Thursday, May 31, 2012

An Example Of Mainstream Media Sucking

KHQ and many others had a touch of the vapors today about a photo of two military women who were--wait. Get the kids out of the room. You don't want them to see this. And don't read this aloud. They might hear you say the word "breast". We don't want them to know breasts exists until they learn all about them from late night cable TV, right?

Anyway, the photo traveling the world faster than a celebrity nipple slip is of two women in military uniform breastfeeding their children. I know! Shocking. I was especially taken by the question KHQ posed at the end of the article, which was apparently removed after an update.

Should military women be allowed to breastfeed in uniform in public?

As if that's the most pressing issue in society today...on a par with...say..."Should President Obama be able to order the deaths of Americans or foreign citizens in another country through the use of unmanned aircraft?" Yeah, it's that serious. 
I would also like to point out that our military personnel are revered as heroes in nearly every other context.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Solution In Search Of A Problem

I lived in Topeka, Kansas, for about eight years, moving back to Spokane in 1967 when my dad went to Vietnam. Being a former resident, I've kept tabs on Kansas happenings over the years. What a relief they've taken steps to prevent judges and state agencies from basing decisions on any foreign law.

Because if there's one problem we've noticed in Kansas--and apparently half the states in the country--it's judges and bureaucrats passing by their shelves of enacted legislation and going straight to their copies of the Mosaic Law, the Code of Hammurabi, Catholic Canon Law, the Ten Commandments, or even Sharia Law to make their decisions and rulings.

The next thing you know state officials and judges will use the bible to outlaw homosexuality, eating shellfish, growing different crops in the same field, or clothing made of more than one fabric.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Team Double Check

The guys I was hanging out with and taking photos at the 24 hour race.

A Lucky Day

This morning I turned onto Highway 2 and put my head down against the prevailing winds once more. While slogging along my peripheral vision registered a familiar sight off to my right.

"Was that money?"

I turned back, confirmed the sighting, and pocketed my road find.
About an hour into the work day our Commute Trip Reduction representative showed up.

"Hey, Hank, did you hear you won a prize?"

Woot! A $25 gift card especially for me.
And all because I ride a bike to work.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

24 Hour Race

I returned to the race at oh-dark-thirty this morning where mostly all I could see was headlights and blinky red taillights. It was a cool morning and the racers were looking like they'd had a long, hard night. The ones showing the most wear and tear and yet still going strong were the solo riders. Around 9:00 am I asked one coming up Devil's Up what lap he was on. #17. He'd reach 255 miles at the completion of that lap and he may have had time for two more. That's insane, but in a good way.
 Praying to the Propane Heater God around 5:00 am.
 Waiting for his teammate to arrive.
 Gettin' some air.
 Single speed action.

 Some people wondered if the tandem riders took the roughest part of Devil's Down. Here's the answer.
Focus! Focus!
I rode my cross bike around the course again to take pictures, carefully watching for racers and staying out of their way. After leaving Devil's Down this morning I was zipping across Strawberry Fields Forever a little too fast. I caught a rock with my front tire and flatted. As you can see from the map, I couldn't have selected a point that was farther away. It was a long walk back to the camp.

I should do this race next year so now to look for a mountain bike....

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Gravel At Checkpoint 3

I didn't have time to look through the viewfinder when this rider was coming in hot down the hill at checkpoint 3 at the 24-hour race. He went outside the line, hit the gravel and paid for it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

24-Hour Race Preview

Tomorrow is the 24 Hour Mountain Bike race. After helping set up camp for a team I joined a couple months ago and stuffing goodie bags for all the racers, I checked out the course. My cross bike handled the course pretty well. There were some parts suffering from severe rock infestation. I walked through a couple of them. For those I rode through I found that it was best if I stayed on the right--except for the ones where it's best to stay on the left.
 The Lake District is dry.
 It's call Five Minute Hill because it takes that long.
 Looking down the climb.
 I could climb most of this.
 So far so good.
 This is what John was talking about the other night. I went left but walked down half of it.
Heading for the Centennial Trail proper where you can put the pedal to the metal. 
 Starting to get into the narrow twisting and turning.
 Twists and turns with rocks.
 Lots more rocky trail after Checkpoint 4.

This is a fun course. It has places you can fly and places you can die. My plan during the race is to take video and photos of the team. If there's a last minute loss of a team member before the race starts then I'm racing. Either way, I'll be having fun.

Flying Irish Ride To The Run

Yesterday evening was my first flying irish run of the season. It was the FI's 250th run, my 25th run, and in participating in Bike to Work week it was also Ride to the Run. Bikes were leaning all over the place and hundreds of runners filled the Red Lion to capacity.
I waited outside on the patio and as people poured out of the building, joined a bunch of runners heading out on the trail. After a bit I stopped to take a couple of photos. Notice anything  in this picture?
When there are hundreds of runners you have a never ending stream of people going by. There's nobody behind our group. We were going the wrong way.

Who cares because we're still running, right? We pressed on and eventually reconnected with the main group. And we made it back safely so it all worked out.

Bike To Work Week

Spokane's Bike to Work Week started off with an excellent breakfast on Monday morning. The rain-threatening weather probably scared off more of the fair weather riders. Regardless, there was a good turnout and lots of smiling faces. Mountain Gear provided pancakes, Lifestyle Granolas provided granola and yogurt, and Roast House coffee provided the coffee. There was good participation by the city leadership. Mayor David Condon, City Council President Ben Stuckart, and City Councilman Jon Snyder all spoke to the crowd.

The Energizer Stations were up on Wednesday morning. I left home early to catch as many as I could before going to work. Again, more smiling faces, this time from volunteers sitting outside ready to provide Roast House coffee, bananas, oranges, Cliff bars, raisins, and cookies.

The wrap up party was held at the Steam Plant Grill yesterday afternoon. Pedals2People repeated the bike check-in and checkout-out service they provided at the kickoff breakfast. The Steam Plant Grill put out a nice spread and every cyclist's favorite thing--free beer! A very nice way to cap off a great week.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shitstorm About A Shitstorm

Last month there was a sewage leak in the basement of the building I work in. Last night, KREM 2 did a special report on it.
An e-mail from Rose Environmental is one of several obtained by KREM 2 News that details the spill. The company specializes in safety and health, and said “sewage water reportedly sprayed to a height of six feet within the bathroom, and flooded to a reported depth of 0.5 to 2 inches the adjacent basement level elevator lobby screening area, electrical room, and loading dock, and the sub-basement men's locker room and adjacent bathroom.”
Wow! I would describe spraying to a height of 6 feet as more than a leak, but that's me. 
What struck me about this story is that KREM passed up a great opportunity to use the word "shitstorm" in a headline.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Making A Bright Spot

I pass by this house when I follow my regular route to work. I don't know if KXLY has told the story on this since I don't watch television news, but it's nice to see this happen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We Can Do Better

Yesterday, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers posted a fact of the day on her Facebook page concerning the employment status of people under the age of 25 and then shared a link to an op-ed piece concerning President Obama being condescending to women. The relationship between the two is for the reader to deduce. Regardless, it's all Obama's fault, right?

I think our fair congresswoman is right. We can do better. But I don't think she and I are referring to the same people when we say "we".

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mom's Seventy-Fifth

We had tons of relatives come to town to celebrate my mom's 75th birthday. Seven out of eight kids were able to make it along with a number of nephews, nieces, cousins, associated in-laws, old school mates, and friends.

My sister, Kathy, who refers to herself as Number 8, thought it would be great if the ladies dressed in various period clothing from mom's lifetime. They looked awesome.

Capturing The Face

We have family in town for my mom's 75th birthday celebration taking place today. My grand nieces--yeah, I know, it goes without saying that I'm a great uncle--Taylor and Riane, are staying with us. Riane got in the pool with her mom, Jackie. I got the zoom lens out because small children have the best facial expressions. But they move around and change so quickly so I have to shoot like crazy to get some good pictures. Thank goodness for digital.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Windermere Half Marathon

My first wife, Kathy--who continues to be my only wife--signed up to run the half marathon with my sister, Barb. Barb had to bail because of a foot injury, but she came out to cheer Kathy along the course. I road out on my bike and cheer Kathy on and take photos.

 All smiles at the halfway point.

 The day was warming quickly so the shady spots along the way felt good.

Kathy and many other runners got lei'd at the Hawaiian-themed stop.

If the lei didn't do it for you, then the Smurfs would. 

Happy to be done and happy with her time of 2:05:19.8. Great job!!!

Vision Question

I had my eyes checked back on Thursday. I've noticed some fuzziness in my vision at certain distances. Plus, I accidentally destroyed my prescription sun glasses and ned a new pair. So I made an appointment a couple weeks ago.

They mailed me some paperwork to complete, which I dutifully did, and bring with me to my appointment. It's the usual personal information, medical, and family history stuff, but there was one item I had no idea how to answer.

Ethnicity: ______________

I had already admitted to being a male Caucasian. I know, that is sex and race, not ethnicity. But I don't consider myself to be part of an ethnic group other than Spokanite, which probably doesn't count. So I left it blank.

Turning in my nearly 100% completed paperwork at my appointment, the technician began entering my information into the computer. Then she asks me,

"Are you a Latino?"

"No. Why would you ask me that?"

"Because you left the ethnicity question blank."

"I had no idea how to answer it."

"Yeah, the government requires us to track it. I think it smacks of Hitler."

"How's that?"

"What business is it of the government's to know if you're Latino or not?"

We proceeded with the vision examination where she told me when I got the letters right and helpfully provided, "The next two are numbers," at the appropriate times. The vision exam doesn't seem well done if you're looking at the same letters and numbers the entire time. I knew what they were but I wanted to be able to see them clearly so I was holding out for clearer vision while she's flipping the eye piece and asking, "One or two?" "One or three?" And so on.

Then it was on to the Blind The Examinee part. Numbing and pupil dilation eyedrops were dropped and I mostly held still while a blue light got closer and closer until it touched my eyeball. That falling into a deep blue pit feeling was unnerving--both times. She had to start over if I blinked when it touched and with just a hint of menace she informed me she would have to "help me" hold my eyes open if I couldn't do it myself. I got away with blinking once on each eye. Afterwards I had the bright light shining onto every part of my retina, turning my vision into one giant Sylvania blue dot. (Yes, I'm seriously dating myself.) And then I was Mr Squints the rest of the day and as my overinflated pupils left in every photon they could find.

I think Spokanite should be an ethnic group and I plan to use it when I can, Hitler be damned.

Breakfast On Monday

 Bike to Work Week begins tomorrow and you can start the work week off right by attending the kickoff breakfast at Riverfront Park on Monday morning. How can you turn down free pancakes courtesy of Mountain Gear?

Don't let the threat of rain dissuade you. We've had rain before and everyone still enjoyed themselves very much.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Would You Like Fries With That Beating?

Cathy McMorris Rodgers was on Hardball with Chris Matthews last Monday where she tried to defend the House version of the Violence Against Women Act. The Senate version included protections for women in same-sex relationships. The Republican-led House removed that provision and others. Our fair congresswoman had this to say:

MATTHEWS: Why don’t you cover people who are not in a traditional marriage? Why would you limit it to just traditional marriage folk?

MCMORRIS RODGERS: Well– what I — Those are side issues that have been attached to this bill and I think it’s very important to–

MATTHEWS: Well it’s not side issues if you’re getting beat up by your partner. That’s not a side issue, it’s your life.

MCMORRIS RODGERS: That is an issue — there is nothing under federal law that currently recognizes same-sex couples and so if we’re going to have that debate in Congress is should be a separate debate from the reauthorization of the Violence against women act–

MATTHEWS: But Congresswoman, you write the law. You said there’s nothing in the law, you write the law, you can write it any way you want. Why not write it to include people in these different kinds of relationships that could involve physical violence?

MCMORRIS RODGERS: That’s a separate issue from the Violence Against Women Act and we are committed to getting it — it should be debated separately, if we’re going to change our federal law related to same-sex couples.

There's no federal law recognizing same-sex couples so the federal law the House is considering should remove any reference to same-sex couples because it's a side issue. Yesterday, our congresswoman posted this on her Facebook page.

At first glance it may appear our congresswoman had a change of heart, but a careful read reveals how disingenuous she is being. It's true, a victim of violence is a victim regardless of their sexual orientation. But it's the Senate version of the bill that explicitly covers them. The House version she rose up to speak in support of did not. 

Last Monday same-sex couples were a side issue for her and then yesterday, without changing the proposed legislation, she said they were covered. It's like magic.