Bicycle Diaries: Bikes & Berlin

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Bikes & Berlin

When I moved to Chicago in 2000, I brought with me over a thousand books. The challenge for the movers was getting them up four flights of stairs without the benefit of an elevator. They brought the boxes up three or four at a time on their backs supported by a tump line. They asked why I had so many god-damned books. I said they were my tools just like good mechanics who have their own personal set of wrenches they would never go anywhere without.

I also came with a red Saturn Coup. It sat in front of the apartment gathering dust and bird shit for two years as I took full advantage of the CTA. I finally got rid of the Saturn when the Connecticut Department of Revenue (where I had moved from) sent me the annual luxury tax assessment on it. I paid the tax and canceled the lease which was a stupid idea to have in the first place. And then I got a 1957 Raleigh 3-speed Robin Hood from the Working Bikes Co-operative down on the southside. And it's been two wheels good, four wheels bad ever since.

What does
any of this
have to do
with Sir Isaiah Berlin?

That's what this blog is for. A large proportion of my 1000+ books deals with the very issues Berlin raised in his long career in the UK as the 20th Century's greatest liberal philosopher. Borrowing from the Greek poet, Archilochus, Berlin divided his fellow philosophers into two groups: the foxes who know many things and the hedgehogs who know one big thing. Most of us who love to think about the world around us struggle over whether we're one or the other ... or perhaps both from time to time. And that's why I started this blog almost a year ago: I'm a fox who wishes that he were a hedgehog. Besides, putting his ideas together with books and bicycles is something your typical fox would do.

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