Technical difficulties.

Had lunch with JohnC Friday. Oh, I was so smug — rode my bike down to his house, and from there we walked the three blocks to the Thai place in the Village. Look at me, I am Miss Fitness, a little creaky from a winter spent sitting on my spongy bum, but otherwise ready to start the outdoor exercise season.

On the way home, I tried something I’d been thinking about all winter — affixing the Flip video camera to my handlebars with the Gorillapod. Bikecam!

Well, it didn’t work. I post the video below, because it gives the lie to two things: One, that you can put a video camera on your handlebars without some sort of damping system and expect usable footage, and two, that I am merely “a little creaky.” Granted, I grabbed this piece at the top of a hill*, but its most alarming feature is not the sickmaking image, but the rasping sound of my breathing. God, I am out of shape.

Next try: Helmetcam.

* The hill in this case is Grosse Pointe Farms’ famous hill, which usually takes the definite article: The Hill. Anyone who lives in a place with real hills would laugh at the name, because it could more accurately be called The Lump. Danny, you are now free to deliver a lecture.

Posted at 9:03 am in Video |

42 responses to “Technical difficulties.”

  1. brian stouder said on March 15, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Here’s a story that immediately made me think of ernest, serious voters, such as the proprietress of this place –

    Amid talks with the two campaigns, the four Michigan Democrats said in a statement they were “focusing on the possibility of a state-run primary in early June which would not use any state funding.” Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, one of the Democratic participants, said a likely date is June 3.

    “This option would require the passage of legislation by the state legislature, and we look forward to working with the members of the legislature in the coming days to see if this option can be made a reality,” the Democrats said.

    This article doesn’t say it, but there is a ticking time bomb in the works…or maybe it’s a turnip in a gift bag.

    See, what I heard on msnbc tv (but have not read) is that one of the rules for the do-over election in Michigan is that it will NOT be open to anyone who voted in the Republican primary last time around….which means readers of good ol’ Daily Kos, and others who (quite reasonably enough) tried to make their first votes more meaningful than a turnip in a gift bag, and therefore went into the contested R primary (allowing Mitt to catch many extra votes), would be excluded from the ‘real’ vote in June, between Senators Clinton and Obama!!!

    Seems to me that a provision like that SHOULD be a deal-breaker in Michigan, but otherwise……what’s that ticking noise?

    edit: from

    After the DNC decision on Michigan, Obama was among the Democratic presidential contenders who had their names taken off the state’s ballot. However, Clinton didn’t remove her name and won 55 percent of the vote. Some 40 percent of Democrats in the state filed ballots declaring themselves “uncommitted.”

    Michigan voters wanting to cast ballots in the new primary would have to identify themselves as Democrats and certify that they did not vote in the state’s Republican primary in January, the source said. Michigan usually does not require party identification in primary elections. Exit polling indicated 79 percent of voters in the January Democratic primary were Democrats, 3 percent were Republicans and 18 percent were independents. “Not all the campaigns are happy” with the proposal at this point, the source close to the negotiations said.

    That has GOTTA be a deal-breaker, no?

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  2. MarkH said on March 15, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Nance, I hardly hear ya. Now if that was me, all the real wheezing would have brought out the neighbors wondering whether to call the EMTs.

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  3. Danny said on March 15, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Heheh, Nancy. After you mentioned the gorillapod a few months back, we bought one for my sister-in-law and I toyed with the idea of getting one for myself to do the helmet cam thing on the hill that I climb over at Torrey Pines State Beach.

    I’ll try to do that this spring and let you post it.

    Good job, Nance!

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  4. Gasman said on March 15, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Hill! What hill? If you really want to wheeze, come on down to the Southern end of the Rockies. We’ve got Tour de France caliber climbs just a 10 minute ride from our house. Just be sure to watch for and dodge the occasional elk. They are cranky this time of year.

    Some of the cyclists here are in amazing shape. My view of them is mostly from behind, rapidly receding toward the horizon.

    You’ve inspired me to dust off the old road bike. I’ll do that right after my stomach settles from watching that Bikecam footage.

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  5. Kafkaz said on March 15, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Hills are for coasting down. Now, I have an old Schwinn five speed meant for slow and gentle rides with lots of stops to look at things. An old lady bike, though I’m not quite an old lady, yet. Even as a kid, I almost always had to stand on the pedals to make it all the way up the bigger hills. Seems like a blow to the ego, now, but it didn’t at all embarrass me, then. The hill that ran from the American Legion field at the top to the high school parking lot at the bottom was seven or eight blocks long, at least. I’d stand on the pedals without shame to make it all the way up just for the fun of zinging back down again, no hands, tangled hair flying. I’m glad there’s no actual recording to mess with the memory of it!

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  6. nancy said on March 15, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    That has GOTTA be a deal-breaker, no?

    Well, it won’t make me happy, but it sure would please Hillary.

    Alan and I were both going to cast a strategic-Romney ballot, but he manned up at the last minute and went Uncommitted. So it pays off for him in the long run. Isn’t that always where honesty gets you?

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  7. ashley said on March 15, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    If I throw some wokka-wokka wah-wah guitar on top of that, could I use that panting in my next porn soundtrack?

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  8. ashley said on March 15, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Oh, and you might need to adjust your derailleur spring tension, or maybe take a link outta that chain. I think that’s what I heard rattling.

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  9. michaelj said on March 15, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    John C. was pretty much a major conman, and the Freeway is tres bizarre. But that’s Detroit. That is most certainly the worst stretch of road going through Southfield, other than Woodward Avenue.

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  10. basset said on March 15, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    What you need to do, Nance, is get off the pavement. Off-road bikers are, in my experience, a lot friendlier and easier to deal with… if I never hear “outa the way, fatass!” from another tight-shorts road biker it’ll be too soon.

    I live in Nashville and ride an old-guy city bike, not nearly as long or as often as I should but some anyway; I’m a long way from being in shape, and while off-roaders tend to say something encouraging when they blow by me, it’s not unusual for the spandexes to do the exact opposite. Might just be a local thing, I don’t know.

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  11. ashley said on March 15, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Not only that, bassett, but she’ll probably have a front suspension, which may make the cam less jittery.

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  12. Dexter said on March 15, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Nice to read a cycling video. This winter keep me off my bikes from January 5 until just last week.
    My century rides ended years ago, now I am a ten mile per day “stroller”, which is what the fast cyclists called Central Park Sunday cyclists twenty-five years ago.
    I have a dozen or so bikes , none worth much any more, although the Trek and the Specialized once were expensive.
    I have perfected the technique of walking the Black Labrador Retriever on a leash attached to my handlebars of my one speed cruiser bike. Those walk/rides are the best time of the day.God, I love that dog.
    I also have a few old bikes equipped with baskets. With gasoline prices soaring into uncharted strata, every two bucks I can save by pedalling to the grocery for bread instead of driving the van signifies the only victories I score anymore.

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  13. Terry WAlter said on March 15, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    The spandex crowd is mostly a bunch of arrogant jackasses. They are willing to endanger themselves & others in their campaign to exert their “rights” & superiority to others.

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  14. Dexter said on March 16, 2008 at 12:05 am

    I am a long, long-time cyclist, and have cycled in many major US cities. “Dooring” , or “getting doored” is a MOST unpleasant experience. Chicago, thanks to cycling advocate Mayor Richard M. Daley, soon may have a law against it. And it ain’t cheap for the offending motorist.,0,1615738.story

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  15. alex said on March 16, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Chicago’s especially bad, I can testify as a former biker and blader there. What’s more, now that half the vehicles are SUVs and everybody’s windows are tinted black, it’s damn near impossible to anticipate getting doored.

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  16. basset said on March 16, 2008 at 9:46 am

    meanwhile… here’s a really good bike-awareness PSA from English tv:

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  17. Danny said on March 16, 2008 at 11:42 am

    I’ve learned a lot in the past few years about keeping safe when cycling. Some of the little rules I have:

    1. Slow down near the blind corners and areas where there might be others you can’t see. Don’t worry, you’ll still get your excercise and its good to share the path with others who want to get their excercise (be they other bikers, joggers, walkers or mothers with double strollers).

    2. Try to find rides that keep you away from cars. In So Cal, we are lucky to have a lot of choices in this regard, but with a little imagination, it can be found almost anywhere. Even short hills with repeats are a good option if not many cars are around.

    3. Don’t assume that just because someone is decked out in spandex and fancy gear that they have a single clue about what they are doing. Be careful and keep your distance.

    Dexter, you seem to have a lot of experience, but I cringed when I read that you bike while walking the dog. I’m sure you probably know what you are doing (courtesy of your biking experience), but I have come across a number of folks who think nothing of being on one side of the path while Fido is on the opposite side with and expandable leash stretched across to garrote everyone else.

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  18. Jeff said on March 16, 2008 at 11:47 am

    I’m not trying to say there’s a great many white people in this commenting community, but —

    Also, check out the notes on performance outerwear a few posts back at

    This middle-aged white guy was frequently in danger of intra-nasal coffee aspiration reading through these.

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  19. Danny said on March 16, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    The performance outerwear was hilarious.

    And hey, peeps. I am from Baltimore. So check out my street cred.

    Another good way for white people to get street cred (in a safe manner) is to watch the History channel documentary series, “Gangland.” But do not watch it live. You must Tivo (9 PM Thursday) to do it the white way. And then practice your gang signs in the privacy of your own den.

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  20. Kafkaz said on March 16, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Timing is everything on our local prairie path. I try to avoid the weekend morning and the after work crowd. Weekday mornings are best. Just before sunset is really good, too. Anytime that it’s about to rain is also good, but there’s always the risk of finishing the walk (I prefer to walk it mostly because it takes longer) or the ride in a downpour, with trees bending and lightning cracking overhead. Our leg of the path runs alongside a Native American burial ground, and over a river (and through the woods, but not to grandmother’s house). Pretty soon, wild violets–the white ones with the purple hearts and the purple ones with the whitish yellow hearts–will be blooming in clumps all along the sides. Never know what sort of wildlife will appear: deer, turles, all sorts of birds, toads, foxes. Never see bunnies in the open areas here, but I sometimes see them scurrying under the low branches of the broadest pines along the path. Oh, I do miss walking with my dog, but towards the end he really couldn’t walk it, anymore. His daily walk was a matter of going out the front door, taking a left, and circling all the way around the yard very slowly until arrived back at the front door, whereupon he would issue one bark, and sit and wait for me to let him back inside. A far cry from his chipmunk and squirrel chasing days!

    Once, he actually caught one of those annoying chipmunks who used to chirp at him all the livelong day. Couldn’t believe it when I saw him it hanging limply from his mouth, tail dangling from one side, head from the other. He looked very disappointed when I scolded, made him drop the thing, and sent him inside. My dog finally caught one of the blasted things, and now I had to take care of the little corpse in the garden. I checked. No movement. Went to get the shovel. By the time I came back, the little faker had fled. Chipmunk resurrection, and one dog who couldn’t believe that when he finally caught one of those maddening little chirpers, I made him let it go. Too funny. I consoled him with praise for what a fast dog and a great hunter he was, and he was somewhat mollified. I think he expected me to eat it, actually, and to share, though it wouldn’t have made much more than an hors d’oeuvre! Used to have outside cats, and they would deliver corpses that way all of the time, placing them by the back door where we’d be sure to see them. Mostly, the dog’s chases didnt’ yield anything but fur full of burrs.

    Well, sigh. Nice in the sun today, but not really that warm out. Probably should blow the dust of the walking shoes and see if the path is ice-free enough to make a good stretch of the legs possible.

    Anybody know of a good dog that needs a new home?

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  21. michaelj said on March 16, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Ms. Nall: Riding while impaired is an actual crime. All over the road. Do you ride one of those bikes with one really gigantic wheel in front and a tiny one in back? This was after beverages with lunch, right? And how about Freddy Mercury for the soundtrack? Nah, Syd Barret would be better.

    Harl: I live in SC. Nobody here thought what the ex-Pres said was remotely racist, just an accurate assessment of how voting gets done here. When Jim Clyburn bailed on Hillary, that was all she, or he, wrote.

    One way or another, this state will remain polarized. Black people will vote for Obama in November and the state will be a landslide for McCain. I’m a caucasian Democrat, which is rarer here than the Lord God woodpecker, but South Carolina black voters vote as a bloc, and I regularly vote with them. And white dumbasses throughout the state will continue to elect hypocrites like Lindsey Graham and full goose loonies like Jim Demented.

    Acknowledging the effect of racial voting patterns is not racism. It’s anybody’s prerogative to vote for a black guy because the voter is black, and it’s certainly understandable in the land of Strom. For all anybody knows, Ferraro was sundowning, because she always seemed like a pretty astute politician. Maybe it was the lingering effects of the concussion from when HW supposedly “kicked a little ass.”

    But claiming anything Bill Clinton said was racist is a purposeful and egregious injection of race by the campaign of the black candidate. I assume you have a hard time with execrable sexism in coverage of Clinton, and you expect a sincere apology from Barrack for his “claws come out” catfight allusion.

    And Harl, if it’s Obama vs. Mccain, I’d bet my ’69 Cougar Hillary will vote for Barrack. If it’s Clinton vs. McCain, there will be malcontents voting for Ralph Vader, and screwing the country over for another few years.

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  22. michaelj said on March 16, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    As far as Obama and Raygun are concerned, I guess Adolf Hitler was “transformational”. R. Reagan was a stone racist, and racism was the kernel of his appeal and political career. Incredibly bizarre reference for the “hope” candidate. How about Stalin, or Ghengis Khan, or Oliver Cromwell, but no, those guys were monsters. If another Democrat said that, she’d get reamed.

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  23. michaelj said on March 16, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    This is a perfect summing of what I think about President Gumby. And what’s Obama’s point? Hands across the aisle? What if they tend to greed and racial insensitivity, and some doctrinaire and obscene parody of Christianity that would make Jesus weep, on the other side. Make nice? I don’t think so.

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  24. Dorothy said on March 16, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Jeff you saw that (stuff white people like) in yesterday’s Dispatch, didn’t you? We’ve been laughing over that this weekend!! Sent the link to my kids so they could join the fun.

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  25. Dexter said on March 16, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Danny, I just use a short leash and she walks right beside me. I always have a few bags with me…even then people sometimes bark nasties at me if the pooch goes in their yard.
    My brother actually carries paper towels , also, in case some irate person screams at him…now that distance I won’t go.
    I don’t recommend to anyone bike-dog-walking, because you WILL fall off the bike at some time until you “get it down” perfectly.
    We have a great Parks Department here in this little city. We have inter-connecting paths now where we had no paths at all ten years ago. The down side is, I and my dog had the whole park to ourselves frequently, now we never have that.
    A lady moved back here after three years in San Diego, and tried to convince the Parks Dept. to make an off-leash dog park out of an empty field near the airport. No dice. Nothing was done.

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  26. michaelj said on March 16, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Nancy, please be careful on the bike. Lack of your presence by stupid driver would be difficult to bear, and put a horrible dent in my internet experience. Common sense, serious style and EB White. What a woman. And for basketball fans, how bout them Dawgs? Astounding.

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  27. michaelj said on March 16, 2008 at 5:56 pm


    I just insist my dog never shat in anybody’s lawn. Isn’t the past tense of shit a hoot. I always clean up, but this discussion is sort of asinine. And isn’t Tiger rolling one in the exact opposite of them Dawgs?

    I am sort of thinking about the bubble whiners. Win three in less than 24 hours and then complain.

    But really, Nancy, take care on the bike, and on the Google, and on the internets. Just take care, OK? I value your persistent existence, and talent. It’s consistently good writing, which you normally have to go to fiction for.

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  28. michaelj said on March 16, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    I’ve never been here in March, if I’m still welcome. Is basketball Kosher? Way fun.

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  29. Harl Delos said on March 16, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    I always have a few bags with me…even then people sometimes bark nasties at me if the pooch goes in their yard.

    My next door neighbor’s perpetually-unemployed adult son was walking across our yard, and stepped in dog manure – and next thing you know, he was in my wife’s face, insisting that we should reimburse him $150 for the ruined shoes. I don’t think fertilizer exactly qualifies as an “attractive nuisance”, though.

    A lady moved back here after three years in San Diego, and tried to convince the Parks Dept. to make an off-leash dog park out of an empty field near the airport. No dice. Nothing was done.

    An online friend I’ve never met has just moved from Santa Cruz to Salt Lake City. There was an unofficial off-leash park in Santa Cruz that just got shut down, and she was awfully upset about that. SLC has lots of off-leash parks, though.

    There’s a dog park next to Franklin & Marshall College, just a few blocks from me. It’s had unofficial status for a long time, but the city just gave its official blessing. It’s fairly small, though, and there’s no grass.

    If I had a small boatload of money and wanted to have a large boatload of money, I’d open up a chain of dog parks across the country. Grassy places for them to run off leash. They really can’t exercise properly on a leash, and while a property owner can fence his yard, an apartment-dweller is SOL. I’d have a pet cemetery at each location, a dog-wash, and a pet supplies superstore. People are willing to pay a lot to pamper their pets, and no wonder; their pets treat them better than kids do.

    Is basketball Kosher?

    Not good ones. NBA basketballs are covered with pig leather. Cheap basketballs are made of rubber, though, so they’d be pareve.

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  30. Dexter said on March 16, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Good one on the edible basketballs, Harl!
    When I was a 5th grader, I attended a school which had grades 1-12. Our high school basketball team had just won their only Sectional in history.
    Our school librarian had told students that if we won, she would “eat my hat”.
    At the victory assembly on Monday, a hat was produced. Also, lighter fluid, a saucepan, and matches. A kid stuffed her hat into the saucepan, sprayed it, burned it to black ashes, and then another kid took a hamburger bun , smeared it with mayo or something, scraped out some ashes and handed it to the librarian, who , amidst howls , downed the whole sandwich.
    A good sport she was!

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  31. Dexter said on March 16, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    My got-your-back buddy in Vietnam went to Cody. Were they a rival of yours in your school days? He graduated in 1968.
    And on the theme of war, I caught most of the msnbc special on that young sniper of the US Marines, who had killed “hundreds” of Iraqis and had a hard time re-adjusting to civilian life, feeling “naked” without his weapon.
    He had been apprehensive about returning, thinking he would be chided and called a “murderer”, but he was not treated as such.
    Damn, a girl in a Chicago singles bar called me a “baby killer” and I was a medic and never fired a shot at any human or animal over there. Different times. (I’ve been “over it” for decades, FWIW)

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  32. michaelj said on March 16, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    Is basketball Kosher?

    Not good ones. NBA basketballs are covered with pig leather. Cheap basketballs are made of rubber, though, so they’d be pareve.

    Perhaps I should have said hoops. Reggie Miller said the composite ball was OK. Larry could have shot anything they put on the floor from behind the backboard. That’s why Larry was Larry and not just another white guy.

    Actually, the NCAA basketballs are made of some composite Halliburton probably thinks is safe in drinking water they don’t have to drink themselves. So, I guess that’s kosher in the Wolfowitz and Cheney households, anyway.

    Dogs? They’re all close to perfect. Stupid owners get in the way.

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  33. michaelj said on March 16, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Dexter, we played Cooley in hoops. Cody was on Cathedral Street. We never played them in anything, but my first real girlfriend went there. Annette, and I’ll be eternally Goddamned because I can’t think of her last name. Oh, Fillion, her last name, that is, and I awear I’d forgotten. Football, only Catholic League, but nobody else could play worth a damn . Very late sixties and very trying times.

    Our star basketball player was a seriously gigantic guy called Bill Thigpen. 6-6 or 6-7 about 250. Great brain and huge heart. He shredded Rudy T when we played Hamtramck (believe me, that’s how you spell it.). He took a job as a reporter for I think, the Michigan Citizen, and was murdered when he got too close to some drug scum in Wayne County. I’d love to hear the true story of Bill Thigpen if Nancy Nall could get to it. I always wanted justice, just couldn’t get there. I’d flatter myself to say he was my friend, but he was sort of a hero of mine.

    Cody High. Gutdom, Dexter. Makes me think of the greatest song Steveland Morris ever wrote. “I believe when I fall in love, this time it will be forever.” I believe that melody is better than the Beatles or the Stones ever managed.

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  34. Harl Delos said on March 16, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Damn, a girl in a Chicago singles bar called me a “baby killer” and I was a medic and never fired a shot at any human or animal over there. Different times. (I’ve been “over it” for decades, FWIW)

    I’ve been reading a new book called “The Stuff of Thought” by Steven Pinker. Great book, but it’s both thick and dense; not summer beach reading. I’ve made my living, most of my life, with words, so it’s of interest to me; if someone’s idea of good reading is Tom Clancey or Janet Dailey, they might find it dry. Come to think of it, it is dry. But I’m enjoying it, anyway.

    Pinker’s thesis is that we do most of our thinking by manipulating words. He says that if you tell someone that by pulling a switch on the railroad, you can divert a train that would run over five victims, killing them, to a siding where one person would be killed. Do you pull the switch? Most people say yes. Then you take another group, and tell them that there’s a bus that will run over and kill five people, but you can stop it with something heavy – and the only thing heavy enough is a fat man standing next to you. Do you throw the fat man under the bus, killing him? Most people won’t.

    And yet, it’s the same arithmetic, isn’t it?

    At the time of Nam, I’d have told you that non-combatants free up other troops to engage in combat, and thus you were just as much a baby-killer as anyone else. At this point, I’d take notice that you undoubtedly exhibited a lot of courage in putting yourself in dangerous situations, saving lives by doing so, and so I will say “thanks”. I don’t know that you saved anyone I know, but since I don’t know who did, you’ll do.

    Viet Nam was a war we all fought, whether or not we crossed a border or an ocean. And it’s a war we’re all still fighting. Well, except for you. I’m glad you’re over it, because there are a lot who aren’t.

    And as far as that goes, this country still hasn’t gotten over the war between the blue and the gray, and that’s been almost 150 years.

    No matter which side you were on, we should be over it by now, shouldn’t we? As stupid as the human race is, it’s a wonder we can figure out how to breed.

    Perhaps I should have said hoops. Basketball hoops are usually made of mild steel, michaelj.

    You’re aware that supposedly there was a man who ate a 747? A little bit at a time, admittedly, but he did it. Ben Sherwood wrote a book about it. I couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters, though. You should be able to grind a couple of hoops into powder, and mix it into your other food, and wolf them down in a few weeks, three months at the most. And being metal, hoops are both kosher and pareve.

    What’s with the impulse to eat sporting goods, michaelj? And shouldn’t you be worried more about the mental health aspect and the effect on your digestive system, than the jewish dietary laws? I mean, if you get an obstructed bowel from composite leather swelling up, you’re probably going to need a surgeon, not a bottle of magnesium citrate.

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  35. Kafkaz said on March 16, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    Here’s Pinker on curse words (and some other stuff)–funny and enlightening.

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  36. michaelj said on March 16, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    Jeez Harl, I never said sporting goods are food. I think you did. My diet’s mostly vegetarian. And if I chose to eat NCAA basketballs, they’re rubber, not traif. But there I go with that anti-semitism. I don’t know how I live with myself.

    The Bill Clinton racism crap is still crap, unadulterated, and any claim it wasn’t something induced into the race for divisive purposes by Obama people is pretty much ridiculous.

    I’m not arguing with you about anything important. Hillary’s being pilloried by Olbermann, and that’s seriously pissing me off, I don’t care one way or another, if we just have no more Bush. But the coverage and the Deanie-Baby possibilities are exceptionally unfair and have me worried. Taken at his own word, Barrack’s gonna vote for Vader. What sort of shit is that?

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  37. michaelj said on March 17, 2008 at 12:09 am

    And an American that votes for McCain, who sucked up to Bush after the massive telephone slander by Rove in 2000 SC, well, probably ought to be disenfranchised for terminal stupidity. I’m on your side. I’m voting Barrack if he’s nominated. You voting Ralph? Deanie babies did, out of spite, and look what that inflicted on us.

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  38. michaelj said on March 17, 2008 at 12:38 am


    For one thing, I think moving to Harvard from MIT is probably evolution, in the forward sense.

    But why are serviceable words called ‘curse’ words? If I’m watching a basketball game and inveigh against the f@#@ing refs, I’m not cursing them. I might want to, but there’s no curse applied. Is damn a curseword? Well, literally, yeah. Is fuck a curseword? Nope. So when you trample on the language, what does any of that mean?

    There’s actually a single curseword. That would be damn, or damned.

    Anything else might be offensive, or anathema in polite conversation, but it sure as shit isn’t a curseword.

    This subject is abused further with the term expletive. “Rosy-fingered”?

    I think down south in our benighted nature, we may have figured this out. It’s cussing, y’all

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  39. Kafkaz said on March 17, 2008 at 1:49 am

    “Cuss” is just a version of “curse”. Etymology is useful, that way.

    Pinker is great on all the uses and economics of the various curse words. (Kids around here call them “swears,” as a plural noun, which is a construction I hadn’t heard before.) What we knew already? Maybe, but nothing most folks would ever be able to articulate half so well, and that’s half the fun of him. (Plus, watching a prof go the Lenny Bruce route counts as high entertainment for a language geek.)

    Guess most profs wouldn’t sneer at either the MIT or the Harvard gig. I’ve definitely had my MIT Media Lab fantasies! Too bad MediaMOO was a ghost town by the time I finally figured out how to play, there.

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  40. Harl Delos said on March 17, 2008 at 6:53 am

    Jeez Harl, I never said sporting goods are food. I think you did.

    No, you brought it up, by asking “Is basketball Kosher?”

    Kosher is a yiddish word that means “fit to eat” according to the dietary laws found in the bible.

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  41. Harl Delos said on March 17, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Here’s Pinker on curse words (and some other stuff)–funny and enlightening.

    Thanks! I’m listening as I write.

    I’ve borrowed this book from the library, and it’s due back today. I’d sorta like a copy, but on Amazon, even the used copies start at $16.73. One of his other books is $33.98 used. I guess people who buy Pinker don’t want to give up their copies.

    But prices of used on Amazon don’t make much sense. Used paperbacks of “Marley and me” start at $7.88, but used hardback of the same book start at $3.18. I’m a cheapskate, but I’m bad at getting books back to the library on time, so buying used on Amazon is often cheaper. Especially if I turn around and sell the book again after I’m done with it.

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  42. Suzi said on March 17, 2008 at 10:05 am

    I used to commute around the Fort on my beloved Raleigh Super Course and twice I got smacked on the ass by punks passing me in a car, anyone else ever experience that?

    My worst experiences were from my own dumbass attacks tho. I think there’s still an imprint of my chin in St Joe River Dr where I dumped myself after braking hard on gravel on a slope.

    Got a comfy bike now to sedately cruise around the poooches and baby strollers in Foster Park .

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