Posts Tagged ‘John Nichols’

Bikes and books

April 7, 2018

The Soma Saga, canti’ model, en route to the Embudo Dam trailhead after a leisurely couple hours in the saddle.

Anybody who thinks pseudoephedrine sulfate isn’t a performance-enhancer should gobble a little Claritin-D 12 Hour before the daily bike ride sometime.

I resorted to doping yesterday as mulberry, ash and juniper transformed my mighty two-lane freeway of a snout into a narrow garbage-choked alley, and hijo, madre, what fun it was. I’d still be out there if I hadn’t run out of water and food.

It didn’t hurt that I was riding the Soma Saga. What a La-Z-Boy of a bike that beast is, especially the day after riding trail on the Voodoo Wazoo, with its low end of 38×28; that’s fun, too, but of an entirely different sort.

Si, mijo, ese es un libro real.

If the going gets steep on the Wazoo you just have to suck it up, snowflake. Stand up or get off. On the Saga, with its 24×32 granny, you can sit back and relax. It feels like there’s always another, lower gear.

When the provisions ran out I rolled home and ate a plate of leftover pasta with arugula pesto, some nuts and fruit.

Then I finished reading “The House of Broken Angels,” by Luis Alberto Urrea. He name-dropped Thomas McGuane, Mark Twain and Ray Bradbury in a New York Times Q&A, and acknowledged Jim Harrison and Richard Russo in the book itself, so yeah, goddamn right I was gonna read him, and in actual analog-book form too.

The story reminds me somewhat of “The Milagro Beanfield War,” by John Nichols, in that every Spanish-speaking reader in every border town in Estados Unidos and Mexico alike is going to say of it, as an Alamosa bookseller did to me of “Milagro,” “This book is really about us, you know?”

I got my copy used at Page 1 Books. Go thou forth and do likewise.

He turned me into a Newt!

January 24, 2012
Newt

The RomneyBot 2012 puts the squeeze on Newt.

These guys watch the Repuglican debates so you don’t have to:

• Charles P. Pierce: “(Newt) Gingrich’s political gifts are solely those of an arsonist. Challenged with the reality of what he’s always been, he will bluster and fume and light a dozen strawmen on fire, but he’ll never actually answer the damn question in a way that anyone with the intellect of an andiron would find to be adequate. Asked any kind of decent follow-up, and you can almost see his megalomania collide with his insecurities while he gropes for what comes next.”

• John Nichols: “Ron Paul and Rick Santorum took some pokes at the front-runners—indeed, Santorum got off a decent “there is no difference between President Obama and these two gentlemen” riff late in the debate. But neither of the other contenders stated the obvious: the leading contenders for the GOP nod embody everything that leads Americans to dismiss politicians as crooks.”

• Conor Friedersdorf: “Republican voters, who like the connotation of ‘conservative,’ say it’s a quality they prefer; revealed preference suggests what they actually want is an inconsistent right-leaning opportunist (George W. Bush, John McCain) who helps them evade certain kinds of cognitive dissonance (like hating deficit-financed government health care in theory and loving the budget-busting Medicare prescription-drug expansions in practice).”

And so on.

Meanwhile, the RomneyBot 2012 outputs some tax info and it ain’t pretty. None of his more than $42 million in income in 2010 and 2011 came from wages — it came from “a profusion of investments, as well as stock dividends and interest payments,” according to The Washington Post. And his tax rate last year? 13.9 percent. Ouch. That’s gotta sting. I tip better than that for bad service.

Notes Steve Benen: “(E)ven if Romney argues that he’s simply playing by the rules — taking advantage of existing tax loopholes to pay lower rates than much of the middle class — this doesn’t explain why Romney is eager to exacerbate issues on tax fairness with his tax plan that makes the problem worse.”

Steve adds: “Romney and his aides believe these materials should end the discussion. That’s backwards — the larger debate is just beginning.” Let’s hope so.