Saturday, February 28

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

An early morning March of Dimes fundraiser in the S-Mart parking lot left me bereft of reason as I tried to figure out what saving babies had to do with heavy metal/megadeath style of music. Hey, I like electric guitar even when it gently weeps, but this stuff was a strictly minor key meltdown. Yeow! The bass and drum beats reminded me of the slashing in Psycho. Stab . . . Stab . . . Stab some more. You get the idea.

Maybe I'm old fashioned. More definitely than maybe. I just hope there weren't any still-in-the-womb kids hanging out close by that were abused by the cacophony.

Or maybe I just don't appreciate the fine art art (sic) form presented by the dark side, as quintessentially presented by the band Infernal Method: "This is strictly a pantagraphic hauntography of proto-mantic motherworlds. Mysteriograms of toposonic radiances are deconstructed and raptoluminal resonances at residual numinophillic nemeta sites are reiterated in the mycoboreal precincts."

Monday, February 23

Cootsville At the Ritz

We visited our friends' upper crust recreation center yesterday. It is the focal point of a housing development where 55+ coots and cootettes pay an extra $155 a month to enjoy a panoply of activities. What a place! A first-class "guaranteed-to-keep-you-busy" facility. Everything from golf to a full-sized softball field, including scoreboard. Pretty tempting, but I haven't entered my old coot phase yet, and I surely don't have and extra $300k to buy a house and shell out $155 a month on top of it.

We'll just visit when I get in the mood to play ball.

Saturday, February 21

On Stage in Pasadena

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — "Rinaldo Nocentini of Italy has lunged ahead of New Zealand's Hayden Roulston at the finish line to win Stage 7 of the Tour of California.

American Levi Leipheimer of Astana retained his overall lead Saturday after the 88.9-mile leg from Santa Clarita to Pasadena's historic Rose Bowl.

Nocentini of AG2R La Mondiale won by less than a bike length, finishing in 3 hours, 24.44 seconds. Rabobank's Pieter Weening of the Netherlands was third in the three-man sprint to the finish.

Lance Armstrong, who began a comeback last month, wasn't among the stage leaders as he rode in support of Leipheimer, his Astana teammate."


Only one more day for this annual event that has really grown in popularity in the past four years. If you're interest has bloomed a bit, there is a great movie about racing that is one of my favorites -- Breaking Away is a 1970's vintage story about a wanna be cyclist who idolizes the Italian racing team and tries to mirror their image in his small town existence. A Romeo/Juliet - Rich/Poor theme adds to the reality. A young Dennis Quade gets my vote for almost-good supporting actor. More of a coming of age movie than a cycling movie, so everyone can enjoy it.

Thursday, February 19

Amgen Stage 5 To Paso Robles

Hey there, cycling fans. San Luis Obispo's Team Columbia-High Road has won both yesterday's Stage 4 in Clovis and today's Stage 5 in Paso Robles as their favorite sprinter, Mark Cavendish, stayed ahead of Tom Boonan in the final sprint to win both days. Perfect weather graced the landscape as each team stretched their legs over the 134 miles from Visalia to WordyDave's home town. Send me your <175kb pictures and I'll post them!

At 23 years young, Cavendish is one of the bright stars in the future of the cycle wars.

Tuesday, February 17

Amgen Stage 3

Finally, a first hand look at the Amgen Tour of California as they whizzed between San Jose and Modesto today. I left work early and drove in the rain to the end of Airport Road, hooked up with another photographer on a strategic corner, and fired away as the groups made their leisurely way to the finish line. Not too exciting at all. Oh, well.

Now it's back to cable TV and the live feed of the tour on the Internet.

The pictures are here.

Monday, February 16

Yellow Levi

Today's soaker didn't bother Astana Team's Levi Leipheimer as he took the Amgen Stage 2 near the summit of Bonnie Doon Road, some minutes before wending his way into Santa Cruz. Although Leipheimer lost the final sprint to Garmin-Slipstream's Tom Peterson, he led in points and snatched the yellow jersey from yesterday's winner, Francisco Mancebo.

Peterson's claim to fame is riding dead last in the Sacramento Prologue on Saturday.

Go figure.

Sunday, February 15

Paso Robles Winter

Thanks to my sister, Ginnie, for this capture that was taken behind Barney Schwartz Park.

Perfect composition is a gift.

Mancebo Wins Stage 1

In a wonderfully exciting sprint at the finish line in Santa Rosa, Rock Racing's Francisco Mancebo of Spain held off two contenders to win Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California.

Perseverance personified and exemplified on a day most would rather spend in front of a warm fire.

Little wonder we wimps will never win the yellow jerseys of life.

First Winner of the Amgen Tour of California

Team Columbia-Highroad's Emilia Fahlin just won the Women's Criterion Amgen Tour race in Santa Rosa while waiting for the men's leaders to reach the 1/2 way point in their 107 mile excursion. Horribly wet weather has prevented helicopter video of the men's event as of 2:30 p.m.

Fabian Cancellara has reportedly abandoned Stage 1 due to illness.

Lance Armstrong has suffered a flat tire and crash, but is still in the running.

I'm enjoying a wet and windy Pooh day INDOORS, thank you. Weather permitting, I'll catch the leaders during Stage 3 on Tuesday on Kasson Road as they zip towards Modesto and take some pictures.

Tuesday, February 10

The Land of Handsome Men

The Society of Friends published a 19th century periodical filled with essays, articles, poetry, sermons and other interesting stuff. This article appeared in the The Friend - A Religious and Literary Journal, Vol. 42, 1869.


"Already, it is stated by careful observers, the inhabitants of the regions bordering on the Pacific begin to exhibit well marked physical and mental peculiarities. Charles Loring Brace, in his book called 'The New West; or California in 1867-1868,' says, as quoted by the Nation,' Here picked men, in the flush of life from most European races have gathered. They have mainly occupied themselves with vigorous pursuits, such as mining, or with out-door occupations, such as teaming and farming. They have had the best food, plenty of both fruit and meat; and (on the coast) the best climate which the Anglo-Saxon has ever enjoyed; equable, sunny, cool, and invigorating. In the interior they have had a dry, mountain, Asiatic climate, with great extremes to struggle with, but which has not yet produced its natural effect on the physique, as the people so constantly emigrate to the coast.

"'The effect of all these combined causes on the physical type of California is, that it is especially the land of handsome men. One sees great numbers of fine, manly profiles, with full ruddy cheeks and tall vigorous forms. The spare, dry, nervous type of the Eastern American is not common. City residents of course, are always inferior physically to the rural population; but even the San Franciscans begin to have an English look. I am constantly meeting young, ruddy round-faced businessmen, whom I mistake for Englishmen, but who are Yankee-born. On the Sierras (sic), especially at Virginia City, there seems no doubt that the rarefied atmosphere has expanded the chests of the people, even in these few years. The children in the country, and from the wealthier classes of the city, seem more ruddy, healthy looking, and prettier than ours in the East. Among the working people of San Francisco they are as pale, peaked, and nervous, with brains as much overworked as in our cities. It is said that babes do not suffer from teething as do ours, and mothers do not dread 'the second summer' as at home.

"'The young girls of the city show a great deal of beauty, and each rich bloom of complexion as we seldom see in the Atlantic border.

"'The coast physique will, no doubt, be merely the American type improved. The inhabitant of the Sierras and the central river-bottoms, will ultimately become more Asiatic or Arab-like in type --- darker, sparer, and, on the whole, with less muscular vigor --- for the common diet of the plains will more and more be the delicious fruits and vegetables of that region; and a fruit or vegetable eating race is never so vigorous or energetic as a meat-eating. The south of California will tend toward an Italian or Moorish type, under the enervating influence of climate and a bountiful fruit diet. A 'southern' aspect is already very perceptible even in the pure Anglo-Saxons of Los Angeles and its neighborhood."

And now, men and women of California, you know why you are so good-looking!

Sunday, February 8

The Ladder to Distress

Not a ladder I want to climb at this age. Fear of heights is one of the added features of the vintage lifestyle. And a 50-story flight into the headlines would really hurt, for a fraction of a second anyway.

Seriously, this is a beautiful building in downtown Sacramento, just east of the State Capitol and close to the Sacramento River. We visited the old city again for it's Free Museum Day and a great time with cousins Robert and Becky. We were the first through the doors of the Sacramento History Museum (the Railroad Museum a few doors down already had a line). First class exhibits, lighting and volunteers. Then it was off to get a snack, see the Delta King paddlewheel steamship, old schoolhouse, Towe's Auto Museum, then back for lunch and a last minute tour of the Railroad Museum. Pictures here if you're interested.

Thursday, February 5

As The World Changes

Isn't this the greatest time to be alive, watching As the World Changes in person?