Archive for the ‘Bidness’ Category

‘Revel in your time.’

June 17, 2019

Having more fun than you. Especially if you work in the bike biz.
Photo “shared” from Revel

Ho boy. “Like biking without the work.” Thanks so much, Revel.

I’ll just put the bicycle industry over here, shall I? Next to the buggy whips, Linotypes and rotary-dial phones?

Anybody seen any journalism on what we do with the batteries in all this lovely “green” e-shit when they fail, as batteries do? Can they be recycled? Do they wind up down in WIPP? Or do we just launch them into space?

Just what the e-doctor ordered

May 13, 2019

I’m shocked, shocked, that some people seem to believe that e-bikes are the modern equivalent of the philosopher’s stone.

This just in: E-bikes cure* Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, post-nasal drip, gout, piles, dandruff, denture breath, and the heartbreak of psoriasis (Christ, you don’t know the meaning of heartbreak, buddy, c’mon, c’mon).

* You will note the caveat buried deep in the piece: “(A)ttaining these health benefits requires tackling the problem of poor street design and infrastructure in America. Everything from high speed limits to wide roads to light timing that prioritizes the flow of vehicles poses a threat to older people walking in their communities … and also creates barriers to people participating in cycling.”

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.

It’s loud and it’s tasteless

March 20, 2019

Sorry, it does not come with fries.

Hur-ry, hur-ry, hur-ry, step right this way!

It’s the first day of spring, and nothing says “spring” quite like a change in wardrobe.

Unless you’re in Colorado, in which case “spring” says “snowshoeing to the liquor store.” Or in the Midwest, where it means “building an Ark.” (The Bible is not particularly helpful here. What the hell is a cubit, anyway? I don’t see any “gopher wood” down at the Home Depot, either. Do I have to go to Hobby Lobby for that?)

Unzip over to Voler to join the team! And no, goddamnit, for the last time, it does not come with fries!

But yeah, everywhere else, wardrobe change. And have we got a deal for you. Mad Dog Media and Voler have teamed up on their first-ever Old Guys Who Get Fat In Winter Spring Jersey Sale!

See, we figure you’ve put on about 15 percent over this long, cold winter. So we’re helping you take 15 percent off, and the easy way, too, by buying something. It’s The American Way™. And it’s cheaper than snowshoes, liquor, and kitty litter for the bottom of that Ark.

Just pop round to the Mad Dog corner of Voler, deploy the Secret Code — OLDGUYS15 — and surrender your money, personal data, and the final tattered remnants of your self-respect.

G’wan, y’fat bastid, take the plunge. Join the team. You need the kit, and we need the laughs. Also, and too, the money. Don’t make me stop the Internet and come back there. We are the goon squad and we’re coming to town, beep-beep.

Offer good until April 1, when the usual foolery will resume.

Red (not so) Delicious

January 2, 2019

Well, here’s one I can afford.

Apple has surprised a bunch of folks (and maybe itself, too) with a less-than-stellar revenue estimate based largely on sputtering sales of iPhones, particularly in China.

Huh. Did everybody suddenly get tired of skimming the kids’ inheritance for a new handheld computer every couple of years, or what?

I’m not Chinese, and I could do with a new iPhone, but I sure wasn’t excited about pissing away $749 for the cheap one. Or about Face ID. Or about paying the AppleCare vig’ because you just know you’re gonna fumble the pricey little mother somehow — spill your coffee on it, drop it in a toilet, or yardsale onto it while shredding the gnar.

I’ve been sort of keeping an eye casually peeled for a refurbished iPhone 8, but that seems to be a unicorn. Either that or the Chinese got ’em all. Refurbed 7’s are available, but even those run $469.

Think about it. Nearly five hundy for a used phone so bots can ring you up in the middle of the night and pitch insurance to your voicemail. And then sell your number to other bots because the whole selling-insurance thing isn’t working out for them.

Plus the impertinent Xr and Xs map your mug before they will do your bidding. And since you didn’t pony up for a new one, you skinflint penny-pincher, you, that cheapo good-enough 7 or 8 is probably programmed to sell your selfies to a deepfaker who’ll fuse them into a viral video in which you are simultaneously the Sonoran donkey and the person of questionable moral fiber who … who … no, let’s not go there. It’s too early in the year for that image.

Y’think Apple will take a hint and make an iPhone in a proper size at a proper price that doesn’t ask more of you than you ask of it? Nah, me neither. It’s only a few billion.

Anyway, the next iPhone will blow the donkey so you don’t have to. Whoops, I went there. Must be later than we think.

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

No laughing matter

October 9, 2018

ABQ Studios. Just take a left turn at Albuquerque.

No joke: Netflix, which seems to have cornered the market on standup comedy, is investing in Marc Maron’s old hometown of Albuquerque.

The streaming service is acquiring ABQ Studios from Pacifica Ventures, with a $14 million economic-development assist from the state and city, and says it anticipates bringing a billion smackers and up to 1,000 production jobs per annum over 10 years to our little corner of the cinematic universe.

Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.

Netflix has produced in New Mexico before, of course — there’s “Longmire,” “Godless” and some Adam Sandler vehicle that I will watch just as soon as there’s nothing else on TV and I’m chained to a chair with my eyelids wired open.

And ABQ Studios, which opened for business in April 2007, has hosted everybody’s favorite Duke City drug drama, “Breaking Bad,” along with bits of Marvel’s “Avengers” franchise, according to Variety.

“Our experience producing shows and films in New Mexico inspired us to jump at the chance to establish a new production hub here,” said Ty Warren, Netflix veep for physical production.

“The people, the landscape and the facilities are all stellar and we can’t wait to get to work — and employ lots of New Mexicans — creating entertainment for the world to enjoy.”

This has to be considered good news, which we so rarely discuss here, and I’ll look forward to learning more of the deets once the cheerleaders drop their pompoms and the joyful noise abates somewhat.

In the meantime, if you don’t have a Netflix subscription please acquire same with all possible speed. We need to make that $14 mil’ back before all these Netflix execs get their cars stolen.

O, Canada

October 2, 2018

Houston, we have a problem: Robot brothels.

From our You Can’t Make This Shit Up Department comes this sordid tale of e-hoes (iHoes?) in a town that’s up to its tits in the old-school flesh-and-blood models.

At the root of the problem is Kinky S Dolls, a Canadian outfit that claims to be the first AI sex-doll outfit to offer test drives. Seems our horny neighbor to the north wants to bend Houston over for its initial thrust into the U.S. market.

Hold your whoreses, say local Christians, coppers and politicos.

“This is not the kind of business I would like to see in Houston, and certainly this is not the kind of business the city is seeking to attract,” says Mayor Sylvester Turner.

And the not-for-profit group Elijah Rising has begun a “Keep Robot Brothels Out of Houston” online petition “that as of Monday had more than 12,600 signatures.” according to The Guardian.

But this is Texas, goddamnit, and at least one columnist says the goldurned gummint has no bi’ness telling a fella what to do with his tallywhacker and his android love muffin (the pearl-necklace metaphor seems particularly apt in this instance).

Anyway, just think of the jobs! No, not that kind of job, the other sort, which come to think about it is not that different from the kind you’re thinking of, especially if you’re the one who has to clean up the rent-a-robot between clients. It’s enough to give a fella the blues.

Hit it, Steve:

And they say Texas weather’s always changin’
And one thing change’ll bring is somethin’ new
And Houston really ain’t that bad a town
So you hang around with the Fort Worth blues

Interbike 2018: Relax

September 21, 2018

Just a little pinprick.

The latest iteration of the Gathering of the Tribes is in the rear-view mirror.

Was it a success? I have no idea. We’ll have to wait for the numbers, which may prove elusive.

Yes, it’s that time of year again.

One astute observer who is not me does not recall seeing any attendance figures from last year’s Interbike, the Last Roundup in Sin City, and thus who knows? Just as in real life, we may have to judge based on anecdotal evidence instead of cold, hard facts.

Speaking of anecdotal evidence, real life, and cold, hard facts, both Charlie Pierce and Kevin Drum are goggle-eyed at the latest plot twist in “The Adventures of Brett Kavanaugh, Boy Wonder.”

If this were real real life instead of a cheapjack “Justice League” porno knockoff, Kavanaugh’s nomination would be as dead as John Holmes. But the Senate is all Jokers and no Batmen.

Meanwhile, a tip of the Rivendell cycling cap to Darren Sherkat, who was the first and only commenter to publicly recognize the lyrics from Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb,” which I was using for headlines on this year’s Interbike posts. Hope you enjoyed ’em.

When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown,
The dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.

Interbike 2018: Can you show me where it hurts?

September 19, 2018

There’s a new tariff in town.

Back to the present: My man Matt Wiebe of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News serves up a piece from Interbike about whether retailers should be stocking up on product with more tariffs on the horizon.

Among the folks Matt spoke to was Friend of the Blog Stephen Newhall of Rob and Charlie’s in Fanta Se, who is taking the dire pronouncements from some suppliers with “a grain of salt.”

“What will happen is that sales that would have otherwise happened in November and December will happen sooner,” he says.

One of the big issues is what constitutes a bike made in China, notes Bob Margevicius of Specialized.

“A bike’s point of origin is not necessarily clear because it is made from components from so many sources,” he says. “It is an extremely confusing time right now.”

The whole piece is worth a read, especially since Matt isn’t just another Fake News guy like Your Humble Narrator. He’s also a small-business owner*, a pro salmon fisherman with a boat, nets, and everything.

* Note the hyphenation there. That’s an Associated Press style deal intended to avoid confusion. Matt helms a small business, but as anyone who has ever seen him will attest, he is not a small businessman.

• Next: The dream is gone.