Thursday, April 27, 2006

Been (Not) Caught Stealing

I have a bimodal commute (not that there's anything wrong with that). I ride my bike to my local train station pretty much every workday morning, unless a blizzard or thunderstorm is currently in progress.

On Tuesday this week, I locked my bike as usual by the stairs at my station. When I returned in the evening, my old U-lock's circular bolt had somehow gotten twisted in such a way that I could no longer fit the toothed key. I fought with it for 20 minutes; I even went home, got WD-40 and a Bic pen (the infamous Kryptonite hack? Could it be my turn to make use of it?), and tried all manner of prying and prodding to force the lock body to turn back to allow the key to work just one more time. No luck — that baby was frozen shut. Chris figured someone had made a weak play at defeating the lock and given up; I certainly can't see how it got twisted and frozen on its own.

So, in a fit of "get 'r done," I sawed that damned lock right off my frame last night. Let it be known that in Park Ridge, IL, a guy with a Dremel tool plugged into his car's 110VAC accessory outlet can throw sparks from a locked bike for ~20 minutes without a single passerby stopping to ask awkward questions. Including an entire outbound Metra full of de-training commuters, which was of course right next to my daily rack choice. Suburbs.

(Thanks to JZ for encouraging me to share this business.)


Sunday, April 16, 2006

New Yorker Caption Contest: April 17, 2006

welcome, shareholders

“Based on last quarter, I say Truth-or-Dare accounting is here to stay.”


Saturday, April 8, 2006

Blistering review of the new Mercedes GL's, um, owners

gas guzzlahFrom the LA Times via the SF Chron:

Need has very little to do with it. This segment is about want, naked and unquenchable. It's well established that the vast majority of these vehicles never touch gravel, never carry more than a couple of people, and never tow anything heavier than the weight of their owner's childhood traumas.

Oh, snap. And that's just the tip of a fleet-sinking iceberg; Read the rest if you need a terminal case of cognitive dissonance over your own recent sub-20mpg purchase.


Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Going Over the Top

Kind of an interesting exploration of the use of Polar routes on commercial flights in today's Chicago Tribune. The fuel savings seem like a no-brainer, so I'm surprised they haven't been doing this more consistently since the early nineties, when Russia opened up its airspace. When I took my trip to Hong Kong, we went across central Alaska in both directions, hewing well south of the North Pole or even the open Arctic Ocean. Solar flares to blame? I'll never know.