Thursday, October 30, 2008


The words of Haile Selassie through the musical inspirations of Bob Marley

I first became familiar with Edwin Starr's song "War" when Frankie Goes to Hollywood covered it in the 80s, but these days i'm digging the force with which the Boss belts it out.

a few more suggestions

Given that the Republicans aren't fairing so well nationally, and inspired by today's news about Exxon's record breaking profits, i have a few suggestions for extending the Utah Republican Party "i can" campaign to national politics, as well as a few more suggestions for the Utah Republican Party.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fort BV

Congrats to TW for winning again! Even after knocking the course markers down, taking a wrong turn, and ending up mid pack on the 2nd lap, she still managed to work her way past everyone and win by a convincing gap (she must have a good coach). No more B races for her. Time to move up to the A group.

I didn't fare quite as well. Sloppy mount at the start put me in about 7th or 8th position around the first turn. I passed a few guys, but the lead group of 3 was away by the time i made it through the traffic and i could never catch up. Pasternaky worked his way up to join Leakman and i, but Leakman crashed out superman style on the barriers, so Pasternaky and i rode circles together for the last few laps and came in 4th/5th with a pretty good gap on the rest of the group.

Can't wait for the new course out at RMR this weekend.

Monday, October 27, 2008

red-baiting and what's wrong with spreading the wealth around anyway?

The red-baiting that was prominent during the red scares and which has been resurrected with a vengeance by the McCain camp should frighten us all. As election day draws near the McCain camp has increased its attacks on Obama as a "socialist" who will destroy the U.S. through his big-government tax plan. With the assertion that Obama is a socialist, understood within the context of red-baiting, is the notion that socialism is antithetical to freedom and democracy
(and to take it a step further that freedom and democracy go hand in hand with individual property rights):

There are so many problems inherent in this particular attack it's comical, but also disheartening because such a baseless claim has been so effectively used to scare so many voters, and even more disheartening that the accumulation of individual wealth has become such a top priority for so many U.S.ers that such an attack is not only considered valid, but since the final Presidential Debate, has even became a centerpiece of the McCain campaign.

While Palin told crowds that Obama's tax plan "sounds like 'socialism'" to her, McCain was scaring voters with the threat that Obama was going to "spread your wealth around." "That's one of the tenets of socialism," he told Chris Wallace on FoxNews.

My immediate response: "what's wrong with that?"

When 2% of the world's total population control over half of the total household wealth and when CEOs' pay increased almost 300% from 1990 to 2005, while production workers gained a scant 4.3% (adjusted for inflation) and the purchasing power of the federal minimum wage actually declined by 9.3%, (when inflation is taken into account), it's time to spread the wealth around.

I'm a bit amazed that McCain can take this unbridled selfishness and get away with making it a major point of his campaign with such huge crowd support. Maybe i shouldn't be.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fall Break

I had lots of good intention to ride and write a lot this week over fall break. Unfortunately, i didn't get much of either done. Tuesday evening i came down with the nasty cold that has been going around and that waylaid my best plans. Instead of getting lots of miles in on the bike or finishing my diss revisions i spent a good part of my fall break right here:

By friday the worst of the sore throat had passed and i was mostly just contending with cough attacks and phlegm so i decided to get out for a ride. I felt alright, so saturday morning i determined to go race, even though i was still sniffling a lot. After a few warm-up laps i wasn't feeling too strong, and almost decided to sit this one out, but talked myself into at least starting the race. "You can pull out if you're feeling real lousy," i told myself. So i started, and i hung in with the leaders the first few laps. Team Revolution (Pasternak, Sherwin, and I) opened up a fair lead on most of the pack, thanks in part to some other riders crashing out over the bunnyhop log.

TW runs the small log that claimed quite a few riders who were bunnyhopping it.

After four of five laps it was down to Pasternak, Sherwin, a ski utah cyclist (Taft), and I. With three laps to go Pasternak got a little too showy with his bunnyhops and went down over the log, leaving Sherwin, Taft, and I. On the last lap, after the barricades i jumped and came around both of them on a corner, hoping to either draw Taft into an attack so i could block for Sherwin, or just take it, though honestly, since i have been sick, i didn't think i would have much for a sprint against two riders i had been struggling to hang onto for the last few laps. I'm not sure what happened behind me because i didn't turn around to look once i jumped, but i suspect Sherwin blocked for me and i made it through the technical multiple turns of the race and across the finish line in first place. Wow! Didn't expect that, especially since i hadn't ridden much all week and have been fighting this lousy cold. But a big thanks to my teammates for my first cycling win ever. Finally!

TW also rode strong and won her race by quite a margin. I promised her that when she won a race she would get props and pics on my blog, so Congrats!! Do it again next week!!

Much to my dismay, the weekend is almost over, which means fall break is more-or-less over, and i didn't get shit done. Feeling just a bit overwhelmed right now with all the stuff i've got to do, and not sure how it's going to happen. i think i'll go ride my bike.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

i can

The Utah Republican Party has launched a new ad campaign that oh so cleverly plays on the "i can" at the end of Republ-i-can. It's a feel-good campaign meant to highlight how good we have it here in Utah and how much we have the Utah Republican Party to thank for such prosperity. Utah does have one of the strongest economies in the nation, and for that i'm grateful, although the current financial meltdown has effected us as well, leading to a recent special legislative session to address the state deficit. But all is not as rosy as the Republicans would have us believe. The current financial crisis is largely a result of Republican deregulation and one not need spend much time on capital hill to realize that racism and homphobia persist. Utah has consistently ranked as one of the nations biggest polluters. And although we spend a larger percentage of our state budget on education than almost any other state we still have the lowest per-pupil spending. Many Utah politicos counter that despite the low per-pupil-funding, we have some of the highest achieving students. They omit, however, that we also have one of the largest achievement gaps between white and minority students (and it's not getting any better), and that even white students in Utah score below the national average on standardized test scores.
So, here are a few suggestions for other ads, though i don't think you're going to see these on billboards along I-15.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


When living in the comfort I enjoy, it is very easy to forget the toll my privilege extracts from the rest of the world. And i have to ask, Am i willing to walk the walk? what stand am i willing to take? what am i willing to sacrifice? what am i willing to risk?

The People Speak

During election time, it's often easy to forget that those who we elect to political office, those who steal political office, and those who buy political office, often don't represent the very people upon whose backs this country was built. Power to the people!

Video preview of The People Speak -- forthcoming documentary based on A People's History of the United States from Voices of a People's History on Vimeo.

The end of Summer, my friends!

Yea, i know, it's already mid-october and summer was over a month and a half ago, but i was hanging on as long as i could.

I can no longer deny it. I woke up this morning to find my garden covered in this.

Dr. L managed to get a lot of her harvest in before the snow. She just sent me this pic.

I wasn't so lucky, and still have lots of peppers and tomatoes out there under the white stuff, but it's supposed to warm up again this week, and we didn't have a hard freeze, so i'm hoping to still be able to get a bunch of the peppers to hang and dry. I've also got to pull in the corn, black beans, butternut, and pumpkin, even though they can handle the cold a little better.

It's also election time, my friends. Fortunately Hans let our marxist econ class out early enough tuesday that i could get home and watch the second debate, which was supposed to be in the "town hall" format. That just bascially meant McCain got to walk around calling everyone his friend while Tom Brokaw tried to enforce the rules about time limitations with no actual "town hall" type conversation. Folks asked their questions, then sat down. Why bother with the town hall format if it is moderated so heavily that conversation and debate can't actually take place? Quite a let down. At least i got in a 90-minute work out.

CX no. 2

Last year we had warm, sunny weather for the first few CX races. Not so this year. Last week was windy, rainy, and cold. This week was windy, snowy, and cold.

Heber usually gets real awful in the mud, but despite the rain and snow, the course wasn't too sloppy today. They did, however, add a run up this time that made for some good, leg-burning fun.

I got a bad sprint off the line and came into the first turn in about 10th or so (out of only about 15 guys this time), but managed to work my way up to 4th. I stayed there most of the race. Dave C. and Macci were just a few seconds ahead of me and another guy was a few seconds behind me. I was trying to catch Dave and Macci, but they were spurring each other on. It wasn't until Macci went down on the barricades that Dave dropped him and i was able to catch him. We rode together the last couple of laps. The last lap i sat on his wheel hoping to be able to come around him for the sprint, but the sprint was too short after the hard, rutted turn, and Macci held me off. My lungs hurt, my legs hurt, and my heart was beating well above my LT for most of the race, but i just kept telling myself that what it's all about.

Macci held me off at the finish.

One of the things i truely enjoy about CX is harrassing friends while they are racing. Nothing beats trying to make someone laugh or smile when they can barely breathe. Mavis and Jamerson both started racing this year, and both races they have been neck and neck, trading the lead from lap to lap. I take pure pleasure in egging them on and chiding them for giving up the lead or letting the other pass when i know their lungs feel like they're going to explode and they're trying their best to ignore me.

Mavis in the lead on the run-up. That's Halverson in the 80s kit just behind him (i don't know if he pulled that out of his old duffel bag from when he used to race BMX as a teenager, or if he is really on top of the fashion thing and has jumped on the 80s renewal. My bet is he pulled it out of his old duffel bag). Jamerson is just behind Halverson—you can just see his front wheel and right arm).

Mavis' ass with J. in hot pursuit. In the end, Mavis flatted on the last lap and J. took the victory in the M/J showdown.

Garden Harvest Smackdown

Winter is closing in, which much to my dismay, means the end of fresh produce. Even though my garden was a bit slow and late this year, i now am getting lots of tomatos, peppers, cucumbers, pumpkins, and various other veggies. Since i can't possibly eat it all myself i decided to take a creative approach to fall harvest time: a garden harvest cooking smackdown (with some inspiration from Iron Chef). So i invited some family and friends to participate and sent out the rules:

1) dishes will be judged on a) presentation b) taste and c) orgininality/creativity
2) dishes must incorporate the secret ingredient, as well as produce from the garden goodie bag
3) extra points will be rewarded for using local products for your other ingredients
4) you must cook as a team
5) finished dishes must be on the table at my house, presentable and ready to eat by 6:30.
6) judging will be by peer review

Saturday i coordinated for all teams to get a bag full of stuff from my garden, then saturday around 3:00 i announced the secret ingredient: pumpkin.

We had four teams compete:

Team Bradley: heavily favored to win by Catydid who wondered if we could require that they be handicapped and required to compete without an oven. The cook's cooking blog has received international acclaim: . There was some controversy over whether the cook's winning main dish, which only included pumpkin seeds, should have been eligible, but in the end, judges agreed it was absolutely delicious. Check the cook's blog for recipes from the competition.

Team ZB: a late addition, but with extensive knowledge of both American & Mexican cuisine, they were serious contenders, despite being 45 minutes late. Willy-G should have won the dance competiton.

Team CreepyCrawly: Caitydid has been known to create some amazing marshmallow dishes, so we were all prepared for a pumpkin marshmallow dessert that could steal the show. Although we didn't get anything with marshmallows, the creepy halloween spider get-up and musical accompaniment garnered them points.

Team Ringer: there were rumors that this team was bringing in a "ringer" to help in the kitchen (though the teammember closest to the "ringer" allegedly laughed out loud when he offered his help) . Even without the help of a ringer, however, this culinary powerhouse promised to easily wow judges with their creative presentations and tasty creations, and as it turns out, the ringer's spicy pumpkin seed dish won for best appetizer.

Despite the fact that team Bradley tried to stack the ballot by bringing enough small children to ensure a family victory . . .

in the end, everyone was a winner. We all went away happy and stuffed with plenty of leftovers to keep us eating for the rest of the week. Although the artist said he wouldn't post any photos of the dance competition, if caitydid will share her photos with me, i certainly will.

Mini spicy pumpkin pie and Team Creepy Crawly's tasty pumpkin phillos.

No. 1 surveying the spread. I should note that Team ZB should have lost presentation points for serving their dishes in tupperware.

Team Ringer's pumpkin empanadas.

The dessert spread.No. 1 cleared her plate.

Team Creepycrawly demonstrates how to do the twist (and Caitydid illustrates her addiction).

Saturday, October 4, 2008

pleasure and pain

Today was the first official CX race of the season, at least the first that counts for points in the Utah CX series. The forecast called for wind, rain, and a drop in temperature from the balmy 80s we have been enjoying and sure enough saturday morning greeted us with wind, rain, and temps in the low 50s—perfect weather for the opening of CX season.
I've been frustrated with not having as much time to train now that school has started again and i'm teaching a full load, plus taking a few classes. I wasn't too strong at the warm up CX race at the Canyons a couple weekends ago or at the Harvest Moon Crit last weekend, but i reminded myself at the beginning of the race that CX is all about suffering and i psyched myself up to push as hard as i could and embrace the suffering.

Suffer i did.

The race started out with a three or four hundred meter climb up a paved road before it turns down into the gravel and single track. From the gun i pushed it hard and made it to the gravel with the lead group, but i already felt like i wanted to puke. i kept this pace up for a couple of laps, but then started to fade and watched in dismay as one rider after another passed me for the last thirty minutes. I don't have any top end endurance right now, and although i started in the top six, probably dropped down to somewhere in the top 15. Not very impressive. Time to carve out a little more time from the school schedule to train better.

The doodler, on the other hand, had a really strong race. He raced the B group and sprinted it out with JW for 2 and 3 place (one of those fast 18 y.o. kids had opened about a 30 second lead over the rest of the group and took 1st). He and JW were pulling a few Cyclesmith guys up the climb to the finish, but they pulled a little end of the race strategy and forced the cyclesmith guys to make a move, then came around them for the final sprint. JW ended up 2nd and the doodler 3rd.

On the other hand, i also enjoyed perfect pleasure this afternoon in the form of a Black from Tula Tomato pulled straight from the garden.

I'm saddened that summer is over and soon enough we'll have the first freeze, which will put an immediate end to fresh tomatoes. These tomatos have such rich, zesty flavor i take immense pleasure from eating them plain with just a dash of salt. Of course, they're great in cooked dishes as well and i would be amiss if i did not share my new favorite bread for the TCB (tomato/cucumber/basil sandwich). Recently i have been making these with Aspen Mills Jalapeño Cheddar bread. They are divine. I love the layered flavoring of the tomato, basil, and vinegar cucumbers all heated up just a tiny bit with the jalapeño bread. Highly recommeded.