Showing posts from October, 2006

Nail guns, cows, and sundown

I have been meaning to do some research and do up a big vegetarian posting for my friend Mark, but I doubt I'll ever get around to it. I didn't go veggie for any one particular reason, but more because all the various reasons added together seemed kind of overwhelming to me. Without even touching on animal rights/cruelty, or the meat industry's effects on the environment, there's always just the health concerns.
I just came across a mention of a documentary called Frankensteer. I don't know if I'll ever get my hands on it, maybe Queen Video would have it, but it looks great.

Frankensteer is a disturbing documentary that reveals how the ordinary cow has been turned into an antibiotic-dependent, hormone-laced potential carrier of toxic bacteria, all in the name of cheaper food.
Every year, 50 per cent of the total tonnage of antibiotics used in Canada ends up in livestock. And every year cattle raised in massive feedlots are routinely dosed with antibiotics even if …

Some American stories

I wasn't really planning to blog today, was hoping to spend part of my lunchhour figuring out how to become a millionaire on the stock market, but two things in Newsweek caught my eye this morning:

Although signed back in August, a U.S. National Space Policy was just published on the Office of Science and Technology website in early October. Basically it is a document outlining the United States' goals and plans regarding the utilization of space.
A fundamental goal of the policy is to “enable unhindered U.S. operations in and through space to defend our interests there.”

[The policy calls upon the secretary of defense to] “develop capabilities, plans, and options to ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries.”

To deny such freedom of action to adversaries... and to enable unhindered U.S. operations in and through space... Doesn't that sound like 1800's manifest destiny, this time in space? It also smacks a little of D…

The Sacred Madness

When Johannes Kepler had his "eureka" moment regarding the laws of planetary motion, he was ecstatic. Having solved that problem, he would eventually write -
"I am free to give myself up to the sacred madness." He had unraveled one of the mysteries of life, he had taken a step closer to his God, and he could now give himself up to the mystic.

The Sacred Madness idea has always amused me, and I was thinking about what the sacred madness would mean to me as a cyclist.

There's lots of little crazy things I'd like to do as a cyclist. I've been very very tempted recently to reach out and grab onto a truck and do the "get a free tow" thing sometime. I'd like to do some of this stuff. The closest I've come is flying through busy places in Toronto like Spadina's Chinatown, Bloor's Annex, King Street anywhere downtown, at too high a speed and feeling like I was in that "radar aware zone" where I was pretty sure the street couldn…

A tuesday miscellany

A columnist in the toronto star named David Bruser put out an open invitation for letters regarding the toronto transit situation. In his words - "Is there a better way? If so, the Toronto Star wants to hear about it." He can be reached at As only cyclists read my blog, I'd invite all of you to write in, tell him that cars are ruining the earth, and that we need more bike lanes and tax breaks for cyclists! : )

The most recent Macleans has an interesting article about the internet, and how good it actually is. Of note to bloggers is a section on the free speech allowed by the net. Blogging is good because "(the internet allows) the most participatory marketplace of mass speech that this world has ever seen."
Yet blogging is bad because, in general, people read the blogs of people who share their politics etc. Democrats read democratic blogs. Republicans read republican blogs, and cyclists read cycling blogs. Therefore we're "preaching…

Peter Miller's Yellow Cards

This is just a quicky - busy day today, Bruce Cockburn concert tonight, mucho bike shopping to do this weekend... BUT... I read about this in the most recent Bicycling Magazine this morning.

Magnetic cards available through Peter Miller - Yellow Cards. So much more civilized than my pet daydream of riding around with a baseball bat attached to my backpack.

i took my potatoes down to be mashed

The conservatives released Bill C30 in the House today. This is the much bally-hooed Clean Air Act, and it should be available to read soon on LegisInfo.
Although I am including the highlights of the bill below, who cares really. We knew the Conservatives weren't going to do anything serious with this bill. To play devil's advocate, would the Liberals? Are any of these guys willing to stand up and say "gasoline should be taxed up to double it's current price, with the extra money going to environmental recovery"? Not likely, but that's the kind of serious measure which needs to be taken to actually save the planet.

More interesting than the bill is this story about the Canadian Automobile Association.
"The country's largest club for drivers, the Canadian Automobile Association, on Monday urged its members to spend less time behind the wheel and said this would help fight climate change and boost air quality.
The club which has 4.9 million members, also b…

oh to be in holland

Clever Chimp in Portland has a nice little video up in his Oct. 17 post. It's just three people on big utility bikes riding with their children. But man, it looks so peaceful and serene.

If only we all went through life this way.

My buddy Oliver, who I've known since Grade 7, and who is pictured here dressed as his alter-ego, The Flash, has a new cycling photography website at H2o photography. If you raced the recent Oktoberfest cyclo-cross race your picture is likely to be captured there somewhere.

Oli, who used to race with Lanterne Rouge and who is now recovering from a back injury is my friend who tells me things like a) "you really need a good bike" (when I owned a crappy home hardware bike) b) "you need a lighter road bike" (when I owned a heavy KHS chromoly road bike) c) "you aren't really going to sell your Cervelo are you?" (now - as I'm currently thinking of selling my Cervelo road bike).

I really really really really really wasn&#…

Hmmm... what's the appropriate word... "miserable?"

It is Tuesday Oct. 17 in southern Ontario and it's basically miserable out. It's pouring, that's the first thing you need to know. I had a tailwind for a while as I trekked through Whitby, and I was thankful for that, but then I turned east on Conlin and a heavy headwind blasted itself into my chest. I suddenly felt like I was doing the Scarborough Bluffs climb on my mountain bike.
Anyhoooooo..... I thought I'd talk about gear today.
It's not too big a stretch to claim that my lifesaver for this commute has been this backpack. It's from the Running Room (I worked at the Running Room in the Beaches for several months up until September) and I highly recommend it for any biker.

You know the backpacks you have in your closet which are covered in salt stains from sitting on your back as you ride on hot summer days? And how the clothes/books you have in that pack are icky and damp when you arrive at wherever you're going on those hot days? Well this backpack has a…

Autumn in Ontario

I haven't written about Peak Oil in a while. It's so hard to say what is really going to happen. Oil will definitely run out, but will technology save us? The U.S. Air Force is trying to run its airplanes on oil synthesized from coal. Will that work? Will that work globally? God knows.
Although I've kind of forgotten about peak oil, James Kunstler sure hasn't. In fact, in his most recent blog posting he states that we are over the peak and on the long descent into demand for oil outweighing supply. It's kind of hard to see that, with gas prices being so low right now. I also don't know why he's claiming that the Saudian Arabian Ghawar oil field has peaked. If it has peaked, the party is over - Ghawar is the most massive of the world's massive oil fields. But what Kunstler is basing his data on, I'm not sure. Even Mathew Simmons' Twilight in the Desert didn't go quite so far as to say that Ghawar had definitely peaked.

Here's a quick link t…

Rabies and Politics

My little sister, who's a wildlife biologist, has spent the summer and fall in southwestern Ontario working on a MNR (Ministry of Natural Resources) project which entails live-trapping as many raccoons, skunks, possums and anything else that they can get - vaccinating them against rabies - and then releasing them back into the wild.

So I think my sis places the traps in high wildlife traffic areas.

She catches raccoons... and whatever else ends up in the traps (what is that black one?)... she carries them in their cages against her hip back to the truck...

she vaccinates them, and then she lets them go! Fun way to spend your summer, eh?

There's no cycling stuff today, but here's some U.S. and Canadian politics -

Bob Woodward has a new book called State of Denial: Bush at War Part III. There's a lengthy excerpt of it in the most recent Newsweek, and the chunk in Newsweek is all about Donald Rumsfeld, the Defense Secretary. I'll resist saying what I'd like to say abo…

Bike Messengers are on crack

I figured it was about time I put this up. I've recommended it to a few other bloggers but don't think I ever posted it on my site. It's 7:00 minutes long, has a fairly nice background song, and shows NYC messengers weaving amazingly through traffic and pedestrians in the city. They're definitely crazy, but man, there's a lot of grace involved as well.

I was fairly proud of myself last night. I had planned to stay late at work and catch a much later train, but about 15 minutes after 4:30 (which is my normal leave time to catch the 5:27 train in Whitby) I thought "ah hell, I've worked on this stuff enough" and I decided to just get going and see if I could make the 5:47 train.
I start actually pedalling around 4:50 and the thought gets into my head "I should hammer and see if there's any chance I can catch the 5:27." So I do hammer, even into a headwind, I catch a few lucky breaks with stoplights etc and generally good traffic, and I'm …