This will be a short Blahg.

I wrote that in early Feb, and it's not true anymore. 

Excuse the goofs, typos, grammaticals, bad organization. Skip around, bail out, whatever it takes. Thanks!


To Start, I read this today, Leap Day. It's FANTASTIC:

"Time-and-Date-Industrial-Complex" is genuinely hilarious. I have already added two other uses for "T&D IC" to my breakfast-table conversation. I'm going to use it a LOT from now on. Bicycle stuff, fishing stuff, everything. It's not just for prisons anymore.


The oval blue graphic at the start of this will make sense IN TIME. For now, heaven forbid, don't read any religious or anti-religion message into it. And yes, I know the difference between a monk and a saint, but this is good enough.

Lots of stuff happening here and out there, lots to talk about, but it seems, it FEELS, kind of self-indulgent to assume that what interests me will interest you. I'm in a downer mood for now, also. Some of it has to do with politics. None of it has to do with bicycles---although now that I mention it, every day I live with a palor of depression about certain trends and future availablity.

It's just hard to be big and good. "Business" seems to be about riding the waves to growth, with an exit strategy of being bought by venture capitalists who already own a ton of brands, then being a consultant for a few years, then retiring in your forties. Maybe late forties. 

I'm 69.5 and not thinking about retiring, mainly because work is a its FUNNEST ever, and after 27 years of stress, it's nice to be here and be less stressed, and I want to enjoy it. We have stresses, but for the most part they're "luxury stresses." Like the rear derailer. Our freelance engineer, who is not "ours" in any sense of the word--but the guy who's designing the movements and will eventually provide the ultimate manufacturer with a file--he really is the mechanically smartest bicycle person I know, and really good at this stuff, but has, let me just say, unfortunate issues with his life, things he has to deal with, things that slow him down. We're at the three-yard line, and the clock has been stopped for a while.

There's a chance that Microshift will make us a "low-normal" derailer (RapidRise style) based on one of its recently discontinued models (the R10), but they could make us a year's supply in half a day, and to say it the British way, they "are not keen" to do that. It throws a monkey wrench in their efficient factory, and they're understandably slightly reluctant. 

Several months ago we bought about 70 NOS new  old stock Shimano models from a place in England', and we use them on complete builds if the customer asks. We're not selling them outright. They might be the last of their kind in the world. 


The front derailer is coming along. It's a project run mostly by Jim Porter of Merry Sales, but we've had a ton-o' input on it, and along the way have learned a lot. It'll look a lot like this Microshift SKELETON KEY model, an ugly sucker that works great. It will look slightly better and work as well and will have a separable cage, for those of us who sometimes mount front derailers before connecting the chain.


Three to six times a week I'll get a call or email or somebody else here will, from somebody with a Bridgestone question. The others here are understandably weary of it and I am kind of too, but not as weary, because I know Riv wouldn't have been born without Bstone. But I'd like to talk a bit about those days, the almost decade I worked there from Dec 8, 1984 to Sept 30, 1994. I can't speak for others, just me, and if I write this uncharacteristically clearly and you read it, you'll understand something about what it's like to have Bstone such an omnipresent part of my life still. I'll start from the beginning, and I apologize if this reads like an egoistical autobiography. I mean, the fact that I'm writing it at all and knowing ten percent of you will read it.

TO SKIP, scroll down to the RED NOTE.

By late 1984 I'd been working at REI for almost ten years and was going nowhere. I didn't want to climb the ladder and they didn't want me to. I was great with customers, had all kinds of expertise--deep techy stuff...from fitting boots to special ways to lace the, sizing packs, turning quilts into sleeping bags, working stoves, making the best ice axe leashes...and bike stuff, too. We had an amazing group of friendly experts there. It was at the peak of Berkeley's backpacking craze, and many world-reknown manufacturers were headquartered there: The North Face, Trailwise, Sierra Designs, Mountain Traders, Marmot Mtn Works, Granite Stairway, Class 5. REI was the latecomer, but had a staff equal or better than any. 

But by the time I was thirty I wanted to get married (I had a gf, now wife) and not have to work half of every weekend forever and every Christmas eve. I was bike racing, six years on a team, I'd written a couple of bicycle books (where to ride), and was halfway known in the bicycle community. A friend and teammate (Chris Watson, now of Arundel) was a road rep for Bridgestone and got me a job there. Before my interview I owned zero shirts with buttons, no leather shoes, etc, but an escorted shopping trip to Nordstrom and $440 later I had the stuff. 

My first (of two) interviews was fine. The boss was an old Japanese guy who worked for a trading company, C. Itoh, who'd gone in halvsies with Bridgestone-Japan to start Bstone USA. His assistant was a chainsmoking, hyper, heavlily made up American, and she did all the talking. Bridgestone was nearly unknown in the US market, and Specialized, Trek, Panasonic. Schwinn, Raleigh, GT, and Nishiki were huge, and yet she said the goal was to make Bstone No. 1 in three years, and could I help make that happen? I said Yes, knowing No. 

I got the job and did mostly data entry for many months. I was told i'd be the HQ's bike expert and answer bike questions from dealers and customers, but mostly it was data entry, and it was a nightmare for me and for Bstone. The software program we had was unforgiving. I could enter 250 line items, but each line disappeared as soon as I hit ENTER, and if the totals on my report didn't match the invoice to the penny,  had to start all over. The boss yelled at me a week into the job. The next day he invited me to lunch--I assumed it was to apologize, but what he said was, "You really don't belong here." My wife and I had a 6 year old and a 2-month old and a 13.5 percent mortgage, and holy god I was terrified. But, he didn't fire me right then.

Over time I did less data entry, and took on more bicycle questions from wherever ("What size should I get?"  "What's the difference between a Mod 400 and a 300?" etc.) Then I was thrown into all kinds of things I knew nothing about. I ran the co-op advertising program for dealers. I organized our next trade shows--reservations for all the reps, the Japanese guys fro Tokyo...arranged the booth transportation, made it work smoothly and within the budget. I was completely out of my league. 

I hated our ads and catalogue, and the same mean boss asked, "Do you think you can do better than J. Walter Thompson?" I said yes, and he said, "We now have Grant Petersen advertising agency." I had no idea how photos or type got onto paper, didn't know anything, but I read books and studied and did all that, then got into bike design and catalogues. Nobody else in office (five or six others, admin types) knew ANYTHING about bikes, so it's not like I had competition.

I liked doing the catalogues, and we had a good small team. Ariadne, sometimes Ernie, for a while, Candace. But the dealers for the most part hated them. They weren't glossy, no photos. At the 1992 trade show, one of the industry big shots told me AND my then-boss that it was the worst catalog he'd ever seen. Here are some phone shots of some of the pages. The illustrations are by George Retseck, who is still alive and kicking and drawing and working on a future book with me.


I didn't like our bikes, I was beyond Bstones, I rode Ritcheys at the time, and Bridgestones were beneath me, I thought. But they were my job, and I figured I'd try to make them appeal to snobs like me, so over time I made over the whole line. In retrospect, I helped the reputation by going radical, but (especially in retrospect), I made the kind of mtn bikes I now don't like. Short, steep, toe clips, 48 to 50t big rings, 28t rear cogs... I could pedal them but I was super fit. I could talk them up sincerely, but (back to in retrospect) I'm not...well, my current self and values things have evolved (upward!) but my then-self was kind full of himself and full of shit. 

The Japanese team liked the approach of making our bikes distinctive, but a lot of the American team (sales reps) wanted bikes that were just like TREKs but cheaper. I was seen as kind of a rogue, and was blamed for a lot of stuff. I had support, too, but the sales meetings were intense.

Let me be clear: The bikes "performed well." They rode better than most of the mtn bikes back then. But I have gotten either smarter or older or more full-of-myself or all of that, and there's no comparison to our current models and design approach. I wish I could have a Groundhog Day/year/decade.  It reminds me of what a good friend of mine, a frame builder "of some reknown" said when I asked him if he had any regrets or could change something. He said he'd like to get back his first 250 frames.

The best thing I personally got out of Bstone was a bicycle education. I toured many/most parts makers and saw how parts were made. I asked every question I could think of and got answers. I spend tons of time in Bstone's testing facility, seeing bikes and parts being tested and destoyed, and not just watching agog, but again asking questions and getting answers. It was that experience that made me appreciate safety, and made me appreciate even low-end Bstone models that I was too snobby for before. Bstone wasn't necessarily unique in its throroughness and approach to testing and safety, but it was and still IS Japan's biggest bicycle maker, and it values safety above all else. Before Bstone was a bike company, it was a motorcycle company, and there was a f*ckup with a model that led to poop-in-pants, followed by their own in-house testing, since they couldn't anymore trust outside sources. They quit motorcycle-making but got tons of test machines, and those formed the foundation of the on-growing bicycle test lab that i got to see every part of. It was so neat. Strain gauges, acoustic emission tests, natural weathering (uv, ozone) stations, and crude destruction ramps with barbell weights and eccentric ocillators. Everything timed, measured, noted,  I came back to California after trips like this, and it was like I'd walked through Yosemite and was then supposed to describe it to a team of people who lived in the city their whole lives. I did take photos, and I could show them internally, but not to the media or to outsiders. Somewhere in my garage I have hundreds of photos of the tests.

About 9 years ago Will and I went to Bstone and they let us roam the test area unescorted and said it was OK to take photos of everything. The millenials were in charge that day, and we saw mostly the kinds of tests that didn't require a person.  Anyway, that "build 'em safe" thing stuck with me, so when a critic or well-meaning customer suggests something that I think will wreck the frame, it's easy to say no. That's not to say it's impossible to break our frames. They're still light by historical standards, they just aren't riskily light.

 The THING that made Bstone Japan close down Bstone-US was an exchange rate that made it impossible to not lose money. And mounting accounts receivable. Most of our dealers didn't pay on time. The reps still got their 6 percent commission, but some of our "best" dealers owed us $30,000 to $50,000, and we had to keep shipping them bikes, or they wouldn't pay us any. From that, I knew RBW would be "cash before delivery." At Bstone there were 15 people in the office, eventually, and five were in credit & collections, all day long, calling dealers and trying to be. nice while asking them to please can you send us $3,000 on the $20,000 that's 3 months past due...?

Anyway, here are some page-shots from those catalogs:



I remember posing for that and feeling relieve that I didn't have to be there another year and feel the pressure to steer our bikes in another direction AND being terrified of what was coming for me. That photo was taken early September, 1994. We closed Sept 30. On Oct 11 our second child was born and for a couple of months I'd been THINKING ABOUT starting my own business, but I didn't know how to go about it. We became official Oct 17, first sales was Jan 4, 1995. It's been really stressful until maybe three years ago, when we started doing OK. We have a good group here, and the goal is to keep it up. I have never enjoyed work as much as I do now, but I'm giving others more responsibility so when I leave they won't bat an eye. I have no plans to leave soon. I'd like to sell them the business, but I don't know how, and they can't afford to buy it and might not want to...I just don't know.

But this is it for me, not Bstone. Those bikes were good. I don't think they're worth sinking a thousand to two thousand into to restore to original condition. I think many people don't see the value and support of buying from living businesses. In fifty years, what 50 to 80-year-old bikes will be the groovy ones? I hope ours, and I hope they'll still be ridden without motors. I hope Will and the others here will find it worthwhile to stay for another 20+ years, but you just never know.

We recently found this poster, a sample by artist Seymor Chwast. In 1989 or so he was trying out for a Bridgestone poster thing. Ultimately we picked one from David Wormell in England. But this one is pretty far out there. It references Bridgestone's "Egyptian" phase.

Here's his site. He's in his 90s now and still alive (implied?). We're all instant big fans of his.  I just ordered a book.




THis was a high-school shop project. No other details available. This should be a high-school woodshop or metalshop standard.


The Silver3 crank, as Will has noted, has passed the ISO road bike test and is on the way. It may be on the complete Roaduno bikes. The current Silver (1?) crank is still our top recommendation for all-around riding including trails. The Silver3 has a skinnier arm that looks more traddy. It's for road only. Dirt roads, fine. It probably won't break, but you have to be SOOOO conservative these years.


Please join the Bicycle Fan Club! This is a happy thing all-around. All of the profits go to the 826 Valencia, a non-profit that teaches generally under-resourced kids to read and write...exceptionally well. 

It starts with a $10 membership card, and all $10 goes to 826 Valencia.

Then you can legitimately wear the hats and t-shirts.


Here's something from an interview with John Cooper Clark, British poet .

Yes, who DID ask for controls on everything to be touch-sensitive? Nobody in my cohort, and I'm not implying that it's a decent cohort to be in, I'm just saying it wasn't one of us. And progress often does go on longer than it's needed, and when it does, it kind of stops being progress, right? The height of derailers in the modern (post-WWII) era was the late 1980s to early 1990s, and then again when the insufficiently exhaulted Shimano RapidRise derailers came out in about 1999 to 2003/4. 

The best year for moderately priced ten-speeds was 1984. There were major improvements from 1980 to 1984, and then with the Yen Shock of 1985 all went to hell for a few years (there were exceptions, but anybody who was deeply involved with bicycle in the mid 1980s knows this to be a fact).

Probably the best years for mechanical film cameras were 1972 to 1985.

In some ways, maybe unnoticeable to you or to most, the bicycles that we're making now are—I know this sounds bad to say, but I believe it 100 percent—they're as good as heck. I don't know how they can be improved. 

My biggest regret of the past year is the headbadge on the upcoming Roaduno. The design is great, I'm not talking about that, but I made a goof.


 Here's the cover and a couple of paged from our Summer 1996 catalog. We haven't changed THAT much:



Everybody who is reading this, and some who aren't know of, have heard but probably not heard but not for a while, Bob Dylan's song, "Blowin' in the Wind."

He wrote it when he was 20 or 21, because it was released on an album in 1962 and he was born in 1941...so that's a simple math problem. The thing is, if you haven't READ the lyrics, if you don't know them so well, then it's hard to appreciate the power of them. It's a really simple song, but the questions he asks in each verse are "pretty neat." It will be worth your time to read them.

Blowin’ in the Wind

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ’n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ’n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ’n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
Here's the song as released
The chorus isn't necessary, which isn't me criticizing the song, it's just me saying the questions are the deal in this song, and "the answer is blowin' in the wind" is far better known in our culture and life than are the questions, which seems backwards.
The album cover photo was shot near the itersetion of Jones and W. 4th in NYC. I think in February, same month as now.  Photographer's back facing W.4th I THINK. I've been there, seeked it out, and the buildings are same, but the cars are diff. Probably Teslas and Rivians now. 

 Charity is a deal here, but the money isn't endless, and giving leads to complication. If we give $X to Z, then Z often figures we could really afford to donate $10X.  One of several cases in point: A former vendor of ours closed down (it was NOT Waterbury/Nutmeg, the bag makers), and the guy was gonna get kicked out of his apartment for being behind on his rent, so we sent him $4k, moe than 3 months rent.  Two days after he got it he asked for more. It doesn't work that way.


Here's a wacky, depressing, wrong thing. Worth reading, though.






I've been working on a book about the development of the bicycle, mostly concurrent with cultural and political events that happened along the way. Sometimes people don't like it when you crawl outside of the box they put you in. I know this from experience, and maybe you do, too. "Stick to bikes, dude!" and "If I want to read about that other stuff, I'll (do that on my own, or something)."




This was on an employee's beater. It stays out in the sun, when he's not riding it, and he stored it outside in a non-sunny town for 6 months. The tires were four years old. Whatever-- but this is why I'm a fan of rubbery-coated thicker sidewalls. The "supple ride" thing is kind of a ruse. You can lower the pressure on a sturdier tire five to ten psi and get the same suppleness WITH a sturdier tire. The lighter tire will accellerate easier faster, but accellerability for a non-competitive rider isn't THAT important. Anyway, if you go with light sidewalls, you must be more careful. I've had light sidewalls go ka-pow on me around corners and out of the blue, and I'm not into them anymore. UBU, tho.
If you love bicycles and can tolerate statistics, you might find this interesting.


 The following  watch is something I don't get at all, but it suggests that somebody wants to shake things up at Timex. Or somebody at Timex is insane or has a personal vendetta they're manifesting in a watch model. 

 This same approach to shaking things up is going on in a lot of industries, with lots of companies. 

This is what happens when companies get sold or get passed on to heirs who want to make their own mark so they're not accused of riding on grampa's coattails. It's happening with Shimano and Campagnolo. It is NOT happening with NITTO, maybe because Akira Yoshikawa is still in charge there. But even when he lets go, we (at Riv) have good reason to believe it'll keep going. 

Another exception is SomaFab, the consumer sub-division of Merry Sales (started by Jim Porter's grandfather and a partner in 1903). We're working with Jim on several projects, and he has the right kind of fire in his belly.


Here's a long thing about Mongolia.


Sorry about that, Mongolia

Winter temperatures in Mongolia range between -20ºF to -40ºF.  According to everybody's ultimate modern authority, Mongolia is the coldest inhabited country in the world. I know what you're thinking—what about Oymyakon, that village in Siberia (part of Russia), about 1700 miles East Northeast of Mongolia?  It's even colder, but only 500 people live there, so that doesn't count as a whole country. 

The classic, common Mongolian shelter is a round-walled, wood pole-framed, bluntly pointed, wool-felt covered ger (almost rhymes with mare). A full-sized ger can be set up in 30 minutes and taken down and packed onto a camel’s back in less than an hour. (It’s plausible that when people from Siberia crossed Beringia and migrated down to now-North America, the gers or whatever they called them then, were modified to the new environment and materials and weather, evolving into teepees and wigwams and those rounded clay structures the southwest indigenous people settled on.) If you saw a ger you’d call it a yurt, a fun-to-say and more familiar word to Americans, but not as true to the people who live in them: Yurt is Russian, but Mongols say ger. More on the Russians in a bit.

 Mongolians, historically, haven’t made and sold things. They didn't in the old days, anyway. They’ve lived and herded livestock on the steppe, the swath of pastureland north of the Gobi desert that extends thousands of miles from western China to just east of Meditteranea, and includes Krgystan, Afghanistan, Iran, Irag, Bosnia and Herzegovina—and all except the northmost and southmost ranges of what we used to call “Eurasia.” When Genghis Khan conquered almost all of Europe east of Italy (1206 - 1227) and his descendants ruled it after him thru the early 1400s, it was the biggest empire of all time, by far—about 10 million square miles, which is more than three times bigger than the continental U.S. These days Mongolia is about 603,000 square miles, but still way bigger than California and Alaska combined.

It has 3 million residents, but is the least dense country on earth. Half the population still herds and roams the steppe. A poor herdsman has 300 animals; an average one, 1,000; a rich one, 10,000. (There are about 70 million steppe-herded animals now.) Camels carry loads, including gers. Highly evolved Mongolian horses are for transportation, and their milk is fermented into airag, an alcoholic drink deeply embedded into Mongol culture for at least a thousand years. Sheep are for wool, cheese, and meat, Yaks are for meat and wool, and goats are for wool. Most are cashmere goats, easily monetized because the nearby Chinese use it to make expensive export sweaters. 

In exchange for their upkeep, the animals—including those forest-destroying cashmere goats— provide dung for cooking and heat. For thousands of years, this symbiotic relationship has remained intact, testament to its sustainability. You'll not be surprised—me being the Bad News spreader—that the worldwide demand for cashmere has led to too many goats over there, and they're deforesting the holy bejesus out of Mongolia. If you buy cheap cashmere sweaters, the quality of the cashmere isn't as good, and now there's the psychic burden of knowing you're killing off trees in Mongolia. Buy used or spend quadrillion dollars. It's all complicated. The cold temperatures make the dung necessary and have discouraged construction and development, but then there are the trees to think of.

 Russian Communists annexed Mongolia in 1920, making Mongolia the second Communist country ever. Then Communist carpenters built the capital city and named it Ulaanbataar. (It’s not pronounced OOH-lan  ba-TAR; it’s OH lawn BAH tar, with a slight roll of the last r.) Ulaaan translates to "red" and "bataar" to "hero," so Ulaanbataar means Red Hero. The Communists weren’t heroes to Mongolians.

Whatever the case, Mongolians often shorten it to UB, which avoids pronouncing challenges for foreigners and is less of a communist reminder to Mongolians.

Creating the city of UB changed everything—slowly at first, faster more recently. It had 1,500 people in 1920, but was designed and to hold up to 600,000, which seemed like a good cushion, but turned out to not be enough. UB reached that population in 1989, the worst year for Communists worldwide. The Chinese Communists had just suffered a famous defeat of at Tianneman Square, Communism was crumbling all over, so Mongolians were able to win their independence back with a relatively peaceful protest and a hunger strike.

 Now, thirty years later, UB overflows with 1.5 million people—half of Mongolia's total population. There’s a high-rise district at its core, and a ger/yurt city on the outskirts, and the ger city continues to grow as former herders give up the traditional life on the steppe for life in what is becoming something like an urban-sprawl slum and an air pollution factory.

 Mongolians move to UB for four reasons:

  1. Health care. Most doctors stay in the city.
  2. Education. More and better (still not excellent) schools in UB.
  3. Income security. If you're a herder and a hot summer is followed by a super cold winter (a one-two weather punch known as a dzud), it can wipe out most or all of your herd and income. A seasonal construction or service-sector job (food server, maid, salesperson) isn't affected by the weather.
  4. The pull of modernism. They have television and the internet, and seeing what the outside world is like is proving irresistable. They want to be near the computers and tv sets.

The problem is UB’s infrastructure. All those people require too much electricity, plumbing, running water, general facilities. 

On top of that, gers aren’t suitable for stationary life in the city. A ger doesn't regulate heat well, and since there's no animal feces to burn for heat and fuel, they burn coal—constantly, for everything, essentially 24/7. Now Ulaanbataar is the most air-polluted city in the world, worse than London, Beijing, and anywhere in India.

The World Health Organization sets a level of 75 parts per million for air pollutants of 2.5micron particle size as "dangerous." The rating system went mainstream in America recently with the California wildfires, which reached a maxium of about 300 parts per million, for a few days. At that level, some business shut down and people stayed indoors. Even at 75, people wore filtering masks.

In UB, from mid October thru February, when the temperatures are coldest and the most coal is fired up, the particulate matter in the air reaches 1,000 ppm, and people don't wear masks.

The ground in a ger is cold, too. You might think, why not just add felt floors to the already felt gers? The UB residents gave up their animals when they moved the city. You can't have a few million animals around with nothing to graze on. 

(I bet the felt gers will be gone soon, anyway. Elon Musk will have his monetizable plan for Mongolia.)

If you’ve done much winter camping, you might also think (well, I do): what about closed-cell, EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam, like REI sells for cheap good sleeping pads for people who can't afford inflatable ones? EVA is also used for running shoe midsoles. China must have a few factories dedicated to EVA. The EVA I’ve recently bought on Amazon to pad helmets with came from China. It’s probably an environmental disaster to produce, but they’re already making tons it, literally, so it’s got to be cheap, and it lasts indefinitely. Half an inch of that on the ground makes you not feel the snow. But I'm not that smart and I've never been to Mongolia, so there must be a reason why EVA pads aren’t covering ger floors now.

An organization called Gerhub is trying to address some of this. 



Big old posters like this make me feel out of the loop:

 I don't know what they're talking about. Do you just contact them and invite them to rifle thru your files, and say, here's a blank check, take over!   ? 

People always want to take over our customer communications and experience stuff. They tell us we're letting people leave too much in the shopping carts. They want quick (?) 15-minute chats. They don't know bicycles, they don't know us or you, but they're cocksure they can help us. They offer to buy me a coffee and donut, and travel to visit. I know it's not just me or Rivendell...but I can't get used to it. I hate it, I don't understand anything.

I hate cart reminders, we're never going to have them. If you abandon your cart, we're all just gonna have to live with that.

If you call and get a recording, it's because it's after hours and we're not here. We close at 4pm California time, but Will and I are often here later, and we pick up until we go. 


Did you see this? 

Pencil again. It IS Black History Month:

You'd think Texas, of all states, would want to kind of be on super good behavior. Is this the best it can do? 


If you have or want a Platypus, read this from the Australian Platypus Conservancy. $50 from each Platypus sale goes there:






WE LOSE LOTS OF measuring tapes here. Cheap one, so I guess no big deal, bu we've gone through 50 in a year and a half, and it's time to get more. Only cheap ones--no Starrett, Stanley, Mitutoyo, Lufkin, whatever. I looked at one here and wanted to order the same thing:

It's not a GREAT logo.

And this is confusing to an American:


Sportsy alert: A neat story about college basketball. Good points, well-written, complete, all good. An exceptionally well-written thing:



Charity news:

An anonymous donor gave $60 million to the S.F. Ballet. Smartly anonymous, because if it wasn't anonymous, man, would that person or family be hit up for donations from everybody. And of course it seems like, really, $60 million to the ballet? But we just don't know, and the arts DO matter, and my wife and daughter see the S.F. ballets a couple of times a year. It's not the Ballet vs. Women's shelters, but we are allowed our mixed feelings. Well, good for them for donating ANYTHING. The two dancers in this video are in the S.F. Balley, although you. might not know it. There was a contest to make a video to this song, and they won.



Another person, non-anonymously, gave $1 billion to a medical college in the Bronx. If the link doesn't work, you can read it in screenshots below.


This is great, too. Sometimes these NYT open for non-subscribers, sometimes they don't. It's a good-news story, and I feel like I'm full of bad news and whining too much. Here  it is in screenshots:



We give to smallish causes and as I think I've said before (and I think about a lot when deciding where to give), we don't  "piss on forest fires or buy office supplies for the Red Cross." So more than half of our charity money is not tax-deductible, because a lot of people or groups that need it haven't filed as 501c3 tax-exempt charities. It takes hassle and paperwork and the bar is too high for a lot of people. Sometimes I WISH I could turn over the charity stuff to someone or some people who could sniff out the best recipients. I like the ones we have, but..I don't know. I don't want to give it to people we know directly. I don't want the recipients to count on ongoing, but I also don't want to give up.


BICYCLE SENTENCES is a real book now. I'm taking zero royalties on it, not one goddamned dime, and $10 from each $20 book goes to ... some charity, not sure which or who.  This isn't magnanimous or anything, I think some will say saying that is virtue signaling, but I'm just trying to get you to buy it so we can give more money away. I am not rich by 2024 standards, but I'm 69.5 years old and haven't been a fool with money and things were just easier then. I don't need they money, so I won't make any from it. We'll have a separate fund for sales of BICYCLE SENTENCES, and that way we won't have to take bonuses or raises out of the general fund. So, that's the deal with that. It's worth $20.


If you're under 65 you may not have heard this song written and sung by Don McClean. You can't hate it. Sometimes having a slide show with lyrics over the slides can be kind of cheesy, but it works here. It probably helps to like Van Gogh. He painted several Starry Starry Nights. I've seen one, and it really is all it's cracked up to be. 

This song is still no Blowin' in the Wind, but they can't all be.


 I hope this last link works. It's pretty neat. And even tho this is going out in Black History Month, just barely, I guess it needs a






Of all of Bob Dylan's songs, this one stands out as the one with the most unpredictable following lines and the weirdest story. For decades I didn't like it, but almost every line is an earworm now, and I feel lucky and happy to have such an earworm.  

Six white horses that you did promise

Were finally delivered down to the penitentiary.


...I've got the fever down in my pocket

The Persian drunkard, he follows me.

He doesn't rhyme above with love, or stuff like that.


That's it, catharsis complete, sorry it dragged on so long, and I won't assume you made it this far.




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