Saturday, June 27, 2009

from the mailbag

Dear Mr. Thatcher,
I have been a loyal user of your 'Always' maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core or Dri-Weave absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.
Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call 'an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.' Isn't the human body amazing?
As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customer's monthly visits from 'Aunt Flo'. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women.
The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants... Which brings me to the reason for my letter. Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: 'Have a Happy Period.'
Are you f------ kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness -- actual smiling, laughing happiness, is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick ####### freak, there will never be anything 'happy' about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local Walgreen's armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.
For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like 'Put down the Hammer' or 'Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong'?
Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bullshit. And that's a promise I will keep. Always. . .
Wendi Aarons
Austin , TX

Thursday, June 25, 2009

my tribute to an amazing musician, no matter how weird he was

i love republicans, but who doesn't?

the grand old party now seen in a new light, giving new life to one of my favorite words, "dalliance."
who's your favorite blue-blooded love machine?
ensign? foley? captain wide-stance? gingrich? rudy?
ah, yes, "love, american style" . . .
family values . . .
preserving the sanctity of marriage . . .
seriously, i'm loving this stuff.

in happier times: a man and his dog

in an easier, less stressful time, then-lieutenant george armstrong custer reclines with his dog and with other staff members of general fitz-john porter, during the civil war in virginia, the peninsular campaign, may through august, 1862. on this day, june 25, 1876, general custer met his demise at the battle of the little big horn.
by the time he made his stars, custer, as a general, had polished his image.
no word on the fate of his dog.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

rain? WHAT rain?

i don't know what YOU did tonight, but for me, when mickey's hands look like he's blocking a free kick, i know it's time to ride. i pay no attention to the skies, and i DON'T set my shit up in a garage.
garages and rainy days are for sissies,
not bike racers.
i won't hear it. ever.
i laugh at the rain: ha ha ha ha!
no, i've got too many big competitions ahead of me, and my program says
"june 23--go out and kick some serious ass today."
so i did. computers never lie.
read 'em and weep, sport fans.
and then, buy yourself some golf clubs on craig's list.
i train with racers; not quitters.

they've changed the name of the state

[Republicans Out Wandering About]
* * * * *
read THIS tasty little tidbit about a prospective republican presidential candidate in 2012; he's right up there with sarah palin!
* * * * *
Sources Question Governor's Story
Gov. Mark Sanford Says He Disappeared To Go Hiking
POSTED: 5:01 pm EDT June 23, 2009
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- WYFF News 4 has received exclusive information from sources who say they have information about Gov. Mark Sanford's whereabouts during a mysterious absence over the past several days.
Sanford's wife Jenny said she last talked to him on Thursday, and though she didn't know where he is, she said she wasn't concerned. She said he had left to have time to write.
Joel Sawyer, communications director for the governor's office, then said the governor had been on the Appalachian Trail. Sawyer said staffers heard from Sanford on Tuesday morning and the governor plans to return Wednesday.
Sawyer said the governor is surprised by all the attention.
On Tuesday, sources told News 4's Nigel Robertson that a state vehicle is missing and was tracked down, not to the Appalachian Trail, but to the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta.
Sources told Robertson that a federal agent spotted Sanford in the airport boarding a plane. Robertson was told that the governor was not accompanied by security detail.
Sanford has been out of reach for more than four days, including Father's Day.
Sawyer has emphasized that the governor was hiking on the Appalachian Trail and that it wasn't something the staff or Jenny Sanford were concerned about.
But sources told WYFF News 4 that the federal agent who spotted Sanford saw him at the Atlanta airport, which is about 80 miles from the start of the trail.
WYFF News 4 has not yet confirmed where the plane was going or how the governor got to the airport, but it is clear there are two very different stories.
News 4 called the governor's office, and was told again by staffers that they stand by their original statement that the governor is hiking the Appalachian Trail. They did not want to comment on this story.
Previous Stories:
June 23, 2009:
Missing Governor 'Taken Aback' By Attention
i LOVE this stuff. don't have to make up the good news, do ya?

Friday, June 19, 2009

analog update

one week later, and i'm still without a digital converter box.
i received my government-issued $40 coupons [i got two] saturday or monday. they are lying about like an un-opened pack of smokes, tempting me. i have not touched them, nor caressed them, but i've thought about both. they're so damned shiny and digital-looking.
i folded up [although did not remove] the rabbit ears and old vhf round antenna. i hooked up the vcr and dug out collected tapes of 2002 giro, and have been watching that. phil, paul, bobke, and the characters from that distance past. my dvd player continues to remain unused since its purchase several years ago. i've thought about moving it from the living room to the bedroom where my surviving tv resides. i have many dvds, including a derek trucks concert and a new 3-disc woodstock collection. i would like ot watch them at some point.
i AM having trouble knowing what the weather is and what it will be doing, but i understand that it is going to get hot and humid one of these days.
i read at that walter cornkite is gravely ill. this digital thing is probably killing him.
and that's the way it is...

al franken update: coleman on coleman

many readers have asked me, "mostly reverend, what in the world is wrong with norm coleman?"
for the sake of brevity and my battery's uncertain capacity, i won't go into that. but i will supply this link to a wonderful op-ed by nick coleman, no relation to either me or the former senator, that ran in the strib june 14th. read it, and you'll see that not everyone in minnesota is crazy, but that most minnesotans know someone who is...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

is des moines REALLY bike friendly?

then let's see how long it takes the city to enact THIS ordinance...

Bicyclist Harassment Ordinance Passed
18 Jun 09
COLUMBIA, MO—A city of 84,000 people in Missouri has passed a bicyclist harassment ordinance making the throwing of objects, verbal assault and other offenses illegal, and a misdemeanor offense punishable by a $1,000 fine or one year of jail time.
The Columbia ordinance, which is modeled after similar ordinances in South Carolina and Colorado, makes it a misdemeanor to do the following: throw an object at or in the direction of a cyclist, threatening a cyclist to frighten or disturb the cyclist, sounding a horn with the intention to frighten or disturb a cyclist, knowingly placing a cyclist in the path of physical injury, or knowingly engaging in conduct that creates a risk of death or serious physical injury for a cyclist.

thought for the day: catching up

so i'm spending a few days in a continuing ed seminar this week. i'm seeing folks from an earlier life, and it's good. people that i first met and worked with way back in the day of early cambus in iowa city in the early 70s, when tom diehl and i [along with many others] drove a bunch of 1953 or so gmc transit buses in and around iowa city. these buses--in true hippie fashion--had faces painted on their front ends. they had virtually NO safety features, you know, like brakes and stuff. you could catch passengers in the back door if you were feeling sinister. no seatbelts for the driver, which made it a real challenge staying seated as you cruised around the downhill by the dental school. WHEEE!!!
tom tells me he finally quit smoking about a year and a half ago. then there's frank rivera, who surprised the hell out of me when he told me--years ago--that he was a big harley fan, and had a hog that although he really didn't ride it that much, he spent a lot of time and money on it. his bike was more of a show thing; loudness and cool were a couple of important factors, as i remember it. frank always seemed like areally quiet guy to me [i've known him for, christ, maybe 20 years now?], and this must be his way of speaking up. quite a contrast to me. i really don't seem to keep too much to myself [although you might be surprised].
and then a woman came up to me and said "you probably don't remember me, but..."
i couldn't immediately recall her name and circumstance, but i recognized her face, and knew that i knew her. it turns out we were neighbors in iowa city in the early 80s, when i was a new single parent, in school full-time, and working two or three jobs. addie and i lived in a cool old apartment building at the end of summit street, a long, low brick building with two up and two down, with a common open screened-in stairway at the rear. when i had to go to the school in the evenings to study [yes, i did], i could just leave the back door open, with addie in bed, and let the neighbors know i would be back later. addie knew that if she woke up and was frightened, she could just go upstairs and hang out a while. it was that kind of a place. before i even had a chance to say anything, vicki asked how addie was. said she was such a cool kid. man, i loved living there, and i loved having such great neighbors. it was great seeing vicki, and having all those old memories unleashed.
i saw dick, my old lawyer and george's buffet buddy from iowa city. he retired a couple years ago, and my friend peter [whom i have yet to see here] runs the office now. peter and i were so crazy in mason city in the 80s. i saw susan, also from mason. and so many more: faces i recognize but whose names have either fled or taken shelter somewhere in that old addled grey matter upstairs.
i made it easy for others yesterday by wearing a new green "kim west radio cycling show" t-shirt. today, it's a multi-hued green tye-die grateful dead t-shirt. green, in support of the unrest in iran. i've always been in favor of a certain level of unrest.
more thoughts will follow.
i AM trying to pay attention, after all.
but i have a bunch of racing coming up: tonight in altoona, tomorrow in state center, saturday, the brat criterium in johnston, and nationals in louisville the end of the month, and another set of nationals the first week of august. i'm trying to get serious about it, and have been thrilled to get lots of little go-fast goodies to enable this. i'll tell you about it later.
by the way, you, too, can have one of those cool green kim west radio cycling show t-shirts. $15 plus s/h. contact me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

weather report

NEW thursday race series!!

from lane anderson:
I met with the city of Altoona monday morning and got tentative approval for a 3-race Thursday night Series in Altoona.

The series will be July 16, Aug 6, and Aug 20. There will be a Men's "A", "B", and Women's race each night. The course is an undulating 1.2 mile circuit with 4 corners and one 180 degree turn.

They are going to close the roads for us this Thursday, June 18, for a trial run. If it goes off without a hitch, they'll approve the series.

I'm hoping to get out as many folks as possible to get a true test and so we can all get a good workout in (which is my ulterior motive for doing this). We will have to have insurance coverage for this Thursday, so I will need to charge an entry. It's not usacycling so there's no "1-day license" required. All participants will pay $10/night.

Please spread the word, get as many people out as possible.

Altoona Thursday Training Series
Brought to you by ALL9Yards Realty
July 16, Aug 6, Aug 20
Stand Alone Event June 18

6:00 - Women - 15 laps
7:00 - “A” (Cat 1,2,3,4) - 20 laps
8:00 - “B” (Cat 5) - 10 laps

Course: 1.2 mile rolling circuit. 4 corners and 1 hairpin turn each lap.
Registration Opens at 5:00, closes when you are too late to pin your number
Entry: $10/rider. No one day license required
Directions: From the corner of 1st Ave and 8th St in Altoona (HyVee) go east on 8th St SE (NE 46th) to NE 80th on the East edge of town. Go south on NE 80th to the “Tuscany Development” at 17 St SE. Turn east into the development, registration and start/finish is at the corner of 17th St SE and 17th Ave SE.
Each race of the series will have merchandise prizes for the top 3 as well as possible primes during the race. Depending on participation, there may be an overall cash purse for the series.

Contact: Lane Anderson (515) 971-1761
Not a USACycling sanctioned race.
“When you choose ALL9Yards Realty, Cycling wins”

Saturday, June 13, 2009

technical difficulties

i am, by nature, a bit of a fuddy-duddy, as regular readers by now well know. as it relates to television, for the past few years, that has meant a return to rabbit ears. since february, i have lived without who-tv13 [i can't help it, i preferred their local news to kcci's], kdsm-fox17 [god, i love old seinfelds, and 2 and 1/2 men], and who knows what else. but since midnight, it's gone [as it, sadly, letterman and the early sunday morning original star trek episodes at 130 am on kcci...sniff].
totally gone, except for the snow, i assume, as i haven't checked yet.
i'm going to see how long this experiment lasts, which is tough, as the tour promises to be a GREAT one, and i am sorely tempted to reactivate my long-dead dish subscription for a month and then let it go.
we shall see.
my reasons are multiple, and range from purely economic, to political, social, as well as fitness-related. in a fit of picque, years ago, i bought a DVD player, and plugged it in, electrically, but not through the tv. i might just do that, and play old converted from video to dvd tour, giro and vuelta tapes for the past many, many years. i DO love cycling on tv.
but we'll see, i certainly have many other things to do other than watch tv.
let's see if i can withstand my internal pressure to cave.
wish me--and others who are also struggling--luck.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Two time Tour de France champion Laurent Fignon said he can’t rule out a link between his advanced cancer and doping, according to a French TV interview to be broadcast on Sunday.
The retired winner of the Tour in 1983 and 1984, told the "7 a 8" interview program there might have been a connection between doping and the advanced cancer affecting his digestive system, even though doctors assured him this was unlikely.
Fignon, who tested positive for illegal substances twice in the late 1980s, has been diagnosed with an advanced cancer that has spread through his gastro-intestinal system and has metastasized in his pancreas as well. Fignon recorded the TV interview to publicize his forthcoming book, "We were young and unconcerned."
The book describes the life of racing cyclists in past years, including the range of stimulants and corticoids taken by riders.
"In those days everyone was doing it," he explained. "But it is impossible to know to what extent doping harms you.
"Whether those who lived through 1998, when a lot of extreme things happened, will get cancer after 10 or 20 years, I really can't say," added Fignon, who also won the 1989 Giro d'Italia and Milan-San Remo in both 1988 and 1989.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

zirbel on top at nvgp!!

tom has been spending his time wisely since the tour of california. let's hope the bissell pro cycling team can keep him in yellow at the nature valley grand prix.
congratulations, tom!!

Monday, June 08, 2009

things they do in colorado

despite regularly messing with cyclists in group rides, the state of colorado does do some things right from time to time. take this example:

Springs woman gets 3 years in death of 2 bicyclists
By Hailey MacArthur The Gazette

COLORADO SPRINGS — Barbara Thomas, 64, was sentenced to three years in prison starting immediately in the deaths of two bicyclists, a judge ordered today.
Judge Gilbert A. Martinez convicted Thomas on two counts of vehicular homicide after she plowed into a group of bicyclists riding down the hill on S. 26th Street, killing two of them. Jayson Thomas Kilroy, 28, and Edgar "E.J." Juarez, 30, were struck and killed Aug. 6, 2008, when Thomas attempted to turn left onto Westend Avenue in her 1986 Ford F-350, a one-ton pickup truck. She was under the influence of prescription morphine and barbiturates, and she was not wearing the glasses required by her restricted license.
"When you kill two people in a reckless manner," Judge Martinez said before delivering his decision, "I don't think probation is appropriate. I don't think the max sentence is appropriate."
Thomas could have been sentenced to as many as six years under a plea bargain.
At the sentencing, Thomas, who takes 18 daily prescriptions and lugs an oxygen tank on her lap in a wheelchair, begged the judge to let her spend time at home with family before being transported to the Department of Corrections. She attempted to lift herself out of her wheelchair, pleading with the judge, who did not change his decision.
"Oh, my god," she said. "Don't take me."
Read what the mother of one of the victims said in court at

suppose any of the prosecutors in central iowa read my blog?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

dogtown cruiser nights!!

everyone is welcome to join us for the very first dogtown area cruiser night, tonight at 600 pm at the drake farmer's market.
pamela anderson knows how it's done: hop on your cruiser [or any bike, for that matter] and come on down to 25th and university, across from the drake diner, and get ready to have some fun as we ride around the town for about 45 minutes or so. NOT FAST, just cruisin'.
tonight the ride winds up at woody's smoke shack at 2511 cottage grove, where woody will have food specials and live music, provided by the ortonville circus, a fine area bluegrass band.
and it's FREE!!
woody says if you want to drink alcohol, bring your own. the smoke shack doesn't have a liquor license, but he doesn't mind folks having fun.
these rides will happen every wednesday night, with a different route and different destination each week. we'll have live music, food and drink specials, movies, and all sorts of cool things.
make it your regular wednesday night thing.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

quality family time

i took the grandkids with me to the memorial day weekend of races this year. i've been going there to race and share a little fun for twenty years or more. i've enjoyed friends and their families all this time. i've always said it's my family, this cycling circle i inhabit, and it is.

so i really didn't give it a second thought when i offered to initiate the grandkids on THEIR first exposure to big-time american bicycling. the complications and realities of doing this AND racing myself would remain to be seen and experienced, but i knew it would work out somehow, and it did. and saturday morning, parked in my traditional location at the top of the snake, and my race already out of the way, i prepped the kids for THEIR first race participation. numbers pinned, i gave them final strategic instructions before we began the trek to the start line. they listened intently. for being not particularly verbal, jabari blew me away with his understanding and concentration. both kids have since before birth attended collegiate wrestling meets and tournaments, so they grasp the concept of competition--their dad is no flash in the pan on the wrestling mat, even now, years after his string of 4 all-american seasons at iowa state, he still coaches others year-round--but to see their intense focus really amazed me. i mean, nyla is just four, and jabari is only 21 months [although his RACING age was 3 for snake alley].

this photo STILL makes me laugh, as the kids have completed their warm-ups and hot laps around a street barricade, and each of them collects their thoughts in their own fashion. nyla is so girlie-girlie with her abundant hair-pretties and streamers but her "i'll rip your heart out" look" suggests otherwise. jabari is clearly engaged in his visualization routine. little did i know...

after their races, we relaxed as i always do, heckling others in the afternoon races on the snake, at devil's bend. for you cat 4s and 5s who want to be subjected to this torment, upgrade. i believe wayne and garth said it best: "you're not worthy!" the heckling NEVER begins until after noon. even the devil keeps regular hours.

as anyone who has ever raced the snake knows, it's exhausting. over the years, i gone racing with scores of different teammates and buddies, sharing rides in old vws and vans, and sleeping in beds and on floors in crowded houses and cheap hotel rooms. yet i'd trade them all for this one. i hope the grands enjoyed it as much as i did.

[thanks, maria, for this last photo]

how other folks spend their bicycle time, energy, and $$

the author describes this as an ordinary bicycle with a dual-exhaust pulse jet engine bolted to the side. well, i recognize the brooks saddle and schwinn-style springer fork, and even the cateye cyclocomputer, but beyond that, . . .
well, i'd suggest you go here to read and see more.