Monday, October 14, 2013

Two Headed Monster, Duopoly of Democracy in the U.S.A

When I was in high school I once attended a Ralph Nader political rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis. He and the other speakers railed against the influence of money in politics, the common theme being that when voting for Democrats or Republicans you are often voting for the lesser of two evils. The choice of door number one or door number two feel more like a game show then a success of democracy. I left with a T-shirt that depicted George W. Bush and Al Gore as dinosaurs and Ralph Nader as a caveman.

The current status of our federal democracy, this combining of our large and varied country into one ruling body, is in shutdown. I like to chalk this up to the failure of voters to grasp their option of choice. The two party system sets up a rivalry similar to that of two crosstown rivals, who hate each other greatly but have more in common with each other then any other teams they might face off against. That is why when the subject of National Defense, or in the United States national offence. both groups tend to agree with each other because of the idea of different aka (foreign) countries are much more different then US. The lack of choice stems from the low turnout in primary elections where per-capita eligible voters show up less then 20% for primary voting.
Then when the 'real' election comes about people see the only options as either Democrat or Republican, because other political candidates are seen as throw-away votes. And the only thing worse then voting for the candidate who loses is voting for someone who never had a chance anyways. People also have the false sense of personal winning when the candidate they voted for wins. "We won!" people will shout on election night, when in truth they didn't win anything. The candidates will have to run for re-election soon and while in office they will have to listen to the lobbyists of the groups that donated and supported their election campaign, if they ignore those lobbyists they risk losing financial support from previous groups in their re-election campaign.
The idea is that there is enough variation within the two parties to allow for a large and open dialogue. That the use of money in elections doesn't harm democracy.

More later...

Friday, April 5, 2013

 Debt is cheap in post-recession America, now is the time to have people lend you money. Apparently in Minneapolis the housing developers have jumped into the party. I recently spent an afternoon pedaling through the city looking for cranes. The tall metal ones that allow builder to add height to their projects. I counted more then half a dozen in use throughout the city. Three of them were along the Midtown Greenway bike path, one was in Loring Park, another at the Walker Art Museum, two were downtown against Nicollet Avenue and also abreast of Hennepin Avenue, and more then three along parts of the "North Loop" of downtown.

Who will fill these buildings? How long will these monuments to cheap debt stand, are they made to last hundreds of years? Will they perhaps be a symbol of an over zealous era where the recent past seemed so bleak that future could only get better, why not build for it..
Minneapolis hit it's population height in the 1950 census at 521,718. This is around 130,00 more then the amount of people in Minneapolis as of the 2010 census. I am wondering with the current decline in birth rates, if most urban cities have seen their peak populations already? Granted the metropolitan area itself is home to more people today then ever before, but these buildings will be homes for who? Will third tier suburbs shrink and populations drift to the middle? Perhaps the trend in local lifestyle will just place populations near employment, as the death bell of the daily driving commute sounds and turns into a bike/bus ride or perhaps a walk to work. Nobody knows the future, but we do know the future of Minneapolis will be a taller one. 

A lot of growth around the Twins Stadium in the background.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Denver Nuggets, the NBA's reaction to Amendment 64.

This is a video I made with video expert extraordinaire Hunter Johnson

Also today I thought of a pun. About the NBA the Denver Nuggets and the newly passed Amendment 64 in Colorado.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Crazy Loco Motion

Tonight I wound my way home from from Bloomington where I have been spending the past couple of evening being trained in at QBP. The first part of my ride meanders through a Hyland park, part of the Three rivers park district. I pass wetlands with thousands of vibrating crickets, and with all my senses I achieve a sense of living that must have been often found by our ancestors.
I smell the damp of spring, then hear a startled deer crash through jumping over the bramble and brush, away from my bike headlight, I see its white tail vanishing into the gray haze of night. This combined with the hum of my tires against the asphalt path, the soft pushing of my legs, and the rhythmic beating of my heart make everything attain beauty. The beauty many seek out in parks and wilderness. It is often found when we slow down...

The world is moving information around bouncing it through space with zeros and ones, and this is what we come to expect. Yet the speed of information wasn't always so common, as people over forty will tell you. Snail Mail is in reference to handwritten letters that posses the ink from another person, yet it is merely days within lives that can last well past sixty years. The same is true for transportation, we feel that speed equals progress. It is more efficient to drive, yet we accepted this as a culture without considering what is lost, instead focusing upon what is gained, the time is money theory of capitalism. Most of us are familiar with walking, it is slow and tedious when used for spans greater that a half hour. We humans often tire of walking when done without a beautiful surrounding to distract us from the effort of our muscles. Before the steam engine, everything was horsepower. The combustible engine did to horses what the telegraph lines did to homing pigeons. (Reuters news service first started out delivering financial news by pigeon from London to Paris).

And the train caught people's attention, it often ran through the middle of town, it's whistle was an event and it's schedule well known by citizens, giving access to goods from far away and ability to travel and vacation on distant lands. Yet you can imagine those peoples perspective of viewing the world passing you by at sometimes twice the speed of a sprinting horse. Crazy Loco Motion, speed is startling and loud, it looses nature in its noise. The wind takes its molecules and brushes your ears with constant whir of friction. Gone are the crickets, the chirping bird, or the deer browsing upon branches. You are insides the machine hurling you through space, onward and as compared to a horse you are overcoming nature, not succumbing to its limits.
The first man made object to break the sound barrier was the whip, and it was used to intimidate and often inflict punishment. Trains were like bullets on rails. Speed is an exhilarating love affair of fear and excitement.

Things like a slow Sunday drive, or a mosey through a park on a bike. The world at less then thirty MPH, can be a relaxing and beautiful thing. I think it should be exhaled for its pleasureful benefits, and revisited by everyone who thinks they don't have enough time here on earth.
As I like to say ... A Slightly Simpler Speed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall, hibernation writing invigorate

Visiting the San Diego botanical gardens during my vacation I was able to see what giant Bamboo stalks look like when they are sprouting. Oddly enough they look like asparagus (see photo above). The plant formations of the southwest look like a smorgasbord of Dr. Seuss drawings.
It was fitting that right before I left, the good sized Elm Tree in my back yard was cut down due to DED. This is ok, the tree removes now provides much more room to the backyard greenhouse, and should provide for a fruitfull growing season next yer. I have ordered a Black Tupelo tree in the meantime from the Arbor Day Foundation. It is purported to grow in Zone 4 here in Mn, but is most popular in Ohio. It will be a gamble but it's fiery red color should be worth it.
In Minneapolis the bicycling season is slowly winding down and whitteling away the faint of heart, as the nighttime temps drop down to the 50's. but I would guess there will be more winter bikers this year then last, just as there was more lsat winter then the year prior. The growth of the bicycle craze in the 1890's was concurrent with a economic recession related to the Panic of 1893, in the book "Streetcar Man" about Thomas Lowry it even references the competition the streetcar company faced from more bicycle transportation. It will be a nice day when the automobile companies look at bicycles as competition.
The fake commercial Biker Buddy made with my friend Hunter Johnson should be on the internet soon, and ideas for other collaborations are in the works.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snow Emerging See, The Daily Plebeian

The quiet of winter has fallen from the sky, it is a hushed manner that clashes as planes from airport just south of hwy 62, that the city has succumbed too. The ladies of the night that sauntered the streets near my house in Central Neighborhood have gone on vacation for the holidays. Yet the basement steps still have their light on, truth knows the crack is not far away. Darkness falls fast before people are done with work, and caution is expected on the road.

When this snow falls in the city there is a day or two of shock where people avoid the outside, the snowplows grind through the streets, and life emerges 48 hours later.

I attended the No Coast Craft-O-Rama at the Midtown global market, where many of the booths held delightful goods. I shall mark it on my calender for next year as well.
Awhile back I noticed that the Chicago Lake infamous bar Sonny's has closed down permanently. I remember a frequent night living on Columbus Ave and Lake St when bar close brought Riff Raff to stand around near their parked cars and holler at each other till the early morning about their sexual exploits.
I am not against Riff Raff altogether but it must be maintained and spread out, when concentrated it causes great displeasure. Sonny's is now gone the way of 'The Round Up' Beerhall on Lake Street and 2nd Ave, which closed down a few years back. These are sure signs of gentrification, a slow process yet noticeable if you have been a frequent visitor to Chicago Lake Liquors. Where the selection of 40 oz. malt liquor has gone down and the selection of wine and craft beer has gone up. The evolution of cities is hard to pin point yet its slow meander is seen in the small day to day activities.

I learned the Walt Whitman once wrote for a paper called the Daily Plebeian. I like that name and may perchance revisit it again.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Darwin jumps the Shark

Recently I have had a renewed interest in the Civil war and the absurd nature it brought to the country.
Mainly the brutality of it all, the amputations, mortality, and prisons. Also the war brought death to a population that was thriving economically because of the slow brutal process of slavery, maybe it produced a small amount of karmic retribution.
There also is a push in transportation as mechanical evolution happens faster when lives are on the line. Naval vessels were produced often with metal when speed wasn't an issue, and when it was the Confederate blockade runner ships did a great job, and produced men like Rhett Butler.

Railroads were run 24 hours a day often moving supplies and men, a great advantage of the Union army who employed men of the biggest companies of the day like the Pennsylvania railroad's Thomas A. Scott.

But I would like to focus here on the Mule, a true brute of efficacy. If I had a bicycle company I would produce a tough steel commuter proletarian oriented bike called 'the mule'. When I learned in my younger years of the Mule, from the epic television series Grizzly Adams, which showed off a mule named '#7' who was often referred to as a burro (donkey in espanol). A mule is sterile, a offspring of a male horse and a female donkey. Not to be confused with a Hinny, which is the offspring of a female horse and a male donkey. Civil War Mule usage is documented here.

Now to segway, mules are beasts of burden and have been with humans for quite some time. but the are almost always infertile, excepts in rare cases. Why do they exist? Are they as cool as Street Sharks?

Will sharks one day be a species filled with asexual reproduction?

None of these matter,but if questions of Darwin were pointed to examples like the Mule, and shark reproduction, wouldn't his teaching gain a resurgence like the Fonz when he jumped the shark. Its asking to much for people to think and pay attention, unless others are. I care about Bristol Palin on dancing with the stars because others do, I heard customers at the restaurant talking about it so it must be important, just like the weather.