Mayor Chris meets The Outspoken Cyclist

January 21, 2018

Hizzoner having a spot of fun between mayoral chores.

Diane Jenks recently spoke with my old college roomie Chris Coursey for “The Outspoken Cyclist,” her radio show-slash-podcast.

They discussed cycling, journalism and Santa Rosa, Calif., which continues to feel the aftereffects of last fall’s horrific fires in Napa and Sonoma counties.

Don’t let the cycling kit fool you — you’ll recall from earlier posts that Chris is the mayor of Santa Rosa, and I expect he’s logging most of his miles in that capacity these days.

“We are still very much in the middle of this disaster, and hopefully on the road to recovery,” says Hizzoner.

Give it a listen here.

How dry it am

January 21, 2018

The Bloo Voodoo Wazoo on Friday, before Old Man Winter laid his icy breath on the ’hood.

Break out the sled, hon’, the dog’s rarin’ to go.

One minute you’re tooling around in the Duke City dust, peeling off layers under sunny skies, and the next it’s 10-percenting all over the lawn.

Snowpocalypse it isn’t, but we’ll take every milliliter of moisture we can get.

In a few days we’ll be back at the New Normal — 50s and sunny — and the chains will return to singing “How Dry I Am.”

I may go for a run in this winter wonderland, and then again I may not. I feel like Herself is trying to share her cold with me, the trails may be treacherous, and you know how it is with the elderly, pneumonia and broken hips.

His Majesty will see you now

January 20, 2018

His Most Puissant Imperial Majesty, Emperor Turkish the Large, Protector of the Giant White Cats, Lord of the Holy Food Grail, Befouler of Litter Boxes,
Biter of Hands, Drinker from Sinks.

Maybe what we need is a king. The American Experiment seems to have given us a clot of unfunny Louis C.K.s bent on showing us their freckled dicks.

Meanwhile, Charlie Pierce is working on the weekend … and so, apparently, is Stormy “Making America Horny Again” Daniels.

Radio Free Friday

January 19, 2018

Mister Boo still looks pretty chipper for an auld fella, unlike the other one cluttering up the joint.

When a dog yelps at 1 a.m. in the Sandia foothills it can mean someone is climbing in a window with a $2 pistol and a $200-a-day habit, or the deer are in the backyard, eating the trees.

Or, if the pooch is of a certain age, it can be the canine equivalent of the old LifeCall bit (“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”).

Mister Boo is of a certain age, and when he began yelping at 1 a.m. Thursday I was pretty sure it was neither dope fiends nor deer. He wouldn’t be able to ID either one of those, since he’s blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other.

And if it were a dope fiend, and the dope fiend brought treats, well, The Boo would have a new bestie and the rest of us would soon be chatting with the insurance company, or St. Peter.

You may recall that Herself has an actual job of work, while I do not, so as our furry air-raid siren wailed I stumbled over to the other end of the house to gauge the extent of the damage.

The Boo had peed all over his kennel’s absorbent pads, which was fine, and then toppled over into the pee, which was not.

I carried him outdoors, went back inside, replaced the soiled pads with fresh ones, filled a basin with warm soapy water, and set about freshening up our soggy doggy.

The Boo didn’t like this one little bit, being wet and cold and outdoors, and I didn’t like it either, being shirtless and shoeless, and did I mention it was cold out there?

Afterward he had the shakes and required a cuddle to warm up. I tucked him back into bed as a drowsy Herself wandered in, wondering if it was dope fiends or deer this time. Then we tucked ourselves back into bed and one of us drifted off to sleep.

Come morning I was foggy and irritable for some reason and it was a good thing I didn’t have any paying work on the docket. The Boo, of course, was just dandy. He enjoyed a delicious breakfast — ground beef, minced pasta and green beans in a sauce of apple cider and low-sodium chicken broth — and managed to pee and poop outdoors before joining the cats in morning zazen. Their posture is all wrong and their eyes are closed, but they seem to derive great benefit from these sessions nonetheless.

My mind was not at rest and it was a good thing that my friend Hal messaged me about his latest project. He has a nighttime noisemaker of his own and thought it would be a pleasant diversion to read one of his essays from “Endurance” into some device and pop it up on the Innertubes. So he had some questions about audio recording and distribution.

I am hardly an expert, but the distraction was welcome, so off we went, diving down the rabbit holes of iPads and MacBooks, microphones and headphones, QuickTime and GarageBand, Audacity and Sound Studio, Libsyn and SoundCloud.

The detour proved so absorbing that I drifted off into a side project, reviving my old Radio Free Dogpatch podcast. Well, “reviving” may be a little grandiloquent — as I said, I’m no expert, and audio is more complicated and time-consuming than writing, or even video — but I did rework a 2017 Bicycle Retailer column about The Boo into a sonic short.

And here it is:

Technology Tuesday

January 16, 2018

When I was a copy boy in the mid-’70s this was one of my babies.
Ding! Ding! Ding! Photo liberated from UPI

I’ve embraced antisocial media in 2018.

Facebook? Don’t care how it rejiggers itself, my account stays croaked. Ditto for Instagram and Snapchat, the latter of which I never did figure out, because apparently as a senile old goat I’m not supposed to.

And a couple weeks into the new year I can’t say I miss Twitter, either. That account remains open, but unused as of Jan. 1.

I enjoyed the service once. At 140 characters it reminded me of headline writing, which was always one of my favorite parts about deskwork.

Even at twice that its immediacy reminded me of the wire services. Man, you’d hear those bells ring in the teletype room — Ding ding ding ding ding! — and you knew instantly that some shit was hitting the fan somewhere.

But there were those long stretches of not much going on, too, just the machinery mindlessly punching out dreck from drones that nobody was ever going to read, not even the copy boy, and that’s what Twitter has become for me. More characters and fewer characters, all at the same time.

Now if I crave to inspect the latest outrage from Sir Orange of Golf, I have to go looking for it, which mostly I don’t.

And yes, the reverse QWERTY dent in my forehead is healing nicely. Thanks for asking.

Metro Monday

January 15, 2018

We have here some pictures of cute kitty-cats. …

A couple items no chamber of commerce likes to see cuddled up together on the front page:

“Tourism sector’s impact expanding.”

“2017 homicide total leads three-year spike.”

… because pictures of cute kitty-cats are proven to take the sting out of bad news. I read it on the Internet.

Headlines like these are among the reasons why I’m glad I don’t work in tourism or law enforcement. It must be a bitch, coaxing the rubes here for a visit only to mop them up later somewhere along the Mother Road.

It’s gonna be tough for the Duke City to become a “world-class community,” whatever the hell that is, if the locals keep croaking the visitors and everybody can read all about it in the daily blat.

Maybe the city can contract with Sandia National Labs to develop some sort of nuclear street sweeper, a disintegration beam to erase the corpus delicti before the scribes can tally a body count.

“Bob who?” replies the desk sergeant with a quizzical expression. “Nope, nobody by that name in the blotter. We haven’t had a homicide reported all year. Maybe he moseyed on through and up to Bibleburg. They’re killing ’em like crazy up there.”

The grand Wazoo

January 14, 2018

The Bloo Wazoo in rigid 700c trail-bike mode.

Everybody in Albuquerque was on the trails today.

And why not? It was nearly 60 degrees. Seriously. In January.

I was slouching around El Rancho Pendejo, doing bits of this and that — retaping the handlebar on my Soma Saga Disc, giving the cats a good airing, lunching on some leftover farfalle with sausage, mushrooms and peas — when I noticed the day was slipping away from me.

Or, more accurately, was reminded of it.

Remember seven-speed freewheels? They still work.

“I thought you were going to ride your bike,” intoned Herself, who was in full-on chores mode and eager to see me on my way, as filth and clutter trail me like Homeland Security.

And so I did.

I’d planned a longish ride on the Saga, but instead took the Voodoo Wazoo for a short spin on the southern foothill trails, between ERP and I-40.

Stripped of its townie regalia and sporting a pair of 700×42 Continental CrossRides the Wazoo is almost the perfect rig for these trails, even given the tallish 38×28 low end; it’s easy to forget that’s all the granny I’ve got, which can be an issue at stall point on a dusty, twisting, narrow, occasionally rocky trail packed with pedestrians bearing dogs off leash and babies in backpacks and whatnot.

But all were in an expansive mood, it being nearly 60 degrees in January, and everyone was yielding trail to everyone else, Alphonse-and-Gaston style, and we all forgot for a short, sweet while that our Republic is in the tiny hands of the criminally insane.

Freewheeling Friday

January 12, 2018
Old Pueblo Road, just south of Hanover Road.

Travel by bicycle. It pays off for the cyclist and the places s/he visits.

My peeps at the Adventure Cycling Association get a little love in this High Country News piece about bicycle tourism and how it’s come to benefit a couple of tiny Montana towns.

Says ACA’s Laura Crawford: “It’s not a get-rich-quick sort of scheme, but a long-term, sustainable investment.”

With no electric buses, major construction projects or flim-flamming of taxpayers required, I might add. In fact, I just did.

Oh, shit

January 11, 2018

His Excremency the Prime Minister of Mierdastan.

“Mr. President, the prime minister of Mierdastan is on line one for you. And the presidents of Dungsylvania and East Turdmire would like a word as well.”

I don’t know much about ART, but. …

January 11, 2018

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers never went electric, but they sure as shit knew their buses. Freak Bros. © forever by Gilbert Shelton

… I know what I don’t like.

Somebody — multiple somebodies, actually — has intercoursed the penguin in dramatic fashion as regards the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) project, which already had all the positive press of a buddy flick called “Hey, Look At My Dick!”, starring Louis C.K. and Harvey Weinstein, directed by Roman Polanski from a script by Woody Allen.

Seriously, how do you fuck up a nine-mile bus line? And the nine miles of retail that goes with it? That takes real talent. I expect these people to go far, and probably soon, too, before the angry mobs kick down their doors.

• Late update: And meanwhile, as expected here at the Duke City Chuckle Hut, the ACLU comes after Albuquerque for its thickheaded, ham-handed anti-panhandling ordinance. Defending this attempt to keep Those People away from the tony real estate is another budget item we could have done without.