Posts Tagged ‘Einstein’

The Bicycle as a Mode for Transport and Romantic Interludes

January 26, 2012

The simple bicycle has been around for hundreds of years. It is surely one of the world’s most amazing inventions. Name just one invention, whereby with less effort and input, more output is produced. The bicycle seems to defy the Einstein theory whereby for every action there is an equally weighted opposite action. The Dutch seemed to have taken the ‘more for less’ with gusto. Every morning and afternoon millions jump on the bike, going to and fro work, going shopping or taking kids to school. There are more bicycles than people. Especially with romance, the bike in Holland has always been an essential extension for meeting mates. First dates are usually conducted on bikes. If the bike ride blossoms into romance, both bikes might be seen lying between the reeds along a dyke or canal with the couple hidden from sight, perhaps getting acquainted away from the harsh metal embrace with a more softer more tactile manner.   Not that riding bicycles in the Netherlands precludes having physical contact while cycling. Far from it, often the young and therefore more agile will be seen holding hands AND riding their bikes. I have often felt that the rhythmic moving up and down of thighs might well incur a hastening of passion, whereby the couple’s surging hormones might finally over rule and make for casting all cautions to the wind, hence those bikes hurriedly thrown amongst the reeds.

I was told by my mother that I was possibly conceived by this typical Dutch bicycle passion as well, not amongst the reeds but in the lee of a terrible storm. They had sought shelter from a really ferocious westerly behind a dyke and once out of the wind, one thing led to another, and nine months later… there, but for the grace of two Raleigh bikes, came I. Another very favorite form of couples getting together was the female getting a ride by boyfriend sitting akimbo on the metal brace between the handle bars and bike seat. A cunning and experienced male bike-rider would of course  not be too obviously rubbing his thighs against the girl’s on one side and her buttocks on the other side. He would just occasionally, perhaps while rounding a sharp corner, massage the girl’s thighs with his. It was called the ‘coffee grinding method’ of wooing while riding. I am not sure what coffee had to do with it. I would have thought ‘potato peeling’ would have been a better and much more suitable Dutch description.

It seems sad that bike riding here in Australia hasn’t taken a leaf out of the experienced and romantic Dutch bike riding phenomenon. The whole show has been hi-jacked by a kind of Tour De France obsession. I have yet to see couples lovingly and sensually riding bicycles. It is all far too serious, almost manically. Why on earth all this uniform wearing?   Who thought up wearing those sweaty Lycra tight fitting pants which according to medical experts kills sperms. Why on earth make wearing helmets law?  Could you imagine, the ultimate of femininity and elegance, a Parisian woman  on her way home from the Boulangerie with baguette in her basket, riding a bike with a helmet on? Non. Non.

Here bike riding is a sport not a mode of transport or encouragement for wild uninhibited sex. They, the riders, are hell- bent over their handle bars, hands gloved, heads sheathed, feet shod in expensive riding Nikes strapped into pedals… One hundred kilometers today-two hundred tomorrow! The wheels are so thin; there is hardly any surface area that touches the road. The slightest pebble or loose surface and arse over head it all becomes. This type of racing bike cycling becomes perilously close to being a very dangerous method of transport. Those bikes are lethal except on the velodromes. No wonder helmets are introduced. Still, it is encouraging more people are taken to the bike and many shires are now introducing bike lanes.

However, I am not sure that riding bicycles in Australia will ever reach the level of transport or romance (with wild abandonment of those racing bikes amongst the lemon scented Australian gum trees) that the Dutch seemed to have infused and combined in their culture.

Don’t let Facts stand in the Way of Truths (The getting of Wisdom)

October 9, 2011

We were so comfortable in the knowledge that the universe was imploding. We always knew things would end up to nothing much, just a shrivelled up bit of a rotten core, a tangled mess of imploded food processors and phone chargers. Now, this fact has been un-facted by the latest discovery. Professor Schmidt, our proud Nobel Prize winner reckons we are expanding with increasing speed and the Universe will finally end up a dark, empty and cold place. We are all forever expanding, getting bigger. Blind Freddy could tell you that. Just walk around shopping malls and look at the food-court. Our Nobel Prize winning cosmologist has proven scientifically that instead of magnetic fields or gravity pulling things inwards and slowing things down, the reverse is happening and it is all getting further and further apart.

We were also happy with Einstein’s fact of his speed of light. It was the ultimate of speed, an ultimate fact. Nothing could go faster. If something were travelling faster than ‘c’ (speed of light) relative to a standing reference, we would go back in time, meaning an effect would be observed before a cause. That would be silly. It would mean I would end up with the horror of the 1956 Nissan Hut in Scheyville all over again. It would be paradoxical like an antitelephone. Still, the speed of light was fact. Irrefutable and only flat-earthers would deny the truth of this.

But….No wrong, in Italy, the country that gave the world Galileo, they made something go faster than light, deep inside some mountain range. Another fact dismantled. I think being disappointed in facts is so much worse than in truths.

So, is the truth a worthier cause to follow than facts? The truth is how things are now, not tomorrow or yesterday but now. For instance; it is raining outside and the road is getting wet. This is a truth for now. However, and this is important, if the rain stops and the sun start to appear, chances are the road will dry up. Another truth, but the outcome is the total opposite of the previous one. Isn’t? Still, both hold true and that has to be nice and reassuringly optimistic for the future.

Facts seem to be unreliable and somewhat sticky, changing all the time, just like truths but unlike truths, facts were always supposed to be unmoving, cemented in situ. I wouldn’t trust them anymore. A truth, on the other hand is always there, even though for just that moment. It is so much more comforting, a bit like bed socks. They warm your feet but only if you wear them. If you keep them in the sock drawer, they are still bed socks but their truth of ‘warming feet’ has gone. One expects and (most of us would) accept those changes as normal. No one would object to the truth of bed socks not warming feet if they are not on the feet.

There are truths so true, they are universal truths. The truth of the lentil for instance and its application towards frugality and living simple humble lives is such a universal truth that it warms the heart. Its truthfulness stands on its own and it would be a brave man who would say that a lentil is not true because it is really an apple or a bicycle.

The same for a good drop of Semillon Blanc. The truth of the capsicum lingering on or the lemon tang hanging near the middle palate together with its ambition or its sheer cheekiness, are truths that are unassailable. But again, again this awful but …If letting stand too long in the hot sun or in its glass without drinking, the wine then become less truthful, even dishonestly intemperate. Then the truth (of a beautiful wine) has become spoiled and awful and warped. I would say that this truth then changes in another truth, the truth of spoiled wine. A bitter truth to swallow, but a truth just the same. In truths you can hardly ever go wrong. It just changes all the time and travels with you as you go along.

Truths are deeply personal and always your best friends.