Archive for the ‘Health care’ Category

A Charles Pelkey live update

January 16, 2023

The GoFundMe that David Stanley set up to help our old pal Charles “Live Update Guy” Pelkey is ticking along nicely, which is more than I can say for the “classic” LUG video up above.

As of 2 p.m. Dog time the fund was at $24,410 — a tip jar that we never could’ve imagined when we were begging for nickels to run Live Update Guy. A thousand thank-yous to everyone who has contributed and/or spread the word about the fundraiser.

Now, give a listen to another old pal, Diane “The Outspoken Cyclist” Jenks, who interviewed David for the most recent episode of her long-running podcast.* You’ll get a better idea of how all this good fellowship came about.

If you haven’t joined the party, here’s a link to CP’s GoFundMe page.

* One minor correction: The cartoon of Charles that accompanies the GoFundMe news Diane and I spread around is not by Your Humble Narrator. It’s by David Brinton, a.k.a. Brintoni, who did such great work illustrating “At the Back” in VeloNews while I was up front pissing on people’s shoes.®

LUG nuttery from days gone by

January 10, 2023

Editor’s note: While we’re waiting to hear from the man himself, I’ve unearthed a couple moldy oldies — a short video I did for Live Update Guy, and a piece I wrote about Charles “The Big LUG” Pelkey back in 2017, when I still had a column at Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. Meanwhile, you can offload your spare change into Mr. P’s Tip Jar at GoFundMe.

• • •

“He shook his head, and as he shook his head, I heard someone ask him, ‘Please, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles … dance.”—Jerry Jeff Walker, “Mr. Bojangles”

By Patrick O’Grady

This July marked the first time in years that I haven’t been required to follow the Tour de France.

So I didn’t. And it was swell.

Well, mostly.

I’ve spent nearly three decades paddling my little canoe along the bright yellow revenue stream of the Tour without ever having to visit its source in France, which I hear is quite a drive from Albuquerque, even in a Subaru.

The Tour got me into bicycle racing in the Eighties, and bicycle racing got me out of the newspaper business in the Nineties, before The Suits declared open season on copy editors.

Fight or flight? Flight, I thought as I hit the door running, and when does the beverage cart come around? Make mine a double. Anybody who thinks a pan-flat, 200km sprinters’ stage in the Tour is dull never edited a school-board story at 10:30 p.m., when sensible people are already half in the bag.

But even the Tour loses its kick after a while. And so, after Charles Pelkey and I agreed to leave his Live Update Guy project parked for 2017, I celebrated by stuffing part of a bike and all of my left hand into a trailside cholla.

Funny money. Of all the things I’ve done for money, Live Update Guy scores way up there on the fun meter.

This odd little enterprise came about in “Let’s put on a show!” fashion, a la Busby Berkeley’s “Babes in Arms.” Or maybe Monty Python’s “The Crimson Permanent Assurance” would be closer to the mark.

Charles had been handling live updates and other chores for a Boulder-based cycling enterprise until he got a pink slip and a black diagnosis more or less simultaneously in 2011, two days after the Tour wrapped.

The one-two punch of unemployment and breast cancer couldn’t keep him down, though. He put his University of Wyoming law degree to work full time, eventually becoming a co-founder of the Laramie firm Neubauer, Pelkey and Goldfinger, LLP.

But Charles still enjoyed following pro cycling, and while undergoing chemotherapy he hung out another shingle, LiveUpdateGuy.com, and called the 2011 Vuelta a España—supported not by advertising, or vulture capitalists, but by his readership.

Like Mr. Bojangles, Charles was dancing for tips.

Hey-o! I joined the show in 2012, but Charles was the star, and rightly so.

For starters, he had actually been to all three grand tours, performing feats of journalism. In this new role, he arose at stupid-thirty for the start of nearly every stage of nearly every GT, and generally carried on till the bitter end, then popped back in later to add results for the data-obsessed.

I generally clocked in late to make fart noises, get things wrong, and make people crazy. In other words, same as I do here.

This has its limits, as you know. If Charles had lawyering to do and left the keys to the joint with me, eyeballs and donations dropped off accordingly. Nobody turned on the “The Tonight Show” to watch Ed McMahon. They wanted Johnny.

Spare change? We said LUG operated on the NPR model—light on commercials, heavy on beggary—but it was more like busking next to an upturned hat on a downtown sidewalk.

When the act was good, we got paid. Not so good, not so paid. It was an astoundingly libertarian business model for two old commies, though there was a Marxist overlay; we didn’t bounce anyone who couldn’t or wouldn’t pay. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

We got a big assist from the audience, which included an actual monsignor at the actual Vatican who proved a prodigious daily essayist; a generous East Coast equestrian with a crush on Peter Sagan; and a poet laureate who affected the guise of a herring-mad penguin.

“I’d say that some of my favorite memories involve the family that we created out of that site,” said Charles. “They are a wonderful group of people. It’s been a privilege to get to know a lot of them.”

It’s … Monty Liggett. When action was slow on the road, LUG served up running gags (Monty Python and various Liggettisms were in heavy rotation).

So, too, were clubby and impenetrable acronyms like HWSNBN (“He Who Shall Not Be Named,” for a certain Texan), and NRRBBB (“Non-Race-Related Blah-Blah-Blah”), in which some critics argued we indulged too freely.

But when you have the effrontery to provide live commentary on a grand tour from start to finish, and from the wrong side of the pond, with few resources beyond unreliable video feeds and your equally dubious wits, it’s hard not to tumble into the ditch of digression now and then.

Some days trying to keep it between the ditches felt an awful lot like work. So, with Charles now a legislator as well as a lawyer—he won election to the state legislature in 2015—and me wanting to ride a bike in the early morning before the Duke City desert starts to smoke, it seemed wise to take a break this time around.

Maybe not, though. Because if we had been calling the Tour, safe in the ever-lovin’ arms of the LUG Nuts, I might not have stuck my hand into that damn’ cactus.

• Editor’s note v2.0: This column appeared in the Aug. 1, 2017, issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

McShrooms

October 25, 2022

Roll another one. …

The Suits have come for your ’shrooms.

Jesus H. Don Juan and St. Castaneda preserve us! Is nothing sacred? Is there anything global capitalism will not besmirch with its grabby little hands?

Coming soon to a strip mall near you: a chain trippery called Mescalito’s. Try the gluten-free non-GMO vegan Peyote Burger with a side of Zoom ’Shrooms and a Cabron Lite® CBD lager!

Sorry, we haven’t had a drive-through window since a VW van full of hippies got caught in an M.C. Escher-King Crimson feedback loop at our Taos location and wound up circling the joint like hairy zopilotes until they ran out of gas.

So much for being a Trippist monk, growing your own revelations.

Oh, well. I guess even Mother Church has to buy the wafers and wine from someone.

In other news that makes you wonder who’s taking what:

• What’s this shit? The state of California has slammed the lid on San Francisco’s plans for a $1.7 million public toilet in Noe Valley. Is that a steep price for a one-holer? Does the pope shit in the woods? Noe thank you, please. Apparently there are some crappers down which not even California will flush the taxpayers’ dollars.

• Holy shit! Is Pootie-poot really contemplating a false-flag “dirty bomb” attack that would justify his use of nuclear weapons to pull his nicely roasted lil’ chestnuts out of the fire in Ukraine? If we’re going headfirst down that glow-in-the-dark loo, I’m gonna need some ’shrooms, stat.

TGIF?

May 6, 2022

“Go ahead, open that door and reach in here. Make my day.”

It’s Little Old Lady Day here at El Rancho Pendejo, and each of us has a vieja to wrangle.

Herself gets to take Herself the Elder out for a salon cut and perhaps some medium-light snackage. And I, as you can see, got to take Miss Mia Sopaipilla to the vet for her regular checkup.

I thought I’d scored the easy duty. But as you know, I will never be smart.

Shortly after we arrived at the vet’s another customer roared in with a pair of infernal hounds, one of whom was going full Baskerville. This did not improve Mia’s mood — she does not care for cat carriers, cars, doctors, or dogs — and by the time a vet popped round to attend to her, well, she was puffed up to about six times normal size and hissing like a vampire who was a couple quarts low.

So, instead of the simple drive-by doctoring I had been expecting, I found myself choosing between rescheduling (and perhaps sedation) or letting Miss Mia chill out for a while in the felines-only ward, to see if she might turn back into a mild-mannered elderly cat instead of Bastet with a Hulk overlay and a side of rabies. I picked Door No. 2 and headed for home.

Now I’m almost 100 percent certain that if I get all kitted up for what looks to be the last decent day for cycling before what firefighters and weatherpersons are predicting will be “at least four days of wind, dryness and hot temperatures,” why, that is when the phone will ring. It will be the vet, who will tell me that she is off to Las Vegas because it’s safer to fight fires than Miss Mia.

Looks like a hot time in the old town no matter how you slice it.

Freezing Friday

January 21, 2022

Ice, ice, baby.

Went to the taxidermist this morning and they said they wouldn’t need to skin me this time.

“Nope, you look as well as can be expected for a wretched old bag of bone splinters and bad ideas,” the hide inspector said. “But since I don’t get to use the melon baller on you again I’m going to freeze this spot on top of your head because a little hit of schadenfreude relieves my weltzschmerz, if only for a moment. Also, you have health insurance.”

She also found the usual scattering of “wisdom spots,” but not inside my head, where I could really use them.

Nothing but blue skies

March 26, 2021

Puffy clouds to the north, above the garage.

Wednesday’s snow tamped down the pollen for a while, which is a pleasant respite for the snotlocker.

It’s still not warm — 39° at the moment, which would be 10 in the a.m. on a Friday morning — but as we’ve noted before, nobody who lives in the desert should complain when it’s cool and damp. Because it never lasts.

Sleepy Joe held his first presser yesterday, but I had to bail on it after just a few minutes because I kept hearing Dana Carvey’s spot-on impression of him in my head and couldn’t focus on what the real Joe was saying. I know, I know, bad citizen, bad bad citizen! 

But from what little I saw, and read afterward, I feel confident when I say that Sleepy José is unlikely to challenge his predecessor’s score on the Loon-O-Meter® anytime soon.

Meanwhile, Herself is slated to get her first jab today. She and a colleague will each get a dose of Moderna, and then if the weather permits they might find some nearby bistro for a socially distant bite of something and perhaps a celebratory shot that doesn’t go in the arm.

And I am scheduled for round two in late April, at the same place that stuck me on Wednesday. Round one left me with an achy arm and a touch of fatigue, though the latter could have been weather- or allergy-induced. As far as I know my DNA remains unchanged, I am not shedding mutant viruses, and I have not croaked. Yet.

Or is that just what “they” would have you believe?

Stuck

March 24, 2021

My sticker sticker.

It practically goes without saying that on the morning when I was to drive a dozen miles northwest and a thousand feet down to get my first shot of Kindly Old Doc Pfizer’s Sho-nuff Genuine Bug Killer, it would be snowing sideways from the northeast at 40 mph, the power would be yo-yoing, and the cul-de-sac would look like the top of a Marie Callender’s coconut cream pie fresh from the freezer.

The wind, the power outage(s), and the cat clued us in at about 2 a.m. that it would be an interesting morning indeed. Ordinarily we’re talking about a 15-minute drive here, most of it in fifth gear. But traffic lights were out all over the place, with transformers on fire, and I had my doubts about whether we would even be getting out of the garage.

But I noticed that two neighbors had laid down tracks in the pie — pardon, the snow — and when I checked various weather cams around town I was all like, “Say what? Are these shots from yesterday?”

Nope. The fabled Albuquerque Snow Hole was in full effect. And so, by the time we slalomed through the whiteout and one pileup (not us) to the corner of Tramway Boulevard and Tramway Road, it was smooth sailing all the way down to the Presbyterian COVID-19 Vaccination Hub. The wind wasn’t even blowing down there, and we were seriously overdressed.

We were also about 40 minutes early, which turned out to be perfect. Seriously, the whole deal took about 45 minutes, including standing in line, passing through various checkpoints, getting the shot, and spending 15 minutes afterward waiting to see whether I’d turn into The Incredible Hulk or just explode in a manky cloud of pink stink.

Everybody involved was cheerful, helpful, prepared, and efficient. It was the finest example of the American Health Care Machine in operation that I’ve seen since … well, since forever. Frankly, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Bravo and chapeau to everyone involved, including Herself, who came along to make sure I did not soil myself (I hate needles, unless I’m the one doing the needling).

Climb every mountain

December 15, 2020

The southern end of the Candelaria Bench Trail.

My work, such as it is, is done for the year.

Actually, I’ve already shipped the first cartoon of the New Year to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. That hole in the back of the book won’t fill itself, after all. Especially since all the hate mail goes up front.

I should’ve celebrated with a bike ride, but I didn’t feel like pulling on all that winter kit, like some elderly knight gearing up for a quest. So instead I went for a short march through the foothills, figuring I’d finish breaking in the low-rise Merrell hikers I’ve mostly been using for street wear.

Looking west along Comanche.

El Rancho Pendejo sits at the bottom of a cul-de-sac and endures considerable shade on its eastern and southern sides, especially when the sun is low in the sky, so I always think it’s going to be colder outside than it really is. And our little weather station said 32 degrees with a brisk wind out of the north.

But once I got out in it I enjoyed myself immensely, in large part because it’s harder for the shit-flinging monkeys of the media to draw a bead on a moving target.

The lightweight boots felt great on the trail, so I scampered up a couple short climbs just for giggles. While I was up there I took a nice long sight along Comanche at all the country I haven’t been able to visit this year.

Hey, at least I was outside. Forty-five minutes, an hour, hour and a half … they’re not much, these little expeditions of mine, but they’re a whole lot better than nothing at all. A small thing, but oh, how very, very necessary.

And now that the vaccines are rolling out, maybe it won’t be long before the people who’ve been locked down for real, for months, in nursing homes, group residences, and assisted-living facilities, will be able to get a breath of fresh air. Even if they have to take it through a mask, in a wheelchair, on a sidewalk.

Nuts?

October 22, 2020

Thanks, but I prefer mine dry roasted and salted.
And in a sealed plastic bag, from the grocery.

What we have here is a metaphor for the last presidential election, right down to the health-care plan.

“I can’t say it’s cult activity,” the sheriff told reporters. “It is something that we have never in my career run across in this part of the country. It is borderline some type of activity. … We know there’s a lot of rumors out there but at this time there’s no danger to the public.”

Uh huh. Just a couple good ol’ boys who took teabagging to a whole new level.

‘Turmeric? Yeah, you gotta take that shit. …’

September 15, 2020

“Turmeric May Ease Knee Arthritis,” reports The New York Times.

Hey, my boy Marc Maron got there first, dudes.