It’s a small world after all

My SOPWAMTOS Golden Toiddy from Interbike Anaheim, circa 1996 or thereabouts. It is my sole award in a long and checkered career as a "cycling journalist."

My SOPWAMTOS Golden Toiddy from Interbike Anaheim, circa 1996 or thereabouts. It is my sole award in a long and checkered career as a "cycling journalist."

Well, well, well. Interbike is moving back to Anaheim after all these years. That means a shorter drive for the BRAINiacs — about 22 miles, seeing as how the present-day Bicycle Retailer & Industry News is based in Laguna Hills instead of Santa Fe, New Mexico — and an even shorter drive for me, since the show and I lost interest in each other more or less simultaneously about four years ago.

I vaguely recall enjoying the Mouse-house Interbike more than its whorehouse cousin, in part because I didn’t have to wander through the desert for 40 days and 40 nights to get to the convention center from the BRAIN hotel, which was blessedly free of white trash chain-smoking Luckies and jerking off one-armed bandits, prayin’ for a gusher.

But this was back in the Nineties, when we were all rich, the only swarthy foreigners we feared were driving taxis instead of hijacked aircraft, and we kept Republicans chained up in the basement where they belong until Clinton, crazed by young and tender poontang, let them out.

There was plenty of high-grade bullshit being slung in Anaheim, to be sure. But there also seemed to be more mom-and-pop ops at Interbike Disneyland — Steelman Cycles, Bruce and Jodie Ruana of the late, lamented Off the Front, Ross Shafer of Salsa (the Petaluma Salsa, not this newfangled outfit). Folks with a sense of humor, like the Society of People Who Actually Make Their Own Shit (SOPWAMTOS). I still prize my Golden Toiddy from that outfit.

And there were concerts, too — Los Lobos, Kim Wilson and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. …

Ah, Memory Lane. Watch out for those trips down that sucker. It’s full of potholes, speed bumps and blind corners. I found a few in dredging up the column I wrote for the October 1, 1997, edition of Bicycle Retailer, in which I proposed renaming Anaheim “Thorazine,” adding, “If California needed an enema, this is where you’d stick the hose.”

“Has it been so slow a year that everyone had to pawn their sense of humor to pay the bills?” I wrote. “I was looking forward to some serious amusement, but I came away feeling as though I had just spent a month in Sagging Jowls, South Dakota, with the United Brotherhood of Refrigerator Repairpersons.”

There was more, plenty more, including references to Hell and Tom Waits (prefiguring “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” by a dozen years at least, and I want my royalties, goddamnit).

But, still, jeez. I can see why nobody wants me to go anywhere on their dime anymore. It’s like inviting a rabid badger to dinner.


15 Responses to “It’s a small world after all”

  1. Larry T. Says:

    Ahh, the “good ol’ daze” as they say. “Thorazine” pretty much sums up Anaheim for me as well. If one sticks the enema hose into Anal-heim to clean out California, Las Vegas is the place one should use to clean out the entire USA. I was hoping perhaps they’d put the thing in “LA @ 5000 ft” (aka Denver) allowing yours truly to drive out there and maybe combine it with seeing the CO pro race they’re talking about for next year. But early in August might find me (with any luck) still in Italy so perhaps I’ll skip the whole thing — hasn’t been nearly as interesting as the daze when the SOPWAMTOS (does ANYONE make their own shit anymore?) paraded around with the “awards” back-in-the-day.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Hmm..looks from the BRAIN article and a Google map shot like a nice place to exhibit, but not sure I would want to ride there. But I guess that’s not the point. If I wanted to enjoy a trip to a bike porn show, I’d prefer it somewhere where I actually wanted to ride my bike.

    All seriousness aside, we Murrcans all need to be members of SOPWAMTOS. Too many jobs going abroad, along with all those dead presidents.

  3. James Says:

    WooHoo!!!!! Back in Cali!!!! Welcome back Inter-whatever….

    The first time I ever went to Interbike was 1997 in Anaheim….and I had a great time. Nothing like some busty young thing stopping me in the basement area reserved for SOPWAMTOS’ without $$$ and asking: “Would you like to see my Nipples?” Bought the product right then and there!! Too bad the company wasn’t around the next time I visited Interbike (2001) in Vegas. But then again, she would be competing with ladies who are paid to do the same a bar..on the Strip.

    When I went two years ago, I had a decent time but Vegas is just not my thing for a bikey show. Cross Vegas was cool. Meeting Elvis was way cool. And seeing TCWSNBN get his head handed to him in a cross race was priceless! What will happen to Cross Vegas? Disney Cross??

  4. khal spencer Says:

    If this wasn’t so sad, it would be funny:

  5. Larry T. Says:

    Just another reason why all the folks who are NOT insane, right-wing kooks need to vote in November! There are enough of these wacky Tea Party voters to do some real damage if the rest of us stay home instead of going to the polls.
    A Tea Party proponent was ranting in the barber shop yesterday. I finally asked him to confirm the “taxed enough already” basis for the name. When he did, I asked him, “taxed enough already compared to whom?” while pointing out taxes in the USA are relatively low compared to most civilized countries. His response was that he didn’t know but that he simply wanted to pay less in taxes and have less of them used for social-welfare programs, but of course he had no problem with our bloated defense budget!
    In the end I concluded most of these Tea Party folks would be riding around in white hoods if the KKK had just a slightly better public image. They’re like the racist morons in Blazing Saddles…”the sheriff (president) is a N, N, NI, NIG….” you remember the line I’m sure.

  6. khal spencer Says:

    Interesting story on NPR this morning. A Tea Party leader from Waco, TX said that her Waco group was staying away from social issues so as not to alienate normal people. Then there was this Tea Party guy from Louisiana interviewed next who could do nothing other than rant about right-wing social issues. What came out was that both of them pretty much agreed on an ultra-conservative social agenda but were keeping that off the table. Until, of course, they get elected. Then you get the cream with the coffee.

    So if you vote for these guys, or stay home and not vote, you deserve what you get. No amount of lower taxes will bring back an economy as long as a) the rich hide their money offshore; b) industry and investment continues to flee to the Third World until such time as our workers make less than the Mexicans or Chinese; and c) most Americans can’t afford a pot to piss in, leaving little to invest and even less tax base.

    And just who is funding all this right-wing shit, anyway. Anyone want to hazard a guess?

  7. steve o Says:

    funny that to be a viable teaparty nominee, all you have to do is say you’ll cut all taxes and that you love the Baby Jesus. no one in the GOP asks for a resume anymore. O’Donnell makes Michelle Bachman look like a rocket surgeon, and during the entire primary campaign she hasn’t put together one predicate-verb combination that made a lick of sense. but she’ll cut my taxes, daggummit, and that’s good enough for me. O’Donnell can’t balance her own checkbook or figure out how to complete a 1040A, but she wants to write legislation for the rest of us?

    The last time we elected someone who had run as many businesses into the ground as she has, the dude at least had a Harvard MBA and a pedigree that would make Champion Roundtown Mercedes Of Maryscot jealous, so at least voters had an excuse for being fooled. This lady is unemployable … which I guess makes congress the next logical stop.

  8. steve o Says:

    // There are enough of these wacky Tea Party voters to do some real damage if the rest of us stay home instead of going to the polls. //

    Larry, I’m not saying we shouldn’t worry, but the numbers aren’t as scary as Faux News would make you think. In the states where Palin has been whipping up tea party frenzy, for instance, GOP turnout has been in the 25% range. (Alaska hit 28% and NY and DE, two states everyone is talking about, were in the low 20s.) Lots of evidence that the Tea Party hasn’t attracted a single new voter, just the same old kooks that have always voted, but this time in uniform tinfoil beanies with a secret hand shake. I’m guessing that the GOP will win big this fall, but come ’12, they need to find a mainstream candidate, or for every right winger that they motivate into voting, two lefties will show up out of fear.

  9. Larry T. Says:

    I think if the lefties stay home since “the GOP will wing big this fall” that’ll make sure it happens and with the “party of NO, HELL NO!” already standing in the way of most improvements, things will only get worse. If the lefties show up and vote, the “same old kooks” vote will not count for much, as usual. Voter apathy is a big reason the government is so dysfunctional — too many smart folks don’t show up to make a choice.

  10. Brian Smith Says:

    My standard response to those who say the Federal budget is to big is to say “yopu are right, pick 5 programs that affect you or your family DIRECTLY and put those on the table. I have my 5.” They usually say something like I don’t use any govmut services. Point out the federal Interstate system, CDC, etc. Almost unfair having a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

  11. khal spencer Says:

    Exactly, Larry. This is one of those times you just gotta go out and do the right (er, I mean left) thing.

  12. Boz Says:

    OK, where do the Chinese, Vietnamese, and other cheap shit producing countries buy their cheap consumer items? From the next exploited work force on the food chain? Just wondering.

  13. khal spencer Says:

    Good question. I think we might need to re-visit Karl Marx and Frederich Engels to figure out how to ensure global economic justice when we run out of “untapped work force” resources to exploit. Seriously. To some degree, we in the USA are getting our comeuppance.

  14. Larry T. Says:

    To many, PROGESS is having lots of cheap crap. But is life REALLY a lot better if you can have a bunch of $50 DVD players in your double-wide while you slave away at Sprawl-Mart all day? I wonder if a disposable society, where consumer goods are so cheap that when they’re obsolete (either by plan or simply development) they’re just tossed into the landfill, actually results in an improved standard of living. That idea always causes the race to the bottom and unfair exploitation of someone.

  15. steve o Says:

    // Voter apathy is a big reason the government is so dysfunctional — too many smart folks don’t show up to make a choice. //

    If we were talking about burgers or chewing gum or lite beer, the marketeers would find a product for the frustrated consumers. (That’s gotta be the only way Bud Lite Lime ever saw the light of day.) But in politics, no one seems smart enough to package a third party for the 40% who don’t vote. The Reform Party had a shot, until everyone realize Perot was batschitt crazy and the party was a refuge for unwanted political toys.

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