The Transition Post

This is the first post on the new blog (here was the last post on the old blawg). I’ve been totally absent from blogging for the last two weeks or so because we were out of town. Like I said in the second to last post on the Alablawg, it was mostly for a wedding, but we got to do lots of other stuff, and, best of all (o.k., not really) we picked up the tandem. Here’s some thoughts about the trip, followed by some pics.

First, granted our mini-van is a dork-mobile, but I love that thing. I can not imagine a vehicle that would have made our 3,100 mile trip better. The space is outstanding. We packed: one large suitcase; one small suitcase; one carry-on bag; one book bag; two (2) pack ‘n plays; one large duffel bag; one double jogging stroller; one bag of miscellaneous stuff (food for trip, video camera, books to read in car); one medium sized box of baby food, diapers and similar stuff; one large diaper bag, and; two (2) babies in their car seats. Even with all of that in the van (not in a carrier on top or on the hitch) we could still comfortably seat four grown adults without feeling at all crowded or cluttered; we put all of that in there without having to remove, lower, or put anything on the rear seats. And when I looked in the rear view mirror, I could see right out the back window. The mileage was also great, a bit better than 25 mpg. Combined with the large gas tank, that meant we were going almost 600 miles between stops for gas. It also rides comfortably, is loaded with safety features, and is at the perfect height. No need to step up or down when getting into or out of it (or loading kids into it). You just slide right in. Now I know that if sometime during the trip some kind of disaster had forced us to navigate on dirt roads and over rock gardens I would have been wishing I had a Hummer, like all the cool people do. But right now, I’m thinking the forty five hundred bucks I spent on my used van was money well spent.

Second, I just don’t get Cracker Barrel. In fact, after three days of eating on the road, I was about ready to become a vegetarian. I guess that’s one big difference between being an adult and being a kid. Time was the idea of McWendyBurgerBell for three days straight would have had me as excited as wherever it was we were going. Now? Ugh, I’d sooner live on lettuce and rice cakes than eat another one of those slop covered pieces of cardboard they call a burger.

Third, we’ve only been in the flatlands for a month or so, but I really miss riding in the mountains. We were in Northeastern PA for part of the trip and I got two nice rides in. Each of them averaged about 1,000 ft of climbing for every ten miles. That’s tough, but what goes up must come down. And the country was beautiful. You’re either on rollers through farmland, or going down into cool hollows along streams, or snaking along up the mountain, or zipping down the other side. I don’t know what I liked best.

Fourth, we listened to Stephen King’s “The Cell” during the ride. Worst.Book.Ever. Note to Mr. King: No-one reads your books because you create powerful and memorable characters, or because you have some kind of special wisdom to dispense, or because you help us see the world in new ways; we read them (or listen to them) because you can tell a good story. So tell the dang story already. And finish it. Unanswered questions work in good fiction; they make stuff like yours worthless.

Fifth, we saw the Simpsons Movie while in PA. Funniest.Movie.Ever. Really, it was good. I was worried, as I am a huge Simpsons fan, that I would be disappointed. I had not looked forward to a movie this much since LOTR and the Matrix sequels. The Simpsons was not perfect, but my experience was much closer to LOTR than it was to The Sequels Which Never Happened.

Sixth, I tried to ignore the news, but one story really got me: The Mike Vick dog fighting thing. I don’t like Mike Vick. I think he is easily the most overrated athlete in all of professional sports. I don’t think any athlete since Derick Coleman has achieved less success with more talent. And I love dogs. I own a dog. My step brother used to have a pit bull. She was a wonderful dog, though her breed has been given a bad name by losers like Mike Vick. I think folks who fight dogs or abuse dogs are scum. I guess that’s why the story interests me.

All that said, though, I don’t think it ought to be a crime to have dog fights, and especially not a federal crime. How someone else treats their dog has no impact on me or any other person. It might hurt my feelings and it would certainly make me mad, but I don’t want to put folks in jail because I have negative emotions towards them. Sure, their dog suffers, but so did the cow I had for dinner last night. Suspending Vick from the NFL, or even permanently barring him would be fine, and I hope he loses every single one of his endorsement deals, but putting the guy in jail because he injured dogs seems – to me – extremely disproportional.

Alrighty, now the pics.

“You wanted to take a picture of me, right?”

Generally, that dog isn’t worth shooting. But she’s great with the kids, and they really like her.

Where’s your head, Omi?

In their new wagon.

“Hmm, keys, hmm.”

My mom used to carry me in this thing.

Mom and Malcolm at the beach.

This is Omi and I right before the wedding, where I’m explaining that she won’t have to worry about this kind of stuff because she’ll be living in a convent.

Finally, the tandem. It’s a 1985 Santana Arriva. I’ve spent the last couple of days tinkering with it, and it is just about road ready. This Sunday will probably be the first ride. I cannot wait.

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13 Comments on “The Transition Post”


  1. [...] New Blog Is Ready If anyone still cares, here it is. I’ve only got one post up so far, a summary of our two week trip to NJ and PA, with new baby pics, too, and also my thoughts on some [...]

  2. Danny Says:

    Welcome back! I’ve missed seeing you around in the blogosphere! I think of you and your family and hope that you are all doing well.

  3. Kathy Says:

    Yay! You’re back. I’ll blogroll you right now.

  4. Dan Says:

    Congrats. I’ll be sure to let my readers know.

  5. Joe Says:

    600 miles between gas stops? Please tell me yall didn’t have to pee in coffee cans because Wheeler wouldn’t stop until he needed gas.

    I would rather be killed suddenly like the cow you ate than lose a dog fight and then get set on fire and tossed aside to die, only to lie around till somebody finds me and be taken to then be taken to the Bessemer Animal Control facility, where I just lay suffering for over 24 hours before they take me to GBHS to be humanely euthanized.
    Read about this all over my blog

    In addition, as in Vick’s case, dog fighting is always tied to gangs, drugs, illegal firearms, child endangerment and prostitution. Yes I said always.

    And those cute dog in your pictures. They sometimes steal them to use in training their dogs to fight and kill.

    But Wheeler, welcome back to blogging!

  6. joy Says:

    are you kidding? cockfights, dogfights – they are horrific – have you read the details? it’s not just a matter of “how someone else treats their dogs” – it’s barbaric, cruel, and done purely for “entertainment” (and money – especially money). should definitely be a crime . remember jayson williams of the new jersey nets – killed his dog because his dog let a visitor touch him without being attacked by the dog? the mentality of these people – a crime, definitely. of what proportion, we can work that out. but to say aw shucks, that’s just the way some people are, is like saying some people burn their babies with cigarette butts – what the hell – it’s their business -

  7. JPW Says:

    Glad to have you back, Wheeler!

  8. Wheeler Says:

    hey folks, thanks for the comments. sorry they all got caught by the spam filter, though.

    danny,

    all is well.

    dan, kathy,

    thanks.

    joe,

    if it was up to me, there’d be no in between stops, go at the gas station or hold it is my rule. but even before the babies came along i was never in charge of rest stops.

    about the dogs, i know it’s horrible, but i just don’t want to put a human in prison because of something that human did to an animal.

    as for the tie to gangs and other activities, well, if the dog fighter commits other crimes, of course he ought to be arrested for those crimes.

    joy,

    again, i know it’s awful, but that something is barbaric does not necessarily mean it ought to be a crime. the barbarism must be so bad that it justifies not only the harsh consequences of criminal sanctions but also the resources you and i have to spend to implement those sanctions. criminal sanctions are justified in your illustration about the child abuse, for instance,
    because another human being – and a defenseless one – is being seriously harmed. when the victim is an animal, though, i think the balance is in favor of no criminal sanctions.

    that doesn’t mean i think there ought to be no repercussions. like i said, i hope vick loses his career over this. but i don’t think he ought to go to jail for it.

  9. Mark Says:

    Welcome back.

    On the dog fighting, I have to disagree. I don’t see why it should be legal to torture any animal, human or otherwise. But that’s a matter of opinion. Some people believe that the suffering of any animal other than a human is meaningless and others do not.

  10. Jon Says:

    I respectfully disagree on the dog fighting issue. Killing animals that are bred for food is one thing, and obviously that should be done as humanely as possible. However, torturing animals as described in the allegations against Vick and others certainly warrants jail time in my opinion. To see a picture of what one of these fighting dogs looks like, click here (be forewarned, it is not a pretty sight):

    http://journalismisforrockstars.wordpress.com/2007/05/31/michael-vick-to-be-indicted-on-dog-fighting-charges/

    On a similar note, should the kids who doused a neighbor’s dog with gasoline and set it on fire a few years ago in Huntsville not have been punished? (I actually don’t know what happened to them, although the police were involved).

  11. wheeler Says:

    jon,

    1) the distinction between animals breed for food and dogs is not absolute. consider into which category – food or other – china or india would put dogs and cows. my point is that our love and respect for dogs (as opposed to cows) does not mean that a dog is somehow inherently different or more worthy than a cow. so i don’t want to send someone to jail because they have different feelings about dogs than i do.

    2) also, animals breed for food are NOT turned into food as humanely as possible. they are turned into food as efficiently as possible.

    3) the huntsville case is distinguishable from vick’s because the dog/victim belonged to another person. at the least, respect for property rights demanded punishment.

  12. Jon Says:

    1. I’m not saying there is a difference between a dog, a cow, a parrot, a whatever. I was drawing a distinction between killing an animal for food (to my knowledge Vick was not eating these animals) and torturing it to death. They are not the same thing in my mind, nor do I think they should be treated as such.

    2. I didn’t say they were, I said that they should be. Killing an animal can be done humanely.

    3. That’s a good point, I didn’t consider that. However, are you saying that it is your view that I should be allowed to set my own animal on fire with no consequences? If so, I’m sorry I just can’t go agree with that.


  13. [...] the second comment. In this previous post and its comments I already expressed my opinion that dog fighting should not be a crime. Now, for [...]


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