Posts Tagged ‘The New York Times’

On the edge of the desert

November 20, 2021

Cup No. 3.

It’s not often that I go for that third cup of coffee. But dammit, when it’s 30°-something as a fella struggles out from under the covers, he just might need a triple hit of Arabica. Ether for the carburetor, don’t you know.

I’m better now. Of course, it’s warmer now. Both inside and out.

“Haven’t you ever heard that no news is good news?”

We start our mornings with a 50-50 blend of French Roast and Black Lightning from Aroma Coffee in Santa Fe. It’ll set your gherkin to perkin’, especially after Cup No. 3.  Bzzt bzzt bzzt.

Still, it’s pretty lightweight as drug habits go. There was a time when mornings required something with a little more authority — some coffee, a couple of red beers, and a bump or two or three — but the nights were longer back then. We didn’t hit the sack at 9 p.m. Sometimes we didn’t hit it at all.

Now we have mornings where burrowing back under the covers seems the only sensible course of action. Coffee will not repel the daily assault on your senses by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and your hometown rumor mill. It’s like sending a hamster to croak a Kodiak bear.

Still, as you know, you read the news with the drugs you have, not the drugs you might want or wish you had at a later time. If those don’t work, try the covers.

The new Disneyland

June 24, 2021

Road hard.

Americans are hewing to the Gospel of Willie Nelson:

On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again
And I can’t wait to get on the road again

The New York Times says tracking indicates that mountain-resort bookings are off the charts, well ahead of even last year’s record-shattering level.

Hotel rooms cost more, and so does go-juice for the family tank. Planning to camp? Do you have a reservation, m’sieur? Non? Please ’ave a seat in your Buick and I’ll see if we can pencil you in for, oh, let’s say … October. October 2022. Your bicycle should be available by then as well.

On the edge, back in the early Oughts. Photo: Merrill Oliver

I’m not immune to this sort of questing, especially since I’ve been up on blocks in Bernalillo County since fall 2019.

A couple old comrades recently invited me to join them for a spot of biking and hiking around Truckee, Calif., as in days of yore, but I couldn’t warm up (ho ho ho) to the idea of driving a thousand miles each way in a 17-year-old Subie through a series of forest fires. Visit colorful Flaming Rock! Retardant drops every hour on the hour!

So I scoped out a few getaways a little closer to home, quiet locales without zip lines, mountain coasters, or via ferratas, and ho-ly shit, no thank you, please.

Your modern highwayman is not an armed robber ahorseback bellowing “Stand and deliver!” but rather an innkeeper telling you your pitiful pile of Hilton points won’t make the nut here, Sonny Jim. You think Arizona was smokin’? Wait ’til you see what we do to your Visa card.

Samey same at campsites at any location with an elevation where daytime highs stall out in the double digits. Wanna pitch a tent? Thumb up some porn on your smartphone, Johnny Muir, our dirt is all spoken for. And you couldn’t afford it anyway.

The amusing part of the NYT piece is about how all these destinations hope to teach tourists how to eschew outlandish dickishness, which is a primary characteristic of the meandering jagoff. Pivoting from tourism promotion to tourism management, as The Colorado Sun puts it.

Hee, and also haw. You won’t have to drive to Tombstone to see the O.K. Corral, podnah. The same salt-of-the-earth types who were doing it hand to hand in the Dollar Store over the last jumbo pack of Charmin will be drawing down on each other — and the hired hands — at overloaded campsite pit toilets, chairlifts, and undistinguished chain eateries from coast to coast.

Being up on blocks in Bernalillo County suddenly doesn’t sound all that bad.

Car park

July 9, 2020

“Why do American cities waste so much space on cars?”
Uh, because they’re climate-controlled living rooms that go places?

A good newspaper not only reports the news, it stimulates debate on the issues of the day.

And this piece by Farhad Manjoo in The New York Times — “I’ve Seen a Future Without Cars, and It’s Amazing” — is certainly going to set some chins wagging.

But hoo-boy, talk about your roadblocks:

Given how completely they rule most cities, calling for the outright banishment of automobiles can sound almost ludicrous. (We can’t even get people to agree to wear masks to stop the spread of a devastating pandemic.)

In other words, don’t swap the Escalade for an e-bike just yet, Sparky.

One more minor quibble: I think this sentence — “Manhattan, already one of the most car-free places in the country, is the best place to start.” — is just a wee bit Noo Yawk-centric.

How about starting with a smaller space, like Santa Fe? Wall off the actual walkable/bikeable bits from the metastasis that surrounds them, provide car parks around the perimeter, and encourage people to engage in muscle-powered transportation.

Pedicabs will be available for hire, but you’re gonna have to show me a serious hitch in your gitalong or other qualifying infirmity before you make someone else haul your fat ass around town. The penalty is crucifixion (first offense).

Bingo!

May 13, 2020

“Learn Big Numbers as you Play.” Or not.

Thomas B. Edsall at The New York Times cranks out another keeper about the unholy combination of church and casino that is the Il Douche re-election campaign.

This dude alone is worth the price of a subscription to Mother Times. He throws a wide loop and brings ’em back alive.

A Democratic tech strategist describes the campaign website as a casino, “purposefully built to keep gamblers inside and at the table … trapping people inside an ecosystem of dangerous misinformation, conspiracy theories, and grievance politics. And it’s doing so while making the experience as fun and exciting as possible.”

In the nation’s “political churches,” meanwhile, a survey of hymn-singing white Protestants finds “clergy speech is driving up the religious significance” of Il Douche. In short, a strong plurality of respondents believe this gibbering gobshite was anointed by the Lord to be our Leader.

While elite “right wing media are having a profound effect on public opinion, serving to insulate Trump supporters,” the authors write, the process is also “built and sustained from the bottom up. That is, political churches, among Republicans especially, reinforce the argumentation that is also coming from above.”

I consider this another solid argument for taxing churches. Uncle Sugar gets a cut of what I earn for preaching my gospel. You want to play too, padre? Ante up, sucker, the pot’s light again.

Beaned

March 28, 2020

The ornamental pear is blooming … just in time for the morning low
to dip below freezing again.

We’re not down to eating the backyard foliage like Spike the Terrorist Deer. Not yet, anyway.

But it has been about 10 days since our last grocery trip, and we’re having to get creative.

Last night I was scrounging around in the pantry like an old bear fresh from hibernation and thought: “Hmm. Must be something I can do with canned beans other than make emergency burritos.” This is the kind of burrito you make when you don’t feel like going through all the rigamarole involved in making a proper pot of frijoles.

Which I was not. It was my birthday, f’chrissakes.

So I hit The New York Times Cooking site. This is well worth the price of a subscription to The Old Grey Lady. It’s not geared strictly for the condo chef with an eight-burner Wolf gas range and All-Clad out the arse. You’ll find plenty of pantry possibilities too.

And whaddaya know? I unearthed one perfectly suited to my supplies: Cheesy White Bean-Tomato Bake.

I made a few adjustments. Didn’t have any mozzarella, so I used Monterey Jack. Also, I tossed a generous dollop of cilantro-jalapeño salsa in with the tomato paste, and added a pinch of smoked paprika to the spices.

And when it came out of the oven I sprinkled it with some coarsely chopped cilantro and a bit of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Herself contributed a side salad and that was that.

Ali Slagle, who provided the recipe, also offers a snazzier black-bean version. We may try that one down the road. We’re flat out of Jack now, but we still have some sharp Irish Cheddar.

It’s snot right

March 15, 2020

Everything these people say for public consumption should come with an asterisk and a footnote reading:
“Caution. May contain toxic amounts of bullshit.”

The New York Times has stepped on its old gray dick again, with a headline reading “Trump Tests Negative.”

These bozos still don’t get it. The man is a documented liar a thousand times over, and yet they insist on feeding us preposterous bullshit like this.

The Washington Post gets it right with “Trump tests negative for coronavirus, physician says.” See how easy that is? Absent independent verification, you attribute the statement.

“Hey, we never said that shit. His doctor did.”

If the sonofabitch said the sun rises in the east, I would step outside to see for myself. And on more than one morning, too.

‘Something Went Wrong’

December 8, 2019

Uh, can you be more specific?

Indeed it did. And so it begins, the Decline and Fall of the iPhone 5.

The New York Times apparently has cooked up an app update that my device can’t digest — the iPhone 5 peaked at iOS version 10.3.4, while the NYT demands 11 or better — and now I can’t surf the shit monsoon from my 7-year-old phone. Woe, etc.

The iPhone SE, ready for its closeup.

Asked for comment, the NYT Customer Care Crew advises, “We are no longer supporting older versions of the NYT app,” adding that geezers in thrall to antiquated technology should “use the mobile browser to access all content on nytimes.com.”

So I sez back to ’em, I sez: “Thanks for the reply. I already figured that out. The iPhone 5 maxes out at iOS 10.3.4, so using v9.11 of your app is not an option. I’m disappointed to learn that the NYT has dropped support for older versions of the app. My iPhone is elderly, to be sure, but not yet senile. For instance, The Washington Post app continues to work just fine.”

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Sonny Jim. Then get off of my lawn.

It’s not this iPhone’s first step on the slippery techno-slope, of course. I’ve already had to replace the battery once, and the Phone app itself has developed the palsy, seizing up and even crashing from time to time.

I can fix that, as I always keep a large hammer within reach. But first, I should probably unbox the iPhone SE that’s been hanging around idle for the past few months. Naturally, it, too, is a discontinued model, slated for the boneyard — and rumor has it that the Wizards of Cupertino are working on a bigger-and-better model for release early in 2020.

But mine will run the latest and greatest version of iOS. For now, anyway.

Sign of the Times

June 13, 2019

My ships keep sailing, catching fire, burning to the waterline, and sinking.

Sigh. As if this racket wasn’t tough enough already.

Days decrease, and autumn grows

October 10, 2018

Yesterday’s clouds were a harbinger of mildly unpleasant weather,
the sort one expects in October.

It’s that time of year again.

This morning, instead of going straight to The New York Times to see what deviltry Cheeto Benito has been up to while we slept, I cued up Weather Underground to find out what Thor has in store for us here in our little corner of the Duke City.

Also, I was wearing socks. And pants. O, the humanity.

I already miss my summer routine. Reveille at oh-dark-thirty as Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) leaps into my rack. After a brief exchange of the usual courtesies it’s up and into the Columbia shorts, guinea tee and Tevas for the trip to the kitchen, where I burn an English muffin for Herself, pour a cup of joe for myself, and top off Miss Mia Sopaipilla’s kibble.

Next, open the sliding glass doors and a kitchen window. Fresh air reminds me we have two cats who haven’t mastered the flush toilet. But the litter box will have to wait. First, the news. One foul chore at a time, please.

With the international, national, regional and local butt-nuggets exhumed, examined and expunged, and a second cup of coffee to wash down a snack of some sort, it’s time to generate a bit of bloggery and/or paying copy before embarking upon some healthy outdoor activity.

Here we have another indicator of the relentless passage of time, as reliable as falling leaves. Come autumn, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News and Adventure Cyclist reduce their frequency of publication, and my income stream — hardly a raging torrent, even in the heart of the cycling season — becomes more of a dribble, the last warm sip from summer’s water bottle.

I delivered the video teaser of my Jones Plus SWB review to Adventure Cyclist on Sunday, and yesterday the November “Shop Talk” cartoon went off to BRAIN. Now I’m fresh out of other people’s bikes to ponder, and there’s just one more ’toon to draw for 2018.

And that healthy outdoor activity? Come autumn, it’s as likely to be a run as a ride. This year I started jogging again in July; this lets me sort of sneak up on my knees, give them time to grow accustomed to the idea that we enjoy this sort of thing, before winter winnows our options.

It’s a useful fiction, one that keeps me in shorts a while longer.

Bad Apples

February 7, 2018

The not-so-smart speaker setup in the kitchen at El Rancho Pendejo.

Apple has gotten a bit of the old spankity-spank from The New York Times over the longevity of its iPads and the functionality of its HomePods.

John Herrman grouses that his 5-year-old iPad Mini “hasn’t been used up; it’s just too old.” And the HomePod — Ms. Siri in particular — is expensive, unfinished and “tough to recommend,” according to consumer-tech reporter Brian X. Chen.

Ooo, snap, as the kool kidz don’t say anymore.

I have the exact same iPad Mini and it was demoted some time back to serving up music in the kitchen while I butcher NYT Cooking’s recipes. Like Herrman, I was disappointed in the Mini’s early decline from full functionality, mostly because I liked its portability and small size for nighttime, one-handed reading (the right hand is reserved for scratching the Turk’s ears).

But I can’t say I was surprised, because the iPad always struck me as Apple’s pricey idea of a consumer content-consumption gadget intended to be replaced, not revived.

I was late to the iPad, just as I was to the iPhone. It struck me as unnecessary, and still does in a lot of ways. Using one to write, edit, blog, or work any sort of audio/visual project involves workarounds and compromises. And to do any of these things at all, even badly, you pretty much have to add a couple adapters and an external keyboard-slash-case, which adds to the cost and complexity and basically makes the iPad a sort of half-assed laptop.

That said, I’m on my third iPad, because as you know, I will never be smart.

The first, an iPad 2, retired to the Walter household up Weirdcliffe way, where thanks to a rambunctious youngster they were light on portable computing technology. The Mini, as we have observed, plays my iTunes library in the kitchen. And No. 3, a 9.7-inch iPad Pro from 2016, mostly sits (with its keyboard case, because of course the fucking thing needs a keyboard case) on the nightstand, next to the bed, in which it has proven a cumbersome one-handed e-book reader.

A $100 Amazon Kindle Paperwhite would probably suit me just fine for that. But remember, I create as well as consume, and in a pinch I can actually do paying work with the iPad while traveling (I once updated the blog from a tent in Arizona, using an iPhone).

I didn’t have a HomePod in that tent, and I don’t expect to have one in the house anytime soon either. The whole Smart Home/Internet of Things deal gives me the creeps. I already wonder whether the Apple TV is watching us as much as we watch it, and I sure as hell don’t need the stereo, toaster and ’fridge to be finking for the State.

Anyway, I already have a nifty little JBL Clip 2 speaker Bluetoothed to the Mini. Forty-two smacks it cost me.

Hey, Siri, do I look any smarter to you now?