Category 9. Fun Stuff

A Grand Day

A little over thirty years ago, while my wife was in labor with our first child, my in-laws sat in the hospital’s waiting room for seemingly endless hours. Every so often I would go downstairs to inform them about the slow increases in the tempo of the contractions that were leading us toward the big event. My father-in-law greeted my every appearance with nervous pacing; I had the confidence of youth.

I spent most of that day with my wife, feeling largely extraneous to a process that had its own rhythm. Oh I could provide her with moral support, but the reality was that my role was minimal. Mother nature had taken charge; my wife’s body was doing the work.

Eventually, our older daughter arrived in a crescendo of pain and excitement that is like no other experience in life.

***

I used to j...

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To See America

The Idea – 1/11/16

Three months from today, I am going to set out from Los Angeles by bicycle, hoping to ride to Old Lyme, CT. I have dreamed of doing this for thirty years; it’s now or never.

Over the next three months, I’ll give a lot of thought to the logistics, and try to get fit enough so that I’ll make it.

Just now, though, I have to tell the Beloved Spouse about the plan. I’m not sure she’ll be thrilled.

Day Zero – 4/10/16

This is the first in a series of daily posts that I intend to write over the next six or seven weeks about the attempt I am about to make at riding my bicycle across the country.

I sent three bikes – my two beautiful new steel Mariposas, pictured below at home just after their arrival a month ago, and my much older carbon fiber Parlee – on ahead to Los Angeles w...

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Wonderful Memories

The following pieces capture three of the innumerable wonderful experiences that I have had as an adult riding my bicycle with friends. I savor these memories and hope to be lucky enough to repeat them. There is not a scintilla of political, economic or social theory in these pieces, so they go into the "Fun Stuff" category. Read More

A Thought

The cumulative accumulation of human knowledge is occurring at an ever-faster pace, augmented by improving means of communication within and between various previously separate societies, and by parallel improvements in data storage and transfer. By way of example, doubtless during the medieval period many isolated alchemists tried identical methods to turn base metals into gold, all with the same sorry results; nowadays, it seems unlikely that failed experiments would be replicated quite as frequently (aside from socialist economics, that is).

Whereas at one time a particular band of hunter-gatherers may have deduced how to make better weapons, or grow crops, and that knowledge may have taken hundreds of generations to traverse the globe, in recent decades some of the world’s least scient...

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Habits

Have you ever been in a car with a brand new driver? He or she needs to decide when, and even consciously remember how, to use a turn signal, how to hit the gas or brakes and whether or not to watch that car on the left.  Actions that for an experienced driver are effortless are a complex minuet for a new driver. It’s exhausting – and a little terrifying – just to be a passenger.

Much that we do, we do without conscious thought. Even the larger patterns of our days are mostly based on habit rather than moment-to-moment decision-making.  You regularly have alcohol with dinner, or you don’t. Same with engaging in daily exercise or flossing your teeth. You generally read, watch TV or fiddle with a communications or game device before sleeping, according to the same pattern...

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