Friday, July 02, 2010

In Passing


Hello. I am not "Mal". I am her daughter. I had not realized until last week that she had been writing again. I wish I had known. What she had to say was so much her but at depths she did not normally shared with my sister and me. Just another example of how she kept her many life roles well defined. I am also an engineer but I had no idea how widely her work had gone over the years or how published she was.

Growing up with her I had no idea how unusual she was. She told me once that time and distance always adds perspective to things you wish you could have seen when you were closer. I never thought it would apply to her too.

She became very ill shortly after the last entry. I am writing this note to close out her blog because she would not want to leave it dangling like so many others have left theirs.

We miss her.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Public Policy in the Market Place and Cycling

Part of my misspent youth was consumed being nurtured in the same bosom as Laffer's Supply Side Economics. Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that when congress was first debating the CAFE requirements in the 70's I was convinced they could never work. Detroit of course was taking the attitude that the market "demands" gas guzzlers and that was all they could make.

Along comes the 1979 gas crunch and fuel costs are going through the roof. By 1986 the price of gas is less in real dollars than it was in 1979. Many factors caused that to happen and one of the major ones was the CAFE requirements imposed on Detroit in the late 70's. Americans were driving more on less fuel than before. Of course, by 2008, gas guzzlers were prevalent again, but that is another story...

What does this have to do with Cycling? Reading the blogs of Jolly Crank and Freewheel I get a real sense of the frustrations and obstacles that commuting cyclists have to overcome to do the socially responsible thing and pedal instead of drive.

Maybe it is time we apply some Public Policy in the Market Place to the issue of commuter cyclists. Since we would prefer folks ride instead of drive when ever possible, maybe it would make sense to require auto companies to create and dedicate a certain distance of sole use unpowered commuter ways for every 1 million gallons of gas consumption they sell? The more efficient the vehicles produced, the less commuter ways they have to create.

It sounds like a start.............

Monday, January 12, 2009

Your Vote Does Matter

Minnesota is in the process of finishing a lesson in civic responsibility.

Before the November election, "Da Kid" questioned whether it was worth the effort to vote since her vote "really doesn't make a difference". Of course we reminded her of Florida in 2000 but she responded with "yeah, but how often does something like that happen".

Well, it happened again here this year. Al Franken has been declared the winner of Minnesota's Senate race by less than 100 vote out of over 2,000,000 cast. He was NOT the leader going into the recount. Even if Norm Coleman eventually wins his court challenges, margin will be less than 200 votes.

WOW! We do make a difference.

(and no, I am NOT saying who I voted for!)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Some Times Green ain't Easy

Last spring when I took an inside job I was looking forward to doing some of my commuting via bicycle or mass transit.

I live in the busy North West suburbs and work in one of the South West suburbs. The second busiest freeway route is the one that connects the two parts of the metro. So you think that would make it easy to find bike or bus routes, right?

Guess again. I found out you could not get there from here, unless you drove you doubled your distance and at least tripled your time.

The Metropolitan Transit District seems to think everything needs to run through down town, even if you do not want to. All the bus routes, the new light rail and even the bike trails are oriented to running through down town. I really do not want to ride busy streets in the Ghetto to get to work which is what MTD is trying get me to do....or make me take a 2.5 hour bus ride with 3 changes to replace a 25 minute commute....uh uh...NO WAY

Thank goodness there is hope on the horizon. Last October a non profit site, Cyclopath, went on line and its goal is to find decent bike routes around the metro. I now have a 23 mile route to work that keeps me on fairly safe streets and out of bad neighborhoods.

Sadly, it came to late to be of help this year. Today the high was -3F. We have some tough local bike commuters but I am not THAT tough, so I am thinking spring thoughts.

Ride On!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Gloom and Doom?

I just don't know. No question the situation is ugly.

I have been on the new job for 8 months now. I really enjoy what I am doing and I know I am making a significant contribution. In a $2 MM company I am the only person that does what I do. We just finished a very solid quarter. So you think everything would be great?

Wrong. I work within another group that has a "downstream" function from what I do. There are 6 of them and last Friday 2 of them were laid off. The company has taken the attitude they need to restructure before the numbers go bad.

Great proactive thinking, right?

I just don't know. No question the situation is ugly.

By the time any one notices we are in a recession, we are half way through it. Can it get THAT bad?

I just don't know. No question the situation is ugly.

*a small footnote of history, this iconic picture was taken about 10 miles from where I grew up

Friday, August 29, 2008

All Jammed Up

Having your daughter getting married creates all sorts of unforseen tasks. On the surface it would all seem fairly simple. Pick a church, host a reception and buy something appropriate to wear.

Not hardly.

Knowing our eldest daughter, I knew that many things would be "assigned" elsewhere and that would entail covering many details. Even knowing that, in hindsight I was CLUELESS.

#2 daughter, the OH and I have spent the last 3 weekends making jars of jams as favors for the guests. Certainly not our idea but some how we did it. This is just one of the many things being handed off to us.

Do I sound a bit stressed? Between the new job and the impending nuptials we are non stop. We have little time for riding, reading, travel or even quiet contemplation. Constantly getting new things that HAVE to be done is not helping.

I love it

Friday, July 25, 2008

Distorted Reflections

Two weeks ago a family was visiting a local amusement when their 12 year old daughter was sexually groped by an adult male in the parking lot as they were leaving the park. The father took exception to the behavior and began defending his daughter from the man. The groper got away and called several friends who were in the park and a total of 6 of them ranging from their late teens to early 20's proceeded to beat the man. This continued until the police and park security arrived. The father was down, unconscious and still being kicked when the police and park security finally arrived.

Adding to this mess, the family was white and the perpetrators were black.

Last week the Star Tribune published a piece claiming the root of the incident could be found in the social values common to Rap music. The author opined that the sexually denigrating and violent ego centrism that permeates Rap music has found its way to mainstream America and is being reflected in violent behavior like the beating. Is society reflecting the music? Is the music reflecting society?

Which is the reflection and which is the image? Are they distorting each other?