Hot Air: Round, Round, We Get Around

Electric scooters, natch, are just the beginning. In fact, all the hand-wringing and fist-shaking going on these days over the rentable transit toys in this town will soon be for naught, I’m guessing, because the Birds and the Limes soon will be replaced by better technologies.

1995 Harley Fat Boy

For instance, Harley-Davidson, the venerable American motorcycle manufacturer, just may be entering the rent-a-thing game soon.

Harley’s coming down hard after its 1990s-through-early-‘Aughts heyday. Back a quarter of a century ago, during the Clinton Era prosperity years, every white guy with an income over 75 G a year and all the homebound knickknacks he could cram into his McMansion had to cop a Harley and pretend he was an outdoor toughie. Funny thing is, a huge percentage of all the Road Kings, Softails, and Fat Boys sold back in those days days sat in garages collecting dust because their owners found riding a motorcycle was, y’know, hard friggin’ work. Anyway, now that the only people with money are the uber-wealthy, nobody’s buying Harleys anymore and so the co. is desperately seeking ways to remain a going concern.

It may be making a foray into a potential untapped market with rentable electric scooters. Harley this year has introduced a couple of concept home-rechargable scooters. The two new bikes don’t require drivers to have motorcycle licenses. Harley also recently purchased the StaCyc company, maker of electric bicycles for kids.

It’s a good bet we won’t have to worry too much longer about where everybody’s leaving their electric scooters nor will we have to fret over the growing number of head injuries suffered by helmet-less users thereof.

After the lightning bolt rollout of the scooters hereabouts and in other locales, whoever intros the next rentable get-around device most likely will be sure to make arrangements for helmets and dumping-off spots for whatever the next generation of wheeled-dealios looks like. At least that’s the hope.

So Help Me, Molly!

The big buzz at SXSW is the new doc is being screened in Austin this year. Entitled Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins, it’s about the life of the iconic plaster-saint-smashing columnist from the Lone Star State.


Molly Ivins long has occupied a place in my very exclusive personal journalistic pantheon that also includes Mike Royko and Studs Terkel. Plying her trade in one of the weirdest political places on Earth, Ivins was thoroughly unafraid to call bullshit on any and all lickspittlers, ass-kissers, hogs-at-the-trough, holier-than-thous, and any other leeching, grabbing, manipulating, prevaricating, propagandizing reprobates, no matter which political party they belonged to. Coming from Texas, she was well-acquainted with the likes of Lyndon Johnson, Ann Richards, the Bushes, Mary Kay Ash, H. Ross Perot, Karl Rove and other natives of the state, be they angels or Lucifers.

Her guiding dictum: “Raise hell, big time. I want y’all to get out there and raise hell about damned near everything. My word, there’s a world out there that needs fixing. Get out there and get after it!”

Even though she seemed often barely able to keep her head above the surface of slime and muck, Ivins maintained a refreshing sense of optimism, as embodied by this hopeful line:

It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.

I’ll be looking for this film to come here via Peter LoPilato’s Ryder Film Series or, at least, Netflix or some other streamer.

Pod(cast) People

I’ve been absent from this global communications colossus for a few days for 23 or 24 reasons so I haven’t yet posted the link to the podcast of last week’s Big Talk.


My guest was the sole Republican running in this year’s local election, Andrew Guenther, who’s hoping to unseat incumbent city council member Dorothy Granger in Bloomington’s District 2.

Guenther, 24, is the youngest candidate in this year’s beauty pageant but don’t let that fool you. As far as I’m concerned nobody running in 2019 has done as thorough a job as he has in preparing for public office. The dude has done his homework, appropriately enough, considering he graduated from college only last summer.

Here’s the link to the Guenther interview.

BTW: I was in the studio yesterday with At Large candidate Jean Capler. She’s angling for one of the three seats now occupied by Susan Sandberg, Jim Sims, and Andy Ruff.  Also running in that Dem primary are first-timers Vauhxx Booker and Matt Flaherty.


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