Friday, December 19, 2008

An "Orderly" Automobile Bankruptcy

I think I figured out what this means...

An "orderly" bankruptcy refers to the assurance from the captain and his officers, that no matter what happens, they'll be the first ones to board the escape boats when the ship goes down.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rainy Day Musings

Back on the bike after a 2 day rain hiatus. I just couldn't do it. Too much hassle - the suiting up of tights underneath the pants, the rain pants over the pants, the thermal top covered by the sweater covered by the jacket covered by the light rain slicker and then a pair of socks and helmet that were going to get wet anyway. Just not worth it. Took the bus, read a book during the ride, watched the silhouette of birds huddled together on the wire before a gray morning light...thinking about budget cuts, and cut trees on "science" hill, and dead auto factories, and all the possums, raccoons, and skunks that those auto factories indirectly killed. And oil production cuts, thanks to the greedy criminal oil-cartel swine called opec. Riding a bike this morning never felt more honest.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Custom Bike Builders

Here's a piece from the LA Times about custom bike builders - Some amazing work here. Not that I could ever afford any of them....,0,3326146.story?page=1

Friday, December 5, 2008

re: The Short, Disgusting Life of the Hummer

Salon's sounding the death gong for the Hummer brand. As much as I wanna say, let us treat this like Sara Palin and never speak of it again, I'm reserving the right to kick this thing even if it's deader than fried chicken.

p.s. This morning's ride was COLD. Anyone have a spare balaclava?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Auto Manufacturers Repent, Beg Forgiveness

Didja hear? The corporate executive officers of the big three auto manufacturers are traveling to Washington D.C. via train, bicycle, and horse drawn carriage to ask Congress for money. They released a statement on Tuesday saying they recognize the error of their ways; that the earth cannot sustain producing more and more cars; that the marketing and de facto imposition of automobiles into everyday life for the last century has drastically altered every American city for the worse, and by extension, our health; that they're going to immediately cease production of the said machines, come what may, and encourage others to start building bike paths as well as rebuilding railroad tracks and barns.

Should Congress agree to send them the money, the CEOs of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler plan to redistribute the wealth to every low-wage employee affected by the collapse of the American auto-industry. In the words of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, "For generations, the titans of industrial capitalism have gotten fat off the labor of the common man and woman through ruthless exploitation and violence. Though this small token of wage-restitution does not make up for the centuries of working class people who've died in industrial accidents or wasted their lives away in factories, we feel it is a small but necessary step to right the wrongs perpetrated against humanity."

The remaining CEOs of Ford and Chrysler went on to apologize for the thousands of people who've died in car accidents, the smog that engulfs entire cities, and the insulting ads that equate driving with freedom.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Great Juxtaposition of 2008

There were many contenders this year, but with only a month left before the first of January, I'm pretty confident last week's news cycle takes the cake...To recap:

11/26 India's upper classes suffer terrorist attack - When poor folks get massacred, it's not news; when the wealthy get killed, it's international news, and hot damn if the corporate 4th estate isn't quick to decontextualize this tragedy and start branding it "India's 9/11." But the real issue here is two rival nuclear powers staring each other down - Is an Asian Bay of Pigs scenario unfolding? Probably not, but Condoleeza Rice ain't taking any chances.

11/30 Thailand's Government Crippled by Democracy Protesters - Whether you regard the protesters who've effectively shut down not only government buildings but the international airport as well, as a misguided rabble or as freedom fighters, you have to admit, from an activist perspective it's pretty impressive. Personally, I view the protesters like I view the Pakistani lawyers who rose up against Musharaff, or the teachers of Oaxaca Mexico - That is, a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of oppressive state power.

but here's where the newsreel gets weird. cynical. dystopian...

11/21 American Teenager Commits Online Suicide, viewers keep watching - Only a nation of lonely, spiritually warped voyeurs and exhibitionists could create a situation where a 19 year old invites people to watch him die, broadcasts it online, and garners a crowd to look on through the dehumanizing portholes of cyberspace. In our desperate search for the real, viewers found themselves unable to tell if what they were seeing was legit. A few folks with some semblance of moral duty contacted the police. The kid died anyway. And now it's news.

and finally...

11/28 Low-Wage Temp Worker for Heartless Immoral Corporation Dies in Stampede of Vacant-headed Propertarians. Yeah, it's a long headline but it tells like it is. Black Friday has taken on a whole new meaning. And like, wow, while the poor and working class from Port Au Prince to Cairo riot for bread, America's working class will actually stomp someone to death in order to get a flat screen TV. It was bad enough when the dominant culture would pretend that standing outside a big ugly box store for 24 hours for a sale was something to be proud of, but damn....

....and there's so many ways to break down this week long hallucination - Like, the utter lack of public spaces for people of all classes, ages and creeds to interact in America; the inability of Americans to come together in mass for non-state/corporate sponsored causes and experience the wonder of independent collective action. At least, that's how I'd explain why people get so worked up over after-Thanksgiving Day sales or political campaigns - The rush of involving yourself in a larger movement is really exciting, it's just a shame it's been completely co-opted by the Matrix.

(Good examples of Americans bucking this trend would be the Dia De Los Muertos celebration in the Mission District of San Francisco OR the Last Night DIY parade in Santa Cruz, which, might I add was infiltrated and surveillanced by the ever-watchful/suspicious authorities).

This is to say nothing of how horrifying and embarrassing these two last bits of American "news" fit into the context of India's tragedy and Thailand's democratic uprising. It is, in effect, the ultimate juxtaposition of 2008. If there's any silver lining to this ongoing hysteria, it has to be the fact that shopping malls - the killers of proper downtowns and free speech, are going out of business.

that news made me laugh.