Archive for the ‘Comrades’ Category

‘Are you employed, sir?’

August 26, 2022

The late, great David Huddleston as The Big Lebowski.

Employed, sir? No, I was not, despite my prestigious cowtown B.A. in journalism with a minor in political science.

And had my parents been foolish enough to borrow money to put me through college(s) — funds that were largely pounded down a noisome rathole of booze, drugs, rock ’n’ roll, cartooning, and Communism — they would’ve rejoiced to see any amount of the hellish debt forgiven and immediately invested a portion of the windfall on having me quietly killed.

Especially after they saw the homemade “colors” my bro’ Mike “Mombo” Brangoccio and I were sporting on the back of our graduation gowns:

“Mombo Club: Born To Pump Gas.”

Ay, Chihuahua. These kids today. Yesterday. Whatevs.

Your Humble Narrator, circa 1977.

Our mob flew two banners. The Mombo Club mostly free-ranged around Greeley, where we infested the University of Northern Colorado like hairy roaches. El Rancho Delux was rooted in a ramshackle house with an overloaded septic system on what must’ve been the last surviving chunk of rural land in Glendale, a stoner’s throw from the Bull & Bush, Shotgun Willie’s, and the Riviera Lounge, whose “credit manager,” Adolf Scarf, was a piranha sulking in a tank behind the bar.

But the less said about our fraternal organizations the better. I don’t know how (or if) my co-conspirators paid for their educations, but several of our Little Urban Achievers have become respectable members of their communities, and certain statutes of limitations may have yet to run their course.

A tad unfocused, not unlike the graduates.

As for me, my long-suffering parents paid for my schooling, such as it was. When I transferred to UNC they even bought me a used singlewide trailer to live in, no doubt thinking I’d need to get used to such accommodations.

I did have to raise funds for incidentals. Thus I sold drugs, drew cartoons for my college papers, delivered appliances with “Star Trek” addict Ed the Beard in a Step van dubbed “The Hawkwind,” and (with Mombo) did odd jobs for a posh trouser stain who motored around town in a right-hand-drive Bentley.

All I invested in my degree was time and a few jillion brain cells. Not even the president can get those back for me.

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!

LUG rides again!

May 14, 2020

Remember this guy? He’s gonna be on Zoom and ESPN.
And here I always thought he had a radio face, too.

This time around, the acronym stands for “Legislative Update Guy,” and the live updates will include a video component.

No, not old “Monty Python” clips. Go and boil your bottoms, sons of a silly person.

My old Live Update Guy comrade Charles Pelkey and his fellow Wyoming state legislators will be participating in a special session via Zoom beginning Friday. And yes, we can watch. And without having to drop any of our DonnyDollars® into the Tip Jar!

Bonus! Winning! So. Much. Winning.

Charles rang me up last night to wish us a belated happy wedding anniversary and we spent a few minutes catching up. In addition to attending virtual special sessions of the leg’, he’s continuing to practice law, and while he’s not exactly burning up Wyoming’s roads on the old two-wheeler these days, he is finding time to do a bit of walking.

He’s also appearing in the latest HWSNBN documentary, “Lance,” as you can see from the screen grab above, which I liberated from the trailer.

Filmmaker Marina Zenovich has directed works on Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, and Roman Polanski. I don’t believe I’ve seen any of them, and I don’t believe I’ll be seeing this one either, having exactly zero interest in the latest version of Ol’ Whatsisface’s “truth.”

But it was cool to get a live update from an old pal.

Masque of the Red … Revolution?

May 7, 2020

¡Viva la huelga!

I’ve been wondering when someone in the mainstream media would write something about the potential for increasing union membership and labor strength in the Year(s) of the Plague.

Here’s a start. It’s short, focused largely on the so-called “gig economy,” and written before a Washington Post-Ipsos poll that indicates some laid-off and furloughed workers may be overly optimistic about whether they will be able to return to their old jobs.

How does an activist pitch a union to a worker with no job? Is a patchwork of small, decentralized, tightly focused labor organizations preferable to One Big Union? Are people ready to rethink their notions of who is an “essential” worker? Will stock clerks trump stockholders?

Nick French at Jacobin gives us a look at the protests that arose shortly after the Great Depression took hold. He argues that radical groups, among them the Thirties-vintage Communist Party, forged a bond of solidarity between the jobless and those still working that helped make FDR’s New Deal possible.

The conditions are different today, he concedes. But the public-health issue may give workers more leverage this time around. Writes French:

By forcing sick people to come to work, or by unnecessarily exposing people to coworkers or customers who might be infected, employers are hastening the spread of the coronavirus and putting everyone at risk. This means that all workers, employed or unemployed, have a common interest in these workers winning their demands.

Boy howdy. Dead broke is bad enough. I hear dead is worse.

• Addendum: As white-collar types join workers from the restaurant, travel, hospitality, and retail industries on the sidelines, experts say there’s no way to calculate how many jobs might come back as states consider lifting shelter-in-place rules. according to The New York Times.

Many businesses, particularly small ones, may not survive, while others are likely to operate with reduced hours and staff. The job search site Indeed reports that postings are down nearly 40 percent from a year ago.

“We don’t know what normal is going to look like,” said Martha Gimbel, an economist and a labor market expert at Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative.

• Addendum the Second: How should unions organize? From The Nation.

• Addendum the Third: Comrades, identities, and attachments. Also from The Nation.

Comrades, come rally. …

May 1, 2020

… whilst observing the proper socialist distancing, of course.

• Labor Day demonstrations reimagined worldwide.

• Virtual May Day rally, live on Vimeo.

• Amazon, Instacart, Shipt workers plan walkouts.

• Thousands of Americans expected to join rent strike.

Tour de Fence

July 7, 2019

The Sandias as seen from the bottom of Elena, near the casino.

My invitation to Le Tour having gone missing in the mail, I’ve been compelled to ride my own damn bikes around and about in the Duke City.

The high side of the circuit, before dropping down to casino country and then climbing back up.

Between outings I’ve checked in with my old Live Update Guy comrade Charles Pelkey, who is sending his daughter Annika off to Iowa today. She’ll be working for Mayor Pete. No word yet on which horse Chazbo is backing.

In other news, my man Casey B. Gibson did a little surprise gallery for that Boulder-based journal of competitive whatever whose name eludes me. Seems they needed pix from road nats in Tennessee, Casey had them, and that, as they say, was that. Money even changed hands, which is always nice when one is on the job.

Another member of the tribe, Andrew Hood, is the only one of us actually on the scene in France. It being a slow day (team time trial) I joggled his elbow for old times’ sake to see what’s what. No reply yet, because The Hoodlum is a total pro — on the clock, doing the beez-a-neez, and probably not even into the rosé yet.

Meanwhile, The Guardian is doing a live update this year, and it’s not half bad. They’re kicking the shit out of Cyclingnews. I may have to pass them a few of the millions I’ve banked from my stints at Live Update Guy.

Full Lycra Jacket

May 20, 2019

Souvenirs of the 2019 Santa Fe Century. I should’ve gotten 666 for a bib number, but the organization has apparently forgotten about me.

The dozens of balloons dotting the western sky looked like fat exclamation points, the kind that nmroads.com uses for traffic alerts, as I swooped down Tramway toward Interstate 25 and the Santa Fe Century.

It was too bloody early, the weather was screwy, and I had no idea what I’d need in the way of kit to do a rolling 50-miler south of the City Different. So I brought everything, and in some cases two of everything.

And as usual, I chose unwisely.

In my defense, the menu was extensive. Short-sleeve and long-sleeve jerseys. Bib shorts and bib knickers. Tights. Leg warmers (two pair). Arm warmers (likewise). Knee warmers. Low-rise and high-rise socks. Full-finger and short-finger gloves. Bandana and tuque. Even a light jacket, the need for which often causes me to leave the jacket hanging in the closet and the bike in the garage while I skulk about the house, muttering to myself around mouthfuls of this and that.

Decisions, decisions.

In the end, when I linked up with Khal, Pat and Andy at the start-finish, they were all wearing jackets. Uh oh. It being far too late for me to stay indoors and eat everything, I likewise pulled on a jacket, along with bib shorts, leg warmers, high-rise socks, long-sleeve under-jersey, and short-sleeve Mad Dog Media jersey, dragging a pair of arm warmers over the under-jersey’s sleeves because (a) they give you that two long-sleeve-jerseys’ worth of warmth, and (2) they are a lot easier to pull off and stuff in a pocket than an actual long-sleeve jersey.

I started with the tuque and full-finger gloves because I hate cold ears and hands the way Darth Cheeto hates anyone who doesn’t have his butt on their breath, but carried the bandana and short-finger gloves just in case it warmed up.

Which it did. And in short order I filled up my jersey pockets with jacket, arm warmers and full-finger gloves. I’d have stuffed the tuque and leg warmers in there too, but the trunk was full. So nobody got to see my black Evil socks, white calves, and commie-red bandana. Shoulda done knickers, short sleeves, arm warmers and headrag. But as you know, I will never be smart.

One Mad Dog deserves another. Photo: Khal S.

The ride itself, you ask? I’d call it an unqualified success. The wind wasn’t really a bother until the very end. The roads were in much better condition than I recall from my glory days pounding out the kilometers with the Sangre de Cristo Cycling Club. And, unlike some of our fellow cyclists, we suffered no punctures, mechanicals or painful get-offs.

For my money, when all was said and done, Andy and Pat took the top two steps on the podium. Andy and his wife, Liz, flew from the flats of Florida to southern Arizona to meet up with Pat and his wife, Sandy, and then the four of them drove the 500 miles from Sierra Vista to Santa Fe — the day before the lads were to tackle a 50-miler at altitude with 2,485 feet of elevation gain.

Oof.

Khal gets the bronze for eating the lion’s share of the wind out there, along with a few kilos of PB&J. He scored bonus points for getting a post-ride blog post up most ricky-tick, and for snapping a photo of me when I yelled, “Hey!”, pulled off the road just before Lamy Hill, and pointed to the Maddog Drive sign.

And a note for anyone planning to race the Iron Horse on Saturday? I’d bring the jacket. Just sayin’.