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Bubbling Crude, Oil that is, Black Gold, Texas Tea.

I am not in the mood to hear Lousyanians whine further about their latest disaster. Especially today when I read the strippers in New Orleans were suing BP and/or the US Govt. for lost wages due to the oil spill. Now before I start this rant let me first qualify by admitting I lived in LA for a short period of time in my youth and, up until Katrina, held no real postion on the state of that state. My position has changed dramatically.

Louisiana you are in a conundrum. Let’s visit for a moment:

1) You and your poor luck are more than somewhat responsible for the gargantuan deficit our country finds ourselves in.
2) Your Katrina issue showed the mass scale of graft in the state and bilked the US Govt. (meaning me) for, well, a lot of money.
3) Your people were paid to live free, in free houses, with free cell phones, and free cable and free utilities for a mostly indefinate amount of time.
4) The only way you’ve been viable as a state is profiteering from your own natural disasters. The US Govt. was the largest employeer in the state after Katrina.
5) You love states rights and bash the Fed. all while holding your hand out for every penny you “deserve” from that same satan Fed for living in a putrid swamp.

Now on to BP:

1) The oil business is the next largest employer after the US Govt. in the state. LA is “drill baby drill”. Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead.
2) LA is anti-oil regulations, cause those damn regutaors hurt our business and we lose jobs.
3) Then the spill, and here we go again… we have twio satans, the Fed and BP. It’s all everyone elses fault. The Fed. didn’t respond quick enough and BP didn’t have a plan to seal a leak a mile below the ocean floor. No kidding ?
4) Now the Govt. has suspended drilling in the gulf and the Louisianians are enraged, but they can’t figure out at who, or why.
5) Republicans on the hill were filling the airwaves with how neglectful the current administration has been in addressing the spill. I say, THANK GOD. At least we didn’t just open up the treasury, like we did during Katrina, and let the money roll out in boxcars. Before you spend my money, I’d prefer to have things ruminated over for at least a moment.
6) Now that little unlucky state is about to pile onto our already unsurrmountable debt by going on the dole AGAIN for the next 5 years.

Remember the actual surplus we had at the end of the Clinton Administration. Remember Bush’s Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill being fired because he and Greenspan both suggested we not implement massive tax cuts, but actually use the surplus to do some little things like…. shore up Social Security, and perhaps put some “mad” money away “just in case”. Instead we dramatically cut taxes and started a war.

Now I don’t know about you but something seems wrong about cutting taxes and going to war. In the big one “WW2” that is, you couldn’t even get groceries or aluminum or pany hose for that matter. People bought government bonds to support the war effort, they planeted “victory” gardens for pete’s sake. People actually felt the pangs of war, even if they weren’t getting blown apart by Nazi’s or Japanese. Now we buy a new Lexus while our neighbors kid get his legs blown off by an IED. We bitch about the stock market while some kid sitting in Iraq finds out his wife’s cheating on him so that she can buy groceries for their two kids.

Anyway, that large surplus quickly (and I mean really, really, really fast) turned into a massive deficit that seems to have no plug. Tax cut, 9 year war, corporate fraud (from Enron to Lehman Bros.), Katrina, and now the BP oil spill. Kinda ganged up on us didn’t it. Woulda been nice to have some of that mad money laying around to throw at some of this stuff.

Question. Why don’t the oil producing states, or those that benefit from drilling off their shores, keep a disaster fund parked for these little inconveniences ? If your going to take the BP/Exxon money, then at least be responsible enough to put some aside so you don’t have to come whining away about how slow everyone is to react to your regular disasters. Man up Louisiana.

So here is my suggestion. Let’s let Louisiana secede from the US. Become their own country, maybe join up with Cuba, those people are on the dole too. Think of it, we’ll lose practically no tax base and save billions of dollars in federal aid and welfare, and Anderson Cooper can finally move on to another motly local.


Blackgrove Wins 2nd Straight Texas Tough / Wherry Announces Retirement

From VeloNews
By Ian Dille
Published: Sep. 18, 2009

At the lobby bar of Dallas’ W Hotel on Thursday evening, pro bike racers and bike racing fans alike held their champagne glasses high in toast of Team Hotel San Jose’s Heath Blackgrove, who scored his second consecutive victory at the TX Tough Grand Prix by out-sprinting a breakaway group of five riders.

“We missed two big moves and were able to bring them back. It really speaks to the strength of our squad,” said Blackgrove, who placed in front of OUCH-Maxxis’ national criterium champion John Murphy.

Between sips of bubbly, Blackgrove deferred personal praise. “I give all the credit to my team,” he said.

Big night in Dallas

The penultimate stop on the USA Crit Series tour featured a full field of 125 riders racing a roughly one-mile, four-corner loop around the American Airlines Center.

To locals, the swank retail and restaurant area surrounding the stadium — dubbed Victory Park and developed by Ross Perot Jr. — is known as the home of the Dallas Mavericks (a few of whom also occupied the W Hotel bar).

But on Thursday night, the city’s enthusiastic cycling community came out in droves, despite an onslaught of nasty rain, to cheer on the nation’s best criterium riders.

Jumbo screens broadcast the action around the course. A news helicopter hovered overhead throughout the duration of the 75-minute event. The disc jockey from a local radio station played MC and gave the pre-race call ups (not muffing a single name).

The race started with a lap of silence in honor of the recently deceased Dallas cycling legend, Chris Hipp.

Attrition and tactics

The wet conditions at the race’s start made the final corner — a tight 120-degree turn heading up a long drag through the finish line — a single file affair in the field.

Each lap, racers were peeled off the back of the pack in droves, while those diligent enough to stay at the front sprinted for a slew of $1,000 primes.

Team Type 1 and OUCH-Maxxis were the main instigators early, forcing a number of dangerous moves that caught out Team Hotel San Jose. However, determined to ride hard in their home state, the Austin-based amateur team went to the front and drove back the splits. The team recruited Blackgrove from the now-defunct Toyota-United squad for 2009.

An exciting finale

As the race clock counted down to 20 minutes to go, the field finally split for good. Blackgrove, John Murphy (OUCH-Maxxis), Michael Creed (Team Type 1), Adrian Hegyvary (Hagens-Berman LLP), and Adam Myerson (Team Mountain Khakis) escaped from the severely depleted pack and gained a maximum advantage of 20 seconds.

Missing the break was Kelly Benefit Strategies young sprinter Jake Keough, who is leading the USA Crits Series in a tight competition over Team Mountain Khakis’ Mark Hekman. Keough’s teammate Reid Mumford quickly went into time trial mode at the front of the field, narrowing the gap to eight seconds, before ultimately losing steam.

As the roads dried over the course of the race the speed increased significantly, allowing Blackgrove to hit the final corner first and with enough momentum to hold off a hard charging Murphy at the line.

Keough placed second in the field sprint to maintain his overall lead in the series heading into the USA Crit series finals in Las Vegas next Thursday night.

Race Notes

While acknowledging his whole team wasted themselves at the front of the field, Blackgrove gave special recognition to his former Toyota-United cohorts, Sean Sullivan, who’s returned to form following an early season knee surgery, and Chris Wherry, the former US professional champion racing in his final event as a professional cyclist.

“I fully intend on staying involved in cycling as a coach and manager,” said Wherry, whose post-race retirement party also served as his teammate’s victory celebration.

“I’m excited about the next phase of my life and having a chance to give back to a sport that’s given me so much,” said Wherry.

Have a Litter, Get an Agent, Get Rich

Jon & Kate + 8 - John

Jon & Kate + 8 - John

Ok, time for a rant. I can’t stand Reality Shows. There I said it. They are moronic. Beginning with The Tuttles from the dysfunctional Motorcycle Show and going downhill really fast from there. How many Chopper shows can you watch the old man (Senior they call him) scream at everyone and then (fade to Paul – tight shot – look of concern – but confident) “You know, I really think we’re going to have to stay late tonight to get this bike done in time for the show. Because the gas tank didn’t get back from the fabricator in time, it’s really put us in a time crunch. We’ll all have to work really hard to get this bike done, even Mikey’s pitching in”. Every show….same thing.

Now, what really set me off ? Here we go. Couples have been using fertility doctors to get pregnant for years. Often times the result is a “litter”. Four, five, six kids (do they have their eyes closed at birth). These instant parents have also been taking advantage of their situations by encouraging corporation’s to provide them sustenance for mating marketing purposes. For some reason Pampers and Gerber think it’s really cool to have six kids, especially all at once. They pay pretty well to feature these broods in advertising.

Now Jon & Kate took it to a whole new level. They had two beautiful twins with the help of a fertility clinic. Excellent ! Two healthy baby girls, when you thought you couldn’t have kids. Be greatful, stop there. But no..lets’ try for one more. Hello…one more doesn’t happen when you are playing with doctors & drugs. Presto, 6 more. That’s really cool. Eight kids, what a great couple, what a lovely family. What a zoo. Let’s make a reality show out of it. Why, cause we’ve made reality shows about everything else on earth and they all work.

Now this irresponsible couple have BANKED on their breeding prowess. Their family is ruined, as they both turned out to be crafty cheats and money grubbing scavangers, but hey, they are millionaires and they’ll split time with their kids in their respective mansions. Ain’t life grand. Look at OCTOMOM, she’s about to get her own show as well. What’s next, some mom will have like 50 eggs implanted and blow up on TV. I guess we have ourselves to blame. It is one of the most highly rated shows on TV. I really can’t believe that. I’ve watched twice and got a headache in about the 1st ten minutes.

This Lady Is Still Smiling

This Lady Is Still Smiling

Now this weekend I saw a new show “The Duggars”. They are this cult-like religious family who obviously don’t subscribe to abstinence or birth control, cause this mom has squeezed out (well more like plopped out) 16 kids. The Duggar’s say God will tell them how many kids to have. Hey Duggar’s, if you keep it up like rabbits without birth control, you don’t need God to tell you how many your gonna have. You are gonna have babies until Mr. Duggar has a farm accident or Ms. Duggar reaches menopause. I’m wondering how they can keep at it with 16 kids around the house, they must go for lots of rides in the car.

Now the Duggars are banking as well. Just like Jon & Kate they just bought a big new house thanks to “God” (and $75K an episode from the Discovery Channel). My fear is they’ll feel obliged to keep having kids to keep the ratings up, and Ms. Duggars insides will just fall out.

I guess the whole phenomenon of revering couples who have huge families is just baffling to me. How many times have I heard, “They have 6 kids !”. “Wow, that great !”..or “Gosh, isn’t that wonderful”. Well…no, it’s pretty selfish and irresponsible. Certainly anyones right to do so, but to me, just not very practical in a “hey the’s a zillion people on the planet” perspective. I know, I know..if they can afford to have them (re. they aren’t on welfare), then it’s OK. NOT, selfishness aside, it’s not the affordability, it’s the footprint. But I liken all our problems to overpopulation – pollution, global warming, war, murder…just less likely to happen with alittle space between us.

It’s not just religions who encourage big families, the government does to. Sure, you get a bonus at tax time for each kid. Folks in West Virginia can do the math. $1000 bucks, hmm….I think we can raise another ‘un for about $600 a year, that’s $400 for a new above-ground-pool. Let’s hit the sack !

If you are nursing a brood, good for you, this IS America, and we have the freedom to choose to procreate like rabbits if we so choose. It’s not just a personal choice anymore you know, it’s a career !

Usain Bolt – 9.58 100 meters….WHAT ?

Usain is INSANE ! Jerome Kerse is not “The Freak”, Usain Bolt now has that title hands down. 5 world records this year…5 SPRINT world records this year (and he’s not swimming in a dimpled suit). Check out this 100 meters at the World Championships in Berlin this week. Yeah that’s Tyson Gaye he’s dusting. Sorry Bullet Bob Hayes, you just lost the “Worlds Fastest Man” title you had since the 60’s. Bolt is the real deal. He’s HUGE (6’5″) and just scary fast. He’s not one of the 100’s of runners who learned to run while going to College in the US for free. He’s straight off the streets of Kingston man. Bolt was the fastest dude in his High School at age 12. Sprinters are looking to move to middle distance as it’s believed by many Bolt can’t be beat and not for a long time (he’s only 23 years old – this month). He’ll be winning for another 5 years. Who wants to race every meet for silver ? Well I guees I would, but for everyone else it’s like playing Tiger Woods in a major (except you have absolutely no chance, and your done in less than 10 seconds).

Now that 100 meter run was stupid enough, but Bolt upped it. Usain comes out the next night and annihilates his 19.30 200 meter record by going 19.19 (not 19.20 like the board says). Wait, wait. Have any of you ever run track ? 19.19 in the 200 ? That’s just, just pure other-worldly, alien. Sub 20 was something no one even talked about back in the day and this guy is looking to go sub 19. What’s he got a teleporter ? Look at this race. Nobody runs a 200 meter turn like this, he has 10 meters coming out of the turn (and he’s supposed to have a bum toe). Then he just gains ground on the straight. Remarkable. He’s 23 and the fastest man EVER on the planet. Can I buy some stock in this guy, is he publically traded yet. ? Let’s just hope he has some good management and staying power and “Lightening Bolt” isn’t done and gone in a flash.

WWF Action in World Championships – Natalia Rodriguez Finishes First, Disqualified for Pushing Fellow Runner

The women’s 1,500-meter final had a strange result at Sunday’s world track and field championship in Berlin, as Spain’s Natalia Rodriguez made a late surge and crossed the finish line first — only to be disqualified because part of that late surge included pushing past Ethiopian runner Gelete Burka, who fell to the ground and couldn’t finish the race.

Burka was the pre-race favorite, but she ended the race lying down on the track. Ultimately it was Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain, who crossed the finish line second, who ended up winning the world title. Rodriguez went over to apologize to Burka immediately following the race, but she insisted afterward that she hadn’t intended to knock Burka down:

“I have a clear conscience, I know that I ran well,” said Rodriguez after learning she had been disqualified. “I saw a space down the inside and then Burka tried to close me out. There was some barging and then she fell. I did nothing wrong. “

“At about 150 meters, Gelete opened up a little and left some space open on the very inside of lane one. I tried to get by her, but as I tried she closed me down and forced me off the track. I was going to do the lap of honor, but all the stadium was whistling and the truth is it wasn’t very nice.”

The Spanish track team, however, felt upon viewing the replay that Rodriguez had, in fact, pushed Burka, and as a result decided not to appeal the decision.

From FanHouse

40+ Austin Cyclists At The Kevin Underhill Life Celebration Ride Tonite

James Ezell sent a short email to the LTC Yahoo group about our regular Tuesday Nighter rolling neutral in memory of Kevin Underhill yesterday. He and I started getting a few calls during the day today asking about the ride, so we expected a few more than our usual crew. I arrived at the Bank at about 6:10 and frankly I felt a bit disconsolate as there were maybe 10 riders in the parking lot. Not for long…within the next 15 minutes close to 25 more riders rolled in and lined up. It was by far the largest group we had ridden out with to date.

Everyone (at least the first 20) wore black arm bands on their right sleeve (road side) in honor of Kevin’s remarkable (as we learned) life. We picked up 5-6 more riders as we rolled up 620 to Bee Cave Parkway. It was an awesome sight in the middle of rush hour traffic. Thanks to everyone who came out tonite. All the great LTC regulars (quality people every one), Rich and his lovely wife from Round Rock, the AT&T contingent led by James and Rheannon, Sue and James E. Team Hotel San Jose members Kurt, Johnny, Trey and I and all the folks I haven’t seen in a long time.

We rolled neutral to Bee Cave Parkway everyone moving about the pack having a great time chatting away. It was such a blast. We remained neutral until the hills on 2244 and gaps naturally started appearing. A very large group rolled up at the Rollingwood 15 minute light, and I had a feeling the neutral rollout was over, just like Kevin would have liked it.

I wouldn’t say we “raced” home, but the guys & gals up front definately upped the paced and a group of about 7 rolled off the front. A time trial effort started breaking that pack up and there were riders all over 2244 going both ways, what a sight.

The piesta resistance was that everyone stayed after the ride and had a blast. Jamies at Lake Travis Cyclery again furnished the refreshment, and a party atmosphere ensued. A wake in the best New Orleans tradition – a celebration of a remarkable life. I looked around the patio and saw all the conversations taking place between old and new friends and thought to myself how amazing the cycling community is in Austin. Just a yard full of great people celebrating a really unique life.

RIP Kevin

From Andrew Willis; Holland Racing, Driveway Race Promoter:

This news comes with heavy heart…

Unfortunately Kevin Underhill is not going to make it. The injuries to his head were severe. The damage beyond hope. Kevin is currently on life support. He is unconscious and not suffering. His family has made a decision to remove him from life support and donate his organs in 24 hours, which will be sometime tomorrow afternoon.

His family has appreciated the support from both the climbing and cycling communities, of which Kevin has been a big part of. If you’d like to say goodbye to Kevin or offer his family support, he is in the ICU at Brackenridge hospital. Visiting hours begin at 10AM tomorrow. The family wants you to know that Kevin is pretty banged up, and should you choose to see him, be prepared. If you want to go up there and offer support and not see him, they will not take offense.

Please take a moment and think about Kevin, his family, and your own. Love your life and love others.

About Kevin from a Climbing friend:

From when I knew him in the mid 90s, Kevin was a very avid rock climber, so it’s fitting that you mention learning the ropes. It’s great that you consider yourselves stewards of your sport, helping newbies learn and grow. I’m glad you riders are sensitive to the new racers among you and do hope that you continue to take them under your wings when they embark on racing.

Kevin was a humble person, never overestimating his capabilities; in fact, he was acutely aware of his limits. More than probably anyone I climbed with, Kevin had a day-to-day understanding of his body in relation to his climbing and knew which injuries or weaknesses needed to be paid heed to when undertaking any climb, whether a new one or one he’d been on many times. I say this just to point out that there may not be anything anyone could have done to prevent this crash or improve the understanding Kevin had; experience builds good competitors, but everyone has to start somewhere.

Kevin was also known in our climbing circle as the one who quadruple-checked security factors, and he could spot unsafe behavior a mile away. If you knew him you counted on him for that extra factor of safety and awareness of self and surroundings. So I’d guess that he was quite aware what kind of behaviors in a race were risky – sometimes we considered him OVERaware of those factors, as he tended to be practically obsessive about researching all the angles for activities he ventured into; we teased him about it and he laughed at himself too. But really, there’s no knowing what was in Kevin’s head or why the crash happened. It’s just a terrible loss to the biking and climbing communities and his family and friends. Kevin will be sadly, sorely missed.