You can’t spell ‘harass’ without ‘ass’

November 19, 2017

The Mud Stud is not exactly the most enlightened of males. In fact, he’s a pretty dim bulb on most matters.

Some of the lads wandered a bit off topic in the previous post, toward the cascade of revelations about just how many of us appear to be dicks.

The sheer number of recent revelations feels overwhelming, until you consider how long women have been enduring a thumping of one kind or another.

In this country women didn’t get the right to vote until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920 (it was Tennessee, presently home to Herself the Elder and Herself’s younger sister, that tipped the scale).

Inequities remained and continued, of course. Today, women still earn less than men. Forbes says the Fortune 500 has more women CEOs than ever before, but that’s not saying much (32). Women hold just 8 percent of the top corporate spots in the U.S., according to CNBC.

In government, we find all of 21 women in the Senate and 84 in the House.

And of course, if you’re talking about simple condescension, or a good old-fashioned beatdown, men have the edge there too.

Then there’s sexual harassment.

I’m willing to bet that we all know at least one person who’s been the unwilling target of unwanted attention. In my newspaper days I knew two people — one woman, one man — who were stalked by their supervisors. To management’s credit, both perpetrators were disciplined, one by a swift sacking.

These creeps were creating toxic environments for at least two employees and had to go. But newsrooms, like cop shops, are rough-and-rowdy places, with an us-against-them atmosphere, frequent booze-addled socializing outside the workplace, and a lot of raw language. Plenty of torrid romances bloomed — editors with reporters, reporters with photographers, and ad salespersons with their clients.

And of course the publisher was boinking all of us.

So where do we draw the lines between acceptable, frisky, risky and abusive behavior, especially at the workplace? What merits a “Oh, go fuck yourself, Ed, you’re drunk” and what mandates a pink slip?

I look at Al Franken and I see a comedian who made a stupid joke. I look at King Donald the Short-fingered and I see a self-confessed serial abuser. Plenty of built-in bias in that evaluation, to be sure, but there it is.

Am I wrong? If so, what’s right? I’m particularly interested in hearing from the women in the audience on this one, because I’ve never been sexually harassed, on the job or anywhere else.

Unless you count the time the giant African-American crossdresser in the red miniskirt hooted at me as I was cycling through Denver’s Cheesman Park back in the Eighties.

“Oh, honey, let me ride it, let me ride it!” s/he squealed. I don’t think s/he was talking about my bike.

Finally, Friday

November 17, 2017

Early in the week the Fuji Touring Disc and I got our kicks on Route 66.

It’s been a productive week around the old rumormongery.

I edited and shipped two short videos for Adventure Cyclist; continued my evaluation of the latest review model, a Fuji Touring Disc; and wrote a column and drew a cartoon for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

Cha-ching! Just back that armored car up to the vault, boys, and start shoveling. I’ll be on the patio contemplating my investment portfolio.

Speaking of which, I see our national leadership is dancing merrily with the ones who brung ’em. It can’t be much longer before there’s a new agency working hand in glove with the Eternal Revenue Service, the Department of Spare Change, which sends agents round to root through your pants pockets, sofa cushions and swear jars. Hand over those nickels and dimes, Gramps, you lot would just piss it away on housing, food or medicine.

Don’t worry, soon it will all come trickling back to you. Why, look, what’s that there, on your shoe? Looks like it’s raining on somebody!

Movie Monday

November 13, 2017

In which we learn that an hour on the patio listening to birdsong beats a day wasted reading tweets from twatwaffles.

 

One step beyond

November 12, 2017

The Marin Nicasio is part of the company’s “Beyond Road” line, so naturally I took it beyond roads. I’m funny that way. Maybe not.

Weekend? Holiday? Your words are strange, friend. We have no such things here on Freelancia. What a paradise your world must be. Tell me more.

OK, awright, yeah, so as work goes, riding the old bikey bike hardly qualifies. And glad I was to be doing it, too, after a couple weeks of a dodgy back. But still.

The pic is a screen grab from a bit of video I shot Friday for Adventure Cyclist to accompany my review of the Marin Nicasio. Yesterday I was rolling around and about on a Fuji Touring Disc, which is next in the pipeline.

Fuji has been doing touring bikes for the better part of quite some time (anybody remember the Fuji America from the fabulous Seventies?). The Touring model has been in the line since the Nineties, and for 2018 — like pretty much everything else — it is available with disc brakes.

This one I won’t drag out onto the singletrack. That wouldn’t just be be one step beyond — that would be Madness.

Ten-hut!

November 11, 2017

The old man in one of his earliest temporary billets, in New Guinea during World War II.

Today being Veterans Day, please allow me to tip the Mad Dog garrison cap to all of yis who served.

Most of the media rah-rah was yesterday, which was the officially designated Federal Shopping Holiday; I went looking for a new commander-in-chief but nobody had one in stock. “Come back in November 2020,” they said. And I shall.

The individual who currently holds the position finally made it to Vietnam, I see. Boy, golf must do wonders for bone spurs. I hear it’s the new cycling.

 

 

The timber lands*

November 8, 2017

One up the tailpipe for you-know-who.

It’s a wee bit early for ticker-tape parades and dancing in the streets, and the advice of Winston Wolf remains pertinent, but yesterday’s elections saw the Donks put a few points on the board.

The game ain’t over yet, and they’re a tough team to root for, but whaddare ya gonna do? At least the bench seems a little deeper this time around.

* The boots. The boots are Timberlands. “The timber lands.” OK, so it’s a stretch.

Median income

November 7, 2017

The Duke City is taking a page from the Bibleburg playbook and trying to croak panhandling.

My old hometown has spent years wrestling with the issue of how the less fortunate earn their living, losing two falls out of three.

Nevertheless, that fair Christian community persists; its latest panhandling ordinance, like the new one here, seems targeted more narrowly on the red herring of “safety,” and the ACLU is watching closely to make sure this is not just another cudgel to beat the homeless out of the public right-of-way so their betters don’t have to see them, or think about them.

The ACLU will have its eye on the Duke City, too. And it seems likely that the lawyers will earn, and the City Council will earn, and the police will earn, and the reporters will earn, and the needy will not (for a while, anyway).

Both communities have more pressing safety issues, or so it seems to me. Duke City and Bibleburg-El Paso County both are on track to break homicide records, for example.

And as regards traffic hazards, I’d say the distracted, drugged and/or drunk Duke City driver poses more of a threat to life and limb than does the limper with the homemade billboard working the median at the corner of Fifth and Vermouth.

Part of the problem may be that Limpy has found his way north and east, where the money is. I’ve seen (and donated to) representatives of the Placard People all the way out here in Dog Country, at Tramway and Montgomery. By golly, it’s one thing if they’re shambling around down by Ed Siegelman’s Ground Zero Equal Opportunity Apartments, but up here? What about our real-estate values?

What about our values, indeed.

It might be educational for some of our elected representatives to stumble a few miles in Limpy’s brogans. I’ve done a little panhandling my own bad self, back in my Jackoff Kerouac days, and I can’t recommend it as a career choice.

I was slumming, of course, as are a few of the people you see working the off-ramps. I could go back to my real, privileged life anytime I chose, and I did. But not everybody is so fortunate. If we really want to get the needy off the streets, and keep them off, we need to think a little harder, a little smarter, and with a whole lot more compassion.

On the other hand, maybe this new ordinance will stop the cashier at Whole Amazon from asking me if I want to donate my bag credits to some “worthy cause.” Bloody do-gooder.

Thoughts, prayers and tacos

November 5, 2017

Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Force), proposes that all serious cats bring more than thoughts and prayers to a gunfight, or even a taco truck.

Our “leaders” are sending thoughts and prayers around and about once more, this time to a small Baptist church outside San Antone.

I often think about tacos. (“Man, a taco sure sounds good right about now.”) I have even been known to pray for tacos. (“Jesus, let there be a taco stand around here somewhere!”)

None of this has ever gotten me a single fucking taco.

Put your back into it

November 4, 2017

More fall, still more!

Two visits with the backcracker and I’m feeling more and more like a biped capable of upright locomotion. That said, I’m still not convinced it was a good idea for the Irish to come down from the trees, even though the English were kind enough to teach us how to operate the wheelbarrow.

What I need to be operating is some bicycles. The deadlines, they loom — for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, for Adventure Cyclist — and I’ve noticed that Kevin Drum’s obsession with artificial intelligence notwithstanding, these pieces refuse to write themselves.

And somebody has to pay the backcracker. ‘Cause he doesn’t accept health insurance.

Thus the temptation is to get out there right now and push those pedals around. Burn some fat, light the cranial fireworks, make a little magic.

Hmm. What would Plato do? Probably not that. Maybe I’ll just go for a walk.

Crack me up

November 2, 2017

Have you noticed that cats rarely require chiropractic adjustment? Me too.

Bang, pow, zoom: To the moon, O’Grady!

OK, so it wasn’t quite that dramatic. But it wasn’t no honeymoon, neither.

What it was: I test-drove a new chiropractor today and after some exertion on his part (and some unseemly screeching on mine) I am feeling a bit more like myself. A barely upright lesser primate, in other words.

In professional parlance, I am “a mess,” which is no surprise to anyone.

But mess though I may be, at least I have not been caught lying to the press and to Congress. Now that’s a mess.

Whether anyone has the spine to treat this ailment, of course, is another matter entirely.