Archive for the ‘Deep political thought’ Category

There’s cold in them thar hills

September 30, 2021

Thor is taking a few tentative swings with Mjölnir this morning.

The arm and knee warmers have begun tagging along on my morning rides.

I don’t always wear ’em, but it’s nice to know I have ’em. Just in case.

If I were riding today I’d pack a rain jacket, because the NWS boyos are calling for thunderbummers. And snow? Really? In the higher elevations, to be sure, but still, damn. You’d think it was almost October or sumpin’.

Speaking of a chill in high places, I see the usual rampant dipshittery has hit a frosty new low in DeeCee. Fuck me running, but it has become wearisome to watch our national “leadership” rolling around in that big ol’ barrel of titties and telling the rest of us to go suck on our thumbs.

Can we get a conservatorship established to oversee this mess? Maybe Britney Spears could recommend someone. Then again, maybe not.

Personally, I’d like to see more than a few of these Gilded Age fuck-bubbles loaded aboard the next Jeff Bozos dick-missile to the stars, with nothing to eat but each other, but only if we’re talking a one-way ticket.

I suppose we’d wind up replacing them with more of the same. But maybe the new crowd might think about dinner and a movie, and maybe kissing us, before sticking it in.

Something might be gaining on you

September 11, 2021

It’s been a long, long road.

While they continued to write and talk, we saw the wounded and the dying.Erich Maria Remarque, “All Quiet on the Western Front”

I didn’t have much to say on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and a decade further on down the road I feel even less inclined to hold forth on the topic. A bunch of people got dead, maimed, or insane; another bunch got rich, famous, and powerful; and the rest of us went shopping.

Did we learn anything from the attacks and what Charlie Pierce calls “our blind, feral response?” Doubtful. We check the rear view every 10 years or so, but that’s just reflexive, like glancing at a TV as you pass.

Anything good on? Nahhhhhhh. Same ol’, same ol’. Hey, who wants to go to the mall?

A workin’ man can’t get nowhere today

September 6, 2021

Luck of the draw.

Happy Labor Day, comrades.

I’m barely a worker these days; my paying chores have dwindled to one “Shop Talk” cartoon per month for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

Of course, now that BRAIN is a part of the Greater Outside Globe-Spanning Vertically Integrated Paywalled Conglomerate, I find myself negotiating a contract to keep my faded Levi’s up and buckled while I continue to do what I’ve been doing for nigh on to 30 years. So it goes.

Thus, in solidarity with all y’all still on The Man’s clock, here a few random tales culled from our workaday world:

• Hotel workers serve as an unsung pit crew for the firefighters battling the Caldor blaze.

• Job openings outnumber the unemployed. But a gulf between the jobs available and what workers want has led to a “Great Reassessment.”

• Speaking of assessments, are the bots trying to upend the MeatWorld JobMart or are we just stumbling around in the dark as per usual? Kevin Drum has some brief thoughts on the topic.

• Is the boss watching, even when you’re working from home? Maybe. Say hello to “tattleware.”

• Can a workin’ man get somewhere today? He surely couldn’t back in 1978, according to Merle Haggard.

Your call is important to us

September 3, 2021

“Please continue to hold. And hold. Annnnnnd. …”

It’s my considered opinion that Texas (and the Supremes, and many other jurisdictions, institutions, and individuals) could benefit from the occasional kick up the hole.

That said, this tale about the Austin indie chamber-music group Montopolis and the Texas Workforce Commission Hold Music should remind us that hope remains. Even in Texas.

Iron Man is dead*

August 15, 2021

Sometimes you do the boom, and sometimes the boom does you.

Another superhero adventure is coming to a messy ending.

The Military-Industrial Complex’s Cinematic Universe isn’t as orderly as Marvel’s, probably because the writers aren’t as good. Neither are the reviews. But hey, that’s show business for you.

It seemed like such a simple story, too. United States is attacked. United States fights back. Boffo box office!

But some nimrod thinking sequels, spinoffs, and merchandise resurrected an old character called “Mission Creep.” The story went sideways but we kept buying the tickets, taking the ride.

“Look, there’s Stan Lee!”

“No, that’s Robert McNamara.”

Remember the old joke about the driver heading up an off ramp by mistake? “What the hell, you’ve come this far. …”

Well, 20 years later, here we are, upside down in the ditch, watching Mission Creep, Captain REMF, and The Incredible Schmuck posturing for the cameras in an endgame that isn’t one. Avengers Dissemble!

* Of course he’s not dead. We’ll keep trotting him out as long as there’s a buck in it.

It never rains, but it pours

July 28, 2021

It looks like feckin’ Ireland over by the Menaul trailhead.

We New Mexicans should probably apologize to the Pacific Northwest for stealing their climate.

But hey, you left it unlocked with the keys in the ignition, so. …

Puddles on the Duke City trails are as rare as original thought in government. (See the latest iteration of publicly funded downtown stadiums for privately owned sports teams.) This in a town where we have a six-pack of dudes — half of them part-time — to plug holes in the bike paths along which the homeless pitch their festive tents.

Standing water on a Duke City trail in July? Truly these are dire portents of the End Times.

In DeeCee, meanwhile … well, the less said about that, the better. But can we at least agree that a few more Republicans would be on board the Investigation Train if the treasonous fucks who invaded the U.S. Capitol, pounding a few John Laws along the way, had been socialist, gay, people of color, or any combination thereof? You know: Democrats?

Jesus H., etc. In Hell Mao is all like, “Damn, and I thought I had a cult of personality going on.” But this feels more like the Israelites and their golden calf, only with “Christians” and a plastic pig from the Dollar Store rattle-canned with metallic-gold Krylon.

This sort of behavior failed to amuse either Moses or the Lord, as I recall. Doesn’t do shit for me, either.

Speaking of things that are a monkey or two short of a full barrel, I see we’re back to wearing our face panties.

Bernalillo County is tagged orange, with a “substantial” level of community transmission, so the CDC would like us to cover up when visiting indoor public spaces, shots or no shots.

Oh, good. I was already sick of seeing smiling faces and understanding the speech emerging from same.

The bright side is that in the past two weeks a half-dozen family members from far and wide have been able to visit Herself the Elder before the portcullis drops again, as seems likely. So, yay, etc.. May yis all be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you’re dead.

Live together or die alone

May 1, 2021

Work song

April 29, 2021

We almost skipped Sleepy Joe’s address to Congress Lite last night.

Our “Northern Exposure” DVD collection has been getting a workout — you’d be surprised how well that series holds up after 30 years — and I already had a pretty good idea of how “The Joe Show” was gonna go. I’ve seen that one before, too.

But we watched ol’ Joe spin his tale, and I’m glad we did.

It was light on chest-thumping and finger-pointing. It felt less like theater and more like a routine business meeting.

“We all know the drill here, ladies and gents. The Old Home Place is in a helluva state. But we can fix it, if we all pitch in and get our hands dirty, and here’s where I think we should start.” Etc.

I particularly liked his attempt to take back “We the people” from the knuckleheads. I’ve said this for years. We are the government. “L’etat, c’est nous.” If it’s a trainwreck, well, we let it go off the rails, didn’t we? Sat there and watched and pitched a bitch because nobody gave us free marshmallows to toast in the subsequent three-alarm fire.

So here comes Sleepy Joe and he sez to ’em he sez: “Fuck me, what a mess. Let’s put out that fire, get this thing back on the rails, and see where we can go with it. Now I think of it, these rails could use a little work. And is that a road or a gravel quarry? Jesus. Call up the pavers. Whaddaya mean you haven’t got any bars on your phone? Well, shit, add that to the list.

“And quit picking on the kid. Who cares what bathroom s/he uses? We don’t do something about the pipes we’re all gonna be shitting behind the bushes before much longer. And the bushes are gonna be on fire because climate change! Hel-lo! Make another note, Kamala. I’ll bet you wish you hadn’t answered your phone when I called you up and asked you to join the ticket, hey?”

Joe knows he has a teeny-tiny window of opportunity here. From what I’ve read, the Richie Riches and Corporate America don’t mind paying a smidge more in taxes at this moment in history because they know it’s tough to do bidness in a burning building while hanging from the rafters in a stylish suit of tar and feathers and the customers are engaged in running gun battles outside, too broke to pay their bills but not broke enough to pawn their guns.

Too, odds are he loses the House in the midterms thanks to all the three-card Monte that took place at our local carnivals while we were focused on The Big Top. He might be a one-termer whether he likes it or not.

So, yeah. That was quite a laundry list of chores he laid out last night. But he wasn’t a dick about it, and you can’t deny the Old Home Place needs a little work. Deferred maintenance has a way of piling up like turds behind bushes. Or in the House of Representatives.

The org chart

April 21, 2021

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers were not Black, yet they had a working familiarity with the arbitrary traffic stop. © and all praise to Gilbert Shelton

Well, that’s one killer cop down, and … let’s see if he stays down before we all start dancing in the end zone.

I won’t presume to speak for Black people in this matter or any other. Shit, I don’t even know what or if honkies are thinking and I am one.

That said, I will propose that all of us devote at least as much attention to what’s going on at home as we do the national performance art in DeeCee. Governors, legislatures, mayors, city councils, county commissions, police and sheriffs, judiciary, school boards, etc. All of these affect the quality of your lives, regardless of race, creed, color, or religion.

You want smart, caring, hard-working people running the shop, handling the hiring, oversight, discipline, and firing as warranted. Even when you’re satisfied you’ve got the right people in place, keep one eye on ’em while you go about your own business. You get an asshole at the top of the org chart, before you know it you’ve got assholes all the way down.

And some of them have badges.

Assholes with badges don’t always tase you, shoot you, or kneel on your neck. Sometimes they just roust you for not wearing a helmet when cycling. Or pull you over for hanging an air freshener from the rear view mirror, having a broken taillight, sporting an unfashionable hue for the ’hood, or demonstrating a unique personal style (see Phineas Freek, above). These are what we call “fishing expeditions.”

“Are you a dope fiend, sir? Mind if I root around in your trunk, see if you have any hogtied White children, bales of marijuana, or rocket launchers in there? Let’s see your license, registration, and MAGA hat. But keep those hands on the wheel where I can see them.” Etc.

With the right management in place, cops like this become ex-cops. Let them fish full time, for food.

• Obligatory disclaimer: Yes, I have had positive interactions with law enforcement since I quit being a hippie. It’s probably not so easy to quit being Black.

Oh, eat me

April 20, 2021

“No one wants to work anymore.” And yet somebody posted this sign at a place of business. ’Ees a puzzlement, to be sure.

Here’s an interesting story. Not “interesting” in the sense that it was solidly reported, written, and edited, which it was not. Interesting in that it calls into question the business model of the fast-food industry.

The story — headlined “We’re competing with unemployment” — focuses on the hiring problems that outfits like Fresquez Companies, Twisters, and Sonic-Inspire Brands are having locally in Year Two of The Plague®.

Back in the day, when newspapers still had copy desks, a cynical old rim rat might have wondered at some volume whether the corporate types quoted in the piece had coordinated their tales of woe.

Says one: “Why would anybody want to, I guess, start at a minimum-wage job when they can be earning more money … on unemployment?”

Adds another: “People are making a lot more money being unemployed than employed, and the world is coming back to dine-in and eat-in a little bit at a time, so the stimulus really paused people applying to jobs.”

And a third: “I think it’s pretty easy to connect … unemployment benefits to it. I think a lot of us feel like a lot of people have chosen not to go back to work yet, because they’re still receiving the benefits.”

Well, shucks. It makes a man’s eyes damp, for sure.

My first question was, “How many of these struggling companies have received SBA Paycheck Protection Program funds or some other form of governmental assistance to make ends meet in these troubled times?” The story doesn’t say.

Nor does the reporter speak with any current, former, or potential employees. The one nod to working people came in a quote from OLÉ Education Fund executive director Matthew Henderson, who said: “Essential workers have risked their lives to keep New Mexico running during the pandemic. Some have decided, however, that the risk to their family’s health is not worth the poverty wages and lack of benefits that many employers offer. Don’t fault workers for refusing to be exploited.”

When I was young and even dumber than I am now, I briefly dated a single mom who availed herself of the various forms of governmental assistance to be had at the time. She was always strapped for cash, and since I was young and dumb, I asked her why she didn’t just get a job.

She explained patiently that the kind of job she would be able to get wouldn’t begin to pay the bills, much less the cost of child care while she worked. So she chose to keep jumping through the hoops of public assistance and raising her child. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

How many potential recruits for the Paper Hat Platoon have decided to stay home, collect assistance, and help their kids navigate remote learning with the goal of giving them a future that doesn’t involve pitching greaseburgers through windows at the Duke City’s drive-thrus? I mean, you don’t need a Ph.D in Google Search to find horror stories about the life and times of the fast-food worker.

I suspect this story may have had its roots in the photo above, posted on Twitter by a local TV reporter. Snapped at a local Sonic, it shows a sign reading: “We are short staffed. Please be patient with the staff that did show up. No one wants to work anymore.”

Wrong, pendejo. They just don’t want to work for you.