Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Fire, works

July 5, 2020

Looking back toward ’Burque from just beyond last month’s 5-acre blaze.

Yesterday Herself and I hiked up to the site of last month’s smallish foothills fire and pressed on a bit further for a peek at some of the as-yet-unburnt open space beyond.

It’s pretty up there. Great spot for young miscreants to engage in unsupervised experimentation with this, that, and the other. That’s what we would’ve used it for when I was a teenager possessed by various devils, anyway.

The Voodoo Nakisi parked along one of the zillions of trails in Bibleburg’s Palmer Park, circa 2013.

Our spot was Palmer Park, in Bibleburg. We called it “The Bluffs,” and it was where we went to act the fool, on foot, aboard bicycles, and finally in cars.

Never set the place ablaze, though. Not that I recall, anyway.

There’s a ton of short hikes like Sunset Canyon here in the foothills, and don’t I wish I had explored a few of them before FUBARing my right ankle, because there is generally a bit of scrambling involved.

The idea of finding myself sprawled in some rock garden with a freshly rebroken ankle, awaiting a visit from some carnivore that is decidedly not an EMT, is not my idea of a good time.

Back at El Rancho Pendejo we lunched on some leftover chicken chili with some blue corn ships and some grated Irish cheddar on a bed of rice.

Dinner was also a rerun, a second round of faux pizza I cobbled together using two Vicolo corn-meal crusts topped with some leftover pasta sauce (kind of a New Mexican arrabbiata), grated mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano, and chopped Applegate sweet Italian chicken sausage.

We’ve been trying to watch “Dark,” which is engrossing in a “Stranger Things” meets “Lost” kind of way, but it’s just too .. well, too dark for us at the moment.

Getting lit for the Fourth.

So instead we had a go at “The Florida Project,” a quirky little slice-of-odd-life kind of film that will feel familiar to anyone who’s ever stayed the night in a sketchy tourist-town motel and caught a glimpse of the regulars who are definitely not there for the fun of it.

As H.I. observes in “Raising Arizona,” it ain’t “Ozzie and Harriet.”

The evening’s entertainment concluded with the annual fireworks extravaganza put on by our neighbors to the west, who’ve been bringing the boom for their kids and everyone else’s for a couple decades now.

It was a socially distant version of their usual Fourth of July celebration. Also not exactly “Ozzie and Harriet,” but nevertheless a welcome reminder that life, quirky as it is, goes on.

Ooooooh … ahhhhhhhhh. …

Go Man Van Gogh

July 3, 2020

Get thee behind me.

The Fourth of July holiday weekend is upon us, we are urged to park our bad selves at home, and here comes The New York Times to torment us with an article headlined “The #Vanlife Business Is Booming.”

Because of course it is. If you have a few hundred thou’ burning a hole in your skinny jeans, that is.

The hoi polloi may find the Mercedes Metris conversion more their style (or the lack thereof, ho ho ho). You can get one of those for under a hundred large.

Or you can just knucklehead it on the cheap. Throw a surplus pup tent, a Coleman bag, and an Igloo full of PBR and weenies into the Wagoneer, break down a gate at some national forest, and shoot the ol’ AK until you can’t hear the voices in your head anymore.

Anyone tells you to knock it off, or asks where your face mask’s at, tell the sumbitch he’s gonna wish he was wearing a catcher’s mask and give ’im the butt in the beezer.

Murka, baybee! USA! USA! USA! Land of the Free*!

* Some restrictions may apply.

Happy Juneteenth

June 19, 2020

What a brilliantly simple illustration for an essay on whether the “b” in “black” should be capitalized. I appropriated it from The Atlantic.

I made Juneteenth very famous, as you know.

No, I didn’t. And neither did that other peckerwood.

I’m not big on holidays. They were nothing to look forward to in the newspaper biz. Whether it’s Arbor Day or Zoo Lovers Day, the paper must appear. And no matter what capitalist fantasies motivate the business decisions at Gannett and Alden Global Capital, a newspaper won’t publish itself. Yet.

Once you’ve eaten a few dozen “holiday” meals at your desk while decoding a school-board story written by a functional alcoholic the term “holiday” loses all meaning.

Most holidays are dubious, anyway. Christmas? Sorry, not one of mine. Thanksgiving? Is that the one where George Washington threw his wooden teeth across the Potomac and killed a turkey perched in a cherry tree? Fourth of July? That’s the “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” one, right? Except for, you know, those people.

Then there’s Juneteenth. LIke Independence Day, it commemorates a beginning, a first step on a long march to a battle that seems to have no ending.

Though the celebration has its roots in Texas, I don’t recall hearing about it when I was in school down there. Too busy teaching us about how John Wayne fought Communism at the Alamo, I guess.

We never heard anything about the 1921 Tulsa Massacre, either.

And so I suffered from ignorance, a condition with which I continue to struggle. It, too, is a long march. The trick is to keep putting one foot ahead of the other while keeping your eyes, ears, and mind open.

Here’s something I stumbled across along the path. It drew my attention because I’m an old newshound, a retired copy editor, and I love watching the language as it tries to evolve to meet the times. It’s an article in The Atlantic by Kwame Anthony Appiah, a professor of philosophy and law at New York University, and it’s titled “The Case for Capitalizing the ‘B’ in ‘Black.'”

Hell ain’t half full

May 25, 2020

Through a glass, darkly.

You can’t spell “Memorial Day” without “me.”

The other night we revisited one of the great plague movies, Terry Gilliam’s “12 Monkeys.” A line delivered by Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) has long been a favorite observation around El Rancho Pendejo:

“There’s no right, there’s no wrong, there’s only popular opinion.”

How do I feel about something? What’s in it for me? If enough people think the way I do, it must be Truth, yeah?

So count me among the unsurprised when I see people packing Maryland’s Ocean City boardwalk, standing shoulder to shoulder in pools at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, or crowding around some tool tossing money from a car in Daytona Beach, Fla.

“Disney’s closed, Universal’s closed, everything’s closed. So where did everybody come? On the first warm day with 50 percent opening, everybody came to the beach,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood told CBS Miami.

It practically goes without saying that Il Douche spent the weekend tweeting like a fat orange budgie on Adderall and urging Americans to go to church while he air-mailed divots to Jesus from one of his own golf courses. Dude brings a whole new meaning to the term “a bad lie.”

What does surprise me is that no matter who is “in charge,” or whether the enemy du jour is a Saudi with a box cutter, a highly communicable disease, or some other threat most Americans have never seen, some of us continue volunteering for and serving in the armed forces, or signing up for less celebrated duty at emergency rooms, cop shops, nursing homes, fire departments, pharmacies, sewage treatment plants, grocery stores, appliance-repair shops, hardware stores, restaurants, and delivery services.

I’m guessing that a lot of these folks would rather the customers hadn’t spent the Memorial Day weekend playing Beach Booger Bingo with a few thousand of their closest friends.

But hey, what do I know? There’s no right, there’s no wrong. …

¡Feliz año nuevo!

January 1, 2020

Another one bites the dust.

Well, here we are. 2020. A whole new year to play with. It’s like bringing that new bike home from the shop. Can’t wait to take it out for a spin.

Actually, I’m in no rush. It’s still below freezing out there at the moment, and it wasn’t much warmer when I took an old bike for a spin yesterday afternoon.

It was a Steelman Eurocross, and the only reason it and I were on the trails was to squeeze one final drop of fun from the old year. There was a chilly wind from the north, and I was wearing my heavy-duty bib tights, two long-sleeve polypro undershirts, a stout long-sleeve winter jersey, tuque plus cycling cap, winter gloves, wool socks, and winter shoes.

The trails were just a bit tacky, which was fine, especially when I took a detour through a gravel wash. This is a long, gradual uphill, and not ideal for 33mm tires in dry conditions unless you’re Belgian or Dutch. I put ’er in 36×28 and ground me some gravel, just like the Kool Kidz do.

All in all this proved a relaxing interlude between bouts of tech support at Herself the Elder’s place. She’s been having trouble getting her iPhone and hearing aids to make nice together via Bluetooth. The cable-TV setup is likewise challenging. Once again we find engineers making things more complex than they need to be, just because they can.

“Lookit me, I’m engineering!” Indeed you are, Poindexter, and I hope your granny writes you out of her will.

So, yeah, studying the catechism of elder tech, pondering the mysteries. Lacking faith, but doing the works in hopes of enlightenment.

After some success that can be described only as limited Herself and I came home to El Rancho Pendejo, warmed up some leftovers, watched a bit of standup on Netflix, and called it a night long before the ball dropped in Times Square.

Tomorrow, we agreed, would be another day. Year. Whatevs. Where the gravel at?

Ride ’em, snowboy

December 25, 2019

Frosty the Snow-’neck wants to know where in tarnation the biscuits and gravy is at.

Happy happy joy joy, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

Here’s a-hopin’ all you little buckaroos got what y’wanted insteada what y’deserved. We should all be so lucky.

Feed bagged

November 29, 2019

Dinner, tabled.

Well, that could’ve gone better.

Thanksgiving 2019 proved something of a bust at El Rancho Pendejo. The mom-in-law was not feeling up to snuff after a poor night’s sleep and hardly any breakfast. A record-shattering snowfall and the subsequent need for shoveling same delayed dinner about 90 minutes. And Mama Kerr’s lemon meringue pie never came off the bench.

The paprika chicken with turnips and taters got in the game, though, as did the stir-fried succotash and baking powder biscuits.

By the time we had all the starters lined up on the field, alas, the MIL was not exactly eager to tie on the old feed bag. She nibbled a bit of this and that, and then asked to be taken back to assisted living. The abrupt changes she’s endured in the past couple of weeks — moving from sea level to altitude, trading a tropical climate for our semi-arid variety, and waking up to a historic Thanksgiving dumper — probably didn’t help matters.

But I got in a bit of upper-body work, shoveling the driveways here and at assisted living, so I got that going for me, which is nice. There are plenty of leftovers, which is nicer. And today Herself will take her mom out for a manicure and maybe a smallish bite of lunch somewhere.

Meanwhile, the merchants are pitching but I ain’t catching. Let ’em blacken someone else’s Friday, sez I.

White Thursday

November 28, 2019

The view from the Main Portal at stupid-thirty.

… the well-known precursor to Black Friday.

A reconnaissance

November 25, 2019

“A Reconnaissance,” by Frederic Remington,
liberated from the National Gallery of Art.

Saddle up, buckaroos. We’re fixin’ to mosey into the heart of the Holiday Roundup.

As is often the case, the weather seems likely to suck come Eat the Bird. Some big-ass storm is poised to gallop from Californy right through Fort Fun, taking a giant dump on many a carefully devised travel plan. Why, we may even get a dash of the white stuff here in the Duke City.

Happily, we ain’t goin’ nowhere. The mom-in-law will be joining us here at El Rancho Pendejo for the holiday feast, but this will entail a round trip of about eight miles tops. Not like those 260-mile, stop-and-go death marches we used to endure between Bibleburg and Fort Fun, watching our fellow travelers take high-speed diggers in the median and/or ditches and then clog the breakdown lanes and/or frontage roads trying to find a workaround.

Mind you, this was on dry roads. If the weather were turble bad, why, then we might really see something.

Where are all y’all bound?

Boo

October 31, 2019

Naw, that ain’t Orange You-Know-Who. His bulb ain’t that bright.

Nothing says Halloween like a plastic Chinese jack-o’-lantern wearing a Schwinn cap, backlit by Cygolite tail lights.

What appears to be the Ghost of Tariffs Present flapping around in the background is a blanket folded across the back of my office rocker.

Boogity boogity boogity.