Posts Tagged ‘The New York Times’

Days decrease, and autumn grows

October 10, 2018

Yesterday’s clouds were a harbinger of mildly unpleasant weather,
the sort one expects in October.

It’s that time of year again.

This morning, instead of going straight to The New York Times to see what deviltry Cheeto Benito has been up to while we slept, I cued up Weather Underground to find out what Thor has in store for us here in our little corner of the Duke City.

Also, I was wearing socks. And pants. O, the humanity.

I already miss my summer routine. Reveille at oh-dark-thirty as Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) leaps into my rack. After a brief exchange of the usual courtesies it’s up and into the Columbia shorts, guinea tee and Tevas for the trip to the kitchen, where I burn an English muffin for Herself, pour a cup of joe for myself, and top off Miss Mia Sopaipilla’s kibble.

Next, open the sliding glass doors and a kitchen window. Fresh air reminds me we have two cats who haven’t mastered the flush toilet. But the litter box will have to wait. First, the news. One foul chore at a time, please.

With the international, national, regional and local butt-nuggets exhumed, examined and expunged, and a second cup of coffee to wash down a snack of some sort, it’s time to generate a bit of bloggery and/or paying copy before embarking upon some healthy outdoor activity.

Here we have another indicator of the relentless passage of time, as reliable as falling leaves. Come autumn, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News and Adventure Cyclist reduce their frequency of publication, and my income stream — hardly a raging torrent, even in the heart of the cycling season — becomes more of a dribble, the last warm sip from summer’s water bottle.

I delivered the video teaser of my Jones Plus SWB review to Adventure Cyclist on Sunday, and yesterday the November “Shop Talk” cartoon went off to BRAIN. Now I’m fresh out of other people’s bikes to ponder, and there’s just one more ’toon to draw for 2018.

And that healthy outdoor activity? Come autumn, it’s as likely to be a run as a ride. This year I started jogging again in July; this lets me sort of sneak up on my knees, give them time to grow accustomed to the idea that we enjoy this sort of thing, before winter winnows our options.

It’s a useful fiction, one that keeps me in shorts a while longer.

Bad Apples

February 7, 2018

The not-so-smart speaker setup in the kitchen at El Rancho Pendejo.

Apple has gotten a bit of the old spankity-spank from The New York Times over the longevity of its iPads and the functionality of its HomePods.

John Herrman grouses that his 5-year-old iPad Mini “hasn’t been used up; it’s just too old.” And the HomePod — Ms. Siri in particular — is expensive, unfinished and “tough to recommend,” according to consumer-tech reporter Brian X. Chen.

Ooo, snap, as the kool kidz don’t say anymore.

I have the exact same iPad Mini and it was demoted some time back to serving up music in the kitchen while I butcher NYT Cooking’s recipes. Like Herrman, I was disappointed in the Mini’s early decline from full functionality, mostly because I liked its portability and small size for nighttime, one-handed reading (the right hand is reserved for scratching the Turk’s ears).

But I can’t say I was surprised, because the iPad always struck me as Apple’s pricey idea of a consumer content-consumption gadget intended to be replaced, not revived.

I was late to the iPad, just as I was to the iPhone. It struck me as unnecessary, and still does in a lot of ways. Using one to write, edit, blog, or work any sort of audio/visual project involves workarounds and compromises. And to do any of these things at all, even badly, you pretty much have to add a couple adapters and an external keyboard-slash-case, which adds to the cost and complexity and basically makes the iPad a sort of half-assed laptop.

That said, I’m on my third iPad, because as you know, I will never be smart.

The first, an iPad 2, retired to the Walter household up Weirdcliffe way, where thanks to a rambunctious youngster they were light on portable computing technology. The Mini, as we have observed, plays my iTunes library in the kitchen. And No. 3, a 9.7-inch iPad Pro from 2016, mostly sits (with its keyboard case, because of course the fucking thing needs a keyboard case) on the nightstand, next to the bed, in which it has proven a cumbersome one-handed e-book reader.

A $100 Amazon Kindle Paperwhite would probably suit me just fine for that. But remember, I create as well as consume, and in a pinch I can actually do paying work with the iPad while traveling (I once updated the blog from a tent in Arizona, using an iPhone).

I didn’t have a HomePod in that tent, and I don’t expect to have one in the house anytime soon either. The whole Smart Home/Internet of Things deal gives me the creeps. I already wonder whether the Apple TV is watching us as much as we watch it, and I sure as hell don’t need the stereo, toaster and ’fridge to be finking for the State.

Anyway, I already have a nifty little JBL Clip 2 speaker Bluetoothed to the Mini. Forty-two smacks it cost me.

Hey, Siri, do I look any smarter to you now?

From our No Shit Dept.: Hotels aren’t secure

October 4, 2017

No bag limit.

Sometimes I get the impression the fake news thinks we rubes never leave our flyover-country shacks.

Of course hotels aren’t secure. Nothing is.

Look at the pile of luggage I dragged into the Luxor for Interbike last month. I could’ve had a crazed midget with a sawed-off shotgun inside that rolling suitcase, a MAC-10 and a couple dozen extra magazines in the messenger bag, a few bricks of C4 in the backpack, a couple of Glocks with spare mags’ in the camera bag, and the boiled head of Sean Spicer in the cooler.

Nobody batted an eyelash when I hustled all this crap from the self-park up to my room. Not even The New York Times.

Cleanup in Private Sector B

March 4, 2017
Is this art, content or journalism? I'm so confused.

Is this art, content or journalism? I’m so confused.

Today we’re gonna take a break from governmental stupidity and focus on idiocy in the private sector, where they expect results.

• From Digiday: “RIP contributor networks as a publishing shortcut to scale.” Translation: “We’ve squeezed the last dollar out of amateurs who’ll work for the byline. Time to get back to fucking over the pros.” This is what we call putting the “con” in “content.”

• From The New York Times: Palm Springs residents who have made fortunes off their vacation paradise are shocked, shocked! that others want to do likewise. Money quote, from a design blogger with a huge Instagram following: “You want to stay places that are Instagram-worthy because you are living your life as content.” Um, no.

• From The Verge: Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” has been adapted into a video game. “Rather than love, then money, than fame, give me truth. And a really big pair of thumbs.”

Free-deranged beef

February 24, 2017

trump-pressOK, it’s been a long week.

Allergies, deadlines, insomnia, you name it.

And the news? Oy. Don’t get me started on the friggin’ news. It seems to have boiled down to @infinite_scream on Twitter, as interpreted by the band Disaster Area from “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

But I gotta admit, the way The New York Times arranged this news nugget on its homepage made me smile.

We used to have a saying in my biz: “Never fuck with anyone who buys ink by the barrel.” It may no longer apply, but we can always hope, amirite?

Phys ed

December 23, 2016
Jogging in a winter wonderland.

Jogging in a winter wonderland.

As longtime visitors to the DogS(h)ite know, I will never be smart.

Still, “never” is an awfully long time. Especially now that a study indicates that running “seems to require a greater amount of high-level thinking than most of us might imagine,” or so says Gretchen Reynolds in The New York Times.

The study, published in a neuroscience journal, found that the brains of competitive distance runners “had different connections in areas known to aid in sophisticated cognition than the brains of healthy but sedentary people,” Reynolds recounts, adding: “The discovery suggests that there is more to running than mindlessly placing one foot in front of another.”

Well. Shit. Naturally I laced up the old runners straight away and toddled off for my first jog of the winter.

And … nothing. Bupkis. Still as dumb as a stump.

Still, I’ll probably keep after it. At least running gets you out in the open air. Like crucifixion.

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.

Rest day

November 21, 2016
The Irish should not be entrusted with any technology more advanced than the hoe and wheelbarrow.

The Irish should not be entrusted with any technology more advanced than the hoe and wheelbarrow.

Looks like I picked a good day to ignore the news in favor of fiddling with the dark corners of GarageBand (yeah, take cover, you might have to endure another podcast before much longer).

The homepage of The New York Times looks like the mounts of all Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse shat on it in a driving rain, which oddly enough is what we’re experiencing at the moment here in Duke City. The rain, not the horseshit, though that can be had aplenty too, if I am not otherwise occupied, which I am.

Even Charles P. Pierce is starting to make me nervous. When the headline is “Saddened, Angry, Sickened, Defeated,” it’s a solid tip that the guffaws will be few and far between.

Me, I’m just glad I don’t have any pressing deadlines. It was tough to bring the funny for the final Bicycle Retailer of 2016, and while delving into the mysteries of GarageBand is giving me a headache, it is in a largely unused corner of what remains of my brain.

 

Good news and bad news

October 4, 2016
Classic Fat from the last millennium. Some things never change.

Classic Fat from the last millennium. Some things never change.

First, the good news: Julia Moskin at The New York Times serves up a modern recipe for chicken pot pie that looks absolutely scrumptious.

The bad news, also from the NYT: Whatever you weigh right this minute, you’re only gonna get fatter as 2016 and its various holiday seasons waddle to their belt-loosening denouement. I blame Obama. Also, the chicken pot pie.

The worse news: “Anything that happens in these next 10 weeks, on average, takes about five months to come off,” says professor Brian Wansink of Cornell University’s business school.

Does that include the election? Oh, God, no. I need some comfort food. And I think we all know what it might be. …

From Muscatine to muscatel

February 2, 2016
It's morning in America.

It’s morning in America.

It seems Iowa Republicans would rather be poisoned than shot.

As for their Democratic counterparts, they split right down the middle between Billary of Wall Street and Groucho Sanders, The Last Marx Brother. Kindly Father Martin O’Malley won the third stool from the door at the Red Rooster Grill in Iowa Falls and decided to call it a campaign.

The editorial board at The New York Times appears to be about two martinis away from jumping out a window over the GOP clusterfuck. As for the Donks, the board opines that the contest has become one between head and heart. Guess which candidate is which body part. There will be a prize.

“With a few of the weakest candidates starting to drop out, weary voters can only hope that the campaign will further clarify itself and become more substantive in coming weeks as it moves to New Hampshire and beyond,” mutters The Times.

Ah, yes, that ol’ hopey-changey thing. Hope in one hand, shit in the other, see which one fills up fastest.