Frank’s 50th Birthday Party

The preceeding gallery of photographs are from my youngest brother Frank’s 50th birthday party.  His birthday was back in may, but the party was this last weekend.  Our other brother, Chris, took these pictures.  Looking at them all, it appears that Frank and Kathy pulled out all the stops for this birthday bash.  Happy 50th birthday Frank!

Dan and Annie arrived at the Cabin on Saturday and on Sunday Anne, Jane and Rey left the Cabin.  They stopped off in Gaylord for a couple of hours and hung out at the Big Buck Brewhaus to watch the World Cup finals.  Anne takes the Megabus back to Saint Louis today.

Sunday was a rest day for me.  I watched the World Cup also and listened to vuvuzela for two hours.  I’m pretty sure that I can wait four more years before I hear one again and that’s if they don’t get banned outright.

In other sporting news, the Tour de France which has been going for over a week now entered the Alps this last weekend.  Lance Armstrong has entered this year’s race in an attempt to win an eighth yellow jersey.  On Sunday through a series of crashes his hopes were all but dashed.  He lost a significant amount of time on the leaders and is not expected to be able to make it up.

A Lazy Summer Sunday Afternoon

Blue Dragonfly

This year’s Tour de France is over now.  Alberto Contador won, while teammate Lance Armstrong finished third.  This was a respectable finish for Lance, but probably not the one that he had hoped for.  After the race Lance moved on to party with the new team that he will be riding for next year, Radio Shack.  Apparently looking back is not his strong suit.

After Saturday’s hammerfest, in which I was pummeled by the big dogs of Team Kaldis, On Sunday, I was ready for an easier ride.  I rode some errands.  I first returned a DVD to the Red Box at the grocery store and then biked over to REI, where I purchase new bike gloves, to replace the ones I lost in New York.  I briefly returned home to drop off stuff and then launched towards the Park.  Sunday was a beautiful day and so the Park was crowded.  I did my usual Tour de Bird, but except for one little greenie there were not many birds about.  Probably because there were so many people about.  I got nineteen miles.  As this post’s title says, Sunday was a lazy Sunday afternoon and what would go better with such an afternoon, but this rather lazy post.

Wydown Boulevard

Wydown Bike Lane

On Sunday in the Tour de France Alberto Contador of Astana won the yellow jersey.  He now holds a respectable if not commanding lead.  His more famous teammate, Lance Armstrong, is in a much less commanding second place.  Monday was a rest day, so Contador will hold the lead at least into Tuesday.  With the French all over the Tour for performance enhancing drugs and all over Lance in particular, if the old guy needs an edge he won’t find it through better living with chemistry.  If Contador doesn’t wreck or something, I think that ole Lance will need a bit of an edge to win the Maillot jaune this year.  Here is my suggestion.  You have to check out the videos.  OBTW, I have a birthday coming up … Notice Kayak Women that it works as well on water as it does on land.  You could be an äir-bur kayak woman.  I do see one problem with the product though, the noise.  I would never be able to hear songbirds along the Katy Trail with this device, but I would leave Don in my dust.

The picture with today’s post shows a section of the newly re-striped Wydown Boulevard.  This shot just happens to be by Wydown Middle School, whose webcam link seems to be on summer vacation.  Along Wydown where parking is prohibited, the stripping is similar to the way it was, only with a wider lane.  In areas where parking is permitted, you see the specifically designated bike lane, pictured above.  I had words to with a jogger in an area like this, who insisted on jogging up the middle of this narrow lane, when there is a fat, far safer lane closer to the curb.

Today Dave emailed home his first abstract, titled:  A neural model of the inferior colliculus with excitatory and inhibitory input from the cochlear nucleus and the superior paraolivary nucleus.  Trust me the rest of the abstract is not any more intelligible to lay people such as myself.  He hopes to first present his paper in the poster session of a conference, in Pittsburgh, in October.  If successful there, he then plans submitting the paper to the Acoustical Societies meeting which will be held in Disneyland.  If successful he will never have to ice skate to get to go to in Disneyland, not bad for up state New York.

Leaning Forward Towards the Weekend

Juvenile Robin

I biked in the Park this morning.  I got fifteen miles.  I did the bird paparazzi thing and saw a few birds.  I got today’s header, the flying egret.  Speaking of paparazzi, at one of the better watering holes there was a couple, each of whom had a humongous camera.  Their telephoto lenses’ had to be at least six inches across.   I approach quietly to see what they were looking at and after a while it became clear that there really wasn’t anything to see.  They must have been waiting for something to appear.  I swung by again, later in the ride and they were still there, but a woman with her dog came bounding by, a sure way to repel birds.  They have way more patience then me.  I almost ran over a juvinile robin like the one pictured with this post.  It kept running down the bike path, until it finally got the idea and let me pass.

Friday should be an interesting day in the Tour de France.  The bike race heads into the Alps.  Lance is still in third, eight seconds behind the yellow jersey.  However, teammate, Alberto Contador, is between him and the yellow jersey, in second and two seconds ahead of Lance.  The Italian yellow jersey holder Rinaldo Nocentini is in first place, but that crown sits uneasy upon his head.  Minutes can be made or lost in the mountains, so the few second differences between the first three riders are not very consequential.

Continuing with my lessons on French vocabulary related to cycling in general and the Tour de France in particular, I give you the following words:  The autobus or in Italian, grupeto, is the group that rides together to finish within the Tour’s mandatory time limit.  They don’t ride to win, they just ride to finish.  If they don’t keep up, then the last rider or the Lanterne Rouge, the competitor in last place, is expelled from the race. The phrase refers to the red lantern hung on the caboose of a railway train.



Lance Armstrong could not best his younger teammate, Alberto Contador, on Friday and fell behind him into third place, in the standings of this year’s Tour de France.  The race will have two more days in the Pyrenees this weekend and then next week brings the Alps, so there is still a lot more Tour de France racing yet to go.  But after today though, it is clear that unlike Lance’s last few Tour victories, he will certainly not be cruising to an easy victory, if victory at all.

Later this summer Anne and I will be heading to Quebec, the French speaking part of Canada, on a bicycling tour.  In preparation for this trip, Anne checked out some audio CDs, that teach French.  Our hope was that since we both had taken French in high school, a little refresh might be in order.  So class, today’s French word for the day is bordure.  A bordure is called an echelon in English.  It is one of the nightmares of the peleton (another French word).  When the wind is strong and blowing from the side, it can split the big bunch of riders, the peleton, into little groups, which are no longer sheltered inside the collective bunch.  They lose contact, find themselves exposed, some riders on the most exposed side of the road, can drop considerable time.

The State of Missouri’s Tour of Missouri, a late summer professional bike race, is in danger of being canceled.  This is due to the state’s budget concerns.  Governor Nixon (D) has threaten to stop funding for the race.  The Tour of Missouri just happens to be the pet project of Lt. Governor Kinder (R), so there is probably some politics involved in this decision.  Personally, I would like to see the Tour of Missouri go forward this year. 

The picture with this post is of a sunflower.  In France the sunflower is the symbol of the Tour.  This sunflower is from the Park.

In other news, July is National Blog Posting Month or NaBloPoMo.  People who have a blog should try to post once per day in July, or at least once in July.  Speaking of blogs, Slate had an article about crowd-sourced, single-topic blogs.  Nook’s blog has a link to one of these blogs, that Anne is fast becoming addicted to, I Can Has Cheez Burger.  I think that I would get bored if I always had to post on the same subject.  Although, it does seem to be an easy business model to exercise for Internet success.

The Chase for the Maillot Jaune Is On …

Danger Live Wire

Tuesday was an exciting day in the Tour de France.  Lance Armstrong and his team, Astana, won the team time trail stage of the race.  While Armstrong did not take the Maillot Jaune (Yellow Jersey), he is less then a second out of the lead.  Meanwhile the team time trail left fellow Astana team members, Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden and Californian Levi Leipheimer in third through fifth place overall, respectively.  Astana is a professional road bicycle racing team sponsored by the Astana group, a coalition of state-owned companies from Kazakhstan and named after its capital city Astana.

Tuesday’s time trail was marked with high speeds, narrow streets and lots of crashes.  The Swiss rider still in the lead, at least by the narrowest of margins, quipped, “That is the beauty of Swiss timing.”  On Team Astana, the younger Contador is the leader of the team and as such is the nominal candidate to wear that team’s yellow.  Apparently, Armstrong is not just in the race for his health.

In Monday’s race, both Armstrong and Contador joined a breakaway and both benefited from their decision.  This early in the race such an outstanding performance from Armstrong is different from his previous seven Tour de France won races.  He always competed hard in the time trail stages and always did well, but usually in the first week’s road race stages he just hung with the peleton, waiting for the mountains. 

His attack on Monday is different and is also indicative of his position within Astana.  Formerly, he was always the team leader and as such commanded the team’s support.  There are definitely some interesting power dynamics going on within Team Astana.   Who will lead the team to victory?  Friday is the first mountain stage of the race.  It is in the Pyrenees.  It will be an interesting race.