Showing posts from November, 2016

The Mysterious Case* Of The Bag On The Bike

The white plastic bag hanging off my bike's right handlebar was new. I was pretty sure of that. I hadn't pedalled to work with a plastic bag on my bike. Had I? No, no, I hadn't. It was a long day at work, and I was pretty tired, and now here was a mysterious bag on my bike in the bike cage at the end of day.

For some reason, my first thought was maybe not what everyone would have first thought: here, I deduced, is a bag with a corn cob in it.

But it was heavier. Different shape. No, not a cob of corn. Why was I being tested like this? (Actually, my first thought was it was bag of dog poo, but there's no use even mentioning that as part of the official story.)

I untied the loose knot and opened the bag and saw that whatever it was was wrapped again in paper towelling. Poking out was a red and white top with printing that said: New Belgium Brewing. This was a beer bottle, I concluded.

And there was beer in it. It was bottled beer. There was a bottle of beer on my bike. …

Late Thoughts Listening To Springsteen

This was U.S. President Obama today, the day after the Donald Triumph the night before, with a little bit of campaign theory. We try really hard to persuade people that we're right and then people vote, Obama said.  Salutary. Not quite true.

Not quite true if by persuade the president means the process of using reason to convince others of a particular position. This includes convincing others to change their minds.

I don't sense much persuasion afoot in our times. I don't know if there ever was much persuasion. Maybe there was, maybe not. But now what goes for persuasion is really engagement. And engagement has to do with likes and follows and friends. Social media in the time of engagement has no button that indicates Good Argument or Convincing or You Helped Me See Things Differently. Or, I Changed My Mind.

When engagement is the goal, holding a mirror up is more effective than risking original offence incurred by trying to change a mind. When engagement is the goal, p…

Edmonton For The Winter (FTW) #1

I wonder.

I wonder if part of the resistance to bicycle riding in the winter reveals itself in the last seven words of that sentence from Robert Hurst’s Machiavellian book, The Art of Cycling. I wonder if the backlash to riding a bicycle in the winter, the ridicule with which it is visited by some critics, the determinism it invokes, is, after everything else is stripped away, precisely that we don’t know how winter riding is good for the soul.

Or why the soul needs good. Or what the soul is. Or how there could be some kind of connection between the soul and, of all things, riding a bicycle in winter.

What exactly is going on in this explosive clause?

Hurst pulls the pin and drops the thought like a hand grenade right there, moving on in his account to more practical matters, including how to ride through public plazas and across curbs. We are left to make sense of the debris. As Strummer warns us, the soul is hard to find.

For me, the good news is I emerge from that sentence and realize…

Cubs Win!

(Editor's note: My friend Robin Stevenson is a Cubs fan. Not a bandwagon jumper, not a celebrity-watcher, but a fan who has from afar carried her share of the grief of more than a century—that now has vanished. Robin guest blogged at the beginning of the season and again at the All-Star break. I think she deserves some of the credit for the historic win. Here is her final post.) 

It has happened. Finally. The Chicago Cubs are World Series champions. They did it. We did it.

Grandfather Cecil Stevenson: the Cubs won in dramatic, epic style!

My first reaction was relief. That final out in the 10th inning meant no more bad things could happen.

Then it set in. What just happened was the best thing ever. My heart was pounding. I might have been in shock.

We busted some ghosts.

I have been cheering for the Cubs for most of my life. There have been some pretty bleak seasons in the 108 years the team has wandered in the baseball wilderness. You don't have to go back far for proof. Th…