Brain dump vol. 372:

There really is something rotten in [tag]Denmark[/tag]: www.somethingrotten.dk. This makes me enormously happy, knowing that some English bloke (if her were a Yank, I would have said dude, I suppose) keeps a blog about his new (apprently he’s been there for a couple of years now) life in [tag]Copenhagen[/tag], the world capital of [tag]bike commuting[/tag]. And he calls it Something Rotten, heh.

Yet another cool blog that I discovered via Dave Moulton’s blog, [tag]Dave Moulton[/tag] being a frame maker of some repute, not to mention a musician and author (I don’t think you could come up with a much cooler combination, really). I suppose it’s only natural that as I sit in the coffee shop post Saturday morning/afternoon ride, drinking espresso and getting caught up on my blog reading (i.e., goofing off, when I should be doing my taxes), that I would be turning to bike blogs. I must say, the weather cooperated—to a degree (a somewhat chilly one, heh); at least it wasn’t pissing down the entire time. But of course after returning to Cincy to warm, April 70-degree weather, it was a crisp 40 degrees Fahrenheit when I rolled onto the Little Miami bikepath around 11-ish. For the record, I got up at 8:37 a.m., but by the time I got all ready and drove (I know, I know) to Loveland, it was almost 11.

… I never got around to posting this last week, as there was no place to plug into at the coffee shop—all the tables that have access to an outlet were taken; the weekend scenesters and suburbanites up for some shopping and a dose of urban coolness were out in force, in spite of the weather. When I got home I got distracted; I don’t remember by what. My ride was probably ill considered in retrospect. The cold I had been flirting with since the day after my return from La La Land (SoCal), finally became intimate with me early this week, and pretty much kicked me in the ass, hard. The too-long [tag]bike[/tag] ride probably didn’t help, I imagine, nor did going to to the gym Monday night and doing walk/run intervals on the [tag]treadmill[/tag]. By early Tuesday morning I had turned into a green fountain of phlegm.

But I seem to have recovered; I even went to the gym Thursday night. [tag]Gym workouts[/tag] kind of suck, but are made bearable with books on tape—er, MP3, that is. I downloaded some works by the late, great Arthur C. Clarke recently, in the wake of his death, and they provide a good distraction form the monotony of a [tag]stationary bike[/tag]/treadmill workout. And for someone carrying 30 percent body fat, treadmills are a blessing; there is no way on I could jog on pavement or perhaps even dirt without pounding the piss out of my knees and ankles. In fact, my knees so far haven’t troubled me at all. The only really sore bits are those little stabilizer muscles along the front and anteriors of my shin bones and the soleus muscle in my calves—my left leg in particular is the big slacker. Even as I write this, it is still stiff Considering nearly all of my aerobic exercise in the past decade has come from [tag]cycling[/tag], with the exception of the odd backpacking trip here and there (in which these same muscles would invariable be hurtin’ bad during the first couple of days), this isn’t surprising.

But If I’m ever to get back to the point that I can run outside for any length of time without thrashing my creaky ole leg joints, treadmill ftw! But enough free-associating about me. Let’s talk about me and the federal government.

***WARNING: PRETENTIOUS, CYNICAL RANT ENSUES***

<rant>

Where the hell are the [tag]tax breaks[/tag] I’ve been hearing about for, oh, the last eight years? Having spent most of last year as a freelance writer, I made less money than I have in any year since 2000; as a freelancer I also—in theory, anyway—had many more deductions I could take. And yet somehow I ended up owing MORE. More than in previous years. Maybe I wouldn’t feel like complaining so much if a)I felt my money were being spent wisely and b)I haven’t heard time and again over the past decade how Dubya’s administration will/has been giving us tax breaks. WTF? Where are MY tax breaks? How is it that I make LESS money and yet pay MORE [tag]taxes[/tag] in 2007?

And while we’re talking about Dubya, I just have to get this off my chest. I’m doing my best to completely ignore the [tag]presidential race[/tag], as I’m way to cynical at this point in my life to believe that my vote matters a tinkers damn. But lately, it’s just gotten to absurd—French existentialism absurd. It’s like god(s) is (are) on vacation and Jean Paul Sartre’s spirit is running things in his/her/its (their) place.

[tag]McCain[/tag]? Elitist. [tag]Obama[/tag]? Elitist. [tag]Clinton[/tag]? Elitist. One can make a logical case that we live in an oligarchy, as opposed to a true democracy, and oligarchs don’t come from the ranks of the common. McCain and Clinton saying Obama doesn’t understand the common man? No, he doesn’t. Neither do they. How could any of them? And the thing is though, as elitist as Obama is—this column by Maureen Dowd puts it brilliantly—there is a kernel of truth to what he said about people in the [tag]Midwest[/tag]. I know this because that’s where I’m from, and that’s where I’ve moved back to, to be closer to family—many of whom feel just like what Obama described. For Clinton and McCain to deny what Obama said about [tag]Middle America[/tag] just shows how ignorant and out of touch they are when it comes to the middle class. The irony being that McCain frequently taps into the very phenomena that Obama cited. The level of discourse in the presidential race has become absurdly retarded. I’ve become so disgusted by the whole thing that I can’t even bear to hear anything about the presidential election, and it’s only April. The hypocrisy of all three candidates and both parties has just gotten astoundingly ridiculous. Furthermore, the media, on the left and right, I’m ashamed to say, only seems to manage to fan the flames of idiocy.

After all the stupid bullshit of the past eight years, this is the best we could come up with, McCain, Obama and Clinton? I realize one of the core values of the American political system is compromise, but jeez, voting for candidates running for federal political office has become like trying to decide if I’d rather drown or be burned to death. I’d really rather do neither. I’m tired of having to base my vote on the lesser evil–the one who sucks less, and who I think will screw up the country less. Makes one want to reconsider benevolent despotism. Or move to Denmark. At least the elitist politicians there will spend my tax dollars on [tag]bike lanes[/tag].

</rant>

Wow, just read this over. Maybe it’s time to go work off said anger and frustration on the bike or the treadmill. …