Can’t find my way home

Good thing it doesn’t matter when a virtual press runs, because someone has been intercoursing the penguin as regards his self-imposed deadlines.

Radio Free Dogpatch is intended to be a weekly affair, scheduled for Fridays, but just ask the penguin how well that’s worked out for him (whoops, too late, he’s exploded). To date the thing has reared its ugly head weekly, semimonthly, and on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays.

After three or four goes at this most recent episode, which came this close to becoming a plain-vanilla blog post, I’m starting to think Wednesdays are the ticket. Showtime. Whatever.

In any case, and without further ado, here’s episode 19 of Radio Free Dogpatch. Too bad I couldn’t get it finished in time to win a Grammy to go along with all my Pulitzers, Reubens, Emmys and MacArthur Fellowships.

Oh, well, there’s always next year.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Editorial notes: Shannon Hall wrote about the meanderings of magnetic north for The New York Times. Steve Frothingham has been following the trials and tribulations of ASE and the various media-consolidation stories for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. John McNulty wrote about super-salesman Elmer “Sell the Sizzle” Wheeler for The New Yorker way back in 1938. And Sam Dean of the Los Angeles Times gave us a peek at Zwift’s e-sports ambitions.

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with an Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. I edited in Apple’s GarageBand on a 2014 MacBook Pro, adding audio acquired through fair means and foul via Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack (no profit was taken in an admittedly casual approach to various copyrights). Speaking of which, Buck appears courtesy of the 1935 William Wellman film “Call of the Wild,” while Nick Danger took a break from his Further Adventures to ask directions to The Firesign Theatre’s Old Same Place. The background music is “Crusin” from And Blind Faith wrapped it all up with “Can’t Find My Way Home.”

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25 Responses to “Can’t find my way home”

  1. Pat O’Brien Says:

    As usual in your past blog dead air periods, I thought your deadlines ate up all your time. Now it’s time for RFP and a cup of Cafe Justo.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      RFD! I really needed that second cup of joe.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Aw, it’s been one thing after another around here lately. Herself buggered off to Costa Rica with a gal pal, the Turk had another round of gut trouble that required two trips to the vet, the BRAIN acquisition went down, and I was slow-walking an Adventure Cyclist deadline because I hadn’t gotten some answers from an equally harried product manager.

      This Radio Free Dogpatch episode started out as a sort of “VeloNews, BRAIN and Me” deal that got ponderous real quick. It basically dug a deep hole and buried itself.

      Next I thought about turning it into a “Perils of Freelancing” thing, but I couldn’t corral Hal to provide his perspective. Now there’s a dude with a lot on his plate.

      But Hal did forward a link about magnetic north going walkabout, and for some reason that provided the attraction that pulled a bunch of vagrant thoughts together.

      Does it work? I have no idea. I’ll leave that up to you folks.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        It worked great. I had to listen twice to get the good bits. My only suggestion would be to slow down a little. Hard to do in the middle of a shit storm. Again, chapeau buddy!

        PS: This Rainsong Parlor model is really ringing my bell. I know, damn carbon fiber again. But hang it on the wall and no worries about humidity and temperature. Play it in the rain if you like, then wipe it down with a towel. Just the thing for my lazy ass.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Hah. Sorta speed-read that one, didn’t I? After struggling with the script I had a limited window of recording opportunity while Herself was at exercise class. Got two whacks at it and went with No. 2. (Insert your poo joke here.)

  2. SO Says:

    Might be occasionally late, but you can’t say it isn’t worth every penny we pay to listen.

    And in other good news, you probably won’t be getting angry mail from editors in Pennsylvania.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The price is right, that’s for sure.

      As for hate mail, I actually had a couple fans chime in over at the BRAIN website after the sale went down. “Bring back Mad Dog,” they chorused. I don’t see it happening, but it was a nice thing to hear.

      Have I ever mentioned that I met Wiley, back when I was trying to land a gig at The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa? He was the offensive cartoonist there. So many offenses, so little time.

      And speaking of long-lost scribes, Maynard Hershon banged out a piece for BRAIN’s February issue. If it goes up on the website I’ll post a link.

  3. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Great stuff as usual! As I too watch cycling swirl around the bowl I’m thinking guys like us were fortunate. We were around when it was possible to make a decent living being involved with it. How many times over the past 100+ years could that have been done?
    1890-1930 was the golden age of velodrome racing so guys around that era did OK, but after? Probably not until the ’70’s bike boom which fizzled pretty quickly as I recall.
    Dunno know about you, but yours truly owes his career in the biz (such that it is/was) to Greg LeMond. I started following his exploits in the ’80’s as my brief moto career wound down and soon enough I was far from the only one. BigTex carried the torch (with some help from PED’s) once LeMond was done and since he finished things have pretty much started swirling around the bowl again.
    Your line about the kids waiting for the cars to get smart enough to drive them around like Mom sums it up well. As does indoor “cycling” and e-sports.
    Our time is up my friend, but at least it lasted long enough for us to get close to retirement (and avoid real jobs) so we don’t have to care anymore. But I do feel sorry for those too young to be able to just walk away – most of ’em are gonna have to endure a real job – if they can find one in Don the Con’s America!
    Meanwhile, cycling’s still fun in places like Italy and every day I’m glad I’m here and not there.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thank you, sir. And you’re right. We got in (and out) at precisely the right moments in velo-history.

      LeMond got me excited about bicycle racing. Mountain bikes got me excited about riding in the dirt, which led to cyclocross. And Armstrong kept the whole thing rolling until he rode it right into a ditch.

      Watching the industry chase The Next Big Thing® the way a dumb dog chases cars is exasperating. The experience, not the device, is the thing. That feel. …

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        You hit another good note there – the industry’s too busy trying to sell their overstocks of steaks rather than the sizzle.
        All the “content” they excrete these days about riding bikes reeks of lack of authenticity – it’s just marketing-maven BS to move the units. Great to hear Maynard’s back with something, can’t wait to read it. I need to pop him an email right now.

  4. Herb from Michigan Says:

    We managed to squeeze two offspring through college pretty much via working in the bike biz. Course the kids did NOT go to Harvard. And there was no McMansion but we lacked for nothing. I still think you can do well as a small-hands on shop in the right location. Greg LeMond was a pleasure to work with-his father not. Despite being interested and mildly participating in bike racing, I never made a dime from any part of it from sponsorship to hosting a team or two. And I never expected to as I always felt cycling belonged as an amateur sport that should never get perverted like MLB, NFL or even golf. But it sure did!

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      I agree with you about a service shop – the only thing (so far) they can’t shove through a fiber optic cable or cram into a UPS box. But at the same time I’m glad I don’t have to wrench for a living – the current electronic and hydraulic stupidity has no place on a bicycle and is the reason I got out of the auto/moto field!
      I was reminded of this just the other day when I thought about how my wife likes her brake levers “moto” style. With cable brakes it’s an easy swap but the bikes we bought to ride around here have hydraulic hoses instead of cables. No f–king way I’m going to buy the fluids and bleeding stuff or pay the bike shop guy to switch the lines – she’ll just have to live with it for a few months.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Gotta admit, one of the bike’s biggest draws for me is that it gets me away from the insane complexities of modern life.

      The shifting is mechanical, the braking mostly on the rim, and the tires have tubes in ’em. I put cyclocomputers back on after a while of doing without, but they’re low end — Cateye Velo 7 or 8, mostly, with a couple of Stradas.

      I take a phone on my rides, but not so I can keep my finger on the pulse. It’s so I can take pix for the blog and/or holler for help if I augur in somewhere.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        My wife’s gone full “no batteries” for cycling. She had me yank off even the tiny Cateye computers from her bikes.
        She’s working on an academic paper on the subject of how having anything powered by a battery on the bike interferes with what sport is all about.
        I have to admit to finding it refreshing when riding our epoca bikes not to know how far, how fast or how long and just enjoy the ride.

      • Sharktooth Says:

        Thanks so much for the Keb Mo link,

        I’d heard the name Keb Mo before, but no music came to mind. He’s got some great tunes and an interesting picking style. So far, my favourite is Life is beautiful.

  5. Hurben Says:

    Apologies, I couldn’t resist.
    We had the greatest music.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We did indeed, Hurben. One of my favorite Thomas McGuane quotes on the topic comes from “Nothing But Blue Skies,” and it seems appropriate given the bulk of what wins Grammys these days:

      “I feel sorry for the young people of today with their stupid fucking tuneless horseshit; that may be a generational judgment but I seriously doubt it.”

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Great pick Hurben, including the connection to this post. We still have great music. I like looking for it at live performances in small venues. The Grammy’s are about money and image, not music in most cases.

  6. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Another fine casting of pods Patrick. I gave away my bike computers six years ago in a fit of “rage against the machine”. But I caved in and use battery fueled blinky lights on most of them so I’m still sucking the tech tit I suppose. Although personally, I’d rather have my fingernails pulled off with pliers than ride stationary bikes indoors, I harbor no ill will against those that do. I figure if spinning classes turn only 2% of its adherents to bike outside on real bikes,that’s a good thing.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thank you, sir. I still track mileage, duration and average speed, mostly for review purposes but also as a motivator. I’ve never been a reliable training diarist, though — several of mine over the years sort of trail off around midsummer or late fall.

      Since we moved to ’Burque I’ve only unfolded the old Cateye trainer a couple of times. The weather here is generally cycling-friendly, and if it isn’t, I either run or take a day off. The only exercise I do indoors is some light weight training three days a week. The brain squats are the worstest.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Your trainer mention reminds me of back-in-the-day before the Chinese Weather Hoax in SoCal. Guy comes into the bike shop and asks for a trainer. I ask what he’s gonna use it for (you know, salesmen always ask questions) and he tells me it’s for when the weather outside is bad. I ask if he “trains” outside regularly when the weather is good and he says “Yes, pretty much every day.”
        I reply, “Well, I’ll be happy to sell you a trainer, but if you ride as much as you say when the weather is good I think taking recovery days when it’s not raining here in SoCal would be much, much better for you than sweating away on one of these things.”
        Of course this was back in the bike biz daze when some sales folks actually wanted to help people rather than simply help them empty their wallets. My guess is those are long gone?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I think it depends on your goals and where you live.

        When we were parked on that rockpile outside Weirdcliffe we’d get stretches where there was months-old snow piled everywhere, the “high” was below zero and the wind sounded like the 666th Banshee Squadron flying close air support for the 1st Yeti Infantry Division.

        Then I’d break out the Cateye and some Allman Brothers, because I generally resumed racing in February after a break following cyclocross season. But if it wasn’t absolutely hideous outdoors I’d still try to get out somehow, on foot, skis or snowshoes. That was a small house, and I was already spending too much time in it doing a job of work.

  7. Mad Dogs, Margaritas and music | Mad Blog Media Says:

    […] Pat O’B contends that there’s still some good music out there today, the Grammys notwithstanding and despite a preposterously publicized preponderance of primadonnas, poseurs and pissants. […]

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