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Americans favor compromise

I wrote this two years ago, but never posted it, due to the high emotions surrounding the Presidential election. Now, with John McCain dead and Lord Trump’s midterm popularity contest upon us, I think it’s a fair time to share.

For virtually my entire life, the political world has been divided between Republicans and Democrats.

Americans favor compromise

The Republicans see themselves as the champions of small government, low taxes, strong defense, and individual initiative. Their opponents are quick to point out the shortcomings of Republican policies, which include corporate rapacity, military adventurism, blind nationalism, and selfishness and greed that run counter to the common good.

The Democrats espouse high-minded ideals like fairness, compassion, equality, inclusivity, »more

Gunning For Greatness

Randonneurs USA badge

Me and randonneuring, we have a history, and it’s not all wine and roses. But as with my Gatorade Escapade, enough time has passed that I feel safe sharing another hidden aspect of my cycling history.

Twenty years ago, when I returned to cycling as an adult, it was clear that I was going to be a long-distance (endurance) rider. And in looking for clubs and events that emphasized long rides, I learned of the New England Randonneurs and their Boston Brevet Series of rides.

What’s all that, then? To explain, here’s an excerpt from the ride report for my first brevet, back in 2006:

First, what’s a brevet? A brevet or randonnée is an organized long-distance bicycle ride. Cyclists—who, in this discipline, are referred to as randonneurs—follow a designated but unmarked route (usually 200km »more

Forks and Branches

High school friends

As a smart kid growing up in an economically depressed area, my adolescent ambition—and that of many of my peers—could be summarized in the two-word mission “Get out!” As in: get out of this backwater state and find an interesting place to live where you can meet intelligent people and make a good living doing challenging work that has a real impact on the world.

High school friends

Once I fulfilled that goal, I used to take satisfaction in comparing my achievements to those of the friends I used to hang out with back in high school. I judged them and their lives by the degree to which they succeeded in getting out and making something of themselves: criteria which many of them had espoused back in our high school days.

Now that the struggle for status and success is much farther »more

A Woman's a Two-Face

When Inna and I visited Tiger Kingdom in Phuket, I mentioned to her that I’d never known that tigers have white spots on the back of their ears, and wondered what the heck that was about. I didn’t ask the keepers, and never learned the reason until a couple days ago, when I came across this photograph of a tiger bending low to get a drink of water.

Look carefully, and you’ll see something truly remarkable. Those white spots on her ears look remarkably like a pair of angry eyes. And if you extend that illusion, you will see the ladder of black stripes on top of her skull suddenly transform into the wrinkles along the muzzle of an angry beast, and the pointed white spots above her eyes become a fearsome set of bared fangs!

So while the real tiger is bending low in a vulnerable positio »more

Clean & Jerk

2018 Dirty Dozen jersey

It’s almost time: time for the 2018 Dirty Dozen, Pittsburgh’s signature cycling event, where participants ride up 13 of the steepest streets in this ludicrously hilly city.

After missing out in 2015 and 2016, last year I was finally able to participate, and conquered the official course, to my great satisfaction. However, after a lot of reflection, I’ve decided I won’t be riding again this year.

2018 Dirty Dozen jersey

While last year’s event was fun and a very memorable achievement, it probably was also the most painful ride I’ve ever done. While cyclists often have love/hate relationships with challenging rides, the Dirty Dozen definitely maxed me out on the “hate” side of the equation. Having done it once and earned my finisher’s ribbon, why suffer even more?

Mentally and physi »more