May 31, 2010

t r u t h o u t: BP May face Negligent homocide charges

From Truthout:

Like previous BP-related disasters in Alaska and Texas, evidence has emerged that appears to show BP knowingly cut corners on maintenance and safety on Deepwater Horizon's operations, which, according to blogger bmaz, who writes about legal issues at Emptywheel, could amount to criminal violations of the Clean Water Act. Additionally, because people were killed, BP and company officials could also face prosecution for negligent and reckless homicide.

Wouldn't that be nice? I'd like to see their corporate charter revoked.

Read the entire article here.

Socialism: Protecting America From Fires since 1898

Click the image to purchase this shirt

Socialism has serious branding issues here in the USA.

It's totally reviled and hated, despite it being as American as Apple Pie.

The first Government-Run Fire department was started in 1898. It was a socialist model that replaced the private fire company model, in which fire companies would compete with one another to be the ones to respond to a fire in order to get payment from fire insurance companies.

These private fire companies were extremely corrupt, and would actively prevent other fire companies from responding to a fire to make sure that they would be first, through activities like sending a person ahead of their pump wagon with a barrel. This "Barrel Sitter" would place his barrel over the fire hydrant, and sit on the barrel to prevent other fire companies from gaining access to it, and thus becoming the first to respond.

While these schmucks fought over profits, fire destroyed homes and took the lives of those trapped by the flames and smoke.

To make matters worse, private fire companies refused to put out fires that affected homes that were too poor to afford fire insurance plaques, despite there being a definite risk to the public safety that had no regard for the income of residents, rich or poor.

The socialist model changed all that, and is the model seen almost everywhere in the United States today.

That's right! Whether they know it or not, your local fire department is filled with Socialists!

Click the image to purchase this shirt

BP: Bringing People Together

I picked this up from my friend Davis Fleetwood over at NO CURE FOR THAT

It comes from Andy Cobb and the Partisans

It's one of BP's old greenwashing adverts, where they talk about going "Beyond Petroleum"-- with a new twist.

Brown: It's the New Green.

May 30, 2010

Rightwing News Hacks call for Obama's Assasination

Published in Veterans Today Gordon Duff reports on an incident in which the Right-wing propaganda... er "online news magazine" Newsmax called overtly for a military coup and assassination of the President.

First there's this graphic:

Come on, really?

Next there's the actual article itself:

Military intervention is what Obama’s exponentially accelerating agenda for “fundamental change” toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible. Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem. Just don’t shrug and say, “We can always worry about that later.”

There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it. So, view the following through military eyes:

And at this point, the original article goes on to make it's case on why the military ought to revolt against their own country and assassinate the president, which you can read all about in Gordon Duff's full article.

Dolphins are washing up dead

I think we're finally starting to understand just how grim the situation in the Gulf is. The damage has already been done, and even if "Top Kill" hadn't failed, we still have to deal with an environmental disaster on the scale of Chernobyl.

The NOAA has recorded that 22 Dolphins have been recorded washed up dead.

From CNN (emphasis added):

Dolphins have washed up dead. Endangered sea turtles have been found with oil stuck on their corneas. Lifeless brown pelicans, classified as endangered until recently, have been carried away in plastic bags. Beaches in Grand Isle, Louisiana, are spattered with gobs of sticky crude. And when the moon rises over the coast there, the oil-soaked ocean sparkles like cellophane under a spotlight.


If scientists' worst fears are realized, the oil plume in the Gulf could choke off and kill coastal marshes in the productive Mississippi Delta and barrier islands, turning these verdant tufts of life -- which look like hairy putting greens floating out on the water -- into open ocean. That would snap the region's marine food chain, exposing and starving all kinds of organisms.


Equally frightening, the oil also could spawn a massive oxygen-free "dead zone" deep in the Gulf's waters, which would suffocate all marine life on the ocean floor. Samantha Joye, an oceanographer at the University of Georgia, said that if that happens, the dead zone could change marine chemistry in the Gulf of Mexico forever.

Despite being told repeatedly NOT to use their chemical dispersant, chemicals that have been banned in England (BP's home country) due to their toxicity, BP has continued to use it anyways, causing the oil to break up and fall beneath the surface, where it cannot be retrieved. It hides the problem from public scrutiny, but doesn't actually fix anything. In fact it makes things worse. And we have no clue how bad things are going to get. Again from that same CNN article:

Researchers know almost nothing about what the oil and chemical dispersants used to try to break up the oil will have on life below the Gulf's greasy surface, Joye said on her boat in Gulfport, Mississippi, just before heading out toward the epicenter of the spill.

"I don't think we know what's going on yet, and it's a month into this thing," she said.

Bacteria eat oil and in the process also chew oxygen out of the ocean. There's so much oil in the water, the bacteria may deplete oxygen reserves until deep-water fish like grouper and snapper and "benthic" communities of sea tubes and oysters suffocate, she said.


BP has released more than 28,000 gallons of chemicals on the ocean, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in hopes these "dispersants" will break up the oil and minimize its impact on the environment. Such a huge amount of dispersant has never been released deep into the ocean before, according to the EPA, and some independent researchers and the EPA have questioned whether those chemicals may be making matters worse.

I highly reccomend that you read the entire article, which is found here.

May 29, 2010

BP Declares 'TOP KILL' a failure

The new solution sounds a lot like something they should have done 5 weeks ago. From NOLA:

That next attempt should be a procedure known as Lower Marine Riser Package or LMRP. This procedure involves cutting off the failed, leaking riser at the top of Lower Marine Riser Package on the blowout preventer to get a clean-cut surface on the pipe. A cap will be installed with a sealing grommet connected to a new riser from the Discoverer Enterprise drillship, with the hopes of capturing most of the oil and gas flowing from the well.

But WAIT! It gets better!

"We expect to capture most of the oil," said BP CEO Doug Suttles. "I emphasize most because the cap will not result in a complete seal."

May 28, 2010

BP's Criminal Record

Environmental Criminals need to be treated the same as rapists and murderers.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

BP hired faux cleanup crew for show during Obama's visit

About 2 minutes into this otherwise standard newscast about Obama's visit to the Gulf Coast is a startling accusation-- that BP hired a phony cleanup crew for show during Obama's visit.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

If you don't think that a company would do something like this, you should know that they have been doing it for decades.

Read the book "Toxic Sludge is Good For You!: lies, damn lies, and the public relations industry"



So there are now several sources confirming that BP did indeed just bus in actors to pretend to be a cleanup crew during Obama's visit.

Article from NOLA

BP, the oil company taking flak for its inconsistent response to the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, bused in 400 extra cleanup workers to Grand Isle during President Obama's visit today, Jefferson Parish Council Chairman John Young said.

"It appears to have been a PR stunt by BP, not to say we don't appreciate the extra participation," Young said. "We certainly need them, but we don't need them for just one day that happens to coincide with a visit from the president."


Young said he saw the workers dressed in red shirts, blue jeans and black shrimp boots mulling across the beaches and in the mess hall during the president's appearance. They were uniformed in a way "which you don't normally see workers dressed like that," Young said.

After Obama's departure, Young said, the work crews all but vanished.

"This is a total shame that a mockery has been made of this visit by the executives of BP," Councilman Chris Roberts said.

"What we want to make clear (is) if they're going to send them, then send them everyday, not just on the day of the president's visit," Councilman Tom Capella said.

And Councilman Young throws out one of the worst insults a Louisianan can:

Young stopped short of saying Jefferson Parish officials were frustrated with BP's response to a disaster that has affected more than 100 miles of coastline. But he noted that parish officials commandeered idle BP-hired vessels last week to begin skimming oil that had traveled into Barataria Bay.

He said there appears to be a disconnect between the oil company and the Coast Guard, which is in charge of the response effort.

"I would compare BP today to FEMA after Katrina," Young said, recalling the halting response of the federal emergency agency in the days following the 2005 hurricane.

And from this transcript of a BP press conference from GottaLaff of Political Carnival:

CNN: We’ve never had 400 there, they spent time recruiting people for today, then Obama leaves, the workers leave too. Ironic that they’d pull off this type of shenanigans… It’s a slap in face, insulting to Gulf Coast residents and to the president. If they left every day at 2-3 o’clock that would be one thing, but this was no coincidence.

You have no idea how badly BP fucked up

Part 1

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Part 2

Watch CBS News Videos Online

May 26, 2010

When you Beleive in Yourself, a Bear and an Eagle High-Five



This image was inspired by the Maine Green Independant Party's homepage, on which it looks like an Eagle is about to give a high five, and a quote from friend of the show, Latasha Ewell, of

Scientist Infects himself with a computer virus

Rory Cellan-Jones reports on BBC News:

A British scientist says he is the first man in the world to become infected with a computer virus. Dr Mark Gasson from the University of Reading contaminated a computer chip which was then inserted into his hand.

The device, which enables him to pass through security doors and activate his mobile phone, is a sophisticated version of ID chips used to tag pets.

In trials, Dr Gasson showed that the chip was able to pass on the computer virus to external control systems. If other implanted chips had then connected to the system they too would have been corrupted, he said.

[VIDEO] Evolution and Capitalism

Evolution and Capitalism

by The Punk Patriot

Our society today has largely been shaped by the selfish individualism of Ayn Rand, in ways we won’t fully understand for centuries.

So much so, that nobody growing up in this age knows any different from it. People raised in the post-Reagan world see these drastic changes in human behavior as just being the status-quo.

Individuals are having to change in order to better cope with this new environment that Ayn Rand’s philosophy has created.

Empathy, something born from the communal lifestyle of our ancestry in social mammals, is becoming maladaptive.
To become a member of the most successful elite, one needs to behave in ways that are anti-social, misanthropic, disingenuous, and cold-hearted.

Now average lay people might call such behavior immoral, or they might call such a person a “selfish asshole”, but this type of behavior is actually beneficial to the individual, given the confines and structures of our autistic economics.

The very things we think of as making us human: love, empathy, concern for others, are now in the world we live in, maladaptive behaviors.

The Neo-human, the human evolving to best suit this crazy new breed of hyper-capitalism, has no genetic needs to socialize, to love, to be loved, to care or be cared for. What this Neo-human needs to survive, can be purchased with money.

Emotional currency is useless and worthless to him. With no desire to be loved, and no empathy for others, this autonomous being feels no emptiness, and does not feel lonely. He can kill with out a second thought.

Contemporary psychology will call this person a sociopath, but contemporary psychology is still mired in the mammalian standards of what is normal. Soon, as hyper-capitialism reaches a crescendo, and our social norms are slowly redefined by this dramatic shift, it will turn out that WE were crazy for thinking our systems morality had value.

May 21, 2010

Holy Number 7!

Math Geeking out

So I came across this really cool anomoly in simple arithmatic.

Pick any number that is a non-multiple of 7.

Now divide it by 7.

I don't know what the answer is to your specific number, but I can tell you one thing for certain. It's a number that repeats these six digits forever: "142857"

Crazy, right?

Go ahead give it a try:

1/7= _____
2/7= _____
3/7= _____
4/7= _____
5/7= _____
6/7= _____
8/7= _____
6,000/7= _____


Also, I finally have a new video coming out next Wednesday, so keep an eye out for it.

May 19, 2010

Music- Crystal Castles: Crimewave

I can't put my finger on why I like this song so much. By all counts, I should hate it- it's disco-y, it's house-techno sounding...

But something about it appeals to me, the same way that Kraftwerk appeals to me.

May 12, 2010

Amature Footage of the Oil Spill- Worse than BP admits

This video is from Alabama resident John Wathen, as a volunteer pilot flew him over the area where the oil rig sank.

Officials have stopped guessing at the amount of oil leaking although some speculate it may be closer to 1 million gallons per day. Don't let BP spin this into something trivial.


Repost, but still relevant

So for all those who are flipping out about Obama's administration still granting waivers to the oil industry, allowing them to break the law when it comes to offshore drilling- despite the recent spill in the Gulf.

Or whatever other disappointment you find yourself fretting about. Just keep this in mind:

Personally, when a politician says that they support some terrible thing, I take their word for it.

May 11, 2010

Commuting by Bike in Rural America

So as promised, I've included some photos of my 12 mile commute to work and back.

Insight of the day: The secret to keeping up your momentum is to be able to rest while on the go. Obviously, you are going to want to keep spinning, and all the fundamentals come into play, but in addition to all that, if your heart is pounding away in your chest, you might find that you can actually slow your heart rate by slowing down your breathing, and giving your body a rest while still moving forwards on your bike.

I've found that after fully exerting myself, if I focus on my breathing and heart rate, and hold my breath after breathing in or out for four heartbeats, I can slow my heart rate down. After I'm done I feel rejuvenated and ready to exert myself fully once again-- as though I've stopped on the side of the road and taken a 10 minute rest. Even while in the middle of climbing a hill!

There's a metaphor about day-to-day life that's dying to be made here, but I'm not going to make it.

May 8, 2010

Ongoing fights with conservatives

So there's this anarcho-capitalist person who every few months will send me an email asking my opinion on a subject, and the responding with reasons I'm wrong.

I don't know why they do this. Maybe they're just bored. Anyways, I figured I'd share the latest conversation here, because in it, I address a lot of Free Market Fallacies, which just won't seem to die. Their text is in red. Their text quoting me is in blue. My most recent response is in black. Without further ado:

"Second, social spending such as welfare actually increases your nation's GDP as more money is available to go towards goods and services rather than paying off debts, or going to the bare necessities, which leads to jobs creation, and a higher standard of living for everybody in society."
Not exactly. The people who are being taxed more don't have as much money to pay for goods and services. And the welfare recipients themselves, have no incentive to work and produce in the economy.
The math of that statement doesn't work out in real life. While taxing people less does allow the richest people to have more money, a lot of people in the USA (40%) don't make enough to pay any federal income taxes. When you cut social spending for things that facilitate our civilization, things like the infrastructure necessary for commerce, like roads, bridges, and rail, then those costs need to be born by the private sector, and by states. This means lower wages and lower benefits, and higher prices in the private sector. This also means higher property taxes and state income taxes.
What's more the bottom 40% of people contribute quite a lot to the economy in the way of labor, as well as commerce. The bottom 60% of the population only lays claim to something like 12% of the nation's wealth, but generate the bulk of it's GDP through labor and consumption. The top 10% lay claim to 85% of the nation's wealth, and contribute nearly nothing to the GDP. The poor get a bad wrap, and it's not deserved at all.
Now, if you tax the richest people, whose money is stagnant in savings accounts, and move that money into the public sector, spending on infrastructure there creates jobs building the stuff, it facilitates the movement of goods and services throughout the economy, and it relieves the private sector of the burden of shouldering those costs individually. Wal*Mart is able to keep it's prices low on a similar model-- by aggregating purchase power into one spot, you can reduce the overall cost.
It's this very principal that allows us to have Fire Departments rather than Private Fire Departments-- which the bulk of people would not be able to afford.

"Third, there are indeed problems with "the system." The solution is certainly not to scrap it."
I'm not so sure why not? The welfare programs have utterly failed in reducing any poverty.
That's simply not true. Poverty is a complex issue. You have mental health issues involved, you have macro- and micro-economic issues involved, you have social spending issues involved, you have drug abuse issues involved, you have cyclical poverty issues. There's no one reason why poverty exists, and to simplify it into talking points may make it seem easier to understand, but that understanding will be shallow and sorely lacking of any insight.

"the Medicare spending that is being 'cut' are subsidies to private insurance that were providing a duplicate role to what medicare already offers, but charging a higher price to do it. This money is going back to paying for medical care via Medicare, but will have more bang per buck as it's not going to pay for insurance company operating costs, or CEO bonuses, as well."
But the problem with medicare is, it's bankrupting us. It's costing us in the trillions, and only providing mediocre healthcare.
HA! Medicare doesn't PROVIDE healthcare. Doctors do. Medicare is a payment program.

"That sort of spending can be eliminated and replaced with purely public systems without harm being done to the system."
Public systems always cost more, and are more ineffective.
I'm sorry, based on what? That's just flatly false. You might find that that is true of consumer goods, but inelastic goods and life necessities, that's simply not the case.

"What can be done, however, is to first, increase availability of welfare, and shift the tax burden back to what it was in the 1950s, where the richest paid 65% in taxes, and the poorest got money back. Today the richest pay 35% in taxes, or less. "
Yeah, but the rich lead the way in social development. They create our jobs, and our economic prosperity. Taxing their hard earned money makes no sense.
Hard earned? Most people in the top 10% inherited their money, doing nothing to work for it. The idea that they lead the way in social development is sadly a conservative talking point, and a myth. Nothing more. Taxing their money makes perfect sense. Money only has value when it's being spent. If they're not spending it, then after they get their first few million dollars, we should be able to spend it for them on things that actually work for society.

Can you name me any ethnic or otherwise group of individuals who've achieved a better economic status because of a "government" program? I'm betting such a group doesn't exist.
My friend XXXXXX was a drug addict. He was homeless. He saw a social worker (for free) and went to a drug clinic to sober up (for free) and then was able to get into a state college (for free). He's now a successful self-employed business owner. Impoverished people being allowed to bus from poor school districts into richer school districts HAS in fact allowed many individuals to achieve better social and economic status.
The Military is another great example. My father was a high school drop out. He joined the Air Force, trained in meteorology.
His father came from nothing. He joined the Army and became career military. He was able to afford his family a comfortable middle class life on the GI Bill, and my grandmother still receives monthly pension checks from the Government despite his passing, and her being retired. She also receives social security.
Seniors have benefited from the passage of Social Security, and would only benefit even more if we increased social spending.
Maybe you just need to get out more.

May 7, 2010


So my band, Theodore Treehouse, played with The Blow last night.

I think we both played really great sets.

If you're not familiar with The Blow, here they are:

If you *are* already familiar with The Blow, here they are again:

Before and after the show, we got to speak briefly with Khaela (Jona was not there), and she seems like a nice person. Her act was hilarious and awesome.

Bipartisanship; Congress Wants to Take Away Your Citizenship

This is a rude way to wake up, but here it is: Democrats want to be able to take away your citizenship. Republicans want to be able to take away your citizenship. And I agree with John Boehner!? Fuck!

From the New York Times [full article at link]:

The Terrorist Expatriation Act, co-sponsored by Senators Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, and Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts, would allow the State Department to revoke the citizenship of people who provide support to terrorist groups like Al Qaeda or who attack the United States or its allies.

Some Democrats expressed openness to the idea, while several Senate Republicans expressed concern. Mr. Brown, who endorsed aggressive tactics against terrorism suspects in his campaign for the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s seat, said the bill was not about politics.

Yeah, it isn't about politics. At least not in the traditional left-vs-right thing. This is about the government being able to decide who has rights, and who doesn't.

“It reflects the changing nature of war and recent events,” Mr. Brown said Thursday. “War has moved into a new dimension. Individuals who pick up arms — this is what I believe — have effectively denounced their citizenship, and this legislation simply memorializes that effort. So somebody who wants to burn their passport, well, let’s help them along.”

Identical legislation is also being introduced in the House by two Pennsylvania congressmen, Jason Altmire, a Democrat, and Charlie Dent, a Republican. The lawmakers said at a news conference that revoking citizenship would block terrorism suspects from using American passports to re-enter the United States and make them eligible for prosecution before a military commission instead of a civilian court.

It would also make them ineligible for trial, a lawyer, etc, and fully eligible for a all expense paid trip to our prison at Guantanamo. Oh shit, remember that? We still haven't closed that fucking thing. And what do you have to do in order to be suspected of aiding a terrorist? Give a candybar to a seven-year-old whose name was erroneously put on the no-fly list? Would that be material support?

Citing with approval news reports that President Obama has signed a secret order authorizing the targeted killing of a radical Yemeni-American cleric, Anwar Al-Awlaki, Mr. Lieberman argued that if that policy was legal — and he said he believed it was — then stripping people of citizenship for joining terrorist organizations should also be acceptable.

Yeah, if the government can ASSASSINATE WHOMEVER THE FUCK THEY WANT, why not take away the rights of specific "problem citizens?" Then we can put them in camps. Er Guantanamo. Well it's sort of the same thing. That's just sound logic-- good job Lieberman.

Several major Democratic officials spoke positively about the proposal, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Noting that the State Department already had the authority to rescind the citizenship of people who declare allegiance to a foreign state, she said the administration would take “a hard look” at extending those powers to cover terrorism suspects.

“United States citizenship is a privilege,” she said. “It is not a right. People who are serving foreign powers — or in this case, foreign terrorists — are clearly in violation, in my personal opinion, of that oath which they swore when they became citizens.”

So fucking what? If they're guilty of a crime, put them in jail for it. There's absolutely NO REASON for stripping people of all their rights in the eyes of the law-- which unfortunately is what a loss of citizenship means these days. The legal precedents set by John Yoo and the George W Bush administration still stand.

And it seems like every corrupt asshole in DC is behind this thing. Except John Boehner, who is opposed to it. I never thought that I'd agree with John Boehner.

Several Republican officials, though, were skeptical of the idea. Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the Republican leader, questioned the constitutionality of the proposal.

“If they are a U.S. citizen, until they are convicted of some crime, I don’t see how you would attempt to take their citizenship away,” Mr. Boehner said. “That would be pretty difficult under the U.S. Constitution.”

What the fuck?! How did I end up on the same side of an issue as JOHN BOEHNER?!?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she supported the “spirit” of the measure, although she urged caution and said that the details of the proposal, like what would trigger a loss of citizenship, still needed to be fleshed out.

What's the matter Pelosi? Is it not "brownshirty" enough?

The proposal would amend an existing, although rarely used, program run by the State Department. It dates to a law enacted by Congress in 1940 that allowed the stripping of citizenship for activities like voting in another country’s elections or joining the army of a nation that is at war with the United States. People who lose their citizenship can contest the decision in court.

The 1940s, when we were scared out of our minds of Communist infiltration. Yeah, let's go back to McCarthyism! Because that was a time when America was at it's best.

The Supreme Court later narrowed the program’s scope, declaring that the Constitution did not allow the government to take away people’s citizenship against their will. The proposal does not alter the requirement of evidence of voluntariness.

That means that if the proposal passed, the State Department would have to cite evidence that a person not only joined Al Qaeda, but also intended to relinquish his citizenship, and the advantages it conveys, to rescind it.

Uhm, I'm going to guess that with their history of fucking kidnapping people off the street for having a "terrorist sounding name" and sending them to have their genitals mutilated in CIA black sites in Morocco, that the government might not really give a fuck about your ability to "explore your options."

Several legal scholars disagreed about the legality and effectiveness of the proposal.

Kevin R. Johnson, the dean of the law school at the University of California, Davis, argued that it was “of dubious constitutionality” because merely joining or donating to a terrorist group fell short of unequivocal evidence that someone intended to relinquish his citizenship.

Does it strike anybody else as completely fucking insane that this debate is even happening? When did America run out of good ideas? When did we just give up on the idea of Liberty?

Peter H. Schuck, a Yale University law professor, said the Supreme Court might allow Congress to declare that joining Al Qaeda created a presumption that an American intended to relinquish his citizenship, so long as the program allowed the person to rebut that view.

What, are we in 3rd grade? We need them to take a loyalty pledge to stay in the Treehouse Club? This proposal does NOTHING aside from strip a person's rights as a human being away. America isn't a club, it's a set of ideals. We've fallen so far away from them as of late, that revoking citizenship is a dangerous move.

Mr. Lieberman portrayed the proposal as a reaction to increasing involvement in Islamic terrorism by United States citizens, including Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American man who was arrested in connection with the failed attempt to set off a car bomb in Times Square last Saturday. Mr. Shahzad was granted American citizenship last year.

However, Mr. Lieberman emphasized, the measure would apply only to people who commit such acts in the future. Senate aides said that it would apply only to acts undertaken overseas.

Oh wait, you only have to worry about it if you're an Arab and have a foreign sounding name? Or be some America-hater who wants to go see other countries? Well fuck it then, nevermind, I'm white and xenophobic, so I never go anywhere! You go ahead and do whatever you want!

May 6, 2010

Rural Commuting by Bike

Long before the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, I've been trying to reduce my consumption of gasoline and kick the car habit. With the ecocidal disaster striking now, I realize that it's providential I've come across my new bike when I did.

I finally was able to squirrel away enough money to purchase a road bike that I got at a Bicycle Coalition bike swap. It was in my price range (under $150) and it was my size (I'm 6'4" so my needs in frame geometry are statistical outliers.) It needed a little work (new seat clamp, new derailleur cable, some adjustments on the brakes) but now it's ready to rock and roll!

Now, as a musician who needs to carry around large and awkward gear, including but not limited to: an upright bass, two 120 watt amps, two electric basses, I know that I'm never going to kick the automobile habit entirely.

But for all that other stuff where I don't need several dozen cubic feet of hauling capacity, like grocery shopping, picking up a paper from the corner store, or heading into town to see friends, I don't actually NEED a car. Now this might seem obvious to city dwellers, but I live in a very rural area. The closest grocery store is a 14 mile round trip through hills and valleys, and "in town to visit friends" means a 40 mile round trip.

So my plan is to start IMMEDIATELY using my bike as much as possible for small errands and casual visits to friends, which is actually kind of a big deal. To that end, I'm making sure to keep my body and bike conditioned, and I'm riding at least 10 miles every day, which isn't really a big deal.

Now in the past I've done long distance bicycle commuting, but today on my 14 mile trip I was reminded of all the revelations I'd had previously and I wanted to share them.

The first thing one notices when biking on routes they take frequently by car, is that there is a LOT OF STUFF along the way that you have never noticed before. Part of this is obviously because you are moving at a slower pace, but I think that the real reason the experience is so much different, is that the rider exists in a different mental state than the driver.

When one drives a car, they are in transition between one place and another. One sits in a comfortable seat, and looks out of windows which are very much like movie screens, and uses controls which are very much like video game controls. Options are limited to the road you are on, and places to park. There is air conditioning, and the ability to block out the air outside.

When one is riding a bike, no matter where along that distance between points, one is always presently where they are. There's no floor under your feet, just the road. Smells from flowers you never have noticed while flying by at 55 mph are suddenly potent and immersing. There is no point of departure or arrival, only a continual state of being. You always have the option to stop, and investigate side routes, to walk through a field of dandelions, or to investigate a brook flowing under a bridge.

Tomorrow I'll be sure to take pictures along my route, and I'm sure I'll have more to say.