Monday, February 14, 2011

Hibernating In The "Man-Cave"

The purpose of cave paintings remains a highly disputed and volatile subject among archeologists today, nearly 32,000 years after the oldest of these have been discovered. It is academia’s dirty little secret that determining the “meaning of cave paintings” is the number two cause of death among boozed-up archeologists, who attempt to settle the issue with knives and point-blank gunfire — often within feet of primitive artwork that has been undisturbed throughout the millennia. (The number one cause of death among half-bagged archeologists in the field is knife-wounds and shotgun blasts sustained in attempts to impress tanned, well-racked coeds, who hang around about digs and excavations wearing only thongs, sweat, and Indiana Jones hats.)

One of the most famous cave paintings is in the French town of Merde De Chèvre. It depicts a single individual, most likely a hunter, walled up in a cave, squatting next to a fire, eating a roasted haunch, and drinking something (a fermented hop and yeast beverage no doubt) from a gourd, while a large female dog (evident by three sets of parallel teats) and another man, who is wearing a more formalized set of hides, stand outside — about to be eaten by a tyrannosaurus rex. The loosely-interpreted title of the image is “The Bitch and A Lawyer Get The Settlement They Deserve.”

While it seems truly impossible to determine the exact nature and purpose of cave paintings (either religious or as a kind of chronicle), it cannot be argued that many of these are of women in odd positions of repose, with oversize breasts being a primary element of the image. “What could these guys have been thinking,” I thought to myself, as I fastened centerfolds gleaned from 1970’s Playboy magazines, and calendars from the same era on the walls of my “man-cave,” otherwise known as the garage. The “Man-cave” had become the tomb of the beast for nearly all of this winter, as temperatures plummeted close to 0º degrees outside, and weren’t much higher inside.

The imperfect seal of the bay doors (a double, full-sized one for the two SUV’s and a smaller compact one initially for an Audi TT) let in some gray light, the odd confetti celebration of powdery snow, and concentrated blasts of frigid air off the tarmac of the upper driveway. In the small bay my 1995 BMW K75 sits on the center stand, with the reflection of the green LED of the battery tender making a peculiar “eye” in the curved windscreen of its Parabellum “Scout” fairing.

With the overhead florescent lights off, the man-cave is a gloomy place. For weeks, snow-caked fir trees have kept the sunlight from the eastern windows. There is only light from the western ones, and it is weak at the end of the day. I had the overhead lights installed 5 years ago. The three-bay garage was originally illuminated by two bare 55-watt bulbs dangling from the ceiling. The effect was to recreate the cozy atmosphere of a non-union copper mine a mile under the Andes. (This garage was designed and built by the famous contracting firm of Three Assholes Who Fled). The place is cold and my attempts to heat it have not been successful.

What seemed to work best was an old kerosene heater... But there was something in the way of a jet-engine scented exhaust, which filtered into the kitchen. Then a small, electric, ceramic disc “furnace” (heater) warmed something placed within three feet of its grill, but gave up the ghost when pointed at anything else. Two glowing propane-fired funnels did even less while effectively going through $27 bucks worth of gas. I had envisioned myself sitting out here in a Kermit chair, smoking a stogie the size of a Ducati muffler, sipping a huge mug of Irish coffee, while fiddling with odds and ends on the bike. My vision just didn’t seem to be. And for a second or so, I felt I may have been the cause of this endless winter, as I had purchased winter riding gear, to make the best of cold, dry, salt-free roads. (The motorcycle gods despise hubris.)

My Gerbings electric gear...!

The last garage-oriented purchase I made for this winter was a 5 amp AC to DC converter. It was $35 bucks and it is made in friggin’ China. The Gerbings Nubuck gloves plug into the jacket liner and the jacket liner plugs into the converter. The converter plugs into the wall and suddenly, it is July in February — and I am as warm as French toast, sitting in my Kermit chair. And when the mechanical odds and ends prove to be less than inspiring, I look up at my man-cave paintings, which have been primarily harvested and repurposed from the 1976 July Issue of Playboy Magazine. (This issue had the hottest centerfold since Barbie Benton and an insanely steamy pictorial of Kris Kristofferson and Sarah Miles). I am reminded that I was riding a Kawasaki H2 750 in 1976, and routinely did the kind of stuff Kristofferson is doing in this pictorial. And I would have scoffed at the idea of electrically heated gear back then — let alone wearing it in the garage.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011


Conchscooter said...

Get on the Auto Train immediately. I will give you mouth to mouth. I saw (and photographed ) an intensely hot babe on the beach today wearing a pink thong and matching triangles. I hope a picture of her kissing Cheyenne revives you in a couple of days.

Anonymous said...

Dear sir,

I hate to admit this, but you are brilliant.

I'm deeply disappointed that you did not use the word 'fuck' once. I think this writing for the MOA is going to your head.


redlegsrides said...

A nice description of your man cave Jack, though I recommend a propane heater to generate heat when working in it during Winter. Whether or not you install a carbon monoxide detector (as I have), I'll leave to the lovely Leslie who remains yet to be nominated for sainthood.

Just wear a sweater under your coveralls while you fiddle with your motorcycle! You'll be fine.


Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Redleg's Rides

Steve Williams said...

I too thought the absence of "fuck" from your essay surely meant you are farming out writing for Twisted Roads.

But the cold probably has muddled your mind. I fear a pink thong and triangles will not be enough to reactivate your brain. The Auto Train seems a more effective prescription.

I have to go. My wife is talking on the phone to our daughter about the male gaze. I'm remembering reading Lacan and Mulvey.

Read Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. They will fix you up.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

winmosser said...

…best trick I found is to get one of those in-car electric heaters, not very popular now but they used to be common, about the size of a large book with a heating element and a small fan. Open the bottom drawer of your tool chest and stick the heater in there, leaving it open a crack to breath, and a few hours later all of the contents will be toasty warm. Now you can enjoy your cave drawings with a warm tool in your hand…

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sir:

I will be the judge as to who gives me mouth to mouth, and quite frankly, the lead contender is Jennifer Anniston. And I regard your claims to have photographed a hot piece of beach tail as utter nonsense, as the photo did not make your last two blogs.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Nikos said...


When I was married to Mrs Rochester many years ago I had the unhappiest ever vacation at a place called Merde De Chèvre - it's just 5 miles from Vieux Condom if my memory serves me.

The place smelt of goats piss and teh food was virtually ineddible.

C'est la vie mon ami!

Kind regards from here, N

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Woody:

Monday's blog episode was an experiment on two levels. First, it was a shorter piece. I wanted to see if readers preffered a faster read. Second, I wanted to see if there was a difference in the respnse level if I steam cleaned it.

The first response I've noticed to both changes is that I got fewer comments in the same amount of time. Although 350 people hit the site yesterday. My goal is 1,000 readers per day.

What I am getting is a growing number of fan letters in response to my MOA articles. The current story, the K75 as a Babe Magnet has drawn 10. I am amazed that s many readers can relate to my bizarre lifestyle.

Interesting, huh? I would say the test period for my abilities as a moto-writer/humorist is about over.I feel pretty confident that I can be the real deal at this point.

This blog episode was also an experiment to see if I could successfully link two utterly non-related subjects in a concept that any guy, or woman attached to a guy, would easily grasp. That worked too.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

The portable propane heater was a flop. It looks like it should heat a hanger, but it would barely heat the space around it. What I would really need to do is put a peramanent heating system in the garage, with a huge blower, plus truly well-sealed and inulated garage doors.

Tha ain't gonna happen anytime soon... Not for me to just sit in the garage, smoking a cigar, and snorting a shot of the Irish.

Thank you for reading my blog and for making a perfectly reasonable suggestion.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve (Williams/Scooter In THe Sticks):

As I have claimed in the past, it was my intent to model Twisted Roads after your blog, Scooter In The Sticks. But that would be like attempting to model a petroleum by-product after ice cream.

As I stated to Woody (above), I have yet to settle on an editorial formula. There are times when I believe the word "fuck" is an accurate rendition of a dialect, a situation, or an emotion. Personally, I do say it a lot.

This blog episode was an experiment in the literary mechanics that could determine future stories. I am trying to determine if my readers preferred the shorter length and a more pristine dialogue. Judging from the numbr of comments, the answer is "no." But of those readers who did comment, the difference was striking.

Thank you for taking the time to read Twisted Roads. I attempt to provide you guys with smile-provoking stuff, from time to time. Steve, the next chance you get to hit the BMW dealer, see if he has a copy of the Owner's News around. If so, glance at one of my column pieces. You'll see a big difference.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Winmosser:

You brought up a great point... The damn tools are ice cold and I hate working on the bike wearing gloves. But in the unhrated garage, I'd have to run a smaller unit in or o the 10-drawer toolbox 24 hours the day before to get the chill out of the steel... And by that time, my feelings for working in ther garage have passed.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads and for leaving a comment. If you are a BMW rider, I have a story titled "The K75 As A Babe Magnet" in the middle of the magazine. Next month's issue is running my plans for an epic ride.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

You are in part responsible for changes I have made in this blog. Your episode of the "Mushy Peas" so delighted me, that I wondered what would happen if I attempted to be more concise. My riding buddy, Dick Bregstein, was of the opinion I would fart myself to death.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads, and for taking the time to comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Canajun said...

Jack, you always know how to touch a chord with your posts.
Barbie Benton! My fave too. She always had the place of honour on my dorm room wall - and later in my own man cave, aka garage.
Be still my beating heart (and other bits).

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Canajun:

Barbie Benton was an absolute angel. And she had a voice that was as seductive as her smile. That July 1976 issue of Playboy represents their publishing zenith. They had great writers, grea cartoonists, and great interviews. But everything passes sooner or later.

Thanks for reading Twisted Roads, and for leaving a comment,

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Chris said...

Dear Jack,

Adding some insulation to the walls,ceiling, and door will make that little heater work much better. Convincing Leslie to let you bring your K75 in the house would probably be easier.

jay said...

March Beerday is coming. Haven't been to White Castle since. I am dying to see it again. Maybe I'll ride my toofitty this time.


Keith - Circle Blue said...

Barbie Benton, oh my.

Classic Velocity said...


Confined to the man-cave on valentine's day huh ? I told you the grout cleaner would not make a good gift.

Allen Madding said...

I'd say a wood burning stove with a blower would be more beneficial, like this unit from Tractor Supply

We have had great experience with them over the years as long as you have a good supply of wood.

It also makes a handy way to heat a tea pot for teas and crumpets.


Bluekat said...

Having a warm, cozy man-cave for a rider and his beloved bike, with Barbi to lovingly watch over you, doesn't seem too unreasonable a request. A good and practical use for the Gerbings, I'd say.

Very resourceful finding new uses for the Gerbings, and for recycling some dusty old magazines giving them new purpose. The steaming hot pages should help keep the cave well insulated. That was the purpose right? ;-)

I'd say skip the steam cleaning...I think your readers are quite happy with your writing in full color!

Ken said...

Another wonderful read! I can live without the F-bomb, but your stories are too good to skip whatever the decision is.

BeemerGirl said...

Dear Jack,

I rather suspect you actually being exiled to the garage by Leslie, instead of you pretending it is self-imposed enjoyment to admire a green-eyed glowing K75 and cigars. There is just too much mooning over antiqued imagery. You must have done something terribly bad and the guilt was eating you up. Or Leslie had locked you in the garage (with provisions this time) while she entertained some dignitaries and left you to ruminate over your wrong doings.

At least she left the garage breaker on!

Yours fondly,
Steel Cupcake :)

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Chris:

The garage here is a sore spot in conversation. Technically, it is "finished." The walls inside are sheetrocked, and allegedly primed and taped. The upper crawl space (two dormers) houses the central air conditioning condensers. They were put there because it is the least accessible space to service them.

The house was built by "Three Scumbags Who Fled As Soon As The Check Cleared." The windows in the garage were not properly installed, nor was the drainage from the roof properly routed. A lot of this was covered up by stucco and oversized window trim, as well as tyhe landscaping. As a result, the sill has rotted out on one whole wall. The estimates point to $12,000 of corrective reconstruction. They are conservative estimates. The full extend of the damage will be determined when we rip out the sheetrock. At that point, we will consider properly insulating the garage.

Nothing in life is ever easy.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Tony (Luna/Jay):

I don't think I will be doing the White Castle run this year. For one thing, my knees did not come through the winter unscathed. I'm working them out to try and get a better range of motion, but I doubt I'll be that much more improved by March.

But I will be doing a run up your way in April. I'd be thrilled if you would accompany me up to Beat Mountain State Park for a weekend run.

Fondest regards,
Jack Riepe
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Circle Blue (Keith):

I remember Barbie Benton as being one of the dream girls from my youth. And I am still amazed at the memories that occur to me when I stumble across her in an old Playboy Magazine. She would easily rate a place on the wall in any serious man cave.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads, and for leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Wayne (Classic Veocity Blog):

The truth is far more depressing. Last year, my Valentine's Day gift from her was a flatulence/filter cushion for my office chair. This year, she gave me a glucose meter so I could see what happens ewhen I cheat on my diet.

This is romance is my mid-fifties.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Allen Madding:

Initially, I read your comment with some skepticism. And then I started to think about it. I lived in Lake Placid, New York for 18 years, where winter is a serious consideration. I heated the house with wood to great effect. I burned 9 cords of wood, costing about $1100 (USD). The electric heat for one month was $700.

Now I am not in the garage very often in the winter, and I must confess I do not even have a workbench out there... But a woodburning stove could change that. And unlike a propane heater, the furnace/stove would reheat the garage damn faster after the big door had been opened and closed.

I have a dream garage in my mind. Someday, I'll write about it.

Thanks for readmg Twisted Roads, and for writing in.

Fondrest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bluekat:

I was especially thrilled to get a response from you this morning. My gut reaction is to write the word "fuck" on this blog when I think it serves a purpose. I don't think a good writer should survey readers, and custom-write to appeal to the majority.

I believe a writer is charged by God to tell a great story, to delight, intrigue, or otherwise compell the reader to go through it from start to finish — and to feel something. In my case, I usually like the reader to walk away laughing. And sometimes, especially when writing in a Jersey City dialect, accuracy in tone and content is part of the transaction.

Now I am told by 'She Who Is Never Wrong" that my stories are too long. Yet the longest ones have drawn some of the highest response numbers. So I am experimenting with length as well as content too.

Thank you for reading, and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ken:

That was a very nice thing to say. And there are days when reading a brief note like yours is like finding $50 in an old pants pocket.

You may find this hard to believe. But I am not the brightest bulb on the computer string of lights. I recently realized that by cicking on a "blue" name I could find out some stuff about the sender. I read your blog for the first time today, and plan to go back to look at a few of your past pieces. Would you mind if I added your link to my "Destination's List?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Beemer Girl (Steel Cupcake):

When Leslie and I first met, it was like two asteroids hitting each other in space. She was so fucking beautiful that I used to stutter. She thought I was the unicorn she had always wanted to capture. In those days, she bount me cigars, lighters, and cutters that were utterly exquisite.

Over a decade later, she nows says things like, "Wash your clothes in the creek if you are going to smoke cigars. They make the washing machine stink." She recently claimed that my cigars, which I am forced to smoke in the garage, once made the paint on her Subaru stink.

One day, I will have the prefect garage with everything exactly as I want it — including a bike lift, a variable strength power washer, a bar, a tool bench, a lounge, and a mechanic.

Thanks for reading Twisted Roads, and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

gary5410 said...

I think it's time to move your K75 & toolbox into the living room....and start hanging your posters on the walls. Who's in charge here? I got a G450X for Xmas this year and it was delivered to me in the driveway. How was I to get to know her out in the cold....I brought her in and parked her in my new kitchen where it is toasty warm! Then the fondling began.

Gary Christman