Archive for the ‘Viewing with alarm’ Category

And the hits just keep on coming

May 8, 2022

A map of the Cerro Pelado fire and the surrounding area.

Well, this ain’t good.

While we’ve all been watching the big fire up by Las Vegas, a smaller one is stealing a march on Los Alamos as the predicted gusty winds drive the flames onward. The county and LANL are to be bumped from “Ready” to “Set” in the Ready-Set-Go evacuation protocol.

From InciWeb:

“Southwest winds are expected to be even stronger tomorrow and unseasonably warm, dry, and windy weather is expected to continue well into next week. Weather and fuel conditions are favorable for rapid fire growth, and in addition to the very steep and often inaccessible terrain, firefighters will be challenged by potential for extreme fire behavior, especially in areas where winds and topography align with the fire.”

We’re starting to get smoke here in The Duck! CIty, maybe from the Bear Trap fire down in the Magdalena Ranger District. Unless we have a fresh fire start somewhere in the neighborhood that I haven’t heard about.

Let’s all be careful out there.

‘Like a hell-broth boil and bubble’

March 4, 2022

Hellbroth? Nah. Just an interesting sunrise.

Well, it seems Europe’s largest nuclear power plant didn’t become Satan’s Hot Tub overnight. So we got that going for us, which is nice.

According to The New York Times:

International monitors said early Friday that there was no immediate sign that radiation had leaked from the Zaporizhzhia plant. The Ukrainian emergency services agency said the fire had been contained to a training facility on the perimeter of the complex.

Oh, good. But wait, there’s more:

The company that oversees the complex, Energoatom, warned that any statements being made by workers from the time of the [Russian] takeover could be being made under duress. The company also warned against trusting statements from local officials.

Clearly we are in for many more interesting early mornings pre-coffee as Voldemort Putin continues doing the bidding of the Union of Soviet Socialist Voices in his head.

Our collective ignorance about this fellow, his notions, motivations, and base of support, is maddening. Noting the attack on the Zaporizhzhia complex last night I kept my big yap shut, crossing my fingers and hoping that Europe would not find itself suffering the sort of steep decline in tourism that comes with your basic nuclear disaster.

Because what is there to say? Beyond “We don’t know what the fuck he’s up to” and “There isn’t much we can do about it,” that is?

Over at The Atlantic Tom Nichols makes the case for staying calm.

The day may come, and sooner than we expect, when we have to fight in Europe, with all the risks that entails. If we are to plunge into a global war between the Russians and the West, however, it needs to be based on a better calculus than pure rage.

Sanctions and military assistance short of actual war with Russia will not save Kyiv, he concedes. But neither will letting this smirking Cossack goad the West into giving him anything that will cause the Russian people to back him up instead of knocking him over.

Russians seem to have an endless capacity for enduring suffering. But every pot bubbles over sooner or later if the fire gets too hot for too long.

Will some hero let off a little steam by busting a cap between this devil’s horns? Stay tuned.

Out in the woods

March 2, 2022

After my chores I spent a couple hours exploring on the Voodoo Nakisi.

“Hello?”

Joe Biden woke me up this morning. Either him or Fred Willard, I can’t be sure.

It was a dream, of course. We watched both of them last night — first Fred in “Best in Show,” and then Joe in “The State of the Union.”

Fred killed, and Joe had to follow him, which is bad news for any headliner, especially when that headliner is Joe.

The poor sonofabitch. He finally grabs what he thinks is the brass ring and it turns out to be Voldemort Putin’s man-tanned-and-waxed, KGB-issued butthole. In a rebooted DC Universe edition of Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Crazy Years,” just to give it an edge like Oddjob’s bowler.

Out in the woods.

And then, after a year that must have felt like the first hot lap in the Lake of Fire Criterium, he gets trotted out to recite the Laundry List of Shit That Will Never Happen for the political equivalent of Principal Poop’s pep rally from The Firesign Theatre’s “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers.”

Over my lifetime the State of the Union has devolved from a simple constitutional requirement — see Article II, Section 3 — into a low-rent show-and-tell for a politically insane kindergarten. An excuse for eejits to dress badly and act worse while popping up and down like prairie dogs crazed on ketamine.

We were streaming this mess via PBS, which looked like CCTV from a Topeka nursing home. That outfit needs new blood worse than Dracula.

Now, I’ve had a soft spot for Joe ever since he strangled Paul Ryan in his crib during their 2012 vice-presidential debate. And I think he’s doing his level best with both hands and one leg tied behind his back.

But still, god damn, etc. After he and/or Fred woke me up this morning the song playing in my head was an old Leon Russell number, from the appropriately titled album “Carny,” called “Out in the Woods.”

‘Welcome to Albuquerque’

February 14, 2022

The Sandias as seen from Juniper Hill Road NE.
Not pictured: reckless motorist or knife-wielding maniac.

Boy, the folks at Visit Albuquerque must hate seeing Simon Romero’s byline in The New York Times.

Unless they all got shanked by the Psycho on the Bike-o.

Just another weekend on the mean streets of The Duck! City.

The old cat meows

December 19, 2021

“Someone flip me over, I’m done on this side.”

Sometimes I feel like an old cat. All I want is a sunny spot and the time to stretch out in it.

But eventually I must arise, if only to hit the litter box, grab a bite to eat, and sharpen the claws on the ol’ blogaroo.

Then comes the popping, snapping, and buzzing as levers and switches are thrown and pressed. Bent tabs lurch into ragged slots; parched bearings thirst for lubrication. Gonna have to use the kick-starter on this sumbitch today, boys. Pass the ether and that big fuckin’ hammer. No, not that one, the big one. Now stand back. Gimme room!

Which is the scenic route toward saying that the WordPress elves have been monkeying around under the hood again, making “enhancements” that I did not request and revising or disabling tools that I actually use.

And after extended consultation with support it appears that I may be compelled to arise from my sunny spot, stretch myself, and read the updated owner’s manual, even perform some hideous experiments on secondary and tertiary WP blogs long forgotten by the world at large. Don’t tell the killjoys at The Hague.

There seems to be a concerted push on to shift all WordPress users to Gutenberg, the block editor (cursed be its name, yes). The few times I have examined it, like a remnant of squashed turd upon one shoe, I have been dismayed, even appalled. I am a simple fellow, and there is nothing simpler than the original WordPress editor. It is the 22R engine, solid front axle, manual locking hubs, and five-speed stick shift of bloggery.

But time passes and things change, not always for the better (may I refer you to the modern Toyota truck, which has become nearly as preposterous as its American counterparts?).

So, if you notice anything off kilter around here in the coming weeks — which is to say, more off kilter than is usual for this joint— please remember, it’s (a) not my fault, and (2) free of charge.

On the edge of the desert

November 20, 2021

Cup No. 3.

It’s not often that I go for that third cup of coffee. But dammit, when it’s 30°-something as a fella struggles out from under the covers, he just might need a triple hit of Arabica. Ether for the carburetor, don’t you know.

I’m better now. Of course, it’s warmer now. Both inside and out.

“Haven’t you ever heard that no news is good news?”

We start our mornings with a 50-50 blend of French Roast and Black Lightning from Aroma Coffee in Santa Fe. It’ll set your gherkin to perkin’, especially after Cup No. 3.  Bzzt bzzt bzzt.

Still, it’s pretty lightweight as drug habits go. There was a time when mornings required something with a little more authority — some coffee, a couple of red beers, and a bump or two or three — but the nights were longer back then. We didn’t hit the sack at 9 p.m. Sometimes we didn’t hit it at all.

Now we have mornings where burrowing back under the covers seems the only sensible course of action. Coffee will not repel the daily assault on your senses by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and your hometown rumor mill. It’s like sending a hamster to croak a Kodiak bear.

Still, as you know, you read the news with the drugs you have, not the drugs you might want or wish you had at a later time. If those don’t work, try the covers.

Wot’s all this then?

September 16, 2021

Officer Friendly is here to rifle through your Google user data.

“Probable cause? We ain’t got no probable cause. We don’t need no probable cause. I don’t have to show you any steenkeeng probable cause!”

Zachary McCoy was Just Riding Along™, not unlike thee and me, when the John Laws came calling for his Google user data. According to The Guardian:

McCoy later found out the request was part of an investigation into the burglary of a nearby home the year before. The evidence that cast him as a suspect was his location during his bike ride – information the police obtained from Google through what is called a geofence warrant. For simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, McCoy was being investigated and, as a result, his Google data was at risk of being handed over to the police.

No thank you, please, and fuck right off with that noise, Officer Friendly. How’s the song go? “Let me ride through the wide open country that I love / Don’t geofence me in.”

A wee misinterpretation

June 10, 2021

“Oopsie.”

Well, it sure is shaping up to be an interesting summer.

Lake Foul is a couple quarts away from becoming a pump track. Lake Merde, a skatepark. And we have to boil the air before we can breathe it.

Good times. Maybe not.

It seems we took God literally when She said: “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

Now I can envision Her muttering: “You write ’em books and all they do is chew on the covers. You see anything in there about Phoenix, Las Vegas, or California? You do not. Because I was writing the Bible, not ‘The Beverly Hillbillies.’

“I send you my kid and Ed Abbey and this is the thanks I get? I hope you meshuggeners like drinking your wee-wee. Straight, no chaser.”

Memorial Day v2.0

June 1, 2021

“Joey, have you ever been in an autonomous Turkish drone’s crosshairs?”

Oh, good. … Paging James Cameron … James Cameron, please come to the white courtesy target zone … er, the white courtesy phone.

Goin’ down

December 31, 2020

In the loo and adieu for you.

Hoo-boy. Pee-yew. That’n looks like a double-flusher to me. Might have to break out the plunger. Or a stick of DuPont Extra.

But it’s gotta go, come hell or high water, and I won’t miss it once it’s gone.

Twenty-fuckin’-20.

We put an old woman in a home. My foot in a splint. My cat in an urn. And our lives on hold.

We’re alive to bitch about it, which has to count for something. [Insert thunderous sound of knocking on wood here.] Plenty of other people aren’t.

Also, I finally made it to Social Security, so, yay for me. Plus Herself remains on the clock in a real big way, so, bonus. We want for nothing. Call it a lamp so that we need not curse the darkness from beneath our designer masks.

It feels greedy of me to miss my cat. Running. Road trips. Hot springs. Random acts of shopping. Long bicycle rides. Stand-up comedy. My favorite non-alcoholic beer. Bookstores. Mexican restaurants. Living in a country that helped defeat fascism, not resurrect it.

You know. The little things.

Still, I miss them. I do. And I don’t expect to get a lot of them back just like that, with a simple change of calendars, or administrations.

Especially my cat. Not unless Stephen King gets involved, and that’s a bridge too far for me. Turkish v1.0 could be scary enough.

We already have plenty to be scared of, thanks all the same.

Nevertheless, here we are, on the threshold of a new year. That I am not optimistic is not helpful. Time to show the affirming flame. We must love one another or die.