Archive for the ‘Plague’ Category

And the uniform of the day is. …

August 17, 2021

Some faces should be covered.

Face diapers for everyone!

I’ve been wearing mine for a while now. I like to think of it as a community-beautification project.

Still, Jesus H., etc. Afghanistan’s up the spout and all its daddies are ducking for cover, the West’s faucets are running dry, and Paris Hilton has a cooking show. Truly these are Dire Portents of the End Times.

But seriously, folks. …

August 13, 2021

Windscreen trumps Mac screen.

Read the news or ride the bike?

I think you know the answer to that one.

In fact, the news has been so reliably vile lately that I’ve been logging 100-mile-plus weeks. That’s not a lot for a serious cyclist, but then being serious about anything other than humor is overrated for anyone who hopes to remain (or become) happy. Or so says Arthur C. Brooks at The Atlantic.

I’d like to ask him, “Are you serious?” But I’m afraid he might not laugh.

Meanwhile, the fourth and final round of The Visitation, scheduled for next week, has been canceled. One of Herself the Elder’s nieces decided that travel was too risky since Delta started grabbing everyone by the snotlocker with a downhill pull.

And who can blame her? Not me, Skeezix. When I stroll into a retail op to do a little bidness and see two-thirds of the clientele and half the staff wandering around with their faces hanging out, despite headlines like this, I’m inclined to think that The Dumbass, like The Bug, remains very much among us.

The Dumbass just might be worse than The Bug. We have weapons to fight The Bug, if people will simply agree to use them. But our traditional defenses against The Dumbass — like the news, which under new management has other priorities — no longer seem efficacious, if they ever were.

And once you’re all eat up with The Dumbass, you’re vulnerable to any number of opportunistic infections, from Rand Paul and Marjorie Taylor Greene twerking on “Dancing with the Stars” to “More [guns, coal mines, lifted diesel pick-’em-up trucks, insert your favorite idiocy here]!!!”

Jesus H., etc. By the time Bennu finally lands like an errant tee shot from God’s one-iron there won’t be anybody left to take it seriously, or even humorously. OK, so maybe one guy. He’ll be yelling “FAKE NEWS!” as the giant asteroid comes in hot like the fabled Million-Pound Shithammer.

Could be worse. …

August 2, 2021

August slipped in wearing its gray flannel suit.

Sixty-four degrees at 8 a.m., with a monochromatic sky and a forecast that would have Noah muttering, “Not again,” as he reached wearily for the red phone next to his spyglass and Mae West.

“Hello, San Diego Zoo? Two of everything, please, chop-chop. No, no delivery necessary. I’ll pick ’em up. Just truck ’em up to Hot Springs Mountain and keep a sharp lookout for a real big boat.”

Welcome to August.

It’s not what I expected, frankly. With The Visitation on hiatus and my calendar remarkably free of to-do items I had been pondering a brief escape from the sodden Duke City to air-dry the old brain-case.

Fewer deer, more roses.

But the weather is proving uncooperative, and it seems silly to drive somewhere else to watch it rain when I can do that right here at home.

Especially since travel involves either a cheerless motel room that was no bargain before the daily rent shot into the mid-two-hundies (plus you can’t find one anyway), or pitching a tent in a flaming puddle full of vampire bugs, shape-shifting cooties, and hobos who wish all these slumming hipster dickheads would just dig into their Hilton points and piss off so they could enjoy their mulligan stew and squeeze in peace.

Masque of the Dread Breath

Well, at least we’re back to the face panties again, hey? Some of us, anyway. The checker was not up for casual banter as I hit the Sprouts to replenish the larder, possibly because The Great Remasking seemed to be a few faces short of a full team effort at 9:30 on a gloomy Sunday morning.

I had noted some diamonds on my windshield during the drive to the grocery and was hoping the actual tears from heaven would hold off long enough for me to sneak in a quick ride without fenders or jacket.

Sure, we need the moisture. And no desert dweller should bitch about rain, unless he parks his shopping cart in an arroyo. But I’m just enough of a hipster dickhead to need the ride, too.

With the deer rustling their own grub up in the hills we were getting a rerun of roses in the yard, so, yay. But the murky mornings and low ceilings recalled Corvallis, Oregon, the only place I’ve ever lived without a bicycle.

The clouds sagged all the way down to the ground in that burg. The moist walls of my tiny apartment closed in around me like hungry freegans swarming a Whole Paycheck Dumpster and the firewood steamed before it burned in the cheap tin wood stove.

A neighbor’s ducks loved that climate, quacking contentedly outside my bedroom window. I drank a lot.

Horses for courses

Back home, with the groceries put away, I took another glance at the sky and decided to go for it. I used to race cyclocross, I thought. I’ve covered school-board meetings. I can do anything for an hour.

I felt another drizzle tuning up as I approached the base of the short climb to the tram. So I swung around and headed back south, weaving Tramway and a network of foothills avenues into a rolling 20-miler. It was just the ticket. Smoove like butter and dry as a good martini.

Today — eh, not so much. The rain started before I even left the house.

I thought about taking the day off, but I ride with a small group of graybeards on Mondays and Wednesdays, and had already committed to the meetup. I had a feeling they’d be out in it, and it was unfortunate that I had mentioned my fondness for cyclocross in their presence.

So I left the New Albion Privateer parked and pulled a Steelman Eurocross down from its hook. A cyclocross bike for cyclocross weather. A man must carry on.

Sharp-dressed man

I stuffed a jacket into a jersey pocket to make sure the rain stopped, but it didn’t work. Didn’t matter, either. The rain continued, but never turned into a frog-strangler; it was barely even chilly, though I kept my arm warmers on. The jacket stayed in its pocket.

And yes, the geezers were all there. And yes, the Steelman drew many admiring glances. So yes, I’ve fooled ’em again.

At one point as we took shelter under a tree there was a short discussion about cutting a climb and subsequent descent from the usual route. It ended when one of us (not me) observed, “Well, we’re already wet, so. …”

So on we rode, taking the downs along with the ups.

It made me wonder what I’d been missing by not riding a bicycle in Oregon. I mean, I was gonna get wet anyway.

It never rains, but it pours

July 28, 2021

It looks like feckin’ Ireland over by the Menaul trailhead.

We New Mexicans should probably apologize to the Pacific Northwest for stealing their climate.

But hey, you left it unlocked with the keys in the ignition, so. …

Puddles on the Duke City trails are as rare as original thought in government. (See the latest iteration of publicly funded downtown stadiums for privately owned sports teams.) This in a town where we have a six-pack of dudes — half of them part-time — to plug holes in the bike paths along which the homeless pitch their festive tents.

Standing water on a Duke City trail in July? Truly these are dire portents of the End Times.

In DeeCee, meanwhile … well, the less said about that, the better. But can we at least agree that a few more Republicans would be on board the Investigation Train if the treasonous fucks who invaded the U.S. Capitol, pounding a few John Laws along the way, had been socialist, gay, people of color, or any combination thereof? You know: Democrats?

Jesus H., etc. In Hell Mao is all like, “Damn, and I thought I had a cult of personality going on.” But this feels more like the Israelites and their golden calf, only with “Christians” and a plastic pig from the Dollar Store rattle-canned with metallic-gold Krylon.

This sort of behavior failed to amuse either Moses or the Lord, as I recall. Doesn’t do shit for me, either.

Speaking of things that are a monkey or two short of a full barrel, I see we’re back to wearing our face panties.

Bernalillo County is tagged orange, with a “substantial” level of community transmission, so the CDC would like us to cover up when visiting indoor public spaces, shots or no shots.

Oh, good. I was already sick of seeing smiling faces and understanding the speech emerging from same.

The bright side is that in the past two weeks a half-dozen family members from far and wide have been able to visit Herself the Elder before the portcullis drops again, as seems likely. So, yay, etc.. May yis all be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you’re dead.

The meaning of life

July 15, 2021

We enjoyed quite the early morning rainstorm today, with thunder and lightning. Makes for one hell of an alarm clock.

Busy, busy, busy. Even a slacker has to take hold now and then.

We have a dispersed conga line of kinfolk snaking through El Rancho Pendejo, all of them from Herself’s side of the family, come to visit Herself the Elder between plagues.

The first of four visitations occurred yesterday; some very nice folks out of Texas, who took time away from a visit to Pagosa Springs to pop down and say howdy. A bit of tidying up was mandated, because somebody around here is remarkably untroubled by clutter (not Herself).

Round two commences Sunday with more visitors from the Lone Star State (Herself the Elder was born in Nacogdoches back in 1933). Then Herself’s eldest sis pops in from Maryland for a week starting Wednesday. Finally, yet another Texican niece drops by sometime in August.

Meanwhile, The Work goes on, as it must. I banged out a cartoon for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News yesterday, learning in the process that the Outside+ Global AdventureStuff Conglomerate had snatched up a couple more properties, Pinkbike and CyclingTips.

This, as Monty Python has taught us, “brings us once again to the urgent realization of just how much there is still left to own.”

Me, I’m still a rental. And something of a fixer-upper, too. Still, I’m open to offers. …

We’re open, but Dave’s not here, man

July 1, 2021

Chance of rain, but not much of one.

New Mexico is “open” again, whatever the hell that means.

Also, apparently you no longer have to toss your mota when pulled over by a chota, though the officer may have a few pointed questions regarding the expired plates on your auto, your lack of insurance for same, and the stolen ATM in the back seat.

Of course, you can’t actually buy the mota here legally because, like, nobody can remember where they left the fuckin’ paperwork, man.

Things darkened up a bit on my ride, but I never needed the fenders I didn’t have.

And when I motored down to the grog shop this morning for a selection of bottled alternatives, I observed that most folks in newly “open” New Mexico were keeping their face-holes closed to the general public. So I did likewise.

Outside the boozeatorium, meanwhile, my fellow primates were busy proving Darwin wrong.

On my way there I saw a westbound motorist casually swerve into the eastbound lanes on Comanche to hang a left into a driveway, rather than pull a sloppy U at the next cutout like every other drunkard in Duke City.

On my way back I saw a truck full of Natural Light Seltzer — bearing the legend, “The Seltzer You Never Saw Coming” — blow through the red at Menaul and Louisiana, at least two seconds late.

Ho, ho, etc. I not only saw it coming, I was expecting it. I always look both ways and count at least three Mississippis before I proceed on the green. I am in no hurry to discuss my CV with St. Peter.

Made it home alive, set a loaf of bread to baking, and then pissed off for my first bicycle ride this week. It was pleasant indeed to swap climates with the Pacific Northwest for a short while — neither the A/C nor the sprinkler system has come on for days — but Paddy needs his sunshine.

In other news … oh, hell, there is way too much stupid shit going on in the news for a small-time operator like me to face stone cold sober. Maybe tomorrow I’ll pick a pile and roll in it.

Fuelishness

June 19, 2021

Keep on (not) truckin’. Photo courtesy Groendyke Transport

Here’s a fun story. My man Hal was homeward bound after a track meet in Lakewood and lo and behold, there was no gasoline to be found in either Florence or Weirdcliffe.

There’s no shortage of gasoline. But there is a shortage of tank-truck drivers, thanks in part to The Bug® and decisions made around same. And we two old newspapermen, to our everlasting shame, had to get the deets from (choke) the TV stations’ websites.

KRDO had the best piece, quoting spokespeople from AAA, the National Tank Truck Carriers, and Groendyke Transport.

Something like a quarter of tank trucks were parked in April due to a lack of qualified drivers, sez the NTTC. Older drivers decided to retire, sez Groendyke. And driver schools shut down, which kept new drivers from getting certified.

And if Circle K can’t fill its tanks, well … neither can you, Skeezix.

AAA Colorado is urging motorists not to panic-buy gasoline the way they did toilet paper. Yeah, good luck with that. They’ll be panic-buying both because right now they’re out of gas and shitting themselves.

Masks and margaritas

May 17, 2021

I didn’t have a mask to keep bugs out of my teefers
on the descent of Tramway Road.

Firsts:

Hey, Spike, you missed a few flowers.

• Riding the bike without a mask. That was fun. I’ve been half-stepping it, draping a Buff around my neck, but yesterday I left it at home. I’m still all buffed up; I’m just not Buffed up. Ho, ho.

• Having people over for drinks. Yup. Couple friends from the ’hood who are likewise all shot up came by for strawberry margaritas and a bit of guacamole. We hung out on the patio, shooting the breeze and enjoying what little foliage Spike the Terrorist Deer found unpalatable.

Two little things, to be sure. But satisfying nonetheless after a very long year indeed. Next up: Dancing on Sundays!

The natives are restless

May 3, 2021

I wasn’t even the Mad Dog when I lived here in 1980, the year I worked for The Arizona Daily Star. My nick then was “Shady.”

An Albuquerque native recently told me that he’s had just about enough of the place.

With an eye toward putting the old hometown in the rear view he’s been spending some time in Pagosa Springs, Colo., which he likes quite a bit. Except for the part about winter, which Pagosa Springs actually has. Here in New Mexico we call that season “Not On Fire (Probably).”

Elsewhere in Colorado, my man Hal Walter reports that pretty much every property in Crusty County has been sold, except for his, and that’s only because his little rancheroo is not on the market.

Hal has likewise soured on winter, possibly because up there it drags on into May, and occasionally, June.

“It is foggy and snowing here,” he told me this morning. “It will not do.”

It will not do. The thought has caused me to pack my bags more than once. As a (chronological) adult I have (briefly) settled in Alamosa, Greeley, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Denver, and Weirdcliffe, Colo.; Springfield, Mo.; Winooski, Vt.; Tucson, Ariz.; Corvallis, Ore.; and Española, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque, N.M.

Sometimes it was professional; other times, personal. More than once it was simply the place. It will not do. So off I’d go, like a roach from under the ’fridge, looking for some place that would.

Each bailout involved a little more baggage, both actual and psychological. When I fled Springfield in 1972 I had a backpack for possessions and a thumb for transportation. Forty-two years later it took two cars and a professional moving company to get us from Bibleburg to ’Burque.

It will not do. The thought seems to be occurring to quite a few people who have taken a good look around at the places where they’ve hunkered down during the Year of the Plague and wondered just what the fuck is it that they’re doing there anyway.

Any of you folks planning to relocate? Got a dream destination in mind, or is it basically “Anywhere but here?” Give us your thoughts in comments.

Banzai, buckaroos

May 2, 2021

A letter from the January 1975 issue of National Lampoon, published after 2nd Lt. Hiroo Onada finally surrendered upon being relieved of duty by his former superior officer.

May. May? May. Jaysis.

Anybody prepared for May? Don’t look at me, Skeezix. Sure, there’s this whole spring fever/summer vacation vibe in the air. And I’ve had a double armful of Kindly Old Doc Pfizer’s Gen-U-Wine Bug Blaster.

But I can’t say I’m champing at the bit to embrace Society again.

Maybe I’m going to be like one of those Japanese soldiers who stayed bunkered up for a couple-three decades after World War II ended. Those dudes maintained focus.

“War’s over? Says who? The Emperor? Yeah, right. Keep digging, Shimada.”