Spring broken

There’s the signpost up ahead … you’re about to enter the McDowell Zone.

Can you be both stuck and unstuck, at the same time?

Dern tootin’, podnah.

Case in point: Last year, I had planned a March trip to McDowell Mountain Regional Park, to (a) get the hell out of here, and (2) get the hell out of here.

Well sir, God, He got wind of those plans and had Himself a good old hee, and also a haw. And the next thing you know I had a broken ankle, a dead cat, and a strongly worded suggestion from the State that I (and everyone else) stay put while the Plague sorted itself out.

So I was what you call stuck.

Now, a year later, we have a vaccine. And by “we,” I mean … well, what I mean is that there is a vaccine, and some other people have gotten it. But I haven’t. And I don’t know when I will get it.

Thus I am, you might say, unstuck. Which means I’m stuck.

Which in turn means that you get the needle. Because yes, yes, yes, it’s time for another medicinal episode of Radio Free Dogpatch.

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

• Technical notes: Once again we go to the Comedy Closet for this one, using a Shure MV7 mic and Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. Editing was in Apple’s GarageBand, with a sonic bump from Auphonic. Music and sound effects courtesy of Zapsplat with an Apple loop or two from iMovie and GarageBand. House call by kindly old Doc Firesign. Now just turn your head and cough.

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42 Responses to “Spring broken”

  1. JD Says:

    Well done, PO’G!
    I’ll get my second COVID shot next Monday … and will continue to wear a mask, social distance, and try to stay outdoors.
    Hope you and Herself get yours soon.
    Re your photo, as Yogi Berra wisely said “When you come to the fork in the road, take it!”
    And …. “Man plans, God laughs!”

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, JD. Herself the Elder has had both shots, as have her roomies at assisted living. The process here seems a little scattershot to me, but I’m not worried. I hardly go anywhere other than the grocery every 10 days. And of course, I get out for the daily hour or two of exercise.

      I’d like to see the poor sods working the grocery stores get theirs before I get mine. They see more people in an hour than I have all year long.

      • Dave Watts Says:

        And I am one of those poor sods. Shot number one was 2 weeks ago, and I’ll have my second stab at it next week, which includes a 100 mile drive west to get ‘er done. The vaccines aren’t exactly plentiful ’round here, so some creative finger dancing at all hours of the day at a half a dozen web portals is necessary to get the date with the needle. Vegas probably has long odds on how nearly impossible it is to get an appointment in each state. Some of us at work are vaccinated — lots more are waiting, waiting. Sooner is way better.

        And the masks will remain, along with the distancing. With many thousands of visitors per week passing through the store, we can’t afford to be anything but full-on CDC professional about how we keep everybody safe. I actually feel weird at home when not weaing a mask.

        • SAO' Says:

          Uncle Joe and Team are celebrating the current 1.8M/week vaccination rate, but I hope they’re factoring in that they’re grabbing the low-hanging fruit right now. Easy to jab 60/minute when you’re working out of Mile High Stadium. Not so easy when you’re at the Walgreens in Knob Knoster, Mizzourah.

          Thanks for being part of the solution, Dave

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Whoops, I’d forgotten we had a grocery worker in the joint. How goes it these days, Dave? I chat with the folks at our grocery when I’m there but try not to overdo it, figuring that they have a whole day of people asking them halfwitted questions.

        The neighborhood Sprouts is basically a one-stop shop. They have most of the foods we like, plus Herself’s favorite beer and wine. I have to go elsewhere for my fake beer, which is a First World Problem if ever there was one. So I try not to be a dick when I’m there. Just call me Little Paddy Sunshine.

        • Dave Watts Says:

          Where I work, we stock your beer, Patrick. Probably our sister stores (2) by you also carry it? Maybe? Oh, where would that be? Hint: Holly Ave.

          Very much used to being masked 40+ hrs. a week. We’re not Texas or Wisconsin, so our guard is not being taken down.

          • B Lester Says:

            Wi and Tx have a lot in common. “Personal Responsibility” is a poorly heeded bumper sticker among the wingnuts right up there with “Free dumb!”.

            Key difference is that TX Gov Abbot is an idiot and Wi Gov Evers is a democrat. The morons in the Wi statehouse keep blocking Evers over his “executive overreach” when he issues a new 60 day mask mandate after the last one expires. Last spring they sued as his “stay-at-home” order ended and he tried to extend it. The State Supreme Court agreed and we had the beginning of the end. Cases spiked after the Memorial Day celebrations and haven’t looked back until recently. Sheesh!

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Oho, I’ll have to pop down there and have a look-see. I don’t get over to that side of town too often, because Paseo de la Chingada reminds me unfavorably of Academy and Powers in Bibleburg, Shea in Scottsdale, Oracle Road in Tucson, and pretty much anyplace in Vegas. But a man must have his fake beer.

          Thanks for the tip, and keep staying safe out there.

          • Dave Watts Says:

            Make sure you call first. Each region, state, and even towns have different liquer distribution and products.

  2. Shawn Says:

    I see that the thin six foot white picket fence around those respectable enough to make our communities safe and pleasant, are failing to maintain them. The paint is peeling, staves are broken off and I fear in some places that critters can get in. You know, if one neighbor let’s their fence go to pot, critters will be scrambling all over making a mess of our gardens. It’s good that we have screen doors. Just think if those critters got inside. Lord o’mercy.

    Perhaps I’ll reinforce my “fence” policy the next time that I am out shopping. When I walk into a store, I’ll just drop my pants and watch the critters scatter. Excuse me officer. Please keep your distance.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Speaking of white picket fences, when I lived in that single-wide trailer in Greeley back in the Seventies the next-door neighbor kept two Great Danes. (His trailer was a little bigger than mine, but not much.) He had this itty-bitty decorative white picket fence surrounding his place and those giant dogs stayed behind it.

      It was comical. They wouldn’t have needed to jump it — they could’ve walked right over it without even tickling their tummies. But they knew what was good for them.

      I’ve often thought dogs were smarter than people.

  3. Pat O’Brien Says:

    We are not big travelers. Big being more than a one day drive. But, even we are dreaming of a trip, a train trip that is. Never spent a night on a train in a small room with a bed and a view. The Duke City Biopark beckons as well. As well as visiting our kinfolk in Seattle. (Note to Patrick and Khal. Andy and Liz moved back to Seattle.). We have had one shot, being a few years ahead of Patrick on the road to geezerville, with the next scheduled in 3 weeks time. What, it takes 2 to 3 weeks for full protection? And, you say I have to mask up and keep my distance to keep other’s safe? Cases starting to go up again you say? Think I will pick up a guitar, put on my hiking boots, and go into Brown canyon and see what the acoustics are like. First strum will run everyone at least 6 feet away. Most will keep running until their ears stop hurting. But, it will get my head straight.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The Rail Runner is getting set to start up again. I think I’ll wait a while before climbing aboard, thanks all the same.

      I would like to take a long train ride, though. California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Pacific Surfliner, Southwest Chief. … choo choo cha-boogie.

      Say howdy to Andy and Liz for us. I was just re-reading “Blue Highways” and enjoying William Least Heat Moon’s take on Corvallis, where I lived in the early Eighties. Man, was he ever spot on. I have been a confirmed desert rat ever since.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      The Sunset Limited stops at Benson about 30 miles North of here. You can see I-10 from the little station. We catch the train early afternoon and get to San Antonio the next morning about 10 AM. Hang out there two nights, sampling the River Walk, Alamo, Alamo music store, city plaza, and some live music. Then back to Benson. Two nights on the train. Getting a roomette or room includes all meals. Sound like a good time for me. Might even have to buy a GS-Mini to take along. Stimulus money is to stimulate the economy, right? Might as well stimulate a US company like Taylor that also employs people in good paying jobs in Mexico and California.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        That does sound like a good time. I know we have some Texicans in the audience … we need to poll ’em about things to do while in San Antone. My experience (1962-67) is a wee bit dated.

  4. SAO' Says:

    Scheduled my first shot through the VA. They told me my location options were 50 miles this way or 50 miles that way. That afternoon, I get the monthly newsletter, says the clinic down the street. has been converted to a NOCO VA vaccine super-center. So, apparently I’m not sufficiently super to qualify for super-center service. Tell me something i didn’t already know.

    Lots of food for thought in the latest pod. We’re about to “celebrate” a year of confinement, and I’m afraid too many will celebrate by going out and catching the latest variant.

    My kids are losing it. Virtual school for 12 months, no play dates w/o dad out there screaming “ten feet!” every five seconds. Emotionally, they weren’t dealt the best hand to start with. For half a dozen years, I’ve been chanting, “that which does not kill you makes you stronger.” But when you haven’t been born yet and your bio-mom decides to do coke and meth, and smoke dope the rest of the time, I’m not sure that’s what Freddy Boy had in mind. I’m genuinely afraid that we’ve done some irreparable damage this year. And I can’t imagine what it’s like if you don’t have access to tele-health. Their weekly therapy sessions are (fortunately and unfortunately) the highlights of their week.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I get it. I’m a nomad at heart. If I hadn’t stumbled into marriage I would never have owned one house, much less more than one, and I would have continued moving from one gig to another like a hobo hopping a freight until I finally fell off one and got run over. I want to be out there, moving around, seeing what’s what like a dog off the leash.

      But having a lifetime of stupid shit under my belt I really don’t need to acquire any more “hold my beer and watch this” tales. Maybe 30 years of marriage and a few long-haul interactions with neighbors have made me a wee bit less self-centered? I dunno.

      I do know that this has to be hard on kids. I mean, shit, who needs to learn at 5 years of age that there are Bugs out there who are not bunnies? Or be denied the joys and terrors of interacting with one’s peers? Other kids will teach you quite a bit — they did me, anyway — and some of it comes in handy when you’re a doddering old graybeard screeching into the Innertubes like some zoo rescue owl with a closed head injury.

      We have five kids we see regularly in the cul-de-sac, three minded by their grandparents and two by their parents. None of the adults is certain that things are going well in this bastardized educational “system” that’s been established. The kids seem pretty OK to me, but I only get to see their public faces, and not very often.

      • SAO' Says:

        Seen some weird shit this year. The kids are on Zoom/MSTeams all day, and they’ll change their availability status to “probably dead behind the comics rack at the 7-11.” Lots of emo stuff that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow if it was a 10th grader but is way out of place for 3rd.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Whoo, that is weird. The upside of the Innertubes is you can be whatever you want. The downside of the Innertubes is you can be whatever you want.

        In Meatworld, sooner or later you have to cop to who you really are, either voluntarily or through compulsion. It’s hard to make diamonds without compression.

      • Dale Says:

        I have a feeling that most kids will come out of this alright.

        Don’t ask me how, but I went through elementary school when a screw-up bought you a slap across the face. A third screw-up bought you a long conversation from the school board’s truant officer/enforcer (and another slap across the face); and that talk was primarily about how the cops would take you from your parents and put you in reform school.

        I didn’t reform too much, but I never went to reform school either, but I did get better and smarter at being bad.

        • SAO' Says:

          I think the military is a good analogy. We do the best we can with recruiting, and we still get the occasional Lee Harvey, McVeigh, DC Sniper. Then you get into Forever Wars™️ and you gut enlistment standards (because everyone wants to join the Air Force instead of the Army), and next generation, you got 20%+ of the Jan 6th terrorists having military connections.

          No matter how well we address the situation, some kids are going to slip through the cracks. But if the number used to be one in a billion, and now it’s one in a million, and you multiply it times 330M of us, somewhere along the line you go from SNAFU to crisis.

          When it comes to social sciences, there are a lot of things that aren’t linear or exponential, they are threshold functions. Everything is fine until it hits a certain level, and then it explodes.

  5. khal spencer Says:

    I’m watching the sun work its way towards the NW in the back yard. And being stuck…

  6. debby511 Says:

    A timely posting, PO’G. Here in CO the vaccine is mighty scarce and the gov keeping shuffling the priority groups around. They just jerked the rug out from a couple of groups today, telling them they will have to wait a few more weeks.

    My age group, 60 – 69, is eligible starting this Friday and I successfully booked an appt this morning to take the jab on Friday. Will it really happen? I’m not going to bet my SS check on it, but right now it looks promising. My date with the needle is only three days away.

    And I have a birthday this month too. HBD to both of us!

    • SAO' Says:

      I’m going to strap-hang off your HBD wish and then boomerang it back atcha! Hope everyone can find some good cheer with this year.

      March birthdays, of course, require you to wear green all month, or else the wee sprites will getcha.

    • SAO' Says:

      What’s up with Colorado? We have one of the most educated populations in the US, and our guv is a pointy-headed MBA type who never met a spreadsheet he didn’t like. But I can never remember if we’re in Phase 2-Alpha-Orange-Omaha or Zulu-Prime-3.0.

      My school district kept it simple with four phases, 1-4. Two weeks later, they announce we’re in 3.B-hybrid.

      And my county totally doesn’t understand why the CDC uses 7 day averages and is constantly making up their own categories. Rolling 30 day average of prime number days that end in a Y?

      • debby511 Says:

        Yeah, it’s mind-numbing to say the least. I’m just hoping my Friday appt goes as scheduled.

        So there are at least three of us here who are March Babies? I’d better revise my earlier statement and wish HBD to all of us!

        • Shawn Says:

          Yep. Another March rugrat here. It’s such a fine time to emerge into the maelstrom. Days are growing longer and things are turning green.

          Here’s to all hoping that your syringes are pointed in the right direction and on the right days.

          I respectfully acknowledge that when I took my elder Ma in to get her first Moderna in mid-February, while she was in the penalty box for her mandated 15 minute post-injection observation, they inquired with me about whether I was her in-home caregiver. I indicated that I was and they asked if I also wished to be vaccinated. After confirming that there was sufficient vaccine and I was not taking that from another more qualified individual, I offered my arm and went screaming and hollering to the shot station. We are scheduled for round 2 around the middle of this month. When I hear and read about many others having difficulty around the country arranging and receiving their shots, I am very saddened.

          • SAO' Says:

            // Here’s to all hoping that
            // your syringes are pointed
            // in the right direction
            // and on the right days.

            I’m totally stealing that.

        • Pat O’Brien Says:

          Shawn, that happens, and it is righteous that you got the jab. When we went to our county health department vaccination site, which was appointment only based on state health department registration data, there were some no shows. I assume if doses were available towards the end of the day they did the same thing and good on ‘em. This is about no wasted vaccine and saving lives.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Shawn, I think caregivers should get a front-row seat. When Herself and I were live-in caretakers for my mom I wanted a shot in the worst way. Of tequila. Like, every 15 minutes when I was awake and every half hour thereafter.

          Sure, who gets what when can seem a little random, some of it due to perishability of vaccine, some of it due to human nature. Ain’t that just the way she goes? Like the rest of Life Its Ownself.

          A local scribe got a call (and a shot) seemingly out of the blue. She discusses survivor’s guilt, the anger of the unvaccinated, and the antivaxxers who don’t want any part of it at any time.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Herself is also a March baby, as is my burro-racing buddy Hal Walter.

        • khal spencer Says:

          Around the end of the month, right? Then you catch up with me.

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            Yup yup yup. Herself is mid-month, and Hal and I bring up the rear. I’m never very excited about birthdays in general, and I’m having a really hard time getting wound up for another one in Year Two of the Pale Horseman. Glad to be around to see it, of course, but it feels a bit unseemly to dance in the end zone.

          • Pat O’Brien Says:

            Nah, celebrate them Patrick. Go down and get some of your favorite beer from Dale’s place and something special for Shannon. Order takeout from your favorite restaurant and have a great evening. Got some double bubble friends? Share it with them. Revel in it. Watch your very favorite movie. Run around the cul-de-sac yelling “I’m alive!” Your neighbors probably suspect you are a few bricks shy of a full load, so show them they’re right! Give those kids around you a story to tell their kids.

  7. Dale Says:

    On another note Bunny Wailer died.

    https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/mar/02/bunny-wailer-last-surviving-founder-member-of-the-wailers-dies-aged-73

  8. SAO' Says:

    Anyone catch any of this?

    https://bikeleague.org/content/secretary-buttigieg-join-bikesummit21-bike-side-chat-wednesday

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