R.I.P., Mad Dog Unleashed

Editor’s note: “Mad Dog Unleashed” went to meet St. Peter in December 2017. It was 18. Survivors include its landlord, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News; its father, Patrick O’Grady; and a small, deeply disturbed readership. Its final words are appended herein.


Your Humble Narrator at work (or so he says, anyway).

Plan? What plan? What we have here is dogs chasing cars

“Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just … do things.”The Joker, “The Dark Knight”

By Patrick O’Grady

Donald Trump finally made it to Vietnam.

True, he was a half-century late, but you’ll recall that in 1968 there was a ton of golf that needed playing back home. Waving your 1-wood around for a few decades must do wonders for bone spurs. I hear it’s the new cycling.

Speaking of which, the bike business missed a golden opportunity there. We should’ve given Gimpy a beautiful golden bike to make the trip, because he looks like he could use the exercise and I’m pretty sure he can’t swim.

He would’ve needed one hella long ramp to launch from DeeCee to Danang. But man, what an ad for travel by bike! Any old fool can get big air in a plane. C’mon, casino dude—bet the roll, jump the ocean.

However he traveled, this was a trip that bore watching for our industry as the Taiwanese hunker down and Cambodia, India and Vietnam step up.

Our erstwhile enemy has become a favored trading partner, if you believe the feds—we’re their largest export market, they’re our fastest-growing export market—and Vietnam’s annual economic-growth rate is second only to China’s.

And I’ll concede that November’s pestilential visit seems to have been a success, or at least not a disaster, which these days are the same thing.

For starters, I don’t hear the B-52s cranking up, which is always good news. And Gimpy didn’t get captured, which, well. …

We all know how he feels about guys who get captured.

“I was never a fan of the Vietnam War.” I didn’t want to go to Vietnam either, being otherwise occupied. Not with golf, but with various brain fertilizers that I hoped would grow my hair down to the ground so I wouldn’t have to wear clothes.

I didn’t need a doctor’s note or college deferments, either. I was registered for the lottery, but the Army had all the fresh meat it required in March 1973 when it was my turn in the barrel. The last draft call was in December ’72, and the authority to induct expired six months later.

What I had instead of Vietnam was the newspaper business. My war stories are about reporters, editors, rim rats, slot men, shooters, printers and publishers.

That tour of duty lasted 15 years, and in all that time it never occurred to me to try something else because I loved the work. Also, I wasn’t qualified to do anything useful.

Manufacturing? I can make trouble on the cheap, but the market is unpredictable.

Service? I’m worse with my hands than Roy Moore. I did fix the wife’s beeping sports watch once, with a hammer. You can fix anything real fast with a hammer.

Retail? I couldn’t sell Bibles in Missouri. And I tried. Didn’t help a bit that I looked more like Jesus than Jesus did, either. I had to hitchhike home, a drummer who couldn’t even earn the price of a bus ticket.

Buy the ticket, take the ride. So, yeah, newspapers. I flagged down that old Greydog in 1977 and it dropped me off here at the bike shop before trundling off and over a cliff.

Now and then I pedal up to the edge, peek over and down, and mutter, “That was quite a ride. Maybe I should buy another ticket for old times’ sake.”

Nope. My freelancer’s kit—shorts, sandals, a T-shirt that a cat uses for a climbing gym—wouldn’t pass muster in the modern newsroom. Nor would the two-hour lunch ride, followed by the two-hour lunch.

And in the newspaper game some Assistant Managing Editor for Wasting Your Time is always tugging on your leash. Nope again. “You see a collar on this SOPWAMTOS shirt, Pinstripes? Up to date on your rabies shots?”

’Sides, who goes backward? Not King Donald the Short-fingered, that’s for sure. Nobody knows exactly where he’s going or what he’s doing, especially him, but one thing’s certain: He has his beady eyes affixed firmly on the front of his face, staring straight ahead, at his phone. “Mirror, mirror, in my hand, who’s the greatest in the land?”

Back of the bus, buddy. Anyway, I enjoy this work, if you can call it that. I’m not sure the other fella likes his. With a little luck, he won’t have the job much longer, and we can move on to making other, subtler mistakes. Time passes, and things change.

Even here. Come January 2018 something else will occupy this space we’ve shared for the past couple of decades, and I’ll return to my roots as a cartoonist.

That’s how I snuck into cycling rumormongery 28 years ago, when VeloNews declined to offer me full-time employment but asked that I contribute cartoons. BRAIN’s Marc Sani liked what he saw—an appraisal he and others have had occasion to regret—and the rest, as they say, is history.

And with this column, so is “Mad Dog Unleashed.”

In the new year, look for me and the Mud Stud in the back of the mag’, and I’ll look for you up front as the bike industry continues its full-throated pursuit of The Next Big Thing®, like a dog chasing a car.

That dog likes his work, too. We just … do things. And what the hell, we’re not squished yet.

• Editor’s note v2.0: Thus endeth the final “Mad Dog Unleashed” column in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. I’ll continue to draw the “Shop Talk” strip for that publication and review touring bicycles for Adventure Cyclist. And of course, the daily (sometimes) chin-music concert will continue here in Lesser Blogsylvania.

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18 Responses to “R.I.P., Mad Dog Unleashed”

  1. gary burnette Says:

    Carry on and keep up the good work, ye Auld Mad Dog!!!

  2. larry brown Says:

    DAMN I’m going to miss you, now I’m really depressed, not really life goes on, good luck dog

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Well done, Sir, again.

  4. JD Dallager Says:

    PO’G: Beaucoup des chapeaux on a most excellent run as the “Mad Dog Unleashed”! Et merci/gracias/danke/spassibo/thanks for sharing your unleashed sense of wit, political satire, and cycling knowledge/curmudgeonry with so many of us for so many years.

    What we’re all hoping is that Mad Dog Media stays around for atleast another 18 years.

    And that pic up top today: Lots of subliminal, sly, subtleties in it, for me anyway:

    Birks on the feet?
    Cycling screensaver in the background?
    A Roget’s Thesaurus in the library?

    Truly a Renaissance Man at work!! 🙂

    Ride on, Bro!!!!

  5. Libby Says:

    Shane couldn’t come back but can’t you?
    That is a great screed, in Dog-speak! Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Libby Says:

      I hope The Scarecrow gets its BRAIN back and renews the MadDog. They’re acting like they are the POSOTUS dismantling all the good stuff.

  6. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    Thanks, all. I may post an occasional MDU from the archives just for shits and giggles.

    I’m also thinking about publishing a collected works, but I’m not sure it works. Much of the stuff was time-sensitive, or time-insensitive, and the shelf life seems about that of unrefrigerated butter in Death Valley.

  7. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Good luck with the rest of your life! If there’s anything I can do for you, you know how to find me. Happy Holidays!

  8. Not Jusak Says:

    A job??? You? Freaking sellout.

  9. David Rees Says:

    WaitWaitWait – what? Are you saying that you’re giving up this blog? I won’t be able to read it anymore? Was I consulted? Did you ask my permission, did you seek my advice?

    Seriously, I’m bummed Patrick (because it’s all about ME). You’re writing and insights are the reason to check in, but I’ve also really come to enjoy the folks who drop by to comment – some very, very smart, intelligent people who are a joy to read.

    I don’t like this at all – you should have asked me…

  10. Libby Says:

    The blog isn’t going away, is it? Please say no!

  11. Hurben Says:

    I believe that this blog is staying & that POG was referring to his column in BRaIN, (the publisher of which have obviously had a FADE).

    Where else could Patrick demonstrate his mastery of the dark art of Snark.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hurben is correct. The “Mad Dog Unleashed” column in BRAIN is the only voice in my head that has been silenced. There, my “Shop Talk” cartoon survives. And here, the usual anarchy will prevail.

      The blog shows no decline in revenue, because it has no revenue. Likewise, it will continue to have the same unlimited space for this, that and the other.

      So, rest easy. The blog, like the poor, will be with ye.

  12. Shawn in the Gorge Says:

    As all the great ones do, they move on to more wondrous and sometimes ludicrous escapades. Some of us roaches just hang around our rocky lairs complaining about the shadows that pass over us caused by ignorant yellow haired celebrity buffoons. Alas, as the great Pelkey has done, I wish you a fine and fortuitous promotion to
    your new illustrious employment. I can only hope that as the tax plan collapses down upon us, that you and your menagerie are not encumbered by the mounds of money that us working schmucks will soon be dancing in…..

    But really, thanks a lot for your great column and being gracious to allow some of us to shout and holler at our 2-wheeled chums. It has been a pleasure.

    Cheers and good love to your fine felines and your indomitable Chin.


  13. khal spencer Says:

    How about Bicycling Mag?

  14. larry brown Says:

    how about velo snooze

  15. It’s been a quiet week at El Rancho Pendejo. … | Mad Blog Media Says:

    […] that is not a bicycle review, and we’ll see how that goes. Having been without a column for a while now, I’m kind of out of practice as regards busking for […]

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