Stone-stacking, the WHO, soap, gizzards. Estimated reading time minus the links and videos, about 12 minutes. It's a long and hairy rambler.

Stone-stacking, the WHO, soap, gizzards. Estimated reading time minus the links and videos, about 12 minutes. It's a long and hairy rambler.

this one is rambling and an insane waste of time, but it's what I need at the moment.

R U a stonestack-r?


Do human-stacked stones make a natural place more beautiful? Does whatever artistic element of the stacked stones make up for the obviousness that a human didd it? Maybe sometimes, but as the article points out...well, you haven't read it? I won't spoil it. It's a short read and is better written than this,

I thought that was pretty interesting, a point of view I'd never thought of. I've stacked maybe three in my life with nary a pang of guilt. The one below was just about 40 days ago, so it's fresh. Here it is:

In defense of me, it was my wife who put it there. I'm down to two, then (I did another one nearby. There were five of these monstrosities on the beach about 5 miles south of Gualala, CA.) I don't count the stone-stacking I've done to mark trails in the traditional way--probably more than a hundred, but those aren't decorative. They save lives.

I remember being on a local trail ride four years ago in an area just west and a little south of the Caldecott Tunnel, and we came to a high place looking over a low  place about 90 feet down, a clearing with—you guessed it—some faux Mayan ruins in the form of a great spiral crop circle-like thing of stones.   I imagined a cult of thin peaceables claiming ownership of that part of the land and the stones and imagined them thinking it was an offering or something, but all I saw was rock graffiti, which seems like not so bad, especially these days, I mean--come on, is it really something to squawk about with all this other stuff going on? I felt bad for wanting to knock it over, but to ME it screamed "we were here, we're doing this for the world, we're staking our claim, DON'T TOUCH!" It was such strong evidence of human invasion. It was not not leaving a trace. The trace it left was not in the same category as swastikas on school lockers, and of course we Ieft it alone...although I had to talk my buddy out of it.

Stone-stacking doesn't make my top-200 list of irritants. I wish, though. As a Holiday Wish 4-U, I hope it is in your Top Ten. I'll make that more formal:

This holiday season, may stone-stacking be among your top ten irritants.


Maybe you've heard this story, but if not, I think not many of you will be offended, although there is one swearword in the video. It's a famous woman:


Watch the video, too. It's subtitled. Please don't be offended by her pottymouth, but brace yourself.


I am hoping to hear back from the Shimano guys about our wish list. I don't think we will, and I'll feel like a whiner if I follow-up, but I'm going to follow up. They should MAKE the long-reach sidepull. They should REDO their V-brakes. They should MODIFY/SHORTEN the spring on the Claris front derailer. They should rename the Claris the CLARISSA, just for fun. REINTRODUCE the RapidRise rear derailer. Start spelling derailer the Sheldon Brown way, like this.


Below's a video I shot when I noticed Roman doing this with a new system he invented for leverage and turning. It's a shortie.

The corrugated stuff generally called cardboard, but in the packing industry is known as "corrugated," is the perfect gripper, better than cloth, because it allows grip and turning and doesn't twist up. The Handle is another Nitto rack stay.


John at RIVELO in Portland has 50 of only 225 bars of Lord Olivler's Liquorice soap ever made, and it's $8 for a 5oz bar.

He just got it in, and if you like licorice and super good soap with nothing questionable in it, this is the way to go.

It's made for us in Oregon, and it is the most heavenly soap of all time—truly good enough for honorary royalty, and it won't make you smell like licorice. I lather up my armpits, rinse, lather again and this time leave, and I never smell. You can mix it with Pine Tar soap or any kind of mint. It's a good way, and it's just incredible, fantastic soap. If you're in Portland, get it from John:


And from us, go here:


It's like this: If you LIKE this smell, you'll be hard to satisfy with any other soap. You'll want to have it in your life forever, and yet you won't buy 100 bars at a time, and it really won't be around forever. As long as Megan is making it, we'll get it. Eight dollars is a lot for soap, but it'll last you more than a month of everyday use. It's shampoo, too. Not sham poo, but shampoo, and it doesn't strip your hair oils. It has six kinds of oil in it, so how can it? It has "sodium hydroxide," which sounds marginal, but that's just the soft name for lye, which is required to make soap. And it has beeswax, which...come on; and charcoal, which is supposed to soak up stench. 



Two nights ago I ran out shopping and as I was loading up my Happisack, I thought I'd get some pictures.


The secret tongue-flap that keeps everything in so securely, and then you put down the main flap. This color tongue-flap is made of a really neat all-cotton waterproofed fabric that Antelope Camping gear used to be made from, and nothing else that I ever knew. I have a day pack of it. We used to make burrito wraps from it. In its own way, it's the most spectacular fabric ever made in America.

All set.

 The Sackville Happisack was named for this song

The lyrics are not Bob Dylan caliber, or even Bob Jones caliber, but here they are:


Happy Jack wasn't old, but he was a man
He lived in the sand at the Isle of Man
The kids would all sing, he would take the wrong key
So they rode on his head on their furry donkey
The kids couldn't hurt Jack
They tried and tried and tried
They dropped things on his back
And lied and lied and lied and lied and lied
But they couldn't stop Jack, or the waters lapping
And they couldn't prevent Jack from feeling happy
But they couldn't stop Jack, or the waters lapping
And they couldn't prevent Jack from feeling happy
The kids couldn't hurt Jack
They tried and tried and tried
They dropped things on his back
And lied and lied and lied and lied and lied
But they couldn't stop Jack, or the waters lapping
And they couldn't prevent Jack from feeling happy
---the line that really gets to me is Line 7, repeated on 15. In what part of England was dropping things on other kids' back a common mean a thing?  ("Mom, the kids at school dropped things on my back during recess again!")
Some theorize that Jack was a hunchback, and that's why he wasn't tall. It would explain the dropping of things ON his back, and English kids are famous for being cruel, aren't they?
Mark and Roman and I were talking about giblets the other day, and I mentioned that I ate the Thanksgiving ones that were earmarked for Scoutie and Nico (the other dog), so had to give them people-meat instead...but it was worth it. The giblets were great. I thought why wait until next Thanksgiving? And then there was the giblet guilt for keeping them from Scoutie, so I went to the store and found chicken gizzards and hearts for just $1.99 each, which makes the the dogfood bargain of the century, and good for me, too.
Don't think gross, although it's hard not to, isn't it? But they're really good. I cooked these last night--I got four pounds of each, hearts and gizzards.  Scoutie and I had wonderful, identical breakfasts. Gizzards are the fibrous-seeming chewing gum of meats, but if you use your back teeth and tear off small bits at a time, they're addicting.
I've always said "giblets," with a hard "G,"  which my wife says is wrong. I know other people say it with a soft g, but "gizzards" has a hard g, and they're part of the giblets, so I just go the same g-sound with both. You never see them on human menus.
The big talk TODAY DEC 10 and this week in the bicycle industry is the closing down of our only last final trade show, INTERBIKE. The trade magazine, Bicycle Retailer & Industry News is all agab about it, singing mournful stuff, reminiscing, monday-morning quarterbacking up the wazoon under the banner of "analysis," and fearing the loss of revenue to several industry and advocacy organizations with revenues and plans that depended gigantically, in one case up to about 85 percent, on money made from putting on INTERBIKE.
A common summary is that t(1) The three big shots, TREK, SPECIALIZED, and GIANT, pretty much collectively own 60 percent of the remaining 4,000 dealers in the country, and they have their own shows for them, where they don't have to compete with other manufacturers, and can send them away with team polo shirts to lock them in tighter.
And (2) The internet, with all of its deals and bargains and information, has made bicycle dealers less relevant. This is the thinking, I'm not saying it's my thinking, I'm just passing it along.
And (3), the four or five remaining (of 20 ten years ago) bicycle parts distributers that live off of sales to dealers is also super threatened, because the Big Three are branding and developing their own parts and accessories, and a big part of signing up with them is buying a dollar quota of parts from them, which makes it ultra hard for the remaining four parts distributors.
We buy from and like all four: Merry Sales, KHS, QBP, and J&B.  But our volume isn't big enough to matter too much. J&B was our first big supplier the first year of business. Without their help, we wouldn't have lasted a year. We continue to buy from them and always will. Merry Sales is our comrade in Japan idolatry, and we collaborate and talk all the time. KHS is our Pletscher supplier. QBP is the giant among them, and we did the Bleriot frame with them a while back, but we're basically an ant to them, although I hope they regard us kindly, as we do them.
We get wheels and rims from Velocity, a killer company formerly based in Australia, and now in Michigan.  We're working with KOOL-STOP now on some brake pads that the whole  industry needs but now people don't care. Have I written about this before? Brake pads for cantilevers and V-brakes that, when the brake is release, open up and don't get cut off by the seat stays or fork blades. The only V brakes now that allow that are PAUL's; and the only cantilevers are Shimano CX-50s.
Finally, (4): The small fry independent that isn't imbedded with one of the big companies, but is trying to survive on low-volume, less generic bicycles and custom build packages and set ups and experience and advice and likely to suffer more.
What I also don't get and wonder about is the line:
They couldn't stop Jack or the waters lapping
They accent the second syllable of "lapping," which might be just the English way, but it still seems odd that they'd write a song with waters lapping in it.  And, back to the hunchback theory--I wonder if the song is autobiographical, or if he was a real guy. It seems like a really sad song now, with the ironic name of Happy Jack.
Does the internet have the answer? Is it better to know or not? My brother-in-law says the internet has killed speculation and informal debate and conversation about something not entirely known. You can google "Happy Jack" meaning and come up with somebody's guess at it.
'Tis the season for Christmas song earworms that will drive you (that do drive me) nuts. Plus, I'm not into Bing Crosby. He was mean to his kids, wasn't that the thing with him?
I like the She & Him Christmas album. Maybe it's a Holiday Album. The roles are reversed in Baby It's Cold Outside, so maybe it's more PC now, not about aggression and date-rape:
The ROSCO BEBBE sample frames are on the way and we'll have them by Dec 22 I'm sure, not sure, but they're on the way. They're the theoretical ideal baby-carrying bikes if you like the baby-behind-bars position. We'll build them, load them, ride them, and then assess 'em, and then take orders.
They're the only bikes with room for both baby and person straddling the bike between bar and saddle nose. That we know of.
You know what? They'll be a footnote in a decade. "Rivendell Bicycle Works made a few of these baby bikes. Anybody got one they want to sell?" will be the  post on some forum. They won't matter. Why do we even do it?
The couldn't stop Jack or the waters lapping
And they couldn't prevent Jack from being happy.
I feel like Jack sometimes, that's why I'm harping. Other times, I envy Jack. Don't we all? If "sometimes" is one word, how come "othertimes" is two?
We're expecting some neat samples from NITTO soon. One, a rack designed specifically for carrying baskets. NITTO is a little bummed that Americans are putting big baskets and loads on racks never intended for more than about 8 pounds. The handlebar support leashes we include with the Mark's Rack is in response to that, but the new basket rack, which we had some input on, will be pretty good. It'll be copied and modified widely, which is not a bad thing, because baskets are such great things.
Here is a quick peek at it. Actually, it's only as quick as you want it to be, and it's more than a peek, too:
It flattens out for shipping, and that means it you'll have to attach the struts, but they're easy.
We just now got our last shipment (before holiDAY) of the Gransfors Axes. Two models, the 13-inch #415/Wildlife hatchet, and the 19-inch #420/Small Forest Ax.
 We expect to sell out, so if you want to be the cool person who buys an ax gift, here's a good chance to be that person. Nobody will open it up and say, "What do I have to do now?" Other people in the room will make ax-attack jokes like no burning the pumpkin pie now, but's just an ax, and if the recipient has a need of one, there are none better than these guys.
Top: The #420--best all around for crude carving, easy splitting, and up to 10-inch trunks. If I couldn't get another one I wouldn't sell mine for $1,800. Since I CAN, I'll sell my personal one for $120 and just start fresh and new. You can get a new one for $155. It's HERE.
The #415 is the handman special, $140, easy to carry, sufficient for most around-the-camp work and bringing an ax when you might not need it. If you have one of each, you're covered for life, and will pass them both down. Nobody's going to eBay your ax.   The #415 is HERE.
We sell about 200 axes a year, which puts us in the 99.999th percentile for all bicycle companies. We used to offer gloves, too, but nobody ever bought them. Two good sources, tho:
I don't know if they sell direct, but you can figure that out. Get the goatskins, unlined. Unless you're chopping in the rain, in which case—your guessed it!—elk.
These cost more, but not that much more. No biggie, nobody cares if you hae Midwest gloves or Geier, and they're both really good, and if you have an ax, you might was well have a pair of gloves. Not that these axs won't go through them, but still.
Portlanders: Get some of that cool soap at Rivelo. Th thru Sun
--Happy Jack
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