Sunday, August 29, 2010


Great accomplishments often begin with an unexceptional act. A page is signed and a war begins. A woman sits on a bus and the foundations of an unjust society crack loose. Two kids in a dorm room write a math equation and Google happens. When you witness a simple act you have no ability to fathom the possible outcomes that will result from that moment, that smallest decision.

That's what I was thinking as I rolled around the neighborhood on my first bike ride since June 1, 2010. I might be looking like Karl Rove on the skids, but inside I am a hungry Viking.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Libritchenudio

It is time to change up the energy over here on the Heech. For three months I needed nothing but 4 hours of Wife Swap a day and a bed. Now it is time to capitalize on that investment. A 90 day retreat into the mind is a long sojourn to a foreign place and I couldn't help but pick up some souvenirs along the way. I have a lot of projects to work on all of a sudden and I find my space inadequate and too compartmentalized.

That's how the libritchenudio* evolved. I have everything within reach now, but I can't sit 4 for dinner unless we go outside. It will be nice soon, not that I'm inviting anyone over per se. Ideas that germinated during my convalescence are sprouting tiny buds of possibility: the stop-motion finger puppet movie, the non-fiction novel about a novel that is about non-fiction, rescuing civil discourse, booking abysmal gigs for my stable of talent, and choreographing my paddleboat sonata. That is a lot of work and I also have a job.

The libritchenudio will help me make it all happen.


*A NOTE ON HYBRIDS: Some of you may be tempted to crow on about my previously stated stance on hybrids, and their inherent weakness and guarantee of failure. The libritchenudio is no hybrid as there is no compromising of values or abilities. The libritcheudio is not part one thing, part another, but all things uncompromised.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


George Foreman knows what a bad day is. He traveled all the way to Zaire, now the Republic of Congo, to fight Muhammad Ali. People forget that George was the heavyweight champ at the time, and Ali the challenger. It must have been tough for George to ride through the streets on the way to the fight listening to thousands of black faces chanting "ALI BUMAYE!" Translated, this means " KILL HIM ALI!"

Nobody wanted to see George win, not Don King, Not President Mobutu, and apparently not one African. Why? It was Ali's time. As he was apt to remind us, he was prettier, smarter, faster, and stronger. With the world against him George Foreman went down in the 8th round, a victim of the rope-a-dope and a straight right hand.

An incredible to believe 20 years later, George Foreman completed his comeback bid to regain the world heavyweight title at age 46. The Muhammad Ali era had come and gone, yet here was George Foreman- still hanging around the gym. Twenty-one years after defeating Smokin' Joe Frazier to win his first championship title George stood over an unconcious 26 year-old Michael Moorer as the heavyweight champion of the world.

George Foreman is a fighter, and so is the Wrecking Ball, and so am I.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I woke up in the dark this morning, hours earlier than usual, with a disquieting sense of urgency. Thomas Paine was in my dreams saying, "If there must be trouble let it be in my time so my child may have peace."

The disquieting part was not knowing to which trouble I ought to apply myself.

There is more than enough to go around so how about everybody pick something today and let's see what all we can knock out.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vote or Die

I watched three hours of survivor footage from Hurrican Katrina last night to remind me that voting is important. Forget about storms and levees. How many of the 1,186 souls would still be with us if only someone could have gotten water to the Super Dome?

Some of you all are probably of the too cool for school, it is all an illusion non-voters who think it is all a false choice and the two-party system is a farce. Maybe no politician talks to you about the things that matter to you so you don't see yourself represented in the process. I know how it is. I have been there too.

Honestly, I could really give a shit if Gaines street becomes the new gateway to Tallahassee. I also do not have the slightest preference for whether or not Innovation Park remains a research facility or puts in factories that make things. Whoop-de-doo y'all and have fun with that.

I do care about voting though, and I have my reasons. I don't care if the difference between two candidates is negligible, or maybe the system is so broken that it barely matters who wins, I am going to fight for every inch. I will concede no ground, to no foe, in any venue where the battle for defining America is to be pitched.

If different people were answering phones on August 25, 2005 things might have been different for a lot of people.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Get on the Bus

"You're like school on Saturday Rudy, no class!"

I wish I could remember all the rhymes we used to chant on the school bus. The only one that remains in memory goes something like this...

Mmm, Aye, I want a piece of pie-
pie's too sweet, I want a piece of meat,
meat's too tough,
I want to ride a bus,
Bus too full, I want to ride a bull,
Bull's too big, I want to ride a pig,
Pig's too wack, I want my money back...

Or something like that. I am counting on my siblings to find this and correct me.

Did you do this on the school bus? I remember full on foot stomping, hand clapping WE WILL ROCK YOU all the way to school and home.

Do kids still do this, or did it disappear with double dutch jump roping and Four Square?

See, I don't rant all the time. Sometimes I just reminisce.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Meteorology is not the study of meteors. Fair?

It is more humid than Jorge Garcia's pits in this town. It is a deceptively mild 93 degrees, but the dew point is 77. The greater the difference between the temperature and the dew point, the drier the air. A 13 degree variance spells miserable. What is the dew point to temperature variance where you are today?

Yeah. I will just wait right here while you do that.

Basically the deal is that you can sweat, but you can't get rid of sweat. It just sits there and welcomes the new sweat coming behind it. Soon you are enveloped in a sweat blanket, which is hotter than wet wool. Unless you have someone like Charlie Hodge following you around with fresh towels, then you will overheat and fall over dead. You will be lying there with little X's for eyes, but it won't be a cartoon. Sometimes your head might pop off from the steam pressure.

August is no time to start an outdoor comeback.


Friday, August 20, 2010

The Archie Bunker of Liberals

I have been looking for a new "thing" to replace my old shallow identity as a lazy cyclist. I thnk I have found it. I'm going to start walking away from dull conversations. I'm not going to be rude about it, but I simply do not have the time for it anymore. I am old now, and as a Generation X'er, it goes without saying that time has been wasted, maybe even squandered, in the pursuit of great conversation. If that is all I've gotten out of the years then I feel obligated to stick with it.

No more dull conversations.

This doesn't mean we can't talk or chit chat. We can certainly still be friends. It's just that if I excuse myself to the restroom and do not return, know that Father Time is ticking in my ear and I am off to find a better conversation. I hope you will still call if you need me, or care to talk about something else.

I'm tired of phoning it in, and I'm tired of having it phoned in to me. You don't need me for that. You have lots of friends who would be relieved to know you just want to enjoy their company and not have any of your fundamental beliefs challenged.

Challenge mine. It is the only way I can be sure I have some.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lumpy Carbuncle and the Greater Tuberosities

I could tell something had changed. The x-ray no longer showed the peeled-back fingernail of bone that flagged off of the Greater Tuberosity. Now it looked like a lumpy carbuncle. Was that good? Is a carbuncle an improvement over a sliver?

It turns out the answer is yes. My Greater Tuberosity will not win any orthopedic beauty contests (the interior takes after the exterior?) but it is going to function. After a couple of weeks of mobility work and light weightlifting the doctor says I can try a bike ride on a flat surface. For perspective, my first weightlifting assignment is a can of soup above my head, or as high as I can lift a can of soup. No more sling, and the pills are long gone, but I won't forget the lessons that they taught me.

The conversation on this blog has changed, and for the better. I won't be too concerned about writing about bikes from now on, especially since my rides will be boring for a while. I hope. I'm going into the truth-telling business around here, and anybody knows that if you really want to tell the truth, you have to adjust the facts sometimes.

Today's truth has to do with Elvis Presley, who died 33 years ago today. If you hear Elvis' name and immediately start cracking about "Fat Elvis" please know that your sense of humor is boring and unoriginal, and we have heard it all before, and we are not impressed. Click on the title to hear why.


*Lumpy Carbuncle and the Greater Tuberosities were the opening act for the King's final show.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mitigated Gall

Why is it that gall is never mitigated? If you hold back just a tad on your gall does it lose it's impact entirely? That doesn't seem right to me. That's why I will mitigate my gall by owning up to being a hypocrite. If you are going to write about idealism on the Internet, or make observations about the shortcomings of others it is best to fall on your sword at the very outset.

This is also a tactical decision. To stand as Judas and question the disciples, "am I the only one who has sinned?" is to drag everybody down with you where they belong. I remember this kid in middle school who would spit in his own food and rub his yeast roll in his greasy hair before the bullies had a chance to do it for him. This is what I mean by mitigating my gall.

So I am a hypocrite, but you might be one too.

On Monday I get X-rayed, which hopefully means turning the corner towards rehab and exercise. I will have to put down the remote whether I have seen every episode of Wife Swap or not, and I admit- I hate to do it. I have learned some things this summer by watching television. I am, however, the kind of person who finds meaning and symbolism in odd places.

You can look down on Wal-mart and the people who shop there but the entire human experience walks through those doors every day. Sadness, triumph, hope, greed,loneliness, love- it is all there to be found. You can mock Wife Swap, but watch The Daily Show and find some measurable difference there. You can drink bottled water and boycott BP. You can do whatever you want. That's what hypocrites do.

You don't need Chaucer to tell you the story. Life is short, and the craft is long to learn.

The themes of humankind are universal, and therefore can be found everywhere.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Clearly I have lost touch with my audience, and that is what happens when you greet every knock at the door with a hiss, or by hiding behind the curtains.

I am on day 71 of shoulder recovery here, with one more week in the sling. The pain meds ran out long ago, unlike the pain. It makes chit chat difficult.

I did make it out over the weekend briefly and saw a few faces from the trail here and there. I saw the Dogboy and we talked about his appreciation for Reagan's trickle-down economic theory (it is TOO a theory Dogboy says) and how much he loves the band Creed. He said the TEA Party has really changed his life.

Those dudes from Bike Church were hanging around smoking 305 cigarettes in their skinny jeans like usual, getting fired up for some FSU football.

I guess I'm the one who changed in the relationship.

If Wife Swap and Bigfoot don't do it for you I got nothing.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Wife Swap Bigfoot

An incident of harmonic convergence happened last Friday and I missed it.

The subject of my summer 2010 formal studies, the reality television show Wife Swap, featured a family in my hometown of Sebring, FL, who are self-identified cryptozoologists. For those of you who spend time around here you will immediately recognize the significance.

I am an armchair seeker of mythical creatures myself. Long before I witnessed the black panther jaguarundi for you apologists along the bum trail in a heavily populated area of town, I held a fascination for Bigfoot, Skunk Apes, The Loch Ness monster, Chupacabras, Ivory-billed Wookdpeckers, giant alligators like Cyclops in Highlands Hammock State Park and any other legendary creature with an enduring reputation. As a child I wandered the woods between Lakewood and Sparta roads searching for skunk ape sign. Their swirled beds of wiregrass still warm, I scanned the palmetto brush looking for their veiled eyes, knowing they were near. "It's OK!" I would yell. "I won't tell anyone!" Words being so much cheaper than action, the great Florida apes would sit silently, and wait for me to go in search of Kool-aid.

I feel the same way about Wife Swap. For the last two months of seclusion and pain, Wife Swap has been a good friend. I watch it because it also seeks something rare and thrilling. Wife Swap is about action, not words. Wife Swap seeks understanding. To the non-observers like my friends who choose to limit contact with society, home school their child, and make their own soap there can be no discussion of the merits of Wife Swap. Their position is something like this.

1. TV is bad
2. Reality TV is the worst
3. Shows like Wife Swap are the worst of reality TV

The irony is that this makes them perfect candidates for the show.

I see it differently. In spite of producer manipulation, editing, or bribery I think the essence of the show is true. I think it has noble instincts. This is a common trait of mystical creatures. There are stories of bigfoots protecting children*, and Nessie never attacks anyone. I can't vouch for chupacabras, but maybe they try.

To intermingle two american families of often deeply opposing beliefs is an optimistic endeavor. The non-viewer makes the specious argument that the motive is cynical and the desired outcome is humiliation. What I see is different. I see fear as people are confronted with change. I see bewilderment as they experience new ways of living. I see relief when long-established negative patterns are confronted by a stranger. I see a lot of permission to change. Wife Swap is an antidote to cynicism, not a product of it, and I feel the same about Bigfoot.


*Bigfoot Saves Baby from Flaming Camper" (March 28).
This WWN cover story describes Bigfoot's heroic rescue of a six-month-old baby in Utah. After a family camper caught fire in Bryce Canyon National Park, Bigfoot appeared from out of nowhere and entered the flaming RV. He soon emerged with the baby in his arms, set her down, and with his fur still smoldering, rushed back into the forest.

Wife Swap Saved My Marriage: New York Times Article

Monday, August 02, 2010

Protest Music

At first glance I thought this was a picture of someone holding an electric guitar in stadium. A closer look established that the man is holding a banjo and standing in a field. I am going to take a leap and assume that is Pete Seeger, titan of American protest music. I saw him just a few years back at the Florida Folk Festival and he was still at it.

I have been thinking about protest music lately, and who carries the banner for the revolutions of the world. Who can can lay claim to being the soundtrack for defiance, discontent, and indignation? What do you listen to on the way out the door, when you are headed off to your own everyday battles? What do teenage jihadists listen to as they leave their homes prepared to kill and die?

Is it hip hop?

Do you still believe in rock-n-roll?

Is Punk dead?

Can Reggae possibly still be relevant?

Does Garth Brooks count?

Don't be shy. If Eminem is the only thing that gets you out of your chair just tell us. I once left an Eminem album on repeat (that was an accident), full volume as I rode away for a day of trail battle. After hearing it for 4 hours I'm surprised my neighbor hadn't become more of a fan. It broke him down like Noriega.

So, whether it is a bike ride, a big presentation at the office, holding hands against the oil spill, community recycling, TEA party rally, Pride parade, weekend revival, or OBAMA 2012 (Fired up? Ready to Go!)

When it is time to take your cause to the streets, who sounds the horn?