The famous Flying Pigeon. As opposed to the other sort of pigeon, which finds itself with empty pockets and no job, and has to walk home.

Some pigeons fly.

Others, not so much.

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40 Responses to “Share-cropping”

  1. SAO' Says:

    Everyone is focused on disrupting and exit strategies. Sustainability, not so much.

    Break things, get rich, die young.

    Two out of three ain’t bad.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, I don’t get this “here’s your money, there’s the toilet, what’s your hurry?” mindset.

      One guy sees a pretty pond, jumps in, says, “Ooh, feels good.” Then suddenly there are a couple hundred yahoos in there with him, splashing, pissing, and farting (“Lookit the bubbles!”).

      Before long you have a drying, cracking mudhole that isn’t much use to anyone. But look, there’s another pond! Wheeeeeeeee! (splash!)

      • khal spencer Says:

        Trouble is, on a global scale, I think we have run out of ponds.

        That comment of yours reminds me of a particularly poignant day at Stony Brook on Long Island. SUNY Foundation bought a nice beachfront house on the Sound for visiting faculty but even we low life grad students could use the grounds, so it was a popular swimming location in the summer. One day, apparently the wind shifted. Three of us were in the water including a friend who had bailed out of the geophysics program and was living in Nassau County. Suddenly my fellow grad student and riding buddy Chuck (who rode an Eisentraut) burst out laughing and said “Hey, Khal, get a load of this?”. He then threw a condom at me and we noticed that we were swimming in, shall we say, someone’s toilet. Apparently out east there were direct outfalls, legal or not, and on this day, the shit was drifting our way. Needless to say, we beat a hasty exit to land.

        Nowdays, I suspect everyone is downcurrent from someone’s shithouse.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        It’s a hard rain gonna fall on that valley property, for sure. I’m not so sure about the mountaintop acreage, where the People of Money hang out. Smart of them to command the high ground, with a clear field of fire all around.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    By the way, the La Tierra trails are fine up this way. About to check out the Rail Trail.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Growth baby! We must have growth! Consume more you slackers. Investments must deliver high yields in the short term. Microseconds matter in computer trading. Derivatives. Credit default swaps. Consolidated Debt Obligations. You know, all the high yield financial instruments. What, you don’t understand them? You’re just not a sophisticated trader is what.

    Fuck a bunch of sustainability. And, in case you ain’t looking, the oceans are our toilet. I just waiting until the sea level rises high enough to wash the turds and plastic patches into the courtyard at Mara Lago. With the latest news from Greenland’s glaciers, it won’t be long.

  4. JD Dallager Says:

    I’m afeared the US bicycle industry is also bloating with startups so fast that the bubble has to burst in the next couple years. And when I see the cost of trinkets that allegedly improve my cycling performance/weigh 1/2 gram less/allow me to consume more data about my “average at best” performance/etc., I tend to think that the so-called “invisible hand” of economics and capitalism may have a middle finger upright that we refuse to see in the interest of near term “gains”.

    I’ve also wondered for a long time about the “grow or die” philosophy…..especially for cities. If the backlog grows each year on infrastructure maintenance, health and security issues, then why will growth solve it or even mitigate it? Sounds like a growing self-licking ice cream cone that ultimately collapses under its own weight.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Engineers gotta engineer. Some of them would put tits on a motor if you let them. Or the marketing guys would, anyway. And then make the engineers justify it. Is that reverse engineering? I’m just a poor ol’ rumormonger, I don’t know nothin’ but mongin’ them rumors.

      Meanwhile, we have the ever-cheery Cactus Ed Abbey, who once observed: “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”

  5. Herb from Michigan Says:

    While we may not over produce bikes here in America we sure as hell over produce milk, meat, soybeans and corn. If China ain’t buying, we tax payers still keep the subsidies tits open and ready.
    You’d be surprised for example at how much milk is thrown away because prices are too low and inventory too high.
    Is that front brake on the Pigeon rod activated? I still have BST (bike shop tremors) from working on Raleigh Bobby bikes in the 70’s. Raleigh was building bikes so fast and furious to ship over here that quality was totally set aside for speed. What, we ran out of headset grease? Ship em anyway. No one around to inspect frame alignment? No matter, keep that production line moving matey. Gitane, Falcon and Atala could be even worse as I swear they gave up on paint and used fingernail polish.First time you adjusted the seat binder bold the paint would crackle and flake off.

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      Where’s “Caribou Barbie” when we need her? Why isn’t she going around asking, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” especially the MAGA soybean farmers of Iowa or the dairy operators in Wisconsin?
      Will these marks ever figure out they’ve been conned? Will they ever feel the slightest of remorse about dragging the rest of us down with them into Don the Con’s moral sewer?

  6. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    I wonder what happened to making something and selling it at a profit? So much of what passes for business these days resembles the old pyramid schemes, but now the venture capitalists are the marks ..with stockholders jumping in later.
    Uber’s a prime example: loses money right and left but somehow is worth $90 billion? I can see the founders and others who got in early raking in a fortune while the suckers who come later will get what? Just like these bike-share schemes, what happens when some smart-ass comes up with a competing scheme? Getting into these schemes seem to require little more than a line of BS. Remember Theranos? How much has the founder of that scam got hidden away in offshore banks?

    • Steve O Says:

      I’m pretty sure Facebook never generated in revenue the salary they were paying to Zuck. At least not until their revenue started coming in in rubles. They were worth billions when all the ads were for DampRid and Groupon. So did initial investors know that going evil was inevitable, or was it just a savvy business decision?

    • Steve O Says:

      Uber is not only losing money, it has no road to profitability unless driverless cars get her quick. And even then, there are lawyers getting their paperwork straight to get it all once a drone inevitably takes out a pedestrian.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Sure, but Travis Kalanick couldn’t care less! He’s probably got billions stashed in the same offshore hidey-hole as Elizabeth Holmes. All this s–t seems to be little more than legalized pyramid schemes IMHO. The lawyers or authorities won’t get it all…what’s the “massive” fine they’re threatening Zuckerf–k with…a few seconds worth of income?

  7. Jon Paulos Says:

    I don’t weigh in often, so forgive the entry, but….

    What are you going to do about it? Leah Zelden’s quote on buying food comes to mind. “All food is political.” The extension to that is “Your every purchase is political.” Buy something on Amazon? Supporting Jeff Bezos. Catch an Uber last time you were in the big city? Supporting whichever rich guy owns that, and put another nail in the local taxi service’s coffin. So you got in the self-checkout line at the local grocery or Home Despot or Lowes because it was shorter? Fucked the working man.

    Here’s what I do. I buy from the local hardware store whenever possible. I never use self checkout. I buy books from Powells. When visiting NYC and DC I take the subway whenever I can, and taxi when I can’t. As my 17 year old Hyundai starts to creak more I’m trying to think how I can use my next car purchase to act similarly.

    Bikes? I still ride my 1992 Trek 2100. Went on the Loudon County Great Pumpkin ride last Halloween and the only bike older than mine was the 1991 Trek 2100 my son was riding. Don’t ask me to service a disc brake, but I win friends and influence people with my knowledge of the difference between the Shimano Uniglide freewheel tool and pre-Uniglide tool. I used to lust after new bikes, but finally figured why bother. I’ll be dead before the current one wears out.

    That old hippy phrase is pretty apt. Tune in (get informed), turn on (yeah you know), tune out (don’t buy into the system).

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Agree. I do most of what you do. Don’t have a smart phone, don’t use Amazon, not on social media, steel bikes with middle of the road components and only 2 of them, and a small house and no kids. Drop out is right. The temptation to drop out entirely, from the system not life, is strong.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Same here, but we’re far from the 18-34 age bracket the marketing-mavens are mining the cash from. I’m sure you’ve seen the video clips of millenials (or whatever) ordering their fast food from a touch-screen while there are live humans just a few steps away? Way-too-much s–t can be done with only a “smart” phone and the marketing-mavens know the real money is in getting these folks to click on PAY before they do any sort of thinking about it. The clickers are used to having every whim catered to and not interested in using many brain cells when it comes to the whys of consumerism. Is there a generation of Greta Thunbergs behind them who’ll turn this s–t around? I hope there is, but you know what my wife says…

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          And, the Professor is proven right time after time.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Not the bike industry! We’re still mining the Old White Guy. Gravel bikes! E-bikes! You’d think that seam would’ve played out by now. I expect we’ll have to team up with the Medical-Industrial Complex at some point and start including free sustainably sourced, all-organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, bamboo e-gravel recumbents with every knee and hip replacement. Don’t forget to download the app, Gramps.

          • larryatcycleitalia Says:

            When the cycling equivalent of Viagra hits the market, you know we’re in the end-times for the bike industry.
            Pinarello’s Nytro was just the beginning, I’m sure by next year every brand will offer at least one – then there’ll be e-gravel, e-cross, e-aero road, e-uphill, e-downhill, e-29, e-27, e-650B, etc.with each category delivering ever lower sales numbers… until the “Old White Guys Into Cycling” are extinct.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Likewise agree. We’re doing less business with Whole Amazon and more with Sprouts; less with Lowe’s, more with Ace. And there’s a good local bookstore, Page 1, that needs more of our disposable income.

      Mostly we cook our meals, and when we go out, it’s to local beaneries instead of industrial troughs.

      Half of the household refuses to fly, especially if the aircraft is a Boeing 737 Max 8. Cars, both bought used, date to 2011 and 2005, with no replacements contemplated.

      Most tech is outdated yet functional (my newest MacBook Pro dates to 2014, the iPhone 5 to 2012).

      Of course, we live in a desert, which is always a good idea. And Herself maintains the Necronomicon for Darth Goodhair at Starkiller Base while I pitch tasty tidbits to the consumer Hydra.

      And there’s that container-load of bikes in the garage to consider. Those suckers didn’t just spring full-fledged from the brow of Zeus.

      Meanwhile, nothing to see here in Jakarta, move along, move along. All is well!

  8. khal spencer Says:

    I co-wrote a proposal once to look at fishery sustainability in the Gulf of Mexico. Commercial people were fishing like mad around gas and oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and we wanted to find out if the fish were congregating around the platforms or if they were preferentially reproducing more rapidly in those locations. We were going to look at trace chemicals in the fish otoliths as evidence of where they spent their lives. Otoliths grow kinda like tree rings and record the chemistry of their water.

    It would be a problem if these locations were fish magnets and we were fishing out the Gulf. We got that funded just as I took the job in New Mexico and so I gave my part of the project to some of my co-PIs back at the Univ. of Hawaii and moved on to working on weapons of mass destruction. Not sure what they found out.

    But shit, resource depletion and pollution is our game all over the oceans. Besides throwing our trash there and poisoning top of food chain fish like tuna with coal emissions (e.g. mercury), we are depleting fish stocks globally. Of course, when you add the environmental cost of all the smart phones, carbon fiber gravel e-bikes in 27.5 and 29er varieties, cars, plastic shit, McMansions, and babies, this path to extinction seems inevitable.

    The basic problem is there are too many humans around and they all want more stuff. The real solution to resource depletion is another Chicxulub event to thin the herd. Bring on the 10 km asteroid.

    We did our part. No kids. But that is largely irrelevant.

    On that note, a poignant article in the Albuquerque Journal about yet more massive junk generation.

  9. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I’m getting depressed, like the blues. So, if I could get off subject for just a minute, let’s chase the blues away.

  10. khal spencer Says:

    Happy May Day, Comrades!

  11. JD Dallager Says:

    Nice T-shirt there, Khal!!

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