Friday, February 29, 2008

Don't Believe in Fire

The second song, Don't Believe in Fire, on the player is from the radio show this morning. Sai on vocals and guitar, Sunny on didgeridoo, Jim on sax and I'm playing the cajon.

The first song, Worth the Drive, was recorded at a show we had a couple of years ago.


My Apologies.

If anyone actually tuned in to hear us play music on the radio, I’m sorry. I had the radio station wrong because I was told the wrong station. Oops. Anyway, we played to an estimated 60,000 people, promoted upcoming gigs—Wing Fling on March 15th and the House of Blues, Myrtle Beach, SC on March 22nd. Good times. If I can figure out a way to post the song that we did, I will do just that once Sai emails me the track. Again, sorry about the mix up.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

On the radio and a Happy Leap Year to All.

Sai Collins (vocals/guitar) , Jim Durham (saxophone) and I (bass/percussion) will be playing live on Surf 98.3 FM to help promote the 2008 Wing Fling and to celebrate Leap Year. Ok, the second part of that isn’t true, but happy Leap year anyway. We will be on air this Friday, 2/29/08, around 9:30am EST. If you’re not local, you can listen via internet stream.
Click here for internet stream

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Gas Prices

Sign of the times. I snapped this picture while on a bike ride this weekend.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


I did a test video with my new camera. Took a long time to upload. Quality isn't too bad, I guess. This is Hannah's cat, Maus.

Friday, February 22, 2008

12th Annual Budweiser Wing Fling

12th Annual Budweiser Wing Fling

Location: Hugh MacRae Park, Wilmington, North Carolina
Date: Saturday, March 15th, 2008
Time: 12p-4p, gates will open at 11:30am
DJ Complete
Green Shack
Labeling Deloris
Sai Collins and the Getaway Drivers (a.k.a. the band that I play in)
Tickets can be purchased online only this year. NO tickets will be available the day of the event, on campus or at the radio station.
Buy tickets here

And remember, the money raised benefit various UNCW Scholarship Funds so buy your ticket - it's for a great cause!

No glass bottles, no pets. Everyone will be ID'd before entering.
More info on the official Wing Fling MySpace.

Participating restaurants:
Cape Fear Chef's
Anntony's Caribbean Cafe
Wrightsville Grille
Jerry Allens Sports Bar and Grill
Hamburger Joe's
Fox and Hound Pub and Grille
Fibber McGee's
The Pilot House
Pine Valley Market
Sweet & Savory Cafe
The Reel Cafe

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Time for a new camera (pun intended)

My new camera finally arrived today after a lot of frustration with customer no-service at I won't go into it, but I will never buy anything from them again. Anyway, I got the new Canon G9. It's amazing. I had a digital Canon Rebel XT with a 3 different lenses, one being a 300mm telephoto. Needless to say, it was a lot to haul around whether it be on the bike or just running up to the beach to snap some shots. In short, I am very pleased with the G9. It's pretty versatile in that it's both very user friendly and can be set to your liking if you know the ins and outs of taking photos. Click here to read about the details at dpreview.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Selective Bashing?

Dem. canidate, Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, has been getting a lot of shit over the last few days because of this quote:

What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback. And let me tell you something — for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment. I’ve seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues, and it’s made me proud.

People (Tv, radio, co-workers, etc.) can’t believe that she’d say something like that and they question whether or not she’s EVER been proud of her country. Not even ending the Cold War without firing a shot? Not even spreading democarcy throughout the world? Not even, not even…and of course, the true, blue Americans out there are stepping up, taking the reins, declaring that they are proud Americans and always have been. Rep. canidate John McCain’s wife, Cindy, responded with: I just wanted to make the statement that I have and always will be proud of my country.

So, according to Cindy McCain's statement that she has ALWAYS been proud of the country means that she is proud of slavery, oppression of women, the Tuskegee study of untreated syphilis in African-American males, the raping, murdering and pillaging of American Indians, ect. So does that make her a racist? A bigot? An idiot? Maybe...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Something that resembles a Critical Mass ride is afoot.

It seems that there is a group of people trying to start up a Critical Mass ride here in the Wrightsville Beach/Wilmington area. People have tried this before and the last attempt was a couple of years ago. From what I remember, the first ride drew 25-30 people: adults, kids, hipsters, commuters, roadies, mountain bikers and others. It was a good time and a nice feeling riding with that many people on some of Wilmington’s busiest streets. But as time passed, 4 months or so, the numbers spiraled down to a mere handful of cyclists. So, like I said, there is another attempt to breathe life into the concept. The details:

Meet at the Wrightsville Beach Harris Teeter parking lot. February 29, ride starts at 5:30pm. Everyone is welcome. Ride whatever bike you want. This is not a roadie ride or a club ride or anything, just a bunch of folks who want to ride their bikes.

This will be a regular event on the last Friday of every month.

Spread the word.

Wilmington CM ride of yesteryear. Can you find me?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Still thinking

Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter wants to meet with National Football Commissioner, Roger Goodell, about the New England Patriots video tapping a practice of the St. Louis Rams the day before the two teams met in the Super Bowl a few years ago.

Again, why not let the NFL regulate itself?

Wait, didn’t a beagle just win the Westminster Dog Show for the first time EVER, something about that sounds a little fishy to me. I think we need a congressional hearing.

Thinking about

living in America again.

The federal government is investigating baseball. I said, baseball. Our government has nothing better to do, apparently. Baseball. Here's a novel idea: let baseball regulate itself and not waste the tax payer's money.

Thinking out loud

about living in America.

Here in North Carolina, a criminal is appointed an attorney if he or she can’t afford one. If the criminal is found guilty he or she has to pay cost of the attorney back to the state. Found innocent, he or she doesn’t have to pay anything.

If someone has a pain in their chest and can’t afford health insurance, he or she has to pay to visit a doctor. If he or she finds out that they have a non-terminal condition and requires a lot of treatment, they have to pay for the long term treatment. If he or she finds out that everything is fine, after some testing, they have to pay for it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sheldon Brown: 1944-2008

If you have ever googled for information about bicycles, you’ve probably clicked on Sheldon Brown’s website. I know I have. If you haven’t, Sheldon was considered a technical guru in terms of bicycles and an Internet legend within the world cycling community. Sadly, he suffered a heart attack on 2/3/08 and died at the age of 63. He leaves a wealth of information for others to benefit. When I was in the process of building my last touring bike, Sheldon was gracious enough to entertain my questions about brakes and brake pads. His help was greatly appreciated. He is survived by his wife Harriet Fell and children Tova and George. My thoughts are with his family.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Kids in a normaly kidless world

I'm sitting with these two for the weekend while Hannah and every other writer this side of the Mississippi is in NYC for AWP.

Why does Superman die from crystals?
How can we hear Hannah's voice on the phone?
Can I have a real lion?
Do lions eat people?
If Smokey (a cat down the street) and Maus (Hannah's cat) lived in the same house, would they be married?
What's a walnut?
Do Killer Whales eat people?
Can we watch a dvd?
I got a check mark, can I have a book?
Do I have to eat the brown part of the apple?
Kanasta won't leave Bee (a ladybug stuffed animal) alone.
Aaron pulled my boot and my ankle is hurt.
My apple has a brown part too, do I have to eat it?
I think I saw a shooting star.
I know I need to stop lying, but I just don't know why I do it.
I think I saw a shooting star too, but I'm not sure.
What's the devil?
Do you have the Hippo song?
Can I pet that dog?

And that was the first hour.


Friday, February 1, 2008

Taylor, Kifer, History and Heros

Below is an essay penned by the late Ken Kifer about about Major Taylor, the fasted man on a bicycle during the late 1800s.

A note about Ken Kifer:
Ken Kifer died on September 14, 2003. He was hit by a drunk driver while cycling near his home in Scottsboro, Alabama. He was 57. The driver was charged with murder and convicted. He’s now serving 20 years. Click here for more here about Ken and bike pages.

An oversight on my part when I first published this post:
Click here for more information on Major Taylor The Major Taylor Association gladly takes donations and sells posters and books. Check'em out.

A Forgotten Hero
By Ken Kifer

About twenty years ago, I was browsing in a college library, looking for something interesting to read, when by chance I discovered Major Taylor's autobiography, next to a book on weightlifting.

I have never been much of a fan of bicycle racing; however, I was intrigued by this story of a sports hero I had never heard of before, who raced back in the golden age of cycling at the turn of the century, and I read his book completely absorbed. It was his personality, his struggle, and his open and unpolished writing style that made me his admirer, rather than his victories on the track.

In our involvement in cycling, Taylor and I did not have much in common. I go on long, slow rides to enjoy the beauty of nature; Taylor's cycling consisted of short, vicious, high-speed battles that seldom lasted much over four minutes; nowhere does Taylor even mention the pleasure of cycling outdoors.

On the other hand, as a cyclist and as a person, I have experienced undeserved attacks caused by ethnocentric intolerance just because I did not conform to the majority. Taylor happened to be born with a black skin and could never hope to satisfy people who chose to draw the color line. Yet, he had the tenacity to fight the battle again and again without hating his rivals, no matter how unfair they were to him.

Although Taylor was arguably the fastest rider in the United States from roughly 1897 to 1900, his greatest struggle was with "that monster prejudice." Time after time, he was refused entry into races, and he wasn't permitted to race in the South, which hurt his overall standings every year. He was not allowed to join the League of American Wheelman, the dominant cycling organization of his day, simply because of his color. He was turned away at hotels and restaurants, even on the evenings before major races. He was fined on numerous occasions for not racing when he had been the victim and not the cause of the problem. He faced a number of attempts to get him disqualified both because of his race and because of problems arising out of prejudices against him. He was sometimes fearful of other cyclists, and not without reason, as they sometimes threatened his life. He was personally attacked by the other racers, both before, after, and during the races, being choked insensible on one occasion and deliberately rammed at high speeds on another. During the race itself, it was more common than not for the other racers to all conspire against him, often trying to seriously hurt him, and otherwise trying to block him from winning. Even when he had won a race, the judge would often find the white man to be the victor when the race had been very close and, in the event of a tie, Taylor would lose. After the race, it was a rare occasion to have his opponents congratulate him. After Taylor's racing career was over, he found doors shut against him, for instance, being denied the opportunity to get a college degree.

One very telling although not important incident, told by biographer Andrew Ritchie, shows how uniform the prejudice was against Taylor. While in one city in Europe, Taylor found that he was not being given his favorite room, number 13, and he made attempts to correct the situation, only to discover that Room 13 was a janitor's closet. His attachment to the number was so strong by that time that he though about having the room fixed up for him. Now, why would Taylor be obsessed with the number 13 when it is regarded as an unlucky number in the United States? Very simply, Taylor had been assigned that number for so many races and so many rooms that he had overcome his prejudice against it and considered it to be his lucky number.

Taylor learned how to live with prejudice without letting it destroy him. He said he was proud of being a Negro. He did not hate white people in return, although he said that he had "no great admiration for White people as a whole, because I am satisfied that they have no great admiration for me or my group as a whole." On the other hand, he freely pointed out that his success in life would have been impossible without the support of white friends, especially Birdie Munger, who asked for nothing in return.

Major Taylor had four great weapons at his command in his numerous track competitions. First, the very fact that he was tricked and attacked again and again made him strong and absolutely determined to win. The others were racing for the money; Taylor was racing to prove that he was the equal of any man.

Second, Taylor used his brains and was considered to be a great tactician in a race. Time after time, he outsmarted his enemies, pretending he was tired when he was not, pretending to attack when he wanted them to attack first, having his subordinate mark the position where he would begin his sprint when he intended no such thing, attacking whenever his opponent would begin to climb the bank to prepare an attack against him, and deliberately allowing his opponents to get him "in the pocket," so they would relax, and so he could strike without warning.

Third, Taylor was a trick rider and could sometimes perform "impossible" feats to get into a better position or out of a jam. For instance, when racing against Edmond Jacquelin in France, the two men circled the track as slowly as possible to try to get the advantageous rearmost position. Finally, they were both standing still, and then Taylor began to pedal his bike backwards! Edmond laughed, accepted the front position, and was beaten in the sprint. Taylor used another great trick to get out of pockets. In this position, he would have one elbow on the edge of the track with one man ahead and one man on his other elbow. Taylor would deliberately strike his tire against the wheel of the rider in front of him, normally a suicidal move. The rider in front would jerk violently, the rider to the side would veer to avoid crashing, and Taylor would shoot through the opening.

Taylor's fourth great advantage was decisive: No one could beat him in a sprint. Time and again, Taylor would be the last man in the home stretch, and the others would be pushing for all they were worth, when suddenly Taylor would rocket by them, not only passing the whole field, but passing the lead rider by several lengths as well. Because of Taylor's terrific ability to shoot pass the other racers at the very last second, he was a great crowd pleaser and a great ticket attraction. It was for this reason that he was allowed to compete, in spite of the great hostility against him.

There was a sad end to Taylor's life, as told by Andrew Ritchie. Taylor died during the depression from heart failure at the age of 53, an impoverished and forgotten man. I cannot help but see his early death as a victory for prejudice and intolerance. A reasonable diet and a daily bicycle trip could have prevented his death. God have mercy on a society that will let such talent die rather than use it. Taylor should have been a spokesperson for tolerance and clean living, someone to encourage children to persevere. Hopefully, our society will continue to become more tolerant of differences and more sensitive to ability in the future.