Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category

Finally, Friday

November 17, 2017

Early in the week the Fuji Touring Disc and I got our kicks on Route 66.

It’s been a productive week around the old rumormongery.

I edited and shipped two short videos for Adventure Cyclist; continued my evaluation of the latest review model, a Fuji Touring Disc; and wrote a column and drew a cartoon for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

Cha-ching! Just back that armored car up to the vault, boys, and start shoveling. I’ll be on the patio contemplating my investment portfolio.

Speaking of which, I see our national leadership is dancing merrily with the ones who brung ’em. It can’t be much longer before there’s a new agency working hand in glove with the Eternal Revenue Service, the Department of Spare Change, which sends agents round to root through your pants pockets, sofa cushions and swear jars. Hand over those nickels and dimes, Gramps, you lot would just piss it away on housing, food or medicine.

Don’t worry, soon it will all come trickling back to you. Why, look, what’s that there, on your shoe? Looks like it’s raining on somebody!

One Marin, hold the fire, please

October 15, 2017

Going down. …

There are days — approximately seven per week — when I’m delighted that I no longer work for a daily newspaper.

… and going up.

Instead of following fires, terrorism and ruthless, blithering idiocy for fun and profit, I get to ride my bikey bike.

Or, in this case, someone else’s bikey bike.

The Marin Nicasio is next in the review pipeline, and while product manager Chris Holmes watches copters chatter in and out of the Petaluma airport I get to pedal one of his products up hill and down dale here in the Duke City.

There will be more of this sort of thing today. I may not work for a newspaper anymore, but I still have deadlines.

Back to the future

October 13, 2017

Check the date: March 10, 1989. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

That’s the cover of the first VeloNews in which a cartoon by Your Humble Narrator appeared.

It practically goes without saying that it featured the Old Guy Who Gets Fat in Winter.

The Old Guy Who Gets Fat in Winter, v1.0.

How long ago was this? Well, President Ronald Reagan had just delivered his farewell address, Ted Bundy had taken his ride in Mr. Edison’s rocking chair, the last Soviet troops were leaving Afghanistan, and Eurosport was debuting in France.

The previous year, Felix Magowan, John Wilcockson and David Walls had acquired what was then called Velo-news from founders Barbara and Robert George.

After moving the operation to Boulder they declined to hire me as managing editor (a wise move). Time passed, as it will, and then in 2008 Inside Communications Inc. sold out to Competitor Group Inc. (not so wise in my opinion, but you know what they say about opinions).

Wilcockson — who would later get a ruthless, senseless and unceremonious heave-ho, along with Charles “Live Update Guy” Pelkey — wrote about the history and acquisition of Inside Communications here.

Il Fattini as he came to appear further on down the road.

As for me, I quit, was coaxed into returning, and then quit again, that last time for good.

But I always kept an eye on the joint, the way you sometimes bicycle past a ramshackle house you used to live in, shaking your head at the carelessness of the new owners.

And so did one member of that Original Trio — Magowan — who has repo’d the joint, with Pocket Outdoor Media partners Greg Thomas and Steve Maxwell.

Included in the sale are VeloPress, which just published Nick Legan’s “Gravel Cycling,” and the magazines Triathlete and Women’s Running, along with their digital counterparts.

“Despite the well-known challenges in print today, our team is thrilled to have the chance to rebuild these iconic titles as well as their sister digital operations,” Magowan told Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. “We have ambitious growth plans, and want to restore these brands to their historical industry leadership positions as quickly as possible.”

Here’s hoping Friday the 13th turns out to be a lucky day for Felix, The Trio v2.0, and for VeloNews (turn that number upside down just for luck, guys). Meanwhile, for anyone with the flashback blues, here’s John Prine.

Hee haw

October 5, 2017

Oh, yeah, it’s fall, all right.

OK, it’s been far too dark around here lately, and it’s looking darker today as another storm system rolls through.

So, to lighten the mood a bit, let’s have a look at a story about a 69-year-old progressive sportscaster from Texas (!) who has a miniature donkey named … no, it’s too good to just give it away. You’ll have to read the story. You’re welcome.

From our No Shit Dept.: Hotels aren’t secure

October 4, 2017

No bag limit.

Sometimes I get the impression the fake news thinks we rubes never leave our flyover-country shacks.

Of course hotels aren’t secure. Nothing is.

Look at the pile of luggage I dragged into the Luxor for Interbike last month. I could’ve had a crazed midget with a sawed-off shotgun inside that rolling suitcase, a MAC-10 and a couple dozen extra magazines in the messenger bag, a few bricks of C4 in the backpack, a couple of Glocks with spare mags’ in the camera bag, and the boiled head of Sean Spicer in the cooler.

Nobody batted an eyelash when I hustled all this crap from the self-park up to my room. Not even The New York Times.

Labor daze

September 4, 2017

A little learning is a dangerous thing.

Reg’lars here at the Chuckle Hut know I once was a fan of all the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, Gummo and Karl).

Well, not so much Zeppo and Gummo.

Groucho, Harpo and Chico I stumbled across early on. Karl and I became acquainted in my second stab at college, where I enjoyed a brief flirtation with non-comedic Marxism — the Young Socialist Alliance/Socialist Workers Party, a Trotskyite crew, and the October League, a Maoist group that later became the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist).

I’m not sure why a middle-class white boy wandered so far afield from the Republicrat-Demublican game of musical thrones.

There was the war in Vietnam, of course, but I was a year too young for the lottery and wouldn’t have volunteered until the Viet Cong were actually in Colorado and executing dope dealers.

The Yippies’ street theatricality appealed to me — I even tried to register as a Yippie for Nixon-McGovern ’72 — but the SWP and CP(ML) were decidedly unfunny, like a Marx Brothers movie starring Zeppo and Gummo.

Maybe it was working as a janitor as a college dropout. (Check out this NYT story about janitors then vs. janitors now.)

I didn’t push the idiot stick for big outfits like Kodak or Apple, but for smaller shops that were already outsourcing their cleanup to even smaller shops, like the one that employed me. My work took me to a couple downtown banks, a northside UPS location, a Salvation Army youth center and a southside sales office. No car, so I pedaled from place to place on a Schwinn Continental, a bicycle commuter before it was cool.

There were no opportunities for advancement at that job, or any of the others I worked before finally landing a copyboy gig at the Colorado Springs Sun. I found I liked newspaper work, and wanted to stay, but the managing editor said I’d be going nowhere fast without that ol’ sheepskin, so back I went to college, where Karl, Leon and Mao were loitering around, waiting for me to turn up.

Then the war finally ended, the Revolution fizzled, and I moved on, eventually finding myself with a B.A. in journalism and a job at the other newspaper in Bibleburg, the Gazette Telegraph.

The GT was a libertarian rag, owned by Freedom Newspapers out of Orange County, Calif., and it leaned so far right it was almost left. As a consequence the wages were low and the hours illegal, but it wasn’t long before I was offered a chance for advancement: heading up the education desk, which consisted of two other reporters plus Your Humble Narrator, who was so wet behind the ears you could have raised goldfish in my hair.

It was at that moment that I knew management was incompetent, and perhaps insane. And my sympathies returned to labor, where they have remained ever since.

Happy Labor Day.

The music a’Waits

March 14, 2017

OK, apropos of nothing in particular, check out this interview with Tom Waits at The New York Times Style Magazine.

Beck and Kendrick Lamar are in there, too, if that’s how you roll.

The money quote for me — from Waits, of course — is about inspiration and how it strikes:

If you want to catch songs you gotta start thinking like one, and making yourself an interesting place for them to land like birds or insects.

 

A nose for news

March 1, 2017
Paper! Get your paper here!

Paper! Get your paper here!

Woke up around 3 a.m. feeling as though I had spent the night snorting chain degreaser, convinced my brain had liquified and was seeping out of my snout onto the pillow.

Further sleep proved elusive as Herself arose to shower and the bathroom iPad commenced making news noises. It seemed King Donald the Short-fingered had not actually ordered anyone executed during his performance before the Congress, and the media were as usual focused on packaging rather than content. A golden chest overflowing with excrement is still a box of shit, no matter how many air fresheners are working overtime in Pundit Glade.

Jesus. These people. They install a low bar in the Dark Alley of Presidential Address Expectations, and when Beelzebozo manages to clear it without twisting a cankle they all go rushing after him to see where such Statesmanlike Leadership and Gravitas will take us next and boom! Down they go in a heap, and what oozes out of their bandaged skulls and onto the Innertubes afterward looks worse than what was coming out of mine until I swallowed a Claritin-D 12 Hour and a couple-three-four mugs of hot caffeine in various flavors.

Wipe your noses, shitheads. Try not to use your sleeves.

Free-deranged beef

February 24, 2017

trump-pressOK, it’s been a long week.

Allergies, deadlines, insomnia, you name it.

And the news? Oy. Don’t get me started on the friggin’ news. It seems to have boiled down to @infinite_scream on Twitter, as interpreted by the band Disaster Area from “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

But I gotta admit, the way The New York Times arranged this news nugget on its homepage made me smile.

We used to have a saying in my biz: “Never fuck with anyone who buys ink by the barrel.” It may no longer apply, but we can always hope, amirite?

The sun also rises

January 26, 2017
"He's done it again. It's coming up. It's coming up."

“He’s done it again. It’s coming up. It’s coming up.”

The only thing I have in common with Ernest Hemingway* is that occasionally I find myself at a loss for words.

Then I remind myself, as he reminded himself in “A Moveable Feast”: “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now.”

And so I have: The Bicycle Retailer column is finally in the can. Next, the “Shop Talk” cartoon, also for BRAIN, followed by the Specialized Sequoia review for Adventure Cyclist.

Like Thomas McGuane’s Chet Pomeroy, “I saw a few things and raved for money.” Soon I shall return to raving for free.

* OK, so we’ve both written about drinking, eating, road trips, writing and bicycling. Guess which one did it better. There will be a prize.**

** No there won’t.