Goo and dribble

June 12, 2018

Some folks thought I was wasting my time reading science fiction. They never thought we’d be living it.

Kevin Drum is on the nosey here. The grip-and-grin is a time-honored tradition in marketing, and that’s all that came out of the much-ballyhooed Dotard-Lil’ Kim “summit.”

Drum’s dismissal of the official statement’s four bullet points reminds me of a scene early in “Foundation,” by Isaac Asimov. Faced with an external threat from a rogue kinglet, the Foundation’s Encyclopedists and Salvor Hardin, mayor of Terminus City, were very much at odds over how to handle the situation.

The academics were content to rely upon their memories of a robust Empire. Hardin was not so sanguine. And when Lord Dorwin, Chancellor of the Empire, paid a diplomatic call upon Terminus to reassure everyone, the mayor took the liberty of having his every word recorded and subjected to symbolic analysis.

After the analyst filtered out what Hardin described as “meaningless statements, vague gibberish, useless qualifications — in short, all the goo and dribble — he found he had nothing left. Everything canceled out.”

“Lord Dorwin, gentlemen, in five days of discussion didn’t say one damned thing, and said it so you never noticed.”

Star Dreck: The Wrath of Con

June 10, 2018

Is the rest of the galaxy starting to figure out where Ricardo Mountebank is coming from?

Oh, deer

June 9, 2018

Miss Mia Sopaipilla thinks a little fresh venison would enhance the daily bowl of dry cat food. | Photo: Herself

Eight o’clock, 70 degrees. Summer may not officially start until June 21, but it feels pretty damn’ summery right now.

The drought is driving famished mule deer down from the foothills and into people’s yards, including ours. The rose bushes provide tasty morsels, as do the lilacs. Looks like they’ve been after the pears as well. And the cinderblock wall is taking something of a beating from the JV hurdlers.

This one was scrawny but a good leaper. Cleared the wall in a single bound.

R.I.P., Anthony Bourdain

June 8, 2018

Anthony Bourdain was working on a project to bring a market modeled on Singapore’s hawker centers to Manhattan. He wanted it to bring to mind “Blade Runner” — “high-end retail as grungy, polyglot dystopia.”

It seems the chef, globetrotter and raconteur Anthony Bourdain decided to burn out rather than fade away.

I can’t really say I was a fan; more of a bemused admirer, and from a safe distance, too. I read “Kitchen Confidential,” and my main takeaway beyond “Hell, no, I don’t ever want to cook in a pro kitchen” was that he’d be a tough dude to spend a lot of time around, even if you weren’t working for him.

But man, did he ever find his place in the world. Actually, not so much “find” as “create.” It seems now that his life may have been one extended, complicated suicide attempt. “Kill me if you can, but in the meantime get the fuck out of my way because I got all this cool shit to do.”

This New Yorker piece by Patrick Radden Keefe examines Bourdain’s raison d’être, the original pitch for his evolving, “increasingly sophisticated iterations” of the same TV program:

“I travel around the world, eat a lot of shit, and basically do whatever the fuck I want.”

It may also contain his epitaph. Bourdain was a movie buff, and “Blade Runner” comes up a couple of times in the piece. I thought immediately of the conversation between Roy Batty and Eldon Tyrell, the chat which ended so badly for Batty’s creator:

“The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy.”

Batty would eventually check out, too. But not by his own hand.

‘Let’s blow anyway’

June 7, 2018

“Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album,” is a full set of material recorded by the John Coltrane Quartet on a single day in March 1963.

Imagine how thrilling and appalling it must be, all at once, for a gigging jazzman to learn that a lost John Coltrane album is due to be released on June 29.

Remember your Jack Kerouac, whose Sal Paradise recalls some young bop musicians urging George Shearing to step out of the audience and play at a Chicago club in “On the Road”:

He played innumerable choruses with amazing chords that mounted higher and higher until the sweat splashed all over the piano and everybody listened in awe and fright. They led him off the stand after an hour. He went back to his dark corner, old God Shearing, and the boys said, “There ain’t nothin’ left after that.”

But the slender leader frowned. “Let’s blow anyway.”

Something would come of it yet. There’s always more, a little further — it never ends.

Law and ordure

June 5, 2018

His Lardship on the throne.

Donald the Short-fingered thinks he is the Lizard King (“I can do anything!).

There was a time when “erotic politician” Jim Morrison got in the deep doo-doo for waving his dick around on stage, but that was only rock ’n’ roll, and we liked it. Just part of the act, folks; all in good fun.

This guy actually wants to fuck us. But I don’t see the cops coming anytime soon.

After the deluge

June 4, 2018

That pleasant little soaking we got yesterday soothed a scorched patch of grass in the back yard.

Herb swung by El Rancho Pendejo for a nosh and a nip after his museum-inspection tour of Fanta Se and asked if it had rained here.

Yup. Like a mad bastard, too, probably for a good 20 minutes.

But you’d never know it, because the sun came right back out, and there was nary a puddle to be seen.

This Chihuahuan Desert country drinks like a clerk-typist telling fake war stories at a VFW bar. And we’re a thousand feet above the Rio, so the parched earth just swallows and pisses and swallows and pisses and hollers “More! More! More!”

Thus yesterday’s downpour was already coursing through the Rio before we could say, “Hmm, smells like rain.”

“One never knows during a fine dinner when a bike ride will break out. Always Be Ready.”
Photo and caption by Herb C., who, like Herself, takes notice when a bicycle is parked where it shouldn’t oughta be.

Still, we’ll take whatever moisture comes our way. It must have been particularly welcome up north, where crews are still battling the 36,000-acre Ute Park fire.

Today we’re right back to hot and sunny, which is a good thing. For me, anyway. Those bicycles aren’t gonna review themselves.

La Ruta Reducido

June 3, 2018

From left: Pat O’B, Your Humble Narrator and Khalil S. “The boys regret their apparel selection as they begin their prison sentences. It seems they will be targeted by the harder criminals.” | Photo and caption by Herb C.

La Ruta del Rancho Pendejo 2018 is receding in the helmet mirror, the weather gods having decreed that stage two would not proceed as scheduled.

Stage one, a pan-flat, 33-mile out-and-back on the Paseo del Bosque, went off without a hitch, unless you count hunting parking spaces at the Alameda trailhead. Hijo, madre, etc. It was like looking for honesty in DeeCee. I usually bicycle down to the bosque trail, so this was a new experience for me, and I devised my very own parking space, where I imagine no one had parked before.

With the heavy machinery docked, properly and otherwise, Pat O’B., Herb C., Khalil S. and I set sail with a few hundred thousand of our closest friends (save for you, dear readers) for what I and the weatherperson anticipated would be a hideously hot, wind-scoured ride. Not so much. It turned out right nice. Even our handlebar bells were in sync, pealing out nuggets of harmony as we overtook our brethren and sistren in heavy traffic.

From left: Pat O’B, Your Humble Narrator and Herb C. The South Diversion Channel Trail, says the city’s description of the bosque tour, “provides impressive views of an industrial portion of Albuquerque,” if you happen to be feeling industrious. | Photo by Khalil S.

For some reason I never remember to unlimber the camera on these deals, mostly being preoccupied with bullshittery, so we have no “pro” images of the four of us from the Canon PowerShot S110 and its convenient timer for hands-free photography.

Happily, Khal and Herb weren’t shy about pulling out their phones for a few snaps, so we have proof that we were on the bikes and not barstools. At these precise moments, anyway.

Afterward we lunched at Casa de Benavidez on 4th, and then I sped off to the Duke City airport to fetch Herself home from a jaunt to Colorado while the lads amused themselves elsewhere.

I had planned to snap a few candids of the crew on today’s mountain-bike ride, especially if anyone wound up plucking cactus thorns from their bibs, but the planet had other ideas.

Between fires, high winds, and impending heavy rain and/or hail, we agreed to employ the better part of valor, which is to say “discretion.”

At long last, rain. My fault: I washed and lubed the bicycle I intended to ride today.

We might have been able to pull off a quick hour on the trails — by noon, the gods had huffed and puffed to no particular effect — but there ain’t many places to hide in the upper reaches of the Chihuahuan Desert when they finally start tossing the icewater and electricity around and about.

So Pat scurried off home to Sierra Vista, Khal remained in Fanta Se, and Herb headed north to inspect The Arts so that he might tell the wife he’d done something of merit over the weekend. Me? I caught up on news and chores. The party never stops.

Next year we might shift the Ruta north to Khal’s neighborhood. There’s plenty of cycling to be done in our old hometown, lots of top-shelf grub, and The Arts aplenty in case any of yis tilt in that direction.

Finally, thanks to Pat, Khal and Herb for joining me, and another round of happy-birthday wishes to Pat, who celebrated his 69th with us.

 

 

Another beautiful bus lane

May 30, 2018

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers never went electric, but they sure as shit knew their buses. Freak Bros. © forever by Gilbert Shelton

Mired in what could only be termed a Central Avenue clusterfuck as I took the scenic route home from the airport this afternoon, gazing longingly at the bus lanes unoccupied by electric buses, or anything else, and at one point being passed by a kid nonchalantly kicking a skateboard, I found my spirits lifted considerably when KUNM-FM played “Bike Lane” by Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks.

Naturally, the lyrics rearranged themselves in my head thusly: “Another beautiful bus lane … another beautiful bus lane. …”

Hot time in the old town

May 30, 2018

New Mexico must have a patent on these cloud formations. And if it doesn’t, it should.

Looks like the inaugural Ruta del Rancho Pendejo will be a warm one, with highs in the 90s and 80s, though there’s a chance of afternoon showers on Sunday.

The very latest in fluid acquisition and retention technology.

This last we will believe when we see it.

Never fear, however. Your Humble Narrator, with an assist from Adventure Cyclist editor-in-chief Alex Strickland, has acquired a number of advanced hydration-delivery devices for distribution to all participants.

We regret to announce, however, that Roseanne Barr will not be joining us for the weekend’s activities. She’s apparently decided to take a fresh direction. Some sort of gravity deal.

And it seems to be quite the show. I haven’t seen anyone go downhill that fast since Missy Giove was shredding the gnar.