30 April 2012

Wonderful love, a summer day

Portrait of my friends
 A summer day in the park.
Just going there.
No jogging. No swimming.
But sun. Yes sleep.
And the Frisbee.
Near the lake. by the bench.
Nothing planned or devised.
Yawning restful day.
Sun reflecting off the lake.
Closed eyes.
Again Frisbee wisking by.
Nawing hunger pangs.
Awake and glance
Ah at last
The pizza and the pop
Laugh then eat and laugh some more
Fuller but spent
Pick up then go
Frisbee follows. 

18 April 2012

Bike lane uproar

A bit of a conflict has been stirring in Fargo about the addition of bike lanes to some streets on the north side- specifically University and 10th Ave. This Grand Forks Herald article is bit more detailed and featured a resident comment that stirred me up-
“Bikes don’t belong on our streets to begin with,” 
Well, one citizen aired this grievance and then other city commissioners wanted to put a halt on these things. One even claiming it was "incredibly wrong."

So as veteran bike commuter, I'll chime in with a "what!?" Must have an ax to grind because of some incidents with bicycles.

According to the North Dakota Century code-

39-10.1-02. Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles.
Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway is granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this title, except as to special regulations in this title and except as to those provisions of this title which by their nature can have no application.  
The State recognizes bicycles as vehicles that are allowed use of the roadway.

And incredibly wrong- which seems that the commissioner in question somehow equates this as a moral issue. However, I probably think the comment got perceived out of context. I would have a hunch that the statement was made in light of fiscal responsibility not the moral context of bike lanes. I think his implied idea is - Adding bike lanes would misappropriate funds.

But is the roadway safer?
Yes, when opposed to other options sidewalks. I have personally been hit twice and had plenty of close calls when riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk. Sidewalk visibility to traffic is minimal to motor vehicles on the road. For those of us who use the bicycle for transportation, riding on the road allows us to be seen, to avoid pedestrians, and in most cases to commute much easier.

I have also had some close calls on the roadway- mostly due to distracted driving.

Bike trails are a whole different species. They probably are the safest but certainly there is no way the city is going to install bike trails with intention to be used for transportation.

The big brouhaha comes down to what is safe, and in this case what is perceived as safe. Both side of the argument have something to gain from educating the community to be bike aware and bike safe. I see lots of unsafe riding and bicyclists not obeying traffic laws. I see bicyclists riding at dusk or dawn with no lights or even any hi vis clothing.

A few years ago Fargo was recognized as a bike friendly city by bicycling magazine. I may have blogged about it. It certainly has the infrastructure but has potential to be more bike friendly as this article for the High Plains Reader suggests.

And a bike friendlier and bike safer community will be in turn a better community for all.

He hate me? Ugly Online Ad

No, not the XFL player from years ago, Rod Smart. Although his story could be a worthy blog entry.
This entry is about a certain type of online ad you probably see once a day- the Hater's Ad.
The premise of the Hater's Ad is there is some awesome new product or information and to make the viewer click through the advertiser uses a slogan like "Harvard professors hate him" or "Personal trainers hate her." It turns up the heat on the ad because it is garnering interest in why there is such an emotional reaction to this guy or gal's product. Once on the click through-you find this product which advertisers sing paeans to its miraculous powers. Let's look at few and imagine the outlandish reasons why they are hated.

Poor old Clem wanted to harness the ultimate power source- little blue squares. Well then he discovers that those blue squares are making energy from the sun and viola- he's off the grid. Mr Bad Guy Power Concern does not like that, he wants all the power for himself and will only share if there is gold exchanged. Thus the hate began. And the power companies do HATE him. Of course this ad does not tell you that the power generated only can power a coffee maker for 1 hour. Oops!

This fellow above was only doing what his research contract required- make a chimpanzee speak in Yiddish idioms. He almost succeeded- but instead got his research assistants to speak Bocce in 10 days. George Lucas was amazed as he thought of a new revenue stream - Star Wars language camps on Tatooine, I mean in the Sonora desert. Well the university he worked at decided to market this method- which still involved having monkey-human interaction because the school failed to proof read the entire document. Thus language professors hate him because of his lack of proof reading. But it was not his fault. He was in solitary confinement after some off handed comments about "the leader." So some committee put the document together.

Finally the doctors get in on some hate but doctors of the botox variety- probably those rich doctors who can make you look like someone else. This skincare trick was discovered by lady in Idaho- a potato farmer to be exact. I am unsure why she was saving old rotten potatoes but one day she decided to mash them up and use it a skin care product. The rest is history. She looked 5 years younger. Yes only 5! But those nasty botox doctors were not happy. They filled her Facebook with hate messages. They hated her town, her clothes, her state. And of course her rotten potato beauty compote. Let the haters hate.