Archive for the ‘Things that suck’ Category

April, no foolin’

April 1, 2020

Miss Mia Sopaipilla is on guard against April fools.
“That’s cat food, right? Right?”

March came in like a debt collector and how delighted we are that it has finally fucked off.

Booted up

February 25, 2020

Bad ankle! Bad, bad, bad! Get in that boot and stay there, thinking about what it is that you’ve done.

Behold the latest in Empire Stormtrooper technology: the boot. Just call me Darth Gimp.

The doc I saw yesterday is a podiatrist and a cutter, but he didn’t see any pressing need to fire up the old circular saw and prescribe a piñon peg and parrot from Largo Juan Plata’s in Old Town.

Dude sez to me he sez, I am presently enjoying an avulsion fracture (basically a severe sprain with extra attitude) and it should respond quite nicely to immobilization (hence the sexy footwear a la Bootsy Collins).

We’ll meet again in a few weeks to compare notes. The doc and I, not Bootsy. Though I wouldn’t object to meeting up with Bootsy, too.

I liked this approach because (a) it reminded me of the spiel I got from an orthopod the last time I did this ankle, back in 1983. I was sporting a fiberglass walking cast, installed by others, that he considered an overabundance of caution. Questions of diagnosis, treatment, and masculinity were raised and examined.

Also, and too, (2), it means nobody is firing up a circular saw and murmuring, “He under yet? Yay, boat payment.”

Foot, loose

February 23, 2020

They didn’t have any Reynolds 853 crutches with cup holders.

So there I was, JRA (Just Running Along), when my right ankle folded up like a cheap umbrella, only with an ominous crunch that said, “Try walking this one off, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.”

I’m no stranger to sprained ankles. Don’t know why. A rolled ankle is just one of those deals that keeps coming around, like acid flashbacks or “Golden Girls” reruns.

But usually I walk that shit off.

Not this time.

Oh, I had to walk, all right. I never run with a phone. And even if I did, Herself was in Florida, so who was I gonna call to come get me? Batman? I never run with a Bat-Signal either.

So I hobbled home, wrapped the ankle up like a fat burrito, and drove to the neighborhood urgent-care outfit for an X-ray, expecting the usual RICE advice with a sizable bill attached to lend it some authority.

Not this time. Sumbitch ain’t sprained. It’s busted.

So I drove home with a removable ankle stirrup, a list of orthopods, and the obligatory pair of aluminum crutches.

And can you believe it? Crutches still don’t come with cup holders. I had to fabricate that sucker myself with a big assist from King Cage and the USB (Universal Support Bolt).

The Monitor in the Merrimack

February 11, 2020

C’mon. When you’re staring at this much screen you want a box of popcorn, a big ol’ soda, and a preview of coming attractions that does not include the honking 18-wheeler into whose lane you have strayed.

I have an ironclad disagreement with the notion of a multiplex in motion.

My argument is a simple one: If you want to drive, get an automobile. If you want to text, tweet, phone, Facebook, Instagram, eat, drink, smoke, shoot, or stream anything other than your own bad self down the road, why, get a sofa and some fixed location to put it in.

Our discussion of the Escalade Multiplex with its 38 inches of curving OLED real estate caused me to remember an earlier screed on this very topic, from the pages of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News circa 2014. For a change I cited sources other than the voices in my head, though of course they too were interviewed at length.

Rather than simply reprint the column — c’est ennuyeux! — I barked it into the old Shure SM58 and presto! Yes, yes, yes, out popped another episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

Too late for this year’s Pulitzer for Audio Reporting, but hey, there’s always next year, amirite? Or maybe 2024, when the sonofabitch will be 10 years old and journalistic standards may have declined even further, perhaps to my level.

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 and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder, then edited in Apple’s GarageBand on the 13-inch 2014 MacBook Pro. Post-production voodoo by Auphonic. The background music is “Well Oiled Machine” from Zapsplat. Sound effects from Apple’s iMovie effects bin and Your Humble Narrator.

The 2021 Escalade Multiplex

February 8, 2020

This beast has nearly as much screen real estate as my living room. The difference is, my living room gets better mileage and won’t be found parked on top of a cyclist because I was having trouble deciding what to watch.

Call me old-fashioned, but when I read a statement like this

The most important screen for any driver of the new Escalade is the 14.2-inch digital instrument cluster that sits just behind the steering wheel.

… I long for the days when editors, like, y’know, edited, an’ stuff.

I would argue that “the most important screen for any driver of the new Escalade” is the fucking windshield.

Our man at The Verge doesn’t get around to wondering whether this mechanized multiplex is a good idea until quite late in the piece. Given that the curb weight of the 2020 2WD model is 5,311 pounds, you may consider me a strong “No” on that question.

Nobody needs 38 inches of OLED on the ROAD, which s/he shares with pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and other, lesser autos, like UPS trucks, cement mixers, and SWAT-team armored cars. You want to play with screens, get a living room and a comfy chair.

Meanwhile, back in Iowa. …

February 7, 2020

The DNC strives to make chicken salad from … well … you know.

Reg: I now propose that all seven of these ex-brothers be now entered in the minutes as probationary martyrs to the cause.

Loretta: I second that, Reg.

Reg: Thank you, Loretta. On the nod. Siblings! Let us not be downhearted! One total catastrophe like this is just the beginning!

• Editor’s note: My sense of humor briefly deserted me yesterday. But I think I should get off with crucifixion (first offense).

Get outa my Waymo(fo)

January 23, 2020

Phantom 309 gets a phantom Big Joe.

Oh, good. Waymo is bringing its self-driving minivans and trucks to New Mexico.

The Duke City’s drivers can’t wait to take their hands off the wheel for real. Then they won’t have to steer with their knees while texting, smoking meth, swigging hooch, spitting out the fire in their laps (spilled hooch and pipe sparks), and shooting at the punk-ass bitch who gave them the side-eye at the last stop light they ran.

‘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!”