Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ambition: The Silent Killer

America is synonymous with ambition, and Merriam-Webster defines the word "ambition" as follows:

am·bi·tion noun \am-ˈbi-shən\

Definition of AMBITION

a : a confection of nuts or fruit pieces in a sugar paste
b : to rub gently in one direction; also : caress
: an enzymatically controlled anaerobic breakdown of an energy-rich compound (as a carbohydrate to carbon dioxide and alcohol or to an organic acid); broadly : an enzymatically controlled transformation of an organic compound
: a fold of skin that covers the glans of the penis —called also prepuce

I like to think I'm an ambitious American. (At least according to definition 1a.) In fact, it's my formidable ambition and drive that compels me out of bed by mid-morning every day, motivates me to turn on the TV, and occasionally even inspires me to undertake important projects like having hero sandwiches delivered to my home.

But there is one ambition that burns within me like a severe case of "epic" burrito-induced indigestion, and that is to one day have as much free time as people in the Pacific Northwest apparently do. I mean, they must have panniers-full of time on their hands, because I can find no other explanation for how much effort they're able to put into putting on and participating in wacky cyclocross races:

As ostensibly hard-working as we are in this country, there's a tendency to dismiss copious amounts of leisure time as somehow harmful to the soul, and to repeat hoary adages like "Idle hands are the devil's playthings." (To be fair, this phenomenon is often observable in nature.) However, once we liberate ourselves from the demands of soul-eroding tedium such as "having a job," or "needing to do stuff," or "generally caring about anything," sometimes we find that long-dormant portions of our consciousness begin to stir, and we can finally begin moving towards enlightenment.

Either that, or we just start painting our faces and getting really awesome at useless skills like riding cyclocross on unicycles:

This is not to say that some New Yorkers aren't similarly devoted to bicycle-themed irreverence, as you'll see if you peruse the photos from this past weekend's "Bike Kill" on the Sucka Pants blog:

Indeed, just as the eyes are the windows to the soul, the bicycle is the key, and you can use it to unlock either your inspiration or your inner idiot--or both, since they're usually the same thing. (I know this is true for me.) That's also why (as we saw yesterday) people write songs about fixed-ger bicycles in which they boast about their "tore up jeans and beat-up Vans:"

(Actually, both his shoes and his pants seem to be in pretty decent shape to me.)

Speaking of having time on your hands, if you're looking for something to do you can always go down to Occupy Wall Street and take your turn on the bicycle generator:

However, if you're a "hipster," please note that the protestors respectfully decline your services. The problem is, "hipsters" are only interested in trackstanding, and while it's highly effective for showing off your matching bag-and-pants ensemble at intersections and parties, it's not very useful when it comes to actually generating electricity. In any case, last time I was down there I noticed a lot of drumming going on too, so if they could also rig up some sort of drum generator I think they'll be in pretty good shape for the winter.

Meanwhile, you may recall that there was some controversy on this blog last week regarding the manufacture of human babies, with some readers even decrying the process of spawning as the height of arrogance and ecological irresponsibility. Well, as you may have heard, the U.N. says that as of Monday there are now seven billion people on Earth (give or take a few million):

This milestone raises a number of interesting questions, including:

1) So, like, is seven billion people on Earth a lot compared to other planets?

2) If every single person just gave me one penny, they'd hardly notice and I'd be rich. So why are people so greedy?

3) Can we make all the obese ones ride bicycle generators? It seems like that would solve at least two major problems at once. (USA Fun Fact: America's 300 million people weighs as much as the remaining 6.7 billion of the world's population.)

In the meantime, as humans continue to beget other humans some would argue that it's only a matter of time before our planet becomes a toxic wasteland. This is why anti-pollution masks are rapidly becoming the new "helment:"

The above product was forwarded to me by a reader, but keep in mind that in a pinch you can also just rubber-band a cycling chamois to your face:

Just make sure it's clean first--unless you're one of those people who finds the scent of dirty chamois arousing and who scours eBay looking for used cycling attire:


If you're lucky, you might even score some that's been worn by a celebrity:

Says Ms. Todd:

"In 2008 I got terrible saddle sores cycling 350 miles through France."

Now that's arousing.

Speaking of long cycling trips, recently I was reading about the Long Island Railroad disability fraud plot:

Apparently, one of the alleged scammers collected disability payments while enjoying a bike tour:

And a third defendant, Steven Gagliano, 55, of North Babylon, N.Y., who receives more than $75,000 in payments annually and claimed to be suffering from severe and disabling back pain, went on a 400-mile bike tour around New York State, the complaint said.

Well, I'm pleased to announce that Mr. Gagliano has retained me as his attorney, and my defense hinges on proving to the jury that one can actually ride a bicycle with severe and disabling back pain thanks to the brilliant invention known as "Back-Up Barz:"

(If the bike doesn't fit, you must acquit.)

If that isn't enough, I'll then call to the stand my expert witness, Grant Petersen, who will testify as to the incredible healing and restorative powers of incredibly long quill stems.

Justice may or may not be blind, but it's definitely lugged.