Saturday Assorted Links

1. How to lose 60 pounds in three months.

2. Cities are transforming as electric bike sales skyrocket.

“Bicycles are the ideal mode of transportation as cities emerge from quarantine, made even more appealing now that summer is approaching in the US and Europe. They’re fast, comfortable, convenient, and allow you to socially distance while being active. When paired with an electric motor, e-bikes can make even long commutes a relaxing and sweat-free experience. They also help maintain the dramatic air quality improvements seen in cities around the world since coronavirus confinements began.

In some US cities, multilane roads and car parking can take up 50 to 60 percent of all real estate. In addition to robbing residents of parks and other open areas, it makes social distancing on congested sidewalks nearly impossible. What better time to rethink transportation models and reclaim space allocated to CO2-belching vehicles from a bygone age? If not now, when?”

3. The man feeding a remote Alaska town with a Costco card and a ship.

“When the barge pulled into Gustavus on a recent Wednesday, it was cause for celebration.

‘It’s like Christmas when the load gets here,’ says Parker. ‘Everyone is waiting for it. Word gets out, and they all seem to know when it’s coming.'”

Too bad Millennials are so soft.

4. Meet the “hot-tub monks” of California.

“. . . you withdraw from the world to return better equipped to live in it.”

Teen Disqualified From Swim Meet Victory

After referee deemed her “suit wedgie” inappropriate. Please note I demoted the second half of the headline to the body to avoid it turning into mindless click bait. Just one more example of PressingPause’s journalistic integrity.

From the Buzzfeed article:

“South High coach Cliff Murray, a longtime swim coach, said at the beginning of the season that Anchorage high school coaches were told ‘that as far as the buttocks region goes, you should not be showing any part of the intergluteal cleft.'”

And yet:

“There is no reference to the intergluteal cleft in the national rulebook.”

Not quite sure what it means, but “intergluteal cleft” is my fav sports rulebook phrase of all time.

Politics Stream of Consciousness

• Just like her opponent, Senator Murkowski from Alaska says she wants to reduce spending and reduce the national debt. And then in the same breath she says she will work hard to maintain all of Alaska’s federal funding because one-third of Alaskans’ jobs depend upon it. And she might win as a write-in candidate. So what she meant is she wants to reduce federal spending in the other forty nine states.

• Newsflash, President Obama is ordinary. The problem of course is that he was an extraordinary campaigner. ARod isn’t supposed to hit .255, Tiger isn’t supposed to be a Ryder Cup captain’s pick, and Meryl Streep isn’t supposed to make bad movies. He’s a victim of unrealistic expectations. I’m cautiously optimistic that he makes the necessary adjustments and steadily improves throughout years three and four.

• In a recent Washington State Senate debate Dino Rossi and Patty Murray were both asked two times if they would raise the minimum age for full social security benefits. Neither answered. Four non-responses. Are any politicians willing to tell constituents what they need to hear and not just what they want to? Why couldn’t Rossi or Murray say what’s so painfully obvious, “Yes, for the well-to-do at least, we’re probably going to have to raise the minimum age for full social security benefits again. More generally, we have to make serious changes to our entitlement programs to have any hope of balancing the budget and reducing the national debt.” I’m sure their non-responses are based upon political science research. By desiring honest, straightforward, specific, succinct answers, guess I’m in the minority.

• Juan Williams has been fired by NPR for comments made on Bill O’Reilly’s show. I met him once in Kyoto, Japan. I agree 100% with this commentary on his firing. As the Quakers say, “That Friend speaks my mind.”

• Get a load of French high schoolers. When I taught high school I struggled to get my students to think beyond Friday night’s game and dance. In contrast, these adolescents are protesting something over forty years down the road, having to work to 62 instead of 60. Talk about long-term thinking. Guess they anticipate hating whatever they’ll end up doing for a living and maybe they already have detailed plans for when they’re 60 and 61.

• Favorite campaign development. . . multimillionaire candidates spending tens or hundreds (in the case of Meg Whitman) of their own millions and still looking like they’ll lose.