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Time Machine Tuesday

January 21, 2014

Over at Teh Twitters yesterday a gent praised a non-rant I’d written way back in 2002, saying it was one of his “all-time favorites.”

I had forgotten about it — these things vanish from my consciousness about a nanosecond after I hit the “Send” button — so I looked it up, and y’know, I kinda liked it myself. Even an old blind dog finds a tasty Milk-Bone now and then, it seems.

Written when we still lived in Weirdcliffe, it was prompted by a reader’s complaint (one of many, actually) that my stuff was too negative, which it can be. That my column was christened “Friday’s Foaming Rant” didn’t help. A label like that tends to set a certain tone, and when I wandered off the Rantinista reservation other critics would jeer, “Call that a rant?” You can’t win.

But if two of us liked it, it must not be entirely lame, so here it is, reprinted in all its faded glory for your entertainment.


It makes a man’s eyes damp, for sure

December 12, 2012

At times one wonders how many of the online readers of were the only children of overprotective hippie parents, Montessori grads, or home-schooled by feebs who think the Bible was written in American by dinosaur-riding Christian cowboys.

Velo’s annual awards issue names the Schleck brothers the International Disappointment of the Year and the comments section fairly overflows with tears on the Luxembourgers’ behalf. I’ll bet the Suits who pay their salaries are muttering, “You fuckin’ A,” along with more than a few of their teammates and maybe even their old man.

Some of these sensitive types who think the cycling press should focus only on sweetness and light should re-examine the last 15 years of uncritical paeans to various dope fiends for a refresher on just how well that worked out. They might also skim some of our mainstream sports coverage, in which underachieving, overpaid stars are routinely power-washed with ice-cold horseshit by fat fucks whose primary athletic achievement is getting out of bed in the morning without stroking out.

Hell, Andy Schleck would hang himself over the bidet by his pantyhose if his every utterance was “enhanced” by a comments section. You give me 20 percent of his 2012 salary for riding the pine and I’ll have 15 years’ worth of my hate mail tattooed on my body. There should be just enough room if we keep the text to 5.5 point, the size sports pages once used for results.

All the news that fits, we print (part four)

December 3, 2012

It’s official — Competitor Group Inc., which owns Velo magazine and, has been sold to Calera Capital.

All you’ll ever need to know about the corporate buccaneers who did for VeloNews what Bain Capital did for Ampad is contained in the press release issued today from CGI HQ in San Diego. David Moross, chairman of Falconhead Capital, which owned CGI before the sale to Calera, made sure to give credit where credit was due:

“Five years ago we set out to build a leading company in an industry that was highly fragmented, but well positioned for tremendous growth,” said Falconhead Chairman David Moross. “Competitor Group has grown dramatically during this period and realized much of the potential we originally envisioned. This success is due to the original strategy we developed to create the company, and the hard work of our very talented management team and our board of directors.”

Emphasis mine. Yes, sacking cancer victims, veteran Tour correspondents and crackerjack ad salesmen takes talent and hard work, like hitting your own thumb with a five-pound sledge, setting yourself ablaze while trying to drink a Flaming Jesus, or stepping on your dick while fleeing a raid at a Vegas whorehouse. I expect that no matter what the future holds, the boyos in Boulder will be glad to see the last of Cap’n Moross and his pirate crew. Arrr.

All the news that fits, we print (part three)

December 2, 2012

While I was focused on the sale of our “local” daily newspaper to yet another out-of-town right-winger I overlooked reports that the owner of Velo magazine and, Competitor Group Inc., has likewise been sold — to another venture-capital outfit, Calera Capital.

As with the sale of the Gazette to Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, I know nothing about what this may mean for Velo/’s readers and advertisers. Based on a casual glance at its website, Calera, like Anschutz, appears to have a wide range of financial interests, from banking to forest products to truck stops. Unlike Anschutz, it appears to have had no interest or involvement in media prior to this purchase.

The reports remain unconfirmed by corporate spokescreatures, save for one anonymous insider who told Bicycle Retailer and Industry News that “it’s a done deal. …”

More as (or if) I hear it.

Top off your lap, sir?

January 7, 2012
The 13-inch 2011 MacBook Air

All I've ever asked is everything I've ever wanted. Does that make me a bad person?

When Competitor Group Inc. and I parted ways on the first day of the New Year I suggested that Herself should buy me a new MacBook to ramp up my mobility to full rumormongering speed for 2012.

I won’t tell you what she suggested that I do.

Some people hit the pubs or the comfort food as the wolf howls outside the door. Me, I examine the toy box and generally find it lacking a certain something. One wonders why Santa discriminates against the bad kids. There oughta be a law.

It’s not as though I’m lacking for laptops. The main machine is a 13-inch 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo MacBook circa 2006, but there are others: a 12-inch 1.5 GHz G4 “Little Al” PowerBook, a 14.1-inch 500 MHz G3 “Pismo” PowerBook and even a 12-inch 800MHz G3 iBook that smells like a pencil eraser when I boot it up because of a poor adhesive selection by someone at Apple HQ.

The problem is that they are all old, slow and heavy, like their owner. And also nearing the end of their useful lives, but let’s not go there, even metaphorically.

All still work, but frankly the G3 ‘books are way off the back — still suitable for checking mail, writing screeds and light photo/cartoon editing, but the equivalent of Nash Metropolitans when navigating the modern Infobahn. The G4 is better, but it’s 7 years old — no biggie for a car (my Forester is also a 2005 model), but senior-citizen country for a computer.

And the MacBook? It’s only a year younger and has already disappointed me once, FUBARing a hard drive after less than three years of light use. I’ve never trusted it since — and never really had to, since the lion’s share of my work for the past few years involved helping edit the website, which is tough to do on any laptop, unless you have a giant external monitor attached.

I used a 2009 21.5-inch 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac with a second monitor, a 22-inch ViewSonic. Charles Pelkey used a PC with three monitors. His office looks like the bridge of the USS Enterprise.

Having abandoned professional web editing, I no longer require that kind of visual real estate. But I’ve gotten used to the speed of the newer computer, and it’s hard to go back in time when I hit the road, something I’d like to do more of in 2012 if only to rub up against some fresh ideas for irritating people.

Let’s see here — a guy can pick up a refurbished 2011 1.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 MacBook Air for just over a G at the Apple Store. I wonder how much plasma I’d have to sell.

I need to lose a little weight anyway.

A VeloBarrel of fun

July 8, 2010

Today’s was a long and unproductive stint in the old VeloBarrel. remains a little twitchy — envision a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs — and this afternoon in addition to the usual hitches in its digital gitalong I started having trouble simply staying connected to the site.

This is problematical if you’re one of the people being paid to stuff bits and bytes up the digi-tubes linking France, Colorado, Wyoming and California. Thus I accomplished very little beyond rearranging the order in which I repeatedly delivered a short selection of choice obscenities.

Bring me one of these every 15 minutes until I pass out and every half hour thereafter.

Bring me one of these every 15 minutes until I pass out and every half hour thereafter.

Beats me what the problem was (and still is). My other usual haunts — The New York Times, Political Animal, DrunkCyclist and this miserable site — are chugging right along. And this site and DC are both WordPress-based models, too. So go figure.

“Is it too early to start fuckin’ drinking?” I IM’d web editor Steve Frothingham around 1:30. “It’s 9:30 p.m. in France,” he replied.

Speaking of booze, Frank Bruni has an item on the Bloody Mary over at today’s Writes Mr. Bruni: “The bloody mary bridges the speakeasy and the herb garden; it’s a liquid salad into which you can not only pour pretty much any kind of base alcohol you like but also sprinkle parsley, basil or cilantro, and, while you’re at it, cram in hunks of vegetables, usually pickled, of many types.”

He then goes on to describe an appalling series of effete East Coast beverages served up by sissified Noo Yawk bistros that must make a Sonoma County wine bar look like a Hell’s Angels clubhouse by comparison.

I was never big on Bloodies, myself. Back in my morning-drinker days the crowd I ran with favored the lowly red beer as a palliative for the daily brain sprain. This was simply whatever cheap lager was on tap at the nearest dive bar mixed with Snap-E-Tom tomato-and-chile juice, repeated as necessary. A wedge of lime upped the vitamin-C content while adding much-needed roughage.

Maybe I’ll have one tomorrow. Or maybe I’ll just get straight into the smack.

Apocalypse now

July 7, 2010

There ain’t nothing like that first week of the Tour, boys and girls. And this has been a particularly bad first few days, what with various other chores coinciding with my need to work five days a week for three weeks at

After 20 years of cracking lame cycling gags I occasionally find myself with a nasty case of writer’s block, and wouldn’t you know it? This was one of those times. And me with deadlines at Bicycle Retailer & Industry News (two columns and a “Shop Talk” cartoon strip) and VeloNews (editorial cartoon).

Never get out of the fuckin' boat!

Never get out of the fuckin' boat!

I pushed the envelope so far it turned inside out, creating a wormhole that took me to an alternate universe containing a Patrick O’Grady who was still about half funny. Happily, when I showed up my dopplegänger was asleep under his drawing board with an empty bottle of tonsil polish in one limp paw (some things transcend time and space), so I appropriated his work and returned to my own universe just in time to beat my deadlines.

But is this my universe? Lance Armstrong is not winning the Tour — far from it, he sits in 18th place, 2:30 behind Fabian Cancellara, and is getting heckled by spectators calling him “dopehead” and “cheat.” And Mark Cavendish is getting his ass handed to him in the sprints. The renowned sprinter Andy Schleck has more points than Cav’, f’chrissakes.

Shit. I should’ve listened to Chef. “Never get out of the boat.” Not even to beat a deadline.

Paris, ho!

July 3, 2010

Well, that was … interesting. Fabian Cancellara kicked much ass without a DieHard up his seat tube (and the UCI checked, just to make sure) and Big Tex just missed the podium in a performance that has his fanboys tugging frantically upon themselves and squeaking about No. 8.

The Champs-Élysées is a long ways off yet, fellas. Put the mouse back in its house, zip up and chill out until the guy has more than five seconds under his belt and you have more than five inches under yours. That’s 8.9km down, 3,633.1km to go, is what I’m saying.

As is traditional, the donkey had a couple of hitches in its gitalong on this first day of the 2010 Tour. But the virtual muleskinners are beating the poor dumb sonofabitch with a really big digital stick and it’s bound to get the idea sooner or later. Paris is thataway. Yaaah!

I took a break in mid-shift for an early Fourth of July celebration with Herself, the Mom-in-Law, Sis and Bro-in-Law, and The Dude and Doris. We ate catered vittles and drank French wine at midday. Next thing you know we’ll be dancing on Sunday.

One thing I won’t be doing on Sunday is working. That’s reserved for a long-ass bike ride. I even have a stars-and-stripes jersey suitable for the occasion, presented to me by USA Cycling for being an Official National Champion Pain In the Velo-Ass or something along those lines.

And if I can find a titanium-and-carbon-fiber shoehorn, I might even squeeze into it.

A happy Fourth to you and yours.

Hand me the Bravo Foxtrot Hotel

July 1, 2010

OK, I’ve done a little research, hollered for help, cursed a whole bunch, sipped a glass or two or three, and finally repaired and optimized my WordPress database, so let’s see if this has sent the censorship gremlins packing.

If for some reason you find yourself unable to comment on one of my brilliant online observations, please fire off a NastyGram® to our retarded IT guy, otherwise known as Your Humble Narrator, to wit, me. But if I were you, I’d spend my time enjoying the Fourth of July weekend instead of hanging around here, waiting to see if I can come up with a fresh way of saying, “This fucking sucks.”

Or, if you’re truly, hopelessly and spectacularly bored, pop on by at 9 a.m. Mountain time on Friday, when the Boulder-based Journal of Competitive Cycling will be running its second 2010 Tour de France Round Table. It’s set up like one of Charles Pelkey’s live updates, but instead of following a bike race online you get to ask the editors and reporters how we’ll be following a bike race online — to wit, the impending three-week dash around Frogland.

I skipped the first TdF Round Table for reasons that are better left unsaid, but I may chime in tomorrow, because it will be the last chance I get to crack wise for three long weeks.

Fire on the mountain

June 27, 2010

Man, the smoke around here last night was wicked — we had to close all the windows to keep the house from smelling like a Cub Scout campfire.

Now a slurry bomber has crashed, grounding the fleet, and the fire folks are using helicopters instead. Lovely.

And the website has developed some sort of hiccup just in time for me to clock in. Is this Monday or Sunday?