Archive for the ‘Things that don’t suck’ Category

A pearl of great price

May 12, 2020

Thirty years ago today.

Himself: “And to think they said it would never last.”

Herself: “That was us.”

• THIS JUST IN: Hey, whaddaya know: Three decades later, the clothes still fit!

And 50 percent of us is still hot!

Breaking trail

April 28, 2020

Looking north along Trail 365 from below Piedra Lisa Arroyo, just east of Camino de la Sierra.

Closer to home, just south of Comanche.

Yesterday I took a brisk three-mile hike on the circuit that did for my ankle back in February.

I skipped the part of the loop where the actual injury occurred. Seems like there are more and more people out every day, as the temps inch upwards into the 70s and above, and I didn’t want to brush up against any plague carriers.

But damn, didn’t it feel nice to get off the asphalt and concrete for a change?

Signs of the times

April 10, 2020

A sign at the Copper trailhead breaks down social distancing for users, among other things.

Your intrepid bicycle reviewer took another test ride Wednesday — and in clipless pedals, too.

Again with the winning! So. Much. Winning.

The ride included a detour intended to help Herself the Elder decode a TV issue — or try to, anyway — and while I waited for Herself to arrive by auto to deliver supplies and provide translation services, I rolled east on Copper to the foothills trailhead to see what was what.

The small parking lot was full to overflowing, and a John Law was parked down the street, which made me wonder whether The Authorities were taking a tally of trail users with an eye toward declaring the open space off limits.

A little light shining in the darkness.

Probably not. Any trails closure would be impossible to enforce without cavalry, claymores, and helicopter gunships.

And the gendarmes have plenty of other things to do, like corral teenagers who apparently take the playlist at a party a bit too seriously, chase copper thieves, and argue with jailers who refuse to book suspects.

But there were a couple of new signs about social distancing and curve-flattening posted alongside the golden oldies about staying on trails, fetching trash home, and cleaning up after Fido. So, like the rest of us, The Authorities are doing what they can given the circumstances.

Back to Herself the Elder’s place. Herself had still not arrived, so I rolled down the street a ways, thinking I’d see if there were some way to loop around to the Dark Tower without using Copper.

And then I saw the sign. “Free Masks.” Someone was going above and beyond, with no thought of reward. There may be hope for the species yet.

Blue Monday

March 30, 2020

Monday, Monday, so good to me.

It’s not just the sky, mind you.

Every Monday, rain or shine, sickness or health, the blue trash and recycling trucks that work our cul-de-sac toot their horns for the two little girls next door, who jump up and down in the driveway, shrieking with delight.

The drivers don’t have to do this. It’s not part of the job description. But they do it anyway.

So in case you’re starting to wonder whether any hope remains … I’d say yeah. It rolls by twice every Monday in a big blue truck.

Cool cats

April 4, 2019

Mister Jones and me, stumbling through the barrio.

Oof. The allergies are fierce. I slept OK last night, thanks to a hit of Benadryl, but the previous night I woke up at midnight with my nose running like a Democrat after the White House.

Snorting and snuffling like a hog hunting truffles, I had to relocate to the spare bedroom so that Herself could bag the Z’s she needs to help Darth Goodhair run the Energy Department.

And I felt like hammered shit most of yesterday, so none of the ol’ bikey ridey for Your Humble Narrator. In fact, I suspect that a two-hour trail ride through the junipers may have triggered the late-night snotlocker meltdown.

But we were talking about cool cats, and so here’s the tale of a Scottish cycle tourist who made a new friend on his two-wheeled trip around the world.

I suggested a global bicycle tour to Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) and his adjutant, Miss Mia Sopaipilla, and they told me I could fuck right off with that shit and bring them something to delicious to eat at once, if not sooner.

Also, here’s Marc Maron’s interview with T Bone Burnett, a very cool cat indeed who’s taking a hiatus from production to release his first album in 11 years, “The Invisible Light.”

Burnett’s chat with Maron covers a lot of waterfront, from the Beat Generation to Jackson Pollock, Jimmie Rodgers to “True Detective.” Did you know that Robert Johnson’s real name was Dusty Spencer? Or that the blues came from Texas? That mariachi music comes from the French?

Me neither. Maybe it’s the Benadryl talking. Just what I need, another voice in my head.

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.

Racing burros and raising a son

December 7, 2016
Hal Walter and his son Harrison working a burro near their home outside Weirdcliffe, Colorado.

Hal Walter and his son Harrison working a burro near their home outside Weirdcliffe, Colorado. (Photo poached from the video by Juliana Broste)

My man Hal Walter chats on camera with The New York Times about the great outdoors, racing burros, and raising an autistic child.

Hal is also working on an expanded edition of his book “Endurance,” and I’ll post a link to that when it goes live.

Fat Tuesday

November 22, 2016
As you can see, Il Fattini is already contemplating his holiday shopping.

As you can see, Il Fattini is already contemplating his holiday shopping.

Hm, seems to have gotten a bit Novemberish out there all of a sudden. Forty. Seventy percent humidity. Gasp, etc.

So much for the bad news. The good news is that you can finally order your Old Guy Who Gets Fat In Winter kit in a long-sleeved version.

Think of it as that extra layer for a fella who doesn’t really need one.

And the better news is that Voler is doing a 20 percent off sale this week and the discount is extended to the gravity-impaired members of the Old Guys community. Customers using the promo code SAVEGUYS will receive 20 percent off all Voler Store items, including the OGWGFIW collection.

Finally, and perhaps best of all — for those of you living outside the newly declared People’s Republic of Kakistostan, Voler has begun shipping to Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, Irish Republic, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

So, remember, buy early, buy often. We’d like to have the bunker finished by Inauguration Day and all the contractors want cash up front for any Trump-related construction projects.

A donkey in rough shape

November 18, 2016
Hal Walter and Spike in 2000, after winning what I believe was their second world pack-burro championship in Fairplay, Colo.

Hal Walter and Spike in 2000, after winning what I believe was their second world pack-burro championship in Fairplay, Colo.

No, I’m not talking about the Democratic Party, though you could say the same about that lot.

I’m talking about Sherman, a neglected donkey adopted by Christopher McDougall, author of “Born to Run.”

McDougall collected Sherman after a Mennonite neighbor discovered the poor critter penned up in a cramped shed. He was, in a word, a mess:

Its fur was crusted with dung, turning its white belly black. In places the fur had torn away, revealing raw skin almost certainly infested with parasites. He was barrel-shaped and bloated from poor feed and his mouth was a mess, with one tooth so rotten it fell right out when touched. Worst of all were his hooves, so monstrously overgrown they looked like swim fins.

McDougall was something of a mess himself not that long ago, a self-described “broken-down ex-athlete battling constant injuries and 50 excess pounds.” Running saved him, and he wondered whether it might do the same for Sherman.

I’d stumbled across a ragtag crew in the Rocky Mountains who kept alive an old miners’ tradition of running alongside donkeys in races as long as 30 miles. Was it possible? Could I bring Sherman back from this calamity so that he and I, side by side, could run an ultramarathon?

I immediately pinged my pal Hal Walter, who has been doing this sort of thing for as long as I’ve known him, and even longer, which is to say for the better part of quite some time.

He replied that yep, he knew about the column, and might even be a part of it down the road, since McDougall interviewed him for the series.

“Might be the only time I’m in the NYT this lifetime, though I did tour the building during a high school journalism field trip,” he added.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the articles in this series. Maybe we’ll learn some way of rescuing that other crippled donk and teaching it how to run.

 

Stop the machine

November 15, 2016
Around and around and around we go, and where we stop, nobody knows.

Around and around and around we go, and where we stop, nobody knows.

Sometimes you have to start the machine to stop it.

The ticking in my head seemed a little ominous today, so after I finished a “Shop Talk” cartoon for Bicycle Retailer, consulted with a few colleagues, and walked The Boo, I stepped away from the Mac for a short, “fast” cyclocross ride, in which “fast” was in comparison to, oh, I don’t know — continental drift?

Anyway, it was a beautiful afternoon, nearly everyone I encountered seemed to be in a good mood for no good reason, and as a skull-flusher I recommend it to you without hesitation. The world will still be there when you get back.

As my man Garrison Keillor says, “politics is not everything. Life goes on.”

Unless you’re Mose Allison, that is. Goddamn. He’s left me with my mind on vacation and my mouth working overtime.