Posts Tagged ‘The Plague’

Stuck

March 24, 2021

My sticker sticker.

It practically goes without saying that on the morning when I was to drive a dozen miles northwest and a thousand feet down to get my first shot of Kindly Old Doc Pfizer’s Sho-nuff Genuine Bug Killer, it would be snowing sideways from the northeast at 40 mph, the power would be yo-yoing, and the cul-de-sac would look like the top of a Marie Callender’s coconut cream pie fresh from the freezer.

The wind, the power outage(s), and the cat clued us in at about 2 a.m. that it would be an interesting morning indeed. Ordinarily we’re talking about a 15-minute drive here, most of it in fifth gear. But traffic lights were out all over the place, with transformers on fire, and I had my doubts about whether we would even be getting out of the garage.

But I noticed that two neighbors had laid down tracks in the pie — pardon, the snow — and when I checked various weather cams around town I was all like, “Say what? Are these shots from yesterday?”

Nope. The fabled Albuquerque Snow Hole was in full effect. And so, by the time we slalomed through the whiteout and one pileup (not us) to the corner of Tramway Boulevard and Tramway Road, it was smooth sailing all the way down to the Presbyterian COVID-19 Vaccination Hub. The wind wasn’t even blowing down there, and we were seriously overdressed.

We were also about 40 minutes early, which turned out to be perfect. Seriously, the whole deal took about 45 minutes, including standing in line, passing through various checkpoints, getting the shot, and spending 15 minutes afterward waiting to see whether I’d turn into The Incredible Hulk or just explode in a manky cloud of pink stink.

Everybody involved was cheerful, helpful, prepared, and efficient. It was the finest example of the American Health Care Machine in operation that I’ve seen since … well, since forever. Frankly, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Bravo and chapeau to everyone involved, including Herself, who came along to make sure I did not soil myself (I hate needles, unless I’m the one doing the needling).

The more things change. …

March 9, 2021

“No, I don’t want any Girl Scout cookies. I want to get the hell out of here.”

We popped round to the Dark Tower yesterday to visit Herself the Elder.

The weather being cooperative, we decided to make it our first bicycle drive-by of the new year.

The State had recently made some noise about changes to its protocol for visiting residents of long-term-care facilities, but for our purposes, that’s about all the announcement amounted to — noise.

After looking over the four-page document we decided that for everyone involved, the simplest, least bothersome way to enjoy a little face time (not FaceTime) with HtE remains peering through a closed window and speaking via phone.

‘Wicked, tricksy, false!’

October 4, 2020

“I’m just peachy, really. Tip-top, actually. Never better. Back at the ol’ desk any day now.”

Well, we seem to have blown right past the question of whether Bugsy Sméagol has The Plague and are now deep into the slimy weeds of lies surrounding just how bad his case might be, O yes, my precious.

This, oddly, may be the one thing about this “presidency” that is not unique, as Chazbo Pierce points out in his weekly letter from The Shebeen (subscription required).

Diseases have croaked as many presidents as have bullets (four apiece). And plenty of administrations have concealed the fact that the president was teetering on the edge of eternity, or at least a couple tacos short of a combo plate.

Now instead of trotting out a platoon of generals or economists to give us the old hocus, and also the pocus, Bugsy’s handlers send us a squad of Walter Reed whitecoats to add their spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, i.e., what The New York Times calls “conflicting accounts” of his condition.

Over at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum draws our attention to the sociopath behind the curtain, giving us the timeline as he sees it and calling the conduct of Bugsy and his goons “reckless beyond belief.”

I find it entirely believable, but hey, let’s agree to disagree.

This is a cult of personality we’ve been dealing with since Bugsy surfed the golden escalator into the GOP presidential pissing match, in which he proved to be the biggest dick.

You don’t get stand-up guys in a cult. What you get is scabby-kneed old hoors with calluses on the insides of their mouths. Bloated ticks sporting American-flag lapel pins. The occasional professional rat who knows the fastest way off a sinking ship and through a publisher’s office into the talk-show green rooms.

Nobody had the stones to get a hammerlock on Hitler, Stalin, or Mao, either, mostly because those gentlemen would have had them ground into puppy treats for the guard dogs.

This guy may kill a few of his punks too. Not because they stood up to him, but because they bowed down to him, with their faces hanging out in his toxic wind.

Until and unless The Plague gets them, the only thing these spineless hooters are scared of is missing out on their sip from the gravy boat as it goes around The Big Table.

Masque of the Red … Revolution?

May 7, 2020

¡Viva la huelga!

I’ve been wondering when someone in the mainstream media would write something about the potential for increasing union membership and labor strength in the Year(s) of the Plague.

Here’s a start. It’s short, focused largely on the so-called “gig economy,” and written before a Washington Post-Ipsos poll that indicates some laid-off and furloughed workers may be overly optimistic about whether they will be able to return to their old jobs.

How does an activist pitch a union to a worker with no job? Is a patchwork of small, decentralized, tightly focused labor organizations preferable to One Big Union? Are people ready to rethink their notions of who is an “essential” worker? Will stock clerks trump stockholders?

Nick French at Jacobin gives us a look at the protests that arose shortly after the Great Depression took hold. He argues that radical groups, among them the Thirties-vintage Communist Party, forged a bond of solidarity between the jobless and those still working that helped make FDR’s New Deal possible.

The conditions are different today, he concedes. But the public-health issue may give workers more leverage this time around. Writes French:

By forcing sick people to come to work, or by unnecessarily exposing people to coworkers or customers who might be infected, employers are hastening the spread of the coronavirus and putting everyone at risk. This means that all workers, employed or unemployed, have a common interest in these workers winning their demands.

Boy howdy. Dead broke is bad enough. I hear dead is worse.

• Addendum: As white-collar types join workers from the restaurant, travel, hospitality, and retail industries on the sidelines, experts say there’s no way to calculate how many jobs might come back as states consider lifting shelter-in-place rules. according to The New York Times.

Many businesses, particularly small ones, may not survive, while others are likely to operate with reduced hours and staff. The job search site Indeed reports that postings are down nearly 40 percent from a year ago.

“We don’t know what normal is going to look like,” said Martha Gimbel, an economist and a labor market expert at Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative.

• Addendum the Second: How should unions organize? From The Nation.

• Addendum the Third: Comrades, identities, and attachments. Also from The Nation.

Bleach Blankety-Blanket Bingo

April 27, 2020

Great Caesar’s Ghost, is it all superhero movies?
And where the hell is our Superman?

Being on lockdown is like watching a bad movie.

Sure, it sucks. But if you bail early, you might miss something.

Or catch something.

Why not just lean back, put your feet up, and enjoy (hating) the show? The credits will roll soon enough. And we know who’s not getting a best-director Oscar for this hot mess.

Pass the popcorn. Say, is it just me, or does this soda taste like bleach?

Yes, yes, yes, it’s another doctor-recommended, hospital-tested, clinically proven 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 (to her wallk-in closet) and return to the Shure Beta 87A mic and Zoom H5 Handy Recorder for this one, instead of recording directly to the MacBook Pro using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was in GarageBand, with an assist from Miss Mia Sopaipilla, whose stylings on the keyboard while I stepped away from the desk for a moment rendered the original voiceover … interesting. The intro music is a compilation of GB loops, assembled by Your Humble Narrator. Howling courtesy The Colorado Sun, because I forgot to record our local howlers last night. Singing Italians via The Guardian. Angry crowd from the YouTube Audio Library, as is “An Army of None,” by The Whole Other. And Freesound.org contributed the hum (adamamazing), the comic rimshot (deleted_user_7146007), and the film projector (filip_stefanowski ),

Stay away

April 25, 2020

Blech!

April 24, 2020

Maybe what we need is a Maglite/Clorox death ray. Let’s ask the aliens for the loan of one next time they pop round to butt-probe a hillbilly.

“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute — one minute — and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning?” he asked. “Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”

Jesus, this guy is dumb. Dumber than a bag of sunsplashed hammers. Dumber than a sack of freshly bleached hair. A few French fries short of a Happy Meal.

Sure thing, Dr. Demento. Let’s all mainline some Clorox, with tactical flashlights up our keisters. You go first.

Turn turtle

April 23, 2020

The Turtle plays the old shell game. Original photo by Susan Walsh | AP

“I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route. It’s saved some cities, and there’s no good reason for it not to be available … My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don’t have to do that. That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of. Or perhaps they might consider marrying into a wealthy maritime shipping family.” — Mitch McConnell on borrowing to assist state and local governments.*

* Except for that last sentence, which he’s never gonna say out loud the way he did when he was looking for a rich woman to marry.

The New Abnormal

April 18, 2020

Some folks think they’re getting the business.

The American attention span, ordinarily measured in nanoseconds, is fraying around its all-too-short edges as the walls start closing in on the homebound.

Relief payments have gone walkabout. The SBA ran out of money to loan. And almost no unemployment aid has made it to the self-employed.

Is patience a luxury we can’t afford, or a necessity we can’t live without?

For some folks, it’s just one more thing that they’ve run out of, like beer, beans, and buttwipe. But Your Humble Narrator still has a personal stash, and if you can bear about six more minutes of social distancing, he’ll let you have a little taste.

Yes, yes, yes, it’s another socially distant 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: This episode was recorded with an Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic and Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. The trail-walking portion was recorded on a Tascam DR-10L. Editing was as usual, using GarageBand on a 2014 MacBook Pro. The background music is “Easy Day” by Kevin MacLeod, taken from the YouTube audio library, as was the angry crowd. The squeaky bike is from jamesrodavidson at Freesound.org. The yappi corgis are likewise from the YouTube. The Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote are, of course, from the glory days of animation at Warner Bros. And the centurion calls us weird from “Monty Python’s Life of Brian.”

The Charlie Fox Show

April 16, 2020

“Plan? Plan? What plan? Oh, that plan. Lemme keep looking, I’m sure it’s up here somewhere.”

Hm, lessee here:

• “Glitches prevent $1,200 stimulus checks from reaching millions.” (WaPo).

• “Small businesses in despair as fund for government aid runs out.” (NYT)

• “Trump’s ‘Open our country council’ runs into its own opening problems.” (NYT)

• “Clusterfuck: a complex and utterly disordered and mismanaged situation : a muddled mess.” (Merriam-Webster)