No. 23 for the year. Some fun, minimal but not zero waste of time, plus a pitch-plea.

No. 23 for the year. Some fun, minimal but not zero waste of time, plus a pitch-plea.

Robert Reich:

Song clarification from last post: I didn't make it clear that I LIKE Ferry Cross the Mersey and House of the Rising Sun. I wasn't putting them in the same category as Having My Baby, the creepiest song of all time. I later corrected this, but some of you may have read that BLAHG before I had a chance to, and it would bug me no end to think that you thought I didn't like Ferry and House. I know what you're thinking—that you don't give it any thought and don't care. Good! But I just wanted to be sure. I don't want anybody walking around thinking I don't like those two songs.


Messengers 1908 -1917. This collection of photos made the internet rounds a couple of years ago, but is worth a repeat, and maybe you haven't seen them yet. Most people still haven't. Beautiful photos, fascinating captions, lots of detail, makes you wonder a million things:


Did you see the reversed stem on Marion Davis's bike? Charge me with wild, unfounded guessing, but I'm guessing you overlooked it. Or, maybe you thought he goofed up in assembly, or somebody did, or he just modified his bike. Whatever—the wild, unfounded guessing accusation, to whatever extent it is real, is hurtful. What did I ever do to you? Here's evidence that reverso stems weren't invented by Marion Davis:

This is from the 1894 catalog, and the Mod. 34 truly was their gem of the ocean. A world offered homage to it.


Here's an obit for one of the fathers of one of the kids. The one with the name mostly likely to be the next Rivendell model. Maybe the ultimate bicycle model name. O, to have a tabula rasa.



My oldest daugher, Katie—the one who had her Glorius bike stolen in St. Paul about 10 years ago--she's working on a dissertation and is trying to round up qualified people to take a questionnaire of her devising. She needs 120, has 104 or so, and she hasn't asked me to post this, but I thought it might work. She's not lazy. She works hard, asks for nothing from her mom and I. (We try to offer more than zero, tho).

She's super cool, a hustler, a hard worker, and I insisted, because I can do this without feeling like I'm enabling laziness.'s the thing she's been plying the waters with:

My name is Kate Petersen, and I’m a 4th-year doctoral student at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. I am conducting a dissertation survey on grief and end-of-life planning, and I need help finding 16 more participants to complete a 15-30 minute online survey (104 people have already completed it). 

I'm interested in how people communicate their end-of-life preferences to their loved ones, and how this communication affects their loved ones' grief and psychological well-being later on. 

Please consider helping to spread the word by posting about this survey on your Facebook page or by forwarding this email to anybody you think might be interested in participating.

 You are eligible to participate if…

  • You are an adult who lives in the United States.
  • An adult family member of yours passed awaybetween 6 months and 2 years ago.
  • You were involved in thedecision-making process (a little or a lot) about end-of-life carefor your family member.

By participating, you will get…

  • A free book—Grieving Mindfully(New Harbinger, 2005) 
  • The satisfaction that you are contributing to knowledge about this topic 


The survey is online, anonymous, and takes 15-30 minutes. If you would like to participate, please visit the online survey at 

 Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this study:

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 Kate Petersen, M.A.

Doctoral Candidate, The Wright Institute


Well...through no help of popular demand, we still got in a tool that used to exist and be common, and you can still get them if you look, but not at most bike shops: The classic pushmi-pullyu 5/6 allen wrench. It: saves weight over carrying two, and prevents grabbing for one and getting the other. On the other hand, if you lose it, you lose both, but to prevent THAT, we're selling them with a strong rare earth magnet. You can just toss it into a tool kit, but the cool kids are putting them onto magnets onto steel frames.


You can get one here.

 You know our anti-plastic thing? Well, we've made big strides, but here's a setback that proves we must be more diligent, and assume plastic will happen if we don't preemptively reject it--as we didn't with the pushmi-pullyou tools:



A book I'm reading now, here's a part of a page from it:

 What do we do with this? It was written in the 1860s, and Willie, as you history savants have guessed by now, is Willie Lincoln. I love everything about this paragraph, and I'll never think of Abe again, never see a penny again, without thinking of young Willie. My life is better for this.


It's part of a book, called Behind the Scenes, and is a  memoir written by Elizabeth Keckley, who was born a slave in 1818 or so, and later became Mary Todd Lincoln's personal seamstress and confidant. This is this post's race entry. It's a wonderful book, super cheap, and five stars etc.

You'll learn more about slavery in the first thirty pages than you care to know. I like the language all through it.

Is it racist to be surprised that a former slave could write so well, and unpretentiously use words that I've never seen before and had to look up? Not that that's a measure of anything. It was illegal to teach slaves to read, and she was a slave till 1855, but sneakers taught them, and after a booster shot they could learn in secret on their own. The book was published 13 years later, but I'm guessing she took more than a year to write it. 

Here's a photo of Elizabeth Keckley:

There's that familiar, old-timey formal elegance to the photo and the pose, and it is perfect in every way for what it is. That photographer had control over his light and chemicals. It's a photograph of Mary Todd Lincoln's dressmaker, for crying out loud. Isn't that great? It's magic!


 Will and his friend Rachel went down to L.A. where they lived before here. They both have family down there, and know the streets and skateboard on them. He got back a few days ago and told me this story:

Rachel and I and our friend Jaira wanted to get to a restaurant across downtown quickly and I wasn't able to get my own scooter because I didn't have my phone (you need the app) so Rachel rented one and we doubled up on it.

 A motorcycle cop pulled us over after a couple of blocks and wrote us both tickets without ever flipping up his stormtrooper visor, but while he was writing it a bird crapped on him twice and a homeless guy yelled at him that he was "a joke". When we pointed out that he was getting crapped on he replied "it happens" and "you chose to pull your scooter over here".

 He also chewed us out for not being at the extreme edge of the road even though there were no cars behind us while we were riding. I got the feeling he pulled us over not so much for doubling up as for possibly inconveniencing the more worthy commuters in cars.

The scooters are everywhere and definitely are an eyesore on sidewalks, but I'd argue that cars have made entire cities eyesores so I don't get too bent out of shape about the scooters anymore. In a perfect city everybody could walk, but seeing as how LA is almost entirely designed for cars and not people, the scooters are a good alternative.

Here's a book that's radicalizing Will.

Related to that:

This story about cars and laws and with dusting of race.


 I think I forgot some things, and I hope the links work. Don't forget Kate's link-thing. If it applies. Sorry if it DOES apply, know...



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