Housekeeping: We Don’t Use The “California No” Here, Particularly With Regards To Contributors

In the past few weeks, I’ve been contacted by a couple of potential contributors who never heard back from me about what they sent. I also had a commenter note that he sent in a contribution for the #BikesOutForHarambe series but never saw it published. This would be a good time, therefore, to reiterate my personal policy on dealing with contributors, commenters, and pretty much everybody who contacts me.

I don’t use, and I don’t believe in, the so-called “California No” where somebody just avoids your question or refuses to return your emails on a subject. If you sent something to me and didn’t hear back, it means that I’ve accidentally deleted, lost, or mislabeled your communication. Please send it again and don’t feel bad about doing so.

It’s embarrassing to have to make this request of my contributors, but the fact of the matter is that I get a lot of email, along the lines of 50-100 legitimate non-commercial messages per day, so I do make mistakes. If you’ve sent me something that I cannot or will not use, I’m going to tell you. If you’ve haven’t been told that by me, please contact me again.

Which reminds me… Last year, I read an article in a major print magazine that set a standard for incompetent writing and incoherent thought. As I suffered through this blimped-out bozo’s tale of narcissistic navel-gazing cross-country shitcan-driving, I said to myself, “I bet that a high school junior could do a better job with this subject matter.” So I asked a high school junior to rewrite the piece. Which he did. And he manifestly improved that garbage article. I’m not putting it up here, because I’m trying to play nice with the dimmer lights in automotive journalism at the moment. If you’d like to read it and judge for yourself, comment below, using a valid email, and I’ll send you a link. If enough of you like it, I’m gonna pay the kid a kill fee, just for fun.

Housekeeping: It’s Getting Better (And This Site Is Getting More Popular) All The Time

It’s been a pretty good two weeks for my kid. He made his BMX main and took second despite the fact that he was the youngest kid on the gate by almost two years. He set fast time of the week at our local indoor kart track. His flag football team completed an undefeated season in which he made a major percentage of the points and plays. We took our first “long” road ride together on our mountain bikes, covering 13 miles in about an hour and ten minutes.

Compared to what’s going on with this blog, however, John’s accomplishments are, like, totally boring, man!

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Housekeeping: Boomers And Snake Oil

Should the commentariat here at Riverside Green have a cutesy name? Robert Farago christened TTAC’s readers as the “Best&Brightest” many years ago. Yes, he was being ironic. Vox Day calls his fans the “Dread Ilk”, which is a level of nerd-chic that I wasn’t able to reach even when I was nine years old and writing my own elementary-school newsletter about 8-bit programming on an old Olympia manual typewriter. Truthfully, I’d prefer just to call you all “the readers”. There are a couple of reasons for that. The first is that, according to the limited analytics we have on hand, you are a fairly elite group, earning well over $100k on the average and skewing heavily in the directions of male, educated, and professionally successful. Grown men who handle their own business shouldn’t have a cutesy nickname unless they are actively engaged in the performing arts, and most of you appear to be the former without dalliances in the latter.

The second reason is that the word “reader” has a certain prestige associated with it in an era where the vast majority of human beings are simply media consumers who are unable to comprehend anything more refined than an OW MY BALLS video on YouTube. I was recently informed that Riverside Green’s readers spend more than twice as much time on the site per visit than the average customer of the National Review does on that site. In other words, you’re applying a detailed and critical eye to the things you read here. Thank you for that. I’d rather have ten thousand dedicated, thoughtful readers than a million drooling subscribers on YouTube. Despite our lamentable and perpetually embarrassing sellout to the AdSense Borg, this site is still a money-loser for me. Which is fine. It’s worth it.

This past week, two articles appeared on the site that aroused the ire of The Readers to no small degree. I discussed the narcissism of the Baby Boomer generation at length in an article on Harry Chapin, then John Marks wrote a long and enthusiastic piece on a few pieces of audio equipment that, in the opinion of The Readers, amount to nothing but cynical attempts to bilk credulous morons into paying thousands of dollars for a closer look at the magical fabric used in the Emperor’s New Clothes. I think it’s probably worth taking a few moments to discuss why I published both of these contributions and what, if anything, I expect The Readers to take from them.

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Housekeeping: Not Enough Fiber In Our Diet

Some of you might have noticed tbat the site was down today. Apparently it is possible to cut the connection to Riverside Green’s highly available and highly expensive colocation facility with one backhoe.

It took five hours to restore the clipped fiber. Needless to say, I’m not satisfied. When I was at Honda they walked people out the door for five MINUTES down. There may be changes ahead for how we host the site. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Housekeeping: Mr. K’s Wild Ride

On January 24 of last year, Riverside Green welcomed Tom Klockau to our short but extremely handsome list of writers. He is a consistent favorite with our reader base thanks to his detailed, forthright, and heartfelt reviews and retrospectives. I appreciate his efforts more than I can easily say and have never read any of his contributions without a settled, comfortable pleasure. Whether he is talking about Brougham-era sedans or his own experiences, Mr. Klockau makes the reader feel like an old friend — and although I consider myself to be a bit of an expert on Seventies cars, I rarely close one of his posts without having learned something.

Tom’s diligent and worthwhile contributions are part of the reason this site is climbing while his former online home sinks slowly towards the proverbial abyss. I should probably send him a sizeable check. Unfortunately, we’re still wading in red ink here at Riverside Green. So if you’ve enjoyed his work, please feel free to tell him in the comments below, and maybe that will distract him from the fact that I probably owe him a mint-condition Designer Edition Town Car for his work!

Housekeeping: Ignorance, Madam, Pure Ignorance

Last year I had the singular pleasure of visiting the house in London where Samuel Johnson composed his Dictionary. Having studied the man’s work for nearly thirty years, I found it almost overwhelming to finally be at the spot where Johnson ascended to literary immortality. It was more than a little humbling; I cannot in any way imagine that people will come to Powell two hundred and fifty years from now to see the Natuzzi recliner where I wrote my Malaysia article.

Yet I share more than a few qualities with Britain’s premier lexicographer: general size and bulk, myopia, irritability, a hopeless love of classical antiquity, and a preference for long, deliberately paced sentences composed in labyrinthine fashion. Oh, and ignorance. Did I mention ignorance? From Boswell’s Life Of Johnson:

A few of his definitions must be admitted to be erroneous. Thus, Windward and Leeward, though directly of opposite meaning, are defined identically the same way; as to which inconsiderable specks it is enough to observe, that his Preface announces that he was aware there might be many such in so immense a work; nor was he at all disconcerted when an instance was pointed out to him. A lady once asked him how he came to define Pastern the KNEE of a horse: instead of making an elaborate defence, as she expected, he at once answered, ‘Ignorance, madam, pure ignorance.’ His definition of Network* has been often quoted with sportive malignity, as obscuring a thing in itself very plain. But to these frivolous censures no other answer is necessary than that with which we are furnished by his own Preface.

I was alerted to my own ignorance this morning by a reader email concerning yesterday’s Jordan Peterson article.

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Housekeeping: It’s Sellout Time

In the summer of 1997, I started the “BMX Basics” website. It started as an Apache subdirectory of a local internet provider (there’s a 1998 snapshot here) and ended up as www.bmxbasics.org. Once I realized that Internet newbies only understood dot-com I opened www.bmxbasics.com. At one point I was serving over 560,000 pages a month — even though I only wrote one new piece a week. I closed that site and opened squidcar.com around 2005. Finally, I closed that site and opened this one up a decade ago, eventually moving it to the WordPress site that you all know and tolerate today.

Over the past twenty years, I’ve never had a single banner ad, promotional tie-in, sponsored marketing piece, or any for-profit content whatsoever on any of my sites. The most I’ve ever asked you to do is to use my referral codes for Club Eaglerider (thank you for that, I’m up to 18 free days in the bank!) and Massdrop (28 referrals so far, they sent me some very nice notebooks and pens.) That’s about to change and I’ll explain why in terms that I hope make sense to all of you.

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