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.

The Great Zot

July 18, 2017

When The Zot speaks, a wise man listens.

And lo, I did find at last that the work was done, and while it was not good, at least it was Tuesday, and thus it was good enough.

Therefore did I step outside clad in cycling togs, and clutching a bike, and it was then that The Zot spoke to me, saying thusly:

“Boom.”

“The hell you say?” I replied. “The forecast said nothing about electrocution. Some cloudiness, tops.”

And yea, there was a cloud overhead, and it appeared dark and foreboding, yet also exceedingly small, and thus I rode on, the work having been done.

After a time The Zot spoke once more, saying thusly:

“Booooooooom.”

“Fuck right off with that noise,” I replied. “The work is done and this bike I shall ride, lest my inner fat bastard arise from the dead to take dominion over me, and also my new stainless-steel LG refrigerator, and the contents thereof. In any case, you do not appear to be The Great Zot, but only one of the Lesser Zots.”

And thus I rode on, ascending along Simms Road toward the Elena Gallegos picnic grounds.

‘Twas then that The Zot spoke a third and final time.

“BOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM!”

“Oh, ‘BOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM,’ is it?” I replied, putting it in the big ring and wheeling about. “Why didn’t you say so? There’s always something needs doing around the house, especially the inside of it. And it’s not so bad being a fat bastard, I suppose. Must be something on TV. Right, I’m off.”

Videocy (an ongoing series)

July 18, 2017

Just past the turnoff to Heartbreak Hill, the marquee bit in the Santa Fe Century.

Wrapped another video for Adventure Cyclist yesterday. I was sick of all my usual backdrops, so I went up to Heartbreak Hill off NM 14 and fiddled around a bit there.

Going up (but not very far).

And no, I didn’t ride the Co-Motion Deschutes there, thanks for asking. It would’ve been fun, but we’re talking a hilly 65-mile round trip from El Rancho Pendejo. Herself was serving jury duty, The Boo is very much not interested in being alone for several hours, and I had to edit the video and do the voiceover when I got home.

Also, and too, it rained like a mad bastard here yesterday afternoon, and had I been an actual touring cyclist, instead of merely playing one on TV, I’d probably have gotten caught in it. I hear you’re supposed to suffer for your art, but still, damn.

Speaking of suffering, I see the latest iteration of Trumpcare croaked on the table. Take a moment to cheer, by all means, but let’s remember the advice of kindly Doc Winston Wolf before we get too giddy. As Kevin Drum notes, the main reason the beast died is that it wasn’t tough enough on the poors.

Bug music

July 15, 2017

Climb in the back with your head in the clouds and you’re gone.

Blogging is like riding a bike. You don’t forget how to do it, even after an extended break, but the longer you give it a miss, the less inclined you are to get back after it.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, there’s been plenty of bad noise out there lately, and I’ve had to direct a fair amount of my own in other directions, so the bloggery has suffered. Appy polly loggies, droogies.

We watched Ron Howard’s 2016 Beatles documentary on Hulu the past two evenings (made a miniseries of it, we did) and while no new ground was broken, it was a fresh reminder of how quickly the lads got tired of being The Beatles.

I can dig it, as I occasionally get tired of being me, and without nearly the amount of pressure The Beatles endured. There’s a lot less screaming when I get down to work, is what I’m saying. Unless you count the racket coming from Your ‘Umble Narrator, that is.

Anyway, today I have declared a Beatlethon. We kicked off with “Abbey Road,” followed by “Revolver,” and at the moment “Rubber Soul” is blasting out of the stereo. On deck: “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” followed by “The Beatles,” a.k.a. The White Album.

We may or may not get to “Let It Be.” I may just let it be.