The baby dolphin slaughter

March 12, 2012 § 8 Comments

Wankmeister got a text message from New Girl, who had just checked in with Fussy, Blondie, Pilot, Canyon Bob, and Junkyard at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort in Santa Barbara. “We’re so excited about the Solvang Century tomorrow!” she texted. “Where are you staying?”

“Fess Parker’s was booked by the time I called,” Wanky replied. “That’s the place named after the movie star who played Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, right?”


“It’s, like, swankville, right?”


“Well , the only place I could get was at Fess Haggen’s.”

“Fess Haggen’s? Never heard of it.”

“It’s a smallish place named after Festus Haggen, the illiterate, dirty, alcoholic deadbeat who played Matt Dillon’s deputy in Gunsmoke. They offered me their last room, out behind the dumpsters. I had to pass. So I’m flying in tomorrow with Wehrlissimo & Co.”

“The same guys you did Palm Springs with?”

“Same bunch of wankers.”

Culture and fitness, all rolled into one

Solvang, CA is the picturesque Danish town made famous by Lance Armtwister and the US Pestal Team when they won twelve consecutive Tours without ever doping. Remember when 190-lb. “Twiggy” Hincappy beat 115-lb. “Tubs” Pereiro on the 15th stage of the Tour in 2005, climbing 35,000 vertical miles over two hundred major Alpine passes? That was thanks to the hard efforts the team spent in their Solvang winter training camp, and neither he nor Armtwister ever tested positive, despite being the most-tested athletes in the history of athletedom.

Like any other ethnic “town” (think “Chinatown” in San Francisco, or “Little Tokyo” in LA, or New York’s “Little Italy,” or Houston’s “Cheap Hookers and Meth Village”) Solvang introduces people to Danish culture without the inconvenience and expense of having to actually learn Danish and go to the Faroe Islands to watch a baby dolphin slaughter.

“What’s this?!?” you say. “Danish people don’t slaughter baby dolphins! That’s Canadians. And they only slaughter baby seals. Danish people bake yummy butter cookies and have that precious statue of the Little Mermaid!”

Solvang does in fact promote the enticing aspects of Danish cuisine, and numerous places in town exist where you can enjoy a yummy frokost of pickled herring, smoked eel, fried onions, smoked herring with raw egg yolk and saltmeat. For middag you can look forward to more salted fish, boiled potatoes, cabbage, rødgrød, and an appetizer of hot porridge.

Yet, despite the great food, the high point of the town’s celebration of Danish culture remains the annual baby dolphin hunt, carried out in the guise of a century ride.

South Bay baby dolphin killers boarding the “Slaughter Express”

The baby dolphin round-up

As with the Faroese dolphin hunt, Solvang first attracts the baby dolphins with offers of great weather, beautiful scenery, a memorial patch, and lots of overpriced $5 beer with outrageously overpriced $20 barbecue in the sunshine. When the leathery whalers stepped off Wehrlissimo’s turboprop, “The Dolphin Slaughter Express,” and pedaled into Solvang from the Santa Ynez airpark, it was evident that the round-up had been a huge success.

Thousands of baby dolphins milled around the sign-in area, greedily looking through their goodie bags, happily taping their numbers to their handlebars, and proudly admiring the new “Solvang 2012″ patch that they would never arrive home with to sew onto their jerseys. Some happily munched on the free nutty Clif bar that only cost $65, while others adjusted their tummies to rest comfortably on their top tubes. None was aware of the predators in their midst or the mayhem that would shortly ensue.

As the cold-eyed hunters from the South Bay hungrily gazed out at the roiling ocean of clueless cetaceans, some took the opportunity to sharpen their sóknaronguls, checking to make sure that the steel point of the gaff would sink quickly through the blubbery skin and into the brain of the prey. Given that their brains were tiny indeed, the hunters’ aim would have to be true. DJ, the Chief Hunter & Drunk, looked grimly at what would soon be a mass of lifeless corpses.

King Harald Bluetooth, slightly more humane, had opted to bring his blásturongul instead, preferring the blunt-edged gaff as an easier way to hook the unsuspecting baby dolphins by their blowholes, drag them to shore, beach them, cut their dorsal fins, and slice their spinal cords with an heirloom grindaknívur, handed down from father to son to bond the generations with the joyous, bloody murder of squeaking baby dolphins.

Baby Dolphin disguise

As the harpooners donned their own baby dolphin ID numbers, the better to blend with their victims, they noticed out in the parking lot a particularly plump batch of chubby little dolphin children. Clad in Long Beach Botulism Taco outfits, they huddled together, comparing swag sack goodies and admiring each others’ night-before boastful emails.

“Heh, heh,” squeaked one baby dolphin. “I told the South Bay fakers about my one-hour massage and carbo loading! Katy bar the door!”

“Ho, ho,” squeaked another, who had called in from Long Beach on his iPhone because he was too weak to make the swim. “I’ll post a funny blog afterwards when someone tells me about the ride I was too weak and craven to join!”

“Har, har,” squeaked the last, “they’re about to find out how the Long Beach baby dolphins ROLL!”

Over-ripe baby dolphin bait hanging out of WM’s pocket.

How the Long Beach baby dolphins roll

Under the guidance of their Chief Hunter & Drunk the whalers left the safety of Solvang Bay and headed out to open sea with the group of tubby Long Beach dolphins in tow. The hunters of steely mien included Wehrlissimo “Gorm the Old,” Major Bob “Sweyn Forkbeard,” King Harald Bluetooth, Li’l Douggie “Sigrid the Haughty,” Triple “Olaf Hunger,” Polly “Cnut the Great,” ProBoy Alex “Sigrid the Dainty,” and Cap’n Levi, “He Who None Shall Fuck With Ever.”

By mile four the rotating paceline of South Bay whalers had already hooked, beached, and severed the spinal cords of several thousand baby dolphins, most of whom were wobbling along in ill-defined schools led by someone wearing a jersey that said, “Winner–California Triple Crown of Cycling

By mile five the Long Beach cetaceans had already begun to swim in a panic mode, with Dr. Dave wildly squeaking out “Flat! Wheel! Mechanical!” The largest of the blubbery mammals, a juvenile female pilot whale named Martijn the Feeble, called the school to a halt while everyone gathered around the quivering Dr. Dave. No one was able to find a flat or any problem whatsoever, but he insisted. “The wheel was wobbling! I swear!”

Harald Bluetooth looked scornfully and said, “The wheel’s wobbling because your arms were shaking, dude. Okay let’s go. Just don’t get behind this baby dolphin on the downhill.”

The cold bite of the lance

At mile 37, one of the fattest baby dolphins, after taking numerous pulls, swung over to the side, his flippers quaking from the effort. “Thar she blows!” roared Gorm the Old as he took out his long harpoon and sent the steely blade of death piercing directly to the heart of the blubbery mammal. Gore coursed from his mouth, then from his eyes and nose as the helpless creature rolled over, white belly to the sun, jaws agape in the final shudder of death. No more to enjoy the depths of the ocean blue! No more to swim among the chubby schools of baby dolphins, spouting boastful emails! No more to carbo load the night before being driven onto the beach to be pitilessly slain by the tip of the harpooner’s lance!

By mile 40 practically the entire pod of Long Beach baby dolphins had had the sharp end of the gaff driven through their blowholes, with the exception of Martijn the Feeble, Ross the Tenacious, and Craig the Dubious, the latter two of whom were more swimming reptiles than fish. The entirety of the South Bay whaling contingent remained, save Cap’n Levi, who had stayed back to gut and strip the flesh from the fallen prey. At one point in the hunt King Harald Bluetooth dropped back to assist Gorm the Old, whose boat sprang a leak and needed a tow back up to the main fleet. Tube Top, one of the smaller hermaphroditic baby dolphins whose penis was not large or well formed enough to differentiate his genitalia from that of the females, made the fatal mistake of holding onto King Harald’s tow line even after Sigrid the Haughty had driven the tip of the harpoon deep into Tube Top’s innards, penetrating his uterus and coming out through his left flipper. As he sank beneath the foamy brine he was heard to cry, “Why am I so weak?”

Parasites of the deep

Though the Long Beach dolphins had for the most part been easily dispatched owing to the high concentrations of cadmium and mercury in their livers, a vile and thoroughly inedible group of Simple Green invertebrate suckerfish, along with a trio of Canyon Verde gasbag puffer minnows had latched onto the fast-traveling whaling vessel.

Although Martijn the Feeble tried to dislodge them with shouts of “Pull through, you pussies!” it became clear that you cannot appeal to the pride of parasitic life forms who have none. At this very moment a stiff sea breeze sprung up in the form of a howling crosswind, driving the frenzied fish into the troughs of the waves where they could easily be isolated and where the bloody point of death could easily be driven through their miniature brains. They were not seen again.

The hunters stopped at the halfway mark in Santa Maria to re-sharpen the gaffs, and a small contingent of mortally wounded baby LB’ers floundered in, trailing blood and entrails. They would expire shortly after the hunting resumed.

As the sailors left the harbor, it became apparent that many of the sturdy South Bay harpooners, tired after such a bloody and successful harvest, were less than eager to begin rowing again in earnest. Worse, the skulking and resilient female pilot whale, despite her sagging tummy and poorly attached feminine hygiene pads, was proving difficult to kill.

Wankmeister saw an opportunity, and easily rowed away, confident that Martijn the Feeble would never close the gap, especially since the remaining heroes were almost exclusively from the South Bay. For thirty miles he toiled, now alone, now rowing with other castaways, now joining a soon-to-be-wrecked armada.

Unfortunately, the unthinkable had occurred. The Chief Hunter & Drunk had made a pact with the devil and he, the Feeble one of the Sagging Paunch, Ross the Reptile, and the remaining whalers now joined forces to row down their valiant and heroic companion. As with most perfidious plans, this one caused terrible destruction within the South Bay contingent, as the catch came just before the Straits of Foxen.

Calamity in the deep

Although the baby dolphins had long ago been harpooned, skinned, doused with spit and piss, and consigned to ignominy, catastrophe now overtook the hunters, as one by one they dashed in their hulls and floundered in the pounding surf. Wankmeister rowed valiantly but to no avail as the Paunchy One, the Chief Drunk & Traitor, and ProBoy Backstabber made their escape.

Once through the straits, however, and despite the fatigue of his godlike 30-mile escape, WM overtook ProBoy and, rejoined by Harald Bluetooth, began a furious chase. But who of this world can run down the Chief Hunter & Drunk when he rows in anger knowing that beer is near at hand, even when he is dragging the useless and snot-encrusted baggage of the Feeble One?

Just as Wankmeister contemplated the futility of the chase, they hit the Foxen Shoals, a devastatingly rocky passage just beyond the straits. ProBoy leaped ahead followed by Harald, as WM was humiliatingly passed by a chubby husband and wife who had set out the night before and were wearing matching Google outfits.

Stung by the triple mortification of losing to the Feeble One, being dropped by ProBoy, and facing death at the hands of two baby Googlefish, WM nutted up, rejoined Bluetooth, then caught and shelled ProBoy, who now as punishment has to go race the Tour of India and the Criterium Nationale de Burundi.

King Harald Bluetooth, Wankmeister, and an Orange Zebra from San Clemente poured on the coal, coming to within 150 yards of the Chief Traitor and the She-whale, who were easily tracked by the trail of snot that the She-whale had left upon the billows. The chasers’ efforts came to naught. Once through the last reef, the Chief Traitor opened up a gap so huge and in the middle of such a vicious crosswind that the chasers simply gave up, beaten in spirit, exhausted of body, and wholly incapable of reeling in the dastardly duo.

Coming in some two minutes adrift with broken oars and tattered sails, the Traitor and the She-whale laughed in contempt. “You,” crowed the whale, “are WEAK!”

Truer words, on this day at least, were never spoken…at least by her.


**An alternative version of this epic slaughter of the weak, sick, and infirm, conjured up by a non-participating delusional Long Beach WNP (Wanker Nonpareil) is also available here. I deny everything.

Tour de Shitstorm

February 12, 2012 § 4 Comments

“I’ve got a spare seat on my plane if you’d like to join me for the Tour de Palm Springs Century this weekend,” read Wehrlissimo’s email.

What could possibly go wrong?

“Fuckin’-A!” I replied, still not sure, even after all these years, what the difference was between, say, a fuckin-A and a fuckin-B, or a fuckin-C for that matter. The chance to do a century ride after my recent beatdowns at Boulevard and Red Trolley would be a significant ego-building opportunity, where I could whizz by lumbering freddies and feel fast, superior, and successful. No matter that “I won the century ride” has all the street cred of “I got laid last night…by my wife.”

The last time I had flown a private plane was when I did the hop from Geraldton, in West Australia, over to the Abrolhos Islands to see a colony of Brown Noddies and to get a picture of a nesting Red-tailed Tropicbird.

It was a red two-seater crop duster with pontoons. The pilot was 80 years old and coughed the entire way like he was going to die as he smoked no-filters and spit bloody phlegm out the window. The noise had been deafening, and the water landing horrible beyond belief.

I, Triple, Polly, FTR DS, and Wehrlissimo stood on the tarmac in the dark as Levi loaded our bikes into the King Air Turboprop radmoplane. This was traveling in style. Rather than driving across the desert for two hours and then fighting four hours back through LA traffic we’d be landing in Palm Springs in thirty minutes and home by three in the afternoon.

I tried to remind myself of all these advantages as Levi turned back to us and said, “We’re going to have dip down pretty aggressively once we cross the mountains in order to hit the landing strip, as it’s just on the other side. There might be some turbulence.”

A few moments later the airplane was pointed straight down. We could see the quickly approaching ground through the windshield, and the only thing to make the picture perfect would have been a couple of gunsights through which we could have strafed the airport or the ten zillion wind turbines that littered the valley. “Just like a roller coaster,” I thought. “With no rails.”

I glanced over at Triple. His thighs were held tightly together, as if he were trying to keep something from sneaking out. At that moment we hit “some turbulence.” The entire aircraft shuddered as if it had been hit with a giant club and we plunged, hit another pocket, shuddered again, and a warning light went off with a shrill beep.

I looked at Polly, whose teeth were clenched, not even pretending to be cool. FTR DS had been okay until his engineer’s hearing had picked up the sound of the warning beep. Now he looked scared, too. I took a final glance at Triple, and could only think, “I’m glad I’m not the chamois in his shorts.”

Welcome to Hell

The game plan had been to hook up with UbeRfRed and his Long Beach Freddies, administer a thorough Southbay SPY Blue beatdown to the denizens of Cadmium City, USA, grab lunch, and jet back home. UbeRfRed had other plans.

The moment our group of twenty-six hit the edge of town it became clear why the city of Palm Springs was developed as one of the first wind farms in California: Wind turbines require winds of up to 35 miles per hour in order to achieve the optimum efficiency and profitability. As the route along North Indian Canyon Rd. left the city and exposed us to the full crosswind that was powering the wind farm, mayhem ensued.

We’d started about 7:30, and the road was clotted with thousands and thousands of freddies. So far, no problem. The 30 mph crosswind, however, was literally blowing people off the road. Every couple of hundred yards there would be bicycles lying in a huge tangle, with hapless freddies pulling and pushing and tugging and lugging on their $5,000 bikes that were now part of a giant parts bazaar.

UbeRfRed gassed it, and we clawed onto his wheel as we zoomed by the endless line of flailing freddies. Since the crosswind was so strong we had to echelon across the entire road. This meant that with each clump of freddies that we overook, UbeRfRed would roar, “Riders!”, but the freddies wouldn’t hear until we were right on their asses. Many of them, cleverly riding deep dish wheels, would jerk to the right, the wind would catch their wheels, and they’d go sailing off the road.

Fredfest 2012

By mile three there were long lines of riders who’d simply given up, turned around, and headed back to Palm Springs. For us, there would be no quitting, as the Long Beach Freddies’ favorite epithet is to shout “You’re weak!” whenever someone quits, gets dropped, gets passed, turns around, swings off the front, takes a drink, stops to pee, or sucks his thumb, or cries for his mommy.

A confederacy of dunces

The whole idea of having 12,000 idiots on bicycles in a venue that it designated as “ideal for a wind farm” could not have happened by coincidence. Rather, it took the conspiracy of core stakeholders to come up with something this awful.

President of the local hospital: “Let’s do something that will fill the beds! February’s a slow month; we won’t really be rocking until Coachella in April.”

Coalition of local bike shops: “Let’s do something that will require 5,000 people to have to completely replace their bikes.”

President of the Chamber of Commerce: “We can showcase the beauty of the desert by routing the ride through all 427 stoplights and through each of the 19 bedroom communities.”

Bill Snooker, Owner, Bill & Snooker Used Auto Emporiums: “Make sure the route takes ‘em by my fourteen lots. Never know when some idiot’ll throw in the towel and want to drive home.”

Crazy Sam Throckmorton, Desert Survival Adventures, Inc.: “Put 12,000 city slickers on bikes on pothole-filled, thorn-littered, gravel-strewn desert roadways a thousand miles from nowhere, watch ‘em flat and wander off into the scrub and ocotillo looking for water, then do emergency rescues and charge $859 a head. Works ever’ time!”

Freddy Freeloader, 2012 president-elect, Palm Springs Friendly Riders’ Club: “It’ll be just like Solvang!”

It really isn’t anything at all like Solvang

After five miles of battering along in a full echelon as the howling crosswind sprayed sand and grit into our eyes and noses and teeth, with freddies flying off the road and smashing into each other, and with UbeRfRed and FTR DS drilling the pace the whole way, we turned left directly into the wind. Never in my life have I been so happy to have a headwind. For one, it meant no more leaning at a 30-degree angle to keep from being blown over. For another, it meant true shelter, not the misery of a partial draft echelon.

This respite only lasted a couple of miles before we turned right again and back into the crosswind. UbeRfRed now really hit the gas, exploding the remnants of his flailing Long Beach soulmates. I hadn’t bothered to look at the course map and had no idea how long the hell was going to last. For all I knew, it would be fifty miles out into this sandstorm and fifty miles back. My resolve began to fade and defeatism set in as the line of quitters and the clumps of the crashed flashed by.

After a mere 1.5 more miles of crosswind hell, the road turned right into a tailwind. I couldn’t believe it. UbeRfRed, after flagellating us mercilessly for the first twelve miles, held up his hand. “Let’s regroup!” he said.

I looked at FTR DS. He looked at me. We both thought the same thing: “He’s weak.”

I love you, that’s why I hate you

The next sixty miles went by quickly, a combination of straight tailwind and tail-crosswind. UbeRfRed would hammer until he’d dropped all of his best friends, and then make us stop so that they could all catch up and he could catch his breath. Repeat. By mile seventy we were well into the bowels of the poorly marked, suburban, stoplight-filled portion of the course.

At the final rest stop one of the Long Beach Freddies regaled me with the heart attack he’d had while cycling a few months back. “Yeah, I was with the guys and just keeled over.”

“What happened?” I asked.

“Heart attack. Piece of plaque came off an arterial wall and chugged into the heart. Everybody has plaque on their arteries. Mine just lodged in a bad place.”

“Yeah…right,” I said, eyeing his beer belly. “Is that what the doctor said?”

“Yeah. Said everybody has it.”

“Did he graduate from a medical school in the Caribbean by any chance? Last name Sojka?”

Freddie looked at me funny. “No. But the good thing about it was, the guys were there for me.”


“Hell yeah. They waited until I’d stabilized in the ICU before they all came in and told me I was weak.”

“Well, at least you’re back on the bike,” I said, trying to make a positive out of a quadruple negative.

“Yep. I took a long time off the bike to recover, it being a heart attack and me almost dying and everything.”

“That’s good. How long were you off?”

“Sixty days.”

Realizing that I was dealing with a true madman, I got back on the bike and continued pedaling.

Anybody can pedal a bike 70 miles…

“But can they drill it for the last thirty?” That was FTR DS’s question, and UbeRfRed answered it with a simple question phrased as a whimper.

“Hey guys,” he said. “Let’s just ride two by two for the rest of the way. Okay? Okay?”

FTR DS smiled a nasty smile, then went to the front and set an, um, steady pace. Alex the Poseur sidled up alongside him to match the pull, but after a couple of minutes went rocketing off to the side in the rickety wobble of someone who is blown and not coming back.

I came to the fore and was joined by Long Beach Freddy Rick. He had done the entire ride in booties, a skinsuit and full TT rig, which included Speed Racer-style bottle ejectors that caused his $40 insulated water bottles to fly out of the saddle-mounted holders and into the spokes of whomever was on his wheel. Showing the most grit of all the LBF’s with the exception of Heart Attack, who we fully expected to die at any moment, Rick matched the pace for a solid five miles.

Ultimately his head drooped, his fanny pooped, and he did the wobble-and-fade back to the ignominy of the rear wheelsuck with UbeRfRed and the Cadmium Crew. With eighteen miles to go, FTR DS came up and joined me. It was as nasty and unpleasant a finish as I can recall, with countless stoplights, and so many wrong turns that we were eventually stuck on the truck-car-senile-retiree highway to hell that is the 111.

So long, it’s been good to know ya

Wehrlissimo had reserved a spot for us at PS Wine, and we rolled up to sandwiches, water, chips, and lots of wine. As each group of finishers passed us by, from their perch on the sidewalk the LBF’s shouted “You’re weak!” to the broken, salt-encrusted, beaten down tourists.

My foot doesn’t reach the pedal-thingy!!

Suddenly one of the LBF’s commanded, “Everyone! Stick your finger in your left ear!” Too drunk, frightened, tired, or confused to object, we all did as we were told. “Remove fingers!” We did. “Inspect fingers!” We looked at our fingertips, which were coated with a 1/8 inch layer of sand and grit stuck together with earwax. This, then, was our souvenir from Palm Springs, finer than any blue and yellow jersey designed by a middle schooler who “wanted to be an artist.”

We said our goodbyes, and Levi the Pilot proved again that he was the real man among men. He’d not only flown the plane and ridden a hundred hard miles, but he’d abstained from so much as a sip of alcohol and looked like he’d hardly exerted himself.

Back on the tarmac in LA, we deplaned and said our goodbyes. I thanked Wehrlissimo for his incredible generosity, and offered him $15 to help pay for gas. “Thanks,” he said, refusing my generous offer.

“So how much does a tank of airplane fuel cost for one of these, anyway?” I asked.

“About $513.”

The other guys thanked him, too. He laughed. “All this stuff,” he said, waving at the airplane and hangar, “isn’t really worth anything if you can’t share it with your friends.”

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