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It's That Time of the Year Again


The Tour 2012

Alam Na...

BSNYC Friday FUn CKwiz!

Firstingly:

This blog will be closed next week.



Actually, it won't technically be closed, since you're free to enter and wander about wherever you'd like.  It's just that I won't be updating it, nor will anybody be around to clean the bathrooms.  If you're wondering why I'll be gone, the detailed answer is because I have to do some stuff.  However, once I've did that stuff I'll be back on Monday, July 9th with regular updates.

Secondingly, speaking of America's Favorite Family Fun Park, this coming week Americans will observe Independence Day.  If you're unfamiliar with this holiday, it's a magical time during which we take a break from shooting at each other with guns and instead focus on blowing ourselves up with fireworks:



Actually, the narrator of the above video sounds like he might be Canadian, but almost melting your face off with a Roman candle mounted to a department store bike is still very much in the July 4th spirit.

Thirdsly, tomorrow begins the annual touring of France known as the Tour de France, during which the fastest riders in the world who are not injured, suspended, or incarcerated will compete to win the fabled mayo jawn, which is the second-most coveted prize in cyclesport (the first being an exoneration in a doping investigation).  Amazingly, it's now gotten to the point that the favorites are last year's winner Cadel Evans and no year's winner Bradley Wiggins:


("Where the hell did I leave my sunglasses?")

The hopes of an entire nation rest on those sideburns, and it will be sad to watch those hopes slowly sink like a bunch of kittens adrift on a pond in a boat made from construction paper.  Of course, if he does win, I'll gladly travel to the UK and publicly eat my hat, but only because that's still vastly preferable to partaking in British cuisine.

And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz, which you'll have a whole extra week to complete.  As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer.  If you're right then get excited and punch the cat, and if you're wrong you'll see the Shark bike.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and if you must light fireworks please refrain from pointing them directly at your face.  I look forward to seeing you again, faces intact, on Monday, July 9th.


--Wildcat Rock Machine








1) Amazingly, the cycling media continues to treat Levi Leipheimer like a serious contender in the Tour de France.

--True
--False







2) Trick Question: Though it briefly visits other nations, the Tour de France takes place almost entirely in which European country?

--France
--England
--Spain
--Germany








(Author Martin Amis, abjectly miserable in his brownstone prison.)

3) What is a "good spondee?"

--"Strong. Place. You can’t stress one or the other. Two big stresses.”
--A refreshing chilled beverage sold by 7-11
--British slang meaning "money well spent"
--Australian slang for exceptional fellatio









4) According to Edgar Allan Poe, baptism is a bad spondee.

--True
--False







5) Which of the following is not among the reasons to ride a bike as listed by the AAA?


--"It's a great form of exercise"
--"It's good for the environment"
--"It's fun to ride"
--"It's a good last resort for when your license is suspended or your car is in the shop."









6) "LumaHelm can also:"

--"...visualize heart rate to make other (road) users aware that the helmet wearer is a fragile human being and makes visible to others that the wearer invests physical effort."
--"...emit a series of chirping and whirring noises to alert (the wearer) to danger."
--"...stumulate dopamine receptors in the brain to make the wearer's ride more pleasurable."
--"...let the world know that the rider owns a vast collection of 'Star Wars' memorabilia and has never had a romantic relationship with another human being."







7) The film "Fixed Gear Addis Ababa" is about a rider who, after being forced to walk his fixie up a hill in Ethiopia, experiences the epiphany that he should just grow up and get a bike with derailleurs already.

--True
--False



***Special Trick Bonus Question***



(Eggs.)

Simply calling something a trick question is sufficient to make it a trick question.

--True
--Eggs


The Road Ahead









































Instant Identity: Just Add Money

Further to yesterday's post, a reader left the following comment:

Anonymous said...


Mandatory helmet laws weed out the people who don't LOVE riding their bikes. Fight it, but ride not matter what!


June 27, 2012 8:56 PM

This is exactly the problem.  I don't want to "weed out the people who don't LOVE riding their bikes." People who love riding bikes are obsessive-compulsive freaks, and I say this as one of those people.  For the most part, America is a crappy place to ride a bike, which is why the people who actually ride bikes anyway are such weirdos.  I don't want to be surrounded by other weirdos like me.  American cycling badly need an infusion of people who aren't especially excited about riding bikes but do it anyway.  This is the only way we can water down our extreme dorkitude.  Otherwise, cycling in America is going to continue to look like this:


Before you complain that this image is not safe for work, please explain to your boss and colleagues that I am using it in a sociological and anthropological context, and therefore it is no more offensive than anything you're likely come across in "National Geographic" while waiting for your dental appointment.  It's also a valid cultural exploration, since the guy on the right is no doubt an authentic Rastafarian, albeit by way of Lake Forest.  And now, thanks to the miracle of Kickstarter, you can sponsor this image and others like it by giving money to "Positive Bodies: A World Naked Bike Ride Supporters Art Show:"


This project is very important, and here's why:

Unbending in the face of pressure and criticism for not posting these images on the web, he has been waiting for the right moment to exhibit these striking images as prints that can truly honor the courage of the participants.  After three years nearly 400 WNBR-C tastemakers have collaborated in this comprehensive collection in support of positive body image and freedom of expression.

Or, if you prefer, it's perhaps the most powerful argument against mandatory helment laws that it's possible to make, because as long as we keep cycling marginalized and freakish then people like this will be compelled to keep shoving their unkempt genitalia and unfortunate body art in everybody's faces.

Speaking of Kickstarter, "social panhandling" is rapidly becoming a potent force of social change.  See, you can ascribe as much metaphysical or spiritual significance to human existence as you want, but the simple fact is that life is mostly about exchanging stuff.  We all need stuff--food, water, shelter, boutique deodorizers formulated specifically for caucasian dreadlocks--and societies evolve around the sharing of this stuff.  This is because you can't just go around kicking people in the nuts and taking what you want.  There needs to be rules for who gets what and how.  Until recently, here's how "stuff exchange" traditionally worked in our society:

--You need stuff;
--You go to someone else who already has stuff and ask them if you can help them manage all that stuff in exchange for some stuff of your own (this is called "getting a job");
--You do your job, and in your free time you enjoy your stuff;
--As you accumulate both stuff and experience, you eventually strike some sort of happy balance between stuff management and life enjoyment, and this unique balance determines who you are;
--You die.

Now, though, all of this is hopelessly outdated, since thanks to Kickstarter all you need to do is just come up with an idea and then ask people for money:



The real genius of Kickstarter is two-fold, in that it:

1) Inverts the concept of "supply and demand."  It used to be that people had demands, and so they paid other people who were able to help them fulfill those demands.  Now, the way it works is you simply demand money from other people, and then you supply them with something they didn't even want in the first place;

2) It cuts out that pesky middleman known as "evolving" and instead allows you to conjure your identity from thin air.

Best of all, it allows you to "bundle" your leisure and creative endeavors.  Before Kickstarter, maybe you'd save up your money to take a long bike trip.  Then, maybe after the bike trip, you'd record some music about that trip.  If you were lucky, maybe people would enjoy that music, and if you were extremely lucky, maybe people would enjoy it so much that they'd even want to see a documentary about how you made that music.  This tedious process could take years, and success was far from guaranteed.  Now, though, you just ask for money so you can do the bike tour and the album and the documentary all at once, like when Disney releases a movie and a toy and a "making of" special and a fast food meal deal all on the same day, and the success is just assumed:



To me, this is the most fascinating aspect of Kickstarter--the way so many projects walk the fine line between self-reflexivity and auto-fellatio:

("Help me help you help me make art about my art.")

Of course, it's essential to keep in mind that these are merely the cynical musings of somebody who's hopelessly staid and ornery and whose blog is itself a daily act of auto-fellatio.  Certainly if someone wants to take a bike trip and someone else is willing to give him money for that bike trip so that he'll burn their name into his guitar then by all means they should all sit back and enjoy the fellatio.  Who knows?  The ensuing album/documentary could be a masterpiece.  And certainly some of these projects do have the potential to make a real difference.  Consider this one:



Creative endeavors are one thing, but you can't tell me we don't need more "deditcation to the peace building process:"


Anyway, this project reached its funding goal last year:


And since then they have indeed been "bi-keen for peace."  In fact, I visited their website, where I learned they've been saving the world by having incoherent interactions with the locals:

He talked fast and continued to use his hands and arms enthusiastically to emphasize whateverthehell point he was trying to make. He continued on about “papas”. Julia and I smiled and nodded. We understood “potatoes” but we’re sure of the details. We continued to attempt successful communication. We used phrases from my lonely planet phrase book to try to get him to slow down. “Puede mas despacio por favor?” We even pointed to the written phrase in the book. He looked at the words, but appeared to not read. Instead of trying to understand, he treated it as a game. Talking faster and using more hand gestures. Julia and I resolved to play along with his game. We used more hand gestures and talked of irrelevant things. It didn’t matter. The innocent boyish smile on this older mans face glowed with joy that there were people in his big and lonely cab to ride with him.


That's $5,180 well spent.  Say what you will about Kickstarter, but there's no more effective tool for launching ill-prepared Americans into the world at large, where they proceed to practice a strange form of altruism that mostly involves asking poor people for favors.

We may need less kickstarting and more restraining.