Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Day For Bikes

As I got ready to ride this morning I noticed it was a little dark. I put the light on my bike and on my way discovered most drivers were still using their headlights. Good choice. One more week and lights will be an absolute necessity.

I rode to a lunch meeting. Against the wind all the way there. I was a few minutes late.

After work I had two downtown meetings. A city bike committee meeting (thanks for the pizza) and the previously advertised bike 2 work meeting. Looks like we've got some new faces interested in getting involved. Excellent.

And then the best part...ride your bike to work, attend evening meetings after you getting home?


When I put the lights on this morning I hadn't realized that I'd be needing them to get home that evening. Planning ahead is important. Luck is nice too.

I rode the long way home and rode a lot of the bike trail. It was a beautiful night. I saw another well lit rider on the trail. I think we waved at each other. It was dark.

28 miles today.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

It Didn't, I Rode

It didn't snow. It didn't rain. I didn't drive.

We didn't buy Wal*Mart. We didn't sell Disney.

I received great encouragement from a guy named Tim.

I was treated to some new artwork at one of the UnderBridge Galleries.

Most of it I'm not old enough to look at let alone display.

But there is this green splotch with a lovely reflective yellow background on steel.

And the author(s) left their moniker.

Back To Reality

A nice side effect of having all this off topic stuff to think about the past few weeks is it takes my mind off the awful job I did this week of riding my bike places. Yeah, that’s right. MinusCar Guy was way more Car this week than Minus. It doesn’t even matter that The Owner saw me on a bike in traffic; it was one of a few times I was on a bike. Tomorrow morning I have an investment club meeting, it’s supposed to be rainy and snowy. I have to sit in someone else’s chair. I might not get to ride to that either.

Add this week’s snow to the off topic stuff I’ve been working on (and you may or may not have been reading) and you have a guy not giving a lot of thought to global warming…until today.

It began with a conversation with a friend who just got back from visiting some farm land he stands to inherit. It’s in the most northern and western county in North Dakota. I asked him, in a few years when South Dakota turns to desert, if he’d save me a little piece to put up a pup tent. He laughed.

He didn’t say no.

Then I saw a post on the Mother Jones blog that mentioned a new faith-based campaign against global warming. Yeah, it’s the same one that was new a year ago. But wait, it points to a different article reporting that one of the signers of the ECI has become the head of the Christian Coalition. And he looks “forward to expanding our mission to concern itself with the care of creation, helping society's marginalized, human rights/religious issues and compassion issues.”

Anything is better than a God who legislates the nation from Pierre, SD…an opportunity Jesus declined early on, in my estimation. There’s still the fact that it’s the Christian Coalition which leads me to imagine God legislating the nation from, say, Portland, OR. That wouldn’t be much better.

And then thanks to the Leveller's blog I learned that Common Dreams is reporting that “Climate Change Will Cause Refugee Crisis.”

Ya think?

Well I guess these studies are necessary. Nobody believes me when I say it.

The report claims there are already 25 million environmental refugees. Some of them are Mexican’s coming to the United States. Meaning the current national discussion on immigration is partially related to global warming even if Bill O’Reilly doesn’t realize it. And our answer to the problem is...

Build a wall.

Dear Canadian friends, you’d better get started with yours. You've got a lot more ground to cover.

I wonder how many pup tents my friend's land will hold. Oh and corn, not for eating, for fuel, so we can drive to McDonalds. In Canada.

It was a dark afternoon.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

snOh Yeah!

For many years now I've considered it pretty romantic to be on the bike during the first measurable snow fall of the season. That would be this morning. The grassy areas showed the accumulation. The pavement and hard pack dirt did not. That left me pretty sandy by the time I got to work.

I’d better get the snow tires on the single speed soon! LBS, ready or not, here they come!

NPR v Prairie Progressive

Were you listening? Did you hear him? The Progressive on the Prairie went national between 8:30 and 9 this morning on...

NPR Morning Edition's story about South Dakota Amendment E.

Which, by the way, he'd like to remind you, vote NO on E.

Way to go Tim!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Problem, Problem, Problem, Problem, Payoff

Ok. Nothing to see here. Move along.

An eventful commute today.

The cable of the front derailleur fell off the leverage point. I had to stop and temporarily fix it.

Two minutes later, on some rough stuff, it felt like something had fallen off the bike. I’ve finally learned to stop. Not matter what. Even if I’m sure it was just a rock that got kicked up. Make sure everything is still attached. Sure enough, my CO2 cartridge had fallen off. Regroup.

On the way home I stopped at the LBS so the fine folks could fix the front der and run through a quick gear adjust. Rock and roll, service with a smile. Well, actually it was some fine blues playing in the shop today. Thanks guys!

One more stop, this time at Radio Shack. It looked like my computer battery was going to die any minute. It’s backup already failed last week. I’m a geek boy. I gotta have my uninterrupted data flow. Batteries secured.

And home, to some excellent, greasy, salty, sweet chicken cordon bleu. Thank you very much, can I have another.

And the big payoff - seems someone found a bike in the river. They dragged it out and made this piece of art. I love how the bike blends so nicely with the leaves.

Babies, Dragons, Clarification

Matt Lockett was kind enough to engage me on his blog regarding the comments I took so hard from his Sunday morning presentation to a church in my community.

You can read that exchange here.

Matt Lockett has traveled (is traveling?) around South Dakota rallying state pastors to support the abortion ban legislation. He has hosted at least one conference call between US Senator Sam Brownback (KS) and pastors from this state.

He travels for God, the Justice House Of Prayer and Bound4LIFE.

Previous MinusCar posts on this topic are here and here and less so here.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Snakebite’s: Scavenger Hunt

I’m toast.

I participated in Snakebite’s Scavenger Hunt today. I almost won it too! There was just one problem: the small matter of being 7 minutes behind the actual winner. And being 2 minutes over the 3 hour limit, ok, two problems. Well, three, I messed up on one of the mandatory items which sort of disqualified me. But I was crossed-eyed by that time so I deserve a break. Don’t I?

The mandatory items were 1 canned non-perishable food item from a specific grocery store and 1 boxed non-perishable food item from a different specified store. Receipts were used to verify place of purchase. I bought a canned item at both places. I went home with “does not follow instructions” stamped on my manifest. My understanding is the food will go to the food bank. Smart guy that Snakebite:.

From a MinusCar perspective this was such a cool event too. There’s nothing quite like making people run errands on bikes to help demonstrate that running errands on bikes is possible. There was some conversation around the Applebee’s table regarding route selection, roads traveled and traffic experienced.

The winner and I were the only ones that completed all 15 items. Including my ride to the start I had a 3 hour ride time and 42.6 miles. The winner rode to the start too. He’s like that. A year ago he described his commute to work to me: get up and ride 20 miles. Return home and go to the basement to start working. That’s living close to ones job!

If you’re curious about what a Snakebite: Scavenger Hunt looks like, here is what I learned and the order I learned it:

Start – courtyard at the federal building.

The muzzle of the cannon at Lyon Park is stamped with NO 109 BH.

The sculptor of the Statue of Liberty in McKennan Park is Bartholdi.

1 can Bushes Orignial Baked Beans at Hy-Vee, 33rd & Minnesota Ave.

The gazebo in the formal garden at the top of Tuthill Park has four fenced and two unfenced sides. Did I mention it’s at the top of Tuthill Park?

The surveyor’s marker in Sherman Park was placed by the US Coast and Geodesic Survey in 1935.

The chain on the anchor at Sherman Park has 8 links.

The anchor displayed at the memorial of the USS South Dakota weighs 26194 presumably pounds.

The yellow sign at the gate to the Keuhn Park Golf Course is just a yellow board. It says nothing.

The splice plates on the pedestrian bridge over I-29 near Southeast Technical Institute have 12 bolts.

The serial number of the bridge over the diversion channel north of the airport is 2002218-2.

The monument overlooking Cliff Avenue and John Mmmmmorell’s was dedicated in 1999 by the Minnehaha County Historical Society.

There are 82 steps to the top of the Falls Park Observation Tower. I asked at the desk. If I hadn’t asked I would have counted on the way up. Mr. Smarty Pants Snakebite: would have ridden the elevator up and counted on the way down. Apparently you get the same number.

The sign on the west wall at the top of the parking ramp by the bus depot says “Dump Snow Here.”

The Statue of David was presented to the City of Sioux Falls and Augustana College by Thomas and Marie Fawick.

1 can Bushes Original Baked Beans at Sunshine Food’s, 13th & 2nd Ave.

Downtown Applebee's, where participants dined, I ordered food to go, and The Wife on her way home from downtown, stopped to pick me up. I'd probaby still be trying to find my way home had she not.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Babies, Dragons And MinusCars

What does The MinusCar Project have to do with abortion, gay marriage, wiretapping and torture?

Somewhere close to 18 months ago it became clear to me that if I wanted the scenery around me to change (and I desperately needed it to change at that point), it was my responsibility to change it.

A few months after that The Owner passed on to me one of the greatest lessons I may ever learn. He presented me a theory that every group of people has at least one of every kind of person in it. If this is true certain things can be deduced. For example: when I look around a group for a cool person and there isn’t one, I am the cool person in the group.

When something needs to be said, and there is nobody in the group who will say it…

When something needs to be done, and there is nobody in the group who will do it…

18 months ago I discovered that not doing anything and not saying anything was no longer going to work for me. I took a baby step: a blog for saying things, and a commitment to a bicycle for doing things. The MinusCar Project does not exist in a vacuum and some people close to me might be hoping I don’t fall down the stairs.

Doing things and saying things is risky. What if I do the wrong thing? What if I say the wrong thing? I’ll be uncomfortable.


Nothing has devastated the environment more than my need to be comfortable. Nothing has devastated my relationship with the 2/3’s world more than my need to be comfortable. Nothing has allowed my government more free reign than my need to be comfortable. Nothing cheapens my relationships with my wife, my The Boys or my friends more than my need to be comfortable. Nothing has done more damage to my body and my health than my need to be comfortable. Shall I go on?

Nothing has diminished my relationship with my God more than my need to be comfortable.

Tomorrow I will ride to work, possibly in the snow, some people will percieve this as discomfort.

I will not listen to a man in a pulpit in a church in my community encourage adoption as a way to steal babies from homosexuals and not say or do anything.

The scenery is changing.

Being uncomfortable has it's benefits. Sunday morning I talked with a woman who described to me her adventures in riding to work. A few years ago she was run over by a pickup and sustained internal organ damage. She continues to ride to work. She takes encouragement from this blog. I take encouragement from her. Discomfort might be worth it.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Got Woody?

My favorite story about Tony Campolo is that he’s been known for informing audiences that 30,000 kids died during the past few hours because of disease and malnutrition and that most people in the room don’t give a shit. He’d then point out that, in fact, most people in the audience were more concerned about his use of the word shit than the 30,000 dead kids. – see wiki for wiki-proof.

I’ve had an accidental Woody Harrelson film festival over the past few weeks.

The festival began here after I pointed to Sans Auto’s discussion of Dr Putnam’s lecture and book “Bowling Alone.” I mentioned I’d soon be watching League of Ordinary Gentlemen. While the movie has very little to do with linking bowling and social decline, it does acknowledge the link by opening with meaningful quotes from Dr Putnum and then President Clinton. Woody’s part in the movie is simply the use of clips from his parts in Kingpin, a movie I havent seen.

Next up was North Country, the film about sexual harassment in northern Minnesota mines. Woody played the good guy lawyer. North Country was produced by Participant Productions, maker of some of the best (most challenging? most socially conscious?) films in recent memory, including: An Inconvenient Truth, Syriana and Fast Food Nation.
Participant believes in the power of media to create great social change. Our goal is to deliver compelling entertainment that will inspire audiences to get involved in the issues that affect us all.
Today I watched Go Further, a movie that might serve to get this blog back to its regularly scheduled programming. The film documents Woody’s west coast lecture tour where he and a handful of others rode bike from Oregon to southern California, ate organically, and lived in the tension of ummm...that laundry list of all that is bad related to the environment. In the opening minutes I thought I was going to be really annoyed by the movie but soon it became palatable and by the end I really liked it.

The best part: I watch my daddy films from the laptop, quietly, not wanting to push this crap on the family. Sometimes The Boys get curious and I either pause the film to avoid inappropriate content or they quickly get bored and walk away. The Boy 8 watched much of this film over my shoulder. He knew what was going on and even wanted to know what’s so bad about corn dogs?

And I wasn’t concerned that he was hearing the word shit.

(I was glad the huffing of the Dust Off part had already passed.)

Part of a very cool Woody Harrelson poem:
Politicians and prostitutes
are comfortable together
I wonder if they talk about the strange change in the weather.
Complete poem here at the Voice Yourself website.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Embarrassed Again: I Scooped Tony Campolo (by 5 days)

He’s not on the religious right. But he is an evangelical leader. So let’s celebrate! Woot!

Hey! There’s an evangelical leader who agrees with my sentiments! Yes, the sentiments I expressed in my “Still Not Getting It, But Not Stealing Babies” post. By the way, there is some mildly interesting commenting relating to who said what going on there.

Tony Campolo says in this “Duplicity on the Right” posting:
“If they [religious right] have changed their minds and are ready to refute the golden rule, then it is time for them to say plainly, ‘For the most part we agree with Jesus, but there are special circumstances when we must ignore His teachings.’"
“the Religious Right can’t have it both ways. They can’t say that righteousness must never be compromised [abortion], and then add 'except in certain situations—like torturing our enemies in times of war.'”

Now, let’s celebrate!

Offer #1: I am holding in my hand a copy of Tony Campolo’s book “Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture-Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel” If you want it I’ll send it to you. Just e-mail me a delivery address. Like the shirts, I’ll only use the address for delivery of the book.

Offer #2: Tony Campolo is featured in this Starving Jesus podcast (mp3) where you can hear him say a bunch of juicy things. If you don’t like him now, you’ll probably like him less after listening to this. But what’s Starving Jesus? Want to read the Starving Jesus book? I'll send it to you. Again, e-mail me an address. Previously expressed address privacy rules apply.

**10/4 for clarity - on offer: Adventures In Missing the Point and the Starving Jesus book. Starving Jesus is travelling to Austrailia.