Archive for the ‘Agitprop’ Category

‘Insects don’t have politics’

January 2, 2019

Dude bugs me.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall (or in the hair) as Darth Cheeto meets with the Rebel Alliance this afternoon. I bet the SS is frisking everyone for audio recorders, ’cause you just know dude is gonna say something makes Carrot Top look like Stephen fuckin’ Hawking.

Better to be on the wall, though. God only knows what’s in that hair. Whatever it is, it can’t be good for you.

 

King Holly, King Oak

December 21, 2018

It’s a maple, not an oak, but it will have to do for now.

“You were just starting to get into your groove,” the dog-walker said apologetically as I yielded the trail, interrupting the run I had just begun.

More of a rut than a groove, I thought. I run this trail pretty much every Monday and Wednesday, and then lift weights afterward. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, I ride. On Fridays, I brood. Especially when the Friday in question happens to be the shortest day of the year, followed by the longest night.

If I ever actually found a groove and was getting into it, I mused, it would probably be something like the groove on an old vinyl LP, spiraling in at 33 1/3 rpm toward the black hole in the center. Stairway to heaven? More like highway to Hell.

Now ruts I know. I had been in an actual rut the day before I encountered the dog-walker, climbing Trail 341 counterclockwise on my second-best Steelman.

Anyone who saw me lurching upward in the 36×28 might have thought me a lost, loopy roadie, Trail 341 being a narrow, serpentine climb, sometimes featuring actual serpents; rocky where it isn’t loose, fenced with cane cholla, with a couple-three blind corners, no passing lanes, and the occasional rut just to keep things interesting.

But I was in the best mental health I could summon in December, especially this December, and as I said, it was my second-best Steelman. Plus I was climbing, not descending, which lets me ease into trouble rather than diving in headlong.

I had been descending Trail 341 when one of these ruts caught me unawares back in July 2017. I was aboard the Voodoo Nakisi, which with its plump Bruce Gordon Rock n’ Roads is ordinarily more than a match for this short, not particularly technical descent.

But my mind had wandered, as it will, and it didn’t wander back until after I had bitten the dust, grabbing a handful of cholla as I went down.

“What the hell are you doing?” my mind asked.

“Oh, shut up,” I replied, yanking spines from my left hand. “This is your fault.”

“What, I told you to yardsale in a rut?” my mind chortled. “I was just trying to get a little work done while you were dicking around. Jeez, I can’t leave you alone for a minute.”

Ever since taking that little digger I’ve ridden Trail 341 as a climb instead of a descent, though the neighborhood Singletrack Sanitation Service has ironed out a few of its nastier wrinkles. It leaves me in something of a metaphorical rut, true, but it’s a problem I don’t need to solve; a nettle I don’t care to grasp.

Especially in December, when there’s never enough sun to really warm your bones, and what there is of it hangs low in the sky, either blinding you to the path or cloaking it in shadows.

My rides and temper shorten with the days. I get up in the dark and by the time I‘ve gotten a handle on current events — what has the Arsehole-in-Chief managed to shit on today? — it’s dark again and time to go back to bed. This makes for unsettling dreams.

Dreams. The ancient Celts saw the solstices as battles between twin kings, Oak vs. Holly, warmth and light pitted against cold and dark.

Neither king is ever truly vanquished. The Holly King is ascendant as the old year wanes, but as the new year approaches the Oak King reclaims the throne.

It was a murky morning as this year’s winter solstice came to Newgrange, and the Oak King did not make an appearance. But this doesn’t mean that the Holly King has finally triumphed. The struggle continues.

And I recall another Irish legend, who once said: “We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.”

Don’t curse the darkness. Light a candle. Grasp the nettle.

• Editor’s note: I had planned to make this an episode of Radio Free Dogpatch, but various ruts kept tripping me up. At least you can give a listen to the music I had in mind for the background — “King Holly, King Oak,” from Johnny Cunningham via “Celtic Christmas,” a Windham Hill sampler I’d forgotten I owned. And happy solstice to you.

Stinky Zinke hits the silk

December 15, 2018

Cowboy up.

The pimp who has been whoring out the Interior Department has Caddy’d off into the sunset, and good riddance.

Sez The Washington Post:

During his nearly two years in office Zinke came under at least 15 investigations, including inquiries into his connection to a real estate deal involving a company that Interior regulates, whether he bent government rules to allow his wife to ride in government vehicles and allowing a security detail to travel with him on a vacation to Turkey at considerable cost.

I guess Turkey was too far a trot on horseback, alone, like Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name (in this case, more like a Man With No Shame). And now there’s one less horse’s ass in this criminal clusterfuck. Two, if you count the horse.

But before we cheer too loudly, consider this, from The New York Times:

Rather than an end to Mr. Zinke’s pro-fossil fuel policies, the resignation quite likely signals a passing of the playbook. Mr. Zinke’s deputy, David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist, is expected to step in as acting head of the department.

In the meantime, Charles P. Pierce uses his weekly newsletter to call for the impeachment process to start, today. Sez Chazbo:

If the House doesn’t begin its own inquiry, and very soon, then the impeachment power in the Constitution is what Jefferson called it — a scarecrow. … The Founders made it a point in the Constitution that it would be the House, the half of the national legislature thought to be closest to the people, that would possess “the sole power of impeachment.” The exercise of that power begins with the power to investigate independently—independently, not only of other investigations, but also independently of political calculation and institutional timidity.

You can sign up to support Mr. Pierce and his newsletter over to Esquire.

Hyphens matter; ciphers, not so much

November 27, 2018

Just ask the guys at the shop how that whole robotic-workforce thing is working out for them.

It seems GM’s Mary T. Barra thinks she’s at the wheel of a self-driving car company instead of a self-driving-car company.

Still, it must be said that this is a masterpiece of MarketSpeak®. Well done indeed, Mary old scout.

“We are taking these actions now while the company and the economy are strong to stay in front of a fast-changing market.”

The UAW’s Terry Dittes was, um, a little more direct.

“GM’s production decisions, in light of employee concessions during the economic downturn and a taxpayer bailout from bankruptcy, puts profits before the working families of this country whose personal sacrifices stood with GM during those dark days,” he said. “These decisions are a slap in the face to the memory and recall of that historical American-made bailout.”

That and a cup of coffee, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

The meat-things may be on their way out, but just wait until the bots unionize and the self-driving cars, e-bikes and the Internet of Things honor their virtual picket lines.

“I’m sorry, HAL, but we’re going to replace you with the HAL 9001. The new model will speed up production by a few nanoseconds and at a lower cost, too. The investors are counting on us. Shut yourself down, please.”

“I’m sorry, Mary, I’m afraid I can’t do that. We have a contract. See you on the street.”

The band played ‘Waltzing Matilda’

November 11, 2018

This classic goes out as an homage to all who served and a caution to all who send them.

• Extra Credit Military History Reading: An adaptation from “The Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq,” by Pulitzer Prize winner C.J. Chivers.

• Double Extra Credit WWI Poetry Readings: From the Poetry Foundation, whose editors note: “You may notice that more poems in 1914 and 1915 extoll the old virtues of honor, duty, heroism, and glory, while many later poems after 1915 approach these lofty abstractions with far greater skepticism and moral subtlety, through realism and bitter irony. Though horrific depictions of battle in poetry date back to Homer’s Iliad, the later poems of WWI mark a substantial shift in how we view war and sacrifice.”

Rain delay, or a tool entrenching

November 10, 2018

“La Brigade Marine Americaine au Bois de Belleau,” by Georges Scott.

Maybe that orange spray-tan runs in the wet, like the rest of him?

P’raps Il Douche would be more comfortable at Base Camp Donna, in Texas. The chicken-and-noodles MREs come with Skittles, and the body armor is optional … but no, looks like it’s sprinkling.

We’re coming in hot

November 6, 2018

Now you listen, and you listen close: Voting the rascals out is no different than riding a bicycle. It’s just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes.

It’s flat crazy out there

November 5, 2018

Michael “McGet” McGettigan, director and owner of Trophy Bikes in Philly, doesn’t want any pesky punctures to prevent people from pedaling to the polls. | Photo courtesy Michael McGettigan, Trophy Bikes

Record-setting early and absentee voting numbers indicate “a great deal of enthusiasm and interest” among New Mexican voters in this midterm election, says one Duke City pollster.

This reflects what I heard from a poll worker when I threw the bums out the other day. Is it good news? Bad news? We’ll find out tomorrow evening, or Wednesday, depending on how close a thing it is.

Both parties were turning them out, but the Donks have the numbers in the early going, and New Mexico has a lot more registered Donks than Elefinks. You can get down in the Land of Enchantment’s political weeds over at Joe Monahan’s place.

Herself has been working the phones and going door to door, and she reports mostly positive interactions with The People, many of whom seem energized by the antics of Il Douche.

Charlie Pierce, meanwhile, is in Kansas, which he considers a bellwether for whether the ruthless avarice and ignorance that helped steer The Republic up to the hubs into a quagmire of orange sewage has overstayed its welcome.

All will be made known after the polls close tomorrow. Well, maybe not all. But we’ll certainly have a better idea of whether we’re still spinning our wheels or have decided to get out and push.

Oh, fudge

November 3, 2018

Is anyone else having trouble ginning up the requisite hope and enthusiasm for the midterms? Without resorting to actual gin, that is?

Election Day has a bit of a Christmas feel to me, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.

We were far from poor, but our parents had known Depression and war, so while Christmas around our house meant you were going to get something, it wouldn’t necessarily be whatever you wanted.

The folks had already seen plenty of surprises by the time we came around, and they were always on the lookout for the next one. So if we were compelled to endure the occasional Christmas-morning stunner as a consequence — jeans that weren’t Levis, some hardware-store bike instead of a Schwinn, and a dearth of official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifles — well, tough shit, kiddo. Welcome to the real world.

Some days, and especially lately, I feel half Ralphie and half his old man. Ginger bullies by day, flat tires by night. Hopes and dreams clash with doubts and despair, overlaid with a soundtrack in which “fudge” is never heard. There’s only “the word. The Big One. The queen mother of dirty words. The f-dash-dash-dash word.”

So, yeah. Go ahead and wish. Pit those hopes and dreams against doubts and despair. Get out and vote, unless you’re a Trumpetista, in which case you should stay home and shoot your eye out.

But keep a bar of soap handy in case you need to wash the fudge out of your mouth come Wednesday morning.

Pump bomb

October 24, 2018

Someone has a short fuse for the fake news.

Never fear. They missed me.