Bare trees

February 9, 2016
The Marin Four Corners Elite (dog not pictured).

The Marin Four Corners Elite (dog not pictured).

Back to work, and what a hideous chore it was, too — riding the Marin Four Corners Elite on a new-to-me trail south of Embudo Canyon.

Lots of dog-walkers out in the late afternoon; too many, actually. But who could blame them? It was fiddy-sumpin’, if windy, and a fine day to step away from the desk for a while.

Today should be equally pleasant, unless you live in New Hampshire, where evil weather and presidential aspirants abound. Marco 3P0 is still jammed on repeat (his programmers insist this is a feature, not a bug); Jeb (!) asked his mommy to fetch his testicles (apparently he’s discovered some use for them); and Trump, The Great and Powerful, is expected to dispute their very existence while simultaneously squeezing them (and everyone else’s) with his very small hands.

On the Donk side in today’s primary, Comrade Sanders is expected to deep-fry The Hilldebeast, who has let the Big Dog off the leash, which may raise as many questions as it lays to rest. As celebrity tag-team pairings go, this may not exactly be The High Flyers.

Whatever. As the elite political press corps says, after tonight we can all go back to not giving a shit about New Hampshire. There are bikes to ride, after all.

Out on a limb

February 8, 2016
It was pleasant enough by afternoon to ride with knee warmers, but it ain't spring yet.

It was pleasant enough by afternoon to ride with knee warmers, but it ain’t spring yet.

We just can’t seem to get in step with mainstream America lately.

The interminable “feets ball” season came to a conclusion yesterday in San Francisco, but we did not watch, as we do not care for the “feets ball,” not even if Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson are performing “Uptown Funk” at halftime. The poor sonsabitches are doomed to do that number for the rest of their lives, or at least until their first hip replacements.

No, instead we watched “Saturday Night Live” a day late, so Herself could catch Comrade Sanders serving up his patented Kamchatka Fried Chicken (“Left Wings Only!”) to the kool kidz in the key white/50+ demographic.

Larry David was hosting, and did his spot-on Sanders impersonation, but the only real laugh-out-loud bits were his monologue and the closer about two rummies (David and Kate McKinnon) deep into the mating ritual at closing time in a bar.

OK, that’s not true. The musical guests, The 1975, were pretty funny, too. But I don’t think they had intended to be.

Bad citizen redux

February 7, 2016
Marco 3P0 had his eye on the Orb when it should have been on the ball, specifically, one of the two brass ones belonging to Chris Christie.

Marco 3P0 had his eye on the Orb when it should have been on the ball, specifically, one of the two brass ones belonging to Chris Christie.

We skipped Saturday’s GOP debate, too, though it sounds like we missed some fun, like when Marco 3P0 got his android ass handed to him for playing with his Orb when he should have been paying attention to The Blob, a.k.a. Chris Christie.

Instead, we watched round two of “Horace and Pete,” a new thing from Louis C.K. that has been interesting in its first two outings, kind of like a “Hallmark Hall of Fame” broadcast hijacked by a time-traveling Quentin Tarantino who has his characters say “fuck” a lot.

As with the GOP debates, the cast is unreal — Steve Buscemi, Alan Alda, Edie Falco, Jessica Lange, Steven Wright — yeah, that Steven Wright — and of course, Louis C.K.

It’s not a comedy. I’m not sure what it is, to be honest, and I’m not convinced Louie’s sure, either. But it got my attention the way The Blob got Marco 3P0’s.

Rock and roll

February 5, 2016
¡Hot plate, señores!

¡Hot plate, señores!

Bad citizen. Instead of watching last night’s debate, I made chicken-quesadilla platters using leftovers from previous cookery — a spicy chipotle chicken filling for tacos and pinto beans— and some freshly made Mexican rice.

I had been thinking in terms of bean burritos and rice, smothered in green chile, but we both had green chile stew for lunch and a second round seemed a bit much, as did the thought of watching the Wicked Witch of Whitewater and Comrade Eeyore braying at each other.

Don’t get me wrong. Barring some hellish catastrophe I expect to pull the lever for Eeyore in the primary and then, if need be, hold my nose and vote for the Witch in the general. But I’m too old a hoor to pretend I’m enjoying it.

As usual, Charles P. Pierce makes the salient point: If a Donk wins, he or she will still face a GOP-controlled House full of hacks, eejits and loons, and as with the Socialist Mooslim Kenyan Usurper-In-Chief, getting them to agree on the time of day will be an uphill push that will make Sisyphus’s little pasatiempo look like shooting marbles. He adds:

“The idea that Hillary Rodham Clinton will bring these people to heel, given the fact that most of them were raised in a conservative political culture that regards her as Maleficent Of The Ozarks, strikes me as just as fanciful as anything Bernie Sanders has said on the subject of student loans or health-care reform.”

Word. If either should become the nation’s Commander-In-Chief, neither Comrade Eeyore nor the Wicked Witch of Whitewater will be able to order the Flying Monkey Caucus to straighten up and fly right.

From Muscatine to muscatel

February 2, 2016
It's morning in America.

It’s morning in America.

It seems Iowa Republicans would rather be poisoned than shot.

As for their Democratic counterparts, they split right down the middle between Billary of Wall Street and Groucho Sanders, The Last Marx Brother. Kindly Father Martin O’Malley won the third stool from the door at the Red Rooster Grill in Iowa Falls and decided to call it a campaign.

The editorial board at The New York Times appears to be about two martinis away from jumping out a window over the GOP clusterfuck. As for the Donks, the board opines that the contest has become one between head and heart. Guess which candidate is which body part. There will be a prize.

“With a few of the weakest candidates starting to drop out, weary voters can only hope that the campaign will further clarify itself and become more substantive in coming weeks as it moves to New Hampshire and beyond,” mutters The Times.

Ah, yes, that ol’ hopey-changey thing. Hope in one hand, shit in the other, see which one fills up fastest.

 

February made me shiver

February 1, 2016
It was a dark and stormy ... morning?

It was a dark and stormy … morning?

I was burrowed deep under the covers and Herself was in the bathroom, getting ready for work and making noises about breakfast.

When I mumbled that she had not yet sung the “Please Get Up and Make Me An English Muffin” song, she replied with something about a beating, and so up I got. She’s small but fierce and a dick-punch before coffee always gets the day off to a rough start.

After being properly muffined, Herself bustled off to the Death Star. Me, I got the trash and recycle bins to the curb and was back inside before the snow started blowing around and about, announcing February’s triumphant debut in the Duke City.

Doesn’t look like we’ll get much in the way of snow, but it’s going to be chilly for a few days, and the knee warmers I was wearing on yesterday’s ride will go right back into the drawer. Uniform of the day will be tights, long-sleeved tops (two), tuque, gloves, wool socks and running shoes. Hep, hoop, hreep, horp. …

Evil weather is forecast in Iowa, too, where The Des Moines Register is covering the mortal shit out of the caucuses. So, too, is Charles P. Pierce.

Maybe Larry can enlighten us as to why Iowa enjoys this outsize influence on our political process every four years. I spent a lot of summers in Sioux City, and one in Iowa Falls, and I consider the state to be about as representative of America as a whole as a nursing home in the Pecker Woods of North Dakota.

Still, it should be amusing. If Iowa sends a few rats over the side of the GOP’s listing cruise ship, I’ll consider it a net positive.

Editor’s note: Oh, yeah, and some asshole brought a motorized bike to cyclo-cross worlds. Naturally, it is Someone Else’s Fault®, as per usual. Jesus wept. I am so over bicycle racing.

The path is the way

January 30, 2016
The bike paths in these parts are better than the roads in some of the towns I've lived in.

The bike paths in these parts are better than the roads in some of the towns I’ve lived in.

Yesterday I decreed it would be Ride Your Own Damn Bike Day, and so I dug out the Nobilette, which has been neglected lately, aired it up, and took it out for two and a half hours of delightful sunny goodness.

The sprinkler system is A-OK.

The sprinkler system is A-OK.

No biggie — easy pace, just 32.5 miles on rolling terrain — but still, it’s refreshing to ride one of my own damn bikes* for a change, and for more than 90 minutes at a stretch, too.

There was only a little bit of old snow and ice hiding in the shady bits, mostly toward the end of the ride on the Paseo de las Montañas trail.

I’m guessing that’s where I picked up whatever flattened the front tire, probably a goathead thorn, though the culprit could have been some errant glass from earlier in the ride. Swear to God, it looked like someone chucked an entire case of Heineken out the car window on Tramway between Manitoba and Spain. There was so much green glass scattered around I wondered whether Ted Cruz had been practicing his carpet-bombing techniques in the Duke City.

It's a beautiful morning.

It’s a beautiful morning.

Today the weatherpersons are predicting a high of 62 (!) so I decided to power up the sprinkler system for the first time in quite a spell. Nothing exploded. This is what we sprinkler-system owner-operators call “a good thing.” Because nothing makes so much sense as a nice green lawn in the Southwestern desert.

Indeed, the forecast proved so enticing that Herself declared herself ready for her first bike ride of 2016. And just in time, too. There’s rain and gloom predicted for Monday and Tuesday.

* Incidentally, in case you’re wondering, it’s still possible to ride a steel bike with cantilever brakes and come to a stop without Flintstoning or caroming off cars, trees and light stanchions. I know, it’s against the conventional wisdom, but you can rely upon me. I’m in the media.

 

 

With a bang and a whimper

January 29, 2016
We can put a man on the moon, but just you try getting four of 'em out of a bird sanctuary.

We can put a man on the moon, but just you try getting four of ’em out of a bird sanctuary.

Sounds like the Redneck Revolution is on its last legs … well, outside Burns, Oregon, anyway.

The fuzz capped LaVoy Finicum, who appears to have charged them, first in a vehicle, and then on foot. Didn’t even get to draw down on them with his bad nine, yo. And the occupying army is down to four. Like the Black Knight, they’ll be happy to call it a draw. Um, no. Not until you do the Silly Walk.

I think these guys watched too many John Wayne movies and didn’t read nearly enough books. Their only point was to be found above the eyebrows and under the Stetson. Definitely time to fire the PR guy.

Whoops. Too late.

 

Free dumb (handling charges apply)

January 27, 2016
C'mon. You just knew it was gonna end badly.

C’mon. You just knew it was gonna end badly.

Sounds like there’s an opening in the PR department at the Dildopolis National Dipshit Preserve near Burns, Oregon.

I beg your pardon. It appears that the opening is in the PR guy.

If you have a knack for misunderstanding the Constitution, a big mouth and more firearms than an African warlord, send your résumé to Al Bundy, Dildopolis National Dipshit Preserve, Princeton, OR 97721.

No pay, but plenty of free dumb.

Also, one (1) tinfoil beanie will be issued. Size small. Nicely ventilated. See quartermaster and human resources director Sid Icious.

• Late update: This just in from Minister of War Nathan Haleoimustbegoing: “Give me liberty or give me dea … uh, a few minutes to pack.”

Fear and loathing … but mostly loathing

January 26, 2016
Fear and Loathing, Campaign Trail style

The more things change, etc.

Every time I read a story like this I wish someone could reanimate Hunter S. Thompson and send him lurching back out on the campaign trail.

Wouldn’t you like to get the take on Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio from the guy who wrote: “Any political party that can’t cough up anything better than a treacherous brain-damaged old vulture like Hubert Humphrey deserves every beating it gets. They don’t hardly make ’em like Hubert any more — but just to be on the safe side, he should be castrated anyway.”

Or of the inevitability of Richard Nixon: “This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it — that we really are just a nation of 230 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.”

Or: “Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?”


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