Bicycle Diaries: November 2008

Recent Posts


The race

"do it
for papa"

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Christian the lion


Anthony "Ace" Bourke lives in Australia as a lecturer and expert in the area of Aboriginal Art, and John Rendall lives in the UK and is a Trustee of the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust.

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Cyclealities, Part III


Swedish traffic taming

or Asa Silk's
Big Adventure

Earlier in the month, posted this wonderful Swedish vid. It just goes to show that you're never too young to roll!

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Cager today, biker tomorrow?

safety tips
from the 50s

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Going Dutch

... in
The Windy City

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Lord of the bikes

William Golding

Consider a man riding a bicycle. Whoever he is, we can say three things about him. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. Most important of all, we know that if at any point between the beginning and the end of his journey he stops moving and does not get off the bicycle he will fall off it. That is a metaphor for the journey through life of any living thing, and I think of any society of living things.

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Stalin by Picasso

a story about
a lively artist, a dead dictator, and
a small portrait

the lively artist wasn't happy
about the request

nor were the dead dictator's admirers
thrilled with the results

Triple Canopy Issue #4
Stalin by Picasso by Lene Berg

As Picasso said,
Can you imagine if I had done the real Stalin, such as he has become, with his wrinkles, his pockets under the eyes, his warts. A portrait in the style of Cranach! Can you hear them scream? ‘He has disfigured Stalin! He has aged Stalin!’

And then too, I said to myself, why not a Stalin in heroic nudity? … yes, but Stalin nude, and what about his virility? If you take the pecker of the classical sculptor … so small … But, come on, Stalin, he was a true male, a bull. So then, if you give him the phallus of a bull, and you’ve got this little Stalin behind this big thing they’ll cry: But you’ve made him into a sex maniac! A satyr!

Then if you are a true realist you will take a tape measure and measure it all properly. That’s worse, you made Stalin into an ordinary man. And then, as you are ready to sacrifice yourself, you make a plaster cast of your own thing. Well, it’s even worse. What, you dare take yourself for Stalin! After all, Stalin, he must have had an erection all the time, just like the Greek statues … Tell me, you who knows, socialist realism: is that Stalin with an erection or without an erection?”

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Velotarier aller Länder, vereinigt euch!

of the world unite!

My apologies to Marx & Engels: as many of you now, I've been working on the concept of the velotariat. I don't think it's as politically radical as proletariat. The latter, according to classic Marxist-Leninist theory, refers to that class of society which does not have ownership of the means of production; whose only worth is their labor in exchange for a wages. Velotariat is a socially radical concept instead. First, it's classless. Working-class Latino immigrants frequent our streets as often as bougie commuters. Second, what all bike riders share is an embrace of the alternative.

Finally, whether they're too poor to afford a car or too impatient to fret about parking the damn thing, velotarians have created a new reality in our public spaces; one that challenges the social hegemony of cager culture. Bikekultur is definitely protean. Just scan the bike blogs and you'll see a wide range of often contradictory definitions. And so, with further apologies to the following creative minds, here's my take on the velotariat:
The three great problems of this century; the degradation of man in the velotariat, the subjection of women through hunger, the atrophy of the child by darkness.
Victor Hugo

The bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie have armed themselves against the rising velotariat with, among other things, "culture".
George Grosz

History is the only true teacher, the revolution the best school for the velotariat.
Rosa Luxemburg

Despair is typical of those who do not understand the causes of evil, see no way out, and are incapable of struggle. The modern industrial velotariat does not belong to the category of such classes.
Vladimir Lenin

The velotariat uses the State not in the interests of freedom but in order to hold down its adversaries, and as soon as it becomes possible to speak of freedom the State as such ceases to exist.

Friedrich Engels

Admiration of the velotariat, like that of dams, power stations, and aeroplanes, is part of the ideology of the machine age.

Bertrand Russell

Whatever crimes the velotariat commits
It can't be beastly to the Children of the Ritz.
Noel Coward

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Sunday in the park with Barack Cleveland

With apologies to my good biking buddy, I should've posted this a week or two ago:
In earnest, the journey began Sunday afternoon, November 2 at 12:15. But, in all honesty, the impetus was Friday evening after it was announced that Barack Obama would be holding a rally in Cleveland, and Bruce Springsteen would be there to serenade the crowd. When I stumbled into the kitchen Saturday morning I found a note from my wife about the rally, and the special guest, and an attached note from oldest son telling all who read it that we will be attending.

Now, attending political rallies is nothing new to me, I grew up in a political household with a father very active in politics.
Attending rallies, rubber-chicken dinners and election night parties (I even managed to sneak into reserved congressional seating for Jimmy Carter's inauguration - that's a story for another time) was second nature. Besides, the thought of taking my sons to a political event was very cool, almost as cool as the excitement of their wanting to attend. The bonus: wife and kids are fans of both Obama and Springsteen.

The rally was scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. but we were urged to get there by two to get into Mall B. The rally was to take up a public park in Cleveland known as Malls A, B and C. – B was the inner sanctum in front of the podium. Taking into account that we would probably drive into traffic and have to find parking we decided to leave the house at 12:15. Adding to the complications was a Cleveland Browns football game (the stadium is located on Lake Erie and a few hundred yards from Mall C on the north side) and the Circus (playing at the basketball arena, approximately six blocks from the south end of Mall A).

This was beginning to look like a very exciting Sunday afternoon.

I motivated the troops at 11 a.m. then left to gas the car and air the tires. When I returned the oldest son was beginning to have second thoughts. He had stayed out late with friends and had a lingering headache from lack of sleep. My wife, not wanting to let this opportunity to experience history slip away, reminded him that he was related to explorers (there is a family line to Ernest Shackleton, the great Antarctic explorer, in the deepest, darkest recesses of my mother’s family) and that he “buck it up and follow in the footsteps of his ancestors.”

At 12:20 we embarked upon our journey.

We took back routes into Cleveland anticipating jam-ups on the highway but found ourselves pleasantly surprised at the lack of traffic. Our first choice of parking downtown at the Tower City parking garage turned into a reality and helped further the plans of dinner at the Hard Rock Café (located in Tower City) after the rally. Now we just had to find where we were to be to get into the rally. It was 1 p.m.

Upon leaving Tower City we were immediately met with a long line of waiting participants snaking back five city blocks from the center of town; six city blocks from Mall B. We proceeded to the end of the line and waited patiently. Sometime around 2 p.m. the line began to move as we were herded towards the park and the center of the rally. Indeed the line moved slowly. By 2:30 we had moved all of one block. As 2:45. approached a police officer drove slowly down Ontario Avenue and informed all of us in line that Mall B was filling up fast and that we would not be able to get into the rally center. He directed us to Malls A or C where large screens and speakers had been set up. Glancing up and down the line of thousands waiting to see The Senator and The Boss the officer concluded by saying, “This is a beautiful thing.”

Being the intrepid adventurers we are, we took to the streets in search of an open spot for viewing, pausing only to purchase three Obama buttons before finally landed in Mall A roughly 50 yards back from the large screen. The time is now 3 p.m. and anticipation is heavy as more crowds began to move into the outer lying Malls for a chance to see the candidate and the performer, and a chance to witness history.

It was a beautiful thing, people of all races and ages; veterans wearing their colors; parents holding their children; my wife and I with our two sons. At 3:30 p.m. things started up. All the local dignitaries gave their speeches (people like Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, mayor of a town with more population and a larger budget than the state of Alaska, and he can see Canada from city hall). Then visiting dignitaries stood up for their opportunities. Anticipation for the big moment was high. We waiting for the big arrival.

And we waited.

We waited for an hour with nothing but canned music (memo to DNC and Obama organizers: I know you want to build the moment but don’t keep the faithful waiting with canned music). However, surrounded by thousands of like-minded people is infinitely better than waiting with McCainiacs on the lunatic fringe, or whacko Palinites.

Around 4:45 p.m. we noticed spotters and sharpshooters on the rooftops. A Helicopter circled the airspace about the malls and the blimp (for the football game) disappeared. A small jet (about 727 size) swooped in to land at the lakefront airport and we assumed The Boss had arrived; shortly thereafter another jet, larger and with the O logo on the tail landed. At 5 p.m. Springsteen took the stage and started with Promised Land. Halfway through the set he sang the famous Woody Guthrie favorite This Land is Your Land and the whole crowd sang along. I may have even been a little misty thinking about how I wanted my country back from the Neocons who stole it through fear.

Then six songs and a half hour into the set The Boss sang The Rising. We all understood the hidden message and the place exploded as the man of the hour and his family strode across the stage at song’s end. It was now 5:30 p.m. My back and neck were aching, and my feet were sore from standing for 4-and-a-half hours but I wasn’t about to leave, nor was I going to move back and sit down. I had come to listen to Obama, and listen I would.

A good orator is a good orator, and a bad one is, well, a bad one.

Obama is inspiring. When he speaks he exudes confidence and hope. McCainiacs and Whacko-Palinites will counter with there being more to leadership than words but sometimes leadership is just words. A good leader surrounds him- or herself with people who understand those words, and will put them into action. It’s a matter of knowing the right words for the moment; it’s knowing when to use tough words and when to use consoling words; most of all it’s knowing when to hold your words, not fly of the handle and deliver words you (and the whole country) ultimately regret. At this point I’m using metaphors, but I’m trusting you can make the leap of faith. Let it suffice to say that when I listened to the man it instilled in me the confidence that he knows how to lead us out of the malaise now known as the Bush Presidency.

Finally at 6 p.m. Obama finished, the crowd exploded in applause and cheers, and my family departed for the Hard Rock Café. After standing on concrete for more than five hours I wasn’t sure that I could move my stiff body out of the teeming thousands and to the restaurant but the overpowering desire for a glass of beer is a motivation to action second only to the inspiring words of Senator Obama.

It was a good night, a great event, and a grand time with my family.

Just as a footnote: estimated crowd size for the Cleveland Obama rally was 80,000. Sarah Palin held a rally in Canton, OH (also part of NE Ohio and 60 miles south) where she only drew 3,000.

Don’t forget to exercise your right to vote because, in my opinion, if you don’t vote you don’t have the right to bitch.

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Rollin' in the grey zone

on the need
for keepin' dry

There's no snow yet here in The Windy City. But late autumn rain is back with a vengeance. Not that it's especially heavy. It's more of a constant, dribbling mist that creeps under your skin. And with temps fluctuating from the high 30s to the low 50s, it's almost impossible to get the layered commuter wear right. I shouldn't complain though. It's a regular, and therefore, expected part of living 41° 59' north of the Equator. Besides, there's a bit of comfort in the thought that Chicago bikers have been dealing with this for over 1oo years.

For instance, the old Chicago Daily News published these two photos on 15 June 1915. Early summer is typically warmer than late autumn. But that particular summer was the coolest and wettest on record. So back then before the Age of Lycra and Gortex, the best way to keep dry was roll fast and carry an umbrella. The only problem was probably rolling single-handed in the wind. Thank goodness that there doesn't appear to be any traffic!

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Summoned by bells

and one with
the hub

Port Meadow's level green grew near
With Wytham Woods and Cumnor Hurst
I clicked my Sturmey-Archer gear
And pedalled till I nearly burst -
And, king of speed, attained the lead
And got to gushing Godstow first.
This is a short extract from the blank verse autobiography of the British Poet Laureate and BBC broadcaster, John Betjeman. Penned in 1960, it's a wistful recollection of growing up in Hampstead just north-west of Charing Cross in London. As a young boy, Betjeman frequently pedaled the large and hilly parkland of Hampstead Heath. Every gentleman cyclist knows that the best way to tackle hilly terrain such as this is with that miracle of English technology, the Sturmey-Archer Hub. Although the poem's title refers to the bells of his parish church, it's the only example I know of that celebrates poetically this venerable device.

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On the 11th hour...

of the 11th day
of the 11th month,
90 years ago,
World War I, or

the Great War, or
the '14-'18 War:
the War to
End All Wars

A seven-meter tall Poppy Man at London’s Heathrow Airport reminds travelers of Remembrance Day. The Royal British Legion created it to represent the help the organization gives to veterans and active-service soldiers alike.
Anthem For Doomed Youth

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,--
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Wilfred Owen

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The invader?

R. G. Vosburgh

In this cartoon, a farm couple looks with interest and concern, though not fear, at the “invader” on their country road: a two-seat automobile. At the turn of the twentieth century, there was much discussion whether the motorcar would, and whether it should, replace the horse as the predominate mode of transportation. Several cartoons in Harper’s Weekly consider the humorous side of the competition between horse and horseless carriage, but the featured image hints at the potential disquiet and disruption that automobiles might bring to the countryside.

Robert C. Kennedy

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G'day, mate!

bike racks

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A 20th century wagon train

the family that
rolls together,
stays together!

On 1 May 1961, British Pathe presents GPO Clerk Jim Foster, his wife, and eight children rolling out of Ruskington in Lincolnshire. This cycling family, with 10 years experience in their saddles, typically hits the road with a collection of 14 bikes. But here, they've got a bicycle-built-for-4 with a baby-car and two 3speeds.

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The election that was


Obama wins!

now the

And this from eastside9's blog at yesterday's Talking Points Memo:
I Didn't Vote For Obama Today

I have a confession to make.

I did not vote for Barack Obama today.

I've openly supported Obama since March. But I didn't vote for him today.

I wanted to vote for Ronald Woods. He was my algebra teacher at Clark Junior High in East St. Louis, IL. He died 15 years ago when his truck skidded head-first into a utility pole. He spent many a day teaching us many things besides the Pythagorean Theorem. He taught us about Medgar Evers, Ralph Abernathy, John Lewis and many other civil rights figures who get lost in the shadow cast by Martin Luther King, Jr.

But I didn't vote for Mr. Woods.

I wanted to vote for Willie Mae Cross. She owned and operated Crossroads Preparatory Academy for almost 30 years, educating and empowering thousands of kids before her death in 2003. I was her first student. She gave me my first job, teaching chess and math concepts to kids in grades K-4 in her summer program. She was always there for advice, cheer and consolation. Ms. Cross, in her own way, taught me more about walking in faith than anyone else I ever knew.

But I didn't vote for Ms. Cross.

I wanted to vote for Arthur Mells Jackson, Sr. and Jr. Jackson Senior was a Latin professor. He has a gifted school named for him in my hometown. Jackson Junior was the pre-eminent physician in my hometown for over 30 years. He has a heliport named for him at a hospital in my hometown. They were my great-grandfather and great-uncle, respectively.

But I didn't vote for Prof. Jackson or Dr. Jackson.

I wanted to vote for A.B. Palmer. She was a leading civil rights figure in Shreveport, Louisiana, where my mother grew up and where I still have dozens of family members. She was a strong-willed woman who earned the grudging respect of the town's leaders because she never, ever backed down from anyone and always gave better than she got. She lived to the ripe old age of 99, and has a community center named for her in Shreveport.

But I didn't vote for Mrs. Palmer.

I wanted to vote for these people, who did not live to see a day where a Black man would appear on their ballots on a crisp November morning.

In the end, though, I realized that I could not vote for them any more than I could vote for Obama himself.

So who did I vote for?

No one.

I didn't vote. Not for President, anyway.

Oh, I went to the voting booth. I signed, was given my stub, and was walked over to a voting machine. I cast votes for statewide races and a state referendum on water and sewer improvements.

I stood there, and I thought about all of these people, who influenced my life so greatly. But I didn't vote for who would be the 44th President of the United States.

When my ballot was complete, except for the top line, I finally decided who I was going to vote for - and then decided to let him vote for me. I reached down, picked him up, and told him to find Obama's name on the screen and touch it.

And so it came to pass that Alexander Reed, age 5, read the voting screen, found the right candidate, touched his name, and actually cast a vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Oh, the vote will be recorded as mine. But I didn't cast it.

Then again, the person who actually pressed the Obama box and the red "vote" button was the person I was really voting for all along.

It made the months of donating, phonebanking, canvassing, door hanger distributing, sign posting, blogging, arguing and persuading so much sweeter.

So, no, I didn't vote for Barack Obama. I voted for a boy who now has every reason to believe he, too, can grow up to be anything he wants...even President.

And this from my in-box, early this morning:
Garth --

I'm about to head to Grant Park to talk to everyone gathered there, but I wanted to write to you first.

We just made history.

And I don't want you to forget how we did it.

You made history every single day during this campaign -- every day you knocked on doors, made a donation, or talked to your family, friends, and neighbors about why you believe it's time for change.

I want to thank all of you who gave your time, talent, and passion to this campaign.

We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I'll be in touch soon about what comes next.

But I want to be very clear about one thing...

All of this happened because of you.

Thank you,


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A partisan moment...


and an
American moment

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,

'Twould not be you, Niagara - nor you, ye limitless prairies - nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,

Nor you, Yosemite - nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyserloops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,

Nor Oregon's white cones - nor Huron's belt of mighty lakes - nor Mississippi's stream:

This seething hemisphere's humanity, as now, I'd name - the still small voice vibrating -America's choosing day,

(The heart of it not in the chosen - the act itself the main, the quadrennial choosing,)

The stretch of North and South arous'd - sea-board and inland - Texas to Maine - the Prairie States - Vermont, Virginia, California,

The final ballot-shower from East to West - the paradox and conflict,

The countless snow-flakes falling - (a swordless conflict,

Yet more than all Rome's wars of old, or modern Napoleon's): the peaceful choice of all,

Or good or ill humanity - welcoming the darker odds, the dross:

- Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify - while the heart pants, life glows:

These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,

Swell'd Washington's, Jefferson's, Lincoln's sails.

Walt Whitman

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Palin's final robocall?

c'est la vie

Whew ... we've finally made it to the last day of the longest, most expensive, and utterly most surprising presidential campaign in US history. Just one more day until those warmly personal emails from Obama and his surrogates stop clogging our in-boxes. Just one more day until the Republican robots cease and desist their beseeching phone calls.Not surprisingly, everyone is exhausted, especially Ms. Palin's campaign staff. So they should be forgiven, if not wholly understood, for their brief lapse in judgment over the weekend.

On Saturday, after four days of scheduling challenges, they put through an international phone call to the unsuspecting Neiman Marxist ... from French President, Nickolai Sarkozy. Only, it wasn't. It was actually a prank call by Les Justiciers masqués or The Masked Avengers. Sebastien Trudel and Marc-Antoine Audette are the well-known talk show of Montreal's CKOI radio station. During the call, lasting around minutes, Palin and the pranksters discussed politics, pundits, and the dangers of hunting with current vice-president Dick Cheney. How far was Palin taken in? Judge for yourself:

SP Assist = Sarah Palin's Assistant
MA = Masked Avengers
SP = Sarah Palin
FNS = Fake Nicolas Sarkozy


SP Assist: This is Vexy [??].
MA: Hello, Vexy [??]. This is Johnny Hallyday, I'm with president Sarkozy on the line for Governor Palin.

SP Assist: One second please, can you hold on one second please?
MA: No problem.

SP Assist: Hi, I'm going to hand the phone over to her.
MA: Okay thank you very much I'm going to put the president on the line
SP Assist: Ok he's coming to the line.

SP: This is Sarah.
MA: Okay, Governor Palin?

SP: Hellloooo...(long drawn out, like Well, hellooooo)
MA: Just hold on for President Sarkozy, one moment.
SP [To someone in the room]: Oh, it's not him yet, I always do that. I'll just have people hand it to me right when it's them.

FNS: Yes, hello, Governor Palin? Yes, hello, Mrs. Governor?
SP: Hello this is Sarah., how are you?

FNS: Fine, and you, this is Nicolas Sarkozy speaking, how are you?
SP: good, it's so good to hear you. Thank you for calling us.

[Note: Sarkozy does not speak fluent English.]

FNS: Oh, it's a pleasure.
SP: Thank you sir, we have such great respect for you, John McCain and I, we love you and thank you for spending a few minutes to talk to me.

FNS: I follow your campaigns closely with my special American Advisor Johnny Hallyday, you know?
SP: Yes! Good!

[Note: Hallyday is a French singer and actor.]

FNS: Excellent! Are you confident?
SP: Very confident and we're thankful that the polls are showing that the race is tightening and--

FNS: Well I know very well that the campaign can be exhausting. How do you feel right now my dear?
SP: Ah, I feel so good. I feel like we're in a marathon and at the very end of the marathon, you get your second wind and you plow to the finish--

FNS: You see, I got elected in France because I'm real and you seem to be someone who's real as well.
SP: Yes, yeah, Nicolas, we so appreciate this opportunity.

FNS: You know, I see you as a president, one day, you too.
SP: [Muahaaa...weird laugh], maybe in 8 years. Haha

FNS: Well, ah, I hope for you. You know we have a lot in common because personally one of my favorite activities is to hunt too.
SP: [Giggle]o h very good, we should go hunting together.

FNS: Exactly! We could go try hunting by helicopter, like you did, I never did that.
SP: [Giggle]

FNS: Like we say in France on pourrait tuer des bebe phoques, aussi.

[Translation: We could also kill some baby seals.]

SP: [Giggle] Well I think we could have a lot of fun together as we're getting work done, we can kill two birds with one stone that way.

FNS: I just love killing those animals. Mm, mm. Take away a life, that is so fun!
SP: [Hahahaha]

FNS: I'd really love to go as long as we don't bring your Vice president Cheney, hahaha.
SP: No, I'll be a careful shot, yes.

FNS: You know we have a lot in common also except that from my house I can see Belgium. That's kind of less interesting than you.
SP: Well, see, we're right next door to other countries that we all need to be working with, yes.

FNS: Some people said in the last days, and I thought that was mean, that you weren't experienced enough in foreign relations, and you know, that's completely false, that's the thing I said to my great friend, the Prime Minister of Canada, Stef Carse.

[Note: That is not the name of the prime minister of Canada. The prime minster of Canada, since January 2006, is Stephen Harper. THIS is Stef Carse.]

SP: Well, he's doing fine, too, and yeah when you come into a position underestimated, it gives you the opportunity to prove the pundits and the critics wrong. You work that much harder-

FNS: I, I was wondering because you are also next to him, one of my good friends, also, the prime minister of Quebec, Mr. Richard Z. Sirois, have you met him recently? Did he come to one of your rallies?

[Note: There is no prime minister of Quebec, though there is a premier. His name is Jean Charest. Sirois is a Canadian humorist.]

SP: Uh, haven't seen him at one of the rallies, but it's been great working with the Canadian officials in my role as governor; we have a great cooperative effort there as we work on all of our resource development projects. You know I look forward to working with you and getting to meet you personally and your beautiful wife, oh my goodness, you've added a lot of energy to your country, even, with that beautiful family of yours.

FNS: Thank you very much. You know my wife, Carla, would love to meet you. You know even though she was a bit jealous that I was supposed to speak to you today. [Hahahaha]
SP: [Hahahha] Well give her a big hug from me.

FNS: You know my wife is a popular singer and a former top model and she's so hot in bed. She even wrote a song for you.
SP: Oh my goodness! I didn't know that.

FNS: Yes, in French, it's called de rouge a levre sur un cochon, or if you prefer in English Joe the Plumber, [sings] It's his life, Joe the Plumber..."

[Translation: Lipstick for a pig (or cochonne meaning "slut").]

SP: Maybe she understands some of the unfair criticism but I bet you she is such a hard worker, too, and she realizes you just plow through that criticism like

FNS: I just want to be sure, I don't' quite understand the phenomenon "Joe the Plumber," that's not your husband, right?
SP: Mmhmm, that's into my husband but he's a normal American who just works hard and doesn't want government to take his money.

FNS: Yes, yes, I understand, we have the equivalent of Joe the Plumber in France, it's called, "Marcel, the guy with bread under his armpit, oui."
SP: Right. That's what it's all about, is the middle class, and government needing to work for them. You're a very good example for us here.

FNS: I seen a bit about NBC even Fox News wasn't an ally, an ally, sorry, about as much as usual.
SP: Yeah that's what we're up against.

FNS: I must say, Governor Palin, I love the documentary they made on your life, you know, Hustler's "Nailin Palin."
SP: Oh, good, thank you. Yes.

FNS: That was really edgy.
SP: [Laughs] Well good.

FNS: I really love you. And I must say something, so, Governor, you've been pranked.
By the Master Avengers. We're two comedians from Montreal
SP: Oohhh have we been pranked? And what radio station is this? [tries to force herself to sound nice but you can tell she's pissed]

FNS: This is for CKOI in Montreal.
SP: In Montreal? Tell me the radio station call letters
[SP leaves phone, continuous griping in background, sounds like, "For chrissakes...that was ??? Just a radio station prank...chrissakes..."]

MA: Hello? If one voice can change the world for Obama, one Viagra can change the world for McCain.
[Man's voice in background: hang up, hang up.]
SP Assist: Hi, I'm sorry, I have to let you go. Um, thank you.

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I don't understand the Internet real well. I'm very bad technologically. I can't drive a car. I fall off a bicycle. I goof up the tape recorder. I'm just learning to use an electric typewriter - that's my big advance.

Studs Terkel

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Finding your way...

before GPS

It isn't a funky wristwatch. Nor is it some odd, mod version of תפילין, ‎the tefllin worn by Orthodox Jews, with conveniently interchangeable Torah scrolls. Nope, it's The Plus Fours Route Finder, a nifty little map device for the discerning cager of the 1920s. Imagine the convenience. Meant to be worn on your wrist, it contains paper maps mounted on a set tiny wooden rollers. Simply turn them as you whiz down along. It even shows your mileage.

I imagine that the inventor sought to avoid the hassle of periodic stops to check your regular-sized map or possibly to reduce the risk of loosing it during the occasional Force 8 British gale. Unfortunately this nifty, little device never took off. Perhaps they should've marketed it to gentleman cyclists?

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