Saturday, February 27, 2010

"They Call Them Killer Whales...I'm Man Eater, Still Your Surprised When I Eat Ya"

I don't  know that there is a better time to quote a Neko Case song than now.  It doesn't take much to realize that if you put a wild animal in a prison, particularly one called a KILLER whale, that it is pretty likely that something like this is going to happen.  Duh!  As the song from Neko goes:

You know they call them killer whales
But you seem suprised
When it pinned you down to the bottom of the tank
Where you can't turn around
It took half your leg and both your lungs
And I craved I ate hearts of sharks, I know you know it
I'm a man man man man, man man man eater
But still you're surprised prised prised when I eat ya X2

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Night Pick Me Up - Joanna Newsom

Since Joanna Newsom has a new album out I thought it would be worth it to revisit a fantastic version of this great song.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bicycle Vigilantes!

Bicycle Vigilantes shouldn't be anything to cheer but I can't help but be a bit amused at these messengers riding down a bike thief. Too bad they weren't able to hold onto him so he would get prosecuted for the theft.

The couriers pedaled through downtown at high speed on a chase that traversed sidewalks and busy streets, said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith. Eventually, one of the messengers was able to grab the thief's shirt and pull him to the ground.
The man then took off on foot and the couriers reclaimed the bike.
"This was a wild, high-speed bicycle chase through crowded streets of the Jewelry Mart," Smith said. "We are now looking for a 30-year-old man with a torn shirt, a possibly sprained ankle, as well as road rash."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bicycle Crashes in Reno

About the only thing wrong with this story is the headline.  Other than that a good piece (and fair) by Channel 8 on the recent bike accidents.  Kudos to Noah Silverman for his good interview.  It's not easy to come off sounding intelligent in front of a camera.


We did ask police who is more likely to be at fault in a crash, the cyclist or the driver? They say believe it or not, it is fairly even.
Police say what we should take away from all of this is that whether you personally ride a bike or not, Reno is slowly becoming a strong bike community as a whole, and we all need to do our part to keep both bikers and drivers safe.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Future of Bicycles?

Imagine a day with no spokes sparkling in the new wheels have spokes that sparkle anymore or are they all anodized some color?  I guess it doesn't matter if you get one of these new spokeless bikes developed by some guys at Yale.  It's a pretty interesting concept as long as you're not worried about rim weight.  The bicycle wheel strikes me as one of the few designs that are perfection.   So many seemingly flimsy materials come together to form an extraordinarily strong whole.  Why mess with a good thing?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Teaching the Physics of Bicycling, or One Way To Get Those Bike Miles

This is a great example of excellent teaching with a purpose and for a good cause.  Not to mention that it'll make teachers happier and healthier.


Luther F. Davis III, a physics teacher at Lake Mary High School in Florida, likes to give his students memorable lessons. He has smashed cinder blocks over his chest while lying on a bed of nails to illustrate pressure and had students drag him around the football field with ropes to show how forces direct motion — and won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education in the process.
On Thursday Davis will be trying a new kind of demonstration: he will spend the entire teaching day — 7 hours — pedaling his bicycle on rollers. The purpose is to give his students a visual lesson in work, power, energy, angular momentum, torque, and other topics. You can view a Powerpoint show at his website, Cycling Physics. And while Davis is pedaling, he’ll have his students streaming his bike ride/physics lesson live from the classroom and take questions via online chat.
Read More

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Morning Music - Pete Townsend

Happy Valentine's Day! In the wake of a pretty crappy Who performance at the Super Bowl here is a reminder of how great Townsend is.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010


If anybody has been paying attention I haven't exactly been keeping up with my bicycle commuting goals this school year.  There have been a variety of factors at work.  A new school with an earlier start time and route that hasn't quite inspired me to get in a groove about riding, a higher number of illnesses this year so far, the weather being a bit more unpredictable this winter, and a good dose of laziness as well.  It seems like for the last several months every time I was on the verge of kick starting my goals one of the above would get in the way.  Luckily I've been running more and enjoying my membership in the Reno Running and Fitness group.  It's given me at least a bare minimum of fitness.

But now it's time to get serious again.  I'm finally done with my latest cold and it looks like we're getting a glimmer of spring over the next week.  That being said I'll have to reassess exactly what kind of overall miles I can actually  put in with my half-marathon training plan and having a student-teacher this semester.  I'm feeling a bit of pressure because I need to whip myself into some sort of shape for a possible tour over spring break in southern Utah and a definite summer tour in the Pacific NW in the works.  So, here's to the new, more motivated me getting my ass in gear and riding to school more regularly.  I still plan to put in over 1,000 miles bicycle commuting but we'll see how much more than that I can accrue.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Gov. Gibbons Proposes Teachers Get Tip Jars!

It seems like a headline from the Onion but apparently it's one proposal that the Governor is throwing out there with his "gift certificates" program mentioned in his "State of the State" speech last night.  I know many teachers who were insulted and perplexed by what they heard in the speech.  And I heard multiple teachers who said if they are expected to take a pay cut that the days of working past their contract time will be gone for good.  When I arrive early, stay late, and come in on weekends to keep up with planning and grading it does make me wonder why I bother.  With other professional educators wondering the same thing you can't help but ask what the effects of another cut of public education will do to our already abysmal education ranking in the country.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sunday Morning Music - Ladytron

I'd forgotten how great this album was until a friend recently reminded me.   A good way to wake up.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

wednesday Night Pick Me Up - Donovan

I adore that this song works so well in one of my favorite movies (Zodiac) but I kinda want to steal it back from David Fincher because all I can think of is the opening murder scene when I hear it now.   Here it is with the original video.   Supposedly a couple of the future members of Led Zeppelin were first introduced when working in the studio on some of Donovan's music.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Three Profound Losses

It has been over a week since Miep Gies died.  The last surviving protector of the Frank family was 100 years old and while there is no reason to call her passing tragic I cant help but feel an extraordinary loss to the world.  How many people when faced with the decisions she was faced with, would be that brave today?   Her bravery is not the like the adrenaline pounding rush into a burning building but the slow, anxiety ridden daily bravery that would have curdled lesser humans.  Occasionally when Ive asked my students after reading Anne Frank if they feel like they could have done what she did there are a few that raise their hands.  I hope it is true.

Likewise the death of J.D. Salinger seems almost as if another age is passing.  In our world of realtiy TV, rather boring and unexceptional people scratching and clawing for more than their 15 minutes of fame, Salingers talent emerged in a much different era and with that, he vanished as a man from our consciousness.   How striking it was to see only that 1940s picture of him on the news as the analysts debated his importance to our culture.   Yet his books, and notably his most famous creation, Holden Caulfied, continues to haunt several generations of readers.  In fact, Id say it haunts our whole cultural notion of disaffected youth regardless of whether or not youve read A Catcher in the Rye.

As I listened to an NPR story discussing Howard Zinns death I almost wretched as they quoted David Horowitz saying that Zinns writings had done unimaginable harm to a huge segment of students.  It was as if a living myopic 1950s history textbook was talking.  Zinns contribution, no his gift, was in presenting history from the perspective of the downtrodden, the victims, the laborers, the ordinary people.   Zinns Peoples History of the United States, and other books, plus his humanitarian work is a beacon for many people over the last half century.