Archive for the ‘Plague’ Category

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.”

Say, who wasn’t that masked man?

April 27, 2021

Some faces should be covered.

The fully vaccinated no longer need to mask up when they’re out walking, running, hiking, or biking, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

However, if you’re out robbing banks, knocking over liquor stores, or burgling the homes of absent walkers, runners, hikers, or bikers, it’s probably still a good idea to keep your mug covered, regardless of your vaccination status.

You might just get your shots without the fuss of making an appointment, of course. But then life is full of risks, no?

Sore arms and sunshine

April 26, 2021

Sunny, warm, and windy. Don’t smoke ’em if you got ’em, please.

Well, here we are, enjoying our first Monday of total vaccination.

Not really. It’ll be a couple weeks before we’re deemed properly armed against The Bug® v1.0. But we’ve both had both shots, and so far the side effects seem mostly minimal.

Herself required a longish nap the day after she got stuck, and so did I. Sore arms for both of us, too. But the procedures went even more smoothly than before, zip and zip and zip. I’ve seen slower Golden Pride drive-thrus.

Before bagging some Z’s yesterday I went out for a short stroll to keep all the pivot points well oiled. It was shorts weather. The official high was 83 degrees, three short of the record and 11 above normal. Less than an inch of precip’ since Jan. 1. “No significant weather was observed,” adds the NWS. Ohhhhhh-kay.

Today we have more of the same, with single-digit humidity and winds from the southwest that could hit 50 mph. We’re already had a couple small fires in Torrance and San Miguel counties and it would be nice if we didn’t have any more, please and thank you.

In other weather news, freak cold snaps devastate vineyards in France. In The Washington Post, Rick Noack writes: “By the end of France’s big freeze, at least one third of this year’s wine harvest and many other crops were lost, in what by some estimates was the country’s worst agricultural disaster of the century. It may take years for some vineyards to recover.”

I guess we’ll all be smoking weed before much longer. That shit will grow anywhere, under any conditions. The roaches will be toking up long after Gaia has given us the shove.

Oh, eat me

April 20, 2021

“No one wants to work anymore.” And yet somebody posted this sign at a place of business. ’Ees a puzzlement, to be sure.

Here’s an interesting story. Not “interesting” in the sense that it was solidly reported, written, and edited, which it was not. Interesting in that it calls into question the business model of the fast-food industry.

The story — headlined “We’re competing with unemployment” — focuses on the hiring problems that outfits like Fresquez Companies, Twisters, and Sonic-Inspire Brands are having locally in Year Two of The Plague®.

Back in the day, when newspapers still had copy desks, a cynical old rim rat might have wondered at some volume whether the corporate types quoted in the piece had coordinated their tales of woe.

Says one: “Why would anybody want to, I guess, start at a minimum-wage job when they can be earning more money … on unemployment?”

Adds another: “People are making a lot more money being unemployed than employed, and the world is coming back to dine-in and eat-in a little bit at a time, so the stimulus really paused people applying to jobs.”

And a third: “I think it’s pretty easy to connect … unemployment benefits to it. I think a lot of us feel like a lot of people have chosen not to go back to work yet, because they’re still receiving the benefits.”

Well, shucks. It makes a man’s eyes damp, for sure.

My first question was, “How many of these struggling companies have received SBA Paycheck Protection Program funds or some other form of governmental assistance to make ends meet in these troubled times?” The story doesn’t say.

Nor does the reporter speak with any current, former, or potential employees. The one nod to working people came in a quote from OLÉ Education Fund executive director Matthew Henderson, who said: “Essential workers have risked their lives to keep New Mexico running during the pandemic. Some have decided, however, that the risk to their family’s health is not worth the poverty wages and lack of benefits that many employers offer. Don’t fault workers for refusing to be exploited.”

When I was young and even dumber than I am now, I briefly dated a single mom who availed herself of the various forms of governmental assistance to be had at the time. She was always strapped for cash, and since I was young and dumb, I asked her why she didn’t just get a job.

She explained patiently that the kind of job she would be able to get wouldn’t begin to pay the bills, much less the cost of child care while she worked. So she chose to keep jumping through the hoops of public assistance and raising her child. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

How many potential recruits for the Paper Hat Platoon have decided to stay home, collect assistance, and help their kids navigate remote learning with the goal of giving them a future that doesn’t involve pitching greaseburgers through windows at the Duke City’s drive-thrus? I mean, you don’t need a Ph.D in Google Search to find horror stories about the life and times of the fast-food worker.

I suspect this story may have had its roots in the photo above, posted on Twitter by a local TV reporter. Snapped at a local Sonic, it shows a sign reading: “We are short staffed. Please be patient with the staff that did show up. No one wants to work anymore.”

Wrong, pendejo. They just don’t want to work for you.