Dislike

August 26, 2016
You see any pie up there? Yeah, me neither.

You see any pie up there? Yeah, me neither.

OK, I admit that I don’t understand business, beyond the basics (buy cheap, sell dear).

That said, how does giving $10 million in state economic development funding to Facebook — yes, that Facebook, the one worth $350 billion — constitute good business for the state of New Mexico, which faces a projected shortfall for the current budget year of $458 million?

The deal to bring a data center to Los Lunas would also, according to the Albuquerque Journal:

• Guarantee Facebook 1.5 million gallons of water per day.

• Reimburse the sixth most valuable company in America for up to 75 percent of gross tax revenues from the center’s construction and operation.

• Waive property taxes for more than 30 years.

All for “up to” 300 construction jobs over seven years and 50 “permanent” jobs, which we know are anything but as restless gazillionaires in search of a better deal make struggling localities scrap like dumb dogs over an old bone.

As I said, I don’t understand business. And I know New Mexicans need jobs. But wouldn’t Los Lunas be better served in the long run by courting companies that love us for what we are, and might still respect us in the morning?

 

Sturm und Drang

August 23, 2016
The weatherman expects welcome moisture through the weekend before the inevitable warming and drying trend resumes.

The weatherman expects welcome moisture through the weekend before the inevitable warming and drying trend resumes.

The so-called monsoons have been washing away the memory of a too-hot July as August heads for the barn.

Mornings are nice and cool — just 61 at the moment — and the afternoon highs have been topping out in the upper 70s, with the rains rolling in around dinnertime. This is hard to beat, I don’t mind telling you.

Also hard to beat is Ronald McDonald McTrump, mostly because he has that pesky Secret Service detail frisking everyone for blackjacks, ax handles and baseball bats. Agent Orange just keeps bouncing around the country from rally to rally, not so much campaigning as entertaining, which makes me wonder whether he’s really after the presidency. Could he instead be pursuing some sort of honky media empire based on the WWF/WWE model of raising a fine crop of money in a carefully tended bed of fresh bullshit?

Think about it. As Stephen K. Miller noted over at National Review back in April, “Pro wrestling’s biggest stage was where Donald Trump the political populist was born.”

In pro wrestling you have good guys, bad guys and crooked referees. Nicknames abound (Little Marco, Macho Man, Lyin’ Ted, Jake the Snake). Everyone knows the game is rigged, but who cares? It’s showtime, baby!

God knows there’s not much to watch down at Konrad’s Kountry Klavern these days. They could use a little uplifting Christian entertainment. The teevee’s full to bustin’ with mud people, Jews, homos, trannies and smarties (they’re the worstest). Where are Joe Friday and Bill Gannon, Ozzie and Harriet, Ed Sullivan and Topo Gigio? (OK, so that was just a little gay.)

You’ll know I was right if at the first debate El Trumpo body-slams the Hilldebeast, Megyn Kelly smacks Gwen Ifill with a folding chair, and money rains down from the ceiling. Katie bar the door!

Feed-and-read zone

August 21, 2016
The fabled Three Pepper Hash, topped with two eggs over easy and a side of Lucky Irish Breakfast tea with lemon and honey.

The fabled Three Pepper Hash, topped with two eggs over easy, an English muffin, and a mug of Lucky Irish Breakfast tea with lemon and honey.

And on the seventh day … well, he didn’t exactly rest.

There was dog-walking, and cooking (my fabled Three Pepper Hash for breakfast). Both lawn and skull received a vigorous clipping. You get the idea.

But there was no cycling today. I could’ve squeezed in a short ride before the weather uglied up, maybe, possibly, but I didn’t feel like it, so there.

If there’s a downside to inactivity, it’s that I have more time for reading. Thus I present:

• “How Can America Recover From Donald Trump?” From the NYT editorial page, where someone is having a good deal of fun writing hand-wringing editorials lately.

• “‘Racialists’ are cheered by Trump’s latest strategy.” Not nearly as fun a read, but hey — we’re talking about the button-down klavern here. I remember when the sonsabitches wore sheets instead of seersucker. From The Washington Post.

• “Does Henry Kissinger Have a Conscience?” From The New Yorker. I expect you already know the answer.

The news just repeats itself

August 19, 2016

Now and then I miss working in a newsroom. This is not one of those times.

Most days, daily journalism is like any other gig, only more so. Hours of tedium interrupted by moments of pandemonium.

But news in the era of what Charlie Pierce calls He, Trump, is a whole other ballgame. It’s like trying to sip delicately from a fire hose hooked to a septic tank. It can’t be done, and nobody should have to try, not even for money.

And certainly not for free.

Instead I’ve been trying — and mostly succeeding — in paying attention to the bicycle, may God save her and all who sail in her.

There’s Bicycle Retailer‘s big 25th-anniversary celebration, for example. I need to dash off a column and cartoon on that topic, which shouldn’t be too much of a stretch, seeing as I’ve had 25 years of practice.

And I’ve ridden four different bikes in four days — Sam Hillborne, Steelman Eurocross, Soma Saga, Jones Steel Diamond — and loved every minute of it. Well, not every minute — the Steelman’s low end of 36×26 is a tad tall on steep, sandy single-track for an auld fella — but still, it beats perching in front of the Mac, letting the shit monsoon wash over me.

This morning I got up, grabbed some coffee, and when Herself went out to walk The Boo, I shut off NPR’s “Morning Edition” and started playing some John Prine instead. Sometimes a fella needs a little country to restore his faith in a bigger one.

Miles to go

August 15, 2016
Holy bike-ped bridge, Batman! This one crosses I-25 near Paseo del Norte.

Holy bike-ped bridge, Batman! This one crosses I-25 near Paseo del Norte.

The last month has been mildly productive, cycling-wise. I’m actually logging something like mileage.

(Cue the sound of frantic knocking on wood.)

The North Diversion Channel Trail as seen from the saddle of a Rivendell Sam Hillborne.

The North Diversion Channel Trail as seen from the saddle of a Rivendell Sam Hillborne.

Despite the liberal application of SPF-30 sunscreen I’ve developed one of the ugliest farmer tans in Christendom. And I’m thinking about adding another bike to the fleet just because I can.

More riding means less news-reading, although some bits are unescapable, as is the notion of having my next bike built by General Dynamics Land Systems. I’ll need a few more miles under the bibs to pedal an Abrams touring bike, though.

I’m not going anywhere — just spinning my wheels, as per usual, doing laps around Albuquerque. But if the weather holds it would be nice to do a bike overnight to Santa Fe, along the Turquoise Trail.

All I need to do is wire a rear-facing GoPro to a dynamo hub and then wi-fi the video to a bar-mounted iPhone. They say you’ll never see the one that gets you, but it sure would be nice to have some exciting footage for the funeral.

 

Starry, starry night

August 13, 2016
The skies of Weirdcliffe, as seen from the Walter ranch. Photo courtesy Hal Walter

The skies of Weirdcliffe, as seen from the Walter ranch. Photo courtesy Hal Walter

The old hometown came in for a little press yesterday as city folk tried to catch a glimpse of the Perseid meteor shower through all that neon.

The Dark Sky movement is serious business in Weirdcliffe, as well it should be. It’s one of the area’s natural resources, and thus a natural draw. Sayeth The Old Gray Lady, “Four out of five Americans live in places where they can no longer see the Milky Way.” This, frankly, is a national tragedy.

When we lived east of town, Herself and I spent an evening stretched out on the deck, marveling at the Perseids. It was like getting caught in a celestial hailstorm, or maybe standing on the bridge of the starship Enterprise, boldly going where plenty of folks can’t go no mo’.

Trump card

August 10, 2016

The 2016 pestilential election is turning into one of the less-than-hilarious Monty Python sketches.

“You’ve got a nice representative democracy here, citizen.”

“Yes.”

“We wouldn’t want anything to happen to it. …”

“What?”

Even the dumbest casino guy knows a Smith & Wesson beats four aces.

Even the dumbest casino guy knows a Smith & Wesson beats four aces.

What indeed. Ronald McDonald McTrump has clearly let the fat in his fast-food diet go straight to his head, where a .25-caliber brain struggles to govern a .50-caliber mouth.

I wonder what his Secret Service detail thinks about his quip about a Second Amendment solution to a president’s constitutionally derived authority (Article 2, Section 2) to nominate judges, given that their colleagues protect the other candidate for the job.

The candidate whose back Der Trumpenführer just decorated with a red-white-and-blue bullseye.

Ridesharing

August 9, 2016
A three-seater?

A three-seater?

So, like any good gabacho hipster, I’m riding my Rivendell Clem Smith Jr. to the coffee shop when I encounter a couple of vatos trying to negotiate the pedestrian signals at the corner of Walk and Don’t Walk without getting centerpunched by a speeding SUV.

They missed their east-west opportunity, so they pivot to the north-west crosswalk, and the older of the two, sporting a cane and a limp, says to me, “Hey, can you give us a lift to Taco Bell?”

“Sorry, man, I forgot my basket,” I quip.

Unfazed, he replies, “That’s OK, he can ride on the handlebars and I’ll ride in back.”

Ay, Robot

August 8, 2016
I'm up on the tight wire, linked by life and the funeral pyre, putting on a show for you to see.

I’m up on the tight wire, linked by life and the funeral pyre, putting on a show for you to see.

Electricity is your friend, until it isn’t.

We were watching the finale to season one of “Mr. Robot,” the one in which Eliott awakens in Tyrell’s SUV to discover that his hack has taken down the global financial system and all is chaos, when the lights first hiccuped and then went out altogether.

Bzzzzt. Game over.

The culprit wasn’t FSociety or any other anonymous (har de har har) hacktivist collective. Seems a bolt of lightning drilled a West Side Public Service Company of New Mexico substation, starting a fire and turning out the lights from Santa Fe to Los Lunas — affecting some 135,435 customers, including our little cul-de-sac. PNM said later it was the worst power outage in years.

After a bit, everyone in the ‘hood wandered into the street, exchanging quips about who tripped over the cord, passing out candles to the light-deprived, and generally just catching up on idle chitchat. Nice and dark it was, and cool, with just a soupçon of rain.

About the time we decided we’d better eat all the ice cream before it turned into ice-cream soup, click, the power came back on. Civilization — or the feeble substitute we’ve all agreed to settle for — marches on.

The Bernalillo Triangle

August 4, 2016
At the Triangle you can ride up to the Sandia Crest, if that's your idea of a good time. I haven't done it in about a quarter century.

At the Triangle you can ride up to the Sandia Crest, if that’s your idea of a good time. I haven’t done it in about a quarter century.

Remember that training ride I was contemplating, the one based on the old Watermelon Mountain Classic?

I rode the tail end of it yesterday on the Soma Saga (cantilever edition) and remembered one of the reasons I usually did poorly at the ‘Melon: inconsiderate motorists hogging the descent through Sandia Park-Cedar Crest to Tijeras.

There’s not much in the way of shoulder, and what there is is mostly covered with debris, and the traffic lanes are mostly covered with assholes. Plus there’s that one surprise climb just south of the Triangle that I always forgot about. But other than that, yeah, good times. Maybe not.

I did my recon as part of a 36-mile out-and-back from El Rancho Pendejo, and a mighty nice ride it was, too. There’s a sidewalk-slash-bike path on the climb from Interstate 40 to the Triangle, so a cyclist needn’t endure any buzzing on the way up. And since I was rocking 700x38mm Schwalbe Little Big Ben tires with goopy tubes the debris mostly wasn’t a problem. But damn, some folks need to get theyselfs reacquainted with they manners.

Anyway, now all I need to do is scope out the 25-mile section from Bernalillo to the Triangle and I’ll be ready to ride, just as soon as I get a rear-view mirror, a Glock G26, and some climbing legs.

 


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