Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Great Quote

I saw a quote at Austin Bike Blog that I thought was too good not to share. Like to hear it? Here it go.

Today is Black Friday, the day retailers are supposed to be in the black for the first time all year. The way things have been going the last few months, I doubt very few retailers are coming close to being in black. Indeed, there are signs that American's 60 years of rampant consumer consumption may be coming to an end. Still, that has not prevented the "Opening at 5 AM" hysteria that comes each year on this day including stories of the loss of life and limb over buying loads of crap. All this to celebrate the birth of a man who said "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Matthew 19:21)

Well said.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Is it Any Wonder More Americans Don't Ride Bikes?

While flipping through the paper today on my way to the comics, I ran across a "gift guide" for the holidays. It was a silly little full-page spread of various items which some of the staff writers apparently thought would make good gifts, or maybe which were included in the special section as a paid endorsement. Whatever the reason, it caught my eye because one of the gifts was a tandem bike. A sub-$300 department store tandem, but then any kind of bike gets my attention.

Here's the accompanying text:
The family that bikes together on this cycle has no choice but to stay together. The 21-speed (nondescript bike name) tandem bicycle is a great option for cruisers, with a low frame in the back for shorter riders. Something else to consider: Tandem bicycling has been shown to reduce tremors for patients with Parkinson's disease, and taking the rear seat is a great way to exercise for those suffering from vision loss. (some dumb, old discount department store) $279.
OK, so it forces you to spend time with your family members and if you are going blind or have a neurological disorder it may be good for you. Hmm.

I read a little more and found another gift with this description:
Here's a treadmill with all the bells and whistles you'd find at a premier fitness center: The (Huge fitness equipment company machine) includes a flat screen TV with digital tuner, an iPod-compatible music port and a great sound system. No excuses for not exercising! (Big store at the mall), $1699.
Now, how is it that they can make an exercise machine sound exciting (it even gets an exclamation point), when in reality it's a solitary mind-numbingly boring piece of exercise equipment that is only made tolerable by stuffing it with electronic entertainment gadgets so that you forget that you're in a stuffy corner of the basement walking, but going nowhere so that you can avoid driving to a gym where you'll pay a gym membership then wait in line for a machine so that you can walk, but go nowhere on a solitary mind-numbingly boring piece of exercise equipment while listening to your iPod so that you don't have to talk to the people around you? Then on the same page they make a tandem bike- a vehicle for getting out, getting fresh air and exploring while talking to and spending time with your significant other and getting exercise (perhaps even better exercise than the treadmill) without really minding it because you're having fun- sound like a mundane physical therapy device, suitable only for those with health problems. If nothing else, the bike would make a much cheaper and more effective towel drying rack than the treadmill.