags, and a small case of Hot Wheels cars. We rode together and enjoyed a night of sitting in the shade, s’mores, and tent sleeping.

After returning home and showering I put on my 100-degree underwear and prepared for a long lazy very hot day at home.

Around 8:30pm I loaded the BOB with a Therma-rest and some other things and headed to Jazzfest. The My LBS offers a bike valet service. People who ride their bikes can drop them off with the valet. It costs nothing and they don’t have to keep track of them while they enjoy the festival. I spent the evening visiting with The Owner and MrsLBS and enjoying the soothing sounds of Medeski, Martin and Wood; all the while sitting amongst a few hundred bicycles that had been ridden for utility…and would be ridden home drunk.

When the show was over The Owner and I enjoyed a quick ride to the shop to pick up the trailer for the bike racks. The post-festival vibe was awful as pedestrians, cyclists and autos all performed a midnight intermingling to exit the park. One cyclist weaving in and out of pedestrians on the sidewalk attempted to hop a curb and did a total yard sale onto an interstate exit ramp. He picked himself up and headed up the road against traffic. A couple seconds later Charles Darwin came by trying to serve the guy papers.

Sunday morning I loaded up the BOB again, this time with my disc golf clubs and a change of clothes. I met DDD at the course for some early AM throwing. I shot a 57. He didn’t.

From there I went through a Caribou Coffee drive-thru. The server was quite flustered. I don’t know if it was the bike or just that drive-thru is very difficult work. I had to walk her through the steps to fill my order.

I changed in to dry clothes, spent a couple hours at work and finally got back on the bike to ride home. Part of the end of the ride home involves a decent uphill section. Right at the top of a particularly steep section was a girl attending a lemonade stand. At this point the on-the-bike temperature was 108. I stopped. I drank. She didn't have any trouble fillign my order. Ahhhh…

I spent the rest of the day in the in-laws lake. Ahhhh…

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Wean Yourself

Geez Magazine has done it again.

In March there was an article, Prank - Demotorizing my soul:
“We're not meant to go that fast. It's just too hard on the spirit. So I quit air travel. Planted my feet on the ground, tuned up my old bicycle and set my conscience at ease.”
Then I found the website:
“A place where the moon shines quiet, instinct runs mythic and belief rides a bike (or at least sits on the couch entertaining the possibility).”
I subscribed (issue two, my first):
“I consider the psychologist Abraham Maslow, whose ‘hierarchy of needs’ placed basic necessities – food, clothing and shelter – at the foundation of the pyramid. Once basal needs were satisfied, Maslow assumed human beings would ultimately strive toward self-actualization, not a second car.”
And now...the De-MOTORize Your Soul campaign:
“The De-Motorize Your Soul campaign is a guilt-free experiment in untangling the human body, mind and soul from the oil apparatus. It is a gathering point for your wishes, apprehensions and actions.”
The MinusCar Project is honored to be included as an example* as they kick-off their campaign.

*Warning: religious or spiritual content that may be too left for the right and too right for the left ahead…you’ve been warned.

Friday, July 14, 2006


The Prairie Progressive hooked me up with an article this week. He said he couldn’t help but think of me. I told him he was just jealous that I drive a Hummer and he doesn’t. Then he sent me stuff from Bill Moyer’s Faith and Reason series. He’s good people.

First, the article – it’s a piece in the Guardian describing the Environmental Defence report, “Global Warming on the Road.” Apparently…
“Americans represent 5% of the world's population but drive almost a third of its cars, which in turn account for nearly half the carbon dioxide pumped out of exhaust pipes…”
“Between 1990 and 2001 the number of miles traveled on American shopping trips rose by 40%.”
Next – even when I drive, I don’t drive a Hummer.

Finally, Mary Gordon on Bill Moyer’s Faith and Reason…
“So it seems to me the only thing that stops me from going out and shooting people in Hummers is a religious belief that, even though I don't like them, they are sacred and valuable in the eyes of God. And that does stop me. Because I could really, you know, go out on quite a spree.”
Mytzpyk and The MinusCar Project do not advocate shooting people for any reason; neither do they advocate a faith or reason based on not liking people. However, they do find it very interesting that Hummers were discussed at all on Bill Moyer’s Faith and Reason show.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Beans & Progress

The MinusCar Garden is fertilizer free.

I picked more peas and a bunch of beans a couple days ago. Well, a Cub Scout and a brother helped me with the beans. These are the best beans I’ve ever tasted. At supper we were making plans for next year – spread the planting of the beans over the course of a bunch of weeks. Fresh beans every week, nummy.

Originally the garden water supply was from a 1000 gallon tank nearby. Usually it was empty so we brought our own water from home. Two gallons at a time was enough for the rows we had. Last week the city installed a water source connected to the city water system. Progress…an infinite supply of water! The garden has a lot more mud than it did a few weeks ago. There is no scientific evidence that the mud is directly caused by the increased supply of water to the garden region.

Water is infinite right?

There is probably no scientific evidence that global warming increases evaporation. Or that increased evaporation causes an increase in forest fires. Or that increased evaporation is making the South Dakota drought worse. Or that making the South Dakota drought worse will cause a decreased supply of the countries great automobile energy hope of ethanol. And finally, no scientific evidence that a decreased supply of ethanol will cause the price at the pump for ethanol to rise.

Nope. If there were evidence of these things I surely would have linked to it.

Bring on the Miracle Grow.

Share The Road

There are three sides to every story.

Certainly I'm the one that's under the rock and most everybody else is aware of the soon to be court battle between Minnesota Timberwolves Center Eddie Griffin and two grocery shopping guys.

I guess Griffin drove his Cadillac Escalade into a Chevy Suburban parked in a grocery store parking lot.

The grocery guys say Griffin was driving drunk while watching porn.

Griffin says he was reaching for a cell phone that had fallen out of his lap...uh huh.

If you want the family newspaper version check the St Paul Pioneer Press. If you want the version that describes what really may have been in Griffin's lap check ESPN.

SUV, DVD, Cellphone, Alcohol, Amusement Parks - I don't think they can make roads wide enough for that sort of activity.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Report: June 12 - June 18

Mmmmm…stale daaaata…and everybody’s celebratin’.

Trips -
MinusCar: 13
Multi-occupant Auto: 5
Single occupant Auto: 0

Ahhhh…got one. No single occupant trips, no car miles.

This was a banner week for many reasons. On Monday I had The Boy 8 mid-town-pick-up-duty. I worked him too. It was a three block walk from mid-town venue to the bus stop. We rode a route I’d never been on which included a transfer and a guy who talked to either himself or The Boy 8 the whole way. We weren’t sure. Then the big test, a ¾ mile walk from the bus stop to home. Previously we’d been given a ride to the stop. He survived and we talked about men who talk to themselves…or us. We weren’t sure.

Saturday, under threat of rain, I packed up the bag and The Boys and I headed to the annual Festival of Cultures. It was time for another MinusCar adventure. After passing the test earlier in the week we all walked to the bus stop. We waited in a nice grassy place by the stop…and the bus blew right by us. Fortunately it stopped for a nearby right turn so I was able to get the drivers attention. “Sorry. I never pick anybody up out here. I thought you were just …”

The driver told us stories the whole way in to downtown. One was about when he used to work for Habitat for Humanity. He was assigned to pick up a front-end loader that was really too big for him to be driving. “Go ahead,” his boss said, “I’ve seen your drive the bobcat.” Turns out he’d obliviously run over a large number of construction barrels along the way. I wondered if that had anything to do with the fact that he used to work for Habitat…and I couldn’t help but notice he is still operating large vehicles.

As we entered the bus it started to rain. It was still raining as we walked through downtown to get the trolley. It was still raining when we departed the trolley for the festival. It’s hard to eat curried chicken standing up holding a fork in one hand, a plate in the other hand, and an umbrella in the other…where was that I put it? It rained an inch or two while we were out. We finally ended up at the downtown library…because that’s where you go when it’s raining and you don’t have a car. Yo.

My Car Miles: 0
My Bike Miles/Hours: 117.1/8.4

Sunday, July 09, 2006


We went to the garden today.

The peas...

are ready.

Dusty Books Follow-up

I was going to keep posting the highlights of the book (I'm Glad I'm a Boy! I'm Glad I'm a Girl!) then along came Sue J wanting to know who the author was. Whitney Darrow Jr is the answer. Apparently WDJ has done a fair bit of work for the New Yorker as a cartoonist.

My final favorite without image:

”Boys fix things. Girls need things fixed.”

Every time I read the book the natural flow begs to be read “Girls break things.”

Back in the box it goes for another 10 years.

Dusty Books

There's a big purge occuring in my home this month. We're opening boxes that haven't been opened in years. I found the big prize tonight...and I'm posting the highlights.

From 1970's no doubt best seller "I'm Glad I'm A Boy! I'm Glad I'm A Girl!"

Drive Thru Please

Matt over at Two Cities Two Wheels tried Friday to deposit a check in his Wells Fargo bank account. Apparently rules have changed and he was refused drive thru service because “we can only serve motorized vehicles in these lanes.” Matt – he was on a bike.

Oil is for Sissies added his thoughts here including his intent to start using as many drive thrus as he can.

I’m staying tuned in to this one.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Thanks Jim

It’s a Bloggy Blogg World

I spent part of the holiday weekend in Minneapolis. I had a ticket to Ministry at The Quest but I was late so I missed it.

I stayed at "life of the runion family" (blog). First I hooked up with "the Transit Librarian" (blog) in his office. I visited "Hiawatha Cyclery" (blog) and met "Oil is for sissies" (blog). Shop customer "a flower called nowhere" (blog) was there too. Following that I met the "Lovely and Amazing" (blog) fiancĂ© of the Transit Librarian and got a quick tour of "This Old (Minneapolis) House" (blog). I didn’t get much time with them but they gave me a sweet tip to get me to the Varsity Theater for Rob Bell’s Everything is Spiritual Tour.

At the theater I amazingly bumped into a friend from college so I invited myself into his group which ultimately had me dining with a group of people I’d never met before in Dinkytown. That was very fun, they were very smart people and it’s been a long time since I’ve been in a group where my mundane middle class existence was unusual.

Except for a ride back to base after dinner, and a ride home when I returned to hometown, I made the entire trip by bus. It felt sort of like a scavenger hunt and much of the trip was about riding the bus. With all the wait time I managed to start and finish the book "Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas."

Riding the interstate bus reminded me a lot of high school trips except the passengers seem old enough to weigh consequences and still logically choose violence. The ride to The Cities included the driver requesting the passengers in the back of the bus to be quiet for the announcements (“That’s just rude.”), yes teacher. The ride back included a little argument between one especially loud guy in the back and the rest of the bus over…yes…the air conditioner. The driver left the AC on and the rest of the passengers cuddled together in the front three rows for warmth. In the driver’s defense, I was as accommodating to the loud chain smoking guy with the tracheotomy as I could be too.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day

Someone in Austrailia Google Blogsearched “consumption financed by debt” and found The MinusCar Project this morning.

This is the third and final installment in a series related to Dave Ramsey's appearance on the Focus on the Family Radio Show.

Dave Ramsey and his Podcast.

Dr James Dobson, on the Focus on the Family Radio Show, combining National Evangelical Association Lobbyist and the Koyoto Protocol - “What Richard Cizik and his associates want us to do is roll back the use of fossil fuels (oil) to the 1998 levels, or even earlier, which would paralyze industry and put millions of people out of work.”

The MinusCar Project’s summary of Dave Ramsey’s appearance on the Focus on the Family Radio Show – what Dave Ramsey and his associates want us to do is roll back consumer debt and consumption to the 1998 levels, or even earlier, which would paralyze industry and put millions of people out of work.

Dave Ramsey himself admits that “if every single American stopped using debt of any kind over the next fifty years, banks and other lenders would suffer.” He’s on pretty safe ground diluting his message by spreading out the change over an arguably meaningless 50 years. He also strives to make everybody a millionaire which is much more palatable than say, trying to ensure the earth remains inhabitable. But, suffering banks can’t come without consequences, and 50 years is probably too generous, given Kevin Phillips assessment in “American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money” that finance, insurance and real estate are 20% of our GDP and “moving money around has surpassed making things.” (I haven’t read this book. I read this blog post. I found it by doing my own Google Blog search for “consumption financed by debt.”)

Living The MinusCar Project for the past year has been much more than blog posts and bike riding. It’s been asking a variety of questions. One of the answers I’ve found is that my greenhouse gas emissions are largely linked to my consumer consumption. I’m no rocket economist but I’m pretty sure a meaningful reduction of greenhouse gases requires a meaningful reduction of consumer consumption, especially in a country where 6% of the globe’s population consumes 40-50% of its resources.

One of Dave Ramsey’s favorite bible verses is Proverbs 22:7 – “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender.”

It’s interesting that Dr James Dobson suggests “an underlying hatred for America” motivates people working on mitigating climate change. In Exodus the Israelites response to Moses as he’s trying to negotiate their release from slavery, “May the Lord look upon you and judge you! You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

Happy Independence Day – will those fireworks be cash or charge?

Might I suggest The New Exodus? Part III is especially excellent...if you're already inclined to ask these sorts of questions.