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By Patrick O'Grady
Mad Dog Media
0 6 | 2 9 | 2 0 0 7iDon't have an iPhone and iDon't care
Got your iPhone yet? Me, I'm waiting a while. My first-generation MacBook, just a matter of weeks out of warranty, has developed a buzz in the left side of the keyboard and a completely dead battery that caused me to spend an hour on the phone this morning, battling a phalanx of iTards who kept telling me that my machine and its battery were not covered by their little battery-replacement program.
I finally prevailed on the battery issue after going into Horrible Asshole Mode with a supervisor (Apple customer since 1989, eight happily functioning computers of various ages in the house, including a G3 500 "Pismo" PowerBook circa 2000 still running on its original battery, and the only one of these geezers around here making any bad noise is me because I'm asked to eat a $130 battery after a year of using this computer as an occasional playtoy, et al, et cetera and so on and so forth). Nobody wants to listen to that shit for any longer than necessary and so I have a fresh battery en route as we speak, free of charge. But I ain't buyin' no damn' iPhone. No, sir. Not until a few other folks have hung out on hold for a few hours and shouted themselves hoarse and the iPhone 2.0 is on sale for $150 with your choice of service providers (don't get me started on AT&T).
0 6 | 2 4 | 2 0 0 7Rest week
Well, kind of. I got sick of the sound of my own voice, and with a couple of deadlines on the horizon I decided it was best to shut the fuck up, save the venom for the paying customers and ride the bike a lot while consulting with my advisers, otherwise known as the voices in my head.
I got nearly 200 miles in since we last chatted so enjoyably, and that may explain why the legs feel a tad thick this evening, like tubes of traction sand left out in the rain. Two hunnerd miles ain't shit for the big boys, but it's a fur piece for a 53-year-old tosspot, even if a few of them were garbage miles spent cruising on the Green Machine, fetching grog, groceries and the long-awaited Jandd Economy Panniers (thanks to the guys and gals at Old Town Bike Shop). If this keeps up I may eventually shed that third butt cheek I grew over the past winter, eating far too much homemade Mexican food and whistling into empty wine bottles.
Elsewhere, it seems The Farce is strong with Darth Cheney, Larry King has scored The Big Interview with Paris Hilton, and anybody who knows how to blow something up is suddenly al Qaeda. Put out an APB on Tweety Bird, suspected of making puddy tats faw down and go BOOM! I want that fuckin' canary singing in Gitmo by close of business tomorrow. You hear me, Fredo?
0 6 | 1 7 | 2 0 0 7Bike Month redux
Hot, hot, hot. As per usual, Colorado has leapt straight from winter into summer, just as I decided to start riding some hills to crank up the volume. Oh, mur-der, as Bugs Bunny would say. Lots of time spent reaching for gears that aren't there with sunglasses slotted into the old helmet vents and sweating all over the top tube. I've been enjoying the Peregrin-Mountain Shadows steeps (what we used to call the Monastery Loop before some developer wiped his ass with the scenery) and the fabled 26th Street/Gold Camp time-trial climb, with a side of Bear Creek Regional Park trails. And today I was pooting around on Cheyenne Mountain through the Broadmoor, which at least offers some shade once you get into Golf Country. Nevertheless, I have a fine farmer's tan going on.
Rode the Green Machine to King Soopers for some vittles afterward, taking the scenic route to avoid the ugliest stretch of Uintah, between Cascade and Cooper. Your basic one-bag, $25 trip, as I still have no panniers, 17 days into my Noble Experiment. We're talking a six-pack of Stonyfield Farm yogurt and Bear Naked granola for breakfast plus La Baguette country-French bread and roasted turkey for lunch. Dinner was already squared away (some homemade pesto, pasta and a big-ass salad). Ran into a neighbor who cycles to work and also pilots a pink-seated neo-Vespa, preferring to leave the car parked come summer. She and her boyfriend are building her up a Jamis roadie, which should extend her range somewhat mountain bikes are fun if you happen to be riding on a mountain, but drop bars and 700c wheels are more versatile for getting around town.
Speaking of 700c wheels, I have a new set of R28 SL3 hoops courtesy of John Neugent at Neuvation Cycling (thanks, John). In the never-ending parade of parts swaps here in Dogpatch, the Shimano geek-wheels on my elderly DBR ti' road bike (that's it up there; click the image for a bigger pic) were transferred to the Steelman TT bike, and the Neuvations took their place on the DBR. Seeing as I'm sampling the high country these days, I took the opportunity to add a couple of teeth to the fat end of the cogset (the DBR now sports a 25 for the steeps), and with any luck I will not be weeping like a little girl the next time I tackle the Col du Peregrin.
And yeah, that's a 73-degree Ritchey stem on that bad boy. It's a whole lot cheaper than buying a new carbon fork with a shitload more steerer tube.
0 6 | 1 5 | 2 0 0 7Soma's fab
OK, I've put three hours on my Soma Fabrications Double Cross in the past two days, and while it may be a bit early in our relationship, I feel comfortable about saying that I like the little bugger. Definitely stiffer in the rear than the Voodoo Wazoo (which had a Reynolds 853 main triangle and who knows what in the tail section), and a better climber. A very agile, fun ride, and insanely inexpensive to boot. It's been on pavement, gravel path, chip seal and single-track and enjoys them all equally. No wonder Herself has been riding so much lately.
Elsewhere, the Basshole gets two years for "attempted doping," less the eight months he's spent on the sidelines smiling inscrutably like the Mona Lisa; Floyd is on a book tour (rumors to the contrary, the title is not "How I Didn't Do It: Give Me Some Money"); and the feebs in the New Jersey Assembly have approved a bill banning the sale of all bikes with quick-releases and "lawyer's tabs," which is basically every bicycle known to man. Read it and weep here.
As I noted in a post over at DrunkCyclist, stupidity should be painful. If you're too simple to properly operate a quick-release, you have no business being astride a bicycle. Instead, seek election to the New Jersey Assembly, where nitwits, pinheads and other two-legged tube steaks are apparently welcomed with open arms.
0 6 | 1 3 | 2 0 0 7It's alive!
There's a new bike in the DogHaus another Soma Fabrications Double Cross, this one for me (click the image for a larger view). Herself got one for Christmas and loves it.
Like hers, mine is a Frankenbike, an amalgamation of parts brutally stripped from other machines: eight-speed Ultegra bar-cons, Shimano 600 brake levers and rear derailleur, Ultegra front derailleur, an old XT crank (46/34) and cogset (12-28), Shimano BR-550 cantis, Time ATAC pedals, Michelin Jet tires on Mavic Open Pro hoops laced to Dura-Ace hubs, Chris King headset, Ritchey stem, Deda 215 bars, Off the Front tape, Flite saddle. My Voodoo Wazoo was the primary organ donor, but I had to discard its too-short Control Tech seat post for a USE boingy-post that was gathering dust in the garage. The bronze color is wrong, though, so I'll have to scare up a 27.2 silver post somewhere for art's sake.
I'm in between sizes as far as the Double Cross is concerned the frames have long top tubes, especially when you take their slight slant into consideration, so while I ordinarily ride a 55cm Steelman and a 56cm Voodoo, I went with a 54cm Soma 'cause I thought the 58.2cm (effective) TT on the 56cm frame would be just too damn' long.
That decision may come back to bite me in the ass I went to slap my right hand on the top tube during a dismount this afternoon and it wasn't where I expected it to be. And I may have trouble jamming my (ahem) burly right arm and shoulder into that smallish main triangle for carrying purposes.
But the Soma's top tube is the same length as the Voodoo's, and its wheelbase is the same as the Steelman's. Plus it feels both lively and comfy (Tange Prestige main triangle with a nice springy Tange steel fork, set up for low-rider racks and fenders). And it ain't like I'm gonna be racing 'cross world's anytime soon, so who cares if I fumble a dismount or two?
In point of fact, this bike may wind up replacing the Green Machine as my around-town bike. It's a whole lot lighter, at 22.5 pounds; it'll take a rear rack and panniers; and it's black, just like my aura.
Bad News Department: Mr. Wizard is conducting his final experiment.
Good News Department: I don't have to go to Interbike this year. More on that topic later.
0 6 | 1 2 | 2 0 0 7Bike Month revisited
There's all kinds of monstrous crap going on in the nation and world, a foul cornucopia overflowing with carnage, criminality and creepiness, but to hell with it. Let's talk about bicycling for a change. I got something like 150 miles in last week, and 41 of those were logged doing business astride the Green Machine, my Bianchi Castro Valley, in honor of Colorado Bike Month.
I'm surprised at how short most of my regular trips (generally made in a car) are. Downtown? Four-mile round trip. Coaltrain Wine & Liquor? Two and a half. The back-cracker? Seven (although there is a not-insubstantial hill involved). The longest trip I make on a semi-regular basis is out to the Whole Foods on North Academy, and I have blown that off until I can devise a route that will keep my vital organs and blood supply inside my body where they belong.
With Whole Foods out of bounds, I've been shopping at our undistinguished neighborhood Safeway, which for a guy who likes to cook is not unlike being an angler restricted to fishing in a septic tank. The tomatoes I bought there a couple days ago have already devolved into some hellish red-orange goo. So yesterday, when I found myself in possession of a little spare time, I rode out to the Wild Oats on Powers to fetch some ingredients for a recipe out of Mario Batali's "Molto Italiano" (Linguine con Granchio). It was a 16-mile round trip, 40 minutes out, 30 minutes back, with a hair-raising moment in that goddamned roundabout some fucktard thought would help mitigate traffic issues, the same way Numbnuts thinks stuffing more grunts into the meat grinder will eventually have Iraqis singing, "Kumbaya." But I found everything I needed.
Next it was back to the ranch to off-load the chow, then downtown to Vintage's Wines & Spirits, whose staff has recommended a few inexpensive table wines that I've enjoyed Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir Central Coast 2005 from Cycles Winery, Soledad, California, Tarrica Pinot Noir 2005, and Rolling, a 2006 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon from Australia. And finally, at long last, it was home again, home again, for a swiggity-swig.
Finding decent grub and booze in the same ZIP code is one of the biggest hurdles I face in going car-free, the others being laziness and a lack of panniers to increase my payload capacity. My order for a set of Jandd Economy Panniers has gotten sideways somehow, forcing me to make do with an ancient Rhode Gear rack trunk and, occasionally, a Timbuk2 messenger bag.
Meanwhile, today's "training ride" ground north and west into the Peregrine clusterplex, up West Woodmen Road and into the Mountain Shadows yuppie ghetto, and oh, ho, was it ever comical. I was going uphill about as well as a piano full of ball bearings pushed by Andy Dick on roller skates, grunting along at 8-10 mph at one point in the 39x23 and imploring the Dark Lord (Darth Cheney) to use The Force and transmute that 23 to a 25. No dice. I'm a pussy and a registered Democrat. Plus I've never shot a hunting buddy or ratted out a CIA agent to Bob Novak. Happily, I have a brand-new set of Neuvation wheels, plus a 12-25 cogset to slap on it, and tomorrow I will ascend like Our Lord en route to Heaven, or maybe a 53-year-old fat bastard with a pair of lighter road wheels and two more teeth en route to Blodgett Peak Open Space.
Turkish Today: Our rapidly growing kitten have I mentioned that "she" is actually a "he?" has discovered the joys of climbing trees, as you can see above.
0 6 | 0 8 | 2 0 0 7Irony, thought dead, returns to life as an Albanian Republican
As a retired Communist, Fourth Class, I shouldn't laugh at shit like this, but I just can't help myself. From The New York Times:For One Visit, Bush Will Feel Pro-U.S. Glow
TIRANA, Albania, June 8 The highlight of President Bush's European tour may well be his visit on Sunday to this tiny country, one of the few places left where he can bask in unabashed pro-American sentiment without a protester in sight.
Americans here are greeted with a refreshing adoration that feels as though it comes from another time.
"Albania is for sure the most pro-American country in Europe, maybe even in the world," said Edi Rama, Tirana's mayor and leader of the opposition Socialists. "Nowhere else can you find such respect and hospitality for the president of the United States. Even in Michigan, he wouldn't be as welcome."
"President Bush is safer in Albania than in America," said Ermin Gjinishti, a Muslim leader in Albania.
The Stalinists among you may recall the last guy the Albanians thought so hotsy-totsy. Assuming any of you are still alive, that is.
0 6 | 0 7 | 2 0 0 7Cycling in the news
Will wonders never cease? Another photo spread and copy block about cycling in this morning's Gazette, but this time on the Business front, 'cause it doesn't make any mention of doping. It was a squib on Bike to Work Day, which despite 50-mph winds brought out some 900 cyclists, including judges on mountain bikes and families on unicycles. No word on whether any Gazette sports editors were in attendance, but there was free food involved, so it's a possibility.
Look for cycling to return to the Sports section tomorrow after today's news that the Belgian fuzz raided the homes of Quick Step-Innergetic staff and riders and seized doping products. A dozen people were arrested, according to Agence France Presse. That horrible sound you just heard was hundreds of sponsors worldwide tearing up checks.
I didn't bike to work yesterday because my morning commute is from the bed to the coffeepot to the computer, a journey of some 25 steps. But I did run for a half hour, walk to the Safeway and cycle to Coaltrain for a couple jugs of tonsil polish. My friend and colleague Hal "The AssMaster" Walter is pushing Smoking Loon these days, but I'd forgotten his urgent recommendation and rolled home with an undistinguished Aussie sauv' blanc and a tasty bottle of Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red.
Meanwhile, if you ever wondered whether the American justice system might just be queered in favor of the rich and powerful, or the simply rich, consider your worst fears confirmed Paris Hilton got sprung for home detention after just three days in the celebrity hoosegow. She had a solo 12-by-8 cell in the "special needs" section of the Lynwood lockup, with meals delivered and a daily hour outside. Sounds like it beat the mortal shit out of the Denver drunk tank I spent part of the 1977 Labor Day weekend in for a much-lower-profile bout of acting the fool. But as Dorothy once said, "There's no place like home." Just ask Robert Jablon of The Associated Press, who notes that Ms. Hilton's new lockup "is a four-bedroom, three-bathroom, Spanish-style home on 0.14 acre above the Sunset Strip." Oh, the humanity.
0 6 | 0 5 | 2 0 0 7One for the road
M'boy Big Jonny at DrunkCyclist is shifting gears, moving his act over to WordPress, where it can be updated more frequently (and more easily), and where it will lack a certain, shall we say, "me love you long time" quality. That's right, The Big Man is throttling back the porn and cranking up the literature, and I may be chucking a choice word or two into the stew from time to time, so stop in and say hello to the new DrunkCyclist.com.
Speaking of cycling and tippling, this being Colorado Bike Month and all, we are tasting a couple of new wines here in Dog Country: Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir Central Coast 2005 from Cycles Winery, Soledad, California, owned by Hahn Estates, and Rolling, a 2006 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon from Australia. Both are tasty, cheap and worthy of your attention. Plus they fit in an elderly Rhode Gear rack trunk and still leave room for your wallet, keys, cell phone, pistol and rain jacket (yeah, it's still doing that shit here).
0 6 | 0 4 | 2 0 0 7Elephant dung
I can't quite grasp the Gazette's editorial philosophy regarding cycling. Actual racing, local or otherwise, is generally ignored. Coverage of the activity itself is generally restricted to the Life section. Unless you're talking about doping, in which case cycling is suddenly worthy of inclusion in the Sports section.
But every now and then the editors throw you a curve. In today's edition, the Gazette ran a front-page photo of Sunday's 20th Elephant Rock Cycling Festival, teasing a photo spread on page 6 of the Sports section. Out of character, you think? Not being an actual race, this would be better suited to the Life section, you say? Ah, but you haven't read the text accompanying the pics. Only the first graf dealt with the joys of this recreational ride through El Paso and Douglas counties. The remainder? You got it doping. Or, rather, six recreational cyclists' opinions regarding doping at the elite level of the sport. Jesus wept. How come these feebs never visit a city-league softball game and grill the participants about Barry Bonds?
The best part: Whoever wrote the copy block had Tyler Hamilton and Ivan Basso getting two-year bans from the Operación Puerto inquiry. Give us back to the Life section, guys, and go play with your sticks and balls.
Meanwhile, June being Colorado Bike Month, I'm in my fourth consecutive day of carlessness (not carelessness, which is par for the course around here). Amazing how much your circle shrinks once you park the car. Wild Oats and Whole Foods are 20-minute drives on evil roads, and so are out of bounds until I score a larger pair of testicles and couple of panniers to augment the rack trunk. There's no point making either of those hairy, scary trips if you can only fetch home a couple of Clif Bars and a chamois full of poo. Happily, there's a marginal Safeway a 10-minute walk to the north, and the infinitely preferable Mountain Mama's and a recently remodeled King Soopers are a short ride to the west. When we get sick of eating my cooking, downtown and a surprising number of serviceable restaurants are all of 2.25 miles south.
Grog is even easier to find. We're right next to Colorado College, and where there are college kids, there's booze. We've got more bottle shops than churches around here, which is just the way God likes it.
The biggest issue right now is the daily rainstorm. It's been raining and/or hailing like a sumbitch every afternoon for the better part of quite some time, so a guy who does everything on two wheels or afoot had better take care of business early or fetch plenty of Gore-Tex along.
Here's another project in honor of Bike Month: I rebuilt my old Steelman time-trial bike (above), which had been hanging forlornly in a dank corner of my garage, sans Profile cowhorns and Scott clip-ons, deep-section ZIPP wheels, eight-speed Ultegra bar-end shifters and rear derailleur, Dia-Compe back-assward brake levers, Avenir ti-rail saddle, Salsa stem, Control Tech seatpost and water-bottle-cage bolts. I thought I had everything I needed tucked away in one dusty box or another, but its old stem had vanished mysteriously, along with its weirdo seat post (a 26.8mm), and so I had to spend some money for an American Classic post and a Torelli high-rise stem to accommodate my deteriorating Democratic backbone. Then I put it all together and took it for a spin around the neighborhood using a pair of Mavic hoops lifted from Herself's road bike (she'll never know). I'd have ridden the Specialized Tri-Spokes in the pic, but the disc-wheel chuck for my Silca pump has also disappeared, leaving me with no way to inflate the rubber. I have a nifty pair of tubie wheels, too, a bladed-spoked front and an ancient seven-speed Mavic Comete disc. Maybe I'll try a duathlon this summer. What the hell? It's the sports car I'll never have, so I might as well drive it.
0 5 | 3 0 | 2 0 0 7Did I jinx him?
Looks like I spoke too soon the other day. Aketza Peña (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has bailed from the Giro d'Italia and been suspended by his team after a positive test for nandrolone. The good news is, the test wasn't from the Giro, but from stage one of the Giro de Trentino. And it's only the A sample. Maybe he just had a few shots and beers the night before. Or blew a bodybuilder in an Italian bathhouse. But I keed, I keed. . . .
In honor of the maglia rosa here in Bibleburg we have been drinking Italian wines on the recommendation of the fine folks at Coaltrain Wine & Liquor. Two favorites have been a Tuscan red, a 2004 Rosso di Altesino, and a 2005 Zenato San Benedetto Lugana. Some unkind sorts would say that, like Steinbeck's Mack in "Sweet Thursday," we would drain the embalming fluid off our dead grandma, but to them we say, "Only if Coaltrain were closed." As they were on Sunday. Sorry, Gramma.
Meanwhile, the monsoons continue. It's great I get up, drink some coffee, earn my meager living and get out for a few fat-burning miles and then the rains come in, greatly reducing my water bill. The neighborhood looks like the Willamette Valley in Oregon, only with fewer hairy-legged women, banana slugs and ganja farms.
And, oh, yeah, before I forget that cute little kitty, Turkish, as pictured above, napping on my drawing board, next to the iBook? Turns out she is a he, with a pink thing like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Either that or she has a mighty big Guinea worm in her hoo-hoo. I'll spare you the digital imagery.
0 5 | 2 7 | 2 0 0 7Watch your line!
Kinda missed a few days there, didn't we? I kind of got hypnotized by the serial mea culpas that have supplanted the actual racing at the professional level. It's not unlike the old Tour of the Alpine Banks in Glenwood Springs, which had a hideous vertical crit whose downhill leg included an off-camber left-hander dubbed "Carnage Corner." I watched rider after rider lose it there, sliding across the street, slamming into the curb, somersaulting onto lawns, and by the time my race came up I had lost all interest in anything beyond living through the sonofabitch. And this was something I was doing for fun. Now I've made a living of it well, of observing it, anyway and I keep dreading whatever lies in wait around the next corner, even though I've taken more than one lap on this course and should know it reasonably well by now.
There's what, a week left in the Giro d'Italia? I couldn't tell you the top 10 at gunpoint. Haven't followed it at all, and the few stories I've edited were just words in a row, with punctuation and paragraph marks. Frankly, I could give a shit. A guy doesn't have to have a deep, abiding love for crime to edit a burglary story.
But you know what? I saw part of today's stage on TV (well, Internet video, anyway) and it was still gripping. This must be what keeps boxing fans coming back. They know their "sweet science" is rigged, fixed, queered in a half-dozen different ways, but they keep buying ringside tickets or springing for the pay-per-view. Hell, I got so caught up in today's stage, I almost forgot what I was watching. A fraud, a crime in progress. Or maybe not. I haven't heard of anyone testing positive. Yet.
0 5 | 2 2 | 2 0 0 7Mission accomplished!
The Iraqis are getting hosed at the gas pumps just like us, only more so. If gas in Aspen has topped four smacks per gallon, well, your average Iraqi is coughing up $1.22 for a gallon of watered-down go-juice about 10 times what he paid before Operation Iraqi Freedom. Think about that next time you're topping off the Escalade for the two-block trip to the 7-Eleven for another pack of Luckies and a Diet Pepsi.
0 5 | 1 9 | 2 0 0 7Why do you think they call it dope?
There's fresh rantage up at VeloNews.com. This one's on the Floyd Landis arbitration hearing, which is not exactly an episode of "Law & Order." More like a chapter out of "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight." It's never been clearer that WADA and USADA should be testing for brains instead of drugs. There would be a lot fewer positives, believe you me.
I don't know how much longer I can keep writing semi-fresh copy on that rancid heap of maggoty, dope-swollen turds in Lycra that calls itself the professional peloton. From the looks of things, most of these guys are so twisted that they need two soigneurs to help them screw their bib shorts on every morning for the ride down to the pharmacist's office. And writing about them, even in a satirical vein, is starting to feel like being a fisherman restricted to angling in septic tanks, porta-johns and water-treatment plants.
I'm not even following the Giro d'Italia, in no small measure because I've been enjoying a little downtime, but also because I could give a shit. Instead, I've been out riding my own bikes, including the nifty Bianchi Castro Valley below. I may have to put an LX rear derailleur and an 11-32 cassette on the sonofabitch if I expect to be hauling grog and groceries around with it, though. All the good stores are uphill from here, and in both directions, too.
0 5 | 1 5 | 2 0 0 7It's enough to give a guy gas
We're looking at $3.25 per gallon here in Bibleburg, and it ain't done risin' yet, if you believe the Rocky Mountain News. I've done a few minor parts swaps on the Bianchi Castro Valley townie that Sky Yaeger was kind enough to cut me a deal on before she shifted over to Swobo, and plan to weather the summer from the saddle.
It's largely pointless I don't have to drive to work, so I gas up maybe every three weeks. But what the hell? It's not like I don't need the exercise. The last time I rode past a shopfront window in Lycra I thought maybe a giant red balloon animal had blown west from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Elsewhere, God has finally gotten around to recalling a defective product; John Ashcroft was a stronger advocate for civil liberties than Alberto Gonzales; and both Clinton and Obama will vote for the Feingold Amendment, whatever the fuck that means. Vancouver looks better every day.
0 5 | 1 1 | 2 0 0 7What are they smoking in Hollywood?
The depiction of smoking may soon determine whether a film merits a PG-13 or R rating, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. Jesus wept. How'bout you people pay less attention to making movies in which characters suck smoke and concentrate on making movies that don't suck, period? I mean, shit, which one of you nitwits green-lighted "Delta Farce?" Here's the synopsis from the local rag, which declined to review it: "National Guardsmen deployed to Iraq (redneck comics Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall) are mistakenly dropped off in Mexico, where they try to liberate 'Iraqi' villagers from the Federales and their bandito leader Carlos Santana (no, not the singer)." Laugh, I thought I'd die.
0 5 | 0 8 | 2 0 0 7Basso fishing
Ivan Basso comes clean. Well, kinda, sorta. He says he never actually doped, but he thought about it, so much so that a few bags of his own blood wound up stashed, under his dog's name, at a Spanish gynecologist's offices. Nope, nothing fishy about that. Hence, fresh rantage up at VeloNews.com.
Meanwhile, the sun is finally back out again, and I got to go for a run in shorts. Tomorrow I'm going for a ride, if I can remember how to make the pedals go around. Could be worse, though: My man Hal says they got 14 inches of snow up in Weirdcliffe out of this last storm. All we got was rain.
0 5 | 0 6 | 2 0 0 7Cheers
A friend forwards news of a most excellent book reviewed in The New York Times "The Joy of Drinking," by Barbara Holland.
Writers who imbibe come in for some examination (although my own tippling apparently has gone overlooked). Dylan Thomas apparently defined an alcoholic as "someone you don't like who drinks as much as you do." I'll drink to that.
On second thought, maybe I'd better cut down a bit. I could swear I just saw a kitten in a sack go tumbling past. Not quite as dire as pink elephants, but certainly not indicative of mental health.
0 5 | 0 5 | 2 0 0 7Up the rebels
A busy day in history today. Communist theoretician Karl Marx was born in 1818, and Irish Republican Army hunger striker Bobby Sands died in 1981 on his 66th day without food in the Maze Prison. I've long since lost my old "Sure I'm a Marxist!" T-shirt (Chico, Groucho, Harpo and Karl), but my Bobby Sands "Spirit of Irish Freedom" shirt is still around here somewhere. In their honor we will be drinking a bottle of Laurel Glen Reds ("A Wine for the People") this evening. Remember, kids, when you're smashing the State, keep a smile on your lips and a song on your heart. And don't forget to eat something now and then.
0 5 | 0 4 | 2 0 0 7The Further Adventures of Commander Guy
I gotta quit reading the news. Stuff like this is making me crazy. How much longer can it be before Captain George W. Queeg gets a pair of steel ball bearings to rattle in his palsied hand and starts jabbering about strawberries?
Meanwhile, here in Colorado the price of a gallon of regular unleaded has topped $3 a gallon. Time to sell the Ford Erection and spend a couple G's on a Bruce Gordon BLT?
Late update: While we're on the subject of cycling (a rare thing indeed on this site), the Graeme Obree biopic The Flying Scotsman hits selected screens worldwide this weekend. If you see it, drop me a note with your review. Maybe it'll wind up on VeloNews.com, and before you can say "UCI" you'll have as many enemies in the sport as I do.
0 5 | 0 3 | 2 0 0 7Symphony for Butt-Flute, by Ronald Reagan
The GOP candidates for president will "debate" tonight at the Ronald Reagan Comic Book & Movie Script Library. It should be amusing to watch 10 Pachyderms running in 10 different directions from the current occupant of the Oval Office, as if this were a cartoon and he were a mouse instead of a rat. Or not. I think I'll give this exercise in oral flatulence a miss, thanks all the same.
On the Donk side of the beauty contest, Hillary Clinton and Robert Byrd apparently plan to introduce legislation to de-authorize the war in Iraq. Bravo, if a tad late. This, too, should be entertaining, on a par with watching a cat frantically trying to cover up a turd on a tile floor. Meanwhile, Ms. Clinton's main rival for the Big Gig, Barack Obama, will be getting Secret Service protection. As Jason Zengerle at The Plank notes, this is both good and bad news. I've long thought that if Obama ever looked like a sure thing, some redneck pinhead would try to pop a cap in his ass. But this will also have the effect of making him less approachable. And last time I looked, the Treasury Department of which the SS is a part was still in the hands of the Evil Empire. That's a big-ass fly on Obama's wall.
Speaking of creepy giant bugs, the U.S. attorney scandal is rapidly morphing into something with legs about a jillion of 'em, and big compound eyes and wings and slobbery venomous fangs and oh, Christ, it's coming this way! Happily, it only eats attorney generals.
0 5 | 0 1 | 2 0 0 7Arise, ye prisoners of starvation
The Great Helmscat wishes you a joyous May Day, free of the oppressor's boot, the profit motive and cute li'l kitties, which are without doubt running dogs in cats' clothing, counterrevolutionaries and enemies of the state.
Alas, there was no rest for the working class in the People's Republic of Dogpatch today. The struggle continues editing for VeloNews.com, cartoons for Bicycle Retailer & Industry News, and various other propaganda-related chores. Plus it rained like a sumbitch, which explains Chairman Meow's scowl. There are no sunny spots on the sidewalk upon which to recline, thinking deep thoughts about establishing self-criticism sessions in re-education camps for all kittens.
0 4 | 3 0 | 2 0 0 7Chairman Meow meets the Great Leap Forward
What the hell do the Chinese know about anything? The ideogram for "trouble" is said to be "two women living under one roof." It should be "two cats living under one roof.
Chairman Meow has been playing Darth Vader to Turkish's Luke Skywalker ever since we became a two-cat household, though so far the Dark Lord of the Hissth has yet to sever any of the Jedi kitten's limbs, claim to be her father or deliver her into the evil clutches of the Emperor, who is probably Mr. Tinkles from "Cats & Dogs."
This may be because Turkish is too young and foolish to realize that Chairman Meow would like nothing better than to take her for a long wok, and thus remains unfazed by the Glare of Doom. In point of fact, this hyperactive fuzzball chased The Great Helmscat up the basement steps, through the kitchen and under the living-room table the other day, after which much incomprehensible and pointless Marxist hissing commenced. It sounded like a drunken Stalin pissing out a flaming copy of "Das Kapital" clutched in Trotsky's hand. Yet another reason why Communism can never succeed.
0 4 | 2 9 | 2 0 0 7Vitamin D, stat!
Two sunny, warm days in a row. Fat city. Went for a 'cross-bike ride with Herself out to the AFA and back on Saturday, then sprawled on the back deck and sipped a little wine. Today it was a road-bike outing with O'Schenk, a recovery ride to Falcon and back (he raced yesterday, and pretty much any ride with me is a recovery ride for someone who's racing).
We swung by Big Bill McBeef's place on the way home and chided him for being a layabout, a sluggard and a blot on the Dogs' otherwise-spotless reputation. He failed to display the proper obeisance (belly up, tail between legs), and so I expect we will have to mail him a package of fish sticks wrapped in a Mad Dog jersey. After that comes the head of a stuffed dog. Then we get nasty.
Much yard work commenced shortly thereafter and I fear I have become a tad pink as a consequence. Thank Dog I put on a hat after about a half hour or my head would look like a bearded tomato.
0 4 | 2 8 | 2 0 0 7Rocky Mountain PBS sucks
Judas Priest. We sit down last night to catch Bill Moyers' official return to public television he was to speak with Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo and Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" only to learn that the programming geniuses at Rocky Mountain PBS have bumped it in favor of their fund-raising auction, which runs an astounding 16 days. These bozos spend more time panhandling than an entire Hooverville full of winos. Moyers, meanwhile, has been shifted to 11 a.m. Sunday morning, when anyone with sense and/or TiVo will be out riding his bicycle. I have neither, but I'll be out riding anyway. Maybe I can catch Moyers' act online.
0 4 | 2 6 | 2 0 0 7Car bombs? What car bombs?
Another dispatch from the reality-based community: Seems that in order to declare a dramatic decline in sectarian violence in Iraq, the Busheviks have decided to quit counting casualties from car bombings. Notes James Denselow, an Iraq specialist at London-based Chatham House, a foreign policy think tank: "Since the administration keeps saying that failure is not an option, they are redefining success in a way that suits them." This new metric should be popular with schoolchildren eager to redefine poor report cards. "I'm really doing quite well, if you overlook all those F's."
Meanwhile, give the latest from Joe Bageant a read.
0 4 | 2 5 | 2 0 0 7The Farce is strong in this one
Over at The Washington Post, Dana Milbank pens a snarky column about Dennis Kucinich introducing articles of impeachment against Darth Cheney. Hey, so he has the chances of an Ewok going up against an Imperial walker at least give Dennis Skywalker his props for taking on the Dark Lord.
Elsewhere, as if the political process hasn't plunged deeply enough into farce, the Rupert Murdoch-owned digital dogpile MySpace and some reality-TV dickweed are pitching a show called "Independent" that would, yes, pick a candidate for president and lay a cool million on him (or her) to either run a race or support another political-action committee or cause. And to think Milbank accuses Kucinich of jacking off in public.
Turkish Today: More fun with technology. Herself was futzing around with some digital video of Turkish the kitten yesterday, going witless while trying to decipher iMovie HD, and I remembered I had some video of the little demon assaulting a shoelace affixed to my office door's doorknob. So here it is, in QuickTime via the much simpler iMovie.
And while we're talking about must-see TV, don't forget about tonight's Bill Moyers journal, entitled "Buying the War." It's due up at 9 p.m. Eastern time. For more, see the BMJ blog.
0 4 | 2 4 | 2 0 0 7What's up, Doc?
Here we go again. Exogenous testosterone found in Floyd Landis's Tour samples. Ivan Basso suspended in doping inquiry. What are we doing here, recycling 2006? Like it wasn't bad enough the first time around?
Here in Bibleburg we're recycling winter. It's snowing sideways, to no particular effect, though I guess the higher elevations are seeing something a lot like blizzard conditions. But that's Colorado for you. Yesterday I felt distinctly overdressed, wearing a long-sleeved jersey and leg warmers for a 90-minute ride; today I put on a hooded Gore-Tex jacket to fetch the paper.
This has been one of those "fine soft days" that led my ancestors to invent whisky during a lull in clan warfare. Temps in the low 30s; rain, sleet and snow driven by the dire sort of wind one associates with a White House talking point or a mass fart at a feedlot; and grayer than Darth Cheney's complexion when he's between hourly feedings of fresh human blood.
Speaking of which, despite a serious kink in one of his Freon tubes, the Dark Lord himself tottered out of his freezer to call Harry Reid a pussy for listening to the electorate instead of the voices in his head, then scuttled, hissing, under a large rock on the Capitol lawn.
Over at the White House, meanwhile, Gen. George Armstrong Bush is continuing to use Alberto Gonzales as a human flak jacket for himself and Turd Blossom, in no small measure because that's all he's good for. In fact, when this numbnuts is standing next to him, grinning like a jackass eating yellowjackets, ol' Georgie looks about half-bright by comparison.
Late update: Bill Moyers is back with a new edition of his PBS journal entitled, "Buying the War." Scope it out Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern time. For more, see the BMJ blog.
0 4 | 2 3 | 2 0 0 7The obituaries
David Halberstam is dead. So is Boris Yeltsin. As for President Alfred E. "Worry" Bush, well he's only dead from the neck up.
Closer to home, the Humane Society fuzzy-fuzz was patrolling the neighborhood this evening as we dined, and we couldn't quite figure out why, until we found the following note on our front stoop:pleese cum take thee kittie
that is heer
we dont need her
wee hav plenty
yoo can gass this one
We can understand the thinking behind the note. What we're having trouble grasping is how Ike managed to get the State involved in a personal vendetta without opposable thumbs, a working familiarity with telecommunications and friends in the Republican Party.
0 4 | 2 1 | 2 0 0 7Scrap irony
A colleague forwards the following slightly doctored news item:In his weekly radio address today, President Bush said he was forming a multi-agency panel in response to this week's shooting in Virginia. "Our society continues to wrestle with the question of how to handle individuals whose mental-health problems can make them a danger to themselves and to others," the president said.
The new panel quickly issued a recommendation: Impeachment.
That's almost as funny as Rich Little headlining at tonight's White House Correspondents Association dinner. What an appalling shower of bastards. No wonder it's taken something like six years to get some semi-serious White House coverage out of this pack of wankers. Remember your H.L. Mencken: "The only way a reporter should look at a politician is down."
Stumbled across Alison Dunlap in Palmer Park yesterday. She's busy running clinics and coaching, and looks like she could still kick plenty ass if she woke up grumpy some morning. Me, I look like I got plenty ass, and I'm grumpy every damn' morning. Thus, an extended cyclo-cross ride today is indicated.
Turkish Today: Shoestrings tied to doorknobs are big, big fun. So is climbing into bookcases, walking on computer keyboards and climbing up people's legs while they're trying to work. Older cats suck, especially when they're puffed up to the size of giant poison toadstools and hissing like Satan's teakettle while the fiery red 666 stands out on their horned foreheads.
Those of who who are sick unto death of pictures of cute li'l kitty-cats may enjoy photos of the backyard tulips. Or not.
0 4 | 2 0 | 2 0 0 7Not-So-Speedy Gonzales
The New York Times editorial board takes a giant shit on Alberto Gonzales. Among the highlights:Mr. Gonzales came across as a dull-witted apparatchik incapable of running one of the most important departments in the executive branch. At the end of the day, we were left wondering why the nation's chief law-enforcement officer would paint himself as a bumbling fool. Perhaps it's because the alternative is that he is not telling the truth. We don't yet know whether Mr. Gonzales is merely so incompetent that he should be fired immediately, or whether he is covering something up. But if we believe the testimony that neither he nor any other senior Justice Department official was calling the shots on the [attorneys] purge, then the public needs to know who was.
Contrast that with the statement from President Alfred E. "Worry" Bush:The Attorney General has the full confidence of the President, and he appreciates the work he is doing at the Department of Justice to help keep our citizens safe from terrorists, our children safe from predators, our government safe from corruption, and our streets free from gang violence.
How about keeping our citizens safe from the Republican Party? I guess that's just too much to ask.
Elsewhere, Kevin Drum notes the same news item I did about the "evolving" White House strategy in Iraq he just got around to writing about it quicker than I did. Seems as I was standing down, he was standing up. I hate it when that happens.
0 4 | 1 9 | 2 0 0 7He just wasn't made for these times
John McCain managed to channel both Ronald Reagan and Mike Love during a campaign appearance on Wednesday. A man in the audience asked, "How many times do we have to prove that these people are blowing up people now, never mind if they get a nuclear weapon, when do we send 'em an airmail message to Tehran?" McCain responded by singing a distinctly militarized version of the Beach Boys' classic "Barbara Ann":"That old, eh, that old Beach Boys song, 'Bomb Iran,'" he said in jest Wednesday, chuckling with the crowd. Then, he softly sang to the melody: "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, anyway, ah ..." The audience responded with more laughter.
No word on whether he followed with the Willie Nelson ballad made famous by Patsy Cline "Crazy."
Speaking of crazy: I haven't ridden my mountain bike in about a million years, so I broke it out and went looking for the dry spots in Palmer Park. Ho, ho. I may not be the worst mountain biker in the world, but I can hold his spot at the end of the line for him until he shows up. The only talent I displayed was for riding through deep sand, and I suspect that had more to do with the knobby 2.1 Panaracers than with any skill of mine. Still, it was nice to have suspension for a change (an old RockShox Judy and a USE seatpost), given my advanced age and state of decrepitude. And it kept me from watching Alberto Gonzales make a sap out of himself. Doesn't matter how many Repugs piss on his wingtips, Spanky the Monkey ain't gonna jerk the Justice Department rug out from under him until impeachment jerks the Oval office rug out from under him. What a colossal waste of time and money.
0 4 | 1 8 | 2 0 0 7Big Crack Attack
CrackBerries down nationwide. Thousands weep. People forced to actually speak to one another. Oh, the humanity.
Meanwhile, it's National Columnists' Day. According to the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (yes, there is such a thing), National Columnists Day was established in 1995 as a way "to reflect on the way newspaper columnists connect, educate, comfort, encourage, celebrate, outrage and occasionally even amuse readers. . ." April 18 was selected to commemorate the death of legendary columnist Ernest Pyle, who never laid his hands on a BlackBerry, even a dysfunctional one.
Late update: Alas, we hardly need an Ernie Pyle to bring the wars home for us these days. Even madmen have the foresight to send out press releases. Maybe this is one of the reasons our new kitten has proven so popular with the readership. She has no fratricidal issues, not even with Chairman Meow, who has been loudly yowling pertinent passages from The Little Red Book while she adjusts to a new junior comrade in our Politburo. So here's another shot of Turkish in the lap of luxury. OK, so it's the lap of a 53-year-old malcontent whose Elly Mae-like soft spot for critters was engaged in a tug-of-war with a series of deadlines. Turkish, bless her heart, tried to help, sporadically leaping out of the lap and onto the keyboard, and so any malapropisms you may unearth in either VeloNews or Bicycle Retailer & Industry News are hers and hers alone.
0 4 | 1 7 | 2 0 0 7More horror, less terror, please
A correspondent notes that the Cheerleader-in-Chief's horror at the slaughter in Virginia seems a little surprising, given the terror he's unleashed throughout the world. But President Alfred E. "Worry" Bush isn't the only Yank who can flick his horror detector on and off like a light switch. Consider the average American's ability to digest massacres elsewhere while bravely continuing to shop; the same person goes absolutely goggle-eyed when brutality visits us at home.
For instance, I don't recall the 24-hour news cycle going "all massacre, all the time," when 20 Iraqis turned up bound and executed after Lucas McCain's little photo op at that Baghdad market. Hell, Don Imus's flapping yap got more press, and the only thing that loudmouth bonehead killed was his career. And Fort Carson here in Bibleburg has lost 197 soldiers since the invasion in 2003. But that must be different somehow, perhaps because the blood is spilled in tidy little puddles over a period of years instead of all at once.
Meanwhile, how many of you found it educational that the Repugs went straight from gasps of shock to sucking up to their militant Second Amendment base of heavily armed knuckleheads? The first statement I heard from the White House involved an assistant press secretary mumbling some nonsense about the prez' supporting Americans' right to keep and bear arms, a bit of unintentional comedy that was quickly echoed and amplified by McCain, who seems fixated on trying to out-dummy the Shrub.
All due respect to the dead and those who knew and loved them, but I've never understood our selective response to murderous criminality.
Snubbed again: Once again I have failed to win the Pulitzer for Inflammatory Bullshit. Damn The Man!
Kitten update: Turkish is gleefully kicking a rubber band's ass in my office while Ike sulks in a dark corner of the basement. This will give me a moment to Bactine my legs, which Turkish has been using as a ladder to the lap. A correspondent and cat fancier asks whether her name has anything to do with the lead character in the film "Snatch" the answer is yes, it does. But it also has to do with her being part Turkish Van.
0 4 | 1 6 | 2 0 0 7Meet Turkish
There's nothing I can say about the nightmare in Virginia that could possibly help anyone make any sense of it, including me, so I've decided to skip the news and run with a photo of our new kitten, Turkish, a fluffy white witches' familiar shown here being prepared by Herself for the traditional ritual presentation to the Dark Lord, Darth Cheney. 'E's a useless shite, that boy. Punish 'im for me, 'Arold.
Late update: In case you're wondering, the O.C. (Original Cat), Ike, a.k.a Chairman Meow, Ho Chi Meow, Mary Tyler Meow, et al, is not amused at sharing the house with Turkish. She has spent most of the past 12 hours crouched on the back of the couch, growling. In point of fact, she sounds very much like Cheney dissing the Donks on Fox News.
0 4 | 1 5 | 2 0 0 7O'Grady wins Paris-Roubaix
I always wanted to see that headline somewhere. And now I have. Stuey's not only a top-flight bike racer, he's smarter than John McCain, as this pre-Paris-Roubaix quote amply demonstrates: "We have to have a plan A, B and C. Obviously we have a plan A but you have to have backup plans in the case something else happens."
0 4 | 1 4 | 2 0 0 7Sign of the apocalypse
Bike racing in Colorado Springs who'da thunk it? A hill climb up North Cheyenne Cañon got croaked by the weather, but today's Colorado College criterium came off as scheduled. Plenty of disgustingly young people clustered around to watch along with a smattering of velo-geezers, including Your Humble Narrator, Michael and Susan O'Schenk and John Crandall of Old Town Bike Shop, to name but a few. Tomorrow brings a race at the Air Force Academy.
0 4 | 1 3 | 2 0 0 7Friday the 13th
Unlucky you there's a fresh Foaming Rant up at VeloNews.com. Happily, there's something more worthwhile going on out there a rebroadcast of a "Fresh Air" interview with Kurt Vonnegut.
Elsewhere, the day has proven unlucky for D. Kyle Sampson and his former boss, Alberto Gonzales, with the discovery of an e-mail demonstrating that despite all assurances to the contrary, the Justice Department had replacements in mind for the eight sacked U.S. attorneys long before they developed their so-called "performance issues." And four years' worth of Fart Blossom's e-mails have joined Saddam's WMD in Never-Neverland.
Apple has its own Friday-the-13th horror tale to recount OSX 10.5 will be delayed until October. Aiiiiieeeeee!!! God love all you Cupertino cowboys, and more power to your collective arm, but I could give a shit, as I make my money using OS 9.2.2 and 9.0.4, depending on which one of Mr. Jobs' plastic boxes I'm working on at any given time (a G4 450 AGP Graphics tower, a G3 500 "Pismo" PowerBook or a G3 800 iBook). I play with varieties of OSX (10.2.8, 10.3.9 and 10.4.8), if I feel like dicking around with video, audio and the growing number of websites that insist on 21st-century technology, but otherwise business is business and schnapps is schnapps. So I can wait for Leopard to pounce.
The good news is, there is some actual bike racing in Bibleburg this weekend, a rarity on a par with honesty in Washington. Pay no attention to the baldheaded heckler haunting the chicane at Cache La Poudre and Cascade.
0 4 | 1 2 | 2 0 0 7The ghost of Rose Mary Woods
When the going gets tough, the tough get going on covering their tracks. The Associated Press reports that the White House has "mishandled Republican Party-sponsored e-mail accounts used by nearly two dozen presidential aides, resulting in the loss of an undetermined number of e-mails concerning official White House business." Don't suppose it has anything to do with the congressional inquiry into the sacking of eight U.S. attorneys. "This sounds like the administration's version of 'the dog ate my homework,'" said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. "I am deeply disturbed that just when this administration is finally subjected to meaningful oversight, it cannot produce the necessary information."
Elsewhere, the grunts take it in the neck again as SecDef Bob Gates extends their tours in Iraq to 15 months, to cover Gen. George Armstrong Custer's fabled "surge," and Baghdad is so safe that the bad guys can send suicide bombers into the Iraqi parliament's cafeteria. John "Lucas" McCain will probably be having lunch there tomorrow, on the taxpayers' dime, with a few hundred of his closest, most heavily armed friends.
Here in scenic cosmopolitan Bibleburg, meanwhile, it's snowing. Again. The folks at the National Weather Service say this one could be a doozy typical of April in Colorado, from a half-foot here in midtown to a foot at the Palmer Divide. Thus, I've laid in various jugs of tasty antifreeze and a ton of fixin's for various Mexican meals, including a pork-heavy posole, chorizo enchiladas, chicken quesadillas, beans with chipotle, salsa verde, etc., and will spend the next couple of days eating, farting and visualizing riding my bike in the desert around Las Cruces.
All's Fair In Love and War Dept.: Paul Wolfowitz, the ivory-tower apparatchik who famously expected Iraqis to welcome the United States as their liberator, and for Iraqi oil revenues to pay the costs of that country's reconstruction, just keeps on getting it wrong. The latest: He thought it was OK to arrange a new gig and a pair of fat raises for his love-pumpkin. Ooopsadaisy. Says Wolfy: "This was not in any way an attempt to protect personal interest." Uh huh. And this is one of the smart ones.
Imus Unplugged: Aw, shucks. I guess if the I-man has something to say in future, he'll have to stand on street corners and mumble incoherently at passers-by, like the rest of the crazy bastards. Until he winds up on satellite radio with his buddy Howard Stern, that is. Or Fox.
0 4 | 1 1 | 2 0 0 7The Decider, R.I.P.: Jan. 1, 2001-April 11, 2007
So much for Gen. George Armstrong Bush's tenure as a self-described "war president." According to The Washington Post, the Cheerleader-in-Chief is frantically casting about for someone, anyone, to clean up his messes in Afghanistan and Iraq, but can't find a sucker eager to dive into a threesome with his twin tar babies. Imagine my surprise. I thought the C-in-C was supposed to be the dude with the authority "to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies." I guess we can chalk ol' Georgie up as a DNF in the Tour of Mesopotamia.
Late update: As advertisers scatter like rats fleeing a blazing Dumpster, MSNBC announces that it will drop its simulcast of Don Imus's "Imus in the Morning" radio yap-fest. Will CBS, which through Westwood One and New York's WFAN-AM is responsible for the audio, drop the other shoe? Who cares? The planet is infested with assholes, and only a few of them have access to microphones and TV cameras. You don't even have to get off the couch to to change the channel on that crowd. The rest are jacking their jaws in the real world, where the clicker has little effect. Meanwhile, someone worth paying attention to Kurt Vonnegut has died. So it goes.
0 4 | 1 0 | 2 0 0 7The I-man and the N-word
Jeez, did Don Imus ever step in it this time. And in trying to scrape it off, he's just getting it all over the place. What a putz. He's practically dumb enough to be president.
And we're no better. A cursory check of Google News finds 2,647 stories on a cranky old yammerhead tossing off an insanely stupid remark, as opposed to 1,675 on Iran claiming to have gone all Dr. Strangelove on us. Par for the course, in other words.
Personally, I think anyone who listens to talk radio right, left or center should be required to apologize, publicly and profusely, to those of us who don't. I've never wasted a nanosecond of my time listening to Rush, Imus or Franken, but it seems that every other day some dung-bomb touched off by one or another of these flatulent foghorns spatters me via once-respectable news outlets that shouldn't be giving them a passing glance until it's time to print their obituaries.
0 4 | 0 9 | 2 0 0 7Another week in the barrel
Fresh rantage up at VeloNews.com, one of the masters I serve as what James Calhoun calls a "perma-lancer" in an NPR story about how contract workers like him (and me) get along without health insurance, paid vacations, paid sick leave and other benefits. Stupid word, interesting story. Some 10 million of us "are solidly middle-income and uninsured," says reporter Patricia Neighmond, and I believe it. At least four guys in my little circle are entrepreneurial, self-employed sorts who either do entirely without medical insurance or have catastrophic policies with astronomical deductibles (mine is five grand). One of them just paid $160 for a visit to his asthma doctor. That's about what my last sinus infection cost. As a consequence, I try very, very hard not to fall off my bicycle, and run a good deal less since spending $400 to correct a problem with Achilles tendinitis. And like James, I'm very interested in what the thousands of presidential candidates have to say about health insurance.
Late note: I overlooked the death of cartoonist Johnny Hart this past weekend. I enjoyed his "B.C." strip as a sprout, but lost interest over the years as Hart grew to prefer theology to comedy (some people say I have a similar problem, but with politics). The family and syndicate intend to continue the strip a la the late Charles Schultz's "Peanuts," which is too bad, as there are no doubt dozens of fresh, suitable replacements drawn by the living waiting in the wings for their moment in the spotlight. But "Diesel Sweeties" isn't one of 'em. It makes "Mary Worth" look like "Calvin and Hobbes."
0 4 | 0 8 | 2 0 0 7Praise Dog from whom all blessings flow
Lovely bit of blasphemy, that. So sue me. We got snow, freezing fog and 24 degrees here and I'm bored witless. If the Easter bunny turns up, he's stew meat.
Herself has returned from an extended visit to Deliverance, where her family operates a combination river-rafting outfit and banjo dealership. Ho, ho. Just kidding, y'all. Drop the blunderbuss and put the Gimp back in his cage. In her honor I spent most of yesterday cooking up a massive pot of pinto beans with chipotle chile and a green-chile stew that relied heavily on organic pork because the Easter bunny was nowhere to be found. He's shivering in some homeless shelter, no doubt, or maybe one of the no-tell motels down on South Nevada with a bullet wound in his cottontail.
Elsewhere, John McCain seems to have pinned his 2008 hopes on that key bloc of voters that craves a president who's even dumber, crazier and more oblivious than the one we have now. Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez saw their much-anticipated "Grindhouse" plunge into the shithouse. And even the pope thinks Iraq is fucked up. Maybe the Repugs should run him in 2008.
0 4 | 0 7 | 2 0 0 7I'm freezing my Easter eggs off
Anyone who's lived more than a couple years in Colorado knows that April and spring are only casually acquainted. Still, this doesn't mean we like to see the mercury plummet into the mid-20s and ice encasing everything from auto windshields to defenseless tulips, not when we've just gotten reacquainted with the pleasure of putting our winter-whitened legs on public display. Even the local Easter sunrise service has been canceled, which should tell you something, because the tinhorn Elmer Gantrys that infest this otherwise tolerable community like a bad case of the jabbering crabs will ordinarily seize on any public opportunity to loudly remind God that He is God.
Samey same over in ol' Virginny, where the U.S. Open Cycling Championship nearly got croaked because of cold and snow. VeloNews senior scribe Neal Rogers snapped a few pix of the peloton improvising winter-weather gear out of everything from plastic trash bags to latex gloves. The race finally got started after a 90-minute delay, and Svein Tuft (Symmetrics) took the win. Glad to see someone's riding his bike.
0 4 | 0 5 | 2 0 0 7Trouble at the primate house
Spanky the Monkey has been screeching loudly of late about how the Congress is trying to run his war for him. I'd think he would be delighted, as this would give him more time to ride his mountain bike, or Condi, whichever. Although I wonder whether Condi is still interested. She must be watching the ascendancy of Barack Obama and thinking, "Goddamnit, that could be me, if I could just get a charisma transplant and maybe a soul." Too bad she sold the original equipment to Darth Cheney, who these days is not even welcome in Utah, which has been sending the microcephalic Orrin Hatch to DeeCee since 1976. Maybe they're just trying to keep the simple sonofabitch out of Utah.
0 4 | 0 1 | 2 0 0 7The parting glass
Raise a glass to F.L. Eickelman, an old family friend who went west this afternoon after years of struggling with ill health. We share the grief of his widow, Rosemary, and the rest of his family.Oh all the money that e'er I had, I spent it in good company
And all the harm that e'er I've done, alas, it was to none but me
And all I've done for want of wit to memory now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all
Oh all the comrades that e'er I've had, they are sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e'er I've had, they would wish me one more day to stay
But since it falls unto my lot that I should rise and you should not
I'll gently rise and I'll softly call good night and joy be with you all
If I had money enough to spend and leisure time to sit awhile
There is a fair maid in this town, that sorely has my heart beguiled
Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips I own, she has my heart enthralled
So fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all
My dearest dear, the time draws near when here no longer can I stay
There's not a comrade I leave behind, but is grieving for my going away
But since it has so ordered been what is once past can't be recalled
Now fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all
If I had money for to spend, If I had time to waste away
There is a fair maid in this town, I feign would while her heart away
With her rosy cheeks and dimpled chin, my heart she has beguiled away
So fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all
If I had money for to spend, I would spend it in her company
And all the harm that I have done, I hope it's pardoned I will be
And all I've done for want of it to memory I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all
A man may drink and not be drunk, a man may fight and not be slain
A man may court a pretty girl and perhaps be welcomed back again
But since it has so ordered been by a time to rise and a time to fall
Come fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all
Now, back to business as usual: John McCain is an asshole. Read that, then read this, and if you still think McCain is a straight-talker, then please do the nation a service and kill yourself before the 2008 elections. Better yet, join the Army, ship out to Iraq and replace some smart person who wants to come home to friends and family to help strip the weak links from the chain of command.
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