Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Artisanal Advocacy: All You Haters Sepia My Smugness

Of all the world's great landmarks, few are more recognizable and iconic than the skyline of Tashkent, Uzbekistan:

While I have no immediate plans to visit Tashkent, I will be visiting her "sister city," Seattle, this coming weekend. (I'm not sure why Taskent and Seattle are sister cities, though it's probably because they both have tall, pointy things in them.) As I mentioned last week, I will be reading aloud from my book of cheese poetry (in certain circles I am known as the "Bleu Cheese Bard") at the Seattle Bike Expo, and you can find the schedule here.

Additionally, if you're afraid of riding your bicycle alone and would like to join me in a leisurely spin to the show on Sunday morning, we will be meeting at someplace called "Uptown Espresso" (525 Queen Anne Ave N) and riding over to the Expo.

By the way, Adam West (otherwise known as "The 'OG' Batman") is apparently a Seattle native, and while I can say with almost 100% certainty that he will not be joining us on Sunday, I do like to think that he will be with us in spirit.

Moving on, with all this bike lane mishigas going on I've practically forgotten that cycling is also a professional sport, and consequently I've been rather "out of the loop" with regard to what the riders and fans have been whining about lately--which, evidently, is that the UCI doesn't want the riders to use radios anymore:

In recent years, given all the drug scandals, companies have come to realize that sponsoring a professional cycling team is only marginally more savvy than investing with Bernie Madoff. On top of this, the world economy is currently in what economists refer to as "the toilet," which means that putting your money into a pro team the corporate equivalent of taking your last $20 and "letting it ride" at the dog track.

Given all this, it seems to me that if the UCI wants the riders to forego their radios in the hope that the sport will become more interesting to it's 19 remaining fans then they better well do it. I understand the safety argument, but it's not like pro cyclists are putting themselves in tremendous danger for the sake of humanity, and asking them not to wear earpieces isn't like asking firefighters to wear ballet costumes instead of protective gear.

The truth is, resourcefulness is interesting. In fact, I think all UCI races should begin with all the riders completely naked and without bicycles, and that they should have to procure all their clothing and bikes from local retailers right from the gun. This could be known as an "extreme Le Mans start." I guarantee Mario Cipollini wouldn't complain if he were still riding--in fact, he'd probably just skip the clothes part and go right for the bicycle:

("I'm actually wearing a radio. Guess where it is?")

They don't make riders like Mario Cipollini anymore, nor do they make an antibiotic powerful enough to cure you after you've had intimate contact with him.

(BSNYC Pro Cycling Fun Fact: In his heyday, Mario Cipollini required more lubrication for his body in a single day than the rest of his team required for their bicycles in an entire season.)

Speaking of bike lane mishigas (not to be confused with Liquigas, which is a professional cycling team) a reader recently forwarded me this harrowing and infuriating tale of injustice from the "L Magazine:"

Obviously, this is horrible, and obviously I can't wait to see the video. But what was also interesting (to me anyway) was that, as the reader who forwarded it to me pointed out, to represent the cycling teacher the "L Magazine" used a sepia-toned photograph of me which they apparently "borrowed" from a half-assed review I did some time ago of some Outlier pants:

I don't mind that they used it--in fact I'd be honored to become the bicycle injustice article equivalent of the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork--though I'm not sure why they felt the need to sepia-tone it. I know when I sepiafy something it's because it was obscene, but as far as I can recall my fly was firmly closed and I was "portaging" my "pants yabbies" in an appropriately discreet manner. Therefore, I can only assume that the "L Magazine" considers my entire person objectionable.

Actually, this is something the "L Magazine" has in common with the readers of Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery. Once again, I was delighted to learn from commenter "Ant1" that the strip's "curator" referenced this blog, and once again I was dismayed to find that loyal fans of the comic were distinctly nonplussed:

Fortunately, I've figured out a way he can change the last panel and make everybody happy:

It's funny because it's true. It's also funny because "AYHSMHB" could just as easily stand for "All You Haters Shave My Hairy Beaver"--which would make for a very interesting fifth panel, regardless of how you interpret "beaver:"

(Sepia beaver, ready for shaving.)

By the way, back to the Outlier pants, you may recall my erstwhile ironic intern Spencer Madsen, who not only co-reviewed those pants with me, but also set out to test the infamous Walmart Mongoose Cachet, only to completely disappear. Well, I'm pleased to announce that Spencer has finally resurfaced, and that he was not claimed by the Cachet's faulty braking system. In fact, not only is he alive and well, but he has also promised to do a follow-up review of sorts on the bike, which given his work ethic means I expect to receive something from him sometime in the next 20 years.

I could use this as an opportunity to launch into a screed about how These Kids Today have no work ethic, but then I'd sound like this guy, who left a comment on that New York Times framebuilding article I linked to yesterday:

Artisanal bike shops to match Brooklyn’s artisanal doughnut shops, artisanal cheese shops, artisanal coffee shops, artisanal muffin shops, etc.

These newbie characters are really becoming an embarrassment to native Brooklynites.

Brooklyn used to represent a no-nonsense toughness and was renowned as a manufacturing center, producing everything from rubber gaskets to battle ships and historic submarines. Now it is reduced to manufacturing bamboo bikes, something so silly, even poor Asian countries don’t attempt it.

Poor Brooklyn, once made so proud by industrious immigrant energy, now so humbled by the latest hipster, suburban fad.

— Chester

This crotchety old person (or else this crotchety young person who has seen too many Ken Burns documentaries) had me with the "artisanal" stuff, but then he went wildly off course. Firstly, he's only encouraging the "newbie characters" he claims to despise, and it will now be a matter of weeks before artisanal axe curators Best Made Co. start selling rubber gaskets:

Thirdly, when did framebuilding become a "suburban fad?" Ah yes, the suburbs: the sound of leafblowers in the air, Mom bringing the kids to soccer practice in the minivan, Dad brazing frames in the driveway while wearing a welding mask and a "Kiss The Cook" apron... What could be more quintessentially suburban than that?

I suspect "Chester" blew a rubber gasket around the time the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and he hasn't been right since.

Speaking of sepia (which I was a few paragraphs ago), another reader recently alerted me to the latest cover of "Momentum," which is salacious enough to warrant a whole Victorian photo album's worth of the libido-quelling hue:

Evidently, someone has figured out that sex sells smugness:

The image of course comes from that "Downtown From Behind" tumblr thingy, which is full of enough "salmon porn" to make a Chinook blush. There's also pig "portaging," though presumably "Momentum" didn't want to go with that since their readership is probably something like 86% vegan:

Anyway, I was disappointed to find that the inside of the latest "Momentum" was somewhat less erotic, and instead was filled with impossibly smug articles like this one on how to scare the holy crap out of your newborn baby:

Honestly, the poor kid looks terrified:

I'd hate to tell this poor baby that, when you're born into a smug family, things only get worse.

In a few months it'll be out of the bicycle-mounted bassinet and into the "bake feets" along with the rest of the piglets.


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