Archive for the ‘Bad news’ Category

The cat’s meow

January 14, 2022

Up in the air, junior birdperson. …

This is why I wish I had a better camera.

“Whatchoo lookin’ at?”

I was out for a ride yesterday and noticed a hang glider freshly launched from the Sandia Crest. If you squint you can just barely make him/her out in the upper right-hand corner there. The original iPhone SE camera doesn’t exactly bring ’em back alive. Not from that altitude, anyway.

It was a good day to be above it all. Cyberattacks shut down the Albuquerque schools and FUBARed various Bernalillo County operations; the county clerk is not amused. My fellow Burqueños are back to croaking each other in bulk after setting a record last year that will be hard to top. And I forgot to invoice The Greater Outside+ Vertically Integrated Globe-Spanning Title-Killing Silo O’ Sports & Fitness, LLC, for my final cartoon of 2021.

The good news is, today is a fine day to be a cat in a sunny spot. But then when is it not?

 

R.I.P., VeloNews

January 12, 2022

The first edition of VeloNews in which a cartoon
by You Know Who appeared.

VeloNews was found dead on Jan. 1. It was just 50 years old.

Was it murder? Suicide? Natural causes? (i.e., a slow-moving form of frontotemporal dementia?)

Nah. Darwinism. Nature red in tooth and claw, baby. Or, if you prefer your poetry in the original Sicilian, “It’s strictly business.”

• Editor’s note: A tip of the VeloNews cycling cap to Steve O. for the sharp eye on the velo-news.

Roast, beast

October 16, 2021

The uniform of the day will include pants.

Nice to see devolution picking up the pace.

As literature loses ground to memes and emoji we’re inching back into nomadic life, killing each other with knives and bows.

Well done indeed. Can’t be much longer before we’re all living in caves, pulling the rope ladder up come evening and dropping rocks on the neighbors’ heads if they pop round to borrow a cup of fire.

Speaking of fire, our journey to the Dark Side is complete. Both furnaces snapped on this morning. Happily, I’d already plugged the sprinkler system into the wall to keep it from exploding like a baked potato in a microwave or we might have a skating pond in the back yard.

Our ovens are baked.

The joys of home ownership. Lately they include the decline and fall of our wall-mounted Whirlpool ovens, which date to 1990, if I read the serial-number code correctly.

The top unit has a bum element and runs 50° below proper temperature, while the bottom can be as much as 20° off the mark. The thermostat may have gone to its reward, too. And of course parts are hard to come by for ovens with this much white hair in their ears.

I suppose we could always roast a haunch of whatever in the fireplace. But in the meantime we’re going to roll the dice, replace the element, see if that’s all it takes to get off the bench and back in the game.

If not, well, then we’ll start shopping, see what the 21st century has to help a fella melt the cheese on his enchiladas. But a quick peek at the Lowe’s and Best Buy websites made my wallet pocket slam shut faster than a banker’s door on a homeless dude hunting a loan for the used van of his dreams and a river to park it by.

A cave and a rope ladder might be cheaper.

R.I.P., Paddy Moloney

October 13, 2021

Paddy Moloney, frontman and piper for the Chieftains, has gone west. He was 83.

Reports Mother Times, quoting Himself in The Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Our music is centuries old, but it is very much a living thing. We don’t use any flashing lights or smoke bombs or acrobats falling off the stage. We try to communicate a party feeling, and that’s something that everybody understands.”

I’m grieved to learn that Paddy has left the party to which he brought so much feeling. In his honor let us banish misfortune.

R.I.P., Commander Cody

September 29, 2021

George Frayne IV, better known as Commander Cody (he of The Lost Planet Airmen), has driven his hot-rod Lincoln into the sunset. He was 77.

“Hot Rod Lincoln” cracked the top 10 of the Billboard Top 100 in 1972. But my personal fave from the Commander and his Airmen was “Seeds and Stems (Again),” for some reason. Also, “Lost in the Ozone.”

George got the band’s name from an old Republic Pictures serial, but never thought he’d wind up becoming the Commander.

“I was watching the ‘Lost Planet Airmen’ movie and I saw the Commander Cody character and I thought it would be a great name for a band,” he said. “I had no idea anyone was going to have to be Commander Cody. I mean, there’s no Lynyrd Skynyrd. There’s no Steely Dan. There’s no Marshall Tucker. Why did there have to be a Commander Cody?”

But there did, and there was, and now he is no more. Smoke ’em if you got ’em. But not while you’re driving your hot-rod Lincoln, please.

R.I.P., Dusty Hill

July 28, 2021

One of the many ZZ Top albums I’ve worn out over the decades.

ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill has finally bottomed out.

According to the band’s website, Dusty shuffled off in his sleep at home in Houston. He was 72.

Dusty, Billy Gibbons, and Frank Beard helped keep me between the lines on many a long road trip over the years, pounding on the steering wheel and singing along. Now he’s up there jamming with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Guy Clark and the rest of them hombres.

’Scuse me while I crank up some “La Grange,” y’all.

R.I.P., Harris Cyclery

June 13, 2021

Sheldon Brown lives on at his eponymous website.

Harris Cyclery — yes, that Harris Cyclery, the place where the legendary Sheldon Brown served the cycling public — is no more.

I stumbled across the news while scanning Bicycle Retailer‘s Twitter feed (I hate to admit it, but occasionally Twitter actually serves a purpose). The folks at road.cc fear for Sheldon’s voluminous website as the shop closes its doors.

As a ham-handed, thumb-fingered dolt, I’ve relied on Sheldon’s how-to archives to solve many a problem that otherwise might cause actual mechanics to laugh at me for all the wrong reasons. It would be a tragedy of cosmic proportions if this treasure trove were to vanish into the dim mists of velo-history.

Road.cc is trying to reach Sheldon’s people for the deets. Here’s hoping they plan to survive yet another sad passing.

Memorial Day v2.0

June 1, 2021

“Joey, have you ever been in an autonomous Turkish drone’s crosshairs?”

Oh, good. … Paging James Cameron … James Cameron, please come to the white courtesy target zone … er, the white courtesy phone.

The dirt on Earth Day

April 22, 2021

“This site is undergoing maintenance.”
How about getting to work on the state legislature next?

It’s Earth Day, and I plan to celebrate by staying on top of it, where I can keep an eye on things.

This ain’t always easy.

There is, of course, The Bug®. And I’ve had a couple close calls while riding trails this past week. No harm, no foul, but still, I think I might give that pasatiempo a rest for a while. A skinny trail can only handle so many remote “workers” before something gives. Our dirt arteries are dangerously clogged. That’s my diagnosis, anyway.

Speaking of keeping an eye on things, and dirt, here’s some bad news: My man Brook Watts has stepped down as organizer of the 2022 UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Nor will he have any involvement in the UCI World Cup race there.

Says Brook:

“The situation in Arkansas remains problematic and unfortunately, I don’t see any satisfactory resolution. I have sincerely, but unsuccessfully, attempted to work out my concerns and differences with constituents. However, regrettably, we were not successful. I remain dedicated to continuing to use my position of influence in the cyclo-cross community to fight for equity in racing, and to ensure that the sport is accepting and welcoming to all.”

This is a goddamn shame, frankly. Brook is a righteous dude, a fine racer, and a top-shelf organizer. This can’t have been an easy call for him to make.

I haven’t tugged on his sleeve for more details because he asked for privacy after making his announcement. He deserves that and much, much more.

Some people build things. Other people, eh, not so much.

Adios, Larry McMurtry

March 26, 2021

My Larry McMurtry collection falls far short of his actual output.

Larry McMurtry has loaded up his last rented Lincoln Continental and rolled west, into the sunset.

I didn’t come close to reading his entire output, but I managed more than a few of his novels; it’s a habit I have, working my way steadily through an author’s collected works.

Got started with “The Last Picture Show,” as I recall, after seeing the movie of the same name. Finished with “Duane’s Depressed.”

And is there anyone who didn’t read “Lonesome Dove?” As Skip Hollandsworth writes in his remembrance of McMurtry at Texas Monthly:

McMurtry had spent years railing against writers who produced clichéd novels about the Old West. He swore he would never stoop to writing a western. But he did, and the novel he produced gripped the public’s imagination. “Lonesome Dove” won the Pulitzer Prize and sold nearly 300,000 copies in hardcover and more than a million copies in paperback. It spawned a sequel as well as prequels, and became one of the most popular miniseries of all time, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall. To Texans, went one joke, “Lonesome Dove” was the third-most-important book in publishing history, right behind the Bible and the Warren Commission Report.

Like Stephen King, McMurtry was too preposterously prolific for some critics. Also like King, he wasn’t always winning Pulitzers for his work.

But he buckled down and got to ’er anyway. As his writing partner Diana Ossana told Hollandsworth: “Larry is like an old cowboy who has to get up in the morning and do some chores. He has to get up and write.”

Not anymore, he doesn’t. He can pull off the boots, put up his feet, and enjoy a well-deserved rest.