Bass on Bass

Friday, November 12, 2010

My Baby Boomer Road bike

   I took a Veterans Day ride. it was probably the last one of the season, The weather is not likely  to accommodate it after tonight. It was about a 16 mile ride, 8 out and 8 back, to Grace Episcopal Church of Hinsdale. That's the ride I like to take most often. I go 3 blocks north and a couple of blocks west and get on the Salt Creek Bicycle path that meanders through the forest preserves to just north of Western Springs Il. From it's end I cross Ogden Ave into Western Springs and ride to the pedestrian bridge over the Tri-State Tollway into Hinsdale Il. A couple of turns and up and down a couple of hills and I'm there.
    The picture shows my Specialized Sequoia, my "good" bike, the one I took this time, sitting on our new patio and my helmet on our patio table (the threshing table form an earlier post) after that ride . That bike is, you might say, a product of a near death experience. 
    5 years ago last July 28, I was riding the 3 miles home from  work on my Giant Cypress comfort bike in a light rain wearing my neon yellow poncho. I decided to take the sidewalk on the east side of 17th Ave. south along the edge of the mall parking lot. I was approaching the traffic light for the mall lot exit just as it went green. I noticed a large SUV stopped to my left signaling a right turn out of the lot. I looked at the driver and her eyes appeared to stop on me so I proceeded. Unfortunately so did she. She broadsided me sending me flying unconscious ~ 15' into the intersection, my bike flying another direction 1/2 as far. As my body began to wrap onto her hood the thought "so this is how it ends"raced through my mind just before final impact. Hitting the  pavement woke me up. On awaking my first thought was"am I dead or alive?" Flexing a couple of limbs convinced me of the latter. There was no major trauma. My helmet though destroyed saved my cranium. 
    Besides paying for replacement of my damaged stuff, the ambulance, ER visit and  the physical therapy for the various traumatized muscle sets etc., the settlement allowed an amount for pain and suffering which pretty closely matched the cost of a new kind of bike then termed a comfort road bike. 
    I had been periodically drooling over one at "The Wheel Thing" a bike shop in  La Grange, the suburb adjacent to mine for ~ a year. So I came to own the Sequoia with  "wicked fast" (per my son Geoff's words) frame wheels and drive train of a full-on road bike with a carbon fiber fork with elastomer inserts to dampen road vibration, a suspension seatpost for road shock absorbtion, a higher rising handlebar stem and secondary brake levers. The last 4 features give the comfort road bike's owners a fast bike that accommodates the older less accommodating bodies some of us have. That's why I call it my baby boomer road bike.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


    Yesterday afternoon I went out to do something about the dried bean pods hanging from the foliage free trellised pole bean vines. Picking them all off the remains of the stems 1 by 1 is tedious enough but shelling them bean by bean afterward is beyond endurance. Trying the latter for a while I gave up and went in to find a better way. 
    In a few minutes on line I found it, using burlap as the "threshing medium" see the facebook capture.  I hot footed it to the Ace as soon as I found out they had 1 package of burlap left. I adapted the process from bags to the sheet burlap I could get quickly. I just laid out a 3' x 4' piece of it on the patio table, piled the bean plants and pods on it, and gathered the edges of the sheet into a bag tied closed with a length of twine. I found a video of the general method of threshing on You tube. I wasn't about to walk on the bag I made though. I just squished it around a bunch on the patio table, a little like kneading a big hunk of bread dough, until it felt like all the pods were broken up and emptied. A few shakes up and down later to get the beans to the bottom, grabbing handfuls of the loose plant matter out of the opened bag until I couldn't anymore without getting the beans & the THRESHING was done
     There was just enough wind after I finished threshing to try a little WINNOWING by opening the bag and forming the loaded burlap into sort of a hammock and shaking it up and down just enough to get the chaff but not much plant or pod airborne and floating away in the wind. The chaff kind of hangs in the air like dry snow. Then the wind died. Complete winnowing awaits tomorrow. See the facebook image above for the process to be used

Monday, November 1, 2010


      A real  “bellwether” issue is on the table in tomorrow’s election that will tell us where this nation is as a “representative democracy” as it was set up to be by our founding fathers. Not so oddly it is a most discussed issue in the state wide campaigns in the State of Washington. They are one of the few states among our 50 without a state income tax. There’s a proposal on the table there, the main proponent of which is the father of that state’s and sometimes the world’s wealthiest man. A bill is in their legislature to tax the income of individuals with income of more than $200,000 per year and household incomes of over $400,000 per year. The proponent mentioned is Bill Gates’ father. Bill himself has come out as perfectly willing to pay such a tax. The education system of the State of Washington is in economic crisis. The tax is essential to it’s survival. It only applies to personal income over $200,000/yr or household income over $400,000/yr. All income under that remains untaxed, including for those who pay the tax on amounts above the limits. If one makes $1,000,000/yr in Washington one pays tax on $800,000 under the proposed tax.
    All that said, the executives of nearly all of the state’s major corporations, the economic engines of the state, to a man vehemently oppose the tax. They decry it as a jobs and innovation killer, unemployment being the whole nations well defined #1 issue this election year.   They claim that, while at the same time they demand the state provide better educated workers, taxing them, the wealthiest individual executives, to pay for it is unjust and will force them to move their companies out of Washington. Even the CEO of Microsoft is on record opposing it on that basis. Bill Gates removed himself from that role some years ago. 
   Let’s be clear here. The proposed tax is not on the corporations but the individuals’ income.
    This is just the easiest current example to understand of the argument that pervades all politics today in the good old USA. Who rules here, the people of the nation or just the wealthiest 1-5%?
    Make no mistake, that wealthiest 1-5% didn’t get there producing all the wealth themselves. It was produced by the labors of others under their control. Windows operating system would have created 0$ wealth with only the efforts of Bill Gates and his co-founders applied to it’s growth! Millions of employees’ and vendors and licensee software companies and their employees’ labor was required to get it to where it is today. Yet Microsoft’s current CEO believes his personal responsibility to maintain the quality of education of tomorrows workers in the state where they’re headquartered is 0$!