Archive for the ‘Smashing the State’ Category

Labor daze

September 4, 2017

A little learning is a dangerous thing.

Reg’lars here at the Chuckle Hut know I once was a fan of all the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, Gummo and Karl).

Well, not so much Zeppo and Gummo.

Groucho, Harpo and Chico I stumbled across early on. Karl and I became acquainted in my second stab at college, where I enjoyed a brief flirtation with non-comedic Marxism — the Young Socialist Alliance/Socialist Workers Party, a Trotskyite crew, and the October League, a Maoist group that later became the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist).

I’m not sure why a middle-class white boy wandered so far afield from the Republicrat-Demublican game of musical thrones.

There was the war in Vietnam, of course, but I was a year too young for the lottery and wouldn’t have volunteered until the Viet Cong were actually in Colorado and executing dope dealers.

The Yippies’ street theatricality appealed to me — I even tried to register as a Yippie for Nixon-McGovern ’72 — but the SWP and CP(ML) were decidedly unfunny, like a Marx Brothers movie starring Zeppo and Gummo.

Maybe it was working as a janitor as a college dropout. (Check out this NYT story about janitors then vs. janitors now.)

I didn’t push the idiot stick for big outfits like Kodak or Apple, but for smaller shops that were already outsourcing their cleanup to even smaller shops, like the one that employed me. My work took me to a couple downtown banks, a northside UPS location, a Salvation Army youth center and a southside sales office. No car, so I pedaled from place to place on a Schwinn Continental, a bicycle commuter before it was cool.

There were no opportunities for advancement at that job, or any of the others I worked before finally landing a copyboy gig at the Colorado Springs Sun. I found I liked newspaper work, and wanted to stay, but the managing editor said I’d be going nowhere fast without that ol’ sheepskin, so back I went to college, where Karl, Leon and Mao were loitering around, waiting for me to turn up.

Then the war finally ended, the Revolution fizzled, and I moved on, eventually finding myself with a B.A. in journalism and a job at the other newspaper in Bibleburg, the Gazette Telegraph.

The GT was a libertarian rag, owned by Freedom Newspapers out of Orange County, Calif., and it leaned so far right it was almost left. As a consequence the wages were low and the hours illegal, but it wasn’t long before I was offered a chance for advancement: heading up the education desk, which consisted of two other reporters plus Your Humble Narrator, who was so wet behind the ears you could have raised goldfish in my hair.

It was at that moment that I knew management was incompetent, and perhaps insane. And my sympathies returned to labor, where they have remained ever since.

Happy Labor Day.

First Amendment follies

February 18, 2017
Asked if he would serve as national security adviser, Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) replied: "Let me sleep on it. OK, nope."

Asked if he would serve as national security adviser, Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) replied: “Let me sleep on it. OK, nope.”

I didn’t get my Enemies of the People email newsletter this morning, which means I don’t know what we treacherous media types are supposed to be lying about today, so I’m just gonna have to wing it.

Word is that King Donald the Short-fingered will be holding court today in Florida. You’d think that at some point he might stop applying for the job and start doing it, but that’s what you get for thinking. Not a fan of thinking, the Orange House. Not a fan. Sad! Weak! Man of action! Get that thinking out of here!

Speaking of thinking, the techies at Wired magazine suggest that the paranoids among us — Who? Where? — consider using locked-down Chromebooks and cheapo burner phones that can be wiped and destroyed whenever the secret police decide they need to run their sticky little fingers through your data.

There are $30 Android smartphones out there? Seriously? Who knew? Not me, comrades. Herself just scored a new iPhone 7 and I think she had to pay a $30 cover charge just to get in the door.

Me, I muddle along with a 5-year-old iPhone 5, which I use mostly to receive communiques, dispatches and orders from Herself, take the occasional photo on bike rides, and transmit my activities and location to the State in case its minions wish to discuss pressing matters of national security with me in a windowless basement room at some undisclosed location.

Hmmmmm. Thirty-buck prepaid smartphone, y’say? Bought anonymously, with cash? Something else to think about. …

Something wicked this way comes

January 19, 2017

• Editor’s note: What follows was intended to be a rambling kickoff to a Counter-Inaugural Podcast at Radio Free Dogpatch, but my sidekick Hal Walter developed a bad case of previous commitments, so I’m laying it on you old-school instead. Tomorrow it will be radio silence from yours truly here and on Twitter. But there will be an open-mic post suitable for commentary, so feel free to chime in with your thoughts on what this particular changing of the guard means for you, and for the rest of us. Finally, a tip of the carny’s boater to Ray Bradbury for the headline. It’s a pity — or is it? — that he didn’t live to see Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show come to life.

We're all bozos on this bus. Some of us more than others.

We’re all bozos on this bus. Some of us more than others.

IT’S BEEN A STRUGGLE, TRYING TO FIND WORDS to describe how I feel about what’s going to be happening on Friday — and afterward — in Washington, D.C.

I’ve watched this changing of the guard since before I was eligible to vote, and it rarely goes well for progressives.

In 1969, when Richard Nixon was preparing to take an oath of office he had already violated by undermining the Paris peace talks, the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam staged a three-day counter-inaugural that proved quite the bash, both literally and figuratively.

Yippies Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman brought a revolutionary-theater sideshow to the circus, proposing to inaugurate their own president, a 145-pound hog named Pigasus, with predictable results. The Left immediately set about eating itself alive — Splitters! — rocks, bottles, horseshit and punches were thrown, cops and protesters alike took a beating, 119 people got a tour of the hoosegow, and as is traditional in such matters, both sides claimed victory.

Nixon, of course, claimed the White House. Twice. You may recall how that turned out.

I found it all fascinating, from a safe distance, and when I became eligible to vote in time for the 1972 elections, I tried to register as a member of the Youth International Party, the proper name for the improper Yippies. Never happen, said the county clerk in Bibleburg, and I had to settle for signing up as an “independent.” But Hunter S. Thompson was actually in attendance at the ’69 inaugural, and he didn’t exactly come away with a smile on his lips and a song in his heart.

Recounting the experience for The Boston Globe in February 1969, Thompson wrote: “My first idea was to load up on LSD and cover the Inauguration that way, but the possibilities were ominous: a scene that bad could only be compounded to the realm of mega-horrors by something as powerful as acid.”

As Thompson watched the deal go down during what he called “a king-hell bummer” and “that wretched weekend,” he saw “a new meanness on both sides … and no more humor.”

“Suddenly I felt cold, and vaguely defeated,” he wrote. “More than eight years ago, in San Francisco, I had stayed up all night to watch the election returns … and when Nixon went down I felt like a winner.

“Now, on this Monday night in 1969, President Nixon was being honored with no less than six Inaugural Balls. I brooded on this for a while, then decided I would go over to the Hilton, later on, and punch somebody. Almost anybody would do … but hopefully I could find a police chief from Nashville or some other mean geek. In the meantime, there was nothing to do but go back to the hotel and watch the news on TV … maybe something funny, like film clips of the bastinado.”

• • •

Neither Hunter S. Thompson nor Dick Nixon are with us this time around, but another pair of Sixties relics you may have thought were likewise long gone — LSD and psilocybin — are making something of a comeback as potential treatments for whatever bad scene may be unfolding on the backside of your forehead (or in front of it).

In December, The New York Times reported on a couple of studies that showed “clinically significant reductions” in both anxiety and depression in cancer patients who took synthetic psilocybin.

The studies, which the Times called “the largest and most meticulous among a handful of trials to explore the possible therapeutic benefit of psilocybin,” found the beneficial effects persisted for months.

One patient, who had just completed treatment for stage-3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, described what he called “an epiphany.”

“I’m not anxious about cancer anymore,” he said. “I’m not anxious about dying.”

Another, whose treatment for acute myeloid leukemia left him with graft-versus-host disease, said the experience left him with “a greater sense of peace with what might come.”

“I’m very grateful, beyond words, for this trial,” he added.

And on January 14, The Atlantic ran a Q&A with Ayelet Waldman, whose new book “A Really Good Day” describes her microdosing with LSD to self-correct what she described as “a pretty significant depression.”

She had tried the traditional remedies served up by the medical-industrial complex — antidepressants, ADHD drugs, SSRIs, you name it — but a couple drops of diluted and highly illegal L-S-Dizzy is what did the trick for her.

Said Waldman: “I felt happier or at least not as profoundly depressed almost immediately the very first day I took it.”

Funniest thing, hey? About 10 years after the good Doctor Thompson was mulling over that Nixon inaugural, a friend and I offered an acid-soaked homage to his fear-and-loathing tour of Las Vegas. But we didn’t have his stamina, and when a jai-alai match at the old MGM Grand started to look like a “Star Wars” shootout we got the fuck out of there at a very high speed indeed, driving all the way back to Alamosa — the Brain Damage Express, via Kaibab and Page, the Four Corners and the terrifying Wolf Creek Pass, with the usual horrible weather and without the enhancements that were still a few years down the road.

But we sure as shit weren’t depressed. We were simply seeing a whole lot of things we’d rather not have and thought a case of beer, a long night’s drive and a plate of his mom’s enchiladas might mellow us out.

Forty years later I can make my own enchiladas but I’m not so sure about the acid. I still have my copy of “The Anarchist Cookbook,” but I was never much at chemistry.

• • •

All trips, both good and bad, come to an end, sooner or later. And in May, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will break down the big top in May for the final time after 146 years.

According to The New York Times, Feld Entertainment, the producer of the circus, cited rising operating costs and falling ticket sales, a condition that worsened after Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey dropped elephants from its show last year.

CEO Kenneth Feld told The Associated Press that moving the show by rail, providing a traveling school for performers’ children and other expenses from a bygone era made carrying on a losing proposition.

“It’s a different model … we can’t see how it works in today’s world to justify and maintain an affordable ticket price,” he said.

And let’s not forget that old devil competition. There’s another, bigger circus coming to town, with a permanent base of operations in Washington, D.C., the financial support of the State, and free worldwide access via social media. Plus elephants, too!

The Greatest Show On Earth is now an angry orange clown with a Twitter account. Hur-ry, hur-ry, hur-ry. …

Sweet dreams

October 29, 2016
Mister Boo is overjoyed at the news of Herself's imminent return.

Mister Boo is overjoyed at the news of Herself’s imminent return.

Our long national nightmare is at an end.

I’m not talking about The Hilldebeast’s emails, which continue to be the gift that keeps on giving, even when they’re apparently not even hers. No, I’m talking about the imminent return to El Rancho Pendejo of Herself, who has been road-tripping for two weeks through Tennessee, Colorado and Utah.

Looking north from near the top of the Hillsdale Loop. To the south sits Interstate 40, which is a good deal less scenic.

Looking north from near the top of the Hillsdale Loop. To the south sits Interstate 40, which is a good deal less scenic.

The Boo will be ecstatic, or as close to that state as is Boo-manly possible (an excitable boy he is not).

Herself is the only human he really cares about. I am deemed suitable for short periods as a food delivery/excretion collection specialist (second class), but when she is around The Boo wouldn’t piss on me if I were on fire.

Oddly, though, his favorite spot for daytime naps — even if she’s home — is my office, just behind my chair. Go figure.

Meanwhile, yesterday in my capacity as commander of the 29er Jones Mechanized Infantry, I seized the Hillsdale Loop in the name of the people. Being a heavily armed elderly white guy I went unmolested by law enforcement. But I eventually gave it back anyway. Hey, somebody has to let The Boo out.

And finally, Khal checks in from scenic metropolitan Bombtown, where he is recovering from some medical experiments and limited to hollering at Siri via iPhone:

I am in an immobilization sling for another month so typing is “hunt and peck” with my left hand. Hence I don’t do too much of it.

It’s getting to the point where I might be able to take off the sling in a couple weeks to carefully work the right arm so might regain my voice, so to speak, and that will be a relief.

Probably no biking till January except on the stationary torture setup.

—K

P.S.: All the best to you and the gang.

 

Fort Apache

October 25, 2016
Finally, a taste of actual fall weather.

Finally, a taste of actual fall weather.

I’m in Albuquerque, working on a bike review and watching it rain. Herself is bound for Mesa Verde on the next leg of her Gal Pals Getaway Tour.

And somewhere in the southern Arizona desert, the Three Percent United Patriots are making headlines, if only in Mother Jones magazine.

Anyone who has ever lived out where the hoot owls date the chickens has met at least one of these dudes. In Weirdcliffe it was the cowboy who claimed to have edibles and weaponry cached all over the Sangre de Cristos and inquired whether we would be “ready to kill” when it all went sideways and the “Mexicans” came boiling up Hardscrabble Canyon to … to … well, get the hell out of Pueblo, I suppose. And who could blame them?

I got the hell out of Pueblo. I also got the hell out of Weirdcliffe. And I’ve spent a little time in the Threepers’ AO, though I never saw one. (“If you saw them, sir, they weren’t Threepers.”)

Just once I would love to read about the lefty variation on these dudes. There has to be one, amirite? The Sedona Extremely Irregulars? The 69th Berkeley Berserkers? The 420th Humboldt County Doobie Brethren?

Or maybe that particular ship has sailed, or sunk.

Back in the Seventies, when I thought I was Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh, the October League’s Denver chapter had just wrapped up another successful evening of smashing the State via withering rhetoric when a couple comrades mentioned that they used to be professional wrestlers.

“Bullshit,” someone said. And then they showed us, right there in the dark Denver alley. They were slamming each other into cars and up against walls, pounding each other with forearm smashes and trash-can lids, the works. It was entertaining as hell and absolutely nobody got hurt.

Then a window slammed open and someone advised us to shut the fuck up and we did. Shortly thereafter the revolution failed to materialize.

 

Mutiny from stern to bow

January 3, 2016

Huh. If memory serves, when a bunch of smelly hippies, Injuns and uppity colored people tried pulling this seditious shit they got shut down right fast, shot all to be damn, jailed, and vilified for decades afterward.

Even candidates for office were derided for having “palled around” with them.

Ah, but I was so much older then. I’m younger than that now.

 

So comrades, come rally. …

May 1, 2015

Some news of the day (to be updated as I find it):

• Some workers of the world really have united.

 

Laws a mercy!

March 4, 2015
The renowned political analyst Mister Boo tries to sniff out the sense of it all.

The renowned political analyst Mister Boo tries to sniff out the sense of it all.

I don’t envy the folks who have to make sense of today’s politics for the rest of us.

Maybe I’m just suffering a bit of tummy upset after having sipped from this poisoned well for way too many years, but I’m really getting sick of watching our “leaders” flail and squeal like over-sugared kindergartners who aren’t getting their way right this second.

When was the last time you saw a speaker of the House invite a foreign official to call the president a deluded pussy, for his own political purposes, before that august deliberative body?

When will the Clintonsand the Bushes — learn they’re not royalty, or even poor imitations of the Kennedys, and they don’t get to hide the family skeletons in an ermine closet in the Black Tower?

When will faux-populist, cash-hoovering whores like America Rising and Correct the Record be fed into shredders, or better yet, to the IRS, instead of being treated as authoritative sources and quoted in The New York Times? Incidentally, I notice that The Times’ love for false equivalency does not extend to mentioning that the Bush administration hid its emails too. Though they did get around to mentioning Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney.

When should intent trump ambiguity? Stop preening for the cameras, bozos, and give the bill another critical read before passing it. And don’t I wish the Second Amendment had enjoyed the tender attentions of a copy editor. We would have fewer, poorer lawyers.

It’s gonna be a long haul to 2016, folks. And you already know what the roads are like. So buckle up.

Comrades, come rally

May 1, 2014

 Happy International Workers Day!

Shiny objects, si; child care, health care, no.

Guns, si; butter, no.

Flipping burgers is the new black.

Your papers!

No, really, your papers!

• Losing the spirit of May Day.

Turks defy ban on May Day rallies.

An uncomradely copyright on Marx and Engels.

Tim Carpenter’s politics of radical inclusion.

May Day, then and now.

More rabble-rousing as I find it.

Indoor sports

April 3, 2014
Oak Creek Grade, between Cañon City and Weirdcliffe, where a fella is definitely gonna want something lower than 30x30.

Oak Creek Grade, between Cañon City and Weirdcliffe, where a fella is definitely gonna want something lower than 30×30.

The silver maple in the front yard at Chez Dog wearing a thick coat of snowy goodness.

The silver maple in the front yard at Chez Dog wearing a thick coat of snowy goodness.

“Man plans, God laughs,” goes the Yiddish proverb.

So, naturally, as I was contemplating the intricacies,  logistics and amusements of a bicycle tour, Management reminded me that spring is only a word, an arbitrary date on a manmade calendar.

Yesterday I was motoring around Fremont and Custer counties with the windows down, scoping out various back roads between Florence and Weirdcliffe with a Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer in the passenger seat while tugging frequently from a water bottle. Today I awakened to a few inches of heavy, wet snow on the deck, with more on the way.

No complaints here, mind you. Water from on high is water I don’t have to buy from Colorado Springs Utilities. And it sure beats being on fire.

So it looks to be a fine day for hanging around indoors, viewing with alarm. For instance, I notice that the Supremes are trying to make it less onerous for the 1 percent to run the country the way they see fit. And a Colorado judge is intent on making it harder for the 99 percent to catch them at it.

I’m starting to think Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito are deserving of life terms after all. Not on the high court, mind you, but in Leavenworth, making little rocks out of big ones for their crimes against the people.