Tuesday, July 27, 2010


This is what I have been doing, I live currently near the super block (liquor store, Shoe Store, Nail Salon, Gun&Ammo Shop, and KFC). I am moving into an abode 4 blocks west and 1 block south, where my distance to the joys of commercial american poverty are to be replaced with the honesty of Nightwalkers/Ladies of the night. The prohibition of prostitution is just another silly way to push it into the fringes, why not contain it in a flashy red-light district rather then allow it to exist in the periphery.
Being without the highpower of a motor vehicle I have been piling many of the large items into the back of the pedicab. It looks funny I am sure, but I don't pretend that I look normal myself. The utility of it is too perfect. Moving doesn't have to be a chore of fitting and arranging things into your SUV/Truck, your already putting it into the box that is your home, why put it in the box of your car. Especially when you have a convertible pedicab to cart it 5 blocks.

I have drafted a picture to go with a turtle riding a green bike that somehow looks like a battery and screams ENERGIZE.

Moving has tired me from the weekend rigors of the Pedicab, I have neglected all those thousands of people who unknowingly wanted a ride. Perhaps they should have called me. I did get to see all the rah rah of the Bicycle Film Festival, people joining the bike community to get the health benefits or just to feel like they are part of something. Minneapolis being the best bicycling city in america might just be a self fulfilling prophecy. I met a man who bikes to clients to give massages in his chair, pretty utilitarian.

If machines focused on utility more then design of bells and whistles I feel they could achieve greater evolution then what we see today. I use sometimes for this argument the sports car, which in the 50's and 60's was much different from your family owned vehicle. The sports car of today has much greater performance then those from forty years ago. If there had been as much focus on how to economically transport people in cars, we could have done the same, and ended up with something much better the the Prius. Look at the VW bus in the 60's and the best companies can do since then is the Prius and other small hybrid cars? I suppose you have to factor in the profitability push in car manufacturing, and why would someone make something less profitable.

On another note I found out that Afghanistan has a large deposit of Lithium that is used in much of today's electronics and the future electric cars like Tesla Motors.

I also went to Red Bull Flugtag this past weekend and took this snapshot of the world record breakers. Perhaps engineering is better developed in a non long term financial setting, but rather short term prize winning competition. I mean if the Flugtag can get people to build machines to fly over water after being pushed off a 40 foot cliff, then heck anything is possible.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tour De Fat

This weekend was the 2nd Annual Tour De Fat in Minneapolis. This year it was held at Loring Park rather then a Parking Lot. There was beer and bikes galore, general merriment accompanied by music and theatrical circus entertainment.

The event was sponsored by the New Belgium Brewery, one of the more socially conscious brew companies (at least based on the festival and the website) out there. The beer is decent as well and I quite enjoy the 1554 variety. The event was MC'ed by a rather well spoken gentleman who espoused the ideas of zero waste, slow food, slow life, less consumption.

It is good that the focus is on bikes within the festival, the largest alternative to cars as of yet for local transportation. Bicycles are inspiring in the way they make you think about fuel. Your heart is your engine, and your stomach is your fuel pump. If you want your engine to last as long as possible you keep it fueled with the highest quality Petrol, as far as cars go. If our fuel as bicyclists must come from the earth we would tend to care more about it. When you go to the gas station the only info you receive about your fuels is the octane rating, when I have filled up I never thought about if the gas came from skimmed oil off the Gulf of Mexico, or the Persian Gulf, or the Nigerian deltas, or even the pristine areas of Alaska. My concern was that it burned hot enough to power my heavy box of metal to and from destinations.

Transportation is just one of the disconnects we have today about connection in the chain of productions. Energy and Food I feel are the other two predominantly neglected areas when it come to recognition of where it came from. Food I feel is the closest in todays society to changing as people feel it's direct influence in mere hours of consumption. The sink holes and environmental effect of our energy consumption can take decades to be felt. Look at the town ofCentralia, Pennsylvania. A ghost town whose coal mining and mine fire in th 1960's led to thesubsidence of the land and desertion of the town. The materials we seek for new goods that are not found from recycled and reused materials often come from underground. Wood is somewhat a renewable resource, yet wood does not grow without sapping the land around it of resources. Plants will use the land and if harvested continually and non-stop without cycles of fallow land or crop rotations of nitrogen rich plants, regrowth will zap the land and lead to things like the Dust bowl.

The industrial revolution was really a time for people to learn how to take lots of mass from beneath the earth and put it on-top. A good photographic tour of this is found in the work ofEdward Burtynsky. His documentary Manufactured Landscaped is pretty decent as well, and hisTED talk also a good time killer.
There is no connection to the oil we take from the ground to the push of a gas pedal, or the turning on a light switch to the dirty face of a coal miner.

Food we can see, we don't see the run off of the pesticides, unless we look at the dead zone of thegulf of mexico, a term called eutrophication. This word isn't well known yet, but time and crisis will show us in the future, duh duh duh duh...
This happened to Lake Como in St Paul not to long ago I seem to remember but can't find the internet source to be sure, but it probably isn't as worrysome as the evil Millfoil. My god, how dare species attach themselves to things and move around to try and keep themselves in a good position for survival. Invasive species, you should be snuffed out, while we humans should be the only species to inhabit every corner of the earth. How dare you try and play OUR GAME.

Here is a interesting site about aquatic insects in the water of Minnesota area lakes.

Bus consumption can be beautiful as I saw when giving this guy a lift to the gas station and then his car at Tour De Fat, a 62 Galaxy.

Funny that on the day of the festival, that the Isenhauer 94 Interstate was closed due to some awsome bridge rehab.

Bakfiet Wedding

Where's Narwaldo
Band ends festival with "Hold me closer Tony Danza"

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Independence Day

When this country was founded, we commonly think words like freedom. But the largest freedom granted this country was the economic freedom. The 4th of July, is one of the largest most festive days of the year in our country, the creation of documents regarding civil rights are celebrated with a boom in the sky. Lives were lost in the War of Independence so that the producers, bankers, lawyers, large land owning farmers and owners of mills and factories could pay Britain the mother country nothing. The taxes imposed by King George did not fit the needs of those selling the goods being imposed upon. Take for instance Boston the tea party... lets just look at Tea at that time. Drinking water came from rivers back before sewers in areas without a well. Cities like London near Westminster ham polluted the Thames and the people in control needed a way to flavor and sanitize the water, Tea was thusly used to hydrate and keep good health. A highly prised commodity, tea became taxed, then it was sometimes called a tariff.

This tea was in the possession of British trade ships, if the US bought the tea it would flood the market, if the tea was dumped it would become more valuable on the colony. Sam Adams, whose father was a Minister and a Merchant, a man of the cloth both holy and green. He started a bank that issued currency to people could borrow against their land ownership. The true owner of the land then became the bank, like today with a mortgage where when the bill isn't paid the house gets sold to someone else after they foreclose. So the Adams family partly owned all the land in the area. The British government didn't like Gomez, couldn't stand his mustache , or Sam's father (Sr), and took back the land by dissolving the bank and making all issues of currency payable in Silver and Gold, some of which would be taken from the Adams Family... duh duh duh da 'snap snap'.

Thus the tea party, then the war, and the Anthem, and Valley Forge, and stories for Mel Gibson to make heroic movies about. The lore of the 4th of July is wrapped up in a big box of stars and stripes.

Lets step back from that box, why is Independence day not a day to celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation, when true freedom was granted to the people of our country, when the tyranny of our own government came toppling down. When the keys to the castle were given to the people who really one the war, not the soldiers, but the ones who made it possible for them to win. The people who made the guns and cannons, who took ore out of the ground and laid railroad tracks to ship those soldiers and weapons across the land. The states that tried to buck the tyranny of Lincoln, needed to be stopped. Yet that day is celebrated not with a Holiday, there is no national civil war day, the most decisive period in the history of our country.

I apologize for that claim with no factual basis for the labeling of 'most decisive', yet it felt appropriate to mention that our country is cyclical, challenging every hundred years or so the powers of its government.

What is the Government? In 500 words.
The government is anyone who gets paid from the money taken out of your paycheck, the government is the decider of budget, a annual amount of money collected in taxes, like a weekly allowance you receive over the course of Fifty Two of them. They 'The Govt' employ people through a budget, this is done at both the National and State Level, states rights are still being tested in the Supreme Court like issues of Gay Marriage.
The Government spent the most amount of money on Defense spending. The money received by the government goes to different areas of the economy, but the area with the biggest budget is Defense. And if the old sports adage that 'defense wins championchips' them we must be The All-Time champs, our defense is good if we don't count things like Oklahoma City, JFK, The Bonus Army as terrorist attacks. Our offense is pretty sweet as well, having been at war for most of the past 50 years as we built up arms for a possible war with communist countries. Like two jocks pumping iron in the weight room, seeming who could have the best arms possible, its not about winning on ideals and the philosophy for the best way to govern people. It was about the arms, and MAD.
Arms cost money and we never got it back after the fall of the Berlin Wall. There was never a huge drop off of money to the defense department. We had the wars from the death of Tito and the reign of


The war is paid for by us, you and I, we are the source of the money. Our paychecks could be itsy bitsy payouts of every government employee. If we wanted to celebrate the true meaning of independence day and the revolutionary war, we would do it April 15, the day we write the government a paycheck and they then immediately spend it with us absent mindless signing off on their use of power. The people who pay the biggest chunk of money to the government are the wealthy, if we broke down the President's paycheck and the payroll of the other Elected Bodies much of it would come from the moderately wealthy. The Bottom of the class triangle might pay a bigger portion of their area, but when your triangles area is crammed into a ghetto the size of a housing project, there is less to contribute/pay to the three triangles branches of power.
That triangle gets constructed on April 15th, the day we celebrate the meaning of Independence, we pay our taxes and therefore we get to vote on which rich person we elect into office.

The tea party wants to make a difference, boycott the 4th of July and start celebrating the 15th of April. Make 'Henry David Thererou' your grandest image of a freedom fighter. Celebrate George Washington Carver more then you do George Washington, promote the idea to love every work/occupation you do, even if it is working for peanuts. Shun big pimping and spending G's on nightime explostions

Remember the grandeur our countries slaves must have felt when we declared Freedom and broke the bond of The Mother Country, the largest Empire upon which the sun never set. Remember their same emotion as you gaze up into the sky and feel the boom rattle in your chest.

I think the american anthem would be more fun if it was Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee"
This is what people do to excersize freedom. March against a Law they don't like for MayDay.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

City Beautiful. Roger Miller passes away.

Much of my love for this city of Minneapolis is fostered by the people within it, those who migrate here and those who are reared and continue its progressive tradition. One of the first times I was pushed to think about a city in a broader context was in my 'City in History' class taught by an energetic professor named Roger Miller. I was informed in an email from the barber shop I frequent Diamond Horshoe. Roger was also a customer there and the owner wished his customer to pass on some good vibes to the family.

Within his class I was introduced to the works of Lewis Mumford, a noted historian of urban development. The city is a living breathing entity, as adaptable as the american constitution in the hands of presidential legal staff. There is an idea too that the space belongs to the people who occupy it. The spaces not owned and operated by private entities are best suited as gathering places for the citizens. Many European cities have grand sweeping plazas that are often near landmarks, or buildings of religious/governmental importance. Many famous protests take place in or near these areas, most recently the Tiananmen Square protest comes to mind, for it attracts attention from passersby and the powers that be that operate the buildings surrounding the space.

Minneapolis no longer has such a place but before the gentrification of the Gateway district there was Bridges Square. Located where the intersections of Hennepin, Nicollet, and Washington would converge. It had a large arched building, tables and chairs for people to sit, as well as public restrooms. There once was the first light-post of the city, reaching high into the sky and lighting up during the night it was a symbol of our modernism.

Now all we have are our parks, which serve as gathering places for things like festivals and our city sponsored modern day drive-ins "Movies in the Park". The use of these spaces was much greater before the advent of the mind numbing 'boob tube'. There were even community sings that drew thousands of people during WWI, events like this even helped discover national singing talents the Andrews Sisters. Yet now people have expensive baseball stadiums paid for with tax money, and tickets so pricey that most of the tax base don't see it as a priority to go to a game.

But like new stadiums, cities grow and shrink, The Gateway district, maybe the future of Metrodome. Areas change demographics shift, people stop having children or have another 'Boom Boom Generation'. All of this is how I think about the public spaces, much thanks to my former teacher for exposing me to such thoughts.