Friday, 7 September 2012

What's in a name? That which we call a bicycle would by any other name also be as sweet.

When is a bicycle not a bicycle?  When it's an MB 2000, that's when.  

 This is not a bicycle.

You probably thought I was joking, but... no.  According to Lieutenant Colonel Alex Gould of CFB  Sicamous during his CBC interview, this is not a bicycle. "It's based on cycle technology, but this is sturdy.  But also it's been painted camouflage so it's something very hard to spot."  They might want to rethink the stickers as they're not very camo. Might just as well put reflectors on the spokes.  Besides, if the good colonel had been on a bicycle at any time during his adult life, he would understand that all bikes are invisible, no matter what colour you paint them. It's one of the laws of physics, I can't remember which one.

When asked whether these bicycles will be replacing current military vehicles such a jeeps, humvees and tanks, the good colonel replies "I'll allow you to use the word bicycle, but again, it is an all-terrain military issue two wheel ground apparatus that gives our troops unlimited mobility and agility in most circumstances."  I wonder if he has to practice that in the morning. You try saying that ten times fast. Then listen to the interview and try not to laugh when Colonel Jive slips up time and time again and calls them bicycles himself.

He does concede that MB stands for Mountain Bike, but then he warns that you must let go of all thought of conventional bicycles, because these are Military Issue. (That means they're special.) He goes on to explain that they're silent.  They're collapsible.  This  bike MB 2000 all-terrain military issue two wheel ground apparatus that gives our troops unlimited mobility and agility in most circumstances can haul 500lb! That's one Robba the Ford.

He admits that "Yes, they will replace jeeps, humvees and tanks."  I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried, but honestly, it's a stroke of genius, that's what it is. Bikes MB 2000s all-terrain military issue two wheel ground apparatus that gives our troops unlimited mobility and agility in most circumstances  instead of tanks is simply a brilliant idea.  Why doesn't someone tell the Syrian rebels about that one?!?  That whole thing could have been over ages ago if only they'd known.  You might think bicycles MB 2000s all-terrain military issue two wheel ground apparatus that gives our troops unlimited mobility and agility in most circumstances are benign objects whose primary purpose is pedal powered people transport, but that's just 'cause you didn't know that the ever so clever Canadian military is probably using a secret weapon. It's  Mavic wheels.  Canadian soldiers can hurl them at unsuspecting enemy operatives. They will fail spectacularly, detonating like some new form of plastic explosive, and the Taliban will go down forever in a hail of crabon fibre splinters.

You try hauling 500lb up and over the dunes of Petrochemicarabia for the duration of a tour of duty, why don't you?  You'll be smiling, too, as you face off against the home tanks while you're keeping the peace, because you'll know that you're armed and dangerous. The bad guys will see the cute little maple leafs on the uniform, and will wet themselves laughing at all the pretty soldiers on bikes MB2000  all-terrain military issue two wheel ground apparatus that gives our troops unlimited mobility and agility in most circumstances.  While they're killing themselves laughing, off come the Mavics and -BOOM! Sorted.

You see?  Genuine Canadian Genius.

What's in a name? Shakespeare was right: a rose is a rose and so is a bike a bike, even when it is an MB 2000.  Still- be careful.  Don't underestimate the magic of a name. Words measure our evolution and language defines us.  The name you give something doesn't necessarily alter the nature of the thing you are naming, but it does say alot about you.

I was painfully aware of the influence of young boys in my life when I caught myself singing Up. Butt. Coconut. out loud at work the other day. I know words other people don't know, too, thanks to him.  It's true. Words like poomerang and other things that most people don't really want to know about. I am a product of my environment, just as you are, and as we all are on a larger scale, too.

What does it say about our world when you can say something essentially meaningless, like "Facebooking," and everyone knows what you mean? The web makes the world a tiny wee place, where words, thoughts, experiences and ideas sometimes spread like wildfire.  The rate of change is accelerating, too.  Used to be it took a generation to change a word through usage.  Now it can happen overnight.

In France, the Ministry of Culture and Communication ensures the continued usage and preservation of pure,  unadulterated, correct French, bless them.  It must be a bit like trying to alter the cycles of the moon, don't you think? Talk about king sized control issues... Quebec didn't fall far from that tree, did it? In the rest of the world, language is more than just grammar, syntax, words, and rules. In fact, if you're 'Facebooking', or 'Tweeting," grammar and syntax appear to be altogether unnecessary, though an urban reference guide may be useful.

For example, did you know that this bike is murdered out?

Pretty, isn't it?

People who love customizing their cars get it, but how was I to know that using flat black paint and accessories constitutes a homicidal habit?  You've gotta love how English evolves, though - that's the best bit about it. Ginormous needs no further explanation. What a great word. And I'm ok with heteroflexibles... isn't everyone?  There are lots of dictionaries out there, but the urban dictionary is my fave...  Where else will you find Lance Armstrong defined as: a man who can do more with one testicle than most men can do with a pair?  ie) Lance Armstrong rides his bike fast. With one testicle.  

Testicles... what an interesting word.  When you articulate it correctly, it leads naturally to one of my all time favourite words... Chubby. Mmm...  chubby. As in Dude, when I looked at Sara I got a chubby. What's not to love about that? That's why Henrik Rummel's salute to the flag caused such a flap in London this year. It was a purely linguistic flap of course, since it's patently obvious he's been circumcised. Don't be too hard on him, though. He is a world class athlete after all.

Like Mark Cavendish, seen here accepting the award for his second stage win at the Tour de France 2012. Once again, you've gotta love seeing world class athletes rise to the occasion like that. Specially in spandex. Mmm... spandex chubbies.

There's always a right way and any number of wrong ways to spell words, but there's more to it than that. If enough people spell something wrong for long enough, then everyone just calls it American English and ba-da-bing! There's a whole new spelling! Same thing with how we use words.  Sick used to be a bad thing, but now people use it to describe a good thing.  Why? Prolly just 'cause someone felt contrary.  And look what happened in London with rhyming slang!  Donkey's ears rhymes with years, right?  Shorten it to Donkey's et voila!  Donkey's means years.  Gandhi would be proud of all of those cunning linguists out here, working hard to be the change they want to see in the world.

Last week when the winds of change were blowing that wee hurricane Isaac toward the Republican convention, I recalled something Pat Buchanen said about God's punishment on New Orleans when Katrina hit there seven years earlier.  I have all kinds of names for men like him, but the Great Wiki calls him a Paleoconservative.  There's a word for you. It reminds me of everyone's favourite Paleoasshole,

Robba the Ford, the soon to be former mayor of Toronto.

Speaking of cunning linguists...  if we're going to fix this mess, we need to come up with a vision of something better.  We'll have to define it if we want to make it so.  We'll have to put ideas into words and words into action, but if we can envision it we can create it, so think of what kind of world you would like.  What do you see for us?

I'll think about it if you do. 

Today we're picking up our registration packages for the Whistler Gran Fondo.  Tomorrow is the best Sea to Sky highway ride of the year, with clean roads and no cars... fun fun fun!

Thank you for joining me, dear reader.  Ride on and have fun!


  1. Everything old is new again:

    Drop 'em behind the lines with bicycles.


  2. The guy who tuned my bike for the Fondo has one of these babies in his shop, only someone had brazed the folding joints together. Brazed or not, though, you've gotta love the lines on this bike.

    Apparently D-Day in Normandy is known as the bicycle invasion...

  3. Awesome post! I don't have your e-mail.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Velolobotomy said that it was Pat Robertson, not Pat Buchanen who said that, and when I tried to view his comment on my phone, I accidentally deleted his comment.

      I am so co-ordinated.