Friday, 20 April 2018

Peter Fonda

            On Thursday, since school was over until December I wanted to make sure my bike was in tune for the longer rides I would be taking so I went to Bike Pirates at noon. The bicycle I’d built last spring held up fairly well through its first winter and I hadn’t had so much as a flat tire for more than half a year. This is a stark contrast to the problematic hybrid that I’d ridden for the ten years leading up to that. The brakes have getting pretty squeaky in wet weather lately but other than that I’ve been remarkable problem free.
            At around 11:00, an hour before Bike Pirates was scheduled to open, I started feeling sleepy, so I lay down with the aim of taking a half hour nap. I woke up at 11:41 and rushed to get ready to go. I made sure to put on an old pair of pants rather than the new ones I bought on Boxing Day. I arrived in front of the shop at five minutes before opening time but I was surprised to be the only one waiting. Den opened up and I was the only one there for the first few minutes.
            I spent about an hour with a rag, a toothbrush and some spray cleaner getting all the winter guck off my bike (That would be a good name for a cleaning product: “Guck Off!”).
            I overheard another customer talking to a volunteer about getting a lot of flat tires. I noticed that his tires were the wider, mountain bike style tires and I told him that in my experience I had a lot more flat tires with wide tires. I opined that it seems mathematically logical that if one were covering twice as much space with one’s tire one would have twice as much chance of getting a flat. The older volunteer nodd3d and agreed that what I was saying made sense but the bike owner told me that in his experience, because of his weight, he has more flats with narrower tires. I maintain that my logic is sound on this point though. But later when I checked online, according to the bike experts on the internet I am wrong about that. A fatter tire apparently has a better chance of distributing its weight over a sharp object on the road. The example that was that going over a sharp object with a wider tire is like lying on a bed of nails while going over it with a narrower tire would be like standing on a bed of nails. I can see how that’s true if both tires make contact with the sharp object but still the odds of hitting the object would be diminished by half with a twice as narrow tire. Others online arguing with the other guy agreed with me and someone added that narrower tires tend to be harder and can resist puncture and when a harder tire hits the edge of a piece of glass it can actually crunch away the sharp edges.
            As I was cleaning the back of my bike it seemed that the silver paint was combing off to reveal green paint underneath. I asked Den if the spray cleaner strips paint. Of course I hadn’t given it much thought, since if it could strip paint one wouldn’t be using it to clean one’s bike. He answered that it’s pretty mild, plus somebody has already watered it down to stretch it out. He pointed out that the paint looks like it’s peeling on parts of my bike. That’s probably due to salt. He commented that I have a good bike frame though. I told him that a couple of volunteers have told me that they think it might be a Mercier but I’ve never been able to tell what kind of frame it is, besides it being French. He informed me that I could just check the serial number. I didn’t think there was a serial number on it but he found it at the back left corner of the frame where the wheel fits in. It’s J56986, although I’m not sure if that’s a 5 because it has no top but the bottom looks like a backward “c”. He said I have to specify that it’s a bicycle because he was once checking the serial number of a piano and got a motorcycle.
            After I finished cleaning the bike I checked the brakes and gears and found the chain wasn’t dropping to the lowest gear. A volunteer told me to loosen the H screw on the derailleur and that fixed the problem. He also warned me that one of my back brakes was too close to the tire. He lowered it for me.
            I was only at Bike Pirates for an hour and a half, and I didn’t get any parts from them but I dropped in a $20 donation.
            I went home and washed my hands but there was still some grease. I find though that if one’s hands are dirty and one has lunch, if one eats with one’s hands a lot of the grease comes off.
            In the afternoon I took my first recreational bike ride since last September.  Don’t know if it was my imagination but it seemed to me that my bike was running more smoothly after the cleaning I’d given it. The weather was still a little chilly but the snow was melting and leaving lots of puddles to avoid. There was especially a lot of water along the Bloor bike lane. I decided not to do any long bike rides while the ground is wet, so I went south on Yonge Street where the construction just south of Bloor had created even more holes for melted snow to accumulate and the muddy kind too.
            When I got to Queen Street I thought I’d stop at Home Sense to see if they had the kind of Picardie glass I’ve been looking for. A salesperson with high hair met me almost at the door and asked if he could help me. I asked for Picardie glasses but he immediately said they don’t have them. I asked where I might find them and he told me the LCBO. He told me there was one at Yonge and Dundas. I rode up there but couldn’t see a liquor store. I went into the Eaton’s Centre and walked for a couple of minutes but had a feeling I was going in the wrong direction. I walked half a block north on Yonge and then back down to go a full block east. Finally I went into the Wine Rack and asked a salesperson if he knew where the liquor store was. I turned out to be just one door west of Yonge but it was hidden by scaffolding because of construction. The sales guy I spoke to seemed to think I was asking for Bacardi glasses. I corrected him but I’m still not sure he understood. He said sometimes they give glasses away with bottles. It occurred tome that the salesperson at Homesense might have also thought that I’d meant Bacardi and that was why he sent me to the liquor store.
            I went back down to Queen and headed towards home. The temperature had dropped considerably since the beginning of my ride. I went into Freshco where I got bananas, grapes and yogourt.
            When I got home I cut up the chicken I’d bought the day before and roasted it.
            I watched the first teleplay of the third and final season of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. This one starred Peter Fonda and it was interesting because it featured one of the most perfect murders I’d seen in a story. A drunken old man named Stoney Liken gets kicked out of a bar because he’s been arguing with a rich and powerful local politician named Riley McGrath. He staggers back in though and challenges McGrath again, this time not only with words but also by shaking two bottles of beer and spraying them all over McGrath. McGrath pulls out a gun and kills Liken. Because of how much power McGrath has in the town all of the witnesses lie and testify that McGrath shot Stoney in self-defence. When Liken’s sons, Verge and Wilfred are informed of their father’s death, Verge Liken (played by Fonda) does not believe it was self-defence. He tells Wilfred that he is going to kill McGrath and begins following the politician to learn his habits. He learns that McGrath gets a hair cut once a week whether he needs one or not and he also learns that he has a bad heart. Wilfred, Verge’s mentally challenged brother is frightened by Verge’s obsession because Verge is the only family he has left and if Verge gets killed he will be alone with no one to take care of him. Wilfred goes to talk to McGrath and naively informs him that his brother wants to kill him. He figures that if McGrath just talks to Verge they could straighten things out. McGrath gives Wilfred $500 out of sympathy for the loss of his father. When Wilfred comes home with the money, Verge smiles and tells Wilfred that he now knows what he’s going to do. Verge tells Wilfred that he’s going to go away to Charleston for six months and he’s going to go to school to learn how to kill McGrath. Wilfred is surprised that there’s a school for killing in Charleston. Verge arranges for their two aunts to come and take care of Wilfred while he’s gone and makes him cross his heart and promise that he won’t tell anyone why Verge has gone to Charleston. After six months McGrath receives from Verge by special delivery from Charleston a large wreath with the words rest in peace. This prompts McGrath to have his henchman (played by George Lindsey. This is the third Alfred Hitchcock Hour appearance by Goober) to drive out and fetch the brother. Goober beats up the brother to get him to tell him what Verge is doing in Charleston but he won’t talk. McGrath goes for his weekly haircut and finds that there is a new assistant barber. We recognize the barber as Verge and it suddenly becomes clear that what Verge had been doing in Charleston was going to barber school. The politician has never met Verge Liken so he doesn’t know who is shaving him. Verge tells his boss that they are out of bay rum and witch hazel and so he goes out to buy it. Verge locks the door and gives McGrath a shave. After a while he tells McGrath that he is the son of the man he murdered. He hints that he is going to cut his jugular and makes several moves to indicate that with his very sharp razor, but the politician dies of a heart attack. The owner of the shop has been trying to get in, but the door is locked, so he calls the sheriff. Verge calmly lets everybody in and the sheriff tells Verge that he’s placing him under arrest for the murder of Riley McGrath. But Verge reminds the sheriff that there is no law against giving a man a shave and he reveals that McGrath hasn’t got a scratch on him.
That seems like it might be a perfect murder. Nobody can prove that Verge caused McGrath’s heart to give out.
Peter Fonda sure was one skinny guy in 1965.

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