Vive memor quam sis aevi brevis.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

11th Hour, 11th Day, 11th Month

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    (R.L.Binyon, from  "For the Fallen")


Wednesday, 8 November 2017


(Apologies to Lynn Johnson for appropriating her work)
i grew up watching "Victory at Sea," The World at War," and many other WWII documentaries. 40's & 50's era war movies were regular fare on  afternoon, after school TV programming. War was all around us in a nation that had been almost untouched compared to the carnage that was experienced in Europe and the Pacific, and images of the dead and dying were edited to the minimum in the films.  We had toy rifles and grenades and some of us had uniforms and military gear from the surplus stores or our fathers' attics. We built models of warplanes and warships. We staged battles. War was cool to us, and our war veteran fathers and survivor parents and grand parents said almost nothing to us about it -unlike Mike's mom. Soon, many of my contemporaries and our elder siblings were sent off to a real shooting war in Asia, and the survivors returned profoundly changed and shaken by the experience, having learnt the hard lesson that General Sherman was understating things when he said, "War is Hell."

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Вели́кая Октя́брьская социалисти́ческая револю́ция


Petrograd, 7 November (25 October, Julian,) 1917...

The proclamation

Kerensky & provisional government deposed...

The American Embassy, Petrograd.  Kerensky's refuge.

 The New Bosses:




The Masterminds:

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, aka Lenin.

Lev Davidovich Bronstein, aka Leon Trotsky.


"Workers of the World Unite!"

Enshrined in a Holy Trinity

Красная звезда


                        To so many of the war-weary Russian people,
                      it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Are you sick of this yet?

                                   i am sick to tears of hearing about "shock and horror."

                                   i am sick of hearing the phrase "thoughts and prayers."

                                   i am sick of hearing "Now isn't the time..."

From:Yahoo News, AP

                                           How about you?

Sunday, 5 November 2017

A Penny for the Guy?

                                                         The Fifth of November                                                     
                                                     Remember, remember the fifth of November 
                                               Gunpowder, treason and plot 
                                                I see no reason why gunpowder treason 
                                                Should ever be forgot 

                                                Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, 'twas his intent 
                                                To blow up the King and the Parliament 
                                                Three score barrels of powder below 
                                                Poor old England to overthrow 
                                                By God's providence he was catched 
                                                With a dark lantern and burning match 
                                                Holloa boys, holloa boys 
                                                God save the King! 
                                                Hip hip hooray! 
                                                Hip hip hooray! 

                                                A penny loaf to feed ol' Pope 
                                                A farthing cheese to choke him 
                                                A pint of beer to rinse it down 
                                                A faggot of sticks to burn him 
                                                Burn him in a tub of tar 
                                                Burn him like a blazing star 
                                                Burn his body from his head 
                                                Then we'll say ol' Pope is dead. 
                                                Hip hip hooray! 
                                                Hip hip hooray!

The Conspirators

The Capture

The gruesome fate: Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered.

The Commemoration

Penny for the Guy?




Tuesday, 3 October 2017

If not now...


Sarah Huckabee Sanders, at the recent White House briefing:

“Look, this is an unspeakable tragedy. Today is a day for consoling the survivors and mourning those we lost. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those individuals. There’s a time and place for a political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country,” she said. “It would be premature to discuss policy when we don’t fully know all of the facts of what took place last night.”

The issue was again raised by CNN’s Jeff Zeleny who wondered whether President Trump might use the tragedy to break through the traditional left-right logjam on gun control.
Again, Sanders dodged.

"I think there will be time for that policy discussion to take place but that’s not the place we’re in at this moment. but certainly I think there’s a time for that to happen,” she said.

(italics mine. Text courtesy of  The Houston Chronicle.) 

And once again with the meaningless "thoughts and prayers" rhetoric. How about turning those "thoughts and prayers" into some useful and sincere effort to curb this firearms madness?

(Keith Knight, from The Nib)

It's well past time for the Senate and Congress to get off their thoughtful praying knees and get down to the business of passing meaningful firearms control legislation. It's clear that leadership on this issue will not be forthcoming from the White House, so NOW is the time for us all to be prodding our representatives and senators to action.

Dare i say this? Perhaps rather than wasting so much time and effort to repeal and replace the AHA, Congress ought to think about repealing and replacing the Second Amendment? (No worries... THAT will never happen- any more than they would invoke the 25th Amendment.)

And there, i have exercised my  First Amendment rights.

(Euphoria Bicycle Works, Ltd. will return to its irregularly scheduled cycling-themed posts in the near future.)

 End of Rant.



Thursday, 13 July 2017

"On, on,on..." Revisited

i  thought it fitting to re-post this from last year.

For more, visit the Retrogrouch's blog here.

1965 in the Rainbow.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Tom Simpson on the slopes of Mt. Ventoux during the 13th stage of the Tour d France.

Tom's last ride, 13 July, 1967.
Popular lore tells us that his last words were, "Put me back on my bike." This is apocryphal...

Actually they were "On, on,on."

Tom Simpson was the first Englishman to win the World's Road Championship.

In better days...

Tom with his Peugeot team mate, a young Eddy Merckx.

On Ventoux.

The memorial on Ventoux.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Neoplasm

The thing about cycling is that it isn't generally a nocturnal activity. We spend most of our hours on the bike in the broad daylight, most often through the long hours of a sunny summer day.

i suspect that most of us ride in short sleeved, short legged kit, exposing large areas of skin. How many of us ever think about sunscreen?

In younger days, it never occurred to me to grease up. If i took a sunburn on the arms, no matter... it faded to a deep farmer's tan in a day or two. Noxema cream and maybe Bactine spray provided enough temporary relief. In the days before findings about ozone layer depletion, no one really gave sunburn a second thought.

Look at some photos from the golden age of cycling. Here's an example:

Gino Bartali & Fausto Coppi

Take a look at Bartali's arms. This is a typical cyclist's tan.

My version was never quite so dark, but by early June my arms, legs, and from my neck up were usually pretty brown for someone of Northern European Mongrel lineage.

Another artifact of sun exposure was the well defined oval on the back of the hand from our gloves. My favourite style was- and is still- the gloves  with a crocheted back.

This spring i noticed what i first took to be a wart on the back of my hand:

Yeah, i know.. yuk.

 Denial is a deep river...

So, i finally took myself to my doctor who immediately referred me to the dermatologist.

 Welp, when you need to schedule an appointment with a specialist, don't be in a hurry.

Turns out the good doctor cannot see me before mid-September, but i will be seeing his P.A. in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, it grows. i hope it won't take until September to be rid of it.

 In more recent years i had gotten in the habit of greasing up my nose, and lately gotten better at remembering to doing my ears, neck, and arms as well. The thing is remembering to stop and re-apply the goop every 90 minutes or so. It never occurred to me to do my hands as well-  they were covered, right?

i ought to be more mindful about sunscreen, especially since i had a small "hot spot" removed from my temple a couple of years ago...  Denial isn't a river in Egypt.

A few days ago i heard a radio interview about how many if not most off-the-shelf sunscreens don't live up to their advertised SPF ratings, sometimes by less than half. The FDA doesn't test sunscreens for their efficacy- they depend on the manufacturers for that information. This does not inspire confidence. Do the research. Consumer Reports just published their findings. Seek it out.

And, no matter which brand of sunscreen you chose, remember to use it.                           

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Time to escape...

10 AM, Tuesday...

Time to escape from the noise of the edgers and leaf-blowers and lawnmowers, the reek of 2 stroke fumes and the rotting grass in the back of the dump trucks..

The racket of the slamming of the tailgates...

The soundscape and ambience of suburbia on a weekday morning.

i'm going out for a ride.

i hope i can safely dodge the landscapers' pickup trucks and dump trucks with their over-wide and overloaded trailers that make up the bulk of the traffic on a fine morning in the suburbs and exurbs.

i will ride for the next few hours before the thunderstorms roll in and try to get away from this cacophony that is invading my space and making me edgy.

Hope to be back later.

Feel free to join me.

Be safe out there.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Memorial Day

i went down to my town's Memorial Day ceremonies and parade today. i attended the service held at the cemetery where lie buried many veterans of wars from the Civil War through the current conflicts in which our nation is engaged. i listened to the eulogies, Taps, and the rifle squad's salute.

i stood still and removed my cap as the colour guards from the local vets' organisations, police, and fire department marched past.

The local high school's marching band played the national anthem and a medley of the various armed services' marches and hymns.

Several local scouts' packs, Cubs to Eagles, trotted along in the parade, as well as a contingent of an automobile collectors' club, and representatives of a landscaping company whose truck was armed with a loud PA blaring a song declaring "I'm proud to be an American."

A gaggle of supporters of the two major political parties participated as well.

After the parade, all gathered at the war memorial in the village's main park, where the high school band played the Star Spangled Banner once more, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited, and speakers held forth.

All told, a typical Memorial Day in the USA.

My fervent wish, as close to a prayer as i can manage, is that someday, someday there can be a time when we will truly honour those who served and died in our nation's wars by making damn good and sure that we do not add to their numbers.

As i stood and watched the the parade, one song kept going through my head:



Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Crayfish & Cricketers

Recently seen ...

Crayfish, crawfish, crawdaddy, freshwater lobster, yabbie*.

This little fellow was out in the middle of Mundhank road, near the Really Big Church on Easter Sunday. Fortunately, the heavy traffic of the departing Faithful had passed an hour earlier, sparing the critter from being run over.

As i approached, he went on the defensive...

...flipping himself onto his back...

....covering his belly with his tail and brandishing his formidable claws.

The creature was -to me at least- of impressive size; about 7 or 8 inches long. i've only seen one other crayfish in the wild near that size. When i was a kid, we would hang out an the south breakwater at Rainbow Beach, tie a dead minnow to a string and dangle the bait under rock ledges to catch 2 inch long crayfishes. i tried to keep one for a pet, but was convinced by my mom that it really wasn't a good pet candidate, and dropped it back to the pool i'd gotten it from.

As i've related in earlier posts, i hate encountering roadkill. Figuring that this guy would soon be crushed or otherwise become some crow's meal, i nudged him to safety back into the nearby wetland. And no, i didn't try to pick him up- those claws meant business- but as gently as possible pushed and flipped him along with the tip of a Silca pump.

A couple of miles later, i stopped to watch an impromptu cricket practice:

Since South Barrington lacks a proper cricket pitch, this team took over a tennis court for awhile.

The fellow playing at silly mid-off** (yes, i looked that up,) invited me to join in, but since i know so little of the game, i passed.

A few miles down Penny road is a large county forest preserve. About a quarter mile off the road is this:

(Not the clearest picture- i use a cheap second-hand camera.)

The county forest preserve district has raised a pole to provide an osprey nest.

Overhead, its resident:

She had a catch in her talons:

(At the limits of my camera's resolution)
She was very aware of my presence, and circled me warily, not returning to the nest until she was sure i had moved on.


 Someday i will either carry my better camera or learn how to take better photos with the pocket model. i have gotten to the point where i feel almost under equipped if i'm not carrying a camera on a ride, although i'm reluctant to carry one that's expensive (or heavy,) given my propensity for dropping and breaking things. For now, these snapshots will have to do. i hope you've enjoyed them all the same.



(*Not "yabbie" in the sense that BSNYC speaks of!)
(**or perhaps, simply "mid-off" but what do i know?)