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« Bullshit Literacy | Main | Bloglines: Exacerbating My ADD »

Riding and Random Thoughts

mybike.jpg My First Bicycle

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. H.G. Wells

One of the genuine benefits of physical exercise - that goes beyond developing excellent glutes - is how walking, running, or biking stirs the thinking process. Excess oxygen to the brain or something. Somehow I always get my best ideas or solutions to problems when doing something at least semi-aerobic.

This Labor Day weekend the LWW, her daughter, her daughter’s SO, and I bicycled the beautiful Cannon River trail from Cannon Falls to Red Wing and back to Cannon Falls. An easy 20 miles in each direction. Plenty of time for a bit of musing.

Idle Thought #1
Bicycles are one of the best technologies ever invented. I remember reading once that a bicycle is the most energy efficient form of land transportation. I believe it. It’s incredible how improved the technology of bicycling has become since my earliest bike riding days as a kid, proud of his new one-speed $30 Coast King bike, to today with my 21-speed $300 Cannondale velocipede. The Cannondale, now seven-years-old, weighs half of what the Coast King did and can be geared down to the point it will nearly climb trees. I do believe it it’s no more physically demanding to ride 20 miles on it than it was to ride the mile or so to my cousin’s farm when I was a kid.

I was reminded once again that one way to look at technology is that is simply a device that amplifies and extends a natural human ability. The bicycle amplifies the leg; the telescope, the eye; the telephone, the ear. I am still trying to figure out what exactly the computer and Internet amplify.

Idle Thought #2
Can’t we pass a law that would require that any mandated state test must first be passed by the legislators who voted for it?

Idle Thought #3
I rather pride myself in that I almost never watch television. But I may have to rethink this after watching some of the footage of the impact and tragedies of Hurricane Katrina. The realization that the majority of the horrors that came after the storm have fallen mainly on the poor African-American population simply wasn’t apparent to me until watching the evening news. While I read two daily newspapers, scan Newsweek, and listen to NPR, there was something about the television images that illuminated this heartbreaking story in a way no other medium could. Maybe I better watch the TV news more regularly.

Idle Thought #4
Each year I set as goal more regular visits to the buildings in my district. Each year, it seems, my desk exerts greater magnetic pull. While that can be explained in part because I can solve more problems and communicated effectively with folks throughout the district via e-mail, I am not sure it is the complete answer. Whatever the cause, I plan this year to really demagnetize myself and get out and talk to my media specialists, teachers and principals on a regular basis.

Idle Thought #5
The Onion continues to be the funniest and smartest satire going. While LM_Net alerted everyone to the “story” about Google destroying all information it can’t catalog, their piece, Intelligent Falling, is even funnier (and more pointed).

Idle Thought #6
Increasingly, I’ve been having what I call “charmed life” moments - a sudden realization just how incredibly lucky I am to have the life I have - wonderful family, decent health for all of us, a beautiful home in a beautiful state, some financial security (working wife!), a job and profession I love, and a bit of leisure time to simply enjoy life. I once believed that the truly lucky people were those born to great wealth. I was wrong.

The most recent of these moments came while sitting outdoors eating breakfast at the St. James Hotel in Redwing yesterday morning eating delicious rye toast with strawberry preserves, watching slow traffic moving up and down the Mississippi, and enjoying the company of my lovely wife and two bright and funny 20-somethings. If I ever sound whiney or ungrateful about anything, somebody please dope-slap me. Thank you.
the computer and the Internet amplify my tendencies towards ADD…

Comment by SaraKellyJohns — September 6, 2005 @ 10:22 pm

I’ve had my own random thoughts lately, several of which parallel yours…the legislative tests, for example. But I just sent this quote to my friends and colleagues: “If I ever sound whiney or ungrateful about anything, somebody please dope-slap me. Thank you.”

Thanks for expressing it so well.

Comment by Donna — September 7, 2005 @ 12:08 pm

I’ve had reports that some folks don’t know what a “dope slap” is. I hear it regularly referred to on NPR’s Car Talk. Maybe it is a Boston expresssion. BUT it has universal applications.

From The Urban Dictionary

Dope Slap: A light “whappp” to the back of the head, done with an open palm in an upward motion. The physical equivalent of the phrase, “Whatta you, a moron?!”

Someone oughta give that damn Illinois driver a dope slap for driving like an idiot!

Comment by dougj — September 7, 2005 @ 2:16 pm

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