Archive for the ‘Plague’ Category

Pup fiction

October 21, 2020

Anxiety dreams last night: I was walking the earth, like Caine in “Kung Fu,” hoofing it from place to place, meeting people, and getting in adventures.

And everywhere I went nobody was wearing a mask.

I was outraged, weaving through the shambling hordes of brain-dead booger-bags as though they were zombie cowboys bent on nativist misbehavior, until I realized that I was likewise unmasked, with my ugly mug hanging out in the wind.

No doubt any competent brain mechanic could make sense of this. I’m guessing it means that deep down I think we’re all in the shit together. Just another kernel panic in MeatWorld™.

Probably didn’t help that I saw a bunch of maskless wanderers on my bike ride yesterday. Or that the guv’nah gave New Mexicans another dressing-down for spreading El Buggo® like honey on a sopaipilla. We are not yet in the actual shit, she sez to us she sez, but we are certainly circling the bowl.

I’m doing my part, boss. Staying home except for grocery shopping and exercise. Washing my paws. And wearing my mask.

Whenever I’m awake, that is. Who doesn’t dream about not wearing a mask?

Fly-Pence 2024?

October 8, 2020

Hat tip to the inimitable B. Kliban.

“Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have I. Insects … don’t have politics. They’re very … brutal. No compassion, no compromise.” — Seth Brundle, “The Fly”

‘Wicked, tricksy, false!’

October 4, 2020

“I’m just peachy, really. Tip-top, actually. Never better. Back at the ol’ desk any day now.”

Well, we seem to have blown right past the question of whether Bugsy Sméagol has The Plague and are now deep into the slimy weeds of lies surrounding just how bad his case might be, O yes, my precious.

This, oddly, may be the one thing about this “presidency” that is not unique, as Chazbo Pierce points out in his weekly letter from The Shebeen (subscription required).

Diseases have croaked as many presidents as have bullets (four apiece). And plenty of administrations have concealed the fact that the president was teetering on the edge of eternity, or at least a couple tacos short of a combo plate.

Now instead of trotting out a platoon of generals or economists to give us the old hocus, and also the pocus, Bugsy’s handlers send us a squad of Walter Reed whitecoats to add their spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, i.e., what The New York Times calls “conflicting accounts” of his condition.

Over at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum draws our attention to the sociopath behind the curtain, giving us the timeline as he sees it and calling the conduct of Bugsy and his goons “reckless beyond belief.”

I find it entirely believable, but hey, let’s agree to disagree.

This is a cult of personality we’ve been dealing with since Bugsy surfed the golden escalator into the GOP presidential pissing match, in which he proved to be the biggest dick.

You don’t get stand-up guys in a cult. What you get is scabby-kneed old hoors with calluses on the insides of their mouths. Bloated ticks sporting American-flag lapel pins. The occasional professional rat who knows the fastest way off a sinking ship and through a publisher’s office into the talk-show green rooms.

Nobody had the stones to get a hammerlock on Hitler, Stalin, or Mao, either, mostly because those gentlemen would have had them ground into puppy treats for the guard dogs.

This guy may kill a few of his punks too. Not because they stood up to him, but because they bowed down to him, with their faces hanging out in his toxic wind.

Until and unless The Plague gets them, the only thing these spineless hooters are scared of is missing out on their sip from the gravy boat as it goes around The Big Table.

I ain’t buying it

October 2, 2020

Step right up, everyone’s a winner, bargains galore. …

There is no reason in the world to believe a single, solitary word that comes out of this guy’s fat yap.

And every reason in the world to believe that a “diagnosis” does him more than a few favors.

So until I see something more than “Trump said,” it’s no sale.

• Housekeeping note: WordPress has decided to impose its new block editor on those of us who had been resisting the change. So expect a few hitches in the gitalong here at the Chuckle Hut until I find the Rosetta Stone for this fucker or find some alternative method of bloggery.

Happy trails

September 3, 2020

The Elena Gallegos Open Space was awash in goodwill on Wednesday.

Maybe it was the abrupt change in temperature from “hot as balls” to “ooh that’s nice.”

During a short ride around the Elena Gallegos Open Space yesterday morning everyone I met was in high spirits. Not a sourpuss in the lot.

Cyclists, equestrians, hikers, moms with kids, dog-walkers — everybody was smiling as though the Republic were ticking along like a fine watch instead of missing on three of eight cylinders, leaking vital fluids, and badly in need of a front-end alignment.

I haven’t been riding the trails much during the Year of the Bug because once everyone who could work from home was working from home, well … it seemed that a lot of them were not exactly working from home. Not unless their homes were on the range, where the deer and the antelope — and Your Humble Narrator — play.

With a dodgy ankle I doubted my ability to excel at “Dodge the Noob,” so mostly I abandoned the trails for the roads, though occasionally I’d hit some short, wide, low-traffic trail to cleanse the old velo-palette.

But six months later I’m more or less myself, or someone very much like him. And yesterday I didn’t have to dodge anyone. The thundering herd seemed to have thinned a bit, and those who remained didn’t give off that displaced-gym-rat vibe. Earbuds were very much not in evidence. Mostly I yielded trail, of course, even when I had the right of way. But occasionally people who had the right of way even yielded to me.

Cheery greetings were exchanged, munchkins on strider bikes applauded, horsemanship admired. Even my battered Voodoo Nakisi drew some appreciation.

“Doing some cyclocross, hey?” asked one guy after I complimented his dog, some class of burly curly black wonderpooch. I explained that my bike was a 29er with drop bars, your basic monstercrosser, just the thing for the Elena Gallegos trails, and then headed for the barn.

It was a random sample, not a scientific poll. Pundits will not cite it as evidence of a trend going into the November election. But I found it comforting. For an hour or so, anyway.

And they’re off!

August 29, 2020

You just knew there was gonna be some sunflowers involved, amirite?

Any bets as to whether they make it to Paris?

In case you can’t read The New York Times story, enjoy this howler from Le Tour general director Christian Prudhomme, discussing whether a squad with a shot at the yellow jersey might try to circumvent the race’s plague protocols should The Bug® join the team late in the game.

Prudhomme dismissed such concerns, arguing that it was “everyone’s responsibility” to respect the protocols. “I don’t see how people wouldn’t respect the rules,” he said.

Ho, ho, etc. Laugh, I thought I’d die.  I was born at night, Christian old scout, but it wasn’t last night.

La Grande Bollocks

August 23, 2020

Remember those fabulous Nineties? There was some question about whether the Tour would make Paris in 1998, too.

“A Tour like no other:” That’s William Fotheringham weighing in on Le Shew Bigge, which starts Saturday in Nice.

How far it gets is anybody’s guess.

As Fotheringham notes:

In fact, it’s hard to see as far as Paris. For the next four weeks, the world of cycling and all of France will be living in hope, watching for the first positive test and the first cluster. By mid-September, running this Tour could look either like an act of calculated daring resulting in the biggest sports event of the year or it could be clear this was utter folly and delusion.

I don’t have a mutt in this hunt, as I no longer earn a portion of my meager living off the bicycle racing.

But if Lawyer Pelkey and I were LUGging this one I’d wear a mask from start to finish and deploy my feeble witticisms from a bathtub filled with bleach.

Will the riders have any vital fluids remaining after testing for La Grande Bug and the usual controlled substances? Might full-face helmets become en vogue in the peloton? How does one manage a socially distant sprint finish? Could post-stage interviews be conducted via drone?

Incidentally, some jagoff was flying one of those buzzing annoyances above the cul-de-sac yesterday and I longed to have a go at it with the Ruger 10/22.

I resisted the impulse. It seemed unwise. Here’s hoping ASO doesn’t come to regret taking its shot.

Masque of the Read Death

July 19, 2020

Always nice to see the smarties having a word.
Even if they can’t spell it.

Well.

I guess he told us.

I’m not sure what he was saying, exactly. But whatever it was, he sure told us.

‘We’ll be right back after this message. …’

July 15, 2020

Down time.

The question very much not on everyone’s mind is: “Whatever happened to Radio Free Dogpatch?”

My little podcast was ticking along nicely there for a while, with episodes popping up semi-regularly since the first of the year.

Then the broken ankle took me down in February, and The Bug® put the boots to me in March.

And that, as they say, was that.

A podcast, even a low-rent, one-man, half-assed model like mine, takes time. Thought. Quiet.

It’s quiet out there. Too quiet.

All those things were suddenly in short supply when Herself joined me in working from home.

If any of you have been doing likewise in lockdown, you know the drill. Zoom meetings. Phone calls. Speakerphone calls, with voices that often fail to harmonize with the ones in my head. Skypeing. Messaging. Texting.

And it all starts at stupid-thirty, ’cause Herself is an early riser. By the time I crawl out of my coffin around 6-ish she’s already brewed the coffee and fed the cat, and is two-three phone calls into her day.

Which is rigorously planned. She has a List. Items will be checked off same or she will know the reason why. Any gaps that appear unexpectedly between chores will be filled with … more chores. Herself is a Tasmanian devil of relentless functionality and accomplishment.

Me? I just, y’know, kinda, like, fuck around, an’ shit. See what happens. If anything.

Ho, ho. Too bad for me. Her gig is the one that makes it rain around here. My contributions to the general fund have become a little less laughable since I started collecting Social Security in April, but next to her mighty fiscal Niagara my revenue stream remains the dribbling of a very old dog with prostate issues and a bladder stone the size of the Hope Diamond.

Shucks, the podcast never brought in a dime anyway. In fact, it sent dimes out, in the form of dollars. Many, many of them. An essential worker it is not. Like Adolf Twitler’s “presidency,” it is primarily a cash-burning vanity project.

So if anybody is going to STFU around here for a minute, or even for months, well … it’s gonna be Radio Free Dogpatch.

I take solace from learning that I’m not the only voice to develop a little situational laryngitis in The New Weird Order.

For instance, parents who podcast are finding it tough to get their Ira Glass on with herds of unschooled munchkins free-ranging around the home studio, according to Caroline Crampton of the “Hot Pod” newsletter (scroll down).

Writes Crampton: “[F]or those who work in audio and need to edit for long periods, or record links and tracking to the highest possible standard that the moment will allow, there’s the extra challenge of finding the space and quietness to do that.”

The short version, from one anonymous podcaster: “Take after take just gets nuked.”

(Insert sound effect of Trinity atomic blast here. Oh, wait, we’re doing text now, not audio. Never mind.)

Happily, my primary distraction is not a horrifically bored, runny-nosed, ankle-biting, boundary-testing expense that a dozen or so years down the road will call me a fleshist at my own dinner table for not pledging some of my hard-earned Imperial credits to the Robot Liberation Army. She’s an income-generating asset, and right now, too.

So if Herself screams “GRILLED CHEESE! GRILLED CHEESE!”, she’s gonna get some grilled fuckin’ cheese from yours truly. We call it a quesadilla around here, but still, whatever you wanna call it, she’s gonna get it.

Radio Free Dogpatch is not the new toilet paper. It may be in short supply, but that doesn’t mean the punters are throwing hands over it at Libsyn. If I have something to say, I can always slink off to where the old toilet paper is, close the door, and squeeze out a quick blog post.

And yes, I’ll turn on the ceiling fan and wash my hands afterward.

Who was that masked man?

July 13, 2020

A lot of nothing.

Today marked the re-enactment and expansion of various Bug-related restrictions, among them a requirement that New Mexicans wear masks while exercising.

I can’t be certain that this was behind the empty parking lot at the Piedra Lisa trailhead, but damn, I haven’t seen that sucker empty since, well, ever.

Meanwhile, during this morning’s 90-minute trail hike I encountered 10 people, only one of whom was wearing a mask. And she was walking a dog off-leash.

So much for the rule of law.

I was obeying its spirit, as the letter seemed to have some wiggle room. I haven’t seen anything specifying the type of mask to be worn, so I had a bandana looped around my neck, ready to be pulled over my gob and snout as the need arose, which mostly it didn’t.

NPR health correspondent Maria Godoy had my back:

If you’re doing something like running or biking outdoors and you’re alone or just with the people you live with, it’s OK to have your mask down if there’s no one else around, says Abraar Karan, a physician at Harvard Medical School and a member of the Massachusetts COVID-19 response team.

As long as you haven’t been touching stuff along the way, like benches or rails, you haven’t had a close conversation with a stranger, it’s OK to use your hands to pull it down. If you see someone coming, put up your mask until they pass. And if you’re running and passing someone, give them at least 6 feet of space.

I also had an actual mask tucked into a pocket, because quién sabe? When cycling I carry two spare tubes and a pump for the same reason.

Even this relaxed approach to masking during exercise took some of the pleasure out of my hike. But it was miles better than not going out at all.