“I delve into the mysterious and counterintuitive world of helmets and high-visibility gear later in the book. But it’s worth immediately noting this: while they’re not inherently bad, they’re less a safety device for cycling than a symptom of a road network where no cyclist can truly feel safe.” ― Peter Walker, How Cycling Can Save the World
Let’s see when it was…. May 9, 2021 (well under a year ago) when I went down to the groundbreaking of the Northaven Trail Bridge. It’s exciting – a bridge system that goes over the giant deadly Hway75 North Central Expressway and also White Rock Creek. It will join the Northaven trail with the White Rock and Cottonwood Trails – East and West will come together, opening up a whole new galaxy of bicycle riding in the Metroplex.
Here’s a virtual simulation of the thing:
Whenever I drive down Central or ride down the White Rock Trail I look at the construction. Although the signature bridge is still a long time off – the progress is palpable. It truly is the best of all possible worlds.
Here’s drone footage of what it looks like right now:
“Likewise—now don’t laugh—cars and trucks should view the bike lanes as if they are sacrosanct. A driver would never think of riding up on a sidewalk. Most drivers, anyway. Hell, there are strollers and little old ladies up there! It would be unthinkable, except in action movies. A driver would get a serious fine or maybe even get locked up. Everyone around would wonder who that asshole was. Well, bike lanes should be treated the same way. You wouldn’t park your car or pull over for a stop on the sidewalk, would you? Well then, don’t park in the bike lanes either—that forces cyclists into traffic where poor little meat puppets don’t stand a chance.” ― David Byrne, Bicycle Diaries
I have not been out riding my bike nearly enough – not enough miles and not enough riding with people. So when I read that some folks were riding from the Forrest Lane DART station over to the end of the Northaven Trail for the groundbreaking of the planned bridge over Highway 75 I thought I’d go. I did cheat and drive down to the station with my bike in the back of my car – so it was going to be a short ride.
A city like Dallas has a lot of bike trails and dedicated lanes – but a lot of them were put in as recreational opportunities – for the neighborhood to walk their dogs or get in a few miles of exercise – not as transportation corridors. That lead to what I call “choke points” – barriers to car-less transportation. The most common are highways, which can be impossible to cross without a car.
And the worst of these highways is 75, which slashes Dallas in half north to south.
The Northaven trail is a fairly new trail that runs through north Dallas all the way from 75 in the east almost to Love Field in the west. On the other side of 75 is the White Rock creek trail, which connects through miles of East Dallas trails – but it isolated by the highway.
For the last few years, work has been going on to connect these two with a bridge over the highway. Finally, funding has been established, a design has been finished and approved, and work is about to start. Two years from now, we should have our bridge.
And today was the groundbreaking ceremony. The mayor of Dallas was there, Dallas county officials, City Council Members, Park Board Members and more – they all wanted their turn to pontificate about how hard they have been working and how much credit they deserve. It went on for way too long for anyone in the audience – but that’s fine – if their egos and political careers need some service, so be it, as long as we get our bridge.
I had a good time. I was able to meet a good number of friends that I had not talked to since before COVID. That was nice.
And best of all, I learned a new route back under Highway 75 that joins up with the White Rock Creek Trail, Cottonwood Trail, and Forest Lane DART station where I parked my car. There is a little known footpath through a tunnel under the highway. You have to ride on a sidewalk along the frontage road for a few hundred feet, but it’s a good way to get across. Not the best looking path, but it works.
So why do we need the bridge? A path like this doesn’t give any opportunities for politicians to shovel sand.
An Important Message to all the New Cyclists During the Pandemic,
and a Note to Experienced Riders
In this Covid thing there seems to be a lot of people getting bicycles. My son went to look at Mountain Bikes and they said there will be none available before October. This is exciting and I hope the momentum continues.
Here is a cyclist talking about that with advice for new riders and especially for experienced ones.
My favorite parts:
“Cars are dicks, they’re going to honk. That’s sorta just part of it. As long as you’re obeying the laws and not being a dick, don’t worry about them, don’t feel bad, don’t let it discourage you, they’re just having a bad day and taking it out on you. It’s not your problem, it’s not your fault.”
“Next, I wanna talk to – you new guys turn it off, you guys go somewhere else because this message is for the experienced cyclist who’ve been at this a long time…. YOU GUYS DO NOT SCREW THIS UP! Do not screw this up and make cycling this obnoxious exclusive sport any more with your dumb rules and making fun of the new guy on the group ride… we’re not doing that again. Ok, you don’t correct them on anything… unless their front skewer is open, you let them figure it out.”
Yeah, I like this. And I agree, if a new rider has an open front skewer – go ahead and say something, before you come to that pothole.
Mac ‘N Cheese Waffles
Especially in June, especially in 2020, I am trying to eat healthy and up my exercise. I won’t be cooking or eating any of this. But still…. I can dream, can’t I?
2. Shemomedjamo (Georgian)
You know when you’re really full, but your meal is just so delicious, you can’t stop eating it? The Georgians feel your pain. This word means, “I accidentally ate the whole thing.”
3. Tartle (Scots)
The nearly onomatopoeic word for that panicky hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you can’t quite remember.
4. Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego)
This word captures that special look shared between two people, when both are wishing that the other would do something that they both want, but neither want to do.
5. Backpfeifengesicht (German)
A face badly in need of a fist.
6. Iktsuarpok (Inuit)
You know that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet? This is the word for it.
Cook throwing dough at Serious Pizza, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas
7. Pelinti (Buli, Ghana)
Your friend bites into a piece of piping hot pizza, then opens his mouth and sort of tilts his head around while making an “aaaarrrahh” noise. The Ghanaians have a word for that. More specifically, it means “to move hot food around in your mouth.”
8. Greng-jai (Thai)
That feeling you get when you don’t want someone to do something for you because it would be a pain for them.
9. Mencolek (Indonesian)
You know that old trick where you tap someone lightly on the opposite shoulder from behind to fool them? The Indonesians have a word for it.
10. Faamiti (Samoan)
To make a squeaking sound by sucking air past the lips in order to gain the attention of a dog or child.
11. Gigil (Filipino)
The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is irresistibly cute.
12. Yuputka (Ulwa)
A word made for walking in the woods at night, it’s the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.
13. Zhaghzhagh (Persian)
The chattering of teeth from the cold or from rage.
14. Vybafnout (Czech)
A word tailor-made for annoying older brothers—it means to jump out and say boo.
15. Fremdschämen (German); Myötähäpeä (Finnish)
The kinder, gentler cousins of Schadenfreude, both these words mean something akin to “vicarious embarrassment.”
16. Lagom (Swedish)
Maybe Goldilocks was Swedish? This slippery little word is hard to define, but means something like, “Not too much, and not too little, but juuuuust right.”
Here’s my silkworm sandwich.
17. Pålegg (Norwegian)
Sandwich Artists unite! The Norwegians have a non-specific descriptor for anything – ham, cheese, jam, Nutella, mustard, herring, pickles, Doritos, you name it – you might consider putting into a sandwich.
18. Layogenic (Tagalog)
Remember in Clueless when Cher describes someone as “a full-on Monet … from far away, it’s OK, but up close it’s a big old mess”? That’s exactly what this word means.
19. Bakku-shan (Japanese)
Or there’s this Japanese slang term, which describes the experience of seeing a woman who appears pretty from behind but not from the front.
20. Seigneur-terraces (French)
Coffee shop dwellers who sit at tables a long time but spend little money.
21. Ya’arburnee (Arabic)
This word is the hopeful declaration that you will die before someone you love deeply, because you cannot stand to live without them. Literally, may you bury me.
22. Pana Po’o (Hawaiian)
“Hmm, now where did I leave those keys?” he said, pana po’oing. It means to scratch your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten.
23. Slampadato (Italian)
Addicted to the UV glow of tanning salons? This word describes you.
24. Zeg (Georgian)
It means “the day after tomorrow.” OK, we do have “overmorrow” in English, but when was the last time someone used that?
25. Cafune (Brazilian Portuguese)
Leave it to the Brazilians to come up with a word for “tenderly running your fingers through your lover’s hair.”
26. Koi No Yokan (Japanese)
The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall in love.
27. Kaelling (Danish)
You know that woman who stands on her doorstep (or in line at the supermarket, or at the park, or in a restaurant) cursing at her children? The Danes know her, too.
28. Boketto (Japanese)
It’s nice to know that the Japanese think enough of the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking to give it a name.
29. L’esprit de l’escalier (French)
Literally, stairwell wit—a too-late retort thought of only after departure.
30. Cotisuelto (Caribbean Spanish)
A word that would aptly describe the prevailing fashion trend among American men under 40, it means one who wears the shirt tail outside of his trousers.
31. Packesel (German)
The packesel is the person who’s stuck carrying everyone else’s bags on a trip. Literally, a burro.
32. Hygge (Danish)
Denmark’s mantra, hygge is the pleasant, genial, and intimate feeling associated with sitting around a fire in the winter with close friends.
33. Cavoli Riscaldati (Italian)
The result of attempting to revive an unworkable relationship. Translates to “reheated cabbage.”
34. Bilita Mpash (Bantu)
An amazing dream. Not just a “good” dream; the opposite of a nightmare.
35. Litost (Czech)
Milan Kundera described the emotion as “a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.”
36. Luftmensch (Yiddish)
There are several Yiddish words to describe social misfits. This one is for an impractical dreamer with no business sense.
37 & 38. Schlemiel and schlimazel (Yiddish)
Someone prone to bad luck. Yiddish distinguishes between the schlemiel and schlimazel, whose fates would probably be grouped under those of the klutz in other languages. The schlemiel is the traditional maladroit, who spills his coffee; the schlimazel is the one on whom it’s spilled.
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”
― Ernest Hemingway
Reluctantly crouched at the starting line,
Engines pumping and thumping in time.
The green light flashes, the flags go up.
Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup.
They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank,
Fuel burning fast on an empty tank.
Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns.
Their prowess is potent and secretly stern.
As they speed through the finish, the flags go down.
The fans get up and they get out of town.
The arena is empty except for one man,
Still driving and striving as fast as he can.
The sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
And long ago somebody left with the cup.
But he’s driving and striving and hugging the turns.
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns.
—-Cake, The Distance
Bicycle Drag Race, Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge (Large Marge), Dallas, Texas
Oblique Strategy:It is quite possible (after all)
I was sitting at a bar, I had a few minutes to kill before my meeting, drinking a cup of coffee. This was in the cold, dark, heart of urban hipsterdom. There were two millennial women sitting near me, talking with the bartender/barista loud enough and close enough I could hear clearly.
They were discussing “old people.” I could have interrupted and said something, but I did not – they were enjoying themselves too much.
What I could have said was, “You know that old man you see every day shuffling down the sidewalk, using a cane to keep from falling into the street, head bowed, moving with incredible difficulty as if he was walking through a sea of invisible molasses. You see him and wonder where he is going, why he is using such energy for so little purpose; you wonder why he even bothers to get out of bed – that is if you think of him at all.
Now you see that sixteen year old boy shooting hoops, jumping high, not a care in the world.
Remember, they are the same people. Those are simply two points on one line. In his head, the old man is still the sixteen year old boy. It’s hard to understand, hard to believe, impossible for you to comprehend, but undoubtedly true.”
Cause he’s going the distance.
He’s going for speed.
She’s all alone
In her time of need.
—-Cake, The Distance
“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
(click to enlarge) Frank Campagna mural, Hickory Street, Dallas, Texas
I took the above photo(s) during the last Hidden Art Bicycle Tour. The mural is along Hickory Street, between The Cedars and Fair Park. Frank Campagna painted it – he has done a series of murals in this spot. It’s always sad to see an old one go – but that’s the transient nature of murals – they come and then they go.
Obviously, I took two shots, one with cyclists, one without – and layered them in Photoshop.
“My kids are starting to notice I’m a little different from the other dads. “Why don’t you have a straight job like everyone else?” they asked me the other day.
I told them this story:
In the forest, there was a crooked tree and a straight tree. Every day, the straight tree would say to the crooked tree, “Look at me…I’m tall, and I’m straight, and I’m handsome. Look at you…you’re all crooked and bent over. No one wants to look at you.” And they grew up in that forest together. And then one day the loggers came, and they saw the crooked tree and the straight tree, and they said, “Just cut the straight trees and leave the rest.” So the loggers turned all the straight trees into lumber and toothpicks and paper. And the crooked tree is still there, growing stronger and stranger every day.”
― Tom Waits
The imposing facade of the St. Vincent’s Guest House, facing Magazine Street in New Orleans. I had to move around a bunch of film crews and trucks to get this – they were shooting scenes for Treme. The St. Vincent must be a popular location – they did scenes for Red (the Bruce Willis film) there – now I’ll have to watch the damn thing.
Napflix is a video platform where you can find the most silent and sleepy content selection to relax your brain and easily fall asleep.
Taking siesta to the next level.
While viewing Napflix I discovered a game of Pétanque. It wasn’t very exciting, but I found it interesting. Now, I find there is a Dallas Pétanque Club. Now I feel an urge to visit them someday and see a game.
These rabbit holes are so easy to fall into.
And now that we have Napflix – in Spain there is a bar dedicated to the art of the nap.
50 (Big and Little) Things It’s Finally Time to Get Rid of
Your new decluttering motto: #ruthless.
Texas liquor agency rebuked after investigation of Spec’s
The special evil of a regulatory bureaucracy.
The Universe Itself May Be Unnatural
KAFKA’S JOKE BOOK
Why did the chicken cross the road?
It had been crossing so long it could not remember. As it stopped in the middle to look back, a car sped by, spinning it around. Disoriented, the chicken realized it could no longer tell which way it was going. It stands there still.
Oh the irony of driving cars to ride bikes
10 Bike Lanes So Depressingly Crappy They’re Almost Funny
I’ve seen some that could make this list.
This photo, however, is a pretty nice pair of lanes, though they tend to get covered with broken glass.
Bicycle Lanes on the Jefferson Viaduct from Oak Cliff into downtown, Dallas.
The city I live in has done a good job of putting in useful, dedicated lanes.
Many think the ultimate enemy of the bicycle is the car, but the reason cars are so dangerous is simply the false perception that our streets and roads are made for driving and nothing else. It is the complete dismissal, whether conscious or unconscious, of any other practical way of getting around. It is the lack of understanding that cars are one of many forms of transit, albeit by far the most popular one. It is the lack of respect for bikes as a viable vehicle for traveling to where you need to go.
Seeing bikes as transit machines, like cars only slower, is an important mental hurdle for non-cyclists to overcome. It is no different than choosing a pickup over a sedan, a sub-compact versus an SUV, or a luxury car over a coupe. It is simply another way to get from point A to point B, with advantages and disadvantages. The sooner we all accept this fact, the sooner we will begin to open our eyes to a multitude of transit options for our cities that truly benefit everyone.
When drawing a street on a plan, you start with a centerline and offset it on two sides. It is quite literally a line connecting two places with a certain width. This width is almost always determined by an engineer who is trying to match an algorithm for how many lanes are needed for the cars that will drive down this street, and how many utilities will need to comfortably fit here. Instead, we should think about streets and all their various uses—as places for gathering, finding our way, living more healthfully, with nature, and with each other… and build from there.
For portrait photographer Robert Kalman, the art form is all about people. He has traveled across continents to document people in their environments – whether the streets of New York and Paris or rural villages in Central America. And one timeless Nicaraguan village has, over the years, continued to draw him back.
Since his first trip to Larreynaga, Kalman has returned at least five times to document the lives of villagers there.
Right now, I am really enjoying the new Twin Peaks on Showtime. I am a huge fan of David Lynch – but if you say you hate everything he has done, I can’t argue with you.
It’s not easy to rank every Lynch movie, not least of all because of the director’s cult status. Lynch fans aren’t playing around, and debates can get heated (especially when it comes to Dune or Fire Walk With Me). And then there’s the fact that every movie is so jaw-droppingly different. There are certainly recurring “Lynchian” elements, which David Foster Wallace defined as “a particular kind of irony where the very macabre and the very mundane combine in such a way as to reveal the former’s perpetual containment within the latter.” More obviously, there are certain visuals you look for when watching a Lynch movie: red lips, a hallway, long red curtains, a highway at night, a stage lit by a single light. Then there’s that feeling that comes with certain Lynch movies—and lingers; that unshakable dread of being in someone else’s dream (or nightmare).
Downtown Dallas, Texas
I worked downtown in the early 80’s and one of my favorite things was watching the skyscrapers go up. I was surprised at how different the construction methods were for different buildings.
“The new Amli tower is significant because it will create a true mixed-use environment at the highest level,” said Johnny Johnson with Cushman & Wakefield, which markets the Fountain Place offices to tenants. “The energy sparked by the pedestrian experience will enhance the complex and everything that surrounds it.
“It will make Fountain Place an even more desirable place to be.”
Reflecting Pool, Arts District, Dallas, Texas (Click To Enlarge)
Hall has spearheaded a new endeavor titled “Through the Lens: Dallas Arts District.” It’s a call to action for “professional photographers, emerging photographers, mid-career photographers and students” to start snapping their shutters. The goal is to create a body of work that captures “a glimpse of the life and vibrancy that defines the Dallas Arts District,” whose 20 square blocks will become the photographers’ tableau.
Bethan, Patio Sessions, Arts District, Dallas, Texas
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle