Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Of bicycles, councilmen and the smothering mediocrity that tickles the nostrils of those who say "we can't."

My old friend Edward recently rejoined the ranks of avid bicyclers, and accordingly, he has taken the lead in establishing a blog: New Albany Bicycle Coalition.

This blog is not intended to supplant existing Louisville area bicycling clubs and resources, but to provide a locally tailored Internet site for New Albany’s hardy “beercyclers” to meet and discuss our hobby, trade information and plan future trips.

Read Ed’s posting about the bicycle committee in the town of Woodside, California.

We’re permitted to dream, right?

Until then, it’s back to dodging monster trucks, untied dogs and councilmen who haven’t exercised a lick since knee pants were on special at the White House.

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On Tuesday, I rode my bicycle downtown to the City-County Building to do brief business with the county treasurer. This accomplished, I exited the main entrance and strode left toward the steps facing Spring Street, where I’d left the bike chained to the handrails.

Coincidentally passing in front of me -- apparently having departed the building on its north side -- was Councilman Larry Kochert. He looked at me from the corner of his eye and walked straight ahead, descended the steps, glanced at my bike, and emitted an audible snort of derision.

I laughed out loud … and went for a ride.

Now, it will surprise many readers to learn that I don’t begrudge the fossilized councilman his territorial pissing. He’s typical of more than one generation for whom the open-source tenets of contemporary life are harbingers of confusion and consternation.

Really -- you’ve no better chance of teaching Larry Kochert about the realities of the creative class than training the pub cat to recite Shakespeare's sonnets in Urdu, and of course the only reason any of it matters is that people like him continue to wield influence entirely disproportionate to their capabilities.

CM Kochert’s been in office for what, a thousand years?

And accomplished … uh, what?

Slumlords still swarm like maggots over the shards of the inner city, which has been unofficially designated as a dumping ground for anything and everything our neighboring municipalities don’t want to deal with. CM Kochert worries that bringing them to heel might cost votes.

His Democratic Party hangs on to its traditional hegemony by numbing force of habit, still managing to win elections in the city but steadily losing ground in the county, as its elders continue to mouth vapid platitudes as though allergic to the articulation of principle … and when finally a bright, youthful cadre comes on the scene, it is sniped at by the retirement-age underachievers who’ve done so very little on their decades-long watch.

Through it all, CM Kochert’s been right there, but can anyone point to a single piece of meaningful legislation that he’s proposed … any instance of genuine leadership during those long years of serviceable posturing?

Mind you, by “leadership” I’m not speaking of the ability to calculate figures on a spreadsheet, serve on multiple boards, dress up like Santa at Christmas, hold elections in your garage or be a good Union Man.

Leadership? As the motivational speaker once observed, it is the challenge to be something more than average.

Need I say more?

13 comments:

Debbie H. said...

Hey, my husband and I like to bicycle too. Our daily max has been about 50 miles though.

Over the past few summers, we have been riding with a few college friends on Sunday mornings. It's just a bunch of guys and me. I set the pace and they try to keep up. :)

The others in the group are fairly conservative in their politics and we have discovered there is nothing better than going for a long ride and debating (okay, arguing) about politics.

It would be cool to add some fresh views to the debates. Perhaps you could join us sometime. I bet it would be interesting.

Then you could post your version of the events on your blog and I could post mine and readers would have to judge for themselves which version was closest to the truth. :)

Jeff Gillenwater said...

Now seems like a good time to announce that I bought a bike.

barenada said...

There's a pub cat?

edward parish said...

Debbie and others, please come visit us at our http://nabc.blogspot.com we would like very much to here about your rides and anything else you wish to add.

Cheers all

Ann said...

I had to laugh out loud . . ."councilmen who haven't exercised a lick since knee pants were on special at the White House."

What a funny mental image!

Debbie H. said...

Oh, thanks for mentioning The White House Annie. In my enthusiasm about bicycling I forgot I wanted to comment on that too.

I used to work there, right after graduating highschool. Remember those metal cylinders the clerks stuffed up the vacuum tubes for change? I was at the other end, trying to put my math skills to work figuring out the change and then I had to remember to put the cylinder back in the right tube. Sometimes I made a mistake and change for a woman's lingerie purchase went down to men's socks.

I also subbed at lunchtime for the lady who operated the elevator. Now that was a tough job. You had to learn to stop it at just the right place, or else you'd have old ladies tripping all over the place.

It shut down about 9 mos. after I started. I don't think I had anything to do with that. :) But I do have one of those change cylinders as a souveneir. Hmm, wonder if that's worth anything?

DICK STEWART said...

vmcrptmM KOCHERT WALKS EVERY DAY WITH ME APPROX 3 MILES. SO YOU MUST BE A LIAR AS YOU ONCED CALLED ME. PLEASE ANSWER THE QUESTION ABOUT THE BRIGHT,YOUTHFUL PEOPLE YOU REFER TO. I KNOW YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF THE SMARTEST PERSON IN NA, OR POSSIBLY ALL OF IND. BUT I SERIOUSLY DON T THINK YOU COULD GET 10 VOTES IN THIS TOWN. YOUR WORD GAME IS STILL FUN THOUGH.

Iamhoosier said...

Let's see, 10 votes. Let me put my political science degree to work here.

Lower the price of pints and I think Roger could blow the top off of 10 votes. I'll check with Erik and see if he confirms my hypothesis.

PS Do you know that typing in CAPS is considered shouting and therefore not polite?

The New Albanian said...

Yes, Dick knows he's yelling, but it's just one of those "rules" he chooses not to play by.

I am delighted that CM Kochert walks three miles a day. That he does so alongside Dick explains quite a lot, doesn't it?

I can see them strolling down the street, SCREAMING AT EACH OTHER.

The New Albanian said...

BTW, Barenada caught the "pub cat" reference, but alas, there isn't one.

Highwayman said...

Okay! Go ahead and color me in out there somewhere beyond the realms of reality, but I would still like to think that a person who chooses to represent the people would take the initiative to at the very least exchange a word with one he/she might meet on the street!

Who knows? He/she may be able to shed some light on a pending issue or learn anothers veiw by doing so.

To not even attempt to do so is not only obtuse, it is rude beyond measure.

It is also indicative of the rot that permeates the system.

To site the example mentioned in this posting, all I can say is "Shame on you Mr. Kochert!"

Tim Deatrick said...

Hey Roger maybe to save money the obstructionist elements of the council will sponsor an ordinance requring the NA police to patrol on bicycles, plus it solves the issue of take home cars

Brandon W. Smith said...

Look to the LEFT side of your keyboard...just above the SHIFT key... it's called CAPSLOCK. IT MAKES YOU TYPE IN ALL CAPS JUST LIKE HOLDING DOWN THE SHIFT KEY.

It will either turn your caps off, or it will make it easier to yell. Knock yourself out!