Archive for the ‘Capitalist swine’ Category

Rock ’n’ roll

December 31, 2022

Your Humble Narrator on the job in 2015. …

I’ve done a number of questionable things for money, but the only one with any staying power was journalism.

Earning power? Well … not so much. Especially after I left the newspaper to hang out my own shingle back in 1991.

Still, like crucifixion, it gets you out in the open air. Here’s your rock, there’s your hill, what’s your hurry?

I finally left that rock at the bottom of the hill about this time last year, and I can’t say I miss rolling it. Both rock and hill had shrunk over the years. But so had the pay. And the people who owned the hill at any given moment still seemed to think they were doing you a favor by letting you roll that rock.

“Well rolled indeed!” they’d exclaim as you reached the summit, gasping for air. “Sign here. And here. And here. And here. Yes, payment 30 days after publication as specified in the contract. Did we mention we’ve rewritten the contract? No? Well, we have, in Cretan Linear B this time, and I’m afraid we can’t cut you a check until you’ve scrawled your X on that old bottom line.

“Oh, dear, rock’s rolled down the bloody hill again. Be a dear and fetch it, won’t you? And do have your attorney or shaman or whomever look over that contract. Ta.”

Lacking professional support I eyeballed that contract myself and came away thinking the rock looked pretty good right where it was. It still does.

Doesn’t mean I’ve quit rolling rocks altogether, of course.

… and off it, as 2022 limps to a long-overdue finale.

Many years ago, between paying trips up and down the hill, I acquired my own tiny mound on the Innertubes and in my spare time nudged the odd pebble up its gentle slope. Strictly for giggles, mind you; if I were to charge admission it would feel like work.

I think I started blogging on AOL in the mid- to late Nineties; for sure I was doing my own self-hosted thing on a succession of small-time ISPs by 1999. The Wayback Machine has a capture from December 2000 that shows a visitor counter which started tallying the rubes a year earlier.

So, yeah. I’ve been at it for a few years, and I’m not giving it up. Not this year, and not next, Dog willing and the crick don’t rise. The bells and whistles come and go — the cartoons, the videos, the podcasting — but the blogging remains.

Who knows? It may just be The Next Big Thing.

But even if it isn’t, my thanks to all of yis who have gathered upon the hill — and who keep gathering, against your better judgment — to watch Your Humble Narrator perform his one-man, dinner-theater production of “Bowling with Sisyphus.”

I know, it’s only rock ’n’ roll. But I like it.

McShrooms

October 25, 2022

Roll another one. …

The Suits have come for your ’shrooms.

Jesus H. Don Juan and St. Castaneda preserve us! Is nothing sacred? Is there anything global capitalism will not besmirch with its grabby little hands?

Coming soon to a strip mall near you: a chain trippery called Mescalito’s. Try the gluten-free non-GMO vegan Peyote Burger with a side of Zoom ’Shrooms and a Cabron Lite® CBD lager!

Sorry, we haven’t had a drive-through window since a VW van full of hippies got caught in an M.C. Escher-King Crimson feedback loop at our Taos location and wound up circling the joint like hairy zopilotes until they ran out of gas.

So much for being a Trippist monk, growing your own revelations.

Oh, well. I guess even Mother Church has to buy the wafers and wine from someone.

In other news that makes you wonder who’s taking what:

• What’s this shit? The state of California has slammed the lid on San Francisco’s plans for a $1.7 million public toilet in Noe Valley. Is that a steep price for a one-holer? Does the pope shit in the woods? Noe thank you, please. Apparently there are some crappers down which not even California will flush the taxpayers’ dollars.

• Holy shit! Is Pootie-poot really contemplating a false-flag “dirty bomb” attack that would justify his use of nuclear weapons to pull his nicely roasted lil’ chestnuts out of the fire in Ukraine? If we’re going headfirst down that glow-in-the-dark loo, I’m gonna need some ’shrooms, stat.

Shoes for industry

October 23, 2022

The shoes say “Yes, yes, yes,” but the cold feet say “No.”

My old copy-desk comrade Hal Walter and I have a habit of carpet-bombing each other in the morning with news items hot off the digital press, guaranteed to elevate the heart rate.

This morning he hit me with a grim item about a cyclist bludgeoned to death by Florida Man, observing, “Cyclists piss people off for some reason.”

I fired back with some AAA advice for driving in winter weather, since Hal has to take his son Harrison up to Leadville today and snow is in the forecast.

Next, since the lads were doing a 14-mile run before leaving Weirdcliffe, I doubled down with a running mag’s top-10 tips for legging it in the cold — guidance that seemed heavy on the buying of various items.

And finally, for the coup de grâce, I tacked on a hastily freestyled top-10 list of my own, possibly because the wind was blowing about 666 mph here in The Duck! City and the going outside seemed contraindicated. Also, I may have been slightly overcaffeinated.

Dr. DogByte Sez: “Run Right Out and Buy Some Shit!”

Tip No. 1: Buy shit.

Tip No. 2: Buy more shit.

Tip No. 3: You know you can’t be happy without buying shit, so buy some more shit.

Tip No. 4: Buy some shit, then run around the corner to the coffee shop and buy some more shit there.

Tip No. 5: Buy some shit, then step outside, mumble, “Fuck me, it’s cold out here. I should really go back inside and buy some more shit.”

Tip No. 6: Buy some shit for your squeeze. Maybe your squeeze will then buy some shit for you, or even suggest taking your exercise indoors and under the covers, where it’s warm.

Tip No. 7: No, probably not. In fact, she’s out running. So while the cat’s away, you might as well just buy some shit for yourself.

Tip No. 8: Now that you’ve got the carpal tunnel from buying shit, you should probably schedule an appointment with a physical therapist. Which is kind of like buying shit, except you can’t brag about it while showing it to your friends.

Tip No. 9: So fuck that shit. You’d have to go outside, if only to get in the car. Better stay inside and buy some more shit, using your good hand.

Tip No. 10: That knock on the door? Not UPS. Collection agency. Looks like it’s time to run after all. If you don’t have a back door use a window. Think of it as parkour. We’ll have some tips for that if you make it back. With a viable credit card, of course.

When will it be Labor Day?

September 5, 2022

The late, great Gahan Wilson.

We never hear of Capital Day, not because Capital has no day, but because every day is Capital Day. The struggle in which we are now engaged will end only when every day is Labor Day.Eugene V. Debs, Labor Day 1903

It’s still Capital Day. For now, anyway.

At The Guardian, Douglas Rushkoff recounts his chat with a secretive group of super-wealthy dudes “preparing for a digital future that had less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether.”

In short, they’ve grown tired of our sniveling about their shitting in our shared sandbox and wonder whether they might be able to dispense with us altogether.

Writes Rushkoff, a self-described humanist and Marxist media theorist who writes about the impact of digital technology on our lives:

Their extreme wealth and privilege served only to make them obsessed with insulating themselves from the very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is about only one thing: escape from the rest of us.

One of the capitalists’ main concerns centered on how to control their security people after The Event — “their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, solar storm, unstoppable virus, or malicious computer hack that takes everything down.”

Yep, that could be risky. A SEAL might grow weary of barking for fish from the plump, well-manicured pinkies of a plutocrat. How to get away from it all when you need to take a few of “them” with you?

What happens when Labor Day finally comes around for real?

R.I.P., Barbara Ehrenreich

September 2, 2022

She took what they were giving ’cause she was working for a living.

Barbara Ehrenreich, the journalist, activist, and author who never lost touch with her working-class roots, has clocked out. She was 81.

Her New York Times obit draws from the introduction to “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America,” in which she recounts wondering with a magazine editor how the unskilled survive on the wages paid them and then blurting out something that she “had many opportunities to regret: ‘Someone ought to do the old-fashioned kind of journalism — you know, go out there and try it for themselves.'”

Which is exactly what Ehrenreich did, of course, working and living as a waitress, hotel maid, nursing-home aide, and Walmart “associate,” among other things. Then she came back and told us all about it.

And though she would be writing it up, she wasn’t phoning it in:

People knew me as a waitress, a cleaning person, a nursing home aide, or a retail clerk not because I acted like one but because that’s what I was, at least for the time I was with them. In every job, in every place I lived, the work absorbed all my energy and much of my intellect. I wasn’t kidding around. Even though I suspected from the start that the mathematics of wages and rents were working against me, I made a mighty effort to succeed.

She was not, and is not, alone. And in her Evaluation at the end of the book, Ehrenreich proposed that those of us who live in comfort while others barely scrape by should feel not just guilt, but shame.

When someone works for less pay than she can live on — when, for example, she goes hungry so that you can eat more cheaply and conveniently — then she has made a great sacrifice for you, she has made you a gift of some part of her abilities, her health, and her life.

What a gift was Ehrenreich’s life. Peace unto her, her family, friends, and readers.

One step beyond

August 31, 2022

Your money’s no good here, and neither is anything else.

Mikhail Gorbachev has died and gone to Commie Hell, which looks a lot like Walmart.

Capitalist Hell, of course, looks more like Bed Bath & Beyond.

If I cared to visit a BB&B, which I do not, I could wander right on in with my face hanging out as in days of yore, and not just because there would be no other customers (and possibly no employees).

No, it seems that overnight Bernalillo County has switched from Condition Red on the Bug-O-Meter to Go-Anywhere Green, for reasons which elude me.

Oh, wait, just thought of one: The Labor Day Drive Far and Spend Heavily While the Gas is Still Cheap(ish) Holiday Extravaganza. Get out there and buy something, you sissies!

I suppose it beats hanging out in the castle with Prospero, waiting for the Red Death to come knocking despite the “No Solicitors” sign on the door.

And if worse came to worst one could always bunker up in a Bed Bath & Beyond, which has to be the closest thing to a sterile environment outside the Wildfire lab near Flatrock, Nevada.

But still, it all seems a bit one step beyond. Madness!

Outside+ looking in

May 20, 2022

Ask not for whom the bike bell tolls.

Ring-a-ding-ding, bitches.

It was never a question of if, but of when. The Greater Outside+ Globe-Spanning Vertically Integrated Silo O’ Sports & Fitness, LLC, has begun excreting magazines and scribes, because that’s what vulture capitalists do: Gobble and shit, gobble and shit.

I knew my time was up last year when I saw the thousand-pound sack of boilerplate contract Outside’s drones expected me to sign if I cared to keep drawing funnies for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

After a quick semantic analysis boiled their bullshit down to its smoky essence — “All hope abandon, ye who enter here!” — I trimmed it to a few salient grafs that cut straight to the chase, sent them off, and never heard another peep.

Not long afterward, I retired.

Now, the folks who stuck around and did the work are getting the old heave and also the ho. Talented types like Ben Delaney and Nicole Formosa, to name just two. It’s basically v2.0 of Competitor Group Inc., which gave Charles Pelkey and John Wilcockson the bum’s rush Back in the Day®. Same old guillotine, just different heads and an Outside Gear Box instead of the usual basket.

I can’t speak to the quality of the publications that lost staffers or are going dark entirely. I don’t read them. My subscription dollars are spent elsewhere.

But if these pubs aren’t profitable, I’m guessing it’s probably not Ben’s fault, or Nicole’s. Might have something to do with an overabundance of supernumeraries who don’t write, edit, shoot, sketch, or sell.

If I were showing people the door in an effort to save money I might start with anyone who uses the bloodless words “product” and “content” to describe “stories” and “photographs.” There’s always work for people who think everything is a commodity, including their souls.

All aTwitter

April 26, 2022

My final tweet, from New Year’s Eve 2017. Didn’t cost me shit.

OK, pop quiz. if you had $44 billion lying around doing not very much you would:

  1. Feed the hungry.
  2. House the homeless.
  3. Buy Twitter.

I guess I get it, kinda, sorta. I mean, I like toys. I just bought a canister stove for my occasional camping adventures; MSR said they didn’t have the bits to modernize my Bronze Age RapidFire, then offered me 30 percent off on a new burner. So, ’ray for MSR and for me.

But Twitter? Maybe Elon has the bits to fix that hot mess, and maybe he doesn’t. He can certainly throw bales of cash at it until he tears a rotator cuff or finds some other shiny object to money-whip until boredom sets in once again.

Me, I don’t even want to use Twitter for free.

Oh, rats

February 20, 2022

A college friend embroidered Robert Armstrong’s Mickey Rat
on the back of a white Levi’s shirt for me in the early Seventies.
I’m surprised Disney didn’t have us killed.

I don’t suppose this story will suppress America’s boundless appetite for cheap shit, but … how many decayed rats do you get for a buck, anyway?

Look for the union label

January 5, 2022

One big … union?

Hee, and also haw. This just in: Outside‘s editorial staff wants to unionize.

“Since the start of @outsidemagazine almost 45 years ago, we’ve been providing intrepid coverage of those who dare to push the limits of what we think is possible. So today, we are proud to announce that the Outside magazine editorial staff is forming a union,” 15 of 17 eligible Outside workers wrote in a tweet, according to the NewsGuild-Communication Workers of America.

You won't find this item in the Outside+ catalog.

You won’t find this item in the Outside+ catalog.

They will become part of the Denver News Guild Local 37074.

The Outside crew is asking Outside Inc. to voluntarily recognize their unit, according to NewsGuild-CWA. Yeah, good luck with that. You fuckin’ aroun’ in Robin’s ’hood, son.

Frankly, I can’t see that the Guild has had much luck over the years when it comes to saving the scribblers at the Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post, or The Pueblo Chieftain from a vicious diddling at the plump, manicured hands of the robber barons.

Personally, I would’ve signed with the International Workers of the World. At least the Wobblies get to sing.

Still, up the rebels and all that. Damn the Man, full speed ahead!