Saturday, March 28, 2009

Word pictures of the bicycle racing life

Bicycling - the real scoop. Here is a link to two little first-person stories about bicycling. If you are a bicyclist, they will touch your heart. If you are not a bicyclist, you will learn more about the sport from these two short short pieces than I would have thought possible. Enjoy. and

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cavendish - cycling's new king?

Mark Cavendish just won the Milan-San Remo in absolutely dominant sprint style. We've seen some young and impressive cyclists come up, thinking they might be among the next royalty. You may remember Voelckler, and his year in yellow at the TdF? Or Contador two years ago? Cavendish is sprinting right to the top. Last Saturday he showed us he was more than a one year phenom, winning the Milan-San Remo in a style so dominant it is crushing the opponents!
This was a classics race - one we really didn't expect him to win. A couple of sharp climbs usually weed out the less-experienced and pure sprinters. However, Cav is now getting coaching from the greatest sprinter of all time - Zabel. Erik Zabel has now officially retired, and now he is sharing his experience and knowledge with young Cavendish. It paid off.
Cav's humility and genuinely nice demeanor make him popular with the press, and with the fans. As a Brit, Americans still relate to his stardom. Lance's return to racing this year will also get the American audience. That audience will get to see Mark Cavendish. I think we are seeing a star who may well be as big a star as Lance.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Employment map

An absolutely wonderful map link shared by a friend:

Particularly check out the change over the last year. Note that the manufacturing filter and the housing boom, generally, do not coincide. Also, areas of no change seem to be predominantly rural. Exception is Wyoming, but the cities in Wyoming are so far isolated from anywhere else, they might as well be rural! I think the rural areas that have seen little change would likely be generally more self-sufficient, and be net exporters of human capital. Some, like West Virginia, might even get a boost, as tourism might increase from neighboring states, as people in those states stick closer to home.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More winter!

Got this comment from my sister in upper Michigan: You bet we got fun LOL. You'll appreciate this pic. Howard was coming home from work Friday afternoon. He made it through the first couple of drifts, but not this one. Yes - that's our driveway. Yee-ha. We decided to leave it there, stay in for the night (I was already there for the day of course), and had a snowed in party. Kids pitched tents in the living room, we watched movies.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Winter strikes again

Wow. Another 12 inches of fine powder snow, beautiful and virgin. More temps down to 11 F. Hooaa. And this is March! What a winter!

I've kinda been watching the weather in Moscow too, just out of curiousity. I noticed a couple of months back it seemed like we were doing about the same, temp-wise, all along! So I downloaded some temperatures for this winter, and made the graphs you see here. Guess what? We win - we were colder than Moscow! But Michigan's upper peninsula was colder still! And, you can see quite vividly that we had the most variation here. We were, on average, colder, but quite a few days were MUCH warmer.

Just this past weekend, it was springlike, and the windows and doors went open. Fresh air flowed through the buildings and houses. The snow melted, and melted, and melted, leaving heaps in the parking lots and roadsides, looking like piles of dead bodies at night, and plain old dirty heaps in the daylight.

So I cut and split a fair amount of the pine left in our yard by last fall's ice storm over the weekend. Now, all that is covered, again, in a pure white carpet of fine, powdery snow. Ain't we got fun?