R.I.P., Dick Gregory

August 20, 2017

Dick Gregory, activist and comedian.

Back in 1978, as a young reporter at what then was called the Gazette Telegraph in Bibleburg, I spoke with two people who could not have been more different — David Duke and Dick Gregory.

Duke was all PR and puffery, arguing that integration wasn’t “bringing peace and harmony to America, it’s accomplishing the complete opposite.” He described his button-down version of the Ku Klux Klan as “a white counterpart of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People,” and crowed about “a surge of interest and membership in the organization.”

Gregory, as you might expect, approached civil rights from an entirely different angle, knowing a line of horseshit when he smelled it. It was a product he did not carry and would not distribute.

“As long as we have racism and sexism, we are a nation divided,” he said during a speech at the Fort Carson Field House, where he received a standing ovation before heading downtown for another talk at The Colorado College.

“If I walk about for a week with a pile of horse manure in my pocket, ready to throw on you, then whose pocket stinks for a week?” he asked. “And if I walk around with hate in my brain, what is that going to do with my brain?”

Pockets full of horseshit and brains full of hate. Nearly four decades down the road we’re still covering the same old ground. Sisyphus is all like, “Damn, y’all really like rolling that rock, huh?”

• Update: Rolling Stone‘s obit is a good bit more, uh, colorful, than the one in The New York Times.

• Update the Second: Holy shit, now Jerry Lewis has left the building.

A new dawn

August 18, 2017

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?

Thanks to everyone for chiming in with their thoughts about El Bloggeroo, as we say down here south of the border.

I particularly liked Herb’s notion of going 30 days without a post mentioning … well, you know. That guy.

So, let’s! Starting today. For the next 30 days, anyone craves the latest news, analysis and commentary on that particular topic will have to look elsewhere while we air out the joint. Smells like bronzer and Coca-Cola in here.

 

Bear with me

August 16, 2017

It’s all downhill from here. That itty bitty green stripe in the distance is the bosque.

More distraction: Sick of being a spectator at our latest national disaster, I hightailed it to the hills yesterday.

It was a short ride, just 25 miles, but a hilly one, meandering up and down the foothills streets before tackling the star of the show, the short, steep climb to La Cueva picnic grounds.

There’s bears in them thar hills.

The road surface is what we like to call “heavy,” which is to say the chip-seal is mostly thick tar and old boulders. But the views are pretty damn’ fine and well worth the effort to get there.

School having started, there was mostly no one at La Cueva but me. One young gent, who was backpacking his kid up and down the trails, said he was maintaining a wildlife camera up there. He’s getting plenty of bear pix, but no cougars. Might check the bars down by the university, I thought.

The lack of cougars aside, it was nice to take a break from that ruptured sewer line disguised as the news that leads to my MacBook, and thence to the overworked leach field in my head.

And speaking of news, let’s: I can write all day long about the walking, talking Superfund site farting Mickey D’s into the ordinarily rarified atmosphere of the Oval Office like some malignant tuba, but you folks can get better, smarter stuff elsewhere, and plenty of it, too. I’m starting to feel as though we already enjoy an overabundance of words on this topic and rather than picking the scab over and over again we might be better served by taking action to resolve the problem.

So what do you come here for? Politics? Bike stuff? General yuks? Filthy language? Pet pix? Let me know your preferences in comments. But do keep in mind that it’s my shop, and I’m likely to stock many of my favorite products no matter what the customers crave.

Fire on the mountain, lightning in the air

August 15, 2017

Just another gorgeous sunset in Duke City.

Last evening it seemed that the whole ’hood was out to walk their dogs and enjoy the sunset, which was on the epic side.

The monsoons continue, on and off, and when high clouds and hydrocarbons team up you can get quite a show.

This proved a nice distraction from the news, which unlike the hydrocarbons does not give me a warm feeling.

But you have to turn your gaze away from the sky sometime, and the view down here on the ground ain’t exactly picture-postcard.

We have a lazy, casually vicious, unhinged, racist ignoramus in the White House, surrounded by a cadre of fascists who are at least as mean as he is and considerably smarter. Or they think they are, anyway.

They have a base (adj., lacking the higher qualities of mind or spirit; see also ignoble) whose adherents seems to suffer little in the way of consequences — not even a prompt, stern talking-to from their president — when they turn up armed and dangerous in public. One wonders how law enforcement might respond if a troop of Black Panthers carrying AK-47s attends one of these little Klan-bakes.

Yes, we have a firmly worded right to free speech. But it seems to me that if you fetch clubs, shields, chemical irritants, helmets and firearms to the rally, you’re not really there for the speechifyin’.

And yes, the oft-litigated right to bear arms applies here, too. But if you can’t make your case in a public forum without an AR-15 slung over one shoulder, I’d suggest you don’t have much of an argument. What the right forgets is that the left can bear arms, too. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 21st-century Abraham Lincoln Brigade at the next Nuremberg picnic.

It’s all going to get much worse before it gets even a little bit better. Politicians, preachers and captains of industry are putting some daylight between them and Bozosaurus Rex, but he’s just a symptom. Treating the disease will require heroic measures.

The cat’s meow

August 13, 2017

Miss Mia Sopaipilla enjoys the freshly mowed lawn at El Rancho Pendejo.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla suspects that many humans are at least a taco short of a combo plate, but she’s willing to give us the benefit of the doubt as long as she gets a dollop of cream with her breakfast and the occasional outdoor adventure.

Bananas Republic

August 12, 2017

I wear my sunglasses at night.

The folks at Visit Charlottesville must be enjoying all this free publicity.

Then again, maybe not. I don’t see “Nazi rally” on their list of “9 Reasons to Visit the Charlottesville Area This August.”

 

 

Kinda busy right now

August 9, 2017

The Acme® DIY Bomb Shelter.

A good example of a bad example

July 30, 2017

A break in the traffic.

Ride Your Own Damn’ Bike Week has been extended, by popular demand.

After the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff came the Bianchi Zurigo, the Soma Double Cross, and today, one of my two Steelman Eurocrosses.

This bike is isn’t totally old-school: It has eight-speed Shimano STI, not bar-end shifters; Michelin Jet clinchers, not tubies; and a RockShox seatpost.

There’s life in the old gal yet.

But it has most of the other hallmarks: steel frame and fork; 46/36 chainrings and 11-28 cassette; Ultegra derailleurs; Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantilever brakes with SwissStop VikingPro pads (and levers reversed so the left brakes the rear wheel); Dura-Ace hubs and Mavic Open 4 CD hoops; Selle Italia Flite saddle; and Time ATAC pedals.

The whole shebang goes like 22.5 pounds, which is what makes that 36×28 low end suitable on the steep bits for Your Humble Narrator, who given our national spasticity vis-à-vis health care would rather not be popping a gasket anytime soon.

Anyway, I hadn’t ridden it in the better part of quite some time, and I ordinarily shun the trails on weekends, but today I took a chance and had a wonderful time. There were lots of folks out, but I encountered zero attitude problems. Nothing but smiles and friendly greetings, with lots of the old Alphonse-and-Gaston action. (“After you, Alphonse.” “No, you first, my dear Gaston.”)

There was one down side. I was descending a narrow bit and saw a father and son on mountain bikes climbing toward me, so I pulled over to give them room to maneuver. As they approached Pop explained to Junior that a descending rider should always yield trail to one ascending, adding that I “was setting a good example.”

Thus, with a single phrase, my career was ruined. I wonder if it’s too late to get my old rim-rat job back on The New Mexican copy desk.

Hellth care

July 25, 2017

It’s nearly impossible to live a normal life, or even one like mine, and keep an eye on all the outrages flying out of DeeCee like bats from a belfry.

The main one right now is what the GOP is cynically calling its “health care” legislation. Next to nobody knows exactly what’s in it — or perhaps “them” would be more accurate — or exactly when the Senate is likely to take up the motion to proceed.

But with John McCain saddling up to provide a key “yes” vote (yeah, I know, more Pinto than Maverick), it’s gonna be close.

The Turtle can only lose two of his bots on the motion to proceed, which is the precursor to actual debate on the legislation itself, whatever the hell that might be, and it looks like a few of them are teetering on the ragged edge.

I’d say that if you have the stomach for it, and even if you don’t, phone calls to your senators are in order. This mess needs to die in the waiting room before the GOP can get it into surgery.

Fleet readiness

July 22, 2017

A quick loop around the cul-de-sac to check the capabilities of a Canon camcorder.

It’s been Ride Your Own Damn Bike Week around here, and what a trip down memory lane that has been.

The Nobilette has been getting a lot of road time, but on Thursday I gave it a rest and broke out the old DBR Prevail TT road bike for a 90-minute spin.

The DBR Prevail TT, with a fresh set of goopy tubes to repel the goatheads.

One reason I haven’t been riding this relic is that it didn’t have sealant-filled tubes, a shortcoming I remedied before leaving aboard it. Another is the low end of 34×25, which is a tad tall for Your Humble Narrator these days.

But as it turns out, 34×25 is pretty OK when the bike only weighs 20.7 pounds, as opposed to, say, the 32.2-pound Soma Saga Disc, which I rode Friday.

Today the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff gets its moment in the sun. It, too, lacked goopy tubes, until yesterday, when I reacquainted myself with the joys of rear-wheel removal and replacement, that Rohloff hub adding a few additional steps to the process.

All these little chores make a fine distraction from the news, which is all bad. A choking shit-mist has descended upon the nation’s capital and the doings therein seem likely to make “Game of Thrones” look like “Survivor: Canyon Ranch Spa.”

This is assuming, of course, that the Republicans in Congress grow a functional pair, which seems a very wild assumption indeed. What a motley clot of harem guards that lot has turned out to be.