Curb your enthusiasm

June 1, 2019

It was one of those days. First we saw the hare; then we saw the tortoise. They weren’t racing, though.

Herself noticed this armored gent during our ride through High Desert this morning, and I inquired whether he knew Mitch McConnell.

“That asshole,” he replied. “Fuck that guy. He’s a snake on his mother’s side, you know. Gives us all a bad name.”

e-DWI

May 31, 2019

The operator of this gas-powered scooter was appallingly sober.

In less than a week after rentable electric scooters hit the mean streets of Albuquerque, we’ve collected our first e-DWI. ¡Salud!

I suppose we could look on the bright side here. Had our early adopter not gotten popped for allegedly e-scooting under the influence — the cops say she got all beered up at Marble Brewery and had planned to hit at least one more grog shop downtown — she probably would’ve clambered into her land yacht and driven home to Belen, an hour or so to the south, depending on how many ditches and medians one inspects en route.

Or tried to, anyway. ¿Quien sabes? Having had some small experience in these matters I expect it’s a lot easier to hide one’s impairment from the John Laws behind the tinted windows of a four-wheeled Ford than on one of their two-wheeled throwaways.

The Great Stone Face speaks

May 29, 2019

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”

“It is all in The Report. That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

The Mad Dog raises his Grecian urn in a toast to Hunter S. Thompson and John Keats.

President Fullo Schidt

May 28, 2019

I always thought it was bullshit when they told us in school, “In this country, anyone can grow up to become president.” But it turns out that the only thing they got wrong was the part about growing up. Oh, yeah: And I think they meant “anyone human,” too.

Remind me why anyone, anywhere, including the people who work for him, would think that this pendejo isn’t basically a 300-pound parakeet entranced by his own reflection?

• Trump Undercuts John Bolton on North Korea and Iran

• Japan Rolled Out the Red Carpet. Trump Veered Off Into Personal Fixations

• Miffed at Fox News, Trump Flirts With an Even More Fawning News Network

Memento mori

May 27, 2019

This flag was unceremoniously dumped on our walkway as a promotional gimmick by a local real-estate agency with no apparent understanding of the Flag Code.

Remember the war in Afghanistan?

Some folks would prefer that you didn’t. Or at least remained blissfully ignorant about its purpose and progress.

As Tom Udall and Rand Paul noted in an essay for The Atlantic, starting this fall American soldiers will begin deploying to fight in a war “that began before they were born.”

They, along with their friends, family and neighbors, may not understand just what they’re getting into, because the U.S. military command in Afghanistan has gone all tight-lipped on just what — if anything — it is accomplishing there.

This concerns the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, John F. Sopko, who told The New York Times that while he and many members of Congress had access to illuminating classified information, the rest of us were being treated like a cash crop of mushrooms, being kept in the dark and fed a steady diet of bullshit.

“The only people who don’t know what’s going on and how good or bad a job we’re doing are the people paying for it — the American taxpayers,” he said.

The colonel’s final deployment.

The brass hats seem happy to gin up some numbers to keep the easily distracted President Beelzebonespur in the game. In January 2018, according to the Times, the military began announcing Vietnam-style body counts “as part of an apparent strategy to rally White House support for remaining in the conflict.”

The practice ended abruptly when the Times started asking questions about it.

There’s a certain irony in using a dubious metric from a war dodged by the present commander in chief to hold his wavering interest in this one. Especially since shortly after his inauguration, according to the Times, a special-ops unit was told to prepare for a number of missions deemed too risky by the previous administration.

Again, the Times: “The commander of the unit, according to one American commando who was at the briefing, said the operations were meant to show Mr. Trump what they were capable of achieving in Afghanistan.”

This took me back to “Dispatches,” by the late Michael Herr, who recalled an encounter with a publicity-hungry commander when the Esquire correspondent, Sean Flynn and Tim Page choppered into a landing zone in Vietnam.

Wrote Herr: “(H)e wanted to throw a spontaneous operation for us, crank up his whole brigade and get some people killed. We had to get out on the next chopper to keep him from going ahead with it, amazing what some of them would do for a little ink.”

And the sales pitch continues. We still owe on this beat-to-shit 2001 Afghanistan — $45 billion per year, according to the Pentagon — and now they’re trying to get us into a brand-new 2019 Iran. We can give the ’01 to the kids, I guess.

Aw, who are we kidding? The kids will get both of them. And the rest of us will stick plastic flags in our planters, fire up the grill, and wonder idly if there’s anything good on TV. Hey, there’s a 24-hour Memorial Day tribute on TCM! Score!

• Mad Dog Media thinks the best way to honor those who serve is to equip them with top-shelf civilian leadership and bring them home.

Behind the 8-ball

May 26, 2019

Just say no, kids.

I have been behind the 8-ball, and I have been in front of the 8-ball — more than once, too. And after a few too many taps on the glass I usually wound up looking about like this fellow here.

Our preposterous and apparently endless allergy season has me feeling as though someone stepped a little too hard on my Peruvian marching powder — say, with Drano, kitty litter or aluminum oxide — and so instead of riding the bikey bike I have been riding the couch, which is not nearly as fun because it never goes anywhere.

Dr. Mark Schuyler, chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology for the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, said back in April that we could expect this season to run through mid- to late May, and he did not lie.

Or at least I hope he didn’t. If I watch much more TV, put on a few kilos, and shed a few I.Q. points, I’m liable to wind up president.

Masi! Gesundheit!

May 24, 2019

The Masi Speciale Randonneur, up against the Wall of Science.

There’s a new bike in the house: a Masi Speciale Randonneur.

It’s one of them there newfangled “sport touring all-road bikes,” but you don’t gotta plug it in at night. 650b x 47 rubber. Columbus Cromor tubes. Three sets of bottle bosses and the usual rack and fender mounts, plus fenders to go with ’em.

If I can beat back these allergies its maiden voyage will be tomorrow. Yesterday I felt like I’d been tear-gassed. Today I squeezed about eight hours out of a Claritin-D 12 Hour, which if my math is correct falls about four hours short of getting ’er done.

Whatta drag(on)

May 22, 2019

His Lardship in the Porcelain Throne.

And here you thought “Game of Thrones” was over.

Benvenuto

May 22, 2019

The support vehicle for your own personal Giro d’Italia. Photo courtesy CycleItalia/Piedmont Cycling Resort

Don Lorenzo reminds us that Piedmont Cycling Resort is open for business.

“Our support car is all set up and we’re waiting for you,” he sez, sez he, he sez.

The skilled, savvy and strong lads and lassies who frequent this dive don’t need no steenkeeng sag wagon, of course.

Still, it’s nice to know that someone has your back in case your legs go walkabout.

Bend over and leave the driving to us

May 21, 2019

I don’t know much about ART, but I know what I like.

Ho, ho. While Tariff Man is busy playing chicken with China, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is up to his fat wallet pocket in BYD, the Chinese electric-bus bidness that intercoursed the penguin so fabulously here in the Duke City.

That little news nugget didn’t make it into the WaPo story about how McCarthy “services” his constituents, of course, because no white people got shot. Not yet, anyway.

Matt Sparks, a spokesman for McCarthy, defended the congressman’s actions. He said McCarthy has long advocated for companies in his district and denied any connection between McCarthy’s receipt of campaign contributions from BYD and his actions on Capitol Hill.

“McCarthy is proud to support job creation for his constituents and community,” Sparks said.

BYD sure did a job on us here. So much so that the mayor told them to get their FUBAR’d e-buses the hell out of Dodge, ordered up some old-school diesel stink-boxes from New Flyer of America, and took BYD to court. The company said last month that the parties “are now close to resolving this matter.”

What’s not close is any Albuquerque Rapid Transit service along the clusterfuck that is Central Avenue. The New Flyer buses are expected to be ready to roll by the end of winter 2020 — three years after ART’s e-buses were supposed to be buzzing along the Mother Road.