Monthly Archives: May 2006

James and the Rule of Mediocrity

My P.E. coach in 6th grade had this astounding lecture,

“If our fathers and grandfathers settled for mediocrity there would be a swastika on the roof of that gym. Instead of this (hand over heart) you would be doing this (Nazi salute).

I remember him pointing at the wide steel roof that glared the end of the school year sun on us as we itched in the grass, and he scratched his balls.
Coach said a lot more than that, but all I remember is him cocked towards us like he was in the wind up of a pitch, which I suppose he was- and pointing, his index finger bent towards the sky, the spit –stained brim of his ball cap pulled tight down over his eyes.

A veteran of the Vietnam war, he would then inventory his distinctions from the mediocre, the average, the lazy.

“I’ve got a steel plate in my head right here”.

The taut index finger would vibrate away from us and land on his right temple. “Four surgeries to repair this knee”, the finger would pivot over to the left knee.

“Mediocre never would have got me home”.

None of us doubted that Coach was tough, hell, he worked us like prisoners in a Red Army work camp. There was hardly a boy in that class who couldn’t run a sub six minute mile at 12 years old, or do 1200 jump ropes on command. Knowing that he had to let us get on to our next classes; pre-algebra, shop, band, whatever-was the only thing that kept many of us from jumping the fence and running for home, and he was winding up now.

“So who here wants to be mediocre?”

James, who maybe hadn’t been listening, or truly didn’t understand the question, or the more obvious yet unthinkable option- he understood the question quite clearly, cautiously raised his hand.

We look at him like the dead little boy he was. Coach Downs summoned him to the front and catching his shoulder in a vulcan pinch walked James to the fence line and said one word,


For all I know, James is still running for that infraction, that honest response that, OK, mediocre was fine with him if it came right down to it.

Did James know why he was running, or did he just not care?



5 days in quarantine is not such a bad thing. You watch the world go by like a fish in a tank.

Losing a long weekend is an especially painful price to pay.

I’m sneaking out for a little solo test this morning.

I feel good, but I’m not ready to let anybody know that yet.

maybe I took a wrong turn and ended up in fast town?

On your marks-


Clydesdale Hall of Fame

Desmond Dekker- King of Ska-R.I.P.

Ska music pioneer, Desmond Dekker, is hereby nominated to the Clydesdale Hall of Fame for his giant contribution to the 10th Avenue wardrobe. If Mr. Dekker had not created the funky, pre-reggae, ska sound many of the 10th Ave boys would be absolutely shirtless, forced to display their gleaming white torsos to the world. Without Desmond Dekker there would be no Toasters, no Specials, no Slackers, no Sublime, and poor Rudy would never have known when, or where, to run.

Ska music remains the soundtrack of the intelligent drop-out, the anarchist, the individualists. It is what they play at counter-culture recess. Ska music is white boys with black Chuck Taylors doing the Peanuts dance on a packed and sweltering beer-slick dance floor. I raise a pint to all of the skaheads today, who have said goodbye to an icon.

Skankin’ but not skanky-


These are not Black Panthers, and never will be.

Just because S’quatch and I saw three Otter loping through the trees at Lake Overstreet does not in any way diminish my report of a Black Panther (or jaguarundi) 3 miles south along “Panther” creek. I will be the first to admit, otter (otters?) are cute, but what Hambone and I saw was sleek, fierce even, and not cute.

I just wanted to clear that up before anybody starts putting two and two together and coming up with six.

Big Worm is laboriously translating a request from some backwater “bloke” in England. His site reads like a parrallel universe to 10th Ave. He’s at and he calls it “Fat Lad Rides Again”. Congratulations Fat Lad, I’m not one to pass out kudos, or “chippies” either, whatever they are. At least “pints” translates well.

Tonight: Fish Slap- I’m excused due to Ebola virus. The rest of you? No excuses.

I will be hosting a gathering a bright minds tonight, and I’m really looking forward to it. If you RSVP’d I appreciate it and the event is on. The Pedal Viking Marauders Club is in session at 8:00 P:M.

Hilarity shall ensue.

-With love,


Nothing Like Family

This weekend, at the 54th Annual Florida Folk Festival, we are going to crank up the family band and have a good time. Last year, the clan came from all over to join the fun. San Diego, Avon Park, you know, all over.

Last year the festival added a beer tent and after the display that went on, what with my cousin B’ conking out and rolling up in a strange man’s blanket, followed by the subsequent abuse necessary to get him up and moving again, well- I wouldn’t be surprised if they decide to just pass on that beer tent for the next 50 years or so. Speaking of things that won’t be back, Emmylou Harris is probably done with us too after this same cousin finally came around in time to bellow “Who in the fuck is Amy Lou Harris?” just as she approached the mic for her first song in front of a crowd of thousands.

My Uncle Jay, he’s a pilot, and plans on flying into the festival this year. By “fly into” let’s hope he means- ah hell, that joke is just to easy to bother with don’t you think?

Last year we rode the “Bridge to Bridge” trail along the Suwanee river and I did the whole thing blind on account of I got military strength DEET in my eyes and S’quatch just kept ignoring me or saying things like, “so your eyes are really burning then?” or “On a scale of 1-10 exactly how bad do they burn?” as though the screaming and clawing didn’t make that clear enough.

At least when the family band finally took the stage they played to a packed house. To a stranger they must have seemed like a pretty big deal, not knowing we was all related.

Stick around long enough and they will figure out how you’re related to us too. It’s not that we don’t like strangers, we just prefer family.


Blogger Down!

I have posted a dapper Asian? guard at the door and retreated to the panic room due to travel-related illness. My lackadaisical immune system was caught napping by the Hantavirus, or maybe the Avian flu, since it’s so en vogue these days.

Here is a schedule of coming events-

Big Worm Goes International

54th Annual Florida Folk Festival…bugs, heat, music, and sand in your drawers.
Go to the May ’05 Archives to read how it went down last year. I would link it but I don’t know how.

Updates on the progress towards building Tallahassee’s first official Off Road Cycling Club
(to be named the Pedal Viking Marauders Club if I have anything to say about it).

A vicious diatribe against people who use the terms “think outside the box” and “I’m going to piggyback on that and say…” as well as people who confuse “definitely, defiantly, and definitively”.

A self-loathing essay about middle class sport enthusiasts and how we are not special, or chosen, (unless you’re jewish of course).

And if you are still around after all that, then I don’t know what to say, but thanks.

(tennis ball neck)

Juancho’s Smoked Fish Dip

By request I have been asked to offer a smoked fish dip recipe, and for those not in the know, Juancho can cook better than your moms. I can’t help but notice that fish have been making a very regular appearance in the Big Ring Circus imagery. I’m Not sure what that means. This is Florida. Fish have been an important symbol to humankind for thousands of years. Christian, Pagan, and Secular Humanist alike can appreciate the notion of being fed from the sea.

Especially if you put some cream cheese in there too.

1 lb smoked fish, preferably mullet
1lb cream cheese, preferably not non-fat
1/2 cup of Dukes’ mayonnaise
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 TBLSP Crystal hot sauce (or your favorite)
pinch of salt

capers, extra shallots, chopped parsley.

Whip above ingredients in food processor or by hand with a fork until cheese and fish have become one. No random chucks of either are acceptable. Paste, that’s what you want.

Serve on plate, garnish liberally with capers, coarsely chopped shallots, and chopped parsley.

Oh, cold beer and ice tea.


Serve with Saltines

Back in the saddle

Thanks S’quatch for getting me out there yesterday, four days off the bike can be an eternity at times. So what have I missed? Is Munson now a parking lot? Did Scotty bring a fish to the race? Was Tallahassee relocated to the equator? It was still Spring when I left last Tuesday.

I’m at a loss here this morning. Folk Fest coming up. Airport stories. Review of Portland. Ride Report. Nothing is blowing my skirt up.

Any Requests?



This ought to shake you up a bit.

I missed the Blessing of the Bikes last month due to work travel but,…

Sunday morning down at the Trailhead at Forest Meadows I went into the clubhouse to get some cold water. A lovely, smiling dark-skinned angel was working behind the counter and we chatted. My brother and I, sweating in our superhero clothes and she, relaxed and beautiful in t-shirt and jeans. We talked about the weather, and the baritone horn, and as we were parting ways she said, “God Bless You”. It caught me off guard, but she was so kind and sincere I answered back, “God bless you too”. It felt right.

On the way home I ran over a laminated card lying in the middle of the highway, I doubled back to grab it. What was it? A commemorative card from the blessing of the bikes.

I know, like whoa! right?


Great Peacemakers of Our Time

The following is just one example of the visionary leadership we enjoy in Tallahassee. This appeared in response to a variety of disgruntled missives concerning the legality of cyclocross bikes competing against MTbikes in “The Slap”.

Fellow mountain bike riders – it is rumored that i am being a bit ofputz with regard to my insistance that only mountain bikes be allowedto race at the mountain bike race i put on every thursday evening over in crack town.
okay okay – perhaps i am being a bit too harsh with ALL my rules and regulations….

that said, i concede the following:cross bike riders who wish to ride with mtb riders may do so, but only under the following conditions:
all aforementioned competitors must wear speedo swim trunks and carrya sand-filled back pack weighing precisely 2 stone.that is, unless, where it does state in article 5, subsection 31,paragraph 3 of the bylaws – that any xcross rider wishing to ride with the mtb bikes in the points race MAY compete on equal terms IF that person can recite at least one stanza of any love poem written by the russian author, who’s daughter inspired another russian author to write perhaps one of the greatest romance novels ever either of the authors in question and you can wear normalshorts. recite an entire poem by this author and i’ll wash your car.

If that isn’t fair than I can’t help you. Thanks for the clarity boss.