Stoned again

April 13, 2014

screwedNiki Terpstra caught ‘em napping en route to the Roubaix velodrome today. I was thinking maybe Sep Vanmarcke would be the guy this time around, and he was certainly one of them, but it was the Omega man who sealed the deal after 257km of dust and cobbles.

Comrade-Attorney Charles Pelkey decided on the spur of the moment to crank up the Live Update Guy machinery for the occasion, but technical difficulties prevented my participation. Chuckles is test-driving some new jabberware developed by a legal colleague, and it didn’t like me for some reason. Can’t imagine why — I’m such an easygoing, compliant, sweetheart of a fellow.

Speaking of dicks, Boom-Boom is coming off as something of one post-race, wondering at some length and volume why nobody seemed interested in giving him the old palanquin ride to a fifth cobble trophy. How big is your mantlepiece, anyway, Tommeke? Haven’t you been stoned enough for one lifetime, Boombeleh?

At least the winner was from your team. You could’ve gotten punk’d by Vanmarcke, Peter Sagan or (horrors!) Brave Brave Brave Sir Wiggo. Whoops, looks like you did.

Look for Belgium to change its name, move, and not leave a forwarding address.

 

Perro-Roubaix

April 12, 2014

pr-3-04122014

Throwback Thursday

April 10, 2014
The cover of VeloNews, Vol. 18, No. 3, March 10, 1989, the first issue to contain an O'Grady cartoon.

The cover of VeloNews, Vol. 18, No. 3, March 10, 1989, the first issue to contain an O’Grady cartoon.

As I was dozing off last night it struck me that I missed an anniversary of sorts last month.

On March 10, 1989, I drew my first cartoon for VeloNews.

Good God awmighty. Have I really been cracking lame bike jokes for more than 25 years?

Yup.

And my, how times have changed.

In 1989, I was still a real journalist (kinda, sorta) instead of a free-lance rumormonger, flailing away in a series of unsung editorial capacities for The New Mexican in Santa Fe, periodically shifting to a new desk in the newsroom as I wore out my welcome at the old one.

The VeloNews thing was my first real free-lance gig. I had applied for a job there, as managing editor, and happily for everyone concerned, I didn’t get it. But management liked the cartoons, and you know the rest.

Himself, in all his (ahem) glory.

Himself, in all his (ahem) glory.

Then as now, I drew in pencil, pen and ink, on Bristol board. But the ’toons were in black and white, and the originals FedExed from Santa Fe to Boulder.

At some point I scored a Mac SE, a 2400-baud Hayes modem, and an AOL account. But the early Innertubes were ill-equipped for transmitting the Old Guy Who Gets Fat In Winter from Santa Fe to Boulder, even in black and white, though VeloNews soon set up a BBS for catching incoming stories and was one of the early pioneers homesteading the World Wide Web.

I don’t draw for Velo, the slick successor to VeloNews. But I still do my “Shop Talk” strip for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. And those bad boys are digitized, colorized and shot through the Innertubes like ICBMs (Intercontinental Burlesque Missiles) to Laguna Hills, California, along with my “Mad Dog Unleashed” column.

All of which means I can have an editor mumbling, “Aw, f’chrissakes, lookit this fuggin’ thing,” in seconds instead of days.

 

"Shop Talk," the strip I do for BRAIN. Mostly it features the Mud Stud and Dude; occasionally, the Fat Guy and other characters appear.

“Shop Talk,” the strip I do for BRAIN. Mostly it features the Mud Stud and Dude; occasionally, the Fat Guy and other characters appear.

Wide world of sports

April 7, 2014
The scene out the front door this morning. All gone now.

The scene out the front door this morning. All gone now.

“Never underestimate the power of human stupidity,” wrote Robert A. Heinlein, who may have been anticipating the Darwin Awards. And it seems we have a couple early contenders this year.

The first is a woman spectator at Sunday’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, who was standing on a traffic island when for reason(s) unknown Johan Vansummeren T-boned her at speed. Vansummeren came away with a black eye, some stitches and a case of mental anguish, but the spectator was said to be in an induced coma after a couple of surgeries to address a brain trauma.

My takeaway from the incident is, never stand anyplace where a 6-foot-6, 168-pound Belgian can knock you out of your shoes and into a hospital.

The second is the videographer who was theoretically in charge of a drone that injured a competitor just meters short of the finish line at the Geraldton Endure Batavia triathlon in western Australia. Dude says someone took control of his toy — apparently it could have been anyone with a smartphone, which hardly narrows the field of suspects — and it didn’t really hit her anyway, so there. Apparently this was a surgical strike, as stitches were required to close the victim’s head wound.

The lesson here is that smartphones and dumb people make a hazardous combination. Not exactly news.

In unrelated news, this morning it was snowing heavily until suddenly it wasn’t. Tomorrow, 65 and sunny. They don’t make jerseys with pockets big enough to carry all the shit a guy needs for an April ride, like Belgian repellent and a handheld surface-to-air missile.

 

Gassho, Peter Matthiessen

April 5, 2014

Author, naturalist and Zen teacher Peter Matthiessen has gone west.

Jeff Himmelman recently wrote a piece on Matthiessen for The New York Times Magazine — I just read it last night, and a good read it is — and today an obit followed in the news columns.

Zen is a tough nut to crack, but I think Matthiessen did a pretty fair job of it while arranging what seems to have been a graceful departure given his circumstances (more than a year spent battling leukemia). Discussing radical experimental measures that might have helped keep him around a while longer, he said,  “I don’t want to hang on to life quite that hard. It’s part of my Zen training. … The Buddha says that all suffering comes from clinging. I don’t want to cling. I’ve had a good life, you know. Lots of adventures. It’s had some dark parts, too, but mainly I’ve had a pretty good run of it, and I don’t want to cling too hard. I have no complaints.”

Speaking with The Guardian newspaper in 2002, he said that Zen “is really just a reminder to stay alive and to be awake.”

“We tend to daydream all the time, speculating about the future and dwelling on the past,” he continued. “Zen practice is about appreciating your life in this moment. If you are truly aware of five minutes a day, then you are doing pretty well. We are beset by both the future and the past, and there is no reality apart from the here and now.”

In the here and now, Matthiessen’s final novel, “In Paradise,” is to be published on Tuesday.

Game of chance

April 5, 2014
Mystery flats forced a tire change for the Soma Double Cross.

Mystery flats forced a tire change for the Soma Double Cross.

The forecast calls for a chance of rain and/or snow through Monday, and I beat the odds with today’s ride — a light drizzle began just as I hit the driveway.

Maybe it’s a good thing I swapped my tires out before I left. I had been running some portly 700×38 Schwalbe Little Bens on the Soma Double Cross, but the rear keeps going flat for no good reason. I’ve replaced tubes, checked the casing and the rim tape, you name it, and the sonofabitch still goes softer than Paul Ryan’s head when parked in the garage overnight.

Anyway, the DC now wears a frisky pair of 700×32 Panaracer Pasela TourGuards, and we’ll see tomorrow whether the garage gremlins treat the Japanese any better than they do the Germans.

Me, I’m being mistreated by allergies. Faugh. Our recent moisture is bringing all the neighborhood trees to hideous life. Look for pix of The House Back East®’s apricot tree in bloom here in a day or two as I gobble Claritin-D tabs like M&Ms.

 

 

I don’t know much about art, but. …

April 4, 2014
Spring has sprung, the grass has riz; I wonder where the flowers is.

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz; I wonder where the flowers is.

Well, look what the snow drug in.

That nice little dumper did wonders for what passes for a lawn here at Chez Dog (it’s kind of green, and it’s on the ground, so we call it a lawn). And there’s more precip’ in the forecast, so ’ray for April so far.

Elsewhere, something less appealing is crawling out from under its covering. It seems Alfred E. “Worry” Bush has turned his limited skill set to painting since leaving office, and an exhibition of his portraits has opened in Dallas.

You may be familiar with his previous works, “Afghanistan” and “Iraq,” bits of performance art that required gallons upon gallons of blood and bullshit. We can’t afford them, and don’t want or need them — they don’t even match the sofa, f’fucksake! — but we’re paying for them anyway.

Based on what we’ve seen of those, I’m surprised ol’ Alfred’s portraits could find an exhibition space loftier than a refrigerator door in a prison cafeteria. They certainly make a compelling argument for hanging more artists and fewer paintings.

 

 

Indoor sports

April 3, 2014
Oak Creek Grade, between Cañon City and Weirdcliffe, where a fella is definitely gonna want something lower than 30x30.

Oak Creek Grade, between Cañon City and Weirdcliffe, where a fella is definitely gonna want something lower than 30×30.

The silver maple in the front yard at Chez Dog wearing a thick coat of snowy goodness.

The silver maple in the front yard at Chez Dog wearing a thick coat of snowy goodness.

“Man plans, God laughs,” goes the Yiddish proverb.

So, naturally, as I was contemplating the intricacies,  logistics and amusements of a bicycle tour, Management reminded me that spring is only a word, an arbitrary date on a manmade calendar.

Yesterday I was motoring around Fremont and Custer counties with the windows down, scoping out various back roads between Florence and Weirdcliffe with a Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer in the passenger seat while tugging frequently from a water bottle. Today I awakened to a few inches of heavy, wet snow on the deck, with more on the way.

No complaints here, mind you. Water from on high is water I don’t have to buy from Colorado Springs Utilities. And it sure beats being on fire.

So it looks to be a fine day for hanging around indoors, viewing with alarm. For instance, I notice that the Supremes are trying to make it less onerous for the 1 percent to run the country the way they see fit. And a Colorado judge is intent on making it harder for the 99 percent to catch them at it.

I’m starting to think Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito are deserving of life terms after all. Not on the high court, mind you, but in Leavenworth, making little rocks out of big ones for their crimes against the people.

No foolin’

April 1, 2014
The Salsa Vaya, coming to an Adventure Cyclist issue near you.

The Salsa Vaya, coming to an Adventure Cyclist issue near you.

It’s New Bike Week here at Mad Dog Media, a 57cm Salsa Vaya 2 having arrived just in time for what passes for spring in these parts (37 degrees, 10-mph wind, etc., et al., and so on and so forth).

The Vaya is Salsa’s touring and “road adventure” bike — hey, all the roads are an adventure in these parts, Sparky — and it sports all the usual goodies, from braze-ons for racks and fenders and three bottle cages to a Shimano 105 10-speed drivetrain to some big ol’ honkin’ 700×40 Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires that weigh 940g (!) apiece.

The color is Smokey Blue Robinson, in case you were wondering.

We went for our maiden voyage yesterday, just an hour or so of chewing on the wind and inspecting some recently concluded work on the north-south bike path (fresh concrete, yay!). Once the temps inch up a bit we’ll do it again, because the weather wizards are calling for a chance of rain or snow Wednesday night.

 

An ill wind

March 30, 2014
The northwest side of the Cheyenne Trail in Palmer Park.

The northwest side of the Cheyenne Trail in Palmer Park.

Ah, jaysis. One of those forecasts. The devil must be eating beans again, because the wind is up, and it stinks.

After spending the morning working on various velo-projects and watching the trees prostrate themselves like monks before the altar I decided to leave all the bikes in the garage, no matter what class of tires they were wearing, and go for a 90-minute hike in Palmer Park.

Some dipshit lit the place up the other day, briefly, and with Beelzebub’s butt-trumpet blasting hell-farts hither and yon suddenly the Asplundh folks are in there turning foliage into sawdust. It’s either a fire-mitigation effort or a thinly disguised attempt to deny cover to those horny Bibleburgers who are either too free-spirited for a hotel or too cheap to rent a room, the park’s shadier nooks long having served as havens for spirited and unsanctioned rounds of Hide the Bishop.

There was none of that going on today — not that I saw, anyway — though I did spot what could have been a few post-coital cigarette butts along the way. There was, however, a veritable parade of mountain bikers disinclined to yield trail, unleashed dogs dropping deuces, and oblivious pedestrians.

One day these three factions will come together in some blind corner as yet uncleared by Asplundh and there will be a fine old donnybrook. I will sell tickets and use the proceeds to buy a house in some place where neither the wind nor the populace blows.

 


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