Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Gadabout Jack is currently in the UK

Fear not, my friends, I'll be back full time this weekend. Currently in Lincolnshire, UK. Official business, of course. Of note is the fact that you'll pay for everything, and I mean everything, for a Pound = £ as if it were a US dollar. Problem is, the dollar is worth half a £. Lots of pictures and adventures, but am buring through the cash at a rapid rate.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I Don't Like Sharing the Road


Sleek helmet and tights
Twenty-one speed wannabe
Tangled mess and pain

Springtime is upon us, and along with hopes of warmer mornings, budding cherry blossoms and baseball, commuters are also confronted with innumerable coveys of bicyclists crowding the roadways. Ah yes, the skinny people in lycra are back and they are staking claim to the white stripe on the side of the road. They firmly believe that this real estate was bestowed upon them by divine city and state ordinances allowing them to share the highway with the mighty automobile and SUV. “Share the road,” they say.

Well, understand this my boney, determined, Lance wannabe; You’re likely to end up in a drainage ditch with a crumpled Trek and a shattered pelvis. Maybe, just maybe, if you are unlucky enough, you might end up being a hero for some needy patients awaiting kidneys and livers. Hey, hero, everyone gets their fifteen minutes of fame and this might just be your day in the sunshine.

Let’s look at some facts (see for complete references from which the below was taken):

How many cyclists die:

Deaths per year. 725, 629, 665, 732, and 693 cyclists died per year in 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, and 2000 respectively, and were about 89% male. (National Highway Traffic Saftey Administration, and Insurance Institute for Highway Saftey)

An average of 16.5 cyclists per million die every year in the U.S. (For motorists, it's 19.9 motorists per million.) (National Safety Council 1988)

Cyclists are 2% of road deaths & injuries. The 761 cyclists killed in 1996 accounted for 2% of traffic fatalities, and the 59,000 cyclists injured made up 2% of all traffic injuries.

Cyclists accounted for 12% of all nonmotorist traffic fatalities in 1996. Pedestrians accounted for 86 percent, and the remaining 2 percent were skateboard riders, roller skaters, etc.

Yep, Lance, you have every right to the road, but don’t think of it as “sharing,” think of it as risk and be prepared the consequences of determination and pride. And as a final note, three out of four motorists never get charged when they knock you and your pals over handlebars and send you flying fifty feet! Crushing, isn’t it?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Two Older Sisters, a Bucket of Paint and a Corner

I am struggling with an impending vacation with my two sisters, both of which are a bit older than me. Sure, it is going to be a nice little trip, just the three of us to Marathon Key, Florida, but four days and three nights with sisters might be a stretch. Sisters are great! We are talking family here, real blood and all of that stuff. It is just that when we start talking politics, the war and social issues over cocktails the heated debating begins in earnest. Then I start looking around for sharp objects. Am I making this clear enough?

In truth, this situation is all of my doing. Oldest sister, Stephanie, broke her hip last year after slipping on ice. Actually, she broke her elbow after slipping and falling on ice, and moments later the hip was shattered after a Good Samaritan tumbled on her while attempting a rescue. At least that is how I understand the facts surrounding the case. Anyway, this is the family vacation I recommended and supported a few months back as a kind of reward for a speedy recovery. Well, she recovered and reality is close at hand. If we can survive four days of paradise in the Florida Keys, we will prove to ourselves that we can survive anything!

Breathe deep, Gadabout, it will be fine. “Bartender, another round please, and make it a double!”

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Don't Provoke These People


There are three individuals
besides, of course, a high school teacher
that should never be provoked:
the police, your doctor, and a God fearing preacher

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Drunk Chicks


Who would of ever thunk
that no matter where you go
you'll always find
a cute, skinny blond
hanging with a fat, little drunk

Gadabout Jack has been to his fair share of nightclubs over the years, and I have always been surprised to witness first hand the unusually disproportionate number of very attractive, hot women hanging out with fat little guys with stubby fingers wearing gaudy gold jewelry. Who are these people? Are the women just drunks looking for a sugar daddy? Maybe so, but you have to respect those fat dudes for keeping up appearances.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Photography, Haiku and History

Without photography we are doomed, forced to live lives based upon loose and fragile memories of the past that favor sweeter histories than actually lived to protect us against despair and anxiety. Words can be arranged to suit the historian, but pictures are dependable snippets that unless doctored by an experienced surgical photo-oncologist will remain truthful until the end of time. Take Hitler and Nazi Germany for example, there is little doubt of horrific genocide during this period of time because the cameras were running and snapping as the allies liberated the death camps. The news reels and still-photography presented and preserved a lasting and shocking case of brutality and sorrow. The actual accounts by the survivors certainly provide an historical baseline, but it was the pictures that sealed the deal for posterity.

Haiku, as developed and refined over the years, offers the writer an outlet to capture a moment of discovery in a few brief syllables (the old 5-7-5 as we learned in the fifth grade, or any other combination the author feels inspired to formulate) that will survive the test of time--if it is any good, that is. Let's look at the simple 5-7-5 haiku below.


After the last kiss
An anxious woman drives home
To greet her husband

Okay, a bit on the dark side, but the image is there, cemented forever in your brain mass. The point is that Haiku and photography offer a lasting impression. Both the image on the photograph and the words that form the haiku never change. The photograph remains a constant on to itself forever, yet each individual that gazes upon it will likely assign its own context as related to the event captured on paper. In contrast, the image generated by the haiku is different for every individual that reads it, but the message remains intractable for all. In "Mainstream" we get the message loud and clear. Don't we?

Question 1. How many pictures would it take convey Mainstream without haiku?
Question 2. Where are the pictures and news accounts of Darfur, Rwanda and the rest?