Berry remains on tour extraterrestrially — “Johnny B. Goode” is on golden records aboard the Voyager I and II spacecraft, launched in 1977.
One of my favorite Breslin books is “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.” What could I tell you? There are so many keepers in there, like this graf:
The Baccala Family runs all organized crime in Brooklyn. The gang has been in Brooklyn longer than the Ferris Wheel at Coney Island. It was formed in 1890 under the leadership of Raymond the Wolf. He ate babies. Raymond the Wolf passed away one night from natural causes: his heart stopped beating when three men who slipped into his bedroom stuck knives in it. Joe the Wop, who had sent the three men, took over the mob. Joe the Wop shot nuns. A year later he dropped dead while being strangled.
I didn’t know this quote until I read it in his obit, but it works for me, too:
“Rage is the only quality which has kept me, or anybody I have ever studied, writing columns for newspapers.”
I’ve never raged as well as Breslin or Berry, but I keep on trying. If only they hadn’t set the bar so damn’ high.
It’s not as boondocky as it looks: The Trek 520 shoot took place just west of Albuquerque.
There was a time when I might have begun St. Patrick’s Day with a dollop of Irish in the coffee and ended it with a few pints of the black, playing Clannad, The Chieftains and The Pogues in between.
Not this year.
We’d been contemplating the renovation of Herself’s office, and as it happens the dude who does that sort of thing for us was available this very week, the same week during which Herself was scheduled to take a business trip to Florida.
So instead of getting my Irish on I arose early to feed and water the menagerie, swallow a bit of (unenhanced) java, and record the voiceover on my Trek 520 video (see screenshot, above) before the hooley resumed. The cats took up their positions under the bed and Mister Boo — well, nothing fazes The Boo save a late meal, so he was fine.
And I broke out the old iPod Nano, the better to hear The Chieftains by. May yis all be in heaven a half hour before the divvil hears you’re dead.
We interrupt our discussion of the decline and fall in order to tip the Mad Dog top hat to Leon Russell, who like Leonard Cohen has gone west.
I heard him first as half of Asylum Choir, with guitarist Marc Benno. Then there was the Mad Dogs & Englishmen Tour with Joe Cocker, the Concert for Bangladesh with George Harrison, et al. Saw him perform once at Folsom Field in Boulder, and wow, what a show. Dude never really stopped playing — he would chat to the audience between songs, tinkling the ivories.
Now and then I miss working in a newsroom. This is not one of those times.
Most days, daily journalism is like any other gig, only more so. Hours of tedium interrupted by moments of pandemonium.
But news in the era of what Charlie Pierce calls He, Trump, is a whole other ballgame. It’s like trying to sip delicately from a fire hose hooked to a septic tank. It can’t be done, and nobody should have to try, not even for money.
And certainly not for free.
Instead I’ve been trying — and mostly succeeding — in paying attention to the bicycle, may God save her and all who sail in her.
There’s Bicycle Retailer‘s big 25th-anniversary celebration, for example. I need to dash off a column and cartoon on that topic, which shouldn’t be too much of a stretch, seeing as I’ve had 25 years of practice.
And I’ve ridden four different bikes in four days — Sam Hillborne, Steelman Eurocross, Soma Saga, Jones Steel Diamond — and loved every minute of it. Well, not every minute — the Steelman’s low end of 36×26 is a tad tall on steep, sandy single-track for an auld fella — but still, it beats perching in front of the Mac, letting the shit monsoon wash over me.
This morning I got up, grabbed some coffee, and when Herself went out to walk The Boo, I shut off NPR’s “Morning Edition” and started playing some John Prine instead. Sometimes a fella needs a little country to restore his faith in a bigger one.
OK, I’ve been threatening to resurrect the Radio Free Dogpatch podcast for a while now, and the stars finally came into proper alignment this week, so here we go.
For the first time Radio Free Dogpatch is not a solo effort — my friend and colleague Hal Walter joined me for a chat of about 75 minutes that I boiled down in editing to just over an hour.
Call it “Two Dudes Mystery Theatre.” We talked about the passing of poets Jim Harrison and Merle Haggard; Hal’s autistic son, and what it’s like trying to do creative work while raising a child who is not “neuro-typical”; and cooking.
For anyone who’s interested in the nuts and bolts of this Frankensteinian project, we chatted via Skype (Hal lives in Custer County, Colorado, while I’m in Albuquerque). On my end I was using a Samson C01U USB condenser microphone and an old pair of Bose earbuds plugged into an equally old iMac; Hal went even lower-tech, using a $50 Kindle Fire and some Apple earbuds, the kind that include an inline mic’.
I recorded our conversation using Ecamm’s Call Recorder, then split the convo into two tracks and dragged both into Apple’s GarageBand for editing. Once the thing was more or less the way I wanted it, I uploaded it to Libsyn, which hosts RFD and sends an RSS feed to iTunes.
During our ‘cast I promised to provide links with more information about some of the topics we discussed, and here those are:
If you find yourself interested in Hal’s writing, you can visit him at Hardscrabble Times (yeah, it’s been a while since he updated the ol’ blog) or order up one or more of his books (check the link in the sidebar).
Meanwhile, let us know in comments what you think. It’s a little rough around the edges, but so are we. Happily, the podcast can be improved.
The Old Guys Who Get Fat In Winter Jerseys are back, and Voler's got 'em. Click the image to join the team!
Colorado Central columnist Hal Walter cranks out a book now and then, and they'd look swell in your library (they also read nicely, too). Click the image to order yours.
And you should too. Don't make me stop this blog and come back there. ...
Who’s this Mad Dog guy?
Patrick O'Grady is a cartoonist, columnist, cyclist and curmudgeon who sells words and pictures to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, Adventure Cyclist and pretty much anyone else who can spell his name correctly next to the phrase which sounds so musical to his tattered ears: "Pay to the order of. ..." For more on Your Humble Narrator, click the comic.
Camera extremely obscura
When I'm not simply making stuff up for fun and profit, I review touring bicycles for Adventure Cyclist and shoot short videos about 'em. Click the pic to enter my little theater of the absurd.