Tuesday, June 23, 2015

North Star Grand Prix 2015

Despite some tribulations this year's edition of the annual NRC bike race went off with unusually good weather and lots of fans. Unfortunately, there were no elite ladies, with one exception, competing. A combination of scheduling circumstances led to a dearth of entries in the elite women's competition and cancellation of the race that has been won by international stars in the past. Carmen Small, a national and international champion, elected to compete in the elite men's division and the women's races were replaced with an amateur omnium competition in the Uptown, Menomonie and Stillwater criteriums that drew many of the better riders in the Midwest.

  Fabrizio Von Nacher of KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo crosses the finish line first at the grueling Stillwater Criterium.
Carmen Small warms up with former teammate Jesse Anthony before the St. Paul Criterium.
Local phenom Colin Catlin was third in the amateur omnium and winner of the Greg Lemond best young rider jersey.

Mountain bike hall of famer and veteran road and cyclocross rider Steve Tilford waits at the start line in Stillwater. Tilford won second in the omnium. Behind him is Jameson Ribbens, winner of the Stillwater amateur race.

Freddie Rodriquez, four time US National Road Racing Champion, has announced that this is his last year of pro racing. Fast Freddie relaxes moments after completing the Stillwater Crit.

Ben Hill, Fabrizio Von Nacher, and Kevin Girkins break away from the field at Stillwater.

It takes a lot of volunteer effort to put together the North Star Bike Festival. Two of the most dedicated are race director Paul Merwin and promoter David LaPorte, whose tireless efforts throughout the year create the premier cycling event in the Upper Midwest.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Carmen Small to Race with the Men

Carmen Small, superstar cyclist with the TWENTY16 Professional team, wasn't scheduled to make things difficult for the other ladies of the women's peloton during the week of the North Star Grand Prix. Lack of entries had led to the cancellation of the elite women's race but an opening developed on the men's Elbowz Racing Team and Small has elected to take the spot. A national and pan-American time trial champion and member of the world team time trial championship crew, Small might not win any stage of the North Star Grand Prix men's race but she's already stood on the top of the podium there twice as the women's GC winner.

 photo c43819ac-8234-4143-a1a4-f6e3a5681657_zps3c0ec06d.jpg Carmen Small in her Specialized-Lululemon kit chats with former teammate Jade Wilcoxson before the start of the 2014 Uptown Criterium stage of the North Star Grand Prix.

New York State Trooper Indicted on Sexual Assault Charges

Sometimes "To Protect and to Serve" just isn't enough. A cop has to go a little further. This article shows just how far one of them went. Surveillance cameras are such an inconvenience.
Sex assault
New York state trooper in jail togs.

Double-Dipping Doesn't Always Work

This article from the New Brunswick Today website gives us a little bit of an inkle on how the fraternity of public employees, in this case cops, manages to make life a little more comfortable in their golden years. According to the local regs, these guys can't retire and go back to work for their public employer without waiting for 180 days. But even this b.s. wasn't enough. They walked outside for a smoke and a doughnut and then went right back into the police department with a new job while collecting retirement. And people wonder why cities can't balance their budgets.

Chuck Savoth
Chuck Savoth, management specialist and retired cop, retirement benefit $79,719 annually. Not enough to survive on.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Bear Eats Dog in Glacier Park, Gets the Death Penalty

Some of the details of an unpleasant encounter for both dog and bear are recounted in this story from The Missoulian, a newspaper serving the area with some of the grimmest traffic problems in rural America. Mr. Bruin swaggers onto the dog owner's deck and scarfs up his Shih Tzu. No can make sandwich out of human pet.

The scene of the crime is located within Glacier Park, a place where  indigenous animals are supposedly allowed to freely roam much as they once did before the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railroad arrived. There is no record, however, of odd Chinese dogs being slated for preservation in the Montana demi-wilds.

We've mentioned before that predator wild animals have not been instructed on the rules for behavior that humans have unilaterally imposed on them. Giving them the death penalty for violating those rules seems a little extreme, don't you think, since they know nothing of them?
A black bear, perhaps 200lbs.

  A Shih Tzu, maybe 4 lbs.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fighting Cocks in Wisconsin

Grim: The pair even took their animals to fights across the globe including Brazil, the Philippines and France. This is a file picture

The St. Paul Pioneer Press via Twin Cities.com has informed us of a multi-agency task force, together with the ASPCA, putting the collar on at least three cockfighting devotees in the bucolic regions of Polk County and St. Croix County, Wisconsin in this story.

While cockfighting is even now a popular pastime in many parts of the world and was once a regular entertainment in the UK and the US as well, some contemporary Americans are so disgusted by the idea that they've managed to create legislation making the sport illegal. While the basis for this is apparently cruelty to animals, the same idea doesn't extend to fish, as we noted earlier. Doesn't extend to baby boys, either, perhaps because circumcision isn't a sport and nobody bets on it.

Diversity, a liberal mantra, is encouraged in the US when people of other cultures make their home there as long as it's restricted to exotic foods, costumes, music and dance routines. Other cultural traits, like marrying several 13 year-old girls, chewing khat and betting on chicken fights aren't the kind of diversity the societal guardians are looking for.  America's toughest sheriff, the legendary Joe Arpaio, puts the hammer down on cockfighting also and has some serious help, as this story tells. After discovering a battalion of chicken warriors, Sheriff Joe arrests and charges the putative owner and euthanizes ( read that as "kills") over one hundred roosters. They're given the death penalty for unwittingly participating in an activity frowned on by the guys in the capitol.

Surplus military vehicle used by Sheriff Joe's posse to arrest shameless felon engaged in the husbandry of bad roosters.

The prohibition of cock fighting is supposedly because it's a cruel, inhuman activity, In reality cruelty is a major feature of human behavior, toward animals or one another. The actual reason for punishing cock fighting devotees is that the sport is a vehicle for gambling, just like NFL football. Neither of the two activities would have any significant level of participation without betting. The government encourages illegal betting on football by building new, huge television studios for their games but confiscates and kills fighting cocks. Something doesn't add up.