Monday, May 19, 2008


I'll be clear and concise. This coming Monday is Memorial Day. The day set aside for us to remember and honor the fallen servicemembers of our nation. I hate Memorial Day. It reminds me of friends who are gone, who left early so others wouldn't have to.

Freedom wasn't free for them.
Freedom isn't free for me.
Freedom isn't free for their families.
Freedom isn't what you want to do.
Freedom isn't easy.
Freedom is doing what you know is right.
Or needs to be done.
That's because you have a choice to do it or not.
That's freedom.

Nothing worth having is free. Deep down inside I know all of my fallen comrades would do it all over again, as would I, just so you'd be free from fear, oppression, and most of all, the horrific experience of combat. That is freedom.

I don't care about your beliefs and politics. I fought for your right to think what you want. I will gladly die so that we may disagree.

This Monday, take a moment. Think about those of us who aren't here. Thank those who are. It might make it easier for all of us. You just might feel better. Or don't. After all, it's a free country.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Waxing sentimental

For those of you who are unaware, I have a huge array of interests. In no particular order, the main ones are cycling, trains, model trains, photography, sports cars of all makes and vintage, particularly British, movies, golf, politics, well you get the idea. Since I am interested in these fields, I also tend to do much research, and a few of them also lend themselves to aquiring things.

Cycling. The mother of all equipment needing activities. So all my uniforms, helmet, parts, frames, wheelsets, shoes, pedals, are all over the place. My long suffering wife didn't know that there are certain uniforms I won't get rid of because of what they mean to me. Good race, I was captain for a season, you get the picture. I even have a frame that I haven't ridden in almost a year.

My Schwinn Paramount OS is a hand built, custom steel frameset I ordered in 1990. It was my second race bike, and my first top line frame. I rode it for 16 seasons, and had my fair share of greatness on it. A decent number of wins, trips to the Olympic Training Centers with it, riding with some of the greatest American cyclists with it. The list goes on. So if it's not even built up right now, why keep it?

It means a lot to me. I named it Horse. We've been together for my entire adult life. Through the bad seasons, the good ones, the illnesses, crashes, Horse never wavered. Always waiting, always ready, always willing. So much of my life involves him that I'll never get rid of him, even though I could sell him for much more than I paid for him 18 years ago. (It was a $1300 frameset back then.) I'll never get rid of him. Someday in the near future Horse will go back to Waterford, WI and be restored where he was built. To like new condition.

I have quite a collection of model cars and Hot Wheels and Matchboxes, too. The scale models are all of cars I've owned or raced, and the the toys are a mixture of what I had since childhood and ones I've raced. I will rid myself of many of these in the coming weeks, but again, there are some I can't part with.

My trains, oh how my wife doesn't understand. I have way more than I can possibly use right now, but this is one of those hobbies where the future is always brightest. Enough said.

As if the physical side isn't bad enough (I should be thankful my real car is away from home and I can store those parts there) I have all the afiiliated literature with these hobbies. Now the bike racing stuff, I usually read it and give it to someone at work. The train magazines are actually like reference materials, and the car magazines the same. I am going to have to pare down again shortly. It's hard to get someone like my wife to understand why I need to save this stuff.

It's part sentimental, part technical need. I'm sure we all have the same problem. Too bad we can't just keep what we need and rid ourselves of the rest.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Sometimes I need inspiration. For my car, my racing, this blog, everything. For my blog, the news, a debate about politics, economics, and David Amulet's writings are always a help. But inspiration isn't always enough. I need to feel like I have something worth writing about. What isn't worth writing about these days? Truthfully, lots of things.

So on to the stuff that's worthless, and my theory behind why we think we care. Celebrity gossip and reality tv. Back in the days when cable was channels 2-13, there was only the Enquirer for the reality and celebrity stuff. As cable expanded, channels were formed and they needed filler. I mean, Bad Girls Club? Celebrity Rehab? It's like there's all this space and there was nothing to fill it, so instead of sitting back and coming up with some culturally worthwhile programming, we get all this drivel.

Yes, I like some reality tv. Gene Simmons kills me with his dry humor and the fact that he's actually a caring, involved parent. Bruce Jenner is much the same way with the Kardashians. Sometimes he has that look of "What in the hell have I gotten myself into?". Very funny.

Sadly, more people care about shows like these as opposed to the earthquake in China, the cyclone in Myannamar, or a bunch of other garden spots of the world. Guess reality tv is all a matter of what you want to admit.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Cars as metaphors

I can see the eyes rolling already. But stick with me on this one. I was working on my Triumph today. I decided to drain the oil, etc. I'm trying to get it on the road by summer. Trying. Anyway, apparently a previous owner fancied themself a mechanic. Well, they rounded off the oil plug, so I need a new one and will have lots of fun getting it free. This is just one of many issues I've been buttoning up as I work through the car.

Now it strikes me that rebuilding a car is like being in politics. No matter how much experience you have, you never totally know what you're getting into. Once you're there, you spend a good amount of time just getting everything back to a good starting point. Then you try to improve on that. So, let's look at the Presidential race as a car restoration.

You aren't sure what you're getting, even if you listen to the experts. It always takes more time and money than planned. And not everyone will appreciate what's been done.