Sunday, 15 July 2007


Yesterday, in Weatherford, Texas, I did my 12th bike rally of the year and my 408th overall. It was my 18th consecutive Peach Pedal, going back to 1990. Where does the time go? There are many things that I love about this rally. The route out of town is fast and furious, with many rolling hills. There are long, scintillating descents. The scenery, including the courthouse in the center of town, is gorgeous. Best of all, there are fresh peaches at the rest stops. The rally is held in conjunction with the Parker County Peach Festival. I saw hundreds of people milling about near the courthouse as I made my way out of town after the rally. It reminded me of the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival in Michigan, which I attended many times during the 1970s and 1980s.

My goal, as usual, was to ride as hard as I could without (1) unduly compromising my safety and (2) dropping my friends. Alas, my friends dropped me—twice. Not because I was weak, but because my chain came off. (With friends like that, who needs rivals?) But we hooked up eventually at a rest stop and rode in together. Although I hadn’t ridden in two weeks, I felt strong. I rode 20.5 miles the first hour and 19.1 the second, for an average speed of 19.8 miles per hour after two hours. Then I turned north into a mild headwind. The course was hilly and it was getting hot, so I covered only 15.9 miles the third hour. I averaged 17.44 miles per hour for the final 17:12, which gave me an overall average speed (for 60.5 miles) of 18.40 miles per hour. That’s my fastest Peach Pedal in 12 years! Had I stayed with my friends the entire way instead of gutting it out on my own, I believe I would have averaged over 19 miles per hour. By taking turns at the front, riders save energy, which they can use to go faster.

In other statistics, I burned 1,969 calories during the ride. This allowed me to eat a little extra throughout the day. I love to eat, but I won’t go over my 2,200-calorie limit unless I earn it. My maximum heart rate during the ride was 155; my average was 126. I hit a top speed of 33.8 miles per hour on one of the descents. Yeehaa! The official high temperature for the day, which occurred several hours after I finished riding, was 91º Fahrenheit. It’s usually hot and humid during the Peach Pedal. This year, it was merely warm. I’m about halfway through the 2007 rally season. It has gone fast. It won’t be long before I’m doing footraces in cool weather and looking forward to the next rally season. Rust never sleeps.


Here is Peter Berkowitz’s review of a new book by David Gelernter. For what it’s worth, I think highly of both of these men.

College Football

My friend (and former student) Carlos is the world’s biggest Nebraska Cornhuskers fan. See here for his tribute to the Bugeaters.

False Consciousness

John Edwards, a self-made multi-millionaire, is traveling around the country trying to persuade people that they’re poor. To their credit, they’re not buying it. This is a classic progressive tactic, going back to Karl Marx (1818-1883): persuade people that they are being oppressed, exploited, dominated, and victimized by others, in the hope that they will become resentful and, as a result, rebellious. When people refuse to believe that they’re being oppressed, exploited, dominated, or victimized, tell them (in your sternest voice) that they have a “false consciousness.” Note the self-serving logic: If you agree with me, you have a true consciousness; if you disagree with me, you have a false consciousness. Heads I win; tails you lose!

Addendum: Edwards’s campaign is going nowhere, and deservedly so, given his shameless warmongering. He trails Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in all the major polls. When Al Gore is added, he trails Gore as well!

Run, Ralph, Run!

Ralph Nader is thinking of running for president in 2008. See here. Expect progressives to smear him, the way they smear anyone else who thwarts their designs. Progressives don’t want a battle of ideas, for that means they lose. They must resort to personal attacks and other despicable techniques to get power.

Addendum: I voted for Nader in 1996 and 2000.


If this isn’t the best album ever made, then I’m a shark‘s great-grandfather.


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Tour de France, won by Michael Rasmussen. The Danish rider averaged 21.23 miles per hour on the 102.5-mile course. Here is the story. Here is the New York Times report. Here is Tuesday’s stage. (Tomorrow is a rest day.) Anyone who has ever climbed a hill on a bicycle must have watched in disbelief as Rasmussen flew up the mountains of the Tour. He is a spectacular climber, perhaps the best since Italian Marco Pantani (R.I.P.). To put Rasmussen’s victory in perspective, consider that 67 of the 180 riders who began today’s stage finished more than 39 minutes behind him. Five other riders started the stage but failed to complete it (at least two of them, Australians Michael Rogers and Stuart O’Grady, because of injuries sustained in crashes). Three other riders, including Australian Robbie McEwen, did not make the time cut and were eliminated. Rasmussen could win the Tour, just as Pantani did in 1998. The only thing standing in his way is his poor time-trialing ability. My pick to win the stage, Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, finished third, 3:12 behind Rasmussen. He outsprinted four other riders (not six) for third place (not first).

Addendum: Mark Spahn sent a link to this essay.

Addendum 2: Here is a scene from a stage race that’s taking place in China.

Addendum 3: According to Cyclingnews, Stuart O’Grady suffered eight broken ribs and a punctured lung during his crash in the Tour de France today. One rider described him as being wrapped around a pole.

From the Mailbag


A search for the meaning of “pareidolia” (= seeing things that are not there, like animals in clouds, meaningful outlines in inkblots, and the Face on Mars) led to this satellite photo of an Indian chief listening to his iPod. It is explained here and here and here.

Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

Happy Birthday, John!

My Australian friend Dr John J. Ray, who helped me with my blog in November 2003, is 64 years old today. John’s blog Dissecting Leftism (one of many that he keeps) is one that I read every day, without fail. Keep up the good work, John!

A Year Ago


Michael Dummett on Implication and Inference

Imply and infer. Only a person can infer; one statement can imply another, which the speaker also implied by making the first statement. To infer something is to draw a conclusion; to say something from which that conclusion follows or which the speaker means his hearers to take as following is to imply the conclusion, not to infer it. Thus The Chancellor inferred that taxes would have to be raised means that he drew that conclusion; to express that he said something from which the conclusion could be drawn, imply needs to be used instead.

(Michael Dummett, Grammar & Style for Examination Candidates and Others [London: Duckworth, 1993], 93 [italics and boldface in original])

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Mr. Cheney’s Minority Report,” by Sean Wilentz (Op-Ed, July 9):

The Democrats will sooner or later occupy the White House. But the Bush administration, under the aegis of Vice President Dick Cheney, has created a unitary, secretive executive branch of government, fortified without checks and balances or oversight from its own party power brokers in both houses of Congress until recently.

Will the Republicans, who have defended this, find it acceptable without challenge when candidates from the other party are elected president and vice president?

Stay tuned.

Nancy D. Rowles
Covington, Ky., July 9, 2007

Note from KBJ: Will the Democrats, who have opposed this, find it unacceptable when candidates from their own party are elected president and vice president? (This is a rhetorical question.)

O’Conner on Language