August 23, 1572 — St. Bartholomew’s Eve. Man of Commerce and Soldier of Fortune Mattias Tannhauser rides into Paris, where all hell is about to break loose. At a tavern called The Red Ox, he pauses to take his repast and reflect upon the state of affairs in his adopted country… “Tannhauser had abandoned all involvement and […]
Shakespeare was right, of course. We come sliding into the world and, drawing our first breath in it, seem to somehow intuit life’s pre-eminent lesson: we are entitled to precisely nothing — not food, not water, not toilet paper, and certainly not surgical masks and ventilators. And so it is that in our first few moments in the arena we give a great angry cry in protest — until someone sticks a tit in our mouths.
It’s worth noting the possibility that a novel coronavirus, the result of some communist party jackass French-kissing a bat at a food court in Wuhan, China, will accomplish what Chairman Xi and Bernie never could have: turning America into a socialist paradise. That’s a story for the ages if there ever was one.
Turns out, I underestimated the potentials regarding COVID-19. I thought this would be another SARS or MERS — potentially dangerous, but containable; burning out relatively quickly. I wish I’d read this February 24 article in The Atlantic, which is still a worthy read now: With its potent mix of characteristics, this virus is unlike most that capture popular attention: […]
Enjoying the pandemic much? That’s a fair question because so far, from my little combat outpost where I sit and dream of a former life — when I thought I was Con Conagher — we seem to be collectively overdoing the doom. Don’t get me wrong, I take this virus very seriously, as I would any kind of worldwide illness, but there is a noticeable absence of optimism in the air.
“Why, believing as he did, that all human obduracy was susceptible to common sense, was he unable to turn back? Why was he determined to complete his journey even if it meant putting his life in danger? At what point had this prank, this joke, this piece of horseplay become serious?”
–John Cheever, The Swimmer
“You may think you know what’s going on here Mr. Gittes. But you don’t.” — Noah Cross, “Chinatown” * Drivin’ down your freeway Midnight alleys roam Cops in cars The topless bars Never saw a woman so alone, so alone So alone, so alone — Jim Morrison, The Doors, “LA Woman” * It was a hell of […]
This morning, early, before I’d even had my first cup of tea, and in the wake of news that the stock market was caught in a death spiral — the worst day in its history and tanking on wholly unfounded global anxiety and media driven perfidy — I received an excellent text from my daughter. She wrote: “At an autopsy with detectives for a potential homicide.” Which was proof again that life in the twisting alleyways of Rome goes on, flame lit and gruesome, whether trading in the plaza has been suspended or not.
Now in our gloomy age of endless traffic congestion, retro-socialism, and retail pandemic terror — a dark night made even darker by the waxen heads at every evening news desk in the television universe — the average citizen has some critical choices to make. To wit: shall we live in terror of Covid-19? Shall we gnash our teeth and rend our garments and join the Brothers of the Cross, flagellating ourselves in the town plaza to free the world of colds and single use plastic bags, whipping our flesh to beat back the growing tide of human poop and hypodermic needles on the sidewalks, to end forever the horrors of red meat and chevy suburbans, of plastic straws and emerging hemorrhagic fevers?
Standing in the pouring rain All alone in a world that’s changed Running scared now forced to hide In a land where he once stood with pride But he’ll find his way by the morning light… — David Hidalgo / Louis Frausto Perez (Los Lobos) It is integral to the mission and purpose of The Running Iron […]
Years ago, when I was still kicking in doors for a living, serving search and arrest warrants and chasing dopers of various sizes, shapes, and ethnic origins, I began keeping a book of personal debriefs. I did this because I cared deeply about — and still train scrupulously in my civilian incarnation — small unit tactics. When I was in the big leagues – the regional Narcotics Task Force — I was generally number one through the door on warrant services, which is both an art and a skill, and in every case extremely dangerous because one never knows what awaits on the opposite side, and also because narcotics enforcement is not synonymous with good tactics.
The cynicism of the National Football League is apparently boundless. After taking a break from mostly not watching the game – we were visiting with friends and there was some great food on the table and even better conversation in the next room – I was intrigued by the prospect of both Shakira AND Jennifer Lopez appearing in stages of near nudity on the halftime show. Most everyone knows that the halftime show is designed to pander to our basest instincts – wardrobe malfunctions and penis guitars – so what red-blooded American with a mouthful of chili would miss a chance to see that?