Archive for the ‘Bad news’ Category

R.I.P., Paul Krassner

July 21, 2019

The Yippies were first to run a pig for president back in 1968, but it took the Republicans to actually win with one.

Paul Krassner was instrumental in that first attempt, but we can’t blame him for the second. The founder and editor of The Realist was into absurdity — he had roots in Mad magazine, after all — but he must have left this world shaking his head at how the unreal had become all too regrettably real.

Krassner hit the door running at 87.

Awright, so worry awready

July 4, 2019

This cover of The Nation from 2000 shows Mad’s staying power.

Ecch! Potrzebie! Mad magazine is taking the scenic route to the furshlugginer boneyard.

I spent a lot of time with Mad and its army of funnymen: Harvey Kurtzman, Don Martin, Wally Wood, Will Elder, Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, Sergio Aragonés, and the rest of The Usual Gang of Idiots. And I wasn’t their only fan.

Here’s a superhero Marvel hasn’t wiped its corporate arse with … yet.

In “Comix: A History of Comic Books in America,” Les Daniels called Mad “one of the most popular and influential mass circulation magazines in the country,” adding: “Along with Hugh Hefner’s sexy Playboy, it was one of the only two magazines produced in the Fifties that were successful innovations (excepting, of course, the reader service of TV Guide).”

In mourning the demise of “a true American original” on this Fourth of July 2019, contributor Tom Richmond wrote: “In the end in this day and age, the only reason anything is allowed to exist comes down to money. If something is profitable, it continues. If it is not, it ends. Mad is ending for the same reason anything ends … it’s all about the Benjamins.”

I gave Mad my Benjamins — OK, so maybe they were more like Washingtons — and oy, did it ever influence me. Mad led me down a twisted, anarchic path to Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, The Firesign Theatre, Zap Comics, The National Lampoon, and Monty Python, among others.

It was a trip worth taking, so much so that I’m still on it.

Poit. Sklishk. Sploydoing.

Sergio Aragonés had a go at cycling.

Repsychling

June 21, 2019

Put a lid on it.

Remember that recycling discussion we were having a while back?

According to The Guardian, recycling is mostly a figment of our imaginations. Says The Guardian:

A waste executive from Republic Services, one of the country’s largest garbage haulers, which serves more than 2,800 communities and has 91 recycling centers, said that one-third of everything collected by recycling trucks went to disposal because it was either contaminated, too small to be sorted or not actually recyclable.

“We’re right now landfilling it [plastic],” adds one Arizona operator. And Sierra Vista gets a shout-out, too.

R.I.P., Bruce Gordon

June 7, 2019

The SOPWAMTOS parade, with Himself in full fez regalia.

Well, goddamnit, I hope the Universe isn’t going to make a habit of this, snatching up all the interesting people before we’re finished with them.

This time it took Bruce Gordon, the acerbic framebuilder and one of the Self-Appointed Benevolent Co-Dictators for Life of the Society of People Who Actually Make Their Own Shit (SOPWAMTOS).

My Golden Toiddy

My Golden Toiddy for (what else?) Excellence In Bad Taste.

Back In the Day® Adventure Cyclist honcho Mike Deme and I tried to get Bruce to lay a bike on us for review purposes but we could never make it happen, possibly because Bruce was reluctant to work up a machine for the likes of us when it was tough enough to move product to the actual paying customers. Jagoffs, poseurs and wanna-bes are to be found in abundance, especially among the working press, and their pockets are notoriously shallow.

In the end I had to settle for a couple of SOPWAMTOS T-shirts, a Golden Toiddy from 1995 (I think), and his Rock n’ Road tires, which I still run on the Voodoo Nakisi. I’m pretty sure I paid retail for everything save the Golden Toiddy, too.

The last time I saw Bruce may have been at Interbike 2013.

“We were standing in line at dark-thirty for a cup of Starbutt’s finest and got straight to the kvetching, as a guy will before java is made available in a 20-year-old shopping mall masquerading as a casino-hotel. And afterward, too, come to think of it.

Well, some of us, anyway. One of these years Bruce and I should bring a small square of Astroturf and a couple of patio chairs to the show and while away the hours hollering at people to get the hell off our lawn.

I hope Deme has the Astroturf and patio chairs ready. He’s got company.

• Updated June 13: The hometown paper writes Bruce’s obit.

Bull in a China shop

May 10, 2019

There’s a new tariff in town.

MAGA, etc., et al., and so on and so forth. I’d speculate as to whether Art O. DeDeal is trying to croak the bike biz because of the relentless roasting I’ve given him, but he doesn’t know Schwinn from Shinola.

He apparently wants everyone else to lose money the way he did.

So. Much. Winning.

The oinking dead

April 17, 2019

Soooooeeeeey, bitches!

Holy shit! Zombie pigs! Now we’re the bacon!

The wrong Bozos keep getting kicked off the bus

January 26, 2019

Here’s a golden oldie, from my short stint at The Arizona Daily Star. I didn’t stick around to get the sack; I shot out of that place like a rat out of an aqueduct.

As long as we have a cartoon president, how ’bout drawing him up a cartoon Wall®?

We have the technology. Also, the manpower. Newspapers are shitcanning Pulitzer-winners right, left, and center, among them Steve Benson, who was the editorial cartoonist at the Arizona Republic back in 1980, when I scribbled the occasional ’toon for The Arizona Daily Star.

This is nothing new, of course. A J-school prof warned me in the Seventies that there were maybe a thousand editorial cartoonists, tops, and that I might consider expanding my portfolio a tad. This was excellent advice. Because their numbers kept shrinking like a spider on a hotplate, to hundreds and finally dozens.

It was nearly impossible to even make a start Back in the Day® because what few cartoonists there were could be had for chump change via syndication. So the editor of the Frog Dick (S.C.) Daily Lily Pad & Croaker could have Pat Oliphant every day for the price of a tepid cup of Maxwell House at Lulu’s Lunch Bucket.

I still got to draw cartoons, as you know. But I did it as a reporter, as a copy editor, as an assistant feature editor, and like that there. On the side. Onliest time I ever got hired as an honest-to-God cartoonist was when that Boulder-based journal of competitive cycling decided I was too dim to be their managing editor but funny enough to scribble gags about fat masters, dope fiends, and Suits.

In a few short years there won’t be any of us. Robots will be drawing all the cartoons. And you won’t get any of the jokes, because they will be by robots, for robots.

“Ha ha,” they will say. “That’s very logical.”

Dune Meshuga

December 17, 2018

“Fetch me my one-iron.”
“Are you shitting me? Not even
Paul Muad’dib can hit a one-iron.”

Friend of the Blog Pat O’B has been enduring a deluge down in Sierra Vista. But as he notes, this is weather, not climate.

The climate is headed in another direction entirely.

And as Arizona meteorologist Eric Holthaus notes in Grist via Mother Jones, no matter how much water is falling from the sky right this minute in the American Southwest, there is no longer enough to go around.

Writes Holthaus:

To be clear: There is no remaining scenario that does not include mandatory cutbacks in water usage along the Colorado River within the next few years. The long-awaited judgment day for the Southwest is finally here.

Think this means we’ll see bigger sand traps and smaller greens on the Phoenix golf courses? Yeah, me neither. I sure hope Assos is working on a cool stillsuit, one that gives a guy that six-pack look. A six-pack of water, not beer.

Cold blow and the rainy night

December 7, 2018

The transition from fall to winter is always a sketchy time around here.

I’m not a fan of shorter, colder, darker days. They remind me at a genetic level of why my people invented uisce beatha. And since I no longer indulge in that miraculous restorative I’m at sea without a paddle on these chilly gray mornings, when the hangover is outside my head, at large and in charge, and not even aspirin is of any use.

This is when I await a tot of bad news, the way I once awaited a shot of good booze. The life of the free-range rumormonger is wild and free, until it isn’t, and it’s generally around this time of year when editors count and cull their herds.

“Oh, that one’s got to go. Dumber than three mules, eats like six of ’em, and shits all over the place. Fetch my .30-.30.”

It was fall 2017 when I got the word that Bicycle Retailer and Industry News would no longer require my “Mad Dog Unleashed” column. This was not a surprise. The industry-news biz, and the industry itself, was not exactly flush. Flushed was more like it. And shortly thereafter the publisher who gave the order and the editor who carried it out were no longer with The Organization.

About the same time Adventure Cyclist guessed that they wouldn’t need me at Interbike Reno, the Last Dance in Sin City having demonstrated all the intoxicating power of a half-can of O’Doul’s, a two-wheeled version of P.T. Barnum’s This Way to the Egress. When I heard nary a word about the show afterward I assumed Management had made the right decision. A bored and sober Dog makes a poor companion indeed. Whining and snarling and pissing on things.

And an old Dog, too. Set in his ways he is. ‘Tis a wee bit late to be training him so. Is there a .30-.30 to be had somewhere, d’ye think?

Well, p’raps. But not right now. Until I hear otherwise, I’m to deliver the first “Shop Talk” cartoon of 2019 to BRAIN next week. And a fresh Adventure Cyclist review bike awaits me down at Fat Tire Cycles, one of the few Duke City shops I have yet to visit.

And thus we have this week’s edition of Radio Free Dogpatch: “Cold Blow and the Rainy Night, or Whatever Floats Your Boat.” Give it a listen.

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

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with a Shure SM58 microphone, Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack, and the old 2009 iMac. Cap’n Whitebeard used an Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic. I edited the audio using Apple’s GarageBand on a 2014 MacBook Pro. The background music is “Into the Sunset” from Audio Hero via ZapSplat.com. Sounds of the sea courtesy Freesound.org.

• Editor’s note: The very day I recorded this episode BRAIN announced that the bell had tolled, not for me, but for Interbike, both show and staff. That shit will roll downhill — just how far and fast remains to be seen — and I feel the pain of all those who saw the business end of that .30-.30. Marc Sani, one of BRAIN’s founders and presently its interim publisher, has a few thoughts on the whys and wherefores. As for me, I wrote about the final Vegas show in 2017, and you can read that after the jump.

• Off to see the Wizard in 2017

Who shot a man in Reno …

December 6, 2018

“C’mon, walk it off, y’sissy. …”

… just to watch him die?

Hint: It wasn’t Johnny Cash. Not this time.