Tuesday, July 31, 2007

John Lutecki Jr., world record holder for the longest solo canoe trip in the world (5615 miles) recently finished 10th in men's solo division at the 2nd annual Missouri River 340 - the longest nonstop canoe and kayak race in the world. Favorable weather and river conditions led to records being smashed in every category. However, John faced stiff competition from the likes of Dave Anderson who paddled his Kimana outrigger from Kansas City, KS to the outskirts of St. Louis in less than 2 days, besting last year's time by 7 hours 20 minutes.

The only racers to get run over by a barge were from California. Luckily, they survived, although their kayak did not.

anger management

Putzer Prize winning journalist, Ed Anger, has been forced to retire from the printed pages of the World Weekly News. The reknowned Anger, the first journalist to break the now infamous story of alien endorsement of President Bush's campaign and whose candid interviews with Elvis years after his purported death by a crappy peanut butter sandwich won the hearts and minds of Blue Hawaiians everywhere with his simple prose and no-holds barred attitude. A spokesperson for Anger, interviewed in the checkout line at Safeway, indicated that Mr. Anger was fed up with the direction of corporate, jingoistic, journalism and longed for the days when the beat reporter was free to write about anything.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

transforming the creature from the black lagoon

Wow what a strange week. Dick Cheney got a new heart (from a baboon?), half the field of Le Tour got throw out for taking dope, and a rookie from Discovery Channel, Alberto Contador took home the yellow and white jerseys. Oh yeah, 75,000 people showed up for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gywnn while Bud Selig and Barry Bonds waited on the sidelines as though the world was the same this year as the last.

Correction. m.o.i. was able to obtain the above photo of Dick Cheney's heart, obviously NOT from a baboon, but more likely from a creature from another planet.

is it time yet?

Where is Bitterman Airlines? The maiden voyage was set to take off over a month ago and it still hasn't launched? Sure there's some red tape involved, some beauracratic hurdles to overcome, there always is, but can't we eat our cake and our FRUIT at the same time?

It's time to move forward. WE WANT THE BANANNA!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

white hat, black hat, yellow jersey

By Sunday, Alberto Contador, the Discovery Channel phenom and the future of cycling may well be wearing 2 jerseys. Best Young Rider and the GC yellow.

It may also turn out to be a big week for the dopers. French custom agents today pulled over the team buses of Astana, Discovery Channel, Robobank, and CSC looking for, well... dope. Michael Rassmussen, the Dane, who has sheepishly held the maillot jaune for the last week of Le Tour, but couldn't find his way to 2 drug tests (3 gets you a yellow warning card) has been dogged by allegations of doping including my favorite where he tried to get a teamate to carry over a box of cow-blood hidden in a cycling shoe box. Apparently the man known at the Chicken still has a thing for the Runes. All you have to do is watch one of the press conferences and it's obvious that the fidgety, unable-to-look-a-reporter-in-the-eye Rassmussen has something to hide. If he wins, and the doping allegations stick, that'll make it 2 in a row and cycling won't recover for many years to come.

And then there's Mr. Clean himself, Barry Bonds, who arguably has been subjected to much racism in the career and is definitely a helluva ballplayer, but has never helped himself by being an asshole to fans and the press alike. Barry Bonds returns today to where he left his heart and where San Francisco will surely open up it's Golden Gate to welcome him for an 8-game homestand and the opportunity to catch a baseball that might be worth a million dollars. As Hall-of-Famer Frank Robinson recently stated, professional atheletes don't getter better when they turn 40, but somehow the BB did.

m.o.i.: white hat, black hat, yellow jersey
m.o.i.: maillot jaune
m.o.i.: corporate money
m.o.i.: flance to wear zero for prologue
m.o.i.: you've lost that lovin' feeling
m.o.i.: give it up

Saturday, July 21, 2007

homo erectus

El Presidente, Dick Cheney, has voluntary agreed to temporarily remove his finger from George Bush's arse, thus ending his brief, but second knuckle, tenure, as reigning King of the World View. Bush, who wore a flight suit during much of the procedure, is expected to recover enough to tackle his next job, that of reading the latest installment of Harry Potter before his term expires in slighty more than 17 months.

"It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it," said Bush.

bend over america

George Bush bends over, people stick their thingy up his ass, and voila, Dick Cheney is the President.

It really is true. You knew it worked liked this and now there's proof.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

George Bush loses at checkers

Scientists have reported that they have successfully written a computer program, Chinook, that never loses at checkers, which makes this program about as relevant as my Uncle Bob, now deceased, who also never lost at checkers. I'm fairly certain that Chinook does not wear Sunday-go-to-meeting cowboy boots nor mix his Jim Beam straight into 6-ounce Cocoa-Colas nor belittle you for being a city-slicker all while kicking butt on the black and red but you can try to beat the boring but inimitable machine yourself.

In a related story, scientists also reported that George Bush is still an idiot and that there is no apparent end in sight for the War in Iraq - soon to be known as the War in the Middle East.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

a modest proposal

Embargoed until July 13th, 2007.

Office of the Secretary to the Minister of Information

Bittermam Airlines, set to take to the skies post-haste, announced that passengers will be screened for modesty. The technology, purportedly developed by Homeland experts, is designed to reduce all airlines travelers to the same state of being - that of being naked in front of a crowd of strangers - and thus challenge any predisposition toward immodesty. Those found lacking deference will not be allowed to board. It was not immediately clear how the airline expects to implement the technology, or even how it works, but a spokesperson for the company was able to obtain these test pictures, taken of grandparents set for departure to America's Vacationland.

Freedom still isn’t free, but now it's more transparent.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

bird and the bush

Seeing this photo of Lady Bird Johnson reminded me that she stood for things. She was passionate about things. I remember a couple of campaigns she fought adamantly for - removing billboards from our highways so that Americans could see the landscape free of merchandising clutter and planting native wildflowers so that once the billboards were gone we might again see our nation's natural beauty. It also reminded me that when Senator Clinton was First Lady she also fought to bring beauty to the forefore of our lives by installing a sculpture garden on the White House lawn. She used this to highlight our need to maintaining a connection to the visual arts is important and necessary to our well-being as citizens.

I was also reminded that I couldn't think of anything that First Lady Bush was really passionate about. She must be, or at least I hope she is, but nothing came to mind. Let's hope that the current First Lady has more on her mind than trying to put some polish back on the very tarnished presidential silver service.

Photo: Frank Wolfe/LBJ Library

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

the devil is in the details

This is scary stuff. These graphs show the percentage adoption of genetically modified crops in the U.S. during the period 1996 through 2007. Some crops, like soybeans, are now 90 percent genetically modified for resistance to herbicides (listed in graph as HT). Monsatan, the producer of the Herbicide Roundup, is also the producer of the genetically engineered seeds which are resistant to the Roundup. It's a little thing I like to call The Circle of Death. A circle designed to kill things, including our way of life, whose main purpose is to line the pockets of a few at the expense of the rest. A. bitterman was right, SOY IS MURDER.

Over half the corn and cotton grown in this country are also grown using genetically modifically seeds. Because of the push to produce ethanol, you can expect the herbicide-resistant corn numbers to also continue to climb in the coming years. Thus we produce a product, ethanol fuels, touted to be environmentally friendly when point-in-fact, their production requires massive inputs of petrochemicals, many of them with toxic by-products that will further wreck the planet. And this doesn't include the environmental consequences of having to wage wars to sustain this approach.

climbing to the top

I am freqeuently a critic of engineers and have been known to paraphrase Henry VI's line, "the first thing we do is kill all the lawyers, and the second, the engineers." Though my colleague suggests a more appropos solution would be to have the lawyers kill the engineers and then we kill the lawyers in turn. Enough mayhem.

Althoughly rarely charged, there is frequently enough evidence to indict engineers for one of the worst crimes against humanity, that of not paying attention to its needs. Or worst yet, removing wetlands and replacing them with constructed ones, destroying native rivers and then restoring them, and in general mucking things up here and there and being proud about the results. All of this wouldn't bother me so much if they weren't so proud about what mostly amounts to concrete. It's as if the thought process itself has become encased in the preferred medium of the profession.

Most bad engineering seems to result from trying to build things where they don't belong and not consulting people and/or architects in the process. Edifices can stand as a testament to the potential of the human spirit and condition or a monument to its folly. Too often the latter is the case. If you let nature be your guide, then it's hard to go wrong, and you'll find a lot of what's done didn't need to be done in the first place.

Bridges however can be, and often are an exception to the malaise that creeps into many engineered structures, likely because their symbolism is so obvious, even to the more literal thinkers of the day. The recently opened Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory is an example. Testing the waters with carbon fiber suspension cables and your fear of heights the new bridge offers stunning panoramas of Penobscot River and Bay, and the vistas surrounding Bucksport, Maine and provides another reason to head to the Pine Tree State.

Photo: Chris Becker for the New York Times.

Monday, July 9, 2007

sending out an sos

For those of us who were too busy with chores to realize that there was a planetary concert happening on 7.7.07, it turns out that today is your lucky day. Saturday was Al Gore's lucky day when he discovered that the only person more powerful than the President of the United States is the world's largest rock concert promoter. Al has put on a few pounds in the last couple of years, but he is now officially larger than the Adominable Snowman and twice as warm.

Point being. The planet is full of music. More than you can hear, but don't stop yourself from trying. Videos from all the Live Earth venues are viewable on the web so you can surf some new music and catch up if you've been slacking off. The process is a little slow, and expect a crash or two, but you'll find some music you didn't know before or didn't know well enough. One of my favs so far has been the hypnotic sounds of Sneaky Sound System. Just the right groove and vibe for summer, plus the singer out front, Miss Connie Mitchell, the one with the fancy clothes and tony pipes, makes all the difference in this band. Plus, you gotta love a band that records on the Whack House label.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

life is corny

I stole, then adapted, this recipe from my daughter, who got it from her grandpa, who borrowed it from a cajun friend. That must make it a family recipe. It's easy and full of summer, which has begun to smother us like the mosquitos, crabgrass, and the blazing sun.

You will need.

4-5 ears of very fresh sweet corn.

1/2 vidallia onion, chopped.

1 chilpolte pepper, diced.

3 cloves of garlic, minced.

2 medium canning tomatoes or 4 plum tomatoes, diced.

1/4 cup olive oil.

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar.

salt/pepper/cayenne to taste.

pinch of file gumbo powder.

Add the diced tomatoes to a plastic or stainless collander, sprinkle with sea salt, and let drain.

In a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl combine the onions, peppers, garlic, and file gumbo powder. Add oil and vinegar. Toss. Let stand.

Blanch the corn in boiling water for ~5-7 minutes until there's a nice, deep color change to the kernels. Immediately remove and quench in ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cool, slice the kernels off the cob with a very sharp knife and fold into the onion, pepper, garlic mixture. Add tomatoes. Balance spices.

Serving suggestion. Serve as side dish to spicy grilled bratwurst on challah bread with stone ground mustard. Garnish with roasted cashews. Add some seasonal fruits and a big glass of iced tea.

Say summertime!

m.o.i.: life is corny
m.o.i: standards updated
m.o.i: bison burger
m.o.i: chili 'n out
m.o.i: bioaccumulation
m.o.i.: inventory reduction dinner
m.o.i.: autumn trout
m.o.i.: purple food, purple food
m.o.i.: Fruit cobbler for breakfast?
m.o.i.: post-modern breakfast

Saturday, July 7, 2007

flance to wear zero for prologue

There will no rider wearing the coveted number 1 during the start of this year's Tour de France. Instead, Floyd Landis, whose defense has made about as much sense as the Bush administration's continued rationale for invading Iraq will be sitting this one out, awaiting his final verdict from Mephistophocles. A final ruling is expected within the next two weeks on the doping trial, likely about the time the first riders begin their attacks on Col de Colombiere. Landis, like Bush, appears to be committed to a journey down a moral abyss of his own chosing. Unlike Bush, Landis has vowed, should the current judgement be upheld, to appeal the decision for one final, intractable decision in front of the People's Court, the honorable Judge Marilyn Milian presiding.

the minister of information: flance to wear zero for prologue

Friday, July 6, 2007

overwhelming anecdotal evidence

So you don't believe the scientists. Fine with moi. Then believe the layperson, the farmer, the soccer mom. Climate change is here. Or is just around the corner. Or is coming to a mall near you.

The proof? Floods. And droughts. Floods and droughts, floods and droughts, floods and droughts. Not enough for you? What are you, a conservative Republican? Ok then. Rock stars on 7 continents. How about that. Still not enough for you? Then check this out. Role reversal in fruits. Yes. Canteloupes are getting larger, and watermelons are getting smaller. Much larger and much smaller. Why? Floods and droughts, floods and droughts, floods and droughts. Simple fruits. Simple math. Semper fi.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

this one's a bitch

Tony LaRussa, manager of the National League All-Star team, today announced that embattled ball boy, Scooter Libby, despite overwhelming fan requests, would not be appearing in this year's game. LaRussa cited Libby's slow recovery from reconstructive knee surgery - the result of long hours kneeling while clutching leather balls - as the reason.

Cosita, a one-year old bitch now serving time in the ARF league, was selected to replace Scooter and be next to LaRussa's side for next Tuesday's game.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

ball boy*

Today President Bush announced that his ball boy, Scooter Libby, will have an asterik placed next to his name in the federal register. Allegations of steroid use and a federal perjury conviction have dogged Scooter, who recently suffered 2nd degree carpet burns on both his hands and knees, in recent weeks.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

rookie a sings psalm 37.4

Here's Rookie A, minutes after completing a 50-mile kayak/canoe race on the Kansas River from Lawrence, KS to Kansas City. That's the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers and the skyline of Kansas City in the background (photo by Andrea Zanatta, Americorps via the Blue River Watershed Association). Dubbed the Gritty Fifty: 50 miles of sun, sand, and sorrow, the inagural race would have been more aptly subtitled: 50 miles of rain, wind, and sorrow as it was held in a steady downpour and headwind, the sorrow still applicable as a certain degree of suffering was inflicted on everyone who entered and raced.

Why do something like this? For the serious ultra-marathoner, which Rookie A is decidedly not, it is to win, to test the bounds of human endurance and physical prowess. The winner of this race, West Hansen, an ultra-marathon paddler from Austin, TX finished in 7 hours and 4 minutes. The official race distance is 50 miles. Another racer, who logged the meandering, sinuous Kansas River route showed 52 miles. So West, who claimed not to be in top form this day, was moving at 7.2 miles per hour. By contrast, Rookie A, estimated his speed to be about 5 miles an hour. Rookie A is clearly in the cruiser category. Cruiser reasons for ultramarathoning are quite different than winning, which is not an option. Dawn Stewart, aka Sandy Bottom, articulates some of the cruiser reasons for ultramarathoning on her web site http://sandybottomkayaker.blogspot.com/ .

Rookie A would tend to disagree with her contention that to not finish is total failure, that failure is not an option. Failure is always an option, just not the preferred one. Unless you are setting a world record you are failing, and even then as soon as your record falls you will have failed again. Since everything we do is failed in some sense, in order to view any competion as a successful one, we only have to set goals, work hard to try and achieve those goals, and then live with the results. This includes living with the goals that we meet, and the goals that we fail to meet.

Rookie A's goals for this race were in order of most to least important.

1) Finish the race (has medal and photo to prove it!).

2) Finish the race in under 10 hours. (Don't have the official time yet, but believe it to be ~10 hours 30 minutes. BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME SUCKA.

3) Win. In truth, Rookie A expected to finish in the middle of the pack (26th out of 50 overall), but if for some reason everyone except Rookie A punched a hole in their kayak, then Rookie A might make the podium come sundown. This did not happen.

Of the 3 goals, only one was met. Rookie A is ok with that.