Beans and cornbread

February 19, 2019

Chili and cornbread, with a fake beer for a fake newsman.

The wind was howling like all the banshees in Ireland and the weather wizards were making snow noises, so last night I cooked a basic chili con carne to stave off pneumonia, chilblains, and the Galloping Never-Get-Overs.

This recipe, from Melissa Clark at The New York Times, is a favorite. It calls for ground lamb, white beans and poblanos, but I went with ground chicken thighs, pintos, and a mix of green bell peppers and Hatch chile.

And this morning is as you see.

Naturally there are onions, garlic, ground Hatch red chile, jalapeños, cumin, coriander, Mexican oregano and other bits of this and that.

This version is not nearly as richly flavored as the original, and for that I blame the chicken thighs. Ground turkey thighs might have been a better substitute, but that would have meant a trip to Keller’s, where the vast meat counter encourages deficit spending.

Likewise, poblanos would have been preferable to the bell peppers, but roasting them in that wind might have brought the fire marshals.

Herself contributed some delicious cornbread and a green salad (not pictured) fortified with clementine segments to ward off scurvy.

Beans and cornbread don’t always fight. Sometimes they go hand in hand, like corned beef and cabbage.

Presidents Day is a bullshit holiday

February 18, 2019

Some presidents are more worthy of recognition than others.

When I was a kid we thought the Holy Trinity of American politics comprised George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.

We celebrated Washington’s birthday on Feb. 22, because he was George Fuckin’ Washington, is why. Father of Our Country. Wooden teeth, cannot tell a lie, threw a silver dollar across the Potomac. Try that with today’s bogus fiat currency and see how far it flies.

Lincoln was born in a log cabin he built himself, freed the slaves, and wrote the best speech ever.

And Kennedy boinked Marilyn Monroe. He slipped it to that commie bastard Nikita Khrushchev, too, but only metaphorically speaking. Still, well done indeed.

But it was Washington’s birthday we celebrated, for the aforementioned reason (he was GFW, the OG, our national daddy-o). And I’m still OK with that, debunking of childhood mythologies notwithstanding.

However, I object to the blanket veneration issued to all subsequent holders of the office since the Uniform Holiday Act took effect in 1971, not least because it followed an executive order from the criminal Richard M. Nixon, who just three years later would run like a rat to San Clemency, pardoned by his successor, the execrable Gerald R. Ford.

Here’s the thing: The presidency is a job, and hiring does not confer beatification. We’ve signed up some real lulus for the gig, bozos best consigned to the Dumpster of History, including the bloated scumbag presently squatting in the Oval Office like an orange poison toad.

We’re supposed to stand this guy up alongside Washington? A Father of Douchebags with a wooden head who lies through plastic teeth and couldn’t throw a French fry across a Mickey D’s? And take a day off in his honor?

I think we should all have to work an extra day, and for free, too, for hiring the sonofabitch in the first place.

Preach, brothers, preach

February 17, 2019

Sometimes it pays to wander aimlessly along the Infobahn, turning over rocks just to see what’s underneath.

Don’t neglect those exit ramps, side streets and back alleys.

And for God’s sake, get the hell off of that L.A. Freeway.

• Bonus track: Robert Ellis on NPR’s “Tiny Desk.”

Quaddammit

February 16, 2019

The 36th Mount Taylor Winter Quadradthlon is today.

Don’t look for me in results — it’s been years since I raced the Quad, but I was pretty OK at it a time or two. The bike and run legs, anyway.

Hal’s wife, Mary, and I used to race it as a mixed pair, and we won in 1990, 1992 and 1993.

I was usually in decent shape, being tanned, rested and ready following a long cyclocross season. And Mary was always tip-top, living at altitude up Weirdcliffe way and running around with jackasses, some of them four-legged (ho, ho).

Quadware included Nambé medals and platters.

Hal, of course, did the whole thing solo, which always looked a bit too much like work to me. I was only so-so on snowshoes and an outright hazard on cross-country skis.

This was and remains a toy-heavy pasatiempo, and Hal’s truck would be stuffed to the topper with bikes, wheels, tires, skis, shoes, snowshoes and a ridiculous amount of clothing suited to any and all weather conditions.

Running shoes were augmented with sheet-metal screws in the soles for traction, in case there was ice on the run leg (there usually was).

Clip-on aero bars? Sometimes. Once I used a set of Scott Rakes to good effect, aero bars giving me The Fear on the descent back to Grants.

The bike was usually standard road. In 1990 I was rocking an aluminum Trek 1500 with 53/39 rings and a 13-24 freewheel.

I know I’ve written about the Quad before, but whatever I cranked out is squirreled away on a Zip disk somewhere or in an actual magazine, and I don’t feel like diving down those rabbit holes this morning.

However, I did find a reference to my first Quad in my 1990 training diary, and that reads as follows:

“Big-time pain. I don’t think I’ve felt this bad since I got the shit kicked out of me at Alamogordo last year. Bike leg was slower than I’d hoped for … and my uphill run was fucking awful. Downhill run was better — but not much — and the downhill bike was spiked by the Headwind from Hell.”

Yeah, good times. The Quad will never be the new golf.

Breaking Gnus: The Bewilderbeest speaks

February 15, 2019

“I didn’t need to do this, but it was an emergency.”

Jesus H. Christ. This fool could fuck up a steel ball.

I mean, a lot of us have voices in our heads. But we don’t let them all talk at once. Not where other people can hear them, anyway.

 

What hath God wrought?

February 14, 2019

“Sure, I can send that message, but I think they already got it.”

Anybody who didn’t see this coming hasn’t been paying attention. Dude telegraphed this shit like ol’ Sam’l Morse.

Sure, there are legal options to explore. But this dude likes getting sued. Especially when he’s spending other people’s money on both sides of the argument.

Screwed again

February 12, 2019

Fake news.

“‘Tool Disposal Notice?'” I said. “At long last, they’re impeaching him!”

Nope. Just a Harbor Freight Tools ad. Still, a fella can always use a bigger hammer for those delicate adjustments to this and that.

Mad Dogs, Margaritas and music

February 12, 2019

Steve Earle and the latest incarnation of The Dukes: Kelley Looney on bass, Chris Masterson on guitar, Eleanor Whitmore on fiddle & mandolin, Ricky Ray Jackson on pedal steel guitar, and Brad Pemberton on drums and percussion. | photo by Tom Bejgrowicz/

Pat O’B contends that there’s still some good music out there today, the Grammys notwithstanding and despite a preposterously publicized preponderance of primadonnas, poseurs and pissants.

He’s right, of course. As a free-range rumormonger and Avatar of Fake News I lean toward the flamboyant and unsupported statement: “That sucks.” Or as the black marketeer Duffy put it in “The Commitments.”

“I don’t know why you bother. Everything’s shite since Roy Orbison died.”

Duffy got himself head-butted later for acting like a douche during a gig, despite being a patron of the arts, albeit a slightly heavy-handed one. And he certainly had it coming, Roy Orbison fan or no.

So who isn’t shite, and why?  Chime in with your hit parade, and don’t sweat it about providing links if you’re not in the mood.

As for me, I’ll note that Steve Earle has a new album coming out next month, a tribute to the legendary Guy Clark, with guest appearances by Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Terry Allen, Jerry Jeff Walker, Mickey Raphael, Shawn Camp, Verlon Thompson and Gary Nicholson.

NPR’s Bob Boilen chatted with Steve earlier in the year. Their chat kicks off with a discussion of the Texas Chili Parlor’s Mad Dog Margaritas and segues into interesting bits like this:

“I’m very thankful that I came along at a time … this period when Bob Dylan had sort of singlehandedly elevated pop music to an art form by the force of lyrics. I really truly believe that this moment when Bob Dylan wants to be John Lennon and John Lennon wants to be Bob Dylan makes rock and roll hard overnight. Otherwise it’s just songs about cars and girls.”

So I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say Steve Earle doesn’t suck. Steve Earle is not shite. Please don’t head-butt me.

Can’t find my way home

February 11, 2019

Good thing it doesn’t matter when a virtual press runs, because someone has been intercoursing the penguin as regards his self-imposed deadlines.

Radio Free Dogpatch is intended to be a weekly affair, scheduled for Fridays, but just ask the penguin how well that’s worked out for him (whoops, too late, he’s exploded). To date the thing has reared its ugly head weekly, semimonthly, and on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays.

After three or four goes at this most recent episode, which came this close to becoming a plain-vanilla blog post, I’m starting to think Wednesdays are the ticket. Showtime. Whatever.

In any case, and without further ado, here’s episode 19 of Radio Free Dogpatch. Too bad I couldn’t get it finished in time to win a Grammy to go along with all my Pulitzers, Reubens, Emmys and MacArthur Fellowships.

Oh, well, there’s always next year.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Editorial notes: Shannon Hall wrote about the meanderings of magnetic north for The New York Times. Steve Frothingham has been following the trials and tribulations of ASE and the various media-consolidation stories for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. John McNulty wrote about super-salesman Elmer “Sell the Sizzle” Wheeler for The New Yorker way back in 1938. And Sam Dean of the Los Angeles Times gave us a peek at Zwift’s e-sports ambitions.

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with an Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. I edited in Apple’s GarageBand on a 2014 MacBook Pro, adding audio acquired through fair means and foul via Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack (no profit was taken in an admittedly casual approach to various copyrights). Speaking of which, Buck appears courtesy of the 1935 William Wellman film “Call of the Wild,” while Nick Danger took a break from his Further Adventures to ask directions to The Firesign Theatre’s Old Same Place. The background music is “Crusin” from Zapsplat.com. And Blind Faith wrapped it all up with “Can’t Find My Way Home.”

Wired

February 7, 2019

I got wired a time or two when I lived in southern Arizona, but it was nothing like this. Photo by Jonathan Clark | Nogales International via The Associated Press and stolen shamelessly by Your Humble Narrator

Whatever the sonofabitch gets, it’s never enough. Wives, bankruptcies, you name it.

Now not even a Big, Beautiful Wall® will tickle Il Douche’s little pickle. Now it has to be a Big, Beautiful Wall with Six Rows of Razor Wire®.

And remember, folks: FreeDumb® isn’t free. DoD estimates that the military has spent $132 million so far “supporting” U.S. Customs and Border Protection — never mind that the number of arrests by the Border Patrol is the lowest since the early 1970s, while the number of agents has more than doubled — and other estimates indicate that border deployments could eat up a cool billion by the end of fiscal 2019.

Can we maybe put one of these BBWWSRORW® around the Orange House? With a lid on it?