Archive for the ‘Things that suck’ Category

‘Something Went Wrong’

December 8, 2019

Uh, can you be more specific?

Indeed it did. And so it begins, the Decline and Fall of the iPhone 5.

The New York Times apparently has cooked up an app update that my device can’t digest — the iPhone 5 peaked at iOS version 10.3.4, while the NYT demands 11 or better — and now I can’t surf the shit monsoon from my 7-year-old phone. Woe, etc.

The iPhone SE, ready for its closeup.

Asked for comment, the NYT Customer Care Crew advises, “We are no longer supporting older versions of the NYT app,” adding that geezers in thrall to antiquated technology should “use the mobile browser to access all content on nytimes.com.”

So I sez back to ’em, I sez: “Thanks for the reply. I already figured that out. The iPhone 5 maxes out at iOS 10.3.4, so using v9.11 of your app is not an option. I’m disappointed to learn that the NYT has dropped support for older versions of the app. My iPhone is elderly, to be sure, but not yet senile. For instance, The Washington Post app continues to work just fine.”

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Sonny Jim. Then get off of my lawn.

It’s not this iPhone’s first step on the slippery techno-slope, of course. I’ve already had to replace the battery once, and the Phone app itself has developed the palsy, seizing up and even crashing from time to time.

I can fix that, as I always keep a large hammer within reach. But first, I should probably unbox the iPhone SE that’s been hanging around idle for the past few months. Naturally, it, too, is a discontinued model, slated for the boneyard — and rumor has it that the Wizards of Cupertino are working on a bigger-and-better model for release early in 2020.

But mine will run the latest and greatest version of iOS. For now, anyway.

Spinning our wheels

November 27, 2019

Well, at least our green chile is better than yours.

We’re No. 44! We’re No. 44! We’re No. 44!

All stove up

November 27, 2019

The HAL 9000 unit effects repairs upon the Frigidaire 666 unit.
Photo: Hal Walter

The Retro-Grouch, Continued: Some people, and the devices they devise, can be too smart for their own good.

And more importantly, for ours.

Case in point: My man Hal up in Weirdcliffe just replaced a $200 control-board/keypad widget in his $1,500 Frigidaire oven for the third time, after being ovenless since March 29. He’s slightly over it, but consoles himself with the knowledge that had he employed the local appliance-repair dude to do the job(s), he’d be out another six hundy or so.

Next time around he may fix it for good.

“If this thing breaks down again, I will shoot it full of holes,” he said. “The backside of this fucker looks like the wiring to the starship Enterprise.”

And why is that, d’you suppose? What do we require of an oven? That it boldly go where no one has gone before? Nope. That it bake things, and roast things, and broil things, and not take eight months off per annum, amirite? What do we need for that? Heating coils, a thermostat, and knobs to make it all hop, yeah?

My old Whirlpool double-decker uses analog knobs and is about as smart as an Iowa Republican. The knob that sets the clock is missing. Happily, unlike an Iowa Republican, I know what time it is.

And unlike Hal, I never have to crawl into the backside of the fucker with a toolbox, like Scotty, with Kirk hollering into his communicator.

“Captain, I canna make ’er cook nae faster! She’s about to blow!”

Backdoored by Backcountry.com

November 5, 2019

The only backcountry that Backcountry.com cares about. Photo by Heidi Zumbrun

This week’s private-equity outrage comes to you courtesy of TSG Partners, the vile cock-knockers who own Backcountry.com, among other things.

These soulless fuckbubbles have been knuckling any and all small-business types who dare use the word “backcountry” while doing their little bits of business.

Never mind that the word has been in use since 1746, according to Merriam-Webster, which itself has only been around since 1828. Hell, Thomas McGuane deployed the word in 1969 for a piece in Sports Illustrated, “The Longest Silence,” about fly-fishing for permit in Florida.

It’s a good thing Captain Berserko was just selling a few thousand words about the joys of the sporting life, and never tried to market waders under the Backcountry Anglers label. The shysters at IPLA Legal Advisors would be trying to climb in there with him, bent on cutting off his nuts.

Good luck with that, by the way. The Captain don’t play that shit.

Anyway, here at Mad Dog Backcountry Media we support the little backcountry people in their backcountry attempts to wrest a meager backcountry living from the backcountry crumbs overlooked by private-equity pirates whose love for the “backcountry” is limited to the terrain immediately surrounding other people’s wallets, especially if said people are too small to put up any real fight against a button-down bandit.

And thus we propose that anyone who works for or with TSG Partners be dipped in honey, clad in pork-chop “lifestyle collection” garments, and air-dropped into the actual backcountry, where they may argue their case before a panel of backcountry grizzlies, backcountry wolves, and backcountry buzzards.

They might get some professional courtesy from the latter. But not if the griz gets ’em first.

Powerless

October 9, 2019

“Who turned out the lights? Strike a match, Betty Lou, I can’t see shit.”

Remember the good ol’ days, when you could make magic just by flipping a switch? Communication, refrigeration, information, even transportation, all delivered with a wave of one hand. One finger, actually. No, not that one.

And without burning down half the county, too.

As is often the case, our brethren and sisthren in California are getting a sneak peek at the future this week as PG&E returns them to the Dark Ages, that they may not be barbecued by their desires for communication, refrigeration, information, even transportation.

I wonder how much safer everyone will be with a few million generators busily chugging along next to the woodpiles.

“Crank up the Honda, hon’, ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is coming on!”

• Extra Bonus Snark: Good timing, awarding the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to three scientists behind the lithium-ion battery. We’re gonna need a bigger one, dudes.

Garbage in, garbage out

September 16, 2019

“Goddamnit, he wants to ‘drive’ again, which means he just sits there, turning the wheel back and forth, making ‘vroom-vroom’ noises and honking the fucking horn. Later he’ll want us to run over a few homeless dudes panhandling in the median, maybe pick up a few hookers down on Central. Jesus. We’re gonna be out here all day.”

Monday is trash pickup day here in the cul-de-sac.

In Rio Gabacho, however, the trash is being delivered.

The good news is, the Mickey D’s on NM 528 is gonna make bank today. Unless he stiffs them, which wouldn’t surprise anyone who’s ever done business with the crooked sonofabitch. One of the SS boys flashes a piece in the drive-thru and that’s that. Another free Happy Meal for ’Is Lardship. So much winning.

The usual protests are planned, of course. Here’s hoping the anarchists stay home, waxing their weasels into their black bandanas and denying the media its both-sides narrative, and that the hippies at Tiguex Park have a couple new chants worked up for the TV cameras. I don’t care how much weed you smoke, that “hey hey, ho ho” shit hit its sell-by date in the Nixon administration.

Screwed again

July 21, 2019

Neither sealant nor lip balm will keep you rolling after you collect one of these bad boys in your tire.

You know what doesn’t give a shit about whether you have sealant in your tubes?

A big-ass screw, that’s what.

I collected this sonofabitch in the rear tire this morning at the bottom of the Tramway descent, just after I’d crossed under Interstate 25 and hung a left on the Pan American Freeway near Balloon Fiesta Parkway.

I heard a short clatter, then a “tick … tick … tick” that told me I’d picked up a hitchhiker, and so I pulled over to have a look-see.

“Th’ fuck’s this, a thumbtack?” I muttered, and then gave it a tug.

Spooge! Fwissssssssh. Phhbbbllllllllffff.

Seriously, it was like one of those volcano projects from junior high. Or Bluto’s zit imitation in “Animal House.”

And of course, it had to be the rear tire, on the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, so called for the Rohloff hub on (wait for it) the rear wheel.

What are the chances of picking up something like this in a bicycle tire? If you’re me, 100 percent.

Did I mention the Gates belt? Yeah, it has one of those, too.

I don’t know that I’ve ever had to deal with a flat of any kind on this bike, which is a testament to its Geax AKA 29 x 2.0 tires. But this fucking screw might’ve given even Superman a hitch in his gitalong if he ever happened to be afoot in Albuquerque.

As I was, on a scorching Sunday morning, hoofing it along the shoulder of the Pan American, looking for a shady spot and trying to remember how to remove and replace the rear wheel on a Rohloff/Gates-equipped bike, a chore I last performed in a workstand at Chez Dog in Bibleburg back in … 2012?

Lucky me, I found a bus bench with a sun shade at Balloon Fiesta Parkway. And then I set about rooting through the ol’ mental hard drive.

Lessee here: Shift into 14th gear. Break out a nickel to loosen the thumbscrew holding the cable box to the hub. Remove the cable box. Open the quick-release lever. Remove the wheel. Bingo.

The bus bench had a convenient trash can that made an excellent workstand to hold the bike while I swapped tubes (just affix rear dropouts to rim of can).

Reinstalling the wheel proved a tad more challenging. Unlike a chain, a Gates belt isn’t a greasy mess. But it kept wanting to hop off the crank or the sprocket as I tried to mate hub with dropouts and brake rotor with calipers. Lacking a hammer, I was compelled to employ patience, which is always in short supply among the Irish.

After a few tries, the belt surrendered, I closed the QR, snapped the cable box back into place, screwed it down finger-tight in case I lost my nickel at the casino on the way back, and hey presto! I had all 14 gears and a slightly soft rear tire (about 30 psi, as it turned out, despite my best efforts with my thousand-year-old Blackburn minipump). That was enough to get home.

And a good thing, too, ’cause I only had the one spare tube. One more flat and it was the patch kit for Your Humble Narrator.

Now how’s that work again? Lessee here. …

What is hip?

July 12, 2019

What a pain in the ass.

No joke. A couple hours after Monday’s short run and a bit of light resistance training I found myself in the hurt locker, with big pain in the right hip and a limp that would have done credit to a drunken pirate with a poorly made peg leg navigating a wet deck in heavy seas.

IT band? Hip flexor? Psoas? I suspect the latter, because I’d been having some low-grade back issues a couple of days previous. Anyway, being manly, and also stupid, I rode on Tuesday, and felt kinda-sorta OK on the bike, but not so much off it.

So I prescribed myself a couple days of rest, some ibuprofen, and a hefty dose of work on my Masi Speciale Randonneur review for Adventure Cyclist.

Just because I will never be smart doesn’t mean I have to keep being stupid.

The good news is, all this drew my attention away from the news, which is taking on overtones of a Jeffrey Dahmer-Ted Bundy buddy pic scripted by Josef Mengele and directed by the Marquis de Sade. That Dealie McDealio is up to his saggy man-boobs in some of the worst of it should surprise absolutely no one.

The late Jim Harrison noted more than once that politicians are prone to shitting through their mouths. And boy, am I ever glad I’m not paid to catalog every turd that falls from this fool’s face.

• Extra-Credit Tower of Power: The eternal question, and more, from NPR’s Tiny Desk.

Awright, so worry awready

July 4, 2019

This cover of The Nation from 2000 shows Mad’s staying power.

Ecch! Potrzebie! Mad magazine is taking the scenic route to the furshlugginer boneyard.

I spent a lot of time with Mad and its army of funnymen: Harvey Kurtzman, Don Martin, Wally Wood, Will Elder, Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, Sergio Aragonés, and the rest of The Usual Gang of Idiots. And I wasn’t their only fan.

Here’s a superhero Marvel hasn’t wiped its corporate arse with … yet.

In “Comix: A History of Comic Books in America,” Les Daniels called Mad “one of the most popular and influential mass circulation magazines in the country,” adding: “Along with Hugh Hefner’s sexy Playboy, it was one of the only two magazines produced in the Fifties that were successful innovations (excepting, of course, the reader service of TV Guide).”

In mourning the demise of “a true American original” on this Fourth of July 2019, contributor Tom Richmond wrote: “In the end in this day and age, the only reason anything is allowed to exist comes down to money. If something is profitable, it continues. If it is not, it ends. Mad is ending for the same reason anything ends … it’s all about the Benjamins.”

I gave Mad my Benjamins — OK, so maybe they were more like Washingtons — and oy, did it ever influence me. Mad led me down a twisted, anarchic path to Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, The Firesign Theatre, Zap Comics, The National Lampoon, and Monty Python, among others.

It was a trip worth taking, so much so that I’m still on it.

Poit. Sklishk. Sploydoing.

Sergio Aragonés had a go at cycling.

e-DWI

May 31, 2019

The operator of this gas-powered scooter was appallingly sober.

In less than a week after rentable electric scooters hit the mean streets of Albuquerque, we’ve collected our first e-DWI. ¡Salud!

I suppose we could look on the bright side here. Had our early adopter not gotten popped for allegedly e-scooting under the influence — the cops say she got all beered up at Marble Brewery and had planned to hit at least one more grog shop downtown — she probably would’ve clambered into her land yacht and driven home to Belen, an hour or so to the south, depending on how many ditches and medians one inspects en route.

Or tried to, anyway. ¿Quien sabes? Having had some small experience in these matters I expect it’s a lot easier to hide one’s impairment from the John Laws behind the tinted windows of a four-wheeled Ford than on one of their two-wheeled throwaways.