Saturday, September 26, 2015

You Need A License To Embalm

A license is required in every state in order to drive a car. Maybe because it's proof of the knowledge and skill necessary to pilot tons of plastic and metal down the road without running into other cars, pedestrians or livestock. Or maybe not. Licenses are also needed almost everywhere to cut hair, give manicures, install plumbing and electricity, drive a cab, be a peace officer, doctor, dentist, pharmacist, boiler operator or mortician. All of these professions evidently have the potential to harm customers so education and testing is required to insure that persons performing these tasks know what they're doing. There is a profession, however, with a truly great potential to do harm, one that can cause the death of untold thousands and the destruction of immense quantities of wealth. Of course, that profession is elected politician. Holders of elective office, at least in the US, aren't required to show knowledge of anything or skill in any capacity. In this era they need to be somewhat telegenic and capable of reading a teleprompter but no test or license is involved in holding any elected office, from county clerk to US President. It seems kind of crazy that some individual has the ability to send troops to a foreign land without having ever been there or even knowing much about it. But that's how representative democracy works.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

2015 NSC Velodrome All Star Team

These are the stars of this year's competition at the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine, MN. The designation is based on purely subjective criteria but these riders all made big impressions on the fans.

World masters champion Dan Casper and wife Linda Sone'.

Abby and Brandon Krawcyzk, married almost a year now, continue to be two of the most successful riders in their respective categories.

Junior rider Alec Guggemos has an astonishing present and a  bright future in cycling. Already a state Madison champion.

Ashley Murray is one of the new stars of an expanded women's peloton.

Matt Montesano is, as usual, one of the most exciting and athletic riders on the track.

Andrew Stevens, a consistent Cat 3 performer.

Margaux Claude, getting ready to put pressure on the women's 1-2 category.

Tim Mulrooney, veteran road and track rider and a member of the world's master's pursuit gold medal team.

Erin Young, an explosion on wheels.

Peter Moore, a national junior champion.

Kesha Zavalov, now a state Madison champion.

Ken Hum, Cat 3 speedster.

Experienced road veteran Lazlo Alberti dominated the track Cat. 3 scene in 2015.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Innocent Bear Gets the Death Penalty

Here we go again. An animal in the wild, at home, so to speak, has attacked a human and we know what the answer for that is. In this case it is, put delicately, euthanasia or, more commonly, death. The lady was attacked by a bear, and we can't have that. If bears aren't killed for trying to hurt humans maybe all the bears will get together and create real problems for men, women and children. They have to be taught a lesson. Don't mess with humans.

So Mr. or Mrs. Bruin is discovered a short time later and dispatched to bear heaven or hell. Oddly, a DNA sample of the bear is taken to make sure that it's the correct bear, the mean one. And the tested sample reveals that the euthanized bear is not the guilty party. Assuming that there is any validity to DNA testing, and there's plenty of doubts about that, now what? No bringing the innocent back to life, a bear that might have had only the best wishes for homo sapiens. Meanwhile the real culprit is lurking in the forest, chuckling at its escape and planning further attacks on hikers and backpackers. It must be found and euthanized and determined by scientific means to be the guilty party. Since most bears in the wild are reluctant to be closely examined by cops or scientists finding the felonious bear might be a problem. It might involve killing lots of bears until one of them passes the test.
I didn't do it, I swear!

Attacking people isn't the only problem these bruins create. In the toney Lake Tahoe area they root in the garbage, and eventually break into cars and homes. Worst of all, these anti-socials teach their offspring how to pillage and plunder, per this report. The innocent ursine youth can't possibly know that what they're doing earns them the death penalty from the DNR and, being unfamiliar with human language they never understand that they're felons.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Off-duty Cops Can't Pack Heat At NFL Games

The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the National Football League can ban off-duty officers from bringing guns into stadiums on game day. The story from the Strib is here.

"The dispute began in February 2014, when two local law enforcement groups sued the NFL, saying they believe officers have the right to carry and that the public expects them to always be on duty, even at a sporting event."

O.K., if that's true, and maybe it is, doesn't that lead to some other consequences? For instance, if off-duty cops are expected to be armed, shouldn't they also be expected to be sober at all times? In fact, shouldn't any police officer be completely alcohol-free 24/7, 365 days a year? After all, they have access to firearms and high-powered automobiles at all times. Logically, cops should be the subjects of random testing for drugs and alcohol by independent agencies. Those that test positive should then be dismissed from employment. What's scarier than a drunk cop with a gun?

Additionally, it seems that, at least in some jurisdictions, retired cops are able to carry concealed weapons and take part in police activity, like this one did. Other retired cops use their guns for less legitimate purposes, like this guy.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

$10,000,000+ Scoreboard For Honda Center

Evidently, there just isn't enough excitement in a normal NHL hockey game for the fans in southern California. In an effort to get customers "fired up", ownership of the team is in the process of installing a state-of-the-art $10,000,000 Daktronic scoreboard, per this article in the OC Register.

While the project is a financial benefit for the guys at Daktronics in bucolic Brookings, SD, it's probable that the expense will be added to the prices puck fans pay for already expensive tickets. Most NHL teams now have ticket prices that vary according to the anticipated demand. When the Ducks host the Chicago Blackhawks, for instance, tickets will cost more than a game against the Winnipeg Jets. The average for decent seats this season will be $116 each and season tickets will go for $5,220. Maybe watching the game on TV and using the money to send your kid to college would be more sensible.

Aside from that, what happens to the current scoreboard? I better find out about that.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Velocio-SRAM Women's Cyclling Team Calls It Quits

Team owner Kristy Scrymgeour has announced that the very successful Velocio-SRAM cycling team will cease to exist after Jan. 1, 2016. Sponsored through the years by HTC, Columbia, Specialized, Lululemon and other businesses, the squad has included some of the top riders in the women's peloton and achieved some impressive results, including world team time trial championships. Members have included some of the most familiar names in women's cycling, Lisa Brennauer, Carmen Small, Evelyn Stevens, Trixie Worrack, Karol-Ann Canuel, Chloe Hosking, Barbara Guarischi, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Judith Arndt, Emilia Fahlin, Ellen van Dijk and many others. Through the years Scrymgeour's platoon of high-powered cycling ladies has been perhaps the main competition for the dominant Netherlands-based Rabo-Liv team, headed by multiple world champion Marianne Vos. Inevitably, the Velocio-SRAM riders will be scattered among other teams and Rabo-Liv will be even more of a power in women's pro cycling.

It's another sad development for women's cycling, a sport struggling to find success in an environment of intense competition for sponsor dollars and spectator eyeballs.

 Kristy Scrymgeour from her HTC days

Team owner Kristy Scrymgeour

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 6, 1945

Seventy years ago today the US Army Air Force B-29 bomber "Enola Gay" dropped, from an altitude so high as to be invisible to those on the ground, an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The detonation of the device meant the death, either instantly or somewhat later, of over 144,000 non-combatants, mostly the elderly and the young. Three days later another fission bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 80,000.