Posts Tagged ‘The Bug’

Masks and margaritas

May 17, 2021

I didn’t have a mask to keep bugs out of my teefers
on the descent of Tramway Road.

Firsts:

Hey, Spike, you missed a few flowers.

• Riding the bike without a mask. That was fun. I’ve been half-stepping it, draping a Buff around my neck, but yesterday I left it at home. I’m still all buffed up; I’m just not Buffed up. Ho, ho.

• Having people over for drinks. Yup. Couple friends from the ’hood who are likewise all shot up came by for strawberry margaritas and a bit of guacamole. We hung out on the patio, shooting the breeze and enjoying what little foliage Spike the Terrorist Deer found unpalatable.

Two little things, to be sure. But satisfying nonetheless after a very long year indeed. Next up: Dancing on Sundays!

Banzai, buckaroos

May 2, 2021

A letter from the January 1975 issue of National Lampoon, published after 2nd Lt. Hiroo Onada finally surrendered upon being relieved of duty by his former superior officer.

May. May? May. Jaysis.

Anybody prepared for May? Don’t look at me, Skeezix. Sure, there’s this whole spring fever/summer vacation vibe in the air. And I’ve had a double armful of Kindly Old Doc Pfizer’s Gen-U-Wine Bug Blaster.

But I can’t say I’m champing at the bit to embrace Society again.

Maybe I’m going to be like one of those Japanese soldiers who stayed bunkered up for a couple-three decades after World War II ended. Those dudes maintained focus.

“War’s over? Says who? The Emperor? Yeah, right. Keep digging, Shimada.”

Sore arms and sunshine

April 26, 2021

Sunny, warm, and windy. Don’t smoke ’em if you got ’em, please.

Well, here we are, enjoying our first Monday of total vaccination.

Not really. It’ll be a couple weeks before we’re deemed properly armed against The Bug® v1.0. But we’ve both had both shots, and so far the side effects seem mostly minimal.

Herself required a longish nap the day after she got stuck, and so did I. Sore arms for both of us, too. But the procedures went even more smoothly than before, zip and zip and zip. I’ve seen slower Golden Pride drive-thrus.

Before bagging some Z’s yesterday I went out for a short stroll to keep all the pivot points well oiled. It was shorts weather. The official high was 83 degrees, three short of the record and 11 above normal. Less than an inch of precip’ since Jan. 1. “No significant weather was observed,” adds the NWS. Ohhhhhh-kay.

Today we have more of the same, with single-digit humidity and winds from the southwest that could hit 50 mph. We’re already had a couple small fires in Torrance and San Miguel counties and it would be nice if we didn’t have any more, please and thank you.

In other weather news, freak cold snaps devastate vineyards in France. In The Washington Post, Rick Noack writes: “By the end of France’s big freeze, at least one third of this year’s wine harvest and many other crops were lost, in what by some estimates was the country’s worst agricultural disaster of the century. It may take years for some vineyards to recover.”

I guess we’ll all be smoking weed before much longer. That shit will grow anywhere, under any conditions. The roaches will be toking up long after Gaia has given us the shove.

Oh, eat me

April 20, 2021

“No one wants to work anymore.” And yet somebody posted this sign at a place of business. ’Ees a puzzlement, to be sure.

Here’s an interesting story. Not “interesting” in the sense that it was solidly reported, written, and edited, which it was not. Interesting in that it calls into question the business model of the fast-food industry.

The story — headlined “We’re competing with unemployment” — focuses on the hiring problems that outfits like Fresquez Companies, Twisters, and Sonic-Inspire Brands are having locally in Year Two of The Plague®.

Back in the day, when newspapers still had copy desks, a cynical old rim rat might have wondered at some volume whether the corporate types quoted in the piece had coordinated their tales of woe.

Says one: “Why would anybody want to, I guess, start at a minimum-wage job when they can be earning more money … on unemployment?”

Adds another: “People are making a lot more money being unemployed than employed, and the world is coming back to dine-in and eat-in a little bit at a time, so the stimulus really paused people applying to jobs.”

And a third: “I think it’s pretty easy to connect … unemployment benefits to it. I think a lot of us feel like a lot of people have chosen not to go back to work yet, because they’re still receiving the benefits.”

Well, shucks. It makes a man’s eyes damp, for sure.

My first question was, “How many of these struggling companies have received SBA Paycheck Protection Program funds or some other form of governmental assistance to make ends meet in these troubled times?” The story doesn’t say.

Nor does the reporter speak with any current, former, or potential employees. The one nod to working people came in a quote from OLÉ Education Fund executive director Matthew Henderson, who said: “Essential workers have risked their lives to keep New Mexico running during the pandemic. Some have decided, however, that the risk to their family’s health is not worth the poverty wages and lack of benefits that many employers offer. Don’t fault workers for refusing to be exploited.”

When I was young and even dumber than I am now, I briefly dated a single mom who availed herself of the various forms of governmental assistance to be had at the time. She was always strapped for cash, and since I was young and dumb, I asked her why she didn’t just get a job.

She explained patiently that the kind of job she would be able to get wouldn’t begin to pay the bills, much less the cost of child care while she worked. So she chose to keep jumping through the hoops of public assistance and raising her child. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

How many potential recruits for the Paper Hat Platoon have decided to stay home, collect assistance, and help their kids navigate remote learning with the goal of giving them a future that doesn’t involve pitching greaseburgers through windows at the Duke City’s drive-thrus? I mean, you don’t need a Ph.D in Google Search to find horror stories about the life and times of the fast-food worker.

I suspect this story may have had its roots in the photo above, posted on Twitter by a local TV reporter. Snapped at a local Sonic, it shows a sign reading: “We are short staffed. Please be patient with the staff that did show up. No one wants to work anymore.”

Wrong, pendejo. They just don’t want to work for you.

Nothing but blue skies

March 26, 2021

Puffy clouds to the north, above the garage.

Wednesday’s snow tamped down the pollen for a while, which is a pleasant respite for the snotlocker.

It’s still not warm — 39° at the moment, which would be 10 in the a.m. on a Friday morning — but as we’ve noted before, nobody who lives in the desert should complain when it’s cool and damp. Because it never lasts.

Sleepy Joe held his first presser yesterday, but I had to bail on it after just a few minutes because I kept hearing Dana Carvey’s spot-on impression of him in my head and couldn’t focus on what the real Joe was saying. I know, I know, bad citizen, bad bad citizen! 

But from what little I saw, and read afterward, I feel confident when I say that Sleepy José is unlikely to challenge his predecessor’s score on the Loon-O-Meter® anytime soon.

Meanwhile, Herself is slated to get her first jab today. She and a colleague will each get a dose of Moderna, and then if the weather permits they might find some nearby bistro for a socially distant bite of something and perhaps a celebratory shot that doesn’t go in the arm.

And I am scheduled for round two in late April, at the same place that stuck me on Wednesday. Round one left me with an achy arm and a touch of fatigue, though the latter could have been weather- or allergy-induced. As far as I know my DNA remains unchanged, I am not shedding mutant viruses, and I have not croaked. Yet.

Or is that just what “they” would have you believe?

Spring broken

March 1, 2021

There’s the signpost up ahead … you’re about to enter the McDowell Zone.

Can you be both stuck and unstuck, at the same time?

Dern tootin’, podnah.

Case in point: Last year, I had planned a March trip to McDowell Mountain Regional Park, to (a) get the hell out of here, and (2) get the hell out of here.

Well sir, God, He got wind of those plans and had Himself a good old hee, and also a haw. And the next thing you know I had a broken ankle, a dead cat, and a strongly worded suggestion from the State that I (and everyone else) stay put while the Plague sorted itself out.

So I was what you call stuck.

Now, a year later, we have a vaccine. And by “we,” I mean … well, what I mean is that there is a vaccine, and some other people have gotten it. But I haven’t. And I don’t know when I will get it.

Thus I am, you might say, unstuck. Which means I’m stuck.

Which in turn means that you get the needle. Because yes, yes, yes, it’s time for another medicinal episode of Radio Free Dogpatch.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: Once again we go to the Comedy Closet for this one, using a Shure MV7 mic and Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. Editing was in Apple’s GarageBand, with a sonic bump from Auphonic. Music and sound effects courtesy of Zapsplat with an Apple loop or two from iMovie and GarageBand. House call by kindly old Doc Firesign. Now just turn your head and cough.

Down in the dumps, or up in the air?

February 1, 2021

Didn’t know Kal-El had a white-trash eejit cousin, didja? Now you do.

Some people never learn.

And yes, I’m looking at me.

It took slightly more than nine months, and it was a breech birth, like all the other little bastards.

But baby, here we go again — yes, yes, yes, it’s another episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: Acoustic considerations (Herself doing paying work right next to my “studio”) dictated that I change locations yet again (to her walk-in closet). This time I used a Shure MV7 mic and Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. Editing was in Apple’s GarageBand, with music and sound effects courtesy of Zapsplat and Freesound. No DC Comics properties were harmed in the production of this podcast. If “Justice League” couldn’t do ’em in, nothing can.

More, late*

December 21, 2020

A little light and a lot more tunnel.

“Pandemic Deal by Congress Provides Economic Relief, for Now,” reports The New York Times.

But it’s too little, too late, and perhaps the last of Uncle Sammy’s pennies in the ol’ tin cup for a while, adds The Old Grey Hoor, in an analysis by Ben Casselman and Jim Tankersley.

The injection of money comes months too late for tens of thousands of failed businesses, however, and it may not be enough to sustain unemployed workers until the labor market rebounds. Moreover, it could be the last help from Washington the economy gets anytime soon.

Call me cynical, but I think we need some brighter bulbs on this job.

*Apologies to Chris in the Morning.

Climb every mountain

December 15, 2020

The southern end of the Candelaria Bench Trail.

My work, such as it is, is done for the year.

Actually, I’ve already shipped the first cartoon of the New Year to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. That hole in the back of the book won’t fill itself, after all. Especially since all the hate mail goes up front.

I should’ve celebrated with a bike ride, but I didn’t feel like pulling on all that winter kit, like some elderly knight gearing up for a quest. So instead I went for a short march through the foothills, figuring I’d finish breaking in the low-rise Merrell hikers I’ve mostly been using for street wear.

Looking west along Comanche.

El Rancho Pendejo sits at the bottom of a cul-de-sac and endures considerable shade on its eastern and southern sides, especially when the sun is low in the sky, so I always think it’s going to be colder outside than it really is. And our little weather station said 32 degrees with a brisk wind out of the north.

But once I got out in it I enjoyed myself immensely, in large part because it’s harder for the shit-flinging monkeys of the media to draw a bead on a moving target.

The lightweight boots felt great on the trail, so I scampered up a couple short climbs just for giggles. While I was up there I took a nice long sight along Comanche at all the country I haven’t been able to visit this year.

Hey, at least I was outside. Forty-five minutes, an hour, hour and a half … they’re not much, these little expeditions of mine, but they’re a whole lot better than nothing at all. A small thing, but oh, how very, very necessary.

And now that the vaccines are rolling out, maybe it won’t be long before the people who’ve been locked down for real, for months, in nursing homes, group residences, and assisted-living facilities, will be able to get a breath of fresh air. Even if they have to take it through a mask, in a wheelchair, on a sidewalk.

Let them eat shit

December 10, 2020

“Be Best?” How about, “Begone?”

So I’m standing in the kitchen after a morning of bad dreams, idly thumbing through the news on my phone as the toaster mutters to itself, when I stumble across these two items back to back on The Washington Post app:

• Stealing to survive: More Americans are shoplifting food as aid runs out during the pandemic. One manager interviewed said he usually doesn’t call the John Laws, but instead tells the offenders not to come back.

“It’s become much harder during the pandemic,” he said. “People will say, ‘I was just hungry.’ And then what do you do?”

• Dismissing health concerns, State Department treats 200 guests to holiday drinks, tours and leftover “Be Best” swag. The hoopla included a tour of the White House holiday decorations, beverages at Blair House, and “Be Best” merch’ from the phenomenally unremarkable anti-bullying initiative by the First Plagiarist, Countess Malaria Dracula.

“It’s time to get rid of the leftovers,” said one official.

Indeed it is. There’s never a guillotine around when you need one. Jan. 20 can’t come soon enough.