Tuesday, September 30, 2008


(This is my October column from the Red Dirt Pedaler's newsletter "Wheel Issues.")

Recently, the Large Hadron Collider has been in the news. Some are afraid that once it's operational, it will produce a black hole and the planet will be destroyed.

I'll admit to thinking about this, particularly in light of my own project, a small hadron collider which produces only medium gray holes rather than black ones. Unlike a true black hole which sucks in everything, medium gray ones are more selective, preferring hand tools, digital watches, eight-track tapes, and encyclopedia salesmen. My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Tessmacher, was sucked into one, plugging it firmly and saving humanity in the process. She was a big woman, after all.

My spouse insists that there's a medium gray hole inside the local bike shop and it gobbles up too much of my money. Cyclists are accustomed to seeing money disappear just as if it had been thrown into a black hole. Besides supporting the bicycling industry, we supply tax money for transportation out of proportion to the benefits we receive.

You've probably read about the decline in federal highway funding due to decreased fuel consumption. For the first time, Americans are driving less. Some are switching to more fuel efficient cars. Fewer miles driven should equate to fewer injuries and fatalities on our roads, but we'll have to wait until next year for the data crunching.

But here's an interesting question - are fewer cars on the road a good thing for cyclists? At first, it would seem to be a no-brainer. Of course it's better! Fewer cars result in less noise, less pollution, and less risk for anyone else using the road. But as always, the devil is in the details.

For the most part, federal fuel taxes support highways and expensive infrastructure like bridges. The reduction in taxes means there's less money available for those projects. But almost all road projects rely on some federal funding, so even a county road can impacted by cutbacks. One side effect is to increase traffic on formerly quiet county roads as motorists avoid highways due to congestion which wastes fuel. Similarly, construction and maintenance delays waste fuel, and even if roads are in good repair, higher speeds consume more gasoline. All of this serves to increase motor vehicle traffic on roads shared with cyclists.

There's a solution to this, of course, and it involves some sacrifice and a little progressive thinking. It's time we cyclists hang our bikes on hooks in the garage, dust off our cars, and drive them. Drive them a lot. I'm going to do my patriotic duty by getting my old '64 Lincoln back on the road. If possible, I'll slap some bias ply tires on the beast. Singlehanded, I can reverse the downward plunge of the highway trust fund since the Lincoln only averaged about 3 miles per gallon. Now that I think about it, the Lincoln was black too. I should be able to fill those federal coffers with enough money to get all those motorists off the county roads I use.

I'll be generous, though. If one of you wishes to experience that same heart-swelling pride that comes from doing your patriotic duty, I'll offer this vehicle to you at a seriously discounted price.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Who you callin' legitimate?

I've decided to tear a page from the obviously successful Republican playbook. From now on, I will heed only those laws I agree with and find equitable. Therefore, I will no longer pay that portion of my federal taxes that supports tobacco subsidies. I will no longer pay that portion that goes to maintain the offices of both Oklahoma senators and most of it's congressional delegation. I refuse to pay gasoline taxes that go overwhelmingly to subsidize motor vehicles. The same reasoning applies to state and local taxes, from income tax to real estate and sales taxes, because I derive little benefit from them. Stop signs, red lights, speed limits and the like, no longer apply.

Hey, it worked for Karl Rove, Harriet Meyers, and Alaska's First Dude, what's-his-name Palin. They've ignored subpeonas and said that the investigations were politically motivated. As we all know, politically motivated investigations can be ignored because they're not legitimate. I wonder why Bill Clinton didn't try to invoke that one? And just today, I read that a federal court has ordered Dick Cheney's office to preserve all their papers. Wanna bet that Cheney shreds a bunch of it and tells the court to pound salt?

So I feel entirely justified in demanding that I be free to pick and choose amongst the laws governing this nation, just like our political elite. I may even issue some signing statements, but it could be a while until that gets done. For now, I refuse to recognize the legitimacy of these four walls and that locked cell door, and I believe our political 'betters' should have the same option.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

On the campaign trail with Wally Crankset





Dr. Crankset departed from his usual campaign speech to address the melt down in the nation's banking system. "Crisis?" he said, "What crisis?" The small audience in the school cafeteria gasped. Dr. Crankset continued, "They want to blame all of you for this! The banks are saying that they're in trouble because ordinary people aren't re-paying their loans. They're saying that you're all deadbeats. So the government has to bail them out by handing out money - your money - to keep them from going under."

"But who made those loans in the first place? My brother-in-law, Eddie, didn't qualify for a loan for years because he just didn't make enough money as a freelance cartoonist, yet a couple of years ago, he bought a $250,000 house! Of course he couldn't pay for it! But some wacko loan officer approved him. Now the bank wants you to pay for their poor decision, and does anyone want to guess if Eddie will be off the hook? Or will the bank take a federal hand out and go after him for as much as they can get?"

Mort Sillbersoll asked, "Doc, I'm from over in Katushamingo County, and I just lost my house. The county voter registrar is sayin' that since I don't live there anymore I can't vote! It ain't right!"

"You're absolutely correct," Dr. Crankset replied. "The same thing is happening all over the country, not just here. They're purging all sorts of people from the voter rolls, Mort. And I won't lie to you about this, but I think it's a good thing if it prevents fraudulent votes, like those stories of the dead coming back to vote in Chicago. The hell of it is, though, that it probably gets more real people off the rolls, people like you, and that's wrong. There was a time in this country that voters had to be property owners or at least own a mule. If I recall right, Ben Franklin then asked if the right to vote resided in the man or in the mule."

The audience laughed politely, and Crankset continued, "It looks like we're seeing the return of that kind of reasoning. The right to vote appears to reside in that house, not in the fact that you're a citizen. And as I look around the room, I see citizens, not houses, and not mules. Though when I see some Oklahoma politicians and officious bureaucrats, it's easy to see a resemblance to mules. I try not to do that because it would be offensive...to the mules."

"Mort, politics is supposed to be about solving problems, and you've posed a good one. Voter registration here in Oklahoma has to be completed 24 days before the next election, so you have until October 10th to change your address and get a new card. I'm truly sorry that you lost your house, Mort, and I ask you to vote for me in November so that together we can prevent this calamity from impacting other people in Oklahoma and across our nation. It's not a question of party politics or ideology. It's just the right thing to do."

The Broken Elbow Meteor News will offer continuing coverage of Dr. Crankset's campaign.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Notes of organizing meeting on 11SEP2008









Ed Wagner

Doug Waldman

Chris Wollard

Steve Monroe

Julie Vega

Paul Tay

George Hall

Mike Schooling

Tom Brown

Richard Hall

Vickie Sanborn

Brian Potter

Ren Barger

Rhonda James

Robyn Stroup

Chris Regan

Andy Wheeler

Some quotes:

On bicycle commuting, "I could go a shorter route if I wanted to risk the roads."

"When I drive my car, I'm grouchy and miserable when I get home."

Rich Brierre is now Director of INCOG.

Tulsa Streets package vote will be held in November. Cyclists need to be in on the planning process up front rather than as an expensive afterthought.

We need to establish a board to work with INCOG on planning. INCOG has stipulations as to representation which was the heart of original organizing document. The INCOG bicycling subcommittee was geographically diverse, skills diverse, not 'wheelmen' running everything. (In the public vernacular, 'wheelmen' are all those cyclists in lycra, not just the Tulsa Wheelmen. It's a derisive shorthand for cycling elitists. More on this later.)

Richard Hall asked, "What do we do if he says 'we don't want you.'" (THIS QUESTION IS YET TO BE ANSWERED.)

We talked about planning and planning documents, where the devil is always in the details. A plan that looks good on a webpage can have nightmarish details at the street level because planners simply draw lines between points. Public Works wants to do cycling projects as simply and cheaply as possible.

Paul Tay wants to find unique solutions for Tulsa. He noted bikePortland.org as a source of information, and wanted stuff thats beyond spandex.

George Hall, a forensic engineer, investigates accidents including bicycle accidents. He is a lifelong cyclist and League of American Bicyclists Life member old enough to persist in calling it LAW, the League of American Wheelmen. "My bikes are almost as old as me." George is interested in safety. He is a civil engineer with a design perspective. He is frustrated at the pace here in Tulsa. A former commuter, George says the time is now with the energy situation, the emphasis on environment, and Complete Streets, though they probably don't know what that truly means in terms of the national organization. Frustrated that word doesn't get down to surrounding cities where we all ride, as there is no organized mechanism to get info to city planners.

Richard Hall (no relation) is a Tulsa Bicycle Club member and President Elect of the Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition. He's encountered problems in his own neighborhood with PW projects, and noted that after work has been approved and built, it is very hard to change.

Mike Schooling endorsed best practices. Mike is another TBC member very active in volunteer work with the Tulsa Tough where he has organized the group assembling bicycles as part of the Kids Challenge. He wants to improve environment for cycling, and notes that Tulsa is already a bicycling friendly city in many ways. He said that Chicago's Mayor Daley rides with Public works on his bike, and that we should do the same with Tulsa councilors. Mike said there are lots of studies touting bike lanes, but none yet that indicate what other facilities do to promote cycling. What effects result from projects such as good signals that detect cyclists, education, enforcement? Cities should be promoting cycling, because what benefits cyclists benefits motorists also. Tulsa doesn't have the money for extensive facilities, so we have to find solutions that work here.

Tom Brown of Tom's Bicycles thinks this group should position itself as the go to experts in this part of OK. These poiticians and planners really don't know what we want, so we have to convince them to listen to us. We can give them useful advice.

Rhonda Link - Ren's mother - wants to see cycling etiquette and education. Noted that an acquaintance single handedly brought bike paths to his town. Offered to assist with vision and fund raising.

Robyn Stewart wants to use bike as basic transportation. She sees more people biking downtown, more than she's ever seen before.

Julie Vega arrived with Ren and is learning more about the HUB. Rode in SF for a year, but finds it kind of scary here. She said there's no specified place to ride and doesn't feel comfortable riding a bike on the road. She wants changes in city laws and wants to do what she can as part of the community.

Steve Monroe wasn't sure what aspect he could do, but came to learn.

Doug Waldman, business owner, commutes from south Tulsa to near the airport, a distance of 23 miles. He takes a relaxing route rather than fight traffic, riding when he can. He puts in thousands of miles back and forth to work and finds Tulsa is not a bad place to ride. "I merge into traffic, but don't fit on Memorial or 169, and people are confused that I stop at sto signs." 99 percent of drivers are friendly. You don't have to spend a lot of money. Bike lanes don't go where you want to go anyway. People think that in a bike lane you don't have to stop.

Vickie Sanborn wasn't entirely sure why she attended, but said her interest is in bicycling safety and more education for people on bikes, both adults and children. She told us of visiting her son in Minneapolis. They were riding on a trail and came to an intersection. Her son 'flew across the street' without stopping. she was shocked, but he said that the law requires motorists to stop - not bicyclists - and the motorists actually yield to cyclists. It was amazing. Vickie is a realtor who commutes on bike, and she'd like to show houses via bicycle as some realtors do in bike friendly communities.

Brian Potter witnessed poor bicycle planning and hostile drivers in Austin TX. He terms the city of Tulsa becoming less courteous than previously. Brian asked that this be added: "Only the native Okie courtesy has kept our roads remotely civilized...Unfortunately, we're losing our native courtesy at a rapid rate. The pavement needs help, but the continuity of streets and availability of routes is really quite astounding." He gave much credit to both Malcolm McCollam and Gary Parker for the on-street route system and establishing the first INCOG bicycling subcommittee. Brian said that he and Sandra Crisp became involved in the plan after it had been taken away from cyclists. It called for mandatory sidewalk riding, for one. The BAG made an important contribution. Brian also noted that Tulsa had more LCIs than rest of the state.

Chris Wofford termed himself as "part of Ren's army."

Ren Barger said that she's usually the youngest person at these meetings. As a student in Chicago, she did "jalopy riding, sidewalk riding, and was completely clueless." A bad crash ultimately brought her home to Tulsa, where she works at Lee's Bicycles. Involvement in the Tulsa Tough lead to LCI training. She like the big festivaland its youth element, the Kids Challenge. Ren took over the Community Cycling Project from Sandra Crisp, rehabing donated bikes for transients and providing them with bicycling education. This is based on a Portland program and is designed for commuting. It has been very successful, but was unfortunately formant for about 6 months. An Urban Tulsa piece sparked fresh interest. The Tulsa Community Foundation offered a building at 216 N Elgin (corner of elgin and brady near spaghetti warehouse) for the Tulsa HUB, ultimately to be a 501c3 with space for the CCP, a retail shop catering to commuters and recreational riders. This is to be a sustainable business that promotes creativity, but it must be Tulsa specific, not a template taken from another city.

Ed Wagner, a lifelong bicycle commuter, moved here from Pittsburgh and discovered that motorists are accomodating for the most part. Was a 'gutter bunny' commuter when first met Brian, hugged the right hand verge and complained of motorists. I'd been riding for a long time, yet the demonstration of lane postioning was an eye-opener. It was so much easier. Shortly after that I attended a Road1 course. Brian was instrumental in setting up both Road1 and the LCI class here in Tulsa. LCI is about teaching, not knowing everything about cycling. I've learned much from waching others, especially Gary and Ren. Some of us learn via experience, and I'm a a slow learner at times.

Some background information: The INCOG bicycling subcommittee had its second interation under Aaron Bell. When he left, the committee fell apart. Patrick Fox lead an informal committee. Now, bicycling advocacy in Tulsa is this group, a small group of interested people. There are different levels to get involved. We have regional and national advocacy. OBC is the state level group, whose main focus is education and legislation. Access. safety, and education are part of their mission statement. OBC is small and diverse. LAB is the national organization. It runs on a shoestring budget of 1.5 million last year. LAB runs the Bike Friendly City program, and certifies the Bike Ed program. The city of Tulsa (specifically the mayor) is interested in BFC status. We regard BFC, Tulsa Tough, and a comprehensive bicyle master plan as parts of a whole. They are interrelated. Tulsa wants BFC status to attract young people for employment. The Tulsa Tough highlights the city as a cool place to live for those with an outdoor lifestyle. The Tough is an opportunity for both bike education and public relations. It's a big effort each spring. The lack of a comprehensive bike master plan was one reason BFC status was denied last year. There is a trail plan on INCOG maps, but a master plan specifies our vision for cycling in city. We need share the road signs, signals that recognize cyclists, etc. INCOG wants input from citizens, and you're citizens. You should have input as to how this impacts your life.

Mike Schooling mentioned PlaniTulsa.org as an opportunity for input. It will be held on Sept 22 and 23 and is meant to solicit planning regrading city development and provide a long range plan. Each table will have a map with stickers highlighting various ideas. It's recommended that cyclists be spread out, not clustered at one table. Mike recommended getting friends, relatives, etc. at the tables. What works well for motorists works for cyclists too, and doesn't necessitate a lot of dollars.

This new organization - if it is to be an organization - doesn't have a name yet. TAOBIKE can offer advocacy leadership and ultimately it may be one organization with 2 wings: one for advocacy and planning, and the other for BikeEd. Since it's a small group, there's little sense in splitting in two, and there will be lots of crossover as we seek to educate motorists, politicians, planners, law enforcement and even cycling advocates. We cannot afford a pie-in-the-sky approach that's not grounded in reality. We face many constraints. But it's good that we have more poeple than we have positions (on the subcommittee/BAG).

In a brief conversation with Rich Brierre, I said that the cycling subcommittee dies each time INCOG has a personnel change. What if we establish an outside group to do the function of that subcommittee, supplying expertise and knowledge. Rich said that if it's a "representative group" he could work with it. The group must have more than one point of view.

Mike asked, "What do we want to be when we grow up?" Some discussion ensued as to what to call ourselves, what our authority would be, and what the makeup of the group would be. Paul wanted 9 members (on the advisory group) each from one of Tulsa's 9 council districts. This would limit the group to Tulsa only, and there was some discussion of regional goals. Paul rightly pointed out that the group should be able to take on any cycling issue it chooses.

Also, there is a list of no cost/low cost ideas compiled by Gary Parker that may be useful in the PlaniTulsa meetings. It will be circulated to the group.


PAUL WILL WORK ON COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLANS. Brian suggested keeping it short and simple, essentially LAB's 5 Es: engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement, equality, and evaluation. If we can get the City of Tulsa to adopt a bicycling master plan, INCOG may be able to sell that to the other regional members.



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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Flat tire!

(Image from NCDot. Having done this a few times myself, my stomach knots up just thinking about it.)

Lyndsay called me at work yesterday afternoon. "Dad, my front tire has a leak! What should I do?"

I asked where she was, and I was greatly relieved to know that the Blazer was in the driveway. But she said she could feel the air on her hand, so the tire was leaking very rapidly. I told her to position the truck where I could get the jack under it when I got home. Our driveway slants, so I didn't want the Blazer parked on the slope.

An hour or so later, I rode the Bianchi home. Sure enough, the tire was dead flat. I changed into yard work clothes, got the big cross-wrench and the trolley jack, and sent to work removing the wheel. Lyndsay wanted to watch, thinking she could learn to fix a tire herself. It went into the trunk of the Ford, then we were off to Tate Boys to get it repaired. A neighbor had recommended them. I certainly didn't want to visit the local W@Mart hell again.

Lyndsay and I were walking into the tire shop when I said, "There's no way you could fix this alone. The tire is just too heavy for you to lift."

"Oh, when I called you," she replied, "I was in the kitchen looking for duct tape."

"Duct tape? You were going to fix it with duct tape?" I started laughing uncontrollably.

"Yeah, I was gonna roll it up in a little ball and stuff it in the hole!"

I've fixed a lot of things with duct tape. Automobile tires are not one of them.

The service manager asked if we'd been in his shop before. I said no. In a minute or two, they had the tire out of the Ford. Ten minutes later it was repaired. They'd even re-balanced it.

"No charge," said the manager.

I think they just gained three new customers.

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Flat tire

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tulsa Area MS150

(Image from National MS Society)

The annual MS150 bicycle tour went from Tulsa to Pryor and back this weekend as the remains of Hurricane Ike rolled through eastern Oklahoma. Saturday was hot and humid, with occasional bands of rain that increased throughout the day. The Tulsa World reported that the 400 soaked riders faced slippery roads approaching Pryor.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system. Fund raisers like the one in eastern Oklahoma are held nationwide. Contact the National MS Society for more information.

As I write this Sunday morning, temperatures have dropped into the 60s with a strong north wind. That means the riders will face a mostly cross-wind ride back to Tulsa. It's a welcome change from yesterday's oppressive humidity.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Proposed Agenda for Thursday's Meeting

Here's the agenda:

A brief history of TAOBIKE

Malcolm McCollum and the first BAG

The ad-hoc committee of volunteers/ on-street planning/the usual suspects

Aaron Bell and the bicycling subcommittee

Patrick Fox and the informal bicycling subcommittee

Initial Road1 class due to Brian's efforts

Initial LCI class. It's not a certification that we know everything about cycling. It's a certification that we can teach what we know.

Recent addition to the local advocacy effort – The Hub – Ren Barger to lead.

INCOG bicycling subcommittee and functions

Why are we here today?

We are looking specifically for people who can work with INCOG on regional planning, and on the proposed Comprehensive Bicycling Master Plan ( a BFC requirement). INCOG requires a representative group for such planning. We must recognize that the available pool of people willing to commit time to bicycling advocacy is quite small, therefore this committee will still be self-selected to some extent. The usual suspects again.

INCOG's original organizing document addressed representation as follows:

The Advisory Group shall be composed of 9 voting members: A Chairman, one representative from the Tulsa Bicycle Club, one representative from the Tulsa Wheelmen, one representative from an area bicycle shop, one representative from the suburban cycling community, a representative from the Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition, one bicycle commuter appointed by the Chairman, a member at large appointed by the Chairman, and a representative from one of the area corporate bicycle commuter programs.

Regional and national bicycling advocacy: an overview of OBC and LAB

LAB is the national advocacy organization. They oversee the BikeEd program and lobby for bicycling at the federal level. They confer BFC status. Tulsa wants BFC status. We have an opportunity to accomplish that due to some unique factors here. 1. Average 5 mile commute. 2. Favorable topography and street grid system. 3. Motorists more accommodating than in other cities.

The Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition is the state advocacy organization. They offer some education support, lobby for bicycling at the state level, and pursue other projects like SRTS.

Bicycling education for advocacy

This is separate from BikeEd. An advocate must know the best practices in cycling. This is twofold. First, there's the personal standpoint of being a more capable cyclist. Then there's the additional focus on influencing public policy.

Bicycling for 'ordinary' people

In a recent meeting with our elected officials, one city councilman complained that the "Wheelmen" have too much influence over bicycle planning in the city of Tulsa, and that more ordinary people should be involved. 'Wheelmen' in common vernacular - is anyone wearing lycra and a helmet. Such cyclists are seen as the elite riders. Be aware that if you pursue bicycling advocacy and persist in learning the best practices, statistics, and other relevant safety information, you too will be labeled as an elitist. This is an upside down comparison to the intention of Driver's Education, where we expect to train new drivers before they'll be safe on the public roads. After receiving that training and getting a few years of experience, they're considered 'average' drivers - not elitists. Why then do we turn this assumption on its head and presume to make roads 'safe' for untrained, inexperienced cyclists? And why dismiss those who've taken time and effort to develop a thorough understanding of bicycling safety?

Tulsa's Transportation Advisory Board

Upcoming vote on streets package. Cyclists use the streets too, and should be included in any planning as a routine accommodation. Otherwise, we have to play the catch up game after plans are finalized. What do we want? Signals that reliably detect bicycles (or motorcycles, for that matter). Smooth paved surfaces free of debris, storm grates, cracks, potholes, or anything that may cause a diversion fall. Inclusion of bicycling education at several levels: possibly free to city residents, as part of DUI classes, as part of outreach to homeless or disadvantaged. The proposed Comprehensive Bicycling Master Plan would be a product of this board.

Opportunities for advocacy: teachable moments

Public Works


Law enforcement

Elected officials


Common misconceptions

Bicycling advocacy can be accurately characterized as being much like playing WHACK-A-MOLE. It can be both frustrating and rewarding, but there's intense satisfaction gained in those brief moments of reward. You can expect to encounter these misconceptions repeatedly:

Bikes don't belong on the road

Riding a bicycle is extremely hazardous or even suicidal

Helmets make you safe

Ride against traffic

Sidewalks are safer

Ride like you're invisible


Sunday, September 07, 2008

On the campaign trail with Wally Crankset





Controversy swirls around the security detail protecting Dr. Wally Crankset in his campaign to be the Democratic vice-presidential nominee. This squad of tall, blond, young women have been dubbed "The Amazons" by Dr. Crankset's detractors. All of them are former flight attendants/cargo handlers from the defunct Amiracle Airlines which was based in Dr. Crankset's hometown of Broken Elbow, Oklahoma. When off duty, a few of them have been seen wearing the old uniform shirts with the "If it's on time, it's Amiracle!" logo that was well-known throughout the country.

Candi M., who asked that we not divulge her last name for security purposes, is the trainer and spokesperson for the team. She talked briefly with the Meteor about the squad after the campaign stopped here in Zincville.

METEOR NEWS: How did you get involved in Dr. Crankset's campaign?

CANDI M: I've known Wally...Doctor Crankset since we worked for the airline. Honestly, at first I didn't like him very much because he's a little bit odd, but once I got to know him, I realized he's a champion of women's rights. He truly values women and doesn't just say what we want to hear.

METEOR NEWS: Are you and your companions part of the United States Secret Service?

CANDI M: No, we're not federal agents. We're a private security company that was formed after Amiracle Airlines went out of business. We learned from them that we could do almost anything, and in fact, at Amiracle we did everything except fly the airplanes. This is a group of strong, very capable women. Moving into the personal security and executive protection business was a natural progression.

METEOR NEWS: How did all of you train to do this work?

CANDI M: I can't go into specifics, of course, but we're all certified under Oklahoma law to carry firearms. We train together as a team, running three miles a day, doing weight training, and we stay abreast of any changes in the law through regular classroom work. Several team members are lawyers and bankers, so we have a certain insight into sneaky, underhanded tactics. That's about all I can say about it.

METEOR NEWS: Can you comment on the rumor that the PGA had a role in the recent attack on Dr. Crankset?

CANDI M: Further investigation has shown that the PGA did not have any part in the attack. However, credible sources have revealed that the LPGA may have been behind it. As you know, the LPGA recently enacted a rule requiring that all the competitors in the Tour be fluent in English by the end of 2009. Of course, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the No.1 player is Mexican, 45 of the 120 tour players are Korean, or that Annika Sorenstam of Sweden has been the face of the LPGA for more than a decade. Even worse is the rumor that they're going to institute a talent contest and both a swim suit and evening gown competition. Dr. Crankset has been very outspoken in his opposition to these changes, and it may have sparked some push back.

The security spokesperson paused here to crack her knuckles ominously and gave an unnerving, feral smile.

CANDI M: When this campaign is over, some of us are planning an informal meeting with those LPGA officials in order to persuade them to change their minds.

The Broken Elbow Meteor News will continue coverage of Dr. Crankset's campaign throughout the fall.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Who's Next?

We have only about 60 days until the November election, and I know that many of you are fed up with all the charges, counter-charges, innuendo, smarmy compliments, and incessant back-stabbing. So it's time to look beyond the 2008 election, and begin consideration of the possible field in 2012. Yes, it's only 60 days until the next election cycle begins!

On the Democratic side, an early favorite has to be New York Senator Hilary Clinton, although it's entirely possible that they could steal a page from the McCain playbook and offer up Chelsea as a surprise candidate. She has more domestic and international experience than Governor Palin, after all. Her age could be a factor in bringing in the youth vote. Her sex of course would help to get the women's vote. On the other hand, her age could likewise be a disqualifier since the Constitution requires that the president be no younger than 35 years. Maybe the Chinese would fix her up with a fresh passport too.

One as yet unanswered question is whether Clinton would have the brass to challenge a sitting president from her own party – assuming that Obama wins – and the unequivocal answer to that is yes, she would.

I really have to discount any possibility of Senator Joe Lieberman becoming anybody's nominee given his penchant for following up on putting his foot in his mouth by putting his other foot in his mouth. Maybe he's swallow them both and disappear entirely.

Oklahoma's own Senator Tom Coburn.....



Organizing meeting






The Green Country Bicycling Advisory Group (working title) will have an organizing meeting on Thursday, September 11th at the Martin East Regional Library at 7PM.

TAOBIKE has long supported local bicycling advocacy, education, and planning in the Tulsa region. In order to work effectively with INCOG and local governments, TAOBIKE is inviting members of the Green Country area to form a standing Bicycling Advisory Group (hereafter referred to as the BAG) to provide input from the cycling community on issues relating to bicycle commuting, bicycle safety, facilities improvement, project identification, project review, and any other relevant bicycling issue. The BAG will perform the same function as INCOG's former Bicycling Advisory Subcommittee while remaining independent of INCOG.

Why do we need a BAG? INCOG's Bicycling Advisory Subcommittee has met infrequently over the last few years because of personnel changes at INCOG. TAOBIKE seeks representatives from throughout the region to participate in a more stable group, the Green Country Bicycling Advisory Group.

The Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) performs regional transportation planning for member governments, seeing that plans meet federal standards and that they are consistent and coordinated throughout the region. INCOG also performs due diligence by seeing that federal funds allocated to a project are actually used for that project. The Bicycling Subcommittee assisted with planning the annual Bike to Work events, as well as providing input on various facility proposals.

Membership in TAOBIKE is entirely voluntary and there are no dues. The BAG will require something more valuable than your money--your time. Members may participate by attending public meetings with government officials, poring over planning documents where the devil is truly in the details, or writing emails in order to initiate a dialog. We don't need large numbers to be effective. But we do need inter-connectedness. Effective advocacy means learning about best practices in bicycling, both from a public policy viewpoint and a personal one. It means much more than just knowing how to ride a bike. Members should educate themselves, their clubs, and the public about the best cycling practices in order to better serve the cycling public. TAOBIKE exists to help advocates in this cause and to represent policies in the interest of the public.

Simply attending this meeting is the first step. It shows an interest in making Tulsa a better place for all cyclists. The next step is to learn more about bicycling. Finally, there's the commitment to spending time on bicycling advocacy. Without committed local advocates, we will not see positive changes that directly effect local cyclists.


This group was originally Tulsa Bicycling Advisory Group, or T_BAG. All the members of the first INCOG BAG were invited to join. The group was regional, however, not specific to the city of Tulsa. Hence the need for a name change. We've worked with INCOG and Tulsa Public Works regarding the on-street plan and found many areas for improvement. TAOBIKE has been the formative hub for each iteration of INCOG's Bicycling Subcommittee. It is a loosely-organized group of like-minded volunteers.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

On the campaign trail with Wally Crankset



Democratic vice presidential hopeful, Dr. Walter Crankset narrowly avoided an assassination attempt earlier today. An onlooker at his campaign stop here in Karma threw an improvised explosive device toward the candidate. She was identified as Wanda Sue Neidermeier of Broken Elbow, Dr. Crankset's fourth or fifth ex-wife, who is alleged to have made several attempts on his life previously. Dr. Crankset was delivering a speech in yet another abandoned Sinclair station when Ms. Neidermeier threw an aerosol can of Febreeze with a burning M-80 attached. Apparently she believed the contents would ignite and form a huge fireball engulfing the candidate. Febreeze, however, is not flammable.

The M-80, a large and powerful version of a firecracker, exploded and allowed the contents of the aerosol can to vent. Mrs. Edna Millay, Democratic Committee Chair in Karma, said that the old Sinclair station had never smelled so nice. “It's like a breath of fresh air,” she said, “with only a tiny hint of old motor oil. It's a real improvement!”

When asked, Dr. Crankset declined to press charges. “Wanda is a little excitable,” he said. “She has a good heart and this just shows that she still cares about me. If she'd wanted to do some harm, she'd have brought her pistol along. That woman's a fine shot.”

Dr. Crankset's security detail surrounded him closely for the remainder of his time in Karma. It still has not been confirmed that they are a detail from the US Secret Service as it is an all-female security squad. This unusual group has been dubbed as the 'Amazons' by some local interests opposed to the Crankset campaign.

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Severe Weather Alert - Tulsa NWS

I use an add on for Mozilla Firefox called Forecastfox. It puts some tiny icons down at the bottom of the window, displaying a simplified weather radar, the current conditions, and a brief forecast for tomorrow. But it also includes a severe weather alert function, a small red icon that pops up whenever the National Weather Service issues an alert for this area. Very handy during tornado season.

It popped up today with this:

157 PM CDT MON SEP 1 2008







We had major flooding here back in the spring and I'm not looking forward to more. Our house is on a high spot, so unless it's a flood of biblical proportions we're safe. But it seems that even a heavy dew can cause Bird Creek to overflow it's banks. That's a PITA for me, because I have to go the long way around in order to get to work. But for the people upstream in Skiatook and Sperry, it's a nightmare. Many houses are on the flood plain.

Yes, I'm such a whiner. Other people are worried that they may lose their houses, and here I am whining about having to drive to work instead of riding my bike.

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May Day

No, not the international distress signal, Mayday, but May Day. It's the international version of Labor Day. Actually, our establishment of Labor Day as a federal holiday predates the Soviet Union by nearly a quarter of a century, so it's inexact to say that it is meant as a substitute for the more politically charged May Day. Still, if having an end-of-summer holiday prevents all of you from becoming Bolsheviks and anarchists, it may be a good thing.

I thought about writing something light-hearted today, but the other Mayday intervened. I'm watching the Weather Channel's coverage of the landfall of hurricane Gustav near New Orleans. The levees have held so far, but this really doesn't seem like a day for levity.

There's been some criticism of politicians either visiting or not visiting the area. I really don't care about your political affiliation, but allow me to tell a story.

I was in Oklahoma City after the bombing, doing relief work with the Salvation Army. The city center was chaotic with activity and at least 3 security cordons surrounded the Murrah building. But over the weekend, President Clinton arrived to view the disaster. His presence caused some work to slow down, and his security caused some other disruptions. All in all, it would have been better if he's stayed away.

So rest assured that in New Orleans this week, politics should take a back seat to rescue and recovery. The smart thing to do is to let the first responders do their jobs without any distraction.

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