Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Snow Sucks

My day is not off to the greatest start. It was really snowy leaving Preston this morning and just slow, messy going all the way to work. Really, it wasn't too bad. The bad part was when I got to work and slid through my turn, hit the curb and blew a tire. I will go check it out after the sun comes up, change the tire and all. If I'm lucky, I just popped the tire off the bead and won't have to replace it. If I am not lucky, Callie gets a tire for her birthday.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ridin' the "Big Bike"

On Saturday morning, Duncan and I rode the Madsen to the church over by the fairgrounds to help set up chairs. Good thing that I remembered. The Elders' Quorum was asleep at the wheel. It was me, the bishop, his son, and one of the high priests. So I set up many, many chairs. Duncan still isn't sure about the "big bike," but I like it.

First off, there was about an inch of new snow. The bike didn't seem to notice. I had expected the Madsen's massive weight to be a liability in any snowy or icy conditions. I had miscalculated. That big bike rolls over almost anything once it has momentum. It can be just a bit squirrelly under load at really low speeds. I do want to put big fatty cruiser tires on it. I'm thinking white Schwalbe Fat Franks.

I also rode it around with different combinations of kids, the four youngest, then the three oldest, and then Dawsey and I rode out to grandma and grandpa's. It handles very well under load, climbs the hollows on Oneida without having to even stand up, and just keeps rolling.

I am not used to this bike's very upright "Dutch" riding position. It is harder on my knees and feels slower than my my efficient and much preferred road or touring positions. But I suppose I'll get used to it.

The kids like the bike. Well, most of the kids like the bike. Duncan tolerates it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Madsen in the Snow

I may go try the Madsen, with a load of little people, in the fresh snow. I am a bit nervous about it. I mean, I ride in the snow all the time, but the Madsen is a different story. We'll see. Wish us luck.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

President Obama: Bumbling Hack, or Evil Political Genius?

In watching the news since Barack Obama's inauguration, I have been struck by the apparent absurdity of many of his actions. First of all, many of the people appointed to his cabinet have had problems. Timothy Geitner and Tom Daschle were both tax cheats, as well as two less prominent cabinet nominees. Immediately after being elected he announced that there would be no lobbyists in his administration. That executive order lasted about two days before he started granting waivers to it in order to fill some cabinet positions with, of course, lobbyists.

Obama also started backpedaling on campaign promises almost immediately after being elected. The economy which he was going to miraculously heal will now get worse before it gets better. And most importantly, he let Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid load his precious stimulus bill dangerously full of earmarks and pork.

My initial response is that this relatively inexperienced politician that we just elected to the nation's highest office is inept and in over his head. A second look however, makes one wonder if he isn't just the opposite.

To frame my coming argument, look at the campaign. Obama campaigned on magic. It was all about hope and change. The primary plank in his platform was the idea that he was not the man he was running to replace. The candidate spoke very little of himself, and even attacked as sinister those who tried to scrutinize him at all. He pointed out flaws in others to direct attention away from others.

Now as President, he seems a little more flawed, but I think he is doing two things, misdirecting and overloading. In fact, he is mostly misdirecting by overloading.

My first point is that by having us all focused on pork like lawn sod for the national mall, and money for the National Endowment for the Arts, we missed, until the bill had passed the house, the fact that a major step toward nationalized healthcare was buried in the bill's 647 pages.

He is also trying to make us look at how bad the economy is and is constantly telling us what a crisis we are in and how the world will all but end unless the stimulus passes. He attacks as destructive to the nation's future his opponents in talk radio and on Fox News. The President also tells us that we must approve his Cabinet nominees, because Tim Geitner is the only man who can save us.

What is the play here? What is he trying to do? First, he misdirects us by making us afraid and telling us that he has a plan and can save us. Second, he gives us something that we find outrageous to focus on while he slips something more sinister by under our nose. Third, he gives us so much information that we tune it all out.

The third is perhaps the most sinister. He can use this information overload to discredit his opponents. If we hear nothing but criticism from them, something new every day, how long will we continue to listen? If there is so much going on, what will we miss that we should have fought?

I argue that Obama is much more brilliant than we give him credit for. He is an absolute socialist, of the Marxist school and such do not trust the people to rule. Through this political slight of hand, our President is seeking to establish a socialist state with a permanent ruling class and subject all the rest of us to his will. We need to wake up and fight it. We can fight mostly by staying informed, involved, and by not tuning out due to information overload. When we recognize what we are up against, we can better combat it.

Didn't Ride

I was too tired to get up and ride at 3am. So, I am still fat and lazy. I did get to work on time though! I arrived at a quarter until the hour, even!

Wishlist: New Bike

When we were in Salt Lake last week I stumbled in to Guthrie Bicycles. I told the salesman the kind of versatile ride I was after. He nailed it. I'd like to introduce the 2009 Raleigh Clubman. There are other bikes out there, but this is about the classiest production steel steed around. It's not a Vanilla, or a Rivendell, but what is? I can't afford a Riv at this point in life, let alone one of Sacha White's creations (mmm... handmade goodness) besides, this fits my style better than a Rivendell and is much classier looking than a lot of bikes out there.

Of course, my bike money just bought the Madsen. Well, I'd better pinch my pennies.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Biking Woes.

I have not been riding. Not riding makes me flabby. Already. I am getting old. When I was young, I could sit and eat and watch TV all day and lose three pounds. I am getting old. And fat.

I will now explain my dilemma. My wonderful and benevolent place of employment has dictated that I will now work four ten hour shifts instead of five eight hour shifts. I used to arrive at work at 7:00 am. My shift now begins at 5:00 am. The bus from Preston can have me in Logan at 6:45 or so. My bike/bus/bike routine that has worked so well for the past eighteen months is no longer viable. I have been driving to work. Cars make you fat. And lazy. And slow.

I had planned to ride to Logan this morning, so I got up early to facilitate an earlier start. (3:00am departure time.) I woke up next to my winter cycling shoes at 4:30, put on some pants, and drove to work. I was ten minutes late. And fat. (My recent Angry Whopper fetish probably doesn't help.) Apparently I can't even manage to put on riding layers and shoes with only four hours of sleep.

I last had a decent ride two weeks ago. All I've done since is try out the Madsen. With trips to SLC and a messed up schedule with Arvil's health, I'd hardly ridden in the two weeks before then. I rode fifteen miles. Slowly. And I got tired. I am old and fat.

I am laying out my bike clothes and going to bed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stimulus Woe

Ok, so I like to talk politics. I have been involved in a debate on bikecommuters.com about whether bike lanes should be in the stimulus bill or not. I am afraid that my main point has been that we shouldn't have a stimulus package of this type at all. Not only is the bill more pork laden than a Taiwanese butcher, but it is the wrong approach.

I am a firm believer in the power of the market. The market is the truest form of democracy in the world. In a free market, we make our own choices and our money goes where we want it to. Under a massive spending bill like what just passed both houses of congress, (I have choice words for the state of Maine) the government confiscates our money and spends it on what they want.

I am very opposed to a large and powerful federal government to begin with. I am opposed to the concept that government should take the money from Idahoans, Utahns, or floridians and spend it on prjects in Vermont, Kansas, or California. I see the current bill as a means of weakening the market, weakening the dollar, and eroding the Constitution.

Yes, I am characterizing the all-important Obama stimulus bill as an attack on the US Constitution. The Constitution established a limited federal government as a secondary to the governments of the several and sovereign states. It also provided for a free-enterprise, market economy, unfettered by federal controls. I won't even begin at this time to discuss indirect taxation and the crime of the sixteenth amendment.

The Obama stimulus, as well as the TARP bailouts attack the constitution through by further subverting the power of the states by making them beholden to the federal government for monies that they cannot obtain from thier citizens because it has been taken in federal taxes. It also destroys the peoples' power of choice by confiscatorially spending massive amounts of money without the citizens discretion. I would argue that the more the government spends, the less the private citizen can or will.

The stimulus bill is bad law. It will further cripple the American economy and will subject US citizens to a more powerful, increasingly totalitarian government. I sound a strong voice of alarm here, "Beware anything that increases the size, power, or scope of the federal government!" I am fearful that this signals the beginning of a Soviet-like era for our once proud nation. Nations that go down this road only return through revolution. It is not too late, but will take a strong effort. I hope that we can get conservatives into congressional office in two years.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Busy Week and Sunday Thoughts

This has been a busy week. We took Arvil to Salt Lake on Friday for Craniosacral Therapy with Sid Napper, a fairly highly regarded practitioner and instructor, he has a good reputation for working with infants. He had also been in town teaching a class at a local herbalist shop, and had asked us to bring Arvil down to see him so that he could provide better care than he could after teaching for a day or two. We felt very good about the treatment. Arvil has better movement and seems more comfortable. He was really cranky today, and most of yesterday, but most of that has to be chalked up to the new teeth he is growing. His control over his legs and right arm are improving, and we definitely noticed a change after the therapy.

While in Salt Lake we stopped in at the corporate headquarters of Madsen Cycles and met with Jared Madsen, the creator of the Madsen KG271. I had a great time, I even played ping-pong with Jared and his partner Sean while Callie tested out the bike. The bikes are usually sold in bike shops, and increasingly, on line, but we bought one right out of the warehouse. Cool.

I have thought for some time that cargo bikes are the wave of the future, and now I have one that was created right next door in Utah. We decided on the Madsen because it was more Idaho/Utah friendly than a Bakfiets (as well as wallet-friendly) and was more of a massive kid hauler than an Xtracycle. Again, happy so far.

Yesterday we hosted the homeschool group book discussion, Howard J. Ruff's "How to Prosper in the Coming Bad Times." An interesting read. I think I'll review it here in the future. The get together went well, the first large hosting in the new house. The big front room performed perfectly, and the dining room table accommodates quite a crowd.

Today we all spoke in church. It went well considering a wild week before and a lack of great preparation. Dawsey did espescially well. A member of the bishopric commented that she will be ready to become relief society president about two weeks after being baptised. The statement fits her do everything personality to a T. Better than he realized, I am sure.

I spoke about the importance of reading and understanding the Doctrine and Covenants. I realized that I should read it this year.

I love my family, and I hope that I can be what they need me to be as we continue to get busier and experience more trials. I believe that God takes an interest in that aspect of my life, and so I discuss it with Him in prayer. I do have a firm testimony of the power of prayer and of the love and interest of God.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New Bike

We have a new bike. I say "we" because it is a family bike. Yes, you read that right. A family bike. I would like to introduce the Madsen Cycles KG271. I'll post pics of us in the Madsen soon. We rode around on it a bit today. The kids had a blast. So did mom and dad. I like it much better than lugging a trailer, although that is not completely in the past either as it will always serve a purpose. This bike has a rear bucket with four (yes, four) seat belts. It is very stable and we are quite happy to have this new family "car" in our garage. A more in-depth article and review of the Madsen will follow later.


This Blog is the internet record of the White Family. We will write here of our family, our doings, our beliefs and our interests. We are a family of two parents, five children, (one sister and four rambunctious boys) and no pets at the moment although we have had goats, chickens, and a dog.

We teach our children at home and have many closely held beliefs. We believe in God, we believe in liberty and the American way. We teach the Constitution to our children and focus on the intent of the founders and the purpose of the Constitution to limit government and expand freedom. It could be said that we cling to our guns and religion, although I wouldn't call us bitter.

We believe in making our own way in life and in dealing honestly. We teach these values to our children. We believe in self sufficiency and in improving ourselves and our surroundings.

We have many things that we enjoy doing as individuals and as a family. We like to read and write, we enjoy the outdoors and we like to sing. We really like bicycles. Bicycles are the transportation of the future. Perhaps that makes me rather "Green" for a conservative, but I like bikes, and I like them for general transportation. I think that we would all be healthier and that the world would be cleaner if more people pedaled more often.

Expect this blog to be full of articles about kids, homeschooling, bicycles and bicycling, camping, playing, politics, and religion. It will also have anything else that I can think of to throw at you.