Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

So, Christmas 2009 is behind us. As a parent with young children, Christmas morning is something special to behold. The shrieks and cries of surprise create memories to last a lifetime. Things come into perspective and somehow that $100 American Girl doll that prohibited the purchase of some new mtb race tires seems like money well spent.

As a parent, receiving gifts is are secondary. But every once in a while a shriek-worthy gift can still come one's way. For me, Christmas 2009 will forever be remembered as the year I received a baker's dozen of dress socks.

Oh yeah, that's right! Top that!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Interview With Phil Ligget

The winter solstice is behind us. Let us turn our attention to the upcoming season, such as the Spring Classics, the Tour, and the accompanying commentary from Phil Ligget. Here's something to whet your appetite.

(link courtesy of Brad The Impaler)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow Falling Gently

It's been a fantastic December for riding apart from the cold snap we had to endure. Even that wasn't bad as traction wasn't an issue.

Brad and I got out yesterday for a spin with Hal and Kevin B. Together we checked out Kevin's secret 'Upper Cut' and 'Low Blow' trails before heading east for some Seine River monkey trail action. Sheltered in the trees from the breeze, the light snowfall gave the ride a Norman Rockwell-like quality despite my gasps for breath (and heckling from hikers) as I tried to keep up with the three wise men.

4.5 more days of work before I start my holidays. Hopefully this agreeable weather will stick around.

Brainssss agk grr ahhr eat
Brainsss hrrr aaa slurp agkkkkk brains
Snow falling on brains

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday Apprehension

Presented from the Commission of Raillery.

In an effort to convince others (and ourselves) that we're cool, we present the debut of a new line of RRR intimate wear. Simple, self important, and silly.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Are You A Believer?

It's Sunday. Are you going to church? Are you still a faithful and practicing member of the Church of Lance Armstrong?

If you are, you will find this blasphemous. The Cozy Beehive has pulled together some interesting reading and lots of audio regarding the credibiity of The Boss. There's nothing new, but it's all conveniently pulled together for easy consumption.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Shoe Review

These are the heat moulded Shimano SH-R220 Road Shoe. I got a pair from Phil at Bikes and Beyond last spring with high expectations. Well, they are great. Craig at the shop did the custom fit (they have the machine to do the fittings) and they felt great right from the start. And they are a beautiful bright white so everyone can see your glowing feet (all you roadies know what I'm talking about). Very visible, very high end, very comfy and very stiff. I would recommend them to anyone on the road. So if you like cutting out your local shop and buying online from the states (not my recommendation, but there are a lot of local mennos who have no problem with this) here's a great deal on a great pair of shoes.

The boys at B and B may not like someone coming in to use their machine if you haven't purchased from them, but offer them a case a beer and it may work out for you

My suggestion is to head down there and buy local, support our economy. Either way, these shoes are by far my favorite shoe I've ever owned (for the bike, that is).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How cold is it?

I rode to work today. I am not a big fan of winter to begin with, and this kind of weather can make even my usually sunny disposition vanish. It is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. But just what is a brass monkey? And do they even have balls?

It's almost enough to make me wish I was stuck inside in some desert country riding the trainer with the A/C on high.


The full expansion of the phrase is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey and is common throughout the English-speaking world, though much better known now in Australia and New Zealand than elsewhere. This is perhaps surprising, since we know it was first recorded in the USA, in the 1850s. It is often reduced to the elliptical form that you give (perhaps in deference to polite society — for the same reason, it has been modified in the US into freeze the tail off a brass monkey).

There is a story, often repeated, that the phrase originated in the British navy at the time of the Napoleonic wars or thereabouts. It is said that the stack of cannon balls alongside each gun were arranged in a pyramid on a brass plate to save space, the plate being called a monkey. In very cold weather, the story goes, the cannon balls would shrink and they would fall off the stack.

Don’t let anybody convince you of this. It’s rubbish. There’s no evidence that such brass plates existed. Although the boys bringing charges to the guns from the magazine were known as powder monkeys and there is evidence that a type of cannon was called a monkey in the mid seventeenth century, there’s no evidence that the word was ever applied to a plate under a pile of cannon shot. The whole story is full of logical holes: would they pile shot into a pyramid? (hugely unsafe on a rolling and pitching deck); why a brass plate? (too expensive, and unnecessary: they actually used wooden frames with holes in, called garlands, fixed to the sides of the ship); was the plate and pile together actually called a monkey? (no evidence, as I say); would cold weather cause such shrinkage as to cause balls to fall off? (highly improbable, as all the cannon balls would reduce in size equally and the differential movement between the brass plate and the iron balls would be only a fraction of a millimetre).

What the written evidence shows is that the term brass monkey was quite widely distributed in the US from about the middle of the nineteenth century and was applied in all sorts of situations, not just weather. For example: from The Story of Waitstill Baxter, by Kate Douglas Wiggin (1913): “The little feller, now, is smart’s a whip, an’ could talk the tail off a brass monkey”; and from The Ivory Trail, by Talbot Mundy (1919): “He has the gall of a brass monkey”. Even when weather was involved, it was often heat rather than cold that was meant, as in the oldest example known, from Herman Melville’s Omoo (1850): “It was so excessively hot in this still, brooding valley, shut out from the Trades, and only open toward the leeward side of the island, that labor in the sun was out of the question. To use a hyperbolical phrase of Shorty’s, ‘It was ’ot enough to melt the nose h’off a brass monkey.’ ”

It seems much more likely that the image here is of a real brass monkey, or more probably still a set of them. Do you remember those sculptured groups of three wise monkeys, “Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil”? Though the term three wise monkeys isn’t recorded earlier than the start of the twentieth century, the images themselves were known much earlier. It’s more than likely the term came from them, as an image of something solid and inert that could only be affected by extremes.

This article stolen from World Wide Words.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And The Participation Prizes Go To ... one from RRR, but to a few friends. Congrats to the winners. Seriously, these prizes won't make you go faster. Probably slower.