A lens capped

February 1, 2017

Graham Watson has hung up his camera bag to enjoy the good life (which includes not lugging a metric shit-ton of camera gear all over the planet).

He turned 60 last March, and his final outing as a pro shooter was last month’s Tour Down Under.

When I was throwing pixels at the digital wall for that Boulder-based journal of competitive cycling GW was a mainstay of our photography, as was (and still is) Casey B. Gibson. Between the two of them we pretty much covered the globe like Sherwin-Williams.

It’s a tough hustle, pro shooting, The travel is unending, and the days run 48 hours apiece. The bag weighs a ton, the pay sucks, and wankers steal your images without so much as a by-your-leave.

But the old saw about a picture being worth a thousand words is a cliché because it’s true. One good shot will tell you more about bike racing than anyone’s prose, mine included.

So raise a glass to Graham Watson, who has gone to ground in New Zealand. I’ll honor him by not lifting an image for this post.

 

 

Sentinels

January 31, 2017
Cannon to right of them; cannon to left of them.

Cannon to right of them; cannon to left of them.

Jaysis. I keep hoping things will settle down in my little world so I can pay attention to the larger one and it keeps not happening.

We did enjoy a respite yesterday afternoon. I got out for a two-hour ride with a neighbor who is on the road to recovery after an injury, and afterward I aired out the cats for a bit. Then it was back to business.

I took a quick swivel at the news and it all looks worse than Kellyanne Goebbels after a couple-three meth julips. A follower on Twitter described the antics at the Orange House as “a shitshow,” and I agreed, noting that while I had expected to see some splattered on the walls, I had not planned on it being up to the knees heading into Week 2 of the Bannon administration.

Meanwhile, here’s some light reading for you:

• Kevin Drum at MoJo says the immigration order “is a pinprick, just something to test the waters” for a full-on war on Islam. “Think of it as market research,” he adds. “More will be coming.”

• The architects of the New World Ordure are set to start pushing their Supreme Court nominee. If you’re expecting the second coming of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., prepare to be disappointed.

• What’s old is new again: Everybody, from Henry Giroux to Michiko Kakutani, is revisiting “1984” for reasons that should be all too obvious.

And now it’s back to work. Phone your senators and representatives and urge them to oppose every little notion these dollar-store despots dredge from the shallow depths of their tiny minds. Do it now. Later looks very unpleasant from where I’m sitting.

MAGAbytes

January 29, 2017
What, you haven't heard they have a National Mall in DeeCee?

Don’t wanna live like a refugee.

I think this whole “Make America Great Again” thing is gonna be harder than anyone thought. Especially the orange fella.

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.

Curtis Imrie goes west

January 23, 2017
Curtis Imrie (left) and Hal Walter in a photo lifted from one of Hal's columns at Colorado Central magazine.

Curtis Imrie (left) and Hal Walter in a photo lifted from one of Hal’s columns at Colorado Central magazine.

Just when the Republic needs every man jack it can muster, one of the true wild ones, Curtis Imrie, has left us.

Longtime readers of the DogS(h)ite are familiar with my old friend Hal Walter; we’ve known each other for the better part of quite some time. But Curtis is the guy who introduced Hal to the manly Western art of pack-burro racing, and they were friends, rivals and friendly rivals for more than three decades.

As soon as Hal posts a proper obit, I’ll provide a link. Meantime, the long and the short of it is that Curtis Imrie was (among many other things) an actor, and while he played other roles — including that of the murdered Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Mike Rust — the part he was born to play was that of Curtis Imrie.

A scion of privilege (among his forebears was Robert S. Brookings, founder of the Institute for Government Research, which would become the Brookings Institution), Curtis drove a Triumph motorcycle across Europe and the USS Enterprise across the galaxy, and nearly got killed by a wandering 18-wheeler near the National Western Stock Show complex (where he finally did die almost exactly a dozen years later, reportedly of a heart attack, at age 70).

He worked in front of the mic at Salida’s KHEN-FM on Tuesday evenings; worked both in front of the camera and behind it on a movie that seemed to have no ending (and now never will); won the World Championship Pack-Burro Race at Fairplay three times; and ran quixotic campaigns for Congress from his ranch in the Upper Arkansas watershed nearly as often as he ran for the top of Mosquito Pass. That race, he never won.

Curtis was an honest-to-God, sure-enough character in a world of ciphers, devoted to democracy, donkeys and drama, a spiritual cousin to Ed Abbey, Doug Peacock, Ken Kesey, Thomas McGuane and the Pilgrim from Kris Kristofferson’s “The Pilgrim, Chapter 33”:

He’s a walkin’ contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction

Taking ev’ry wrong direction on his lonely way back home.

He’s gone back home now. Peace and comfort to the friends and family he left behind.

• Update: KHEN will host a live memorial tribute to Curtis beginning at 5 p.m. Salida time on Tuesday, Jan. 24. You can stream it at their website if you’re so inclined.

Back to business

January 23, 2017
The Turk contemplates the New World Ordure.

The Turk contemplates the New World Ordure.

Thanks to one and all for minding the store in my absence. Turns out I needed more than a day off, so I took the weekend.

Herself’s friend Leslie popped round from Colorado and the two of them joined the women’s march in Santa Fe (sorry they missed you, Khal and Meena).

Me, I stayed home, with The New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post, Albuquerque Journal, Twitter, Mother Jones, The Nation, Charles P. Pierce and the blog all held in abeyance.

I listened to a lot of music — Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Miles Davis, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven — sat zazen, went for a run, read some poetry and a bit of E.B. White, oversaw the menagerie, scribbled a bit of paying copy.

More later as I ease back into the routine.

The People’s Blog

January 20, 2017

OK, folks, you have the run of the ranch in comments. Let’s hear your thoughts about how We the People move forward (or sideways, diagonally, or whatever; any direction save retreat). I’ll see you tomorrow.

Something wicked this way comes

January 19, 2017

• Editor’s note: What follows was intended to be a rambling kickoff to a Counter-Inaugural Podcast at Radio Free Dogpatch, but my sidekick Hal Walter developed a bad case of previous commitments, so I’m laying it on you old-school instead. Tomorrow it will be radio silence from yours truly here and on Twitter. But there will be an open-mic post suitable for commentary, so feel free to chime in with your thoughts on what this particular changing of the guard means for you, and for the rest of us. Finally, a tip of the carny’s boater to Ray Bradbury for the headline. It’s a pity — or is it? — that he didn’t live to see Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show come to life.

We're all bozos on this bus. Some of us more than others.

We’re all bozos on this bus. Some of us more than others.

IT’S BEEN A STRUGGLE, TRYING TO FIND WORDS to describe how I feel about what’s going to be happening on Friday — and afterward — in Washington, D.C.

I’ve watched this changing of the guard since before I was eligible to vote, and it rarely goes well for progressives.

In 1969, when Richard Nixon was preparing to take an oath of office he had already violated by undermining the Paris peace talks, the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam staged a three-day counter-inaugural that proved quite the bash, both literally and figuratively.

Yippies Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman brought a revolutionary-theater sideshow to the circus, proposing to inaugurate their own president, a 145-pound hog named Pigasus, with predictable results. The Left immediately set about eating itself alive — Splitters! — rocks, bottles, horseshit and punches were thrown, cops and protesters alike took a beating, 119 people got a tour of the hoosegow, and as is traditional in such matters, both sides claimed victory.

Nixon, of course, claimed the White House. Twice. You may recall how that turned out.

I found it all fascinating, from a safe distance, and when I became eligible to vote in time for the 1972 elections, I tried to register as a member of the Youth International Party, the proper name for the improper Yippies. Never happen, said the county clerk in Bibleburg, and I had to settle for signing up as an “independent.” But Hunter S. Thompson was actually in attendance at the ’69 inaugural, and he didn’t exactly come away with a smile on his lips and a song in his heart.

Recounting the experience for The Boston Globe in February 1969, Thompson wrote: “My first idea was to load up on LSD and cover the Inauguration that way, but the possibilities were ominous: a scene that bad could only be compounded to the realm of mega-horrors by something as powerful as acid.”

As Thompson watched the deal go down during what he called “a king-hell bummer” and “that wretched weekend,” he saw “a new meanness on both sides … and no more humor.”

“Suddenly I felt cold, and vaguely defeated,” he wrote. “More than eight years ago, in San Francisco, I had stayed up all night to watch the election returns … and when Nixon went down I felt like a winner.

“Now, on this Monday night in 1969, President Nixon was being honored with no less than six Inaugural Balls. I brooded on this for a while, then decided I would go over to the Hilton, later on, and punch somebody. Almost anybody would do … but hopefully I could find a police chief from Nashville or some other mean geek. In the meantime, there was nothing to do but go back to the hotel and watch the news on TV … maybe something funny, like film clips of the bastinado.”

• • •

Neither Hunter S. Thompson nor Dick Nixon are with us this time around, but another pair of Sixties relics you may have thought were likewise long gone — LSD and psilocybin — are making something of a comeback as potential treatments for whatever bad scene may be unfolding on the backside of your forehead (or in front of it).

In December, The New York Times reported on a couple of studies that showed “clinically significant reductions” in both anxiety and depression in cancer patients who took synthetic psilocybin.

The studies, which the Times called “the largest and most meticulous among a handful of trials to explore the possible therapeutic benefit of psilocybin,” found the beneficial effects persisted for months.

One patient, who had just completed treatment for stage-3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, described what he called “an epiphany.”

“I’m not anxious about cancer anymore,” he said. “I’m not anxious about dying.”

Another, whose treatment for acute myeloid leukemia left him with graft-versus-host disease, said the experience left him with “a greater sense of peace with what might come.”

“I’m very grateful, beyond words, for this trial,” he added.

And on January 14, The Atlantic ran a Q&A with Ayelet Waldman, whose new book “A Really Good Day” describes her microdosing with LSD to self-correct what she described as “a pretty significant depression.”

She had tried the traditional remedies served up by the medical-industrial complex — antidepressants, ADHD drugs, SSRIs, you name it — but a couple drops of diluted and highly illegal L-S-Dizzy is what did the trick for her.

Said Waldman: “I felt happier or at least not as profoundly depressed almost immediately the very first day I took it.”

Funniest thing, hey? About 10 years after the good Doctor Thompson was mulling over that Nixon inaugural, a friend and I offered an acid-soaked homage to his fear-and-loathing tour of Las Vegas. But we didn’t have his stamina, and when a jai-alai match at the old MGM Grand started to look like a “Star Wars” shootout we got the fuck out of there at a very high speed indeed, driving all the way back to Alamosa — the Brain Damage Express, via Kaibab and Page, the Four Corners and the terrifying Wolf Creek Pass, with the usual horrible weather and without the enhancements that were still a few years down the road.

But we sure as shit weren’t depressed. We were simply seeing a whole lot of things we’d rather not have and thought a case of beer, a long night’s drive and a plate of his mom’s enchiladas might mellow us out.

Forty years later I can make my own enchiladas but I’m not so sure about the acid. I still have my copy of “The Anarchist Cookbook,” but I was never much at chemistry.

• • •

All trips, both good and bad, come to an end, sooner or later. And in May, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will break down the big top in May for the final time after 146 years.

According to The New York Times, Feld Entertainment, the producer of the circus, cited rising operating costs and falling ticket sales, a condition that worsened after Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey dropped elephants from its show last year.

CEO Kenneth Feld told The Associated Press that moving the show by rail, providing a traveling school for performers’ children and other expenses from a bygone era made carrying on a losing proposition.

“It’s a different model … we can’t see how it works in today’s world to justify and maintain an affordable ticket price,” he said.

And let’s not forget that old devil competition. There’s another, bigger circus coming to town, with a permanent base of operations in Washington, D.C., the financial support of the State, and free worldwide access via social media. Plus elephants, too!

The Greatest Show On Earth is now an angry orange clown with a Twitter account. Hur-ry, hur-ry, hur-ry. …

Rain and shine

January 17, 2017
It's still colorfully humid for New Mexico, but you won't see me complaining. The trails are marvelously tacky.

It’s still colorfully humid for New Mexico, but you won’t see me complaining. The trails are marvelously tacky.

This past weekend’s precip’ was a record-breaker, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

We didn’t get any snow here at El Rancho Pendejo, just a daylong, soaking rain that had miraculously evaporated from the trails by the time I went running yesterday. Only a couple smallish puddles remained.

And warmer, drier weather is on the way, which is good news, as I have video to shoot.

Things are looking a little sunnier down Chelsea Manning’s way, too. The Crypto-Mooslim Kenyan Socialist Usurper has commuted the bulk of her sentence for leaking classified documents, and she will be a free bird in five months instead of 28 years.

 

Rainy day

January 15, 2017
A nice, daylong drizzle. Keeps the snakes slick and the cacti crisp.

A nice, daylong drizzle. Keeps the snakes slick and the cacti crisp.