Archive for the ‘Feddle gummint’ Category

Kinda busy right now

August 9, 2017

The Acme® DIY Bomb Shelter.

Sticky fingers

June 22, 2017

A rose (grave not included).

The Senate’s Elefinks have released their double-secret “health care” bill, and it’s just about as bad as you might expect.

It boils down to: “Oi! You there! Sickies, crippies, olds and poors! Mind giving us a hand with this yuuuuuge sack of cash? We’re taking it over to the richies! Try not to sneeze or bleed on it, will you?”

The good news is, they won’t forget to put roses on your grave.

Oh, who are we kidding? Of course they’ll forget.

Something wicked this way comes

January 19, 2017

• Editor’s note: What follows was intended to be a rambling kickoff to a Counter-Inaugural Podcast at Radio Free Dogpatch, but my sidekick Hal Walter developed a bad case of previous commitments, so I’m laying it on you old-school instead. Tomorrow it will be radio silence from yours truly here and on Twitter. But there will be an open-mic post suitable for commentary, so feel free to chime in with your thoughts on what this particular changing of the guard means for you, and for the rest of us. Finally, a tip of the carny’s boater to Ray Bradbury for the headline. It’s a pity — or is it? — that he didn’t live to see Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show come to life.

We're all bozos on this bus. Some of us more than others.

We’re all bozos on this bus. Some of us more than others.

IT’S BEEN A STRUGGLE, TRYING TO FIND WORDS to describe how I feel about what’s going to be happening on Friday — and afterward — in Washington, D.C.

I’ve watched this changing of the guard since before I was eligible to vote, and it rarely goes well for progressives.

In 1969, when Richard Nixon was preparing to take an oath of office he had already violated by undermining the Paris peace talks, the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam staged a three-day counter-inaugural that proved quite the bash, both literally and figuratively.

Yippies Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman brought a revolutionary-theater sideshow to the circus, proposing to inaugurate their own president, a 145-pound hog named Pigasus, with predictable results. The Left immediately set about eating itself alive — Splitters! — rocks, bottles, horseshit and punches were thrown, cops and protesters alike took a beating, 119 people got a tour of the hoosegow, and as is traditional in such matters, both sides claimed victory.

Nixon, of course, claimed the White House. Twice. You may recall how that turned out.

I found it all fascinating, from a safe distance, and when I became eligible to vote in time for the 1972 elections, I tried to register as a member of the Youth International Party, the proper name for the improper Yippies. Never happen, said the county clerk in Bibleburg, and I had to settle for signing up as an “independent.” But Hunter S. Thompson was actually in attendance at the ’69 inaugural, and he didn’t exactly come away with a smile on his lips and a song in his heart.

Recounting the experience for The Boston Globe in February 1969, Thompson wrote: “My first idea was to load up on LSD and cover the Inauguration that way, but the possibilities were ominous: a scene that bad could only be compounded to the realm of mega-horrors by something as powerful as acid.”

As Thompson watched the deal go down during what he called “a king-hell bummer” and “that wretched weekend,” he saw “a new meanness on both sides … and no more humor.”

“Suddenly I felt cold, and vaguely defeated,” he wrote. “More than eight years ago, in San Francisco, I had stayed up all night to watch the election returns … and when Nixon went down I felt like a winner.

“Now, on this Monday night in 1969, President Nixon was being honored with no less than six Inaugural Balls. I brooded on this for a while, then decided I would go over to the Hilton, later on, and punch somebody. Almost anybody would do … but hopefully I could find a police chief from Nashville or some other mean geek. In the meantime, there was nothing to do but go back to the hotel and watch the news on TV … maybe something funny, like film clips of the bastinado.”

• • •

Neither Hunter S. Thompson nor Dick Nixon are with us this time around, but another pair of Sixties relics you may have thought were likewise long gone — LSD and psilocybin — are making something of a comeback as potential treatments for whatever bad scene may be unfolding on the backside of your forehead (or in front of it).

In December, The New York Times reported on a couple of studies that showed “clinically significant reductions” in both anxiety and depression in cancer patients who took synthetic psilocybin.

The studies, which the Times called “the largest and most meticulous among a handful of trials to explore the possible therapeutic benefit of psilocybin,” found the beneficial effects persisted for months.

One patient, who had just completed treatment for stage-3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, described what he called “an epiphany.”

“I’m not anxious about cancer anymore,” he said. “I’m not anxious about dying.”

Another, whose treatment for acute myeloid leukemia left him with graft-versus-host disease, said the experience left him with “a greater sense of peace with what might come.”

“I’m very grateful, beyond words, for this trial,” he added.

And on January 14, The Atlantic ran a Q&A with Ayelet Waldman, whose new book “A Really Good Day” describes her microdosing with LSD to self-correct what she described as “a pretty significant depression.”

She had tried the traditional remedies served up by the medical-industrial complex — antidepressants, ADHD drugs, SSRIs, you name it — but a couple drops of diluted and highly illegal L-S-Dizzy is what did the trick for her.

Said Waldman: “I felt happier or at least not as profoundly depressed almost immediately the very first day I took it.”

Funniest thing, hey? About 10 years after the good Doctor Thompson was mulling over that Nixon inaugural, a friend and I offered an acid-soaked homage to his fear-and-loathing tour of Las Vegas. But we didn’t have his stamina, and when a jai-alai match at the old MGM Grand started to look like a “Star Wars” shootout we got the fuck out of there at a very high speed indeed, driving all the way back to Alamosa — the Brain Damage Express, via Kaibab and Page, the Four Corners and the terrifying Wolf Creek Pass, with the usual horrible weather and without the enhancements that were still a few years down the road.

But we sure as shit weren’t depressed. We were simply seeing a whole lot of things we’d rather not have and thought a case of beer, a long night’s drive and a plate of his mom’s enchiladas might mellow us out.

Forty years later I can make my own enchiladas but I’m not so sure about the acid. I still have my copy of “The Anarchist Cookbook,” but I was never much at chemistry.

• • •

All trips, both good and bad, come to an end, sooner or later. And in May, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will break down the big top in May for the final time after 146 years.

According to The New York Times, Feld Entertainment, the producer of the circus, cited rising operating costs and falling ticket sales, a condition that worsened after Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey dropped elephants from its show last year.

CEO Kenneth Feld told The Associated Press that moving the show by rail, providing a traveling school for performers’ children and other expenses from a bygone era made carrying on a losing proposition.

“It’s a different model … we can’t see how it works in today’s world to justify and maintain an affordable ticket price,” he said.

And let’s not forget that old devil competition. There’s another, bigger circus coming to town, with a permanent base of operations in Washington, D.C., the financial support of the State, and free worldwide access via social media. Plus elephants, too!

The Greatest Show On Earth is now an angry orange clown with a Twitter account. Hur-ry, hur-ry, hur-ry. …

Sky yi yi

January 12, 2017
Steven Spielberg with his trademark boiling clouds ain't got nothin' on the real deal.

Steven Spielberg with his trademark boiling clouds ain’t got nothin’ on the real deal.

I’m glad I saw this before Darth Cheeto’s “press conference” yesterday. Otherwise I might have thought it was God coming down to dick-punch us all for putting this two-bit totalitarian in the Oval Office.

Sure puts the “dick” in “dictator,” doesn’t he?

Greatest Hits of 2016, Part 5: From balls to nuts

December 31, 2016

• Editor’s note: As the year winds down, I’m taking a page from the mainstream-media playbook and reprinting a handful of this year’s “Mad Dog Unleashed” columns from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. Today’s final finger was published in December, the last issue of 2016.

The gang views with alarm in cinematic fashion.

The gang views with alarm in cinematic fashion.

Tour de Trump, v2.0:
Does this president
make our heads look fat?

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

“Stuck In the Middle,” by Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan

By Patrick O’Grady

The day after the election a young reader emailed to say he hoped I would have a safe trip to New Zealand, adding, “With any luck we will not hear from you or the Clinton’s ever again.”

I feel confident calling him “young” because we olds know the difference between the plural and the possessive. Public school vs. home school, don’t you know.

As to whether he’s a “reader,” that’s an educated guess. I suppose his mom could have read him my column down in the basement, if he had one. A mom, I mean. Trailers don’t have basements.

But I digress.

Anyway, I’m not moving to New Zealand. Who wants a job herding hobbits? (Apologies to Hurben.) I’ll stay here, brush the fur on my own toes, and wait for the next wizard to pop round.

Mars is out, too. I’ve seen “The Martian” since that last column and I am definitely not into farming with my own poo. Better to sell it to some publisher and spend the proceeds at the Whole Paycheck, where everything is grown in unicorn milk and honey.

>> Click here to read the entire column.

Life is but a dream

December 19, 2016
Life is but a dream; it's what you make it.

Life is but a dream; it’s what you make it.

Those last few moments of sleep before the bathroom light snaps on and a cat jumps on you are prime dreamtime.

So I’m drinking beer with Tom Waits and while we sip we’re wandering around his cabin, which is more of a shack, really, and with a decidedly M.C. Escherish tilt to it, and I’m apparently staying the night ’cause Tom rasps, “You know where the mattress is, right?”

And I ask where Kathleen is, and he says she’s dealing them off the arm downtown at some hipster hash house, and he wonders what that’s like, because every time he and the band are trying to wrap up a track it seems they get hungry and need a bite to carry on but even getting a simple sandwich from this posh beanery is a pain in the ass because the chef is always short some effete ingredient.

“Sorry, can’t finish your sandwich without my artisanal mayonnaise,” I quip, and we both have a good laugh about that and then the bathroom light snaps on and the Turk jumps on me.

And none of this has anything to do with the fact that the Electoral College votes today and with a little mercy, a lot of balls and a metric shit-ton of educated, far-sighted patriotism they could save us all from ourselves and deny Sir Donald of Orange his dubiously acquired electoral majority.

This would dump the whole hot mess into the fat lap of Congress. And the House would select some garden-variety-nightmare Republican to be president, and just maybe — maybe! — given the popular vote, the Senate would pick some run-of-the-mill Democrat to be vice president.

But being a presidential elector in these circumstances must feel a lot like being the maid at the Motel 666 in Federalist 68 Hell. We get to shit the bed and she has to wash the sheets?

No, thanks, honey, she purrs. I’d rather make a sandwich for Tom Waits. I know what kind of mayo he likes, and I hear there’s some beer left.

Life is but a dream. Hail, Beelzebozo.

 

Snow cat

November 29, 2016
I don't think I need to break out the shovel for this one.

I don’t think I need to break out the shovel for this one.

It probably doesn’t qualify as the first snow of the year, but we finally got a dusting at El Rancho Pendejo.

The temp remains below freezing as of 9 a.m., and I’m having a very hard time getting excited about going grocery shopping. But we’re inching our way downward through the pantry toward the basics — beans, rice, chile, etc. — and something, as they say, must be done.

I could slap together a pretty interesting vegetarian combo platter with what I have on hand — bean burritos smothered in green and sprinkled with cheddar, sides of Mexican rice and posole — but that would just kick the ol’ can down the road.

Speaking of roads and cans that need kicking along same, some of us have been having an invigorating discussion in comments about the big bad feddle gummint and what to do about it. I don’t want the blog to devolve entirely into a civics course, but just for shits and giggles, let’s take it on faith that the government is too big and intrusive and our tax burden too onerous.

So how do we shrink the federal government to a manageable size? What would you cut? Whose ox gets gored?

And keep in mind that we are not just cutting functions here. We’re shitcanning people. Our fellow Americans. They enjoy their combo platters, too, as do the folks that sell and serve them, so spare them a thought in your calculations.

As of 2014 the U.S. government employed some 2.7 million people. Walmart only has 1.5 million or so on payroll in the United States; Amazon’s headcount is about 240,000 folks, or about twice as many as Apple.

So I don’t see all these sidelined federales landing cushy gigs moving boxes around an Amazon warehouse, greeting the penny-pinchers at Sam’s Club, or failing to fix my 2009 iMac at the Albuquerque Apple Store.

 

Oh

November 9, 2016

shit-11092016

Interbike 2016: Arizona’s not here, man

September 18, 2016
Arizona cordially invites you to piss off.

Arizona cordially invites you to piss off.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (MDM) — Arizona wasn’t very welcoming when I arrived, as you can see. And I’m a reg’lar white guy and everything.

That Sheriff Joe gets meaner every day, seems like. Maybe if someone got a hammerlock on that racist assclown and brought the legal bills down to a manageable level the state wouldn’t have to sell Geico the naming rights to its roadside shitters.

Vato's got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

The drive from Duke City to Flag’ was uneventful. I caught a glimpse of a few garishly attired cyclists enjoying the Tour de Acoma before I left New Mexico behind, and once I rolled into range KNAU-FM began telling me every few minutes that if only I’d give them some money right now they wouldn’t have to annoy me later.

Sorry, fellas, but Herself and I already underwrite two NPR affiliates. Have you tried Geico?

Meanwhile, the grub at Beaver Street Brewery is still tasty, though the clientele seems even more grizzled than last year (unlike Your Humble Narrator, of course).

This may explain the background music, which could’ve been pulled straight from my iPod: “Cross-eyed Mary,” Jethro Tull; “Rock and Roll,” Led Zeppelin; and “Night Moves,” from Bob Seger, who inspired this morning’s headline. What my man Charles Pelkey derides as “old man’s music.”

I should’ve washed that geezer playlist down with a little Olympia and maybe some blotter acid. But as I no longer partake of the adult beverages, I sampled a Sioux City Prickly Pear instead, and I can recommend it as a tasty alternative to the usual popskull.

• Question of the Day: Are those signs with the glyph of a bicycle and the legend “USE SHOULDER ONLY” really necessary along Interstate 40? Any of you feel the urge to throw a leg over the old two-wheeler and go mano-a-mano with a speeding Peterbilt in the traffic lane? Maybe we could ax that particular educational initiative and spend the savings on public restrooms and/or radio.

 

Jabba the Hatt meets his maker

February 14, 2016
scalia-hat

Scalia may never have been the Court’s chief justice, but he was certainly its self-elected pope.

If Antonin Scalia were ever uncertain about anything, he certainly has all the answers now.

He always thought he was the smartest dude in the room, and there’s certainly no denying his intellect. But that powerful engine was buried to the driveshaft in June 21, 1788, when the Constitution was ratified, and as the nation whose legal foundation it was changed with the times he declined to change with it. An “originalist” indeed. You’d think the thing had been carved into stone tablets and fetched down from Sinai.

Predictably, before the body had cooled the GOP leadership was insisting that the prez follow their lead and not do his job, which includes nominating a new member of the Supremes.

“Leave it to the next president!” the Elefinks trumpet. Um, no. This one was elected to the job, twice, and last I looked he hadn’t cleaned out his desk yet. And the Constitution is pretty clear on the division of labor here, in Article II, Section 2:

The President … shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for. …

The Senate can certainly continue to ignore its duties, for which it should be roundly punished at the ballot box. But the prez seems inclined to shoulder his burden, and thus we continue to see the irresistible force doing battle with the immovable object.

One wonders what the Pachyderms are thinking here, or if. Is this a simple knee-jerk reaction to the man Turtle wanted to make a one-term president? Are they confident that a “reasonable” Establishment Republican (Bush) can take the Oval Office in November and tilt the Court further rightward? Maybe they think they can muscle a prez named Trump, Cruz or Rubio into doing their bidding (maybe yes with the latter, but good luck with the other two).

I’m surprised they’re not shitting themselves at the thought of the Hilldebeast filling that vacancy, or Comrade Eeyore. Were it me pulling those big red levers in the Senate, I’d be inclined to cut a deal with the fairly centrist fellow who has the gig now.

As for Scalia, well, he died as he lived, a creature of the elites, in a 30,000-acre West Texas resort where the rooms start at $350 a night and the little people are kept far, far away.

“If your goal is to get away and not be bothered and be in the lap of luxury,” [Marfa city attorney Teresa] Todd said, “it’s the perfect place.”

Scalia has gotten even farther away from us now. As to whether he’s being bothered, or reclining in the lap of luxury, well, that’s a question for the theologians, not lawyers or journalists.