Posts Tagged ‘Colorado Springs Sun’

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.

Changing Dicks in midscrew

August 9, 2013
Dick goes limp.

Dick goes limp.

Lest we forget, 39 years ago yesterday Tricky Dick beat it for San Clemency, fleeing DeeCee like a rat out of an aqueduct.

I was working for my first daily paper, the Colorado Springs Sun, and at the ripe old age of 20 it seemed to me that Nixon would be our nadir, president-wise. But then I had no idea that Ronnie “Hollywood” Raygun and George Armstrong Bush (Lone Star Air Force, ret.) were waiting in the wings.

Sometimes I think we’d be better served by instituting a draft for public office. Selective service. Instead of pissing away a ton of time and money on elections, a cumbersome democratic process for which we are clearly ill-equipped, we dump everyone’s Social Security number into a big hopper, and on prime time come Election Day, some Vanna White type starts pulling ’em out.

Start low, with the U.S. House (because, really, does it get any lower than the U.S. House?), and then work your way up. The last number pulled gets to be president for four years. One take, no do-overs.

Since this would be a no-choice deal, we wouldn’t have to provide any perks to attract the “talent.” So away with the fat paychecks and pensions — employees in our three branches of government will be paid whatever the median wage happens to be at the time ($827 per week in the first quarter of 2013). Away with the primo health care that none of the rest of us gets. And no more unproductive downtime spent flatbacking for campaign cash. Beggary is unseemly, especially when one sees so little return on the investment.

Ditto the lucrative post-public-service lobbying gigs. This will be defined as treason and treated as such. Please to return at once to your regular job chucking spuds at strangers through drive-up windows, Senator, if you’re fortunate enough to still have it. (This would have the salutary effect of redirecting our lawmakers’ attention from the theatrical to the practical.)

Sure,  even with a random lottery picking the leadership we’re still likely to get the occasional Anthony Penis in office, texting wiener pictures hither and yon. But with campaigning for election a thing of the past, at least we won’t have to endure endless reportage about his oh-so-tricky dick.