Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Eject! Eject! Eject! And Another Perspective

In aviation, one of the more dire circumstances a pilot can find themselves in is what's referred to as a flat spin. A flat spin is where the nose of the aircraft is in a more level position (rather than pointed downward), placing the aircraft's center of gravity closer to the spin axis, rendering the rudder and elevators ineffective in breaking the perilous spin. More often than not, it's an unrecoverable situation.

We, in America, are in a flat spin—I'm speaking of our democracy.

Fascism and authoritarianism are taking root here at the top while a solid 38% of the country doesn't seem to notice or maybe they don't mind because it's their guy who is leading the revolution—if you can call it that. I'm saddened by the fact that I have two siblings and many other relatives, friends, and neighbors who are caught up in the madness and continue to support the imbecile in the Oval Office.

You don't tear gas peaceful protesters to clear a park for a photo-op of the president awkwardly holding up, of all things, a bible—a book he's clearly never read, and you don't send in unidentified paramilitary goon squads (where they're not wanted or needed) to beat and arrest peaceful protesters to show that you're a "law and order" president and still get to call yourself the leader of the "free world", especially when you've just pardoned the man who stuck to the plan and kept his word not to testify against you, lying to investigators and to Congress with the understanding that he'd be pardoned for his crimes. We're supposed to be better than that.

In case you've forgotten, there are still children who haven't been reunited with their parents after having been separated from them at our southern border. Trump is still an unabashed racist who has cost us tens of thousands of lives because of his failure to lead in our country's efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic. No reasonable person can believe a word that comes out of his mouth. He has diminished our standing in the world among our allies as he's alienated them while cozying up to some of our planet's most despicable dictators. He's working to abolish the Affordable Care Act, attempting to do away with preexisting conditions while still offering nothing in the way of a replacement—a replacement he said would be crafted in the first month of his administration. He's given away the store in the way of unnecessary tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy while defunding programs put in place to help the neediest among us to help pay for those irresponsible tax cuts. He's vilified our media while creating doubts in many of you about the credibility of so many of our institutions meant to protect us from bad actors. And most recently, he's attempting to strip funding for coronavirus testing because it looks bad to know the extent to which we're failing to control this thing.

That's leadership?

It's been nearly 4 years since I've spoken with my sister. She's a victim of conservative media while all I can do is watch from the sidelines as she goes deeper and deeper into the wilderness of hate, fear, and lies. It's truly sad and I take no comfort in knowing that I'm not alone in this phenomena. My mother fell into the same abyss the last several years of her life and for that, I'll never forgive the voices of Fox who conned her and continue to con countless others.

In a fighter jet, the pilot has the option of pulling the eject lever and bailing out of the aircraft to avoid death from a flat spin. Our only option as a society is to eject this most corrupt administration and its enablers this fall on election day, or perhaps we should refer to it as ejection day because it's clearly time to eject.

Moving on.

I've been recording snippets of my rides for nearly 11 years. It's what I do. I had no way of knowing when I made this first recording west of Jordan on a loop to Belle Plaine what it would lead to. I'm sometimes amused by my crude early attempts at capturing video out on the road. When I first began making my recordings, I did it with one main thought in mind: I wanted to be able to look back on these moments decades from now, to be able to relive them and reminisce about my life that was. I thought, how fun it would be to have had the ability to record videos from my time in San Diego in the mid to late '70s when I first got into road riding—to be able to look back on some experiences from those rides all these many years later. I didn't want to find myself saying that same thing decades from now, especially when I have the ability to capture some of these moments. That's why I do this.

In my last blog post, I talked about someday getting a drone to take with me out on my rides and capture video from an entirely different angle—video with me actually in it. That will have to wait a while for technology to improve but until then I've decided to add one other perspective to my ride videos: a rear-facing camera. The idea came to me mostly out of a desire to capture video of dogs giving chase to me that seldom make the front-facing view of my GoPro. I'm usually working too hard to try and stay ahead of them to get a good look at them as they chase me down so I thought it might be fun to have a GoPro do that for me. And also, I think it will make for a nice additional perspective when we resume our group rides, hopefully, next year.

I haven't yet had the chance to try the new camera angle on one of my rides but I did take it out for a quick spin up the street to see how it looks. I like!

I've added a GoPro Hero 8 to the front of my bike. My Hero 7 will work the rearview. Time to get out in search of some pups to video! Watch this space!

That's all I've got

2 comments:

BaldEd said...

Hi Kevin,
Just a word from way down here in the South Pacific. Like you, I am a retired ATCO (retired age 63 in 2006). I have followed your blog since way back well before I retired. Sorta like you, one of main exercise activities is biking. I variously ride a Giant Trance FS MTB, a locally made hybrid road bike (flat bar, MTB gearing, 700c 35mm tyres) and a 2019 Specialized Turbo Levo. I have had the ebike for 10 months now - what an awesome machine!

Like you, we down here in NZ are appalled at what has and is happening to your country. We just shook our heads in amazement when he was voted President. What ere the people thinking? We just hope that the majority of the people in the USA will come to their senses in November and vote that useless tyrant out.

Stay safe, keep your social distance, wear your mask and wash your hands. We have been through all that back in March/May and now the country has no community-spread covid. The only active cases are those returning NZers doing their mandatory 14 day quarantine in hotel rooms before being allowed to travel to their homes.

Our thoughts are with you.
All the best, Eddie

Kevin said...

Eddie, thanks so much for your comments and your kind words. If I recall, we chatted a little here several years back after you stumbled onto one of my posts about ATC. That's quite a stable of rides you've got to choose from. And how great that you were able to work an e-bike into the mix. They're gaining lots of popularity here. I was able to get out on all 3 of my bikes last week. I think I may try and repeat that again this week.

Yes, our politics here is such a mess. In my view, much of the division we're experiencing here is driven by conservative media. I have no idea what their end-goal is but apparently it's a desire to take us back to some wishful panacea of the good old days that never actually existed. Trump is behind in most of the battleground states, and while that's encouraging, it's not enough. For change to happen here, we need to not only beat him but we also need to retake the Senate. That's a big ask but it's within reach.

I've been following a little about the leadership and successes you've enjoyed in NZ. We're so far from those outcomes. This election is all the more important given the lack of leadership we're experiencing here at a time when it's needed most.

Thanks for stopping by, Eddie. I look forward to hearing from you again!

Kevin