Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

When will it be Labor Day?

September 5, 2022

The late, great Gahan Wilson.

We never hear of Capital Day, not because Capital has no day, but because every day is Capital Day. The struggle in which we are now engaged will end only when every day is Labor Day.Eugene V. Debs, Labor Day 1903

It’s still Capital Day. For now, anyway.

At The Guardian, Douglas Rushkoff recounts his chat with a secretive group of super-wealthy dudes “preparing for a digital future that had less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether.”

In short, they’ve grown tired of our sniveling about their shitting in our shared sandbox and wonder whether they might be able to dispense with us altogether.

Writes Rushkoff, a self-described humanist and Marxist media theorist who writes about the impact of digital technology on our lives:

Their extreme wealth and privilege served only to make them obsessed with insulating themselves from the very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is about only one thing: escape from the rest of us.

One of the capitalists’ main concerns centered on how to control their security people after The Event — “their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, solar storm, unstoppable virus, or malicious computer hack that takes everything down.”

Yep, that could be risky. A SEAL might grow weary of barking for fish from the plump, well-manicured pinkies of a plutocrat. How to get away from it all when you need to take a few of “them” with you?

What happens when Labor Day finally comes around for real?

One step beyond

August 31, 2022

Your money’s no good here, and neither is anything else.

Mikhail Gorbachev has died and gone to Commie Hell, which looks a lot like Walmart.

Capitalist Hell, of course, looks more like Bed Bath & Beyond.

If I cared to visit a BB&B, which I do not, I could wander right on in with my face hanging out as in days of yore, and not just because there would be no other customers (and possibly no employees).

No, it seems that overnight Bernalillo County has switched from Condition Red on the Bug-O-Meter to Go-Anywhere Green, for reasons which elude me.

Oh, wait, just thought of one: The Labor Day Drive Far and Spend Heavily While the Gas is Still Cheap(ish) Holiday Extravaganza. Get out there and buy something, you sissies!

I suppose it beats hanging out in the castle with Prospero, waiting for the Red Death to come knocking despite the “No Solicitors” sign on the door.

And if worse came to worst one could always bunker up in a Bed Bath & Beyond, which has to be the closest thing to a sterile environment outside the Wildfire lab near Flatrock, Nevada.

But still, it all seems a bit one step beyond. Madness!

A bang-up job

July 4, 2022

The morning clouds have been something to celebrate.

The only firecracker I personally set off today was a itty-bitty kiddie snap-pop left over from the previous night’s celebration in the cul-de-sac, a neighbor’s lightly explosive summertime labor of love. I hit it with a tire as I rolled out for an Independence Day bike ride.

Snap!

That felt about right, considering.

Albuquerque seemed unusually quiet for a Fourth of July, and I wondered once again whether The Duck! City is a place that people leave for a holiday, not one they visit.

Or maybe we’re all just wondering whether there’s anything left of America to celebrate.

We had a good group at last night’s fireworks show. Not exactly a representative sample of the U.S. population — hey, this is the ’burbs, and the foothills to boot — but if we were heavy on white-collar types from the university, the lab, and the government, we also had people of color and a sizable crop of kids, the most I’ve ever seen at one of these shindigs.

There were snacks and beverages and folding chairs. Squeals of delight from the young, and oohs and ahhs from the rest of us, with the occasional round of applause for a particularly percussive fountain.

The show didn’t start until 8:30 and so we were up a little later than we like, and I may have been a little grumpier than usual as I toured the foothills this morning on my old road-racing bike. Frowned as some oblivious tool blew right through a stop sign. Got mildly irked at an American flag protruding from a New Mexican zia with a security camera built in. (One nation, under surveillance.) And I actually flipped the bird to a banner reading, “Don’t Blame Us, We Voted for Trump!”

Finally, motorists eastbound on Paseo del Norte still haven’t figured out the new right-turn configuration at Tramway. Jesus wept, etc. You want to watch your ass cycling southbound if you ever want to see another fireworks show.

All this being said, there are bright spots. One of them is out there in the cul-de-sac right now with a leaf blower, clearing away any detritus he might have overlooked last night as the rest of us headed for bed.

He doesn’t have to do it. It’s a free country, amirite? But he’s doing it anyway, and not just for show, either. He does it because it’s a nice thing to do.

Sallying Fourth: It’s a gas

June 30, 2022

Get thee behind me.

Behold! The Fourth of July Holiday Travel Extravaganza is upon us, and gas prices are … falling?

Hee, and also haw.

You know what this means, right? If the prices had stayed high, why, you’d stay home, roast your weenies in the back yard. But they’ve dipped a few pennies, so fill ’er up, pard’, we’re gonna go visit grandma back at The Old Home Place, burn some of this discount dinosaur wine.

’Course, soon as you get there, boom! Up shoots the price at the pump. And son, you got to pay it to get home. A whole bunch of you.

Notes AAA:

Car travel volume … will break previous records as 42 million opt to drive this Independence Day. Recent issues with air travel and ongoing concerns of cancellations and delays may be driving this increase.

I hope to leave old Sue Baroo the Fearsome Furster in the garage through Monday. My idea of a real good time on a holiday weekend is not driving anywhere, even in The Duck! City.

Especially in The Duck! City. Herself recently told me a tale of some poor commuter who had a dope fiend jump on her car and beat in the windshield. Apparently some passing hardhats had to sedate him with a shovel. I’d rather hitch a ride on a flaming garbage truck.

Memorial Day menu

May 30, 2022

Lt. Harold J. O’Grady, formerly with Brooks-Scanlon Corp. of Foley, Florida.

Occasionally the mundane overwhelms.

Too hot to sleep. Whoops, almost forgot to set out the garbage and recycling. The last avocado’s gone bad; no guacamole for the morning toast. Do we have anything Herself the Elder will eat when we bring her over this afternoon? Or do I need to go to the grocery on Memorial Day?

“Boy, you sure get offered some shitty choices,” a Marine once said to me, and I couldn’t help but feel that what he really meant was that you didn’t get offered any at all. Specifically, he was just talking about a couple of C-ration cans, “dinner,” but considering his young life you couldn’t blame him for thinking that if he knew one thing for sure, it was that there was no one anywhere who cared less about what he wanted. There wasn’t anybody he wanted to thank for his food, but he was grateful that he was still alive to eat it, that the motherfucker hadn’t scarfed him up first. He hadn’t been anything but tired and scared for six months and he’d lost a lot, mostly people, and seen far too much, but he was breathing in and breathing out, some kind of choice all by itself.

Michael Herr, author of “Dispatches,” met that particular grunt in Vietnam. But he has brothers and sisters everywhere getting offered some shitty choices, mostly by us; our scrapings from the bottom of the ballot box, a real shit sandwich, one that eats you if you’re not careful, or simply unlucky. Just another kid snatched out of a small-town sawmill and shipped off to a picnic in someone else’s woods. One thing’s for sure — he won’t be “board” there!

Sometimes I think Memorial Day should be expanded to honor lives lost to lip service as well as national service. But there aren’t enough hours in the day. It could wind up bleeding all the way over into the Fourth of July.

The fir is flyin’

January 2, 2022

The jingle bells no longer rock at The Compound’s main gate.

Piss on the fir and call in the dawgs. The Christmas-New Year’s holiday is done and dusted.

Herself is on a mission this morning, breaking down all the holiday decorations and returning them to their closet.

The fake tree is closet-bound.

Later I’ll unplug the multicolored strand that’s a component of the outdoor lights encircling our courtyard tree. We use the white strand year round, ’cause having little dangly lights strung around and about to no particular purpose is kind of a New Mexico thing.

All this rooting around in closets is guaranteed to trigger a flurry of eBaying as useless items come to light.

“What’s this?”

“Beats me.”

“Can I sell it?”

“I dunno, can you?”

The answer to this last is, “Yes,” because Herself can sell anything. She could sell an anvil to a drowning man.

If my attention drifts for a nanosecond she will sell the office chair right out from under me. That chair and its occupant are not big earners lately. And they’re not cute, like the cat. They’re battered and stained and they smell like canned farts and broken dreams.

And they never purr.

Thus, sacrifices must be made. Propitiate the goddess. Quick, find some extraneous electronica to place upon her altar.

Not the outdoor lighting, though. It’s still New Mexico.

• One final holiday gift: Arlo and his new(ish) bride.

2022’s not so hot

January 1, 2022

It’s a wee bit weatherish in the ’hood today. First rain of the new year.
We’ll take it.

During the night, I heard what sounded like a brisk rain or maybe some wind-driven sleet peppering El Rancho Pendejo, a soothing musical overlay to the percussive fireworks, gunfire, and general revelry that traditionally accompanies New Year’s celebrations in The Duck! City.

Sure enough, when we arose to greet the new year we found a stiff wind, gray skies, and chilly temps. The weather widget reported 0.24 inch of precip. Yay, etc.

Checking in from Weirdcliffe, where temps were in the teens with a light snow falling, my man Hal Walter reported: “I have looked outside and see no good reason to get out of bed today.”

Of course, his neighborhood is not on fire. Hal confines all fire to his kitchen wood stove. Which he had to get up and feed (see video). Still, a man can dream, yeah?

We have a very slight chance of snow, but I won’t be breaking out the skis or snowshoes. It may be a new year, but I’m the same suspicious old dog. I’ll believe it’s snowing when I can write my name in it.

Happy happy joy joy to all of yis who keep popping round no matter what the calendar or your better judgment advises.

X’dmas

December 26, 2021

This way to the Egress.

Well, that’s that. Another holiday crossed off the calendar.

I threw out my back just in time for the festivities, so I was not the usual jolly old elf as I tottered around the kitchen assembling Emeril’s chicken cacciatore and Martha Rose Shulman’s stir-fried succotash while listening to my favorite traditional Christmas carols (“Christmas in Prison,” John Prine; “Merry Christmas From the Family,” Robert Earl Keen; “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis,” Tom Waits; “Christmas in Washington,” Steve Earle; and “St. Stephen’s Day Murders,” The Chieftains and Elvis Costello).

Having a bad back is like having a bad dog. You can feed it and scratch it and take it for walks but you never know when the sonofabitch is gonna bite you.

Nevertheless, I persisted, and with an assist from Herself (lemon bars with whipped cream) we took a bite of supper with Herself the Elder and then relaxed with some 22-year-old standup from Marc Maron, Dave Attell, and Mitch Hedberg on Comedy Central.

Eye see you.

This morning it seemed some portal to another dimension had opened while we slept off the grub and giggles. You can see it up there to the right of the backyard maple.

And unless I miss my guess this other shot at right is either of the Eye of Sauron or Cthulhu’s bunghole. Red eye or brown eye, it’s not something you want to see before coffee, especially with a dodgy back that hampers your ability to flee in terror.

The sun is peeking out now, and I may go for a short hobble, see if I can jar all my scattered bits back into their proper places.

But I tell you what: If a chiropractor had beckoned to me from that interdimensional gateway, I’da jumped through it like a bad dog hopping a fence, howling, “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn?” (“By any chance do you take Medicare?”)

The dump is closed for Thanksgiving

November 25, 2021

Never heard of a dump closed on Thanksgiving? Where you been, kid? On the Group W bench?

We almost always close this dump on Thanksgiving; for a little while, anyway. Think of it as a friendly gesture. Gives you a chance to have a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat, maybe a nap, before Officer Obie calls and all the after-dinner fun begins.

While you wait for the phone to ring, how about having a little singalong? If you want to end war and stuff, you gotta sing loud. We’re just waiting for it to come around, is what we’re doing. …

• In related news: Our patron saint of Thanksgiving is getting married. Congrats to Arlo and his bride-to-be, Marti. May their one big pile be better than two little piles.

All is well

November 24, 2021

It’s nearly kickoff time for the 2021 Cavalcade of Consumerism, so grab yourself a sammich and a frosty beverage and settle into the La-Z-Boy for the Big Game.

The NPD Group advises us that 30 percent of respondents to a recent survey yearn for the door-busting, clerk-trampling, no-holds-barred combat of Black Friday, in which sleep-deprived, half-frozen fatties who spent Thanksgiving night camped outside a Lubbock Best Buy do it hand to hand over dubious bargains on giant TVs that will watch them like famished zopilotes and suggest other must-have items based upon their observed activity, if any.

“Damn, another ad for Weight Watchers. And Planet Fitness. Who has the time? Pass the Fritos and bean dip.”

NPD doesn’t explain their survey methodology, but you know they didn’t ask for my thoughts, because 100 percent of me would rather stuff an angry ferret down his bibs than head for the trough on Black Friday to see what the Waltons are serving to the sneezers and wheezers (there’s still a plague going on, you may recall). Let ’em make their bacon out of the NPD’s dummies.

We plan a muted Thanksgiving here at El Rancho Pendejo. Herself will collect her mom from The Facility and we will do a late lunch —  cider-braised turkey thighs with taters and apples, stir-fried succotash with edamame, some class of a green salad, and Herself’s famous lemon bars. The ladies will enjoy a dram or two of wine, while I make do with a bottle of fake beer.

I bought the fixins on Monday to avoid the rush. There were just two cashiers at Sprouts and the queued natives were restless. If we get through the weekend without gunplay it will be a holiday miracle.