Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Jack had absolutely no doubt about it. The mysterious character striding across the movie screen was . . .
. . . none other than Randy Dickson. Mr. Karras spoke as he removed the film reel from the projector. “He seems to be a missing link, but not the missing link I need to unravel this conspiracy.”
When the second film reel had been threaded through the projector, Mr. Karras spoke again. “This next film was also taken on this year’s Ragbray.” Once again, the clackety-clackety noise of the projector filled the dark room and cast a bright picture on the movie screen while the winter storm outside continued to howl.
Jack sat in the darkness of Mr. Karras’ study and watched the scene unfold. It was a bright and sunny day in a small Iowa town somewhere on the Ragbrai route.
Hundreds of people lined the streets as cyclists made a left-hand turn into the downtown area. A beer garden in a city park across the street was still empty, except for a few people strolling across the grass.
As Jack watched,
a golf cart appeared and carefully rounded the left-hand turn,
. . . with a second golf cart right behind it. They were easing their way past the crowd on either side of the street. Mr. Karras’ voice cut across the noise of the projector. “The president of the Dallas Center Ragbray Committee and his wife are riding in the back of the first cart. The mayor and his driver are in the front seat.”
Flags fluttered in the breeze and people in the crowd clapped as the golf cart motorcade slowly made its way toward the entrance of the beer garden. A road sign temporarily blocked the view, and for a few moments the lead golf cart was hidden from the camera.
When the lead golf cart emerged from behind the sign, Jack could see the committee president clutching his drenched shirt as his wife leaned toward him. Mr. Karras narrated. “It seems that the president was hit in the neck with a water balloon while the golf cart was behind the road sign.”
Mr. Karras continued, “The next water balloon will score a direct hit.” Suddenly, Jack saw a watery explosion on the committee president’s head. His wife climbed toward the back of the cart and reached out to help a beer garden volunteer jump onto the back bumper of the golf cart as it sped out of sight.
Mr. Karras stopped the projector and turned on the lights. “As you can see, something happened there that changed Ragbray in a very deep and profound way, from that day forward.”
“What are you talking about?” asked Jack. “A guy got hit by a couple of water balloons. Somebody with a water balloon launcher . . .
. . . behind the crowd probably just made a few lucky shots.”
“That’s what they would want you to believe,” said Mr. Karras as he stood and began pacing back and forth across the study like it was a courtroom. “They would have you believe that the water balloon struck the committee president in the right temple. According to official reports, the water from the balloon then proceeded to ricochet off the right temple, striking the mayor between the third and the fourth rib. The splash then came off the ribs, made a right turn, hitting the mayor in the right wrist, causing him to drop his baseball cap.
The splash then bounced off the wrist, paused, in mid-air mind you, made a left turn, and landed on the mayors left thigh. That,” Mr. Karras paused here for dramatic effect, “is one magic water balloon.”
“Well, it looks like that’s the way it happened,” said Jack resignedly.
Mr. Karras pressed his point further. “What happened to the president’s head when he got hit?”
“His head went back and to the left,” answered Jack.
“Say that again!” prompted Mr. Karras.
“Back and to the left,” Replied Jack.
“Back and to the left,” repeated Mr. Karras.
“Back and to the left.”
“So, what are you saying?” asked Jack.
“I’m saying that the second water balloon could not have come from behind the crowd, that there had to have been a second water balloon launcher in front of the cart, beyond the beer garden, on the grassy hill. If the water balloon launcher was behind them, as you claimed, that would have caused the mayor’s head to pitch forward. The sad thing is that we may never know the real truth.”
At that moment, the winter storm outside burst against the house with renewed force, shaking the windows and causing the walls to shudder. The lights flickered and went out, leaving Mr. Karras and Jack in the dark.
to be continued...
[a serial by little orphan dbax]
gotta love booker t, and steve cropper--i have that same hammond in my living room.
and keith moon's pre-target t-shirt, plus the moon eyes shirt on the woman wandering by. they seem like the typical garage band that would play at the tiki hut in the beach party movies of the day.
and the stones? check out these punks.
and why not more brian jones?
Thursday, March 27, 2008
On a clear afternoon, the windows would have provided more than enough light for the room, but the storm brought an early and eerie twilight to the mountain home. Mr. Karras impatiently flicked on a light switch, and the study glowed with warmth.
Jack’s eyes roamed from the books and photos on the walls, to . . .
. . . a white Bell cycling helmet on a shelf and an old typewriter at the desk. The most unusual part of the room was an entire wall of bookcases to the right of the desk, covered with a large bed sheet, where various notes, maps, pictures, and newspaper clippings were pinned up and connected to each other with string.
Meanwhile, Mr. Karras was busily rummaging around in a tall cabinet. “Yes, here it is!” he exclaimed and brought out two small reels of movie film and . . .
. . . a movie projector. In just a few moments, Mr. Karras had one of the film reels threaded through the projector. He motioned to Jack to cut the lights while he pulled down a movie screen attached across the top of some of the bookcases.
The clackety-clackety sound of the projector filled the room as a beam of bright light cut across the study and cast its moving picture on the screen.
At first, it was difficult for Jack to understand what he was seeing. The film was out of focus and very jumpy, but gradually,
. . . a wooded Ragbrai campsite came into view, and Jack could see a lone figure lumbering his way across the screen from left to right. The creature was covered in hair and seemed both ape-like and human-like at the same time. His massive arms swung in wide arcs as he walked, and at one point he turned to look straight at the camera, as if he sensed he was being filmed. Then, the beast turned away and continued walking across the campsite and out of view.
The same clip repeated a few more times with closer looks at the creature before the film had spooled its way through the projector, leaving a big rectangle of bright white light on the screen.
Mr. Karras spoke in a hushed voice as he turned off the projector lamp and began to rewind the film. “That footage was taken on Ragbray this year by a man named
. . . Patterson. He was also able to make some plaster casts of the footprints left behind. The film came to me through someone known only as tiagopsc. It reveals some strange things that happened on this year’s ride. This is one of the puzzle pieces I need to figure out.”
“Could we watch it the film one more time?” asked Jack.
“Certainly,” replied Mr. Karras. “Any clues you can provide will be of the utmost importance if I am to unravel the conspiracy.”
The film was rewound and carefully threaded through the projector. Then the clackety-clackety sound of the machine started once again and . . .
. . . Jack focused his attention on the screen. This time, he knew what to expect and he studied the large, hairy figure lurching across the campsite.
When the movie had spooled all the way through the projector for a second time, Mr. Karras turned off the projector, flicked the lights on, and turned to Jack. “Amazing isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is,” replied Jack.
“Well, kid, I’ve had paleontologists and anthropologists study this film, but no one knows what it is. Can you help me decipher this?” asked Mr. Karras earnestly.
“Yes, I can,” replied Jack.
“What did you see?” whispered Mr. Karras.
“That’s easy,” answered Jack. “That is footage of Randy Dickson heading toward the showers after a day on Ragbrai.”
to be continued...
[a serial by little orphan dbax]
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
H.F. No. 3849, as introduced - 85th Legislative Session (2007-2008) Posted on Mar 05, 2008
A bill for an act relating to alcoholic beverages; permitting passengers on a multipassenger bicycle to consume; amending Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 169A.35, subdivision 6. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: Section 1. Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 169A.35, subdivision 6, is amended to read: Subd. 6. Exceptions. (a) This section does not prohibit the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by passengers in: (1) a bus that is operated by a motor carrier of passengers, as defined in section 221.011, subdivision 48 ; or (2) a vehicle that is operated for commercial purposes in a manner similar to a bicycle as defined in section 169.01, subdivision 51, with three or more passengers who provide pedal power to the drive train of the vehicle; or (3) a vehicle providing limousine service as defined in section 221.84, subdivision 1.(b) Subdivisions 3 and 4 do not apply to a bottle or receptacle that is in the trunk of the vehicle if it is equipped with a trunk, or that is in another area of the vehicle not normally occupied by the driver and passengers if the vehicle is not equipped with a trunk. However, a utility compartment or glove compartment is deemed to be within the area occupied by the driver and passengers.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
from cyclingnews.com: Team CSC's Karsten Kroon took the top of the all Dutch podium on stage two of the Vuelta a Castilla y León, rocketing to the win at the end of a tough cobbled climb in the final kilometres. Kroon bested Rabobank's Thomas Dekker and Bauke Mollema in the finale. The sprinters spoiled the last-minute attack by Euskaltel-Euskadi's Sammy Sanchez, who attacked up the steepest part of the climb but could not hold the lead.
1 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team CSC 3.30.19 (40.425 km/h)
2 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank
3 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank
4 Iker Camaño (Spa) Saunier Duval - Scott
5 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana
6 Tyler Farrar (USA) Slipstream
16 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Slipstream
23 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
24 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC
25 Jason McCartney (USA) Team CSC
35 Jonathan Patrick Mc Carty (USA) Slipstream
37 Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team CSC
40 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Team CSC
45 Steven Cozza (USA) Slipstream
52 Jason Donald (USA) Slipstream @ 0.09
General classification after stage 2
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 3.41.58
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana @ 0.04
3 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank @ 0.13
4 Jason McCartney (USA) Team CSC @ 0.15
Monday, March 24, 2008
not only did i not endorse ralph nader in 2000 or 2004, i was a charter member of the nevada high school corvair club, circa 1969-1971. i have never supported nor voted for either the authroization to invade nor to continue funding bush's folly. therefore, i am more qualified than both fallon and boswell. but i don't want to run for congress--at this time. so i think i'm leaning toward supporting ed.
here's what he had to say today:
This was released to the media today but I also wanted to share it with you.
Fallon to Boswell: "Stop negative attacks and stick to the issues."
Today, Ed Fallon again challenged his opponent, Leonard Boswell, to end his negative attacks and stick to the issues.
"Iowans want campaigns focused on issues and facts, not innuendo and negativity," said Fallon. "Unfortunately, Congressman Boswell's campaign is opting for the latter, with allegations that I am a 'bad' Democrat and even unethical. People are sick of this stuff. Let's have an open, fact-based discussion of the real issues."
Over the years, Fallon has apologized repeatedly for his 'Nader mistake.'"During the past 15 years, I have campaigned for dozens of progressive Democrats, and in 2004, I wrote to Ralph Nader asking him not to run for president. Yes, my support for Nader in 2000 was a mistake," said Fallon. "But what about Congressman Boswell's mistakes, such as voting for funding for the Iraq War repeatedly, for the PATRIOT Act, for warrantless surveillance, for a punitive bankruptcy bill, for tax breaks for oil and gas companies? On these and so many other issues Leonard Boswell has voted against Democratic priorities, the very priorities that I have fought for these past 20 years. If he feels those votes were mistakes, then let's have an apology. If he feels they were right, then let's have a debate."
A recent e-mail sent by Boswell's campaign also alleged that Fallon has acted unethically in his work with I'M for Iowa. "That's absurd," said Fallon. "I'M for Iowa is simply an organization that enables me to consult with activist across the state on a wide range of issues."
"Every campaign I've ever run has been run without PAC and lobbyist money. The focus of my life has been to live simply so I can devote my time and energy to advocating for people in need. Just as Republicans attacked John Kerry in 2004 for his military service, Boswell is trying to attack me on my strength as a fighter for clean, accountable government."
Fallon concluded, saying, "The Democratic Party is changing. New energy at the grassroots promises to restore true democratic principles to our government. I've got a lot of energy and passion for reform - including campaign finance, health care, and the environment - and I'm eager to put my commitment to public service to work in Washington, DC." Thank you,
Ed Fallon, Democrat for Congress
dear mostly reverend:
Here's the race report. What a great day for a bike race! Sunny skies and a little cold, but it was a good day nonetheless. 150 kilometers of 13k local laps, which suited us well since we don't have the luxury of having trained on these roads since we were little. It was completly flat and fast, I think we averaged almost 47k an hour!
The race started well for me: I followed a couple moves and the legs felt alright. However, as the race progressed, I became either a little tired or afraid, after having crashed last weekend. Unfortunatly, 70 percent of my race was spent as pack fodder. But, after eating a little more and getting two bottles of hot honey tea, I was feeling much better. With two laps to go, I started to move up, and 10k from the finish I was in the top 20 of the peloton.
The last 10k was fun, lots of shuffling around in the group, but I fought to maintain my spot. Going into the last corner, I shot up the inside, only to have to brake hard as the few guys in front of me cut me off. I sprinted hard coming out of the corner and finished maybe top 30 for the day.
I wish I would have had more energy in the middle of the race to help my teammates out a little more, but the fitness is still coming, I hope. Tomorrow, I'm going to visit my girlfriend in Hamburg for awhile. Hopefully, I can get some decent training in up there and come back really fit.
official results: andy finished 46th overall, 3d american finisher,
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
StupidWeek, the oldest multi-day race series in the US, will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year from July 11-27. The tour begins in Chicago, Illinois and ends 17 days later in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on the same day as the Tour de France reaches the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Last year the event had over 7,000 entries from 20 different countries.
Otto Wenz, the event founder, expressed his delight at still being involved with the event as the Race Director. "I never imagined that we would be celebrating our 40th anniversary," said Wenz. "I look at the race as my baby that I have nurtured and built for 40 years. I also want to thank all of the people that have supported us over the years, especially those of you who never pay more than one entry fee per year. Oh, I know what you do, but if it weren't for you little rascals, I would have quit years ago."
More information on the series can be found at stupid week.
we are hoping to have construction completed the first part of next week, after which we will have real and usable bathroom facilities. the phone is installed, but inasmuch as no one is there to answer on any sort of basis, we aren't disclosing the number at this time.
2--we WILL be announcing another work day, at which time we'll ask you to come down and either help assemble work benches or paint the walls.
3--in the coming days, we will be announcing other swell opportunities for you and others to help out in a financial manner.
4--in the meantime, with spring cleaning upon us, look around your house to see if you happen to have any bikes--or bike parts--that have three years or more dust on them.
if you do, chances are you could donate them to the kollective and not miss them.
but with gas prices on the rise, there's no reason to come down with a mostly empty car: have your NEIGHBORS take the three years dust test, and offer to bring THEIR dusty old bikes and parts downtown for them.
trust me: i'll let you know when to bring them down. be smart, and start doing your leg work today.
5--t-shirts: most of you have picked them up. thanks. some of you have not. they are sitting in a nice, neat stack at t-shirt graphix at 3629 beaver avenue. call them at 274-0900. when they're gone, they're gone, although they're not gone yet. jen and ed tell me they might have found a couple extra unclaimed tees.
6--thanks, and ride those old bikes today--and tomorrow.
it worked for my girl scout cookies.
this lab knows how to eat the easter bunny
as usual, o'reilly has closed his eyes to the truth.
Jack sat at the kitchen table with Mr. Karras and his wife, reading a copy of the Des Moines Register while they ate lunch. The story about Jack was in the statewide news section of the paper. It read,
Financial Questions for Missing Orphan
"What began as a routine trial run of the Des Moines Register’s new computerized auditing system has turned into a state-wide search for Jack Piper, a resident of . . ."
" . . . the Orphanage of our Lady of Perpetual Acceleration in Des Moines.
Representatives from the Special Collections Branch of the Des Moines Register newspaper explained that the computerized audit has linked Piper to $120,000 in missing revenues connected with RAGBRAI, the Register’s annual cross-state bicycle ride.
The search for Piper began Thursday evening at the Des Moines orphanage but quickly spread to the Iowa City area by Friday morning. Persons with information having to do with the whereabouts of Piper are encouraged to contact the Special Collections Branch of the Des Moines Register newspaper."
[actual scam artists, below and above]
“Well, kid?” Jack glanced up from the paper to see Mr. Karras studying him carefully. “You don’t look like a $120,000 scam artist. What’s the deal?”
“I have no idea,” said Jack, shaking his head. “I don’t even have one dollar. You work for the newspaper. Don’t you have any idea what is going on?”
“Used to,” corrected Mr. Karras. “I used to work for the paper, although I still write the usual Ragbray columns each year. I’m just as puzzled as you are.” Mr. Karras paused to look out the window at the snow beginning to fall. “I can’t make heads or tails of it, even though I’ve kept in touch with friends who still work for the paper since I retired and moved out here.”
“Moved out where? Where am I, anyway?” said Jack. “The last I knew, I was in downtown Denver.”
“Welcome to the Greater Frisco-Silverthorne-Dillon metropolitan area,” laughed Mr. Karras. “Never heard of it? Good. That’s the way we like it. We have a nice home here, up on a mountain, out of the way of all those tourists and vacationers. It’s a couple of miles to town down below us.” The swirling snow outside the windows was making it more and more difficult to see anything besides the steep slope of the mountainside and the nearest fir trees.
“If getting away from everything was such a big deal to you, then why do you have a Des Moines Register delivery truck coming to your house?” asked Jack.
“The Register pays my way and takes care of all the travel arrangements each year,” Mr. Karras replied. “But someone really messed up this year and …
… lost all of my baggage and my bike at the end of the ride. I flew back to Denver wearing borrowed shorts and an old t-shirt. They found my gear sitting in a warehouse a few weeks ago and finally got around to bringing it out here today.”
Mr. Karras continued, “Of course, I never expected to find you on the truck, kid. I recognized you right away because the thugs
from the Special Collection Branch of the newspaper ‘visited’ with me during Ragbray and showed me some pictures of you. They asked me all sorts of questions, but I didn’t have any answers.”
Then Mr. Karras smiled. “Now that you are here, I have a serious shot at unraveling this conspiracy.”
“Conspiracy?” exclaimed Jack.
“Conspiracy!” echoed Mr. Karras while Mrs. Karras shook her head and began to clear the empty lunch plates. Outside, the wind began to howl and the snow was driven hard against the window panes.
“Follow me to my study,” gestured Mr. Karras, as they walked from the kitchen, “and I’ll show you what I’ve uncovered so far.”
to be continued...
[a serial by little orphan dbax]