En pointe

Let’s dance.

Blogging is a sort of ballet, a piece of performance art originally done largely by amateurs.

But what if you don’t feel like keeping yourself on your toes?

Happily for me, I have you to keep me hopping. But my man Hal Walter has a smaller, less boisterous audience over at Hardscrabble Times, and he’s been wondering whether the game is worth the candle.

We have similar professional backgrounds, Hal and I. And we both dove headlong into the so-called “gig economy” long before it was cool and as a consequence have wives who outearn us six ways from Sunday.

But we find ourselves in wildly different situations at the moment.

Hal rattles around the rarified boondocks of Crusty County, Colo., whilst I reside in the tony suburbs of the Duke City. Hal keeps burros; I keep cats and what Herself claims is a dog. Hal mostly runs, and occasionally rides; I do it the other way around.

And Hal has an autistic son, while I do not.

That may be the kicker right there. A kid “on the spectrum” can be a real time-suck, and something of an unexpected and ongoing expense, and so Hal naturally feels compelled to devote the bulk of his attention to (a) his son, and (2) feeding the beast that dollars up fastest on the hoof.

This would not be his blog, in case you were wondering.

I hate to see it lying fallow, and say so now and again. But Hal replies that feeding the beast and shoveling up the mess afterward turns his brain to mush and leaves him with little left to say for free at Hardscrabble Times.

Where little is said, there are few to listen, and if the house is full of empty seats when the lights come up, well, shit, why bother to put on your red shoes and dance the blues?

So here’s my question: What brings you to a blog like mine or Hal’s? How many of these shops do you visit while making your daily rounds and what do they have on tap? Is it all about the words or do some folks do compelling photos, audio and video as well?

And if you like something you see on this blog or any other, do you comment, and then spread the word elsewhere?

Holler back at me in comments.

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22 Responses to “En pointe”

  1. tj mora Says:

    I’ve been a fan from my old days at the bike shop. Brain and your unique perspective drew me in and even now, I don’t ride, I look forward to the Mad Dog perspective on our wacky world. Maybe someday we can have a meal together.Till then, keep up the great work.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I come here because of your talent and the people it attracts. The “Friday Foaming Rants” caused me to search you out long after those had ended. This is the only blog that I regularly visit. I comment here often, probably too much. I share some of your posts with my nephew, who is a fledgling cyclist, and appreciates good sarcasm, wit and humor. My superior half is finding harder to post something on her blog, because it take time and thought to do. Let’s all ride together this spring.

  3. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    I don’t read a lot of blogs regularly, but yours is well-written, humorous and offers a point-of-view I often share. The comments quite often are also witty and insightful (mine excepted of course) so I check in often, also popping over to see what TPM and C. Pierce are up to via the links you share.
    I used to read Inner Ring regularly, but not as often anymore as I’m tiring of the strident Anglo-Saxon views on pro cycling.
    I check in with Cycling Tips and Cycling News regularly with VN now and then. That’s pretty much it.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Oh, man. What was it said by Potter Stewart: I know it when I see it. I show up here because the prose works for me. There is the art of quality writing (with a tip of the hat to Robert Pirsig in his quest for Quality) and the practice of bicycling. Mix in some rambunctious politics that suits my fancy. Rarely do I see all of the above. Besides, someone made that Old Guys jersey I have been wearing since a miserable and long time trial back in Honolulu when I blew out both ultralight tires and showed up at the finish line as people were leaving for dinner.

    Likewise, I follow other blogs for specific reasons. Prof. Judy Curry, aka Climate, Inc., is a climate contrarian but a keen climate scientist. She is not a denier but someone who pokes the bear and asks if we really understand what the fuck we are doing, and backs it up pretty well. Someone needs to call us on our bullshit.

    Dr. Mike Weisser, aka Mike the Gun Guy, with a Ph.D. in history and years as a gun shop owner, does the same with gun violence stuff. He is a full time iconoclast and dishes out whoopee cushions to both sides of the debate as needed to keep people honest.

    I look at some sites because as some say, one has to keep one’s friends close but one’s enemies closer. Organizations bare their butts on their web sites and sometimes politically, its important to check out those nether regions.

    Me? I fart into the breeze with two blogs, knowing full well that I am wasting time but overpaid in my paying job and can shit up a storm on the Internet without worrying about losing the recharge button on the checkbook that pays the mortgage. I don’t think I count in this discussion. I really appreciate those who write for a living. Even if they do it free as a side show.

    In the present format, the Internet is a great resource. It lets folks like Hal and Patrick write and get stuff out there without having to rely on some Goddamn boss. There is a lot of chaff per unit wheat on the Innertubes, but we can pick and choose at our discretion and that’s good. But someone has to pay the bills, which is why my better half and I send dead presidents to multiple newspapers and magazines. Including, of course, Adventure Cycling.

  5. Mark Rerek Says:

    I’ver been following your work since discovering your cartoons at Velonews many long years ago. This is the only blog I regularly follow. I share your love of cycling, Warren Zevon, Frank Zappa and cats as well as agreeing with your politics. Greatly appreciate the literary and historical references, rants and musings. Proud owner of an Old Guys Who Get Fat in Winter jersey although it is getting snug and fat is no longer only a winter past time. Much of it gives the Mrs. a good laugh and she is a sucker for the cat pictures. Please keep up the awesome work sharing with us your take on our crazy world.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Oh, man, if that jersey’s getting tight you need to buy a new one. Maybe two, or three, even four. Sew ’em all together, make one great big one.

      I’ll post more cat pix for the missus. It’s one thing we don’t lack for in these environs. The furballs are fotogenic.

  6. gary burnette Says:

    I check your blog out daily for your (our) radical, ethical, and reasonable viewpoint. Discovered you in the bike shop’s VeloNews rag and continue following your wacky, wonderful rants. It’s difficult in these “interesting times” to carry on, I know, brother, but please… CARRY ON! Thank you for the shining light…

  7. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    Thanks, all. Nothing to worry about here — I’m compelled to write, the way a dog is compelled to pee, usually someplace he shouldn’t.

    I don’t think Hal shares this compulsion any longer, and I’m interested in finding a way to get him back on the program because he’s a talented, capable scribe.

    Any of you ever bop over to Hardscrabble Times to read his stuff? He’s been lax about posting for all the reasons I mentioned above, but it would be interesting to hear some unbiased opinions. I’ve known him since the early Eighties and am not an objective source on the matter.

  8. DownhillBill Says:

    I always liked the Fat Guy cartoons, though I never read VN that much. Don’t remember when I happened on this blog, but it’s the only one I read regularly. My other favorites, back when I still read them, were by Robert Reich and Scott Adams, two of the smartest guys around. I see now that Adams (the Dilbert guy) has gone off the twisted end in his fascination with Trump as some sort of new paradigm. That leaves me cold because I don’t believe in “winning” as the only principle that matters. Support for the Tangerine Trash Can Fire strikes me as an abandonment of most of the traditional values of western civilization. Maybe these really are the End Days, Patrick, when guys like you and I have become the “Traditional Values” crowd?

    So for me, it is mostly the words ( plus your cartoons, of course) that keep me here. I used to read Jill’s “Up In Alaska” blog, largely for the superb photography, but that’s fallen by the wayside too.

    It’s the combination of cycling, snark, left wing politics, cats, good people, actual copy editing, and those photos of landscapes that look Martian from here in the Eastern forests, that keep me coming back. (Did I mention snark? And cats, and cartoons, and the rest?) I don’t comment anywhere else, but I do send links or clips to friends occasionally.

    Thank you, and please keep up the good work, it helps maintain what little sanity I have left!

    BTW, I have two generations of Fat Guy jerseys, the older of which is seriously battle-scarred, and an MDM one for formal occasions. The “In Dog Years I’m Dead” line is everyone’s favorite.

  9. ryansubike Says:

    Its very simple, you make me laugh man

  10. Peter W. Polack Says:

    You make interesting commentary and you have an inventive, humorous, snarky style. I’ve always thought you’d be a good political columnist and wonder why you haven’t pursued that avenue, even if just in local politics. Heck; you could probably write a weekly column about ANYTHING and it would be interesting. Wait a minute-aren’t you doing that now…?!

    Maybe you need an agent to hawk your wares?

  11. Garu Says:

    I am always happy, amused and sometimes provoked to new trains of thought (not easy for a 74 year old retired desk jock) when I read your latest post and a little sad on days when there is no new post.

    I follow your blog and others partly to find out what others feel about what is happening on our tiny planet. You provide an interesting and entertaining perspective.

    And I love and own 18 bicycles, adore cats and always obey “she who will not be denied.

    Thanks

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