Archive for the ‘Dire portents’ Category

Wot’s all this then?

September 16, 2021

Officer Friendly is here to rifle through your Google user data.

“Probable cause? We ain’t got no probable cause. We don’t need no probable cause. I don’t have to show you any steenkeeng probable cause!”

Zachary McCoy was Just Riding Along™, not unlike thee and me, when the John Laws came calling for his Google user data. According to The Guardian:

McCoy later found out the request was part of an investigation into the burglary of a nearby home the year before. The evidence that cast him as a suspect was his location during his bike ride – information the police obtained from Google through what is called a geofence warrant. For simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, McCoy was being investigated and, as a result, his Google data was at risk of being handed over to the police.

No thank you, please, and fuck right off with that noise, Officer Friendly. How’s the song go? “Let me ride through the wide open country that I love / Don’t geofence me in.”

A wee misinterpretation

June 10, 2021

“Oopsie.”

Well, it sure is shaping up to be an interesting summer.

Lake Foul is a couple quarts away from becoming a pump track. Lake Merde, a skatepark. And we have to boil the air before we can breathe it.

Good times. Maybe not.

It seems we took God literally when She said: “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

Now I can envision Her muttering: “You write ’em books and all they do is chew on the covers. You see anything in there about Phoenix, Las Vegas, or California? You do not. Because I was writing the Bible, not ‘The Beverly Hillbillies.’

“I send you my kid and Ed Abbey and this is the thanks I get? I hope you meshuggeners like drinking your wee-wee. Straight, no chaser.”

Memorial Day v2.0

June 1, 2021

“Joey, have you ever been in an autonomous Turkish drone’s crosshairs?”

Oh, good. … Paging James Cameron … James Cameron, please come to the white courtesy target zone … er, the white courtesy phone.

‘What’s all this stuff I keep hearing about. …’

January 16, 2021

I’m feeling a strong kinship with Emily Litella these days.

“What’s all this stuff I keep hearing about DikDok and ChapSnat? I remember when you paid money to the telephone company! The telephone company never paid money to you! And you watched TV on the TV! Not on the telephone!”

I know, I know … since the first proto-influencer sketched a warthog on the cave wall while his elders looked on disapprovingly (“Fuckin’ kids today, amirite, Ogg? Minding the fire isn’t good enough for ’em anymore.”) some entertainment-delivery system has been poised to bring society crashing down around us.

Cave paintings. Comic books. Radio. TV. The Innertubes.

But damme if I don’t think the smartphone will be the tombstone of civilization, such as it is.

Fuckin’ kids today. Hey! Influencers! That’s my goddamn lawn you’re dancing on up there, y’know! The last one I’ll ever have! Get the hell off of it!

Good trouble

July 18, 2020

A police mugshot of John Lewis from Nashville, during the Sixties.

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)

“I just happened to be wearing black on a sidewalk in downtown Portland at the time. And that apparently is grounds for detaining me.”Mark Pettibone, a Portland protester snatched off the street by anonymous men in camo who sprang from an unmarked van.

When Mother Jones asked the Homeland Security Department for details of what DHS agents are doing in [Portland], a spokesperson sent a press release in which acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf described nearly 100 incidents allegedly perpetrated by “violent anarchists” — mostly vandalism of the courthouse and other federal buildings. (A typical example: “Violent anarchists graffitied the Hatfield Courthouse.”)Dan Friedman, Mother Jones.

Glide path, v2.0

June 30, 2020

“We’re coming in hot. …”

James Fallows, himself a pilot, wonders what the National Transportation Safety Board might make of Adolf Twitler’s response to the pandemic.

In the previous two decades of international public-health experience, starting with SARS and on through the rest of the acronym-heavy list, a standard procedure had emerged, and it had proved effective again and again. The U.S, with its combination of scientific and military-logistics might, would coordinate and support efforts by other countries. Subsequent stages would depend on the nature of the disease, but the fact that the U.S. would take the primary role was expected. When the new coronavirus threat suddenly materialized, American engagement was the signal all other participants were waiting for. But this time it did not come. It was as if air traffic controllers walked away from their stations and said, “The rest of you just work it out for yourselves.”

“We’re approaching our final destination. Please return your tray tables and seat backs to their fully upright positions, place your heads between your legs, and kiss your asses goodbye. And thank you for flying Trump Air.”

Wish you weren’t here

April 26, 2020

Uncomfortably dumb.

“Miley Cyrus plays Pink Floyd?”

All in all, you’re just another shtick in the mall.

 

Going viral

March 24, 2020

The Menaul trailhead, shot from a social distance.

Beyond hoarding beans, buttwipe and bullets, people don’t seem to be taking The Bug seriously in these parts.

Or they didn’t on Sunday, anyway.

When Herself and I bicycled over to the Dark Tower to deliver some vino to Herself the Elder, we passed three trailhead parking lots that were jam-packed and overflowing onto neighboring streets.

Call me crazy, but this seemed like antisocial distancing to me, on a par with slow dancing in a burning building, the New Mexican equivalent of sunburned bro-brahs wearing bikini babes like earbuds during spring break in Florida.

Maybe the authorities were watching, too. Maybe our crowds were not out of the ordinary.

Because come Monday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham went on TV to lay down the law. Or the advisory, anyway.

The nut graf? Keep your distance, preferably behind closed doors.

“There are a lot of people out and about,” she said. “This creates risk. This creates exposure.”

The Piedra Lisa trailhead, which looked like the drop-off lane at an elementary school.

I created a few exposures myself with the old iPhone camera, and here they are, all shot from a proper social distance, if only to avoid an ass-kicking (“Hey, man, whatchoo taking pictures of, huh? You work for my old lady?”).

And when I got back to El Rancho Pendejo I created another podcast.

Yes, yes, yes — it’s a socially distant, viral episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

 

 

 

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: I recorded this episode with an Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic straight to the MacBook Pro, using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was in GarageBand. The background music is “Buddy,” an iMovie jingle. The other sound effects were liberated from the GarageBand loops library. And those musical references? The musicologists among you will be familiar with “Highway to Hell” (AC/DC); “Stairway to Heaven” (Led Zeppelin); “Happy Trails” (Roy Rogers and Dale Evans); “Get It While You Can” (Janis Joplin); “The Last Waltz” (The Band); and “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder” (Johnny Cash). These are not necessarily the folks who wrote the music, but the ones who came to mind as I was writing the podcast.

12 Days of ’Toonsmas: Day 9

December 28, 2019

Susan Calvin was off when these two rolled off the line at U.S. Robots.
From the September 2019 issue of BRAIN.

E-bikes present both opportunity and challenge for the IBD.

One more bike to sell to the base — the old white guy who already has 15 two-wheelers in the garage but may be slowing down a bit due to age or infirmity, and wants a little assist.

One more bike to lure new customers, who may have found old-fashioned cycling too difficult, or who have decided to replace a car with something greener.

One more bike to service, because the future requires more maintenance than the past.

Our heroes at BRAIN’s bike shop acquired an e-assistant to work on e-bikes, which raises another issue, one familiar to anyone who ever read Harlan Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream.”

Artificial intelligence will not come to us from U.S. Robots, complete with a full installation of Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics and overseen by Susan Calvin, Greg Powell and Mike Donovan. It will come from Allied Mastercomputer via Ellison Wonderland, it will have ideas all its own, and it will not be our friend.

“They’re a cleaner better breed than we are,” Calvin said in an interview with The Interplanetary Press. Maybe so. in Asimov’s novels, anyway. But in real life our e-assistants will be made by us, in our image. Frightening.

You’ll want to keep them locked up at night, and not for fear of thieves.

‘Something Went Wrong’

December 8, 2019

Uh, can you be more specific?

Indeed it did. And so it begins, the Decline and Fall of the iPhone 5.

The New York Times apparently has cooked up an app update that my device can’t digest — the iPhone 5 peaked at iOS version 10.3.4, while the NYT demands 11 or better — and now I can’t surf the shit monsoon from my 7-year-old phone. Woe, etc.

The iPhone SE, ready for its closeup.

Asked for comment, the NYT Customer Care Crew advises, “We are no longer supporting older versions of the NYT app,” adding that geezers in thrall to antiquated technology should “use the mobile browser to access all content on nytimes.com.”

So I sez back to ’em, I sez: “Thanks for the reply. I already figured that out. The iPhone 5 maxes out at iOS 10.3.4, so using v9.11 of your app is not an option. I’m disappointed to learn that the NYT has dropped support for older versions of the app. My iPhone is elderly, to be sure, but not yet senile. For instance, The Washington Post app continues to work just fine.”

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Sonny Jim. Then get off of my lawn.

It’s not this iPhone’s first step on the slippery techno-slope, of course. I’ve already had to replace the battery once, and the Phone app itself has developed the palsy, seizing up and even crashing from time to time.

I can fix that, as I always keep a large hammer within reach. But first, I should probably unbox the iPhone SE that’s been hanging around idle for the past few months. Naturally, it, too, is a discontinued model, slated for the boneyard — and rumor has it that the Wizards of Cupertino are working on a bigger-and-better model for release early in 2020.

But mine will run the latest and greatest version of iOS. For now, anyway.