Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pumpkins on Thanksgiving Day

Sad? Happy? Angry? I took this photo just before these three were fed to the composter.


What would Jill Homer do? Nice ride by the river today. Left from Sibley House and rode to the Cedar Bridge.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gobble! Gobble!

Claire says, "I feel sorry for the tasty turkey."
Harris says, "I feel thankful for the turkey hat I made in school."
Ling Hui says, "I'm thankful to have a happy and healthy family."
I say, "I'm thankful that my Chinese wife not only cooked with potatoes, she made lefsa with them."
Our goldfish are thankful for having lots of food.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Two pictures of the first Thanksgiving.

Below I have posted a painting depicting the traditional European portrayal of Thanksgiving while the text below it gives a Native American point of view. This seems a sophomoric comparison. It, however, simply illustrates the dichotomous presentation of history regarding our continents' aboriginal people.

I'm reading 1491 New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus by Charles C. Mann. This is a book filled with an overwhelming numbers of examples of such bias presentation.

One of my favorites listed is the European belief that the people of South America were less advanced because they did not leave stone ruins filled with arches and other examples of compression construction technologies. Instead the early South Americans used light weight suspension building techniques of at least equal sophistication to the stone buildings of Europe.

Information is a good thing to pass at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

This text comes from the Solus Newsletter

When the Pilgrims came to Plymouth Rock, they were poor and hungry -- half of them died within a few months from disease and hunger. When Squanto, a Wampanoag man, found them, they were in a pitiful state. He spoke English, having traveled to Europe, and took pity on them. Their English crops had failed. The native people fed them through the winter and taught them how to grow their food.

These were not merely "friendly Indians." They had already experienced European slave traders raiding their villages for a hundred years or so, and they were wary -- but it was their way to give freely to those who had nothing. Among many of our peoples, showing that you can give without holding back is the way to earn respect. Among the Dakota, my father's people, they say, when asked to give, "Are we not Dakota and alive?" It was believed that by giving there would be enough for all -- the exact opposite of the system we live in now, which is based on selling, not giving.

To the Pilgrims, and most English and European peoples, the Wampanoags were heathens, and of the Devil. They saw Squanto not as an equal but as an instrument of their God to help his chosen people, themselves.

Since that initial sharing, Native American food has spread around the world. Nearly 70 percent of all crops grown today were originally cultivated by Native American peoples. I sometimes wonder what they ate in Europe before they met us. Spaghetti without tomatoes? Meat and potatoes without potatoes? And at the "first Thanksgiving" the Wampanoags provided most of the food -- and signed a treaty granting Pilgrims the right to the land at Plymouth, the real reason for the first Thanksgiving.

What did the Europeans give in return? Within 20 years European disease and treachery had decimated the Wampanoags. Most diseases then came from animals that Europeans had domesticated. Cowpox from cows led to smallpox, one of the great killers of our people, spread through gifts of blankets used by infected Europeans. Some estimate that diseases accounted for a death toll reaching 90 percent in some Native American communities. By 1623, Mather the elder, a Pilgrim leader, was giving thanks to his God for destroying the heathen savages to make way "for a better growth," meaning his people.

In stories told by the Dakota people, an evil person always keeps his or her heart in a secret place separate from the body. The hero must find that secret place and destroy the heart in order to stop the evil.

I see, in the "First Thanksgiving" story, a hidden Pilgrim heart. The story of that heart is the real tale than needs to be told. What did it hold? Bigotry, hatred, greed, self-righteousness? We have seen the evil that it caused in the 350 years since. Genocide, environmental devastation, poverty, world wars, racism.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I listed and sold my old blue van on Craigslist. It's funny how I can get sentimental about metal, mostly oxidized, and plastic, largely cracked.

Maybe it's that these scars of age remind me of the camping adventures, the project loads from Home Depot and the bike trips that this vehicle has been a part of. I'm not into anthropomorphizing vehicles, but ...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Standing up for my sweet kickstand

I love my kickstands. Yes, I have them on all my commuter/touring bikes and family bikes except one. Only my mountain bike is sans kickstand. In fact I find such pleasure in my kickstand that I wish I had a double.

Once, like you, I was afraid to embrace the convenient. But now, I've made peace with a comfortable riding position, gears, fenders and a kickstand. What the Hell, I'll put a mirror on my eyeglasses! Did I mention my yellow illuminite jacket purchased on-sale from Nashbar?

These Fredishnesses are no more aesthetically objectionable than other goofy, I mean hip, trends in bikes. Riding's the cake. Why hate the frosting?

Here's a link to my favorite bike porn page. Notice the delicious single and double kickstands.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

City/Country Ride

The Twin Cities is a great place. Both urban and natural rides are only minutes, or, in the case of this picture, feet apart. The Mississippi in the background is full of ducks and geese. The bridge supports were full of tags.


I used a program that I have seen on a couple of blogs to test my blog page for gender specific markers. I came out with the following results:

We guess is written by a man (52%), however it's quite gender neutral.

While I feel somewhat sad and angry at the lack of masculinity assigned to my page. I celebrate and beat my chest to the fact that my brother's page is 89% female and John Q's page is 70% female. I'm sure these two could just cry.

Try it yourself. Here's the link.

Thanks to Jared, my girly brother, for the idea.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

09 Civic LX

Here's a photo of the new Honda. I'm hoping not to feel that impending car repair/ will I make it to my destination feeling while driving for some time. I've told Claire she will take this vehicle to college.

However, I have already had a problem. I returned home from the dealership tonight with a somewhat embarrassing story.

Last Saturday while eagerly driving my first new car home. I notice a slight pull to the right and a bit of a rough ride. The next day full of worry I checked air pressure and filled the tires to 40 PSI somewhat below the max 44 PSI listed on the sidewall. The pull to the right was from a low front right tire at 24 PSI. That problem solved, I still had a very rough and shaky ride. I made an appointment with the dealership feeling down about my new car with a problem.

I bragged about how I fixed the pulling problem by adding air. The service tech asked me how much air I put in. Next, he explained that 40 PSI was too much. He explained that the Civic recommended pressure is not listed on the tire.

When he checked the tires all four had 50 PSI. He explained that the pressure gauges on the gas station hoses are poorly calibrated. After letting out 18 PSI the car rode much better.

Still unsure, I asked to take out the test model for a spin. I did and realized that the ride problem came from me putting in too much air.

Everyone was very nice. Nobody made fun of me until after I left.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Favorite Steamy Poem from the Early 1600

The Vine
by Robert Herrick

I dreamed this mortal part of mine
Was metamorphosed to a vine,
Which, crawling one and every way,
Enthralled my dainty Lucia.
Methought, her long small legs and thighs
I with my tendrils did surprise:
Her belley, buttocks, and her waist
By my soft nervelets were embraced
About her head I writhing hung
And with rich clusters (hid Amoung
The leaves) her temples i behung,
So that my Lucia seemed to me
Young Bacchus ravished by his tree.
My curls about her neck did crawl,
ANd arms and hands they did enthrall,
So that she could not freely stir
(All parts there made one prisoner).
But when I crept with leaves to hide
Those parts which maids keep unespied,
Such fleeting pleasures there I took
That with the fancy i awoke,
And found (ah me!) this flesh of mine
More like a stock than like a vine.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Post Traumatic Stress,

Hi my name is Heath and I am a blogger. It has been 6 days since my last post.

I’m feeling anxious, like I must update my blog for its four faithful readers. I considered posting about a guy who can do a back flip in his wheel chair. I considered putting up more photos of my kids from Halloween. But these felt forced.

I’m always feel energized when I see one of the blogs I follow post something new. Blogs form connections and are new media for communication.

I feel stress to create a post. Not just to post for others, but to live enough to find something that is worthy to post; something I can look back on in a year and re-enjoy.

Post traumatic stress is more a desire to live enough to have something worth posting than it is to have something to post for others.