My Grandfather Served In WW2 On The Losing Side

“Growing up, I was surrounded by broken men ― men who came home from the war filled with shrapnel and guilt. Men who were misled into a losing ideology. …  And right now they’re resting in hell.” -Arnold Schwarzenegger

My grandfather was in the German Navy in WW2. I’ll never forget him telling me how much he hated Hitler. He also hated the Nazi flag. Once when on a ship crossing the baltic, he heard some of his comrades talking about Hitler. He said that they were making jokes about Hitler, laughing, etc. Two days later after reaching port, the men who were talking and laughing had disappeared. No one who served with them on that ship ever heard from them again. My grandfather never heard another sailor making those kinds of jokes again either.

My grandfather told me what it’s like to look up in the sky and watch American and British planes open their bomb-bay doors. The screeching sound of those bombs made you lose your orientation when trying to find cover, he said. What he meant to say was… you lose your mind. His English wasn’t perfect–but it was damn good. Luckily, he was outside of Bremen that day so he wasn’t in direct danger of getting hit. But he watched both the planes fly off beyond the horizon and the smoke and dust rise in the sky of Bremen.

My grandfather was captured by British soldiers as he was trying to defend his ship after the port where it was docked in Belgium was invaded in 1944. Two of his comrades were shot and died instantly, one fell into the water. As my grandfather reached for a concussion grenade, a British soldier pointed a gun at him and yelled… Don’t. My grandfather surrendered. He was taken to a prison camp in England where he was put in charge of other German soldiers because he spoke such good English.

My grandfather always expressed, with the deepest sincerity a defeated Prussian can, how grateful he was that the Americans not only freed him and Germany but also his town and village. My grandfather was the only man I have ever looked up to.

No hate. No Nazis.

Rant on.

-T

A Faustian Bargain Is Not A Pact

mephisto - brandauer

While listening to the news about my beloved and missed #americant, and, of course, news about #Trump, some talking-head started on about a Faustian Bargain. In the wake of Charlottesville, VA, isn’t it time to have something new to take your minds of the reality you’ve given yourself? Of course, I have to stop in my tracks. #Trump and neo-nazis are not about a Faustian Bargain.

Now. I’m obviously no über literary type. In fact, at last count (this morning) it’s been at least fifteen or so years since I read anything Goethe. (Yeah, kinda gave up on the German literature thing after the Germans, like the Americans, gave up on me. Fcuk ’em all, eh. But enough about worst-moi.)

Here’s two things to keep in mind:

  1. The Faustian Bargain is from Goethe’s Faust (part 1)
  2. The pact with the devil is from Dr. Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe

Now. I’m not familiar with the original story of Faustus, which is from German folklore and where Marlowe got his story two hundreds years before Goethe wrote his. Goethe’s version is different than both the original story and Marlowe’s–and that’s what always drew me to it. But, again, enough about worst-moi.

#Trump is not a Faustian Bargain. Nor is America’s electing #Trump a Faustian bargain. Reason? A Faustian Bargain is not a pact with the devil. In fact, from what I recall, in Goethe’s version of the story–which is the best of them all–Mephistopheles is actually the one who gives in to Faust because Faust won’t make a pact with him. Faust is simply above Mephistopheles both intellectually and morally–you know, the way it should be in an enlightened world. Without splitting too many hairs, what Mephistopheles actually ends up doing with Faust is more like a wager. In the end, even after ruining a really nice chick, Faust beats Mephistopheles.

Goethe’s Faust is a really, really smart guy. I guess, to some, Goethe is or would like to have been Faust. I mean. I’m sure Goethe was pretty ticked-off that he couldn’t get any of the fame that his English rival got. You know, Shakespeare (and the English language) did do a number on those who were interested in writing $hit down–and the German language never matched that. Wait. Let me get out of the way of that can of worms I just opened.

And while I’m off subject, Goethe is probably one of the last polymaths and he was certainly preoccupied with other things even while writing one of the greatest epic poems slash plays ever. Whereas Shakespeare was probably out there somewhere banging the women that weren’t allowed on stage in those whacky female characters he created or he was heisting text from Marlowe, Goethe was… well… polymathing. But, again, before I get too far off subject.

But here’s the thing…

America made a pact (art of the deal) with–and thereby sold its soul to–Mephistopheles long before #Trump. The most important thing to remember about the pact (art of the deal) was that it would last through generations. How many generations? Your guess is as good as worst-mine. But that’s neither here nor there at this point. The thing to remember is that it started when America, Americans (#americant) replaced God with money. A short time after that it elected a former actor and governor of the snowflake capital of the world, California, as president. Indeed. The snowflakeball of hell has a limitless mountain side to roll down.

Ronald Reagan, who was a huge fan of Mephisto–Mephistopheles’ nickname among certain privileged classes–was able to up the ante of America’s pact (art of the deal) with Mephistopheles. Reagan was able to do this because of how Americans fell for his chart plotting, thorough scape-goating of government and taxes, and the demonisation of communism. In return, Mephisto saw to it, following what Reagan had started, that the US would win the Cold War. For those who grew up worshipping the God-Dollar–i.e. the baby-boomer generation!–it was a time that can only be compared to Sodom & Gomorrah. And so. The winners of the Cold War, like evil, filthy, retarded pirates, took no prisoners. There was only pillaging, rape, a bit too much incest (hence those flag waving boys at recent Charlottesville, VA, debacle) and, of course, waaaaaaay too much… wet t-shirt heroism on the part of utterly stupid search for a husband females.

There’s only one problem now that Mephistopheles owns everything because of how Americans have sold out (to conservatives first, republicans second). Mephistopheles is bored. #Trump bores him to tears. The ignorance of Dubya Bush was much more entertaining. Even Barry-O and Hillary brought some light to Mephistopheles who was starting to regret outsmarting a country of rich nitwits. Indeed. Depravity can even bore the evil spirit.

So you see, dear worst-reader, there’s no reason to blame #Trump for your ills. He is but a cog in the wheel of the evil you’ve perpetrated to get you where you are. If you have enough money to consume-to-survive, then bend over for your Mephistopheles. If you don’t have enough money, you’ll bend over just the same as those who do. Which kind of equals things out for you, don’t you know. And in the end, while your blame game continues, while you twitter around the left and right side of your conjoined cock-pussy-brain, at least you can still buy candy corn. Halloween’s coming, baby.

Rant on.

-T

The Red Pill Or The Blue Pill? Either Way Your Inner Fascist Drank The Kool-Aid Milkshake Galore So Keep Smiling

fasces-rainbow

For posterity’s sake, and to deal with the humungous crowds of imbicile-lites out there, I feel compelled to post Umberto Eco’s fourteen point definition of Fascism. Seriously, people (imbeciles). It’s not that complicated. More worst-posts on fascism here and here. If you’ve never read this before, be warned. It might be just like looking into a mirror–or a telescope of your nation-state-hood. I’ve added some sub-bullets in a worst-attempt to show how each applies to #americant concurrently. Good luck, suckers. -T


Umberto Eco’s 14 signs of fascism along with worst-writer’s 2cents (the sub-bullets):

  • “The Cult of Tradition”, characterised by cultural syncretism, even at the risk of internal contradiction. When all truth has already been revealed by Tradition, no new learning can occur, only further interpretation and refinement.
    • The war on science, evolution and the fact there are–seriously there are–theme parks in the US about “creationism”.
  • “The Rejection of modernism”, which views the rationalistic development of Western culture since the Enlightenment as a descent into depravity. Eco distinguishes this from a rejection of superficial technological advancement, as many fascist regimes cite their industrial potency as proof of the vitality of their system.
    • There are those who want laws that allow Christian bakery owners to discriminate against gays and refuse baking them a wedding cake.
  • “The Cult of Action for Action’s Sake”, which dictates that action is of value in itself, and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco, is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in attacks on modern culture and science.
    • Climate change denial and the industry behind that denial that denigrates the scientific community.
  • “Disagreement Is Treason” – Fascism devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action, as well as out of fear that such analysis will expose the contradictions embodied in a syncretistic faith.
    • The way the DOJ is threatening potential whistelblowers; the harsh sentencing of Chelsea Manning (thank goodness for Obama’s clemency!); pardon Edward Snowden.
  • “Fear of Difference”, which fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.
    • Blacks, immigrants, the poor, LGBTQ, etc.
  • “Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class”, fearing economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups
    • Blacks, immigrants, the poor, LGBTQ, etc.
  • “Obsession with a Plot” and the hyping-up of an enemy threat. This often combines an appeal to xenophobia with a fear of disloyalty and sabotage from marginalised groups living within the society (such as the German elite’s ‘fear’ of the 1930s Jewish populace’s businesses and well-doings; see also anti-Semitism). Eco also cites Pat Robertson’s book The New World Order as a prominent example of a plot obsession.
    • Conspiracy theorists have gone mainstream with the election of #Trump (see Alex Jones–if you can stomach it).
  • Fascist societies rhetorically cast their enemies as “at the same time too strong and too weak.” On the one hand, fascists play up the power of certain disfavoured elites to encourage in their followers a sense of grievance and humiliation. On the other hand, fascist leaders point to the decadence of those elites as proof of their ultimate feebleness in the face of an overwhelming popular will.
  • “Pacifism is Trafficking with the Enemy” because “Life is Permanent Warfare” – there must always be an enemy to fight. Both fascist Germany under Hitler and Italy under Mussolini worked first to organise and clean up their respective countries and then build the war machines that they later intended to and did use, despite Germany being under restrictions of the Versailles treaty to NOT build a military force. This principle leads to a fundamental contradiction within fascism: the incompatibility of ultimate triumph with perpetual war.
    • Permanent warfare. Nuff said.
  • “Contempt for the Weak”, which is uncomfortably married to a chauvinistic popular elitism, in which every member of society is superior to outsiders by virtue of belonging to the in-group. Eco sees in these attitudes the root of a deep tension in the fundamentally hierarchical structure of fascist polities, as they encourage leaders to despise their underlings, up to the ultimate Leader who holds the whole country in contempt for having allowed him to overtake it by force.
    • Demonising the poor that make their way to America from South/Middle America to earn a dollar or two a day while picking a countries fcuking tomatoes and avocados, etc.
  • “Everybody is Educated to Become a Hero”, which leads to the embrace of a cult of death. As Eco observes, “[t]he Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death.”
    • Shame #americant has ruined the word hero.
  • “Machismo”, which sublimates the difficult work of permanent war and heroism into the sexual sphere. Fascists thus hold “both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality.”
    • Pussy be grabbed, eh.
  • “Selective Populism” – The People, conceived monolithically, have a Common Will, distinct from and superior to the viewpoint of any individual. As no mass of people can ever be truly unanimous, the Leader holds himself out as the interpreter of the popular will (though truly he dictates it). Fascists use this concept to delegitimise democratic institutions they accuse of “no longer represent[ing] the Voice of the People.”
    • What used to be propaganda is now FAKE NEWS.
  • “Newspeak” – Fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning.
    • Alt-right, alt-left, etc.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_fascism#Umberto_Eco

Doubling Down On Merit As Deception

300x169-R1244_FEA_Trump_A_SML

Still having trouble with an old friend and his/her inability to define fascism in the wake of the racist violence in #Charlottesville, VA. On top of that, my old friend is a bit über obsessed with both-siderism, a common problem for Americans these days that are unable grasp why things have turned out the way they are. After proposing that he/she read Umberto Eco’s fourteen-point definition of fascism, all I got back was this question: “So is this guy a communist?”

Here’s my response.

Your insistence to toe-the-line of the alt-right/alt-left, i.e. both-siderism, is worrisome. But I guess I’ve said that already. Defining fascism isn’t that difficult—unless one is ideologically tainted. Perhaps its time for you to try and separate yourself from the belief that there is merit in “business”, which was obviously such a big part of your life. Any rational mind should be able to see through what’s really going on—that political far-right conservatism, embodied in the Republican party, fox news, Rush Limbaugh, etc.—which has duped so many Americans to the hilt–is the essence of the problem. The quintessence, though, is the ideology of hate, i.e. fascism. Obviously it’s difficult for the duped to wake up to this reality. The reason for that is because it would mean having to admit collusion. But back to your problem of both-siderism. The ideology of neoliberalism embodied by Clinton Democrats is not part of the fascist problem. This is also what makes die-hard republicans so vehement. Accepting the fact that Bill Clinton was the better republican–minus the fascism–is a hard pill (reality) to swallow. That’s why the republicans had to move even further to the right with George W’s stolen election in 2000. Hence fascism. The republican party is and has always been fascist at its core! Just read up on the southern strategy that got Nixon elected. Because Americans are so preoccupied with their inflated moneyed-interests and their minds have been drilled full of merit as a deception, the only answer is for things to explode through the simplest and most mundane form of retribution. In this case, the deep seeded anger and hate which stems out of recognising ones collusion with a system must run amok and it must show its true nature in the simplemindedness of racism. As far as Umberto Eco being a communist…? Perhaps. But at this point, considering the state of capitalism, it doesn’t matter. But allow me to put it another way. How’s this? Fascism is like porn—you know it when you see it. Unless, of course, you live in it. By-the-buy, I just read that Trump is doubling down on his attempt at what you would call re-writing history. He just compared Robert E. Lee and Andrew Jackson (traitors and losers) with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (winners and founding fathers). There is only one side from which fascism can be judged, old friend. That side is not the side that embodies it.

Rant onwards.

-T

Links:

Email From An Old Friend Or How To Fight The Nuance Of Innate Hate Run Amok While Consuming To Survive

mob with torches
The mob after the monster it created. Political metaphor?

Below is a shocking, nuanced-filled email exchange with an old friend. Unfortunately, even though I wish otherwise, there’s not much I can do about what is really going on back in my beloved #americant–that can lead to such an email. I am not only an expat but I’m also no longer a believer. Indeed. I have long-since learned that even the Nazi salute is an American invention. Consider that next time you hear the Pledge of Allegiance–from whence things came. And while you’re at it, have a look at the Bellamy Salute. The good news is, we Americans copied the salute, too… from the bat$hit Romans. But I digress. And so. Here’s a worst-question: how deep is the damage (or is it rot) in the soul of #americant that would lead torch wielding nutjobs, as though they were hunting a Frankenstein’s Monster, through the streets of Charlottesville, VA, this past weekend? And another worst-question(s): is the quilt of my beloved #americant held together by fibres of hate? Where the fcuk do these a$$holes come from? Who are their parents, who are the mothers that would fcuk men to make these stupid white people–in 2017? Oh wait. I know exactly who they are. I was raised amongst them. And so. For those who still sympathise with the result of last years election, way to go suckers. But I bet you still haven’t woke up to how badly you’ve been played. Wow.

The nuanced email. Note the aggression towards things that are not rightwing–which is where any aggression should be right now.

Hi Tom, §Well isn’t the news fun? Hippies and Right Wingnuts clash at the prestigious campus of the University of Virginia. What a fitting location for a nice Sunday morning clash. Why aren’t these folks in church? Haha. §At the same time it is really stupid that the Righteous and Self-defined Politically Correct Left go running around the country removing statues and the like. WTF? We used to rail against rewriting history. Now these fuckers just want to outright deny it. Obama bought so heavily into this BS that the only thing anybody can remember him doing in his last year was forcing the nation to allow transsexuals to use whatever bathroom they want… Really? WFT is POTUS doing telling states such a thing and since when are there even enough transsexuals to make a blip in demographics to justify such a move…? §The Left are acting like idiots with their esoteric BS and this is inciting the right, understandably.  At some point they both look like fascist. People forget that fascism can come from the left or right… §Anyhoo, how was your recent visit to the Baltic sea?

And here’s my response email.

Dear Old Friend, §I’m a bit surprised at your tone regarding history and Charlottesville. The removal of statues that represent treason (the fucking south and their dumbass civil war), slave trade and, frankly, the stupidity of white people, have no place on publicly owned property. Put it anywhere you want on private property, btw. It’s really no different than secularism and the fact that the ten commandments have no place on the walls or state monuments or state houses either. And. Yes. I’m all for taking “In God We Trust” off of our fiat (fake?) money, too. $Charlottesville is just another example of how the elites, i.e. the owners of the United States (of which there are few), is playing Americans. And Americans are responding accordingly. The country has been so dumbed-down and enamoured with stupidity that it was only a matter of time, after electing a tried and true fascist to the white house, that moronic white supremacists would then seek out there day of reckoning post the first black president. I’m only surprised it took till now to happen. Btw, is there any connection between the stupid white man that wrote that 10 page manifesto against women as computer engineers and all the stupid white men that can’t get laid so they wear swastikas and raise their hands in a Hitler salute? Of course, not unlike most people who think they are supreme, ultimately the only thing these guys show the world is how they are just a bunch of under-achievers. America… totally lead by underachievers? §And heed this, Dear Old Friend: The Germans lost WW2 but the fascists won. (That’s from George Carlin!) §By-the-buy. There is no such thing as a left fascist. Don’t allow yourself to be confused by all the propaganda (fake?) news you read, watch or listen to. FYI, fascism is a response by capitalism to everything that lead to the Russian Revolution of 1917. Fascism is an alternative authoritarian system propped up by capitalists. Hitler was a national socialist that would never deny fascism. Mussolini was a tried and true fascist, as was Franco of Spain. You can have left authoritarianism, which is often the case in South America and, perhaps, even certain parts of Europe and Asia. But fascism is always from the right. §You’re welcome. §Hang in there. Good luck. Yours.

Rant onwards, suckers.
-T

Pseudo-Review #3: R&M Charger GX Touring – 2000KM (And Counting)

IMG_2954
Just off the beach; Fjord in background; cool sandy tires, eh.

Previous pseudo-reviews here (1) and here (2).

Ok. Ok. As I write this I think I have exactly 1958KM on my Charger GX Touring. I’m sure I’ll pass the 2k mark within the next few days as a number of commutes to Köln are in the works. We also just got back from a week-long vacation on the Baltic Sea, at Germany’s most northern point. The original plan was to go by train with our bikes (my better-half as the Charger Mixte Nuvinci) but we couldn’t secure tickets for the train car where the bikes are stored. Next time we’ll have to reserve the tickets probably three to four months in advance. Since there is no way to take the bikes with our car, we went ahead and rented a midsize utility van. The cost of the van is the same as the train. Luckily the eight hour drive through German holiday/vacation season wasn’t all that bad. Someone we spoke to up north said that most Germans this year flew to the Med for their vacations anyway. Good for us.

Btw, if you’ve never been, and you have the capacity to do so, and you’re interested in nature, fresh air, beautiful brackish waters and rolling hills not unlike Tuscany, check out the Baltic Sea coastline of Germany or Denmark. Even though I’ve been living in Europe for a quarter century (sounds so much better than writing 25 years), this was the first time I was at the Ostsee (East Sea, as the Germans call it). I was not disappointed. It is stunningly beautiful up there–but you’ll also have to be tolerant of the rain and coinciding über wetness. When hanging out in the forests in the north, there is an uncanny feeling of the past that lingers around your every move. And not just a recent past. I kept thinking of vikings while there. Maybe even neanderthals. Cool!

The plan for this little getaway was to do all our local commuting with the bikes, including a days trip to Denmark via ferry. In fact, we didn’t use the utility van once. The ferry ride, for instance, took us across the Flensburg fjord. Once in Denmark we rode the 60KM trek back to Germany around the fjord. What a ride it was, too. More on that in a bit.

IMG_2795
Her Mixte with road-going Big Bens performed great, even in some pretty hairy and wet conditions.

Back to the Charger.

Would you believe, dear worst-rider, unlike other bikes I’ve owned, the Charger GX Touring still feels brand new. The Giant TCX cross racer I purchased last summer, which has around 3000KM on it, but of course only weighs 10kilos, and I don’t ride it nearly as much anymore since purchasing the Charger, feels ten years older in comparison. Riese & Mueller have made the right choices regarding parts for these robust e-bikes, including great tires, brakes, screws, bolts, etc.

Btw, I Purchased my Charger GX in mid-February and it was (finally!) delivered at the beginning of May, 2017. I suppose, for some, two-thousand kilometres in less than four months might not be a lot. But as I’ve said in previous pseudo-reviews, we actually replaced one of our two cars with this e-bike. Since I live in an urban environment, I can easily do all my shopping, chores, errands, etc., with it. In fact, I rarely ever ride it anywhere without the Ortlieb panniers. I’m never concerned about how much the bike weighs, either. My wife calls it my SUV. Although I’m not using the front rack much, when I do use it, I’m glad it’s there. Even though the rack is only rated at 3KG, I’ve carried much more than that with ease and comfort. This is, without doubt, an extremely useful and fun vehicle.

Range

I no longer look at the Bosch CX system range estimator to determine how far I can ride on a battery. Instead, I consider the amount of time I’ll be on the bike. The thing is, I’ve yet, even after rides of 80+KM, actually drained the entire 500W battery down to only one bar (out of five). If I’m off on a daily tour I consider whether or not I’m gonna be gone the whole-day or half-day and then determine whether or not to bring a charger–or, better yet, just carry my wife’s battery as a spare. I’m really surprised at how well the Bosch motor and battery work on this bike. It is very impressive!

On a recent trip to northern Germany that included a 50+-KM ride from Denmark back to Germany after a fjord crossing by ferry, I put the battery to its hardest test yet. I did a lot of trail riding, some mountain bike riding and a few long uphill road passages. Remember, fjords were cut out of cliffs during the ice ages. Lots of passages have to be ascended. Anyhow. At about 20KM left for the ride, just before re-entering Germany from Denmark, I hit a number of pretty steep hills. I actually put my bike on “eco” mode while my wife left her Mixte on “Tour” and, when necessary, “Sport”. I really thought I’d end up giving her my battery before we made it back to our bungalow. But that wasn’t the case. In the end, she made it home with only one bar (out of five) but i still came home with two bars. Wow.

IMG_2724
We road km after km through beach front property. Cool!

Saddle

There are not many negatives about this bike, except for the hard rear-end and the accompanying even harder Brooks saddle. So let me just say this: riding this bike is waaaaaay hard–especially if you’re off-road or you have to ride on pathways that are full of obnoxious tree root knots (which are abundant here in Düsseldorf and Köln). But get this. I love riding this bike hour after hour. The saddle and Thudbuster combination is perfect. It’s the best friggin seat I’ve ever experienced on a bike. Even though I’m up to the hardest rubber mount on the Thudbuster–and I’m still a little lost on how that thing actually works–I wouldn’t change anything on this setup. My wife’s Charger Mixte has a spring seat-post and a traditional rubber/plastic saddle. I don’t like her saddle at all (but she also hates mine). The Mixte saddle moves too much, literally shifting me backwards as the spring in the seat-post does its job. The Brooks saddle and Thudbuster, on the other hand, although not as flexible, is as comfortable as comfort can get–on a friggin e-bike! I only wish that there was more feeling from the Thudbuster.

charger gx touring brooks saddle 2

My Brooks saddle is starting to show wear. I considered it broke-in after about 1200-1500KM. My only concern about it now is that I over did it with leather treatment. I’ve erased the raw look it had when it was new. But I’m good with that. I’m curious if the leather will start to crack and, maybe, flex more now that it’s broke-in. I’m not sure I want one of them old Brooks seats that looks like it’s been through a century of riding. Even if this saddle fails because of my inexperience in caring for it, I’m buying another one toot-sweet. Learn by doing, eh. Oh. Before I forget. I’ve tightened the leather tensioning bolt on it once (one full turn) and tightened the strings on the bottom that, I guess, are supposed to prevent it from developing wings that could push on my inner thighs.

Have I mentioned how much I love this saddle?

The thing that makes the Brooks B17 the best saddle in the universe (for worst-moi) is the fact that its thick, hard, stretched leather is the perfect place for a human to place not only his/her ass but those damn seat-bones and the infamous perineum. The leather both supports and cushions and allows you to actually sit on your seat-bones. Even after three or four hours of riding I do not get the same amount of numbness as I do with conventional seats. Heck, this saddle is even better than the fancy (Selle) race bike seat with those centre cut-outs that I have on my cross-racer.

IMG_2976

Maintenance

There’s really nothing to report regarding up-keep of this bike. I’ve actually allowed myself to get a bit lazy lately when it comes to cleaning it. But I still regularly clean and oil the chain and derailleur. The chain gets a thorough cleaning every fourth or fifth ride and less thorough cleaning every other ride. Even if that’s overkill, I’m good with it. Other than adjusting distance of brake levers, there’s been nothing to do with the brakes. The rear disc brake does rub a bit, which prevents the rear wheel from turning freely when I’ve got the bike off the ground. I’m gonna have that looked at during the next service appointment. It looks like there’s no more room to the move the brake calliper to free up the disc.

Chain

As far as my choice of the “Touring” model of the Charger GX, i.e. the one with the chain and derailleur, I wouldn’t have my final drive any other way. Although I get a kick out of my wife’s Nunvinci hub, it just can’t compete with the efficiency and precision of this chain setup. I ran across a fellow Charger GX owner recently who has the Rohloff hub. Watching him struggle through gear shifting reassured me that a conventional chain with an excellent derailleur is the only way to go–even if you have to get your hands a bit greasy to maintain it.

rear tire 2000km
2000KM rear tire

Tires

As you can see in the pic, my rear wheel is beyond its heyday. I would say that my road to off-road riding is about 70-30. I noticed during recent mountain biking that grip isn’t as good in the rear as it once was, but it was also quite wet at times. I suppose this type of wear is to be expected for knobby tires that are mostly used on the road, which actually speaks for them. The question then becomes: what do I replace the tires with? Do I stay with knobby tires? These knobby tires do not feel like off-road tires–even on paved roads. Or do I go with more street oriented Big Ben plus tires? A bit more thought required.

Nuff for now.

Rant and ride on.

-T

 

Existentialism Country Music Style Or Subverting How And Why Your Truck Broke Down, The Dog Died And Beauty Got Away

telephone pole
Pic source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utility_pole

If I had to make a list of all-time favourite pop songs number one without doubt is You Never Give Me Your Money by the Beatles. It is a song that I can hear numerous times in a row and after I’m tired of hearing it and finally turn it off–until the next time I hear it numerous times again–I’m still in awe over its structure, its melodies, the fantastic singing of McCartney–as though he becomes three voices in one. Although I won’t bore you, dear worst-reader, with the rest of my all-time fav song list, there’s one other song on it that need be mentioned because the singer that made it famous recently passed.

Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell

There are songs out there that I will never forget hearing in the morning as my simpleton clock-radio-alarm woke me up every weekday morning to attend public schooling in my beloved and missed suburban hell #americant. I don’t recall the first time I ever heard the song–although I know the day, date, time I first heard You Never Give Me Your Money. Still, Glen Campbell’s version of “Wichita Lineman” rings in my ears whenever an alarm wakes me up. Another song I hear with alarms–but, oddly, is not on my list of best songs–is from CSN&Y…. That’s another worst-blog post. Indeed.

Not only the melody and simple structure of this song fascinates but the lyrics were probably the first that ever drove me to ask uncle Billy-Bob:

Billy-Bob, what the hail is this hear song about?

I am a lineman for the county and I drive the main road; Searchin’ in the sun for another overload

Billy-Bob: The song is about a working man. Overloaded telephone wires are what keeps him at work.

I hear you singin’ in the wire, I can hear you through the whine; And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line

Billy-Bob: When he’s working he can tap into the phones lines of the whole county and when he does that he hears the voice of the woman he loves, the love of his life–a Wichita lady. He can even hear her while he’s working and there’s a “whine” in the line.

I know I need a small vacation but it don’t look like rain; And if it snows that stretch down south won’t ever stand the strain

Billy-Bob: Rain, because of the electricity running through the lines, is the only thing that might give this working man a break. If it snows in the south–as it may be expected to do according to a weather man???–there’ll be no time for a vacation anyway. He’s a working man that works because…

And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time

Billy-Bob: That, my boy, is simply one of the greatest declarations of love ever written in a got-damn pop-song because it’s about a working man who has a purpose: to love a Wichita woman!

And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line

[Instrumental Interlude]

And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time

And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line

[Instrumental to end]

But uncle Billy-Bob, how cause this is such a great song?

Billy-Bob: Because, grasshopper, this song broke some serious boundaries back in the day. It transcended country music because of the way Glen Campbell sang it and performed it.

My use-less eating, worthless, worst-soul is forever indebted to him for it.

RIP Glen Campbell.

Rant onwards.

-T