Found Smugness: Why Buy the Chicken When You Can Get the Lead For Free?

Generally speaking, I try not to bother you, the reader (as opposed to me, the douchebag) with tedious details concerning the running of this blog.  However,  since I feel I've earned your trust over the last five-ish years of more-or-less daily bullshit "curation," I owe it to you to reveal that last Sunday, at the Bicycling Fall Classic, while in extreme oxygen debt on a climb, I agreed to sell this blog to Rodale (parent company of Bicycling and manufacturers of top-quality nerve agents) for $75 and a sweet "bro" deal on a Specialized.  (You can read the full press release in "Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.")

Rest assured that nothing will change, and that the blog you've grown to know and become indifferent to you will be the very same one that "jumped the shark" about 4.5 years ago.  The only real difference is that I'm now $75 richer and riding around on one of Mike Sinyard's crabon fribĂ© brainfarts.  Also, I've agreed that images of the rider known colloquially as "Recumbabe:"

(Recumbabe does Canada, by BKJimmy.)

Will heretofore be replaced with photographs of Ann Romney:

(I don't know what she's baking, but it looks fucking delicious.)

Also, there's going to be a print version of the blog, and I'm modeling the design after "Cycling World," as forwarded to me by a reader:

If you haven't read their latest feature, "Water Bottles: A Convenient And Practical Way to Stay Hydrated While Biking," then you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy wherever fourth-tier periodicals are sold.

Oh, there's also one other thing, which is that they want me to increase my coverage of new cycling products by roughly 600%, since pictures of naked ladies on recumbents "Don't make money for nobody," as the head of their accounting department put it to me over coffee and threats as he cracked his knuckles.  The only problem is that I don't get much by way of new product solicitation, since most manufacturers recognize the fact that I'm what is called "an idiot" in bicycle industry jargon.  In fact, pretty much the only company to make any overtures to me in the past few months has been Budnitz Bicycles, which should give you an idea of how pathetic I am.

Fortunately, as I rummaged through my electronic inbox this morning, I found a message from a company called "SlingFin," who wanted me to mention the combination pannier/backpack called the "Honey Badger" that they're currently flogging on the Kickstarter:

Basically, the SlingFin people need $175,000 to make this, and if they don't get it in five days this guy is going to have to go back into The Matrix:

One of the chief selling points of the Honey Badger is its durability, and to illustrate this they drag it from behind a pickup truck:

This is actually a really important test, especially if you live in the southern United States, where they like to do this sort of thing to minorities, homosexuals, and cyclists.

As I watched this video, though, I realized that I'm not really qualified to evaluate the product.  Sure, as a New York City cyclist there's a better-than-average chance that I'll one day get dragged for about eighteen blocks by a mafia-owned refuse-hauling truck, but this is also a very "outdoorsy" product and I'm about as outdoorsy as a suede loveseat.  Sure, I ride a bike outside, but I don't sleep there.  If I'm traveling and you need to find me your best bet is to check the hotels with flushing toilets, because there's no way you're going to find me sleeping in a soccer ball in the Himalayas:

The SlingFin team are very outdoorsy, though.  Consider Lauren, aka "Sky," who's way into skydiving, as well as "canyoneering, slacklining," and a whole bunch of other stuff:

As an inveterate wussbag I've never even heard of most of those activities, and I thought I was listening to Lacy Underalls in "Caddyshack" talking about "skinnyskiing" and "bullfights on acid."  Anyway, to further test the Honey Badger, Sky hurls herself right into a waterfall:

I'm guessing when it rains she doesn't take the bus.

So to review, you can use the Honey Badger to carry a dog:

Or to climb shit:

Or to go on a hardcore gentrifying expedition:

Or to "portage" your groovy 1970s-style skateboard:

Best of all, it's fully compatible with your gigantic pie plate;

Intriguing, but slightly overbuilt for my purposes.

But what I may lack in hardiness I do make up for in smugness--or so I thought.  Since taking delivery of a Surly Big Dummy a couple or so years back I've become a genuine cargo bike enthusiast and a fan of the Xtracycle system.  However, after I watched this Xtracycle promotional video that was forwarded to me by a reader, I realized that true smugness is nearly as alien to me as survival in the great outdoors:

At first, the film was perfectly relatable to me.

Anybody with children knows that parenting mostly consists of caging and confining the offspring in order to go from one place to the other, and this apparatus seems like it would do an excellent job of it:

"Cool, I want that!," I immediately found myself thinking.  But then the film takes a bizarre turn when Dad, beneath whose staid suburban attire beats the heart of a freegan, suddenly makes straight for the trash:

Then, after a bit of rummaging, he presents his delighted child with a pinwheel:

This is where they lost me.  Perhaps the same wussiness that makes me gravitate to hotels also makes me wary of skeevy street pinwheels that come from the garbage, but when I think of some of the items I've discarded and why I'm convinced that my caution with regard to pinwheels of unknown provenance is warranted.  I mean, who knows what the previous owner was doing with that thing?  For all I know there's some disgusting frat boy game where the object is to see who can make a pinwheel spin the longest with the force a "loogie" or a blast of flatulence.  At the very least I'd want to give the thing a good disinfecting.

Meanwhile, Mom's shopping for plants, completely oblivious to the fact that Dad has just handed the kids a germ-laden wheel of fortune:

And he doesn't stop there, either, because after some more rummaging he finds a typewriter:

The filth possibilities of the typewriter make the pinwheel seem positively antiseptic in comparison.  Who knows what insect infestation is living deep in its inner workings?  Or, maybe the guy who threw it out was some William S. Burroughs-esque beatnik junkie who would type a few words of poetry, nod off, and then just drool all over it.  Dad's not worried though, and he throws it in the bike with nary a concern:

At this point I began to worry about the state of Dad's Xtracycle.  I know my own is pretty disgustingly filthy.  In fact, the other day I actually found old restaurant leftovers in it--and I don't even haul trash with it.  Hopefully Dad's at least hosing that scow down after his wild family garbage parties.

So where's Mom?  Still shopping for plants:

("Nice cactus!")

And clearly she's not fucking around, because next she unfurls the trailer:

As Dad lets the kids pick out some baked goods:

("They have two-day old ones out back in the trash that are just as good.")

Remember when I said Mom wasn't fucking around?  Well, she's not, because here she is ordering the guy at the nursery to load up her trailer with about 14 feet of bamboo:

And then, amazingly, she resumes her botanical shopping spree:

By the way, I don't know where this film is set, but it must be a pretty friendly place because the café still lets them eat there even though they brought the food in from the trash:

Also, the guy at the nursery still supports Tibet:

Isn't that quaint?  Here in New York people forgot all about Tibet shortly after Lollapalooza II.

Finally, Mom's ready to go:

I find it distressing that Mom has just spent something like $1,500 on plants while her husband and children are forced to forage in the trash to support her cripplingly expensive gardening habit.  I also find it amusing that there are probably about fifteen angry drivers stuck behind a slow-moving tree:

Finally, the film ends with the family reunited around the typewriter:

("Can you believe people actually used to write with these things?  What idiots!")

Shrewdly they're using it outside, since those first few clackety-clacks should result in plenty of fleeing mice and roaches.

Alas, while much of Brooklyn is indeed beginning to resemble this video, it still has a long way to go.  Plus, we've experienced a major setback, since all those people keeping chickens in the backyards of their brownstones are now discovering the eggs are filled with lead:

What a shock.  When it comes to smug cuisine, some things are just better left to the food co-op.

Lastly, via the Twitter comes this sweet Pinarello freestyling:

I could do most of those things but I choose not to.

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