Taking a Beating: Literally Stiffed, Vertically Complaining

Further to yesterday's post about "ax bedazzlers," I was reading the New Yorker recently ("reading the New Yorker" is a euphemism for visiting the restroom) when I came across another article by my favorite cultural "ax bedazzler," the magazine's pop music critic and token "hipster" Sasha Frere-Jones. While I have nothing against pop music (apart from the fact that I hate much of it), I also believe that for the most part there is little place for pop music "criticism" beyond the letter grades ascribed to it by magazines like Entertainment Weekly--especially when the pop musician makes music like this. So I was particularly amused by this passage from Frere-Jones's "review:"

I think when a New Yorker writer is having "tween" listening parties and writing about them it's time to at least take stock of the current state of the magazine, if not actually call the authorities. At this rate, food critics will soon be crashing 9-year olds' birthday parties at McDonald's, writing about Happy Meals and critiquing the latest artery-hardening sandwich. (Moreover, Sasha Frere-Jones is now officially the Michael Jackson of music critics.) Meanwhile, we're already at the point where magazine editors are amazed by pencils and paper clips, designers are spraypainting axes and reselling them, and New Yorker writers are listening to music with "tween" focus groups and then parsing it for...who? Parents, so they can intellectualize their childrens' tastes? The parents themselves? Really, the music Frere-Jones writes about in this article could only appeal to either "tween" girls or the sorts of European pro cyclists who wear faux-hawks and body spray--neither of whom form the bulk of the New Yorker readership. (The New Yorker readership is in fact comprised mostly of bloviating douches, to which my own subscription attests.)

Of course, I'm just as deserving of castigation as anybody, and indeed I was taken to task in yesterday's comments by an angry Norwegian (or Norwegian sympathizer) who was rather nonplussed that I did not mention yesterday's stage winner and current green jersey wearer Thor Hushovd in my Universal Sports Tour de France blog. Rest assured that my omission was in no way intended as a slight to the great Thor Hushovd (inventor of the lighter-than-milk road racing bicycle), nor did I mean to snub the great nation of Norway (which, I confirmed with a quick visit to a popular user-edited online encyclopedia, actually exists). The simple truth is, it's rare that the third stage of the Tour de France has such an effect on the overall classification, and so I chose to focus on Alberto Condator's surprisingly good performance on the cobbles, rather than on Hushovd's impressive though (given his well-known abilities on the pavé) relatively unsurprising win. (Plus, reading my Universal blog for race results is like reading Mad magazine for political commentary.)

In any case, by way of apology, I'm pleased to offer this short video of Thor Hushovd attempting and failing to open a can containing a popular soft drink:

I'm surprised he didn't just tear it open with his teeth.

Shortly after drying my tears, I checked my "Twitter" (I live and die by which death metal album fixed-gear freestyle impresario and streetwear enthusiast Prolly is listening to) and read this:

(Use of simple letter-grading system makes him a better critic than Sasha Frere-Jones.)

Once again, I'd like to apologize, this time to Ryder Hesjedal as well as to his native Canada, a country which exists even more surely than Norway does. I hope those of you who are denizens ("denizens" is pretentious for "hosers") of the Great White North will accept this moving video tribute to "Great Canadians" as a token of my esteem:

Hesjedal is not in there yet, but I'm sure one day he will be.

Speaking of Tour de France riders formidable enough to bite the tops off of cans, one of the most formidable of all is Jens Voigt. Jens Voigt is the Shakespeare in the Park of the peloton in that it's basically de rigeur to get excited about him, even if you secretly don't care. This is because he's undoubtedly one of the selfless so-called "hard men of the peloton," and he's usually affable in the face of adversity. However, VeloNews has released this revealing video in which he complains (some might actually say whines) about the inclusion of cobbles in yesterday's stage:

While I can certainly sympathize and don't hold it against him (especially given his severe crash last season), this video will also leave many an adoring Cat 4 feeling disillusioned and betrayed. After all, Jens Voigt is supposed to say things like, "I love cobbles and pain, ja?," so that forumites will have new signatures for their postings about how Johan Bruyneel is the devil. So for Jens Voigt fans, hearing him complain about some pavé is surely like going to see Shakespeare in the Park only for the guy playing Hamlet to announce, "It's too damn hot for this shit, you can all go fuck yourselves."

Of course, the fixed-gear equivalent of getting really excited about Jens Voigt is getting really excited about some guy who decides to ride a fixed-gear in an inappropriate fashion, and naturally with the Tour de France in full swing the videos of these rides (all fixed-gear rides must be documented on video, it's in the "fixie" rule book) are increasingly Tour-themed. Here's one I noticed recently on the "Trackosaurusrex" blog:

mont ventoux fixed - the film from Free To Ride on Vimeo.

In summary, it's someone riding up Mont Ventoux for awhile while being filmed from a car, set against the plaintive warblings of somebody on Thorazine:

At roughly an hour and a half, this is certainly the longest fixed-gear ride anybody has ever successfully completed anywhere on Earth:

I'm totally psyched for the Tourmalet "edit" to "drop:"

Speaking of riding Tour stages on inappropriate bicycles, another "Tweet" alerted me to the following image of a rider devouring the Stage 3 cobbles on a recumbent:

I must say I'd have to disagree with the caption, since from a comfort perspective a recumbent is probably a pretty good bike for the cobbles. (While lying on that cushy rolling beach chair, the only pounding you'd feel would be caused by the convulsive sobs of your dignity.)

Hopefully Jens Voigt doesn't see the smile on this rider's face and get any ideas. Granted, a recumbent would be somewhat less suited to climbing Mont Ventoux, though with an electrical assist you can make up lots of time on the descent:

Now I know what Fabian Cancellara will be riding when he retires.

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