I'm nothing if not goal-oriented. Today's 35.4-mile bike ride completes a successful cycling year for me. I had three goals back on 1 January 2015. The primary goal was to exceed my 2014 mileage total of 4,366.6 miles. The secondary goal was to exceed 4,706.9 miles, which would make 2015 my second-best mileage year ever (in 35 years of cycling). The tertiary goal, which I set for myself after I achieved my secondary goal a month or so ago, was to reach the 4,900-mile mark for the year. Today's ride gives me 4,903.6 miles. Missions accomplished!
I rode my bike 153 times this year (in 365 days), which is an average of 32.04 miles per ride. My best month was July, when I rode 16 times, and my worst was February, when I rode nine times. I rode in every type of weather, from bitter cold to oppressive heat, in torrential rain and in gale-force wind. Nothing kept me from my appointed rounds. (Sorry.) To put my year in perspective, consider this. The mileage from San Diego to Charleston, South Carolina, is 2,446, so you can say that I rode from San Diego to Charleston and back this year. Assuming that I averaged 16.5 miles per hour, I was on the bike for 297.1 hours this year. That's an average of 48.8 minutes per day. I have now pedaled 84,461.1 miles in my lifetime. It may sound silly, but I have a love affair with my bike. As soon as I complete one ride, I start thinking about the next.
My first ride of 2016 will be Saturday, 2 January. I have three goals for 2016. The primary goal is to exceed this year's total of 4,903.6 miles, which will make 2016 my second-best mileage year ever. (My best year was 1990, when I rode 6,205.9 miles.) The secondary goal is to reach 5,000 miles, which is a nice round number. The tertiary goal is to reach 5,353.7 miles, which is 157 rides of 34.1 miles. (My standard ride is 34.1 miles.) Wish me luck! I ride, therefore I am.
Addendum: It was bobcat city on the trail today. The image in this post (click to enlarge) shows three adult bobcats in leisure mode. I had already ridden past them when I stopped to snap this picture. I wouldn't say that they're tame, but they've lost whatever fear of humans they once had.
Re “The Curious Comeback of Cassettes” (Op-Ed, Dec. 24):
In questioning why on earth the cassette has made a comeback, Rosecrans Baldwin maligns the cassette as a medium for recorded music, pointing to its generally inferior sound quality and penchant for physical deterioration. He laments how annoying it is to have to fast-forward to find the song you want at just the right moment and supposes its newfound popularity is due more to nostalgia than to any practical concerns.
Basically, he points out exactly all the reasons we still need the cassette. The cassette does not lend itself to on-demand listening. And when you play a cassette, you do not listen to only half a song before nonchalantly skipping to the next track. The cassette is for people with an attention span, people who are generous enough to let an artist curate a whole half-hour of listening, or in the case of a mixtape, between 60 and 120 minutes.
The cassette is a reaction against our attention-deficient, on-demand, fast-forward-through-life, listen-to-only-half-a-song culture. Digital-only recorded music has helped devalue the song and especially the album as art forms. People who want to own a cassette in 2015 recognize this and reject these disposable aspects of our culture.
Note from KBJ: The cassette is for morons. We got rid of it for a reason.
McManus' column on Obama's low approval rating and its impact on the 2016 election omits one key fact: The president probably loses at least five percentage points because he is African American.
In what is supposedly a post-racial era, I have seen blacks regularly denied taxicabs, heard white landlords repeatedly complain about their black tenants, and in one disturbing incident, had a white colleague complain about the language skills of an African American hire I made—a gentleman who holds a master's in business from UCLA. That was just a couple of years ago.
And of course, the number of stories in recent years about police shootings and school suspensions against people and students of color reinforces the fact that prejudice in this country remains widespread.
I have yet to see journalists or pundits discuss whether Obama's racial background contributes to what has been an approval rating that is quite low given the performance of the economy and his overall accomplishments. It is time to stop avoiding this issue.
Ron Shinkman, Sherman Oaks
Note from KBJ: For every vote Barack Obama lost because of his skin color, two votes were gained. Almost every black person voted for him, as did a great many guilt-ridden whites. Let's put it this way: Obama is president only because of the color of his skin. He's our first affirmative-action president.
Bill Clinton has gotten a pass from feminists on his abusive, predatory behavior toward women, all of which was enabled (and in some cases facilitated) by his wife Hillary, who did everything in her power (which was considerable) to destroy the women who complained or brought charges. No more. It looks like we're going to have a full airing of his criminal conduct and her complicity in it. I notice that CNN is already protecting Bill by referring to his actions as "infidelity" and "philandering." That's not what this is about. It's about rape, harassment, sexual assault, coercion, and exploitation on Bill's part and character assassination on Hillary's part. Stay tuned. This is going to get interesting. Thank God for Donald Trump.
I genuinely appreciate the L.A. auxiliary bishop's reminder of the subversive nature of the Christmas story. And in that spirit, I'll quote the bishop and hope that everyone had “a subversive little Christmas.”
I'd also like to remind everyone of subversive Catholic groups like Roman Catholic Womenpriests (whose name says it all) and DignityUSA, which speaks for many lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Catholics.
The people these groups represent often find there's no room at the inn for them, but hopefully Catholic authorities will remember the subversive story of Jesus in the new year.
Roel Hinojosa, Los Angeles
Note from KBJ: The Church's position on these people is clear: They have an "objectively disordered" condition and are to be pitied. They are not to act on their perverted desires. See here, paragraphs 2357 to 2359.