Archive for the ‘Dollars and nonsense’ Category

More, late*

December 21, 2020

A little light and a lot more tunnel.

“Pandemic Deal by Congress Provides Economic Relief, for Now,” reports The New York Times.

But it’s too little, too late, and perhaps the last of Uncle Sammy’s pennies in the ol’ tin cup for a while, adds The Old Grey Hoor, in an analysis by Ben Casselman and Jim Tankersley.

The injection of money comes months too late for tens of thousands of failed businesses, however, and it may not be enough to sustain unemployed workers until the labor market rebounds. Moreover, it could be the last help from Washington the economy gets anytime soon.

Call me cynical, but I think we need some brighter bulbs on this job.

*Apologies to Chris in the Morning.

TGI(B)F?

November 27, 2020

If the image appears a tad blurry it’s because pretty much everything out there is in vigorous motion.

Well, it’s not what I would call black, but then neither is it exactly a bright, bright, sunshiny Friday out there.

We are presently enjoying a thundering east wind that is extreme even by New Mexican standards, and as a consequence the options for working off yesterday’s holiday feast seem limited.

What a fine day for huddling indoors and bargain-hunting at a Bug®-safe distance! Coincidentally, my in-box runneth over with various pitches, entreaties, and pleas. A cantankerous senior citizen on a fixed income is a target demographic? Who knew?

B&H Photo & Video, for starters. They were first to pound on my digital door, at 4:18 a.m. The early bird catches the worm, don’t you know. They were followed in quick succession by Guitar Center, Brydge, Rudy Project, Brazos Walking Sticks, GoPro, Gore Wear, and Outdoor Research, all before 8 a.m.

And this is just the lot that made it past my extensive network of junk filters, mind you.

They sense my frailty. Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute some marketing poge gets a click-through from his email blast, he gets stronger. Each time I look around the walls move in a little tighter. …

The Clampdown, v2.1

November 19, 2020

The gub’nah had to both tighten and clarify The Clampdown 2.0 just days after it debuted because (a) people are stupid, and (2) see (a).

This is going to be one of our biggest problems as we endure Bug Breath, In The Year of the Plague: Democracy and dummies don’t mix.

Lord, am I ever glad I managed to surf the free-range-rumormongery wave smack dab onto Social Security Beach. People just don’t read anymore, probably because too many of them can’t, and thus my services are mostly no longer required.

If the educational system and the Fourth Estate were spared the machinations of the political-industrial complex, we might not be where we are at the moment, which is crouched in the valley under our tiny parasols, awaiting the shit monsoon, while our betters in the mountaintop trophy homes trade us like junk bonds.

Still, you don’t need to be a pro copy jock to take a casual glance at the gub’nah’s public health order and see that, hmm, yes, you can still buy a jug of Skeeter’s Sidewalk Softener in person from The Beernut’s Booze ’n’ Bullets Boutique, but no, sorry, you’re gonna have to depend upon the Christian charity of the Internets and the Brown Truck Dude to acquire that plastic Jeebus for your dashboard.

Now, I know, retail represents a big chunk of the economy, both in terms of GDP and total employment. And it’s nice to get out of the house for an hour, wander the aisles of FreeDumb Hardware & Nail Salon, touching this and that with an ooh and an ahh, maybe buy a Chinese belt sander to tackle those irksome calluses on our tootsies.

But for the sake of public health, maybe it’s time we started thinking about what we want versus what we need.

Do we need a Starbucks, a Mickey D’s, a Shell station, and a Walgreens holding down every corner of every intersection? I don’t see that one in the Constitution. I checked. Because I can read.

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.

 

Let me hear your balalaikas ringing out

February 13, 2020

KC hipsters shake their groove thangs to the swingin’ sounds
of KCXL and Radio Sputnik.

I don’t remember what was playing on the radio when I was hitchhiking through Kansas City back in 1972. Number one on my personal hit parade was getting the hell out of Missouri.

Forty-eight years later, guess who wants in?

Radio Sputnik, that’s who. Actually, the Russian propaganda outlet has already landed, at three KC-area radio stations.

According to Neil MacFarquhar at The New York Times, Radio Sputnik — formerly Radio Moscow — is one cog in a state-run Russian “news” machine that focuses on “sowing doubt about Western governments and institutions rather than the old Soviet model of selling Russia as paradise lost.”

“(T)he constant backbeat,” says MacFarquhar, “is that America is damaged goods.”

Well. I guess it must be. It’s a hell of a note when we have to offshore our bitching and moaning to the Russians.

Can’t Alpine Broadcasting Corporation find some red-blooded, home-grown, U-nited States of America Americans to talk shit? I mean, I do it for free, which is about as cheap as it comes. Alpine honcho Peter Schartel has the Russkies and their stooges do it for him and he gets $27.50 an hour. What’s that work out to in rubles, or pieces of silver?

I don’t expect that KCXL plays many cuts from the early Merle Haggard catalog between swigs of milk and honey and preachin’ ’bout some other way of living. But if you slip Schartel a few dead presidents, why, I expect he might just accommodate you.

It’s a free country, but everything in it costs money.

Of artists and safety nets

November 13, 2019

No, your eyes do not deceive you. That is a story in the Colorado Springs Sun, mentioning President Nixon, written by Your Humble Narrator in the Year of Our Lord 1974.

Thank Cthulhu I’m not an artist like Russell Chatham. We hacks have a safety net.

Here’s mine: This past weekend, Herself signed me up to start collecting Socialist Insecurity payments beginning in March 2020. If I live that long, and assuming that Agent Orange doesn’t redirect all SS monies to his Wall or his wallet, I will receive a princely sum indeed, each and every month.

After accounting for inflation, it’s roughly equal to what I was paid as a copy boy back in 1974, when I first got into the writing racket.

I figure I can score a used Chevy Express 1500 for about 12 large. The monthly payments should take about 18 percent of my income, which sounds about right. The camping gear I’ve already got.

And parking down by the river? It’s free! Winning!

The Farce is with us

August 30, 2019

How much closer? Honey, call the Space Farce!

Hm. No flying saucers up there. Not right this minute, anyway.

I guess we need a “space force” anyway, though, if only to learn how to flush money down a zero-gravity toilet.

Look for a low-Earth-orbit version of the F-35, coming to a military-industrial complex near you.

“Jesus, Chet, now they want the fucker to be a spacecraft, too. They’re lucky it gets off the ground at all. Oh, well, it’s only money, amirite? Haw haw haw! Back to the ol’ drawing board. …”

Meanwhile, in the back of the bus. …

August 12, 2019

Have we got a job for you. …

Bus we mus’? Maybe not.

The two companies ’Burque has dealt with while trying to improve its mass-transit system are facing charges that they failed to follow through on their end of wage-and-benefit deals, according to The New York Times.

BYD we’ve discussed before. Now New Flyer, the outfit the Duke City turned to after its deal with BYD wound up on blocks, faces a fraud complaint in California.

Says the Times:

In a 2012 proposal to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for an order of up to 900 buses, New Flyer said it would create more than 50 full-time positions that paid $11 to nearly $50 an hour.

New Flyer won the contract, worth about $500 million. But the company did not pay the wages it said it would and misrepresented the value of the benefits it was providing, according to pay stubs and corporate reports recently unsealed in the fraud case.

“It was a commitment — it matters,” said Madeline Janis, the executive director of Jobs to Move America, the nonprofit group that filed the complaint against New Flyer in California state court. “This case is about holding a huge company’s feet to the fire. … They make deals with public agencies and promise whatever, and think they don’t have to follow through.”

Is it just me, or does the invisible hand of the free market seem to spend a lot of time jerking off the rubes?

Bend over and leave the driving to us

May 21, 2019

I don’t know much about ART, but I know what I like.

Ho, ho. While Tariff Man is busy playing chicken with China, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is up to his fat wallet pocket in BYD, the Chinese electric-bus bidness that intercoursed the penguin so fabulously here in the Duke City.

That little news nugget didn’t make it into the WaPo story about how McCarthy “services” his constituents, of course, because no white people got shot. Not yet, anyway.

Matt Sparks, a spokesman for McCarthy, defended the congressman’s actions. He said McCarthy has long advocated for companies in his district and denied any connection between McCarthy’s receipt of campaign contributions from BYD and his actions on Capitol Hill.

“McCarthy is proud to support job creation for his constituents and community,” Sparks said.

BYD sure did a job on us here. So much so that the mayor told them to get their FUBAR’d e-buses the hell out of Dodge, ordered up some old-school diesel stink-boxes from New Flyer of America, and took BYD to court. The company said last month that the parties “are now close to resolving this matter.”

What’s not close is any Albuquerque Rapid Transit service along the clusterfuck that is Central Avenue. The New Flyer buses are expected to be ready to roll by the end of winter 2020 — three years after ART’s e-buses were supposed to be buzzing along the Mother Road.

Bull in a China shop

May 10, 2019

There’s a new tariff in town.

MAGA, etc., et al., and so on and so forth. I’d speculate as to whether Art O. DeDeal is trying to croak the bike biz because of the relentless roasting I’ve given him, but he doesn’t know Schwinn from Shinola.

He apparently wants everyone else to lose money the way he did.

So. Much. Winning.