July around my house involves watching the Tour de France from start to finish. It’s a throwback to once being part owner of a bicycle shop and becoming familiar with both amateur and professional bicycle racing.
In that era a race quality 10-speed would cost $1000 or less. I owned a Falcon (English) bike with a Reynolds 571 (English) double-butted frame and all Campagnolo (Italian) components. You couldn’t buy better bike parts and my bike retailed for around $650. In today’s world that is chump change for a top of the line road bike. A set of Campy components today approaches $4,000 compared to under $300 in the dark ages.
For several years now, Greenfield resident Ron Dudley has been working to evaluate the status of the village’s tree population and take action to restore or improve the tree canopies that once lined our streets. To be honest, not much has come from his efforts.
The central problems include economic resources and public apathy. Trees can be expensive and not everyone sees value in planting a few in their back yards or along their curbs. On the other hand I live in a deep forest and everyday see the benefits. Besides the beauty it is always much cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Our trees have saved us unknown amounts on utilities while bringing us great joy.
I was fifteen years of age the first time I got trashed on booze. A good friend had gotten married and at the reception I discovered a fifth of Four Roses Bourbon in the kitchen. The only glass I could find was a sixteen ounce iced tea glass. So, not knowing much about drinking I filled it up to an inch from the top and added some grape juice. I really don’t recall how much I actually consumed but when my buddies dropped me off in front of my house I was trashed.
I managed to get into the house and crawl up the stairs to my bedroom without waking up my parents. I do remember laying down and the room doing non-stop three sixties. There was a small balcony outside my room and knowing I was getting sick I tried to make it to the balcony door but failed. I tried cleaning up the mess with laundry from the clothes hamper and I pretty much failed at that as well.
I got to reading an article about our declining deficit and how it has helped slow the nation’s economic recovery. The projected deficit for FY 2015 is slightly over $700 billion which is half what it was when President Obama came to office in 2009. We all know that the Bush Era recession was the worst in history and that the recovery has also been one of the slowest (not counting the Great Depression).
Our huge deficits during the first term of the Obama Administration can be attributed to at least seven things; the financial collapse in 2007-08, the loss of federal tax revenue, the bailout of the automobile and banking industries, the Obama stimulus package, increased mandatory spending on such things as Social Security and Medicare, and finally, the cost of 9/11 which includes a huge investment in homeland security and two lengthy foreign wars.
Over the couple of years I’ve messed around with cigar box guitars I’ve had the good fortune of meeting some interesting people, both in person and online. One of my British CBG acquaintances recently posted a video about a fellow Brit named Davy Sanger. Sanger and his lady friend travel the byways of the United Kingdom with several horse-drawn wagons that are both their home and a mobile musical stage. They live by the wayside as they travel from event to event with a mobile venue from which musicians and poets perform. Sanger’s Stage Show is the last of a breed that was once common in England.
There are many reasons I’m embedding the video and after watching it I’m sure you’ll know what some of them are.
For at least ten years I was in search of the world’s best barbecue and have driven countless miles and made countless out-of-the-way trips following up a lead. One of the first times I had Southern BBQ was at Maurice Bessinger’s Piggie Park in Columbia, SC and for a short time it was my standard. Then my brother and sister-in-law turned me on to Wilber’s BBQ (Wilber Shirley) BBQ in Goldsboro, NC.
FACTOID: “The $400 billion program to create a fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, which, as The Hill points out, is seven years behind schedule and chronically plagued with misfortunes and incompetencies, could have housed every homeless person in the U.S. with a $600,000 home.”
With all that’s being revealed about the VA, NSA, CIA, ICE, ETC, one has to wonder if government can do anything well. I’m old enough to remember when government seemed to work and people had faith that it could find solutions to our problems.
In my core I still believe government can provide needed answers but what is missing is the knowledge of how to govern and more importantly, the lack of a desire to govern. In the past 15-20 years too many politicians know little about the art of working within our long-established system of representative government. They are not the likes of old war horses like Everett Dirkson, Howard Baker, Lyndon Johnson, Sam Rayburn, and Hubert Humphrey.
Furthermore they have no interest in governing. Solving problems long ago took a back seat to party ideology and political positioning. It is all about winning seats in government and little about doing something meaningful when those seats are won.
It’s not really the system that has failed us, it’s the people who we the voters make a part of the system.
Many blues experts believe Red’s Lounge in Clarksdale, Mississippi to be the last true juke joint in the Delta. It is located “between the river and the cemetery” on Sunflower Ave., just a couple of short blocks from Ground Zero Blues Club and the Delta Blues Museum.
When I first went to Red’s in 2005 I was told that, “It might not be open tonight, depends on what mood Red’s in.” I must have been on a streak because Red’s was open that night and was featuring the late T-Model Ford. Ford was sitting in the middle of the room playing a solid body Peavy guitar through a highly distorted Peavy amplifier. He was backed up on drums by one of his grandsons.
FACTOID: The CDC reports that alcohol is responsible for 1 out of every 10 deaths in the United States. Men account for 71% and the majority of deaths are related to excessive consumption or binge drinking.
On a recent trip I had stopped at a rest stop and gave my wife a call. Among the items discussed was the death of a local person in a motorcycle accident. The irony was this person had recently helped run a class on motorcycle safety and at the time of his death he had not been wearing a helmet.
Back on the Interstate I had five bikers pass me, two carrying passengers, and none wearing helmets or any other safety equipment. Seventy miles an hour and not an ounce of protection to be seen.
This spring I’ve noticed a proliferation of yard signs imploring drivers to “Watch out for motorcycles.” Is it possible bikers aren’t doing enough to watch out for themselves?