Exclusive Guatemala Coverage

I woke up at 4 this to get on a plane. Got into Guate about 11. Now I'm waiting for my bus to Xela at 2:30.

Reports indicate:
It's really smoggy. Like, instant asthma smoggy.
Creative attitudes about driving abound.
There's a guard at the bus station with a pump action shotgun.
I got a great shoe shine for Q4 ($.50). The guy was starting to gesture Q3 but then added on another finger. I let it go....This time.
They say in the guide book not to eat "street food". Problem is, they don't define that term. Most of the food places are, well, not on the street exactly, but damn near it. ¿Clarification, Rough Guide?

To be "an operator"

There is a story about one of my relatives that has been going around my family (in various exaggerated forms) since the 40s.

The protagonist is a great-uncle of mine. The setting, Europe at the end of the second world war.

My great-uncle had been fighting for the Allies. With the war over, he wanted to return to his family's ancestral home, a tiny village in Czechoslovakia (at the time), near Ukraine. He didn't know how much of his family had survived the war, but he wanted to bring as many as he could back to the US with him.

There were some obstacles. My great-uncle was in France. The village lay deep in Soviet territory, and the Soviets weren't keen on American passers-by. Border crossings lay ahead. The cold war was beginning. Europe was in shambles.

Somehow he acquired a jeep and some gasoline. Frankly, he probably stole the jeep. He drove the jeep across Europe. He spoke the languages. He made deals. The Soviet border guards drank well.

He found the village and married the only surviving female relative, then turned the jeep around to bring her to the US. They lived in California the rest of their lives.


I've known this story forever. It's part of what I am.
My great-uncle, he's what we call an operator. He speaks every language. He's undaunted by uncertainty. He thrives where others fear to operate. He doesn't follow the rules. He does the impossible. He has a toolbox a mile deep.

Nike + Framebuilding = ?

via SneakerFreaker

Shop Class as Soulcraft update

Long-time readers will recall a post from last April when I was anxiously awaiting the release of a book called Shop Class as Soulcraft, based on a 2006 New Atlantis essay of the same name.

If you pre-ordered your copy like I did, you probably have your copy by now, but if you didn't, you should've; the first 13 pages, aty least, are great.

Only 13 pages in, Crawford (a motorcycle mechanic here in Richmond) hits upon a theme central to Richard Sachs' Tao of Framebuilding poster (yes, of course it's for sale).

Stay tuned, there may be a more detailed writeup forthcoming.