Thursday, February 28, 2008

Iowa Marriage Amendment

The gist is that there's a stupid, bigoted amendment going through the Iowa General Assembly right now that would make it a part of the state's constitution that you can't be gay and get married. That's almost as bad of an idea as cutting taxes when there's a war going on, but that's another blog post.

Anyway, my friend
Chelsea challenged her readers to write their reps about this issue. I did, in these words...

Dear (representative)

Thank you for taking a few moments to read this letter. I am a straight male who wishes to encourage you to oppose the Iowa Marriage Amendment. I would be ashamed to live in a state which has institutionalized bigotry that is every bit as cruel and insidious as the segregationist South. Please ensure that I don't have to. My arguments are a few indisputable truths:

Gay people are just that, people.
They can't help their sexual orientation.
They shouldn't have to be persecuted for it.
They don't want special treatment. They want equality.

Please oppose this measure.

I'm pleased to present the following responses:

Dear Paul,

I'm with you on this! Thanks for your thoughts.


Senator Herman C. Quirmbach

Dear Paul,

Thank you very much for the email. I join you in opposition to this amendment. I voted against it 3 years ago, and I will continue to work against it. We made progress last year by including sexual orientation and gender identity in the Iowa Civil Rights Code. I have no intention of taking steps backward this year.

Please continue to contact me on this and other issues of interest or importance to you.


(Representative) Beth (Wessel-Kroeschell)

For those of you who would care to follow my lead, feel free to copy-paste my letter and include your own flavor. If you want to do your own words, representatives tend to like short and to the point.
This website will let you search for the people who represent you.

AND YES, IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE!!! I know from personal experience as a news reporter that if a rep gets a pile of letters from their constituents, they can then say to their colleagues, "look: I got 35 letters in favor and only 10 opposed from the people in my district." Or whatever.


Oh, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to hit up the
governor, as long as you're at it. Right, Chelsea?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

For the woman who has everything...

I think the term is chutzpa, if I'm not mistaken. Or hubris.

Via Andrew Sullivan.

Enjoy, ladies.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Stranger Bash

Seattle weekly newspaper The Stranger hosts an annual Valentine's Day Bash. Simple concept: you bring a memento of a failed relationship to the stage, you tell your sob story, and Stranger Editor Dan Savage destroys it as part of the healing process. Here it is in all its blemished beauty.

The Roberta Flack is a lovely touch, no?

Friday, February 15, 2008

John McWethy, RIP

As a former news reporter, this was a hell of a downer. There aren't many real reporters left, and we just lost one who deserved another 20 years or so of blissful retirement. Sometimes, there ain't no justice.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How to do a trackstand.

Because I know you wanna know.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sheldon Brown, RIP

There are various types of cyclists. Some are competitive, some are solitary, some do it out of financial necessity, some do it from sheer love. Most of them, at some point or another, have been directed to the wisdom that is the web site of Sheldon Brown, a real character of a guy who was famous for his cycling helmet with the bald eagle statuette glued to the top.

Sheldon Brown died Sunday, and the world is poorer for his loss.

Brown's death is especially poignant to me for another reason. Brown wrote later in his life of having to give up his beloved bicycles because of Multiple Sclerosis (MS for short). We had to move my mother to a nursing home last year because her MS had progressed to the point where she could no longer live at home. And this has quietly reminded me why I serve on the committee for our annual Bike MS event in central Iowa.

This is why we create a world free of MS.

Friday, February 1, 2008

A post about cycling...for once

Yeah, I know, it's supposed to be about cycling, but I get distracted easily.

As I'm writing this, I am, apropos of the topic, clad head-to-toe in black spandex (or whatever they make Under Armour from) having completed a very brief ride around the neighborhood. I have not been riding to work except for one day this week, because the cold in this state this year has been brutal. But it was a decent ride tonight. Just enough to make me aware of how much I SHOULD be riding.

I have some new toys that I'll show off shortly. I put a NiteRider MiNewt2 headlight on my 'cross bike recently, along with a flashing LED tail light that's daylight visible. The MiNewt is's so bright, that when it's on the flashing setting, it makes street signs light up at about 100 yards. And the tail light should come with a seizure warning. The lights cost me about 200 clams, but if it makes you safer, it's worth it.

And I am officially a member of the club, as well. Meaning, I forked over another 60 fish this week for a USA Cycling racing license. Roller races and time trials for me, mass start events. Believe me, I know better.

On a much more aggravating note...I won an auction on eBay for a set of Mavic Ksyrium ES wheels last month and never got them. Turns out the guy took my money, and then had the balls to sell the wheels to ANOTHER guy, who also never got them. I've filed a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center which will hopefully show some results. I would publish the guy's name here, but just check out the eBay feedback, and you'll see what I mean. Asshole.

So I shall use that whopping income tax rebate check (yeah, right) to put my money where it should go, anyway: Bike World.

Spin easy friends.