Archive for the ‘Milestones’ Category

John McCain goes west

August 26, 2018

Just a little souvenir wisenheimery from the bad old days.

You’re going to see some relentless hagiography about John McCain from the national press for the better part of quite some time.

That’s the audience he played to, after all.

For a different perspective, check out Amy Silverman’s piece in the Phoenix New Times. Silverman, who covered McCain in the 1990s, calls him “one of the most fascinating politicians in history,” and a few other things, too.

I saw him mostly as a ruthless opportunist, a tireless self-promoter, focused on John McCain the Brand®. You could dig down into what seemed on the surface to be some statesmanly act and see the real McCain down there, smirking and rubbing his hands together. He recalled President Eisenhower’s secretary of defense, Charles Erwin Wilson, who famously told the Senate Committee on Armed Services: “For years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa. The difference did not exist.”

Substitute “John McCain” for “General Motors” and you’ll see what I mean.

Like George W. Bush he achieved high office thanks in part to a famous name, unearned wealth and a pugnacious ignorance that some mistook for straight shooting. Unlike Dubya, McCain was a sure-enough tough guy. But both suffered from the delusion that their guts held all the answers they’d ever need.

Hammers in search of nails, they teamed up to bring us the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which continue to rack up bills and body counts. For an up-close-and-personal look at the latter, see Pulitzer-winner C.J. Chivers and his excellent book, “The Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Remember “that old Beach Boys song? ‘Bomb Iran?'” You can be sure the Iranians do. As do more than a few American pilots who already had plenty on their plates, I imagine.

Here’s another lame joke that happily fell flat: For his last presidential bid, in 2008, McCain scraped the bottom of the Republican barrel and came up with running mate Caribou Barbie, in a stroke legitimizing the Tinfoil Beanie Brigade. Some think this is the shove that sent the Republic on its drunken stagger toward Il Douche, but we’ve always leaned in that direction and it was only a matter of time before we finally got there.

When you hear all the sermons about McCain’s selfless devotion to country, remember what he was willing to do to win the presidency. He would have sacrificed us all on the altar of his own ambition.

• Editor’s note: Charlie Pierce, who had a much closer look at McCain than I did, recalls a man he liked and admired, while adding that he “was destined, always, to disappoint me politically, but that was only because we didn’t agree on anything.”

Happy New Year

January 1, 2018

The evening meal consisted of bean burritos smothered in green chile with a side of Mexican rice. Dessert? Raspberry cobbler.

It was a quiet New Year’s Eve around El Rancho Pendejo.

Since I no longer smoke, drink or dance the hoochie-koo, I’m no fun on the big night. And we didn’t have any invites to fancy shindigs at which I might not act the fool. So we spent the day catching up with distant friends and family, cooking a bit of this and that, and going to bed long before the ball dropped in Times Square.

Neighbors with more stamina blew me out of a sound sleep as 2017 sequed into 2018, discharging their muskets, flintlocks and blunderbusses with wild abandon. If there was any body count, it didn’t make the morning paper, no doubt because those misfits were out in the street banging away too.

Having already achieved perfection I have no New Year’s resolutions. I’m taking a 30-day break from Twitter that may become permanent because I think it’s making my head fat and I’d like to be able to squeeze into my old hats again. Plus I think there may be more productive ways to pass the time, like pounding sand down a rathole, pissing into the wind, or baying at the moon like some infernal hound.

And there’s riding the bike, too. In 2017 I managed 2,767.8 miles, more than in 2016 but without a single, solitary tour. Bad Adventure Cyclist! Bad, bad, bad! Go sit in that office chair and think about what you’ve (not) done! And then blog about it.

This unspeakable sloth will persist throughout today. After a light breakfast Herself and I plan a short New Year’s trail run. At some point the black-eyed peas and cornbread will make an appearance, and the burritos smothered in green may get an encore, too. The raspberry cobbler, alas, is a goner.

Meanwhile, happy happy joy joy to thee and thine, and a thousand thank-yous for popping round the old cracker barrel during 2017. Let’s do it some more in 2018.

Threescore and three

March 27, 2017

The clouds were creeping in over the Sandias come afternoon.

Got the birthday ride in — did 63 kilometers, not miles, for anyone keeping score — and it looks like I picked the right day for it, because the weather seems to be taking a turn for the worse. I’ll be running tomorrow, if I get out at all.

A powerful tailwind added a couple miles per hour to the usual slog back from the Paseo del Bosque, and glad I was to have it, too. One of these days I need to acquire one of them comosellamas all the Kool Kidz have, whatchacall your e-lectronical whizbang that tells you how much vertical gain you’ve logged over the course of a day’s cycling. My educated guess for today’s little outing is “a right shitload.”

Anyway, pizza for dinner and a couple episodes of “Fargo” for dessert. It’s a weirdo, just like its daddy the Coen brothers movie of the same name. But you can’t go wrong with the likes of Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman and Bob Odenkirk, y’know. Yah, real good now.

 

Happy birthday, Sis

December 27, 2016
Peggy, Sandy and me, circa 1960, in Ottawa, Quebec, Canada.

Peggy, Sandy and me, circa 1960, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

A big feliz cumpleaños goes out to my baby sis, Peggy, who turns 60 today.

While I’ve had a high old time acting the fool, heaping shame upon the family name and running my mouth in public to no particular purpose, Peggy has worked quietly and anonymously to extend the helping hand of the State to folks who need one.

Whenever some knucklehead brays that government is the problem, not the solution, I think of my sister and smile.

Happy birthday, Sis.