Archive for the ‘Deep political thought’ Category

Metro Monday

January 15, 2018

We have here some pictures of cute kitty-cats. …

A couple items no chamber of commerce likes to see cuddled up together on the front page:

“Tourism sector’s impact expanding.”

“2017 homicide total leads three-year spike.”

… because pictures of cute kitty-cats are proven to take the sting out of bad news. I read it on the Internet.

Headlines like these are among the reasons why I’m glad I don’t work in tourism or law enforcement. It must be a bitch, coaxing the rubes here for a visit only to mop them up later somewhere along the Mother Road.

It’s gonna be tough for the Duke City to become a “world-class community,” whatever the hell that is, if the locals keep croaking the visitors and everybody can read all about it in the daily blat.

Maybe the city can contract with Sandia National Labs to develop some sort of nuclear street sweeper, a disintegration beam to erase the corpus delicti before the scribes can tally a body count.

“Bob who?” replies the desk sergeant with a quizzical expression. “Nope, nobody by that name in the blotter. We haven’t had a homicide reported all year. Maybe he moseyed on through and up to Bibleburg. They’re killing ’em like crazy up there.”

I don’t know much about ART, but. …

January 11, 2018

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers never went electric, but they sure as shit knew their buses. Freak Bros. © forever by Gilbert Shelton

… I know what I don’t like.

Somebody — multiple somebodies, actually — has intercoursed the penguin in dramatic fashion as regards the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) project, which already had all the positive press of a buddy flick called “Hey, Look At My Dick!”, starring Louis C.K. and Harvey Weinstein, directed by Roman Polanski from a script by Woody Allen.

Seriously, how do you fuck up a nine-mile bus line? And the nine miles of retail that goes with it? That takes real talent. I expect these people to go far, and probably soon, too, before the angry mobs kick down their doors.

• Late update: And meanwhile, as expected here at the Duke City Chuckle Hut, the ACLU comes after Albuquerque for its thickheaded, ham-handed anti-panhandling ordinance. Defending this attempt to keep Those People away from the tony real estate is another budget item we could have done without.

Your Sunday swamp

January 7, 2018

I think the Alien is just about ready to pop out of Steve Bannon’s gut there at lower left. Either that or it’s some sort of handgun-flask combo.

Boy, the swamp, she’s draining now, hey?

So many geniuses. The best geniuses. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty sick of all this winning.

Recycled 6: The best of ‘Mad Dog Unleashed’ 2017

December 31, 2017

• Editor’s note: Since my Bicycle Retailer and Industry News column won’t survive into the New Year, I’ve decided to resurrect a half dozen of this year’s “Mad Dog Unleashed” screeds between now and then. This is the last jug in the sixer, but pulled from the middle of the pack, the June 1 issue.

His Lardship on the throne.

From the Dark Tower to the White House,
or ‘There and Back Again’

“I had a friend who was a clown. When he died, all his friends went to the funeral in one car.”—Steven Wright

By Patrick O’Grady

Forty-three years ago I was working for a daily newspaper, fretting in my journal about the deranged authoritarian in the White House, and riding my bike a ton with the goal of getting fit by summertime.

See, kids? It’s true—things do get better! For instance, I no longer work for a daily newspaper.

OK, so going one for three isn’t exactly crushing it after more than four decades.

At least I’m riding a better class of bike now.

There’s a Sam Hillborne parked in my office today. But even in 1974 I was a Rivendell kind of guy, though back then Rivendell was some elvish spa ginned up by J.R.R. Tolkien rather than a purveyor of the finest friction shifters, quill stems and rim brakes, lovingly hand-forged by ironically bearded dwarves in Middle-earth, California.

Then as now the bike was steel, a 10-speed Schwinn of low birth, a gift from my parents while I was still abusing high school and studying drugs.

It weighed about as much as I did when I was still on the swim team, before all that unruly hair fatally queered my aquadynamics. And I rode it on errands, to work, and for recreation, in street clothes—jeans, T-shirt, tennies—pretty much the same kit I wore everywhere save for the newsroom, where the standards were slightly higher than at the Tillerman Teahouse because I was paid $65 a week to be there.

If someone had told me I needed special garb before I could ride that beast for free, I’d have given them the old hee, and also the haw. Tight shorts with a pad that looks like something you’d use to wash a windshield? A plastic helmet? And special shoes?

G’wan, gedoudaheeah. What, I look like an elf or something?

I know it’s true; oh, so true. Seems there has always been some dark force crouched in a high place, up to no good, while I tried to scribble a ’toon, pound out the word count, or ride a bike.

Maybe that’s why I was so fond of fantasy. Comic books, science fiction, sword-and-sorcery—there’s a better world out there somewhere, if you can just get a grip on Anduril, the Batmobile or the USS Enterprise.

As Robert A. Heinlein’s Oscar Gordon put it in “Glory Road”:

“I wanted Prester John, and Excalibur held by a moonwhite arm out of a silent lake. I wanted to sail with Ulysses and with Tros of Samothrace and eat the lotus in a land that seemed always afternoon. I wanted the feeling of romance and the sense of wonder I had known as a kid. I wanted the world to be what they had promised me it was going to be—instead of the tawdry, lousy, fouled-up mess it is.”

‘Cause I saw it on TV. Back in ’74, when I was 19 going on 20, riding that Schwinn to the newspaper five afternoons a week, the main fantasy was that we dream-weavers were making a difference.

The Watergate hearings had been must-see TV, like “Star Trek” and “Kung Fu.” Capt. James T. Kirk and Kwai Chang Caine kicked much ass, but so did Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, along with Sam Ervin and Leon Jaworski.

And when Richard Nixon finally resigned the presidency, well, it was as though the One Ring had been unmade; “a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable, lightning-crowned, filling all the sky,” had been taken by a great wind, “and it was all blown away. …”

Talk about a five-o’clock Shadow. I don’t think any of us in that newsroom, watching Tricky Dick helicopter off to San Clemency, thought we’d ever see a bigger Shadow fall across the Republic.

We were wrong.

“Our long national nightmare is over,” said Gerald Ford.

He was wrong, too.

It wasn’t the Ring falling into Mount Doom and the undoing of Sauron the Great we had witnessed, but rather the tactical retreat of the Necromancer.

You can’t take your eye off this lot for a minute, much less four decades.

The return of the king. While we were all out riding our bikes, or doing our little bits of business, the Shadow was busy getting a Hollywood makeover.

A couple of beta models were released and recalled (“Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.” “Read my lips: No new taxes.” “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”). And the marketing got kicked up a notch (it sure helped when instead of just seven Palantír there were a bazillion of ’em).

And finally, like Pippin the hobbit, we got our brains scrambled good and dry by all that Palantír time and fell hook, line and sinker for a king, a cross between Sauron, Pennywise the Dancing Clown, and Biff Tannen from “Back to the Future.”

Now we have to gear down once more for that long climb up Mount Doom, which makes L’Alpe d’Huez look like a tall curb.

Maybe instead of dwelling on Middle-earth all those years we should have paid closer attention to Middle-america, as chronicled by Sinclair Lewis.

Who knew? Turns out it can happen here.

• Editor’s note v2.0: This column appeared in the June 1, 2017, issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. Starting tomorrow it’s back to business as unusual here at the DogHaus.

Singing up the sun

December 21, 2017

It’s not moonrise, and those are not pikes. But still.

Betimes I fear the Ó Grádaighs intercoursed the penguin when they fled County Clare for Americay.

Were we still on the auld sod we’d be kings, or druids, lighting bonfires, rubbing up against the mistletoe and singing up the dawn on solstice instead of watching helplessly as brigands, highwaymen and landlords make off with every salable item in the Republic.

Well, maybe not. We’d probably be on the dole, trading our excess offspring for drink and stealing the neighbors’ pigs.

Still, damme if I feel like singing up the dawn on this side of the pond this morning. ‘Tis only the rising of the moon will have me tuning up so.

No Moore, thanks

December 13, 2017

When I said “dusty,” I meant it. Actually, “powdery” might be more accurate. A popcorn fart has a higher moisture content than the local trails.

I had chores to do yesterday, and plenty of ’em, so I didn’t get out to ride until late in the day.

And that was fine. It was warmish (temps in the mid-50s), but with the sun low in the sky I thought I’d ride trail instead of road, so I pulled the Jones off its hook and kicked up a little dust over toward the Embudo dam.

Seems there was a dust-up of another sort altogether in Alabama. Short-Eyes the Preacher managed to screw the pooch instead of someone’s little girl and thus he will be free to “pursue other opportunities,” as the saying goes.

I’m sure there’s a dog show somewhere that could use a judge. As long as he promises to steer clear of the puppies, that is.

Nickel and dimed

December 3, 2017

Bare trees, gray light; oh yeah, it was a cold night.

We’ve a cold front moving in, dagnabit. The Lord must be punishing us for voting Democrat.

Well, never fear. The Republicans will keep us warm by rooting through our pockets, looking for spare change to lay on real-estate developers, oil and gas operators, multinational corporations, banks making payments to offshore subsidiaries, and religious schools.

You’ll recognize the headline as having been lifted from Barbara Ehrenreich’s 2001 book of the same name, which took an extended look at the millions of Americans slaving away full time for poverty-level dough.

Jessica Bruder has done something similar with “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century.” She follows a cadre of rootless neo-Joads, 21st-century tinkers and gypsies crisscrossing the country in their “wheel estates” — beater RVs, vans and cars that also serve as their homes — in search of grueling, low-paying jobs.

It’s a fascinating read about Americans who are literally struggling to make a go of it. “A man who couldn’t make things go right could at least go,” as William Least Heat-Moon wrote in “Blue Highways: A Journey Into America.”

And another quote about going: “There but for the grace of God go I.” Our “leaders” would be well served by a little more meditation on interdependence and a little less study of the Book of I’ve Got Mine, Get Yours.

Sausage party

December 2, 2017

More shit soufflé? Of course we accept food stamps. Ha! Just kidding!

When you send whores to church, you should not be surprised to find them turning tricks in the pews.

Charlie Pierce says this more eloquently, and at greater length. The incomprehensible and unread tax bill that cleared the Senate in the wee hours this morning was larded with “conservative fetish objects” and the process “shot through with a contempt for democracy,” because of course they were.

And after this infernal hound comes howling out of the conference committee, and King Donald the Short-fingered gives it his blessing, and it begins devouring everyone who chose his or her parents poorly, and the MAGApies find that their health bennies don’t cover Tegaderm for the ouchy rug burns on their knees and elbows, to say nothing of that famous “burning, itching sensation,” well, you may be certain of one thing:

They will blame the black guy and the woman, not The Turtle and the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver.

Abyss in ya

November 21, 2017

The high point of today’s outing, just below the Sandia Tram.

“And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”—Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, “Beyond Good and Evil”

Screw the abyss, I said, and went for a ride. And what a fine idea it was, too.

It was sunny and warmish out there, away from the Mac, and grew more so. I’m still reviewing the Fuji Touring Disc for Adventure Cyclist, and thus it’s the go-to machine for any bike rides out of El Rancho Pendejo, unless I absolutely, positively must have some dirt time.

I can’t stay gone for long. The Boo has been showing signs of the Dogzheimer’s and frequently forgets the difference between indoors and outdoors, with deleterious consequences for the brick floors and carpets. I kennel him when I leave, but that’s no guarantee that I won’t come home to a mess. And confining him to quarters means he can march around in any messes that he makes. I should get him some little Wellingtons to wear in the slammer.

So, yeah. Short rides, two hours or less. But still, it beats watching everybody in America be revealed as a perv’, fascist, false prophet, lickspittle, tinpot dictator, coward, fool or some combination thereof.

The timber lands*

November 8, 2017

One up the tailpipe for you-know-who.

It’s a wee bit early for ticker-tape parades and dancing in the streets, and the advice of Winston Wolf remains pertinent, but yesterday’s elections saw the Donks put a few points on the board.

The game ain’t over yet, and they’re a tough team to root for, but whaddare ya gonna do? At least the bench seems a little deeper this time around.

* The boots. The boots are Timberlands. “The timber lands.” OK, so it’s a stretch.