Tomorrow, November 10th, Marines around the globe will be celebrating the 238th year of the U.S. Marine Corps. I hope this day finds my brothers and sisters safe and sound. Semper Fi.
I won’t be celebrating this year. This year I will be reflecting on the writings of Smedley Butler, one of the demigods of the Marine pantheon. Winner of two Congressional Medals of Honor. Also outspoken critic of the war machine.
I find myself questioning what our country has become. I find myself in a dawning realization of a series of great lies we tell each other. These are a few of the examples of how ”great” our nation is.
The following day, November 11th, is Veteran’s Day. Originally designated as Armistice Day – commemorating the end of one of the bloodiest conflicts–how soon we forget.
Amazing how much we posture and say about supporting our veterans, all the while allowing an indifferent bureaucracy to heap yet more burdens on people with shattered bodies and minds. Allowing childish political hacks to send people to a war they themselves are too cowardly to join, all the while refusing to lift a finger to really help veterans.
I won’t be celebrating this year. This is not meant as a slight to those who have served or are now serving. I just ask people to ponder what the hell it is that we’re really doing.
War is a racket.
No, not that silly one wheel exercise machine. I mean:
a series of stages through which something (as an individual, culture, or manufactured product) passes during its lifetime
Ran a short errand this morning. The weather being so beauteous that I used my transport of choice. Two wheel, propelled by the pedaling of an aging motor. My route took me by the continuing construction of the North Walnut Creek Trail and I began to wonder about the lifecycle of a trail, path, road, sidewalk.
It’s nice that we’re building a network of trails and segregated bike lanes. Important component to a robust transportation system. I applaud the effort. But I wonder how much thought is going into the lifecycle of these facilities.
How will they be maintained and repaired? Does the budget process include future needs for repair and upkeep? Is the present road maintenance system prepared to deal with paths and cycle tracks? Places that will not see the daily sweeping of roads and streets caused by the mere passage of cars and trucks. Places that in fact will become the repository of all manner of debris.
As an illustration of the issue I invite you to visit Howard Lane in north Austin. Travel east of I-35 and you will an extra wide sidewalk that is marked for two-way travel on both sides of the road. These are in essence multi-use paths. Some sections are quite passable. Some are horror stories of invading vegetation, cracks, upheaval of the concrete and all kinds of junk. Sometimes the vegetation gets trimmed. There certainly doesn’t look like there is much repair or patching going on. Now to be fair, there just isn’t that much traffic and I sense that this path just isn’t a priority. Perhaps they are waiting for complaints via the 3-1-1 system.
So I wonder what will become of all our shiny new paths and cycle tracks.
There has been a growing pile of bottle caps on top of the refrigerator. Old Guy has been threatened about said collection. So this morning he sorted by brand and counted.
This is not a scientific sample. I don’t have the first clue of the time frame and I’m pretty sure not all bottle caps made it to the pile. But it does provide some insight into his beverage habits.
And the winner is: Topo Chico Mineral Water. A close second is any beer offered by New Belgium Brewing Co.
And the conclusion: Old Guy needs to go on a really long ride.
Not full dark but it looks good. Very bright and I like the light pattern it puts on the road.
As I’ve spoken to many people around the world gauging the reaction to the Connected Car Industry 2013 report, I have been struck by the depth and interest in the massive transformation in the car industry, the largest and most disruptive change in the industry in over 100 years.
This is just one exuberent exclamation in the report connected cars will be doing by 2020. Such exuberance makes me weary.
What price connection?
Instead of asking important questions about whether this is a good idea, the reporter delves into various features that may be possible. Instead of weighing the costs of such complexity, the author discusses billing models and who pays for the data.
Increasing complexity. Increasing cost. Increasing distraction in the most difficult cognitive task we have yet devised: driving an automobile.
We’ve had some significant rain the last four days. Soil is saturated for once. I was out in the yard this morning cleaning up from the latest downpour when I discovered these.
A good sign of soil health when benign fungi are present.
I wonder if they’re magical.
For some reason I have this song stuck in my head.
Wanna see my picture on the cover
Wanna buy five copies for my mother
Wanna see my smilin’ face
On the cover the cover of the Rollin’ Stone
– Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show
…to help pay for a wedding. This day fourteen years ago my step-daughter got married. It was a fun weekend. Rehearsal dinner at the Salt Lick, reception at a prominent downtown hotel. Much food, beverage and music.
Now there are two crazy grandkids making my life very cool. I think I got a bargain.
Got to see this guy in a small venue. Something magical about sitting in the sultry Austin summer night air, sweating and sipping on tasty draft beverage.
We’ve experienced some break-ins at the shop. Mostly nuisance with some minor property damage. The collective decided to fortify the rolling doors. Several members have fabrication and welding skills. They built and installed these metal gates that should prevent entry through broken glass.
My contribution to the effort was a largish cooler filled with beverage on ice. Instead of metal shop I took typing in high school. That and I had “obligations” this weekend.
Not really an obligation
The kids escaped for a little vacation to celebrate their anniversary. Gammy and Papa
had got to stay with the grandkids: Paige, Patrick and Captain.
Yes there was some bicycle
Did some reading and researching on ‘bent bicycles. Or if you like, the more refined reclined.
This brought on by recent feature in the Adventure Cyclist.