Quandary begins with Q

“On October 19, 2017, a Canadian astronomer named Robert Weryk was reviewing images captured by a telescope known as Pan-starrs1 when he noticed something strange. The telescope is situated atop Haleakalā, a ten-thousand-foot volcanic peak on the island of Maui, and it scans the sky each night, recording the results with the world’s highest-definition camera. It’s designed to hunt for ‘near-Earth objects,’ which are mostly asteroids whose paths bring them into our planet’s astronomical neighborhood and which travel at an average velocity of some forty thousand miles an hour. The dot of light that caught Weryk’s attention was moving more than four times that speed, at almost two hundred thousand miles per hour. … By far the most spectacular account of 1I/2017 U1 came from Avi Loeb, a Harvard astrophysicist. ‘Oumuamua didn’t behave as an interstellar object would be expected to, Loeb argued, because it wasn’t one. It was the handiwork of an alien civilization.'” Elizabeth Kolbert

“I can’t believe TheAtlantic.com would hire a writer, presumably for his expertise in journalism who’s that off the mark, as well as an editor for his or her fact checking abilities who obviously lives within a reality separate from our own when it comes to defining who Juggalos truly are and what they’re about.The truth is it fuckin’ hurts and [it’s] scary seeing professional adults acting like savage bullies calling Juggalos ‘easy targets’ because they’re so misunderstood. Sad little bullshit like this makes me question the media in general and [lose] a little faith in just about [everything] I fuckin read!” Violent J of the Insane Clown Posse on having his fans compared to Trump supporters

“If you are in a large crowd and no one is named RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, or Masta Killa, you might be in danger. Also, unless Bill Belichick is there, I would be wary of any group of white people who refer to themselves as ‘patriots .’White people have very little to be concerned about and their ‘protests’ usually involve things they could fix by other means. They will crack open a cold Mountain Dew-flavored Bud Light while watching bodycam footage of a cop emptying a pistol into a Black motorist’s back but will furiously organize a demonstration to protect Santa-themed Starbucks cups. If there isn’t a slam poet explaining how ‘real eyes realize real lies,’ or a cipher of freestylers using the words ‘off the dome,’ start worrying. Mob shenanigans might be afoot.” Michael Harriot

“The world will little note, nor long remember, the 1776 Report. But before it passes entirely from memory, it is worth taking a moment to examine what it is and how it came to be, not because it is intellectually serious—in fact, it is a self-plagiarized mishmash of sanitized history, high school civics, right-wing gripes, and authoritarian gestures—but because of what it reveals about the rise of a certain strain of conservative ideology: fundamentalist ‘West Coast Straussianism.’” Joshua Tait

“The world should love lovers;but not theoreticians. Never theoreticians! Show them the door! Ladies, throw out these gloomy bastards!” From Saul Bellow’s Herzog

“None but a fool worries about things he cannot influence.” Dr. Johnson


“Where’s the KABOOM! There was supposed to be an Earth shattering KABOOM!”

This January has been nothing but a procession of odd facts and even odder events. Buried somewhere in all of it was not one, not two, but three invitations to seminars on how to stay safe while attending public events. All of which were aimed at people such as myself who have numerous public duties. While the invites came from three separate groups and all were run by the same fellow. I grabbed the first available and called it good.

Why?

Like all of you I hope to pass peacefully surrounded by loved ones and people who owe me money.

No use taking chances.

One thing that might help is to ratchet down our rhetoric and dabble in calmer topics. Now that the particle beam did not reveal Donald Trump to be a billion year-old being last week it’s time to set aside these johnny-come-lately delusions and go back to an elegant conspiracy from a more civilized time.

It’s time to bring back the UFOs.

Why?

Well for openers this guy claims the recent administration was more open to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. Supposedly he’s obtained 10,000 pages of information gathered by the CIA on the subject and he’s a bit miffed that the CIA said they gave him everything they had as he’s convinced there’s more where that came from. Despite his claims of having his hands tied he did publish one interesting document regarding the search for Radovan Karadzic that took place while Karadzic was a fugitive in the early 00s.

The money shot appears on the second page of the report.

Oh to be a fly on that wall.

ALIEN1: Your zurgness, the humans are calling.
ALIEN2: Tell them to call the DMT elves, we’re busy.
A1: The humans say the DMT elves aren’t picking up, everything goes to voicemail.
A2: Whatever it is tell them we have no idea and then round up our crew heating the planet. Tell them to stop heating the planet and start working on a voicemail system as impenetrable as the ones the humans have concocted. Then maybe we can get some work done around here.
A1: At once your zurgness!

And so on and so forth.

Given the clunk-awful prose the report must have been written by a total Herbert. If you look closely you’ll find it’s hard to tell whether or not the aliens have such advanced technology that they can understand every form of human communication or we’re merely besties who tell each other everything. That said it does bring up the question, where’s the harm in restoring UFO lore to its place as the king of conspiracy theories?

Think about it – nobody, who went around telling people how he got swept up by a beam of light only to come face to face some bug-eyed critter who wanted to stick something up his ass, ever got elected to Congress. But you run around telling people Hil ‘n Bill are doing unspeakable things in the basement of a pizza parlor you’re halfway to franking privileges.

Think about it.

Get back to me.

Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash

This popped up in the ol’ inbox this morning.

Second, social media monopolies must be broken through more effective antitrust legislation. Imagine if every 18th-century coffee house had been a Starbucks! If social media spaces are the only place a public sphere can form in the 21st century, then they must be meaningfully diverse. The old blogosphere had many attributes of a public sphere, just as the earliest days of social media did. But blogs died as the big names became digital magazine columns, and as competition from social media drew more users in.

One thing I meant to touch on in the past post was Anna Wiener’s article about the rise of Substack. Wiener is a great writer and the author of Uncanny Valley which was sofa side-table reading at the start of the quarantine. Her dive into Substack comes as Substack is supposed to be the future and savior of sustainable journalism.* In short – Substack maintains website for a variety of writers who were once called A-Listers who have become disenchanted with the projects they moved onto having capitalized on their time as early 00 A-Listers.

All the Substacker has to do is write and Substack takes care of the rest.

Once upon a time – if memory serves – this was called “hosted blogging.”

Maybe you’ve heard of it.

Substack’s competitive advantage is in it’s business model which seems to be based on Ann Landers’ old quandary, “Why buy the cow when you’re getting the milk for free?”

While Substack’s stable included people like Andrew Sullivan and Matthew Yglesias you can only have a supermarket sample-size taste of their wisdom. If you want the whole meal you have to pay anywhere from $5 to $25 month.

One person did ask if I’d be joining Substack.

No.

And that is my solemn promise to all of you.

I will not come to you can ask for help to pay the $4.10/month to AWS to keep this page going.

Instead I will walk around all smug and self satisfied that my AWS account is in good standing while Parler was shown the AWS door.

While it might very well be quality drivel it’s not drivel worth paying for. This point was driven home as I’ve been slowly working through Martin Amis’s Inside Story which he says is neither essay nor novel. Unlike the American auteur, Jack Webb no names have been changed to protect the innocent. Kinglsey, Hitch, the children, the wives, and most importantly of all, the old girlfriend are designated by their real names.

The old girlfriend, Phoebe Phelps is the most interesting as she keeps turning up at the oddest times. Having not heard from her in years and years she calls Amis up on September 12,2001 to say his dad had made a pass at her while they were still involved. Never mind that they lived together for a lenghty stretch in the late 1970s she just then at that moment had to let him know.

Please don’t get the wrong impression. Their cohabitation was not so much romantic as necessity. Phobes, as he calls her, had a gambling problem. In the past she’d paid off off her markers by working as an escort and posing for Oui magazine. (Some of you gents out there will remember Oui as the also-ran Penthouse of the 1970s.) Sadly, her bet that Margaret Thatcher wouldn’t last six months turned out to be financially ruinous. Amis said she couldn’t turn to her family for help as they were perpetually broke despite the fact that her dad was a hereditary peer. Per her – one of her great-greats also had a gambling problem and was forced to mortgage the manor house. While subsequent generations learned the importance of fairness on the playing fields of Eaton, none seemed to be equipped with any business sense thus keeping everyone in arrears. Given all that he never portrays her as the crazy ex-girlfriend. Rather she comes across as a mixed bag, someone who is propelled through life by her eccentricities.

His last mention of her is a story about the time they went to Paris in the 1970s. Amis had an assignment to interview Roman Polanski who had recently arrived in Paris from America in order to avoid any legal entanglements regarding the evening he spent with a 13 year-old girl. Phobes said that while Amis was in the gents Polanski ran his hand up and down her leg and said she should ditch the newspaper loser and come with him up to his room. She declined and added this tale to the others she came forth with on September 12, 2001.

Why bring any of this up?

Because that’s content worth paying for.

And no one wants to put down good money to hear about the time the guidance counselor thought I should consider being an irrigation district supervisor if I expected to get anywhere in this life.

Lastly – I have no interest in talking about the election just past. If election fraud is the hot bur under your saddle that helps you sleep at night then God bless all who sail in you. I will be monitoring what comes of the 1/6 Capitol mess as I’m dead certain someone from my junior high years will eventually be outed as one of the mob. Those people back there didn’t elect The Redneck Rosa Klebb out of the goodness of their hearts. She got elected as she truly represents the people of her district because she’s just like them.

And with that thought and a mixed metaphor we’ve come to the point where it’s time to dance.

* Our current sustainable business model also includes Mom buying $10 in PowerBall tickets every Tuesday.

For a dime you can see Kankakee or Paree or Washington crossing the Delaware!

“People fib. Most keep it at exaggeration—a hardscrabble childhood, an illustrious ancestor, a perfect S.A.T. score, a close call in a war zone. It’s more problematic—or pathological—when they make things up entirely. I had a high-school classmate who bragged about having a handsome, aristocratic English boyfriend, and when it came time to produce him, claimed he was killed in a double-decker bus crash in London. (When she grew up, she worked for the C.I.A. Or said she did.) Where is Hillary/Hilaria on that spectrum? Hard to tell, but there doesn’t seem to be a venal motive behind the imposture. She wasn’t pretending to be from Spain to disguise a low-class background, get a job as a bilingual teacher, or qualify for an E.U. passport. She wasn’t taking anything away from anyone; presumably, she just wanted to make herself seem more interesting and exotic. It’s bizarre, and maybe a little borderline, but nobody got hurt. So, how do you say in English, mucho ado about nada?” Alessandra Stanley

“In its variety, the Substack corpus resembles the blogosphere. It is produced by a mix of career journalists, bloggers, specialists, novelists, hobbyists, dabblers, and white-collar professionals looking to plump up their personal brands. … A Substack newsletter is both a product and a portfolio: a way to make money, but also a venue for displaying personality, intelligence, and taste. Read enough of them and certain patterns begin to emerge. Newsletters in the business and tech categories tend to adopt para-LinkedIn tics. They are often studded with Twitter screenshots and lists of links. Single-sentence paragraphs appear frequently, as do uplifting rhetorical devices. (‘Imagine a world where you had a personal board of advisors—the people you most admire and respect—and you gave them upside in your future earnings in exchange for helping you. . . . Imagine if you could diversify by pooling 1% of your future income with your ten smartest friends.’) Just as there is ‘podcast voice’ —that inquisitive, staccato bedtime-story cadence—there is Substack tone, a semi-professional quality suited to mass e-mail. Some newsletters convey intimacy, in the language of psychotherapy and self-help, but their style is more polished and structured than that of the looser, rangier blogs of the early two-thousands. ‘Maybe Baby,’ for all its vulnerability, is also aware of itself as a commodity, dialled in to its audience. Still, it’s nice, from time to time, to receive a chatty, engaging, personable e-mail from someone who doesn’t expect a response.”
Anna Wiener

“It’s the work of a true supervillain—the most Andy Kaufman–esque move any musician has made over the past few decades, and certainly one of the most entertaining stories to emerge from rap’s subterranean. But in Doom’s telling of the events, fans weren’t being cheated out of the true Metal Face experience. Rather, they were seeing what that experience was all about. ‘I’m a director as well as a writer,’ the rapper/producer told HipHopDx in 2009. ‘I choose different characters, I choose their direction and where I want to put them. So who I choose to put as the character is up to me. The character that I hired, he got paid for it. There’s no impostor.’ Doom found the outrage funny, and mused about sending out a white guy or the Blue Man Group to take his place. A decade later, he would still occasionally dispatch fugazis, including Hannibal Burress at Adult Swim Festival in 2019. Others may have viewed the mask as a crown, but for its owner, there was little precious about it.” Justin Sayles

“Today my possible Historical Reconstruction Associate is Mr. Haberstrom, founder of Burn ‘n Learn. Burn ‘n Learn is national. Their gimmick is a fully stocked library on the premises and as you tan you call out the name of any book you want to these high-school girls on roller skates who will fetch them for you.” from CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders

“It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentionally lying that there is so much falsehood in the world.” Dr. Johnson

Lydia, oh Lydia, oh have you seen Lydia?

Various thoughts on last week in no particular order.

– This was the week the midway caught fire.

How so?

For years I’ve been saying that you’ll completely understand American life once you accept the fact that the major corporations are to America what the church was to Medieval Europe.

Got that?

The endless outrage, the culture wars, the cable channels are nothing by sideshow attractions. While everybody is busy guffawing at a picture of Michelle Obama morphed into The Dog Faced Boy the real action is in the big tent.

Like what?

Oh, I dunno … maybe how the Chinese are offering negative interest rates in Europe to attract them away from our lending markets or maybe how Brazil because the world’s largest supplier of soy after Mr. Tariffs Fan got busy. Or maybe everybody should have taken the hint when the big corps told Arizona THIRTY-FIVE YEARS AGO to recognize MLK Day or they’d bring no investment to the state.

How did The Right lose the battle against gay marriage?

Because there’s a market in that.

Granted, it’s a small data point, but the concession-ish video came out after the National Manufacturers condemnation and The Wall Street Journal’s editorial calling for resignation. Those might have gone unnoticed in all the commotion and it’s probably just a quirk of mine that I even brought it up.

– Normally you’re supposed to say, “At the risk of repeating myself…” but at my age it’s expected.

Slothrop’s Proverbs for Paranoids. (From Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon)

1. You may never get to touch the Master, but you can tickle his creatures.

2. The innocence of the creature is in inverse proportion to the immorality of the Master.

3. If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.

4.You hide, They seek.

5. Paranoids are not paranoids because they’re paranoid, but because they keep putting themselves, fucking idiots, deliberately into paranoid situations.

This week was about about number three and number five. Next week will be all about number four.

– The Right should be less concerned with its online platforms and more concerned about their methods.

Why?

Seen this guy?

From The Arizona Republic:

For the past two years, Angeli had become a fixture at political rallies, marches and protests. Besides his attention-getting outfit, Angeli has a booming voice that, without need of amplification, could be easily heard among a crowd.

The Republic interviewed Angeli during 2020 as part of a series of stories and a mini-documentary on the Patriot movement in Arizona, the increasingly powerful right-wing of the Republican Party. Some adherents, including Angeli, promoted conspiracy theories including the baseless idea known as QAnon.

Angeli, 33, lived in Phoenix, but it was not clear what he did for a living.

He was listed on a webpage as available to hire as a voice-over actor. He also conducted online courses in shamanism. He also said he volunteered for an arts organization in Phoenix that worked with at-risk youth.

While working with at-risk youth is admirable, the larger issue here is that Mr. Angeli has brought an end to several of the tropes that powered the conservative movement. Thanks to him you can’t really point at old hippies at some sort of protest and have a good giggle nor can you make fun of Burners, Dead Heads, New Age suckers, yoga fanatics, or anyone else you consider a left-wing loonie without that same left-wing loonie looking you in the eye and saying, “Like your guy is better?”

– And that’s the problem isn’t it? There’s no cohesive conservative philosophy or generally agreed to policy points, is there? Who is your Burke? Where is your Mill?

Previously “owning the libs” didn’t matter because 95% of the time us libs had no idea what you were talking about. The rest of the time you’d go hatin’ on Hilary or get bent out of shape about some Hollywood celebrity and we’d just quietly shake our heads and under our breath repeat the words of one of your favorite ex-president, “Well, there you go again!”

Now?

Own away.

Pardon us if our only reaction is, “Cool story Bro, can you get me Antler Guy’s autograph?”

– This isn’t so much about last week as last year. It rambles, it wanders, but by the end you understand what’s happened in our isolation and how some of us should not be left alone for too long as we start to think for ourselves.

From Burning the Furniture by Elua Biss:

In the furniture stores we visit, I’m filled with a strange unspecific desire. I want everything and nothing. The soft colours of the rugs, the warm wood grains, the brass and glass of the lamps all seem to suggest that the stores are filled with beautiful things, but when I look at any one thing I don’t find it beautiful. “The desire to consume is a kind of lust,” Lewis Hyde wrote. “But consumer goods merely bait this lust, they do not satisfy it. The consumer of commodities is invited to a meal without passion, a consumption that leads to neither satiation nor fire.”

There but for grace of God…

Around the start of last month someone recommended CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders. the book starts off with a series of short stories about people who work for rundown amusement parks and beat-up tourist attractions concluding with a post-apocalyptic novella. The signature piece revolves around the man who has to make sure CivilWArLand is historically accurate. Most of his time is taken up trying to keep the park’s two main attractions – a diorama describing how the Eerie Canal was built and propping up an attraction showing Chinese immigrants building the cross country railroad. Sure, there’s Civil War re-enactments every weekend, but accuracy is out the window as the park is constantly at the mercy of marauding raccoons and drunken teenagers. Nothing can be done because in this story – as well as the others – calamity and tragedy arrive in the same number and velocity as German artillery shells in the Ardennes. No help comes from the top. Throughout the whole collection the bosses are described as violent, drunk, on the brink of nervous collapse, or someone to be avoided because of his stints in prison.

But in each and every case the boss is always referred to as either a beloved or influential member of the local Rotary.

That got a double snort and a hearty guffaw out of me as the local chapter has been after me for the better part of 20 years. I can always spot a Rotary noob – he’s going to land a big fish to impress the others and that big fish is me.

As Bugs Bunny once said, “Poor little maroon.”

But I digress.

Saunders is a worth successor to Nathaniel West. Saunders breakneck speed and dark humor are something to behold. His end piece, the novella, Bounty was interesting reading given not only last week, but last year. The story revolves around a Flawed and his sister. Both are in an amusement park that keeps The Flawed, i.e. genetic mutations, on display for the ultra-wealthy to enjoy. In this America very little is left. The land and water are so toxic that the population is riddled with The Flawed. Waves of death have reduced the Northeast to an empty wasteland and the government exists in name only.

Slavery is once again legal. The central character’s sister is sold off to an well-off undertaker and carted away from the amusement park. He escapes to go looking for her only to discover that America is now populated with nothing but middle managers, self-help gurus, and parenting experts all of whom live in squalor. Nothing gets done because no one has the skills to make anything better. Even the remaining entrepreneurs outside the enclaves of the rich are helpless as their endeavors are similar listed to the one above – girls on roller skates fetching books. Their businesses don’t really help anyone and the only people who are sold on the businesses being a good idea are the entrepreneurs themselves.

CivilWarLand is a series of vignettes where we see what it’s like to have the inept, the overwrought, and the none-too-terribly-bright in charge.

Watching things unfold last Wednesday you have to wonder if this is where we’re headed.

Strictly as an aside –

On New Year’s Eve the family of Daniel Dumile, 49 released a statement saying he had passed away at the end of October. He was better known to the world as MF Doom.

A few years back Alaska Wolf Joe was going to a summer seminar on the other side of town. MF Doom was our car tunes for a good portion of the summer. Doom has a remarkable grasp of pop culture. While other rappers sampled famous songs he sampled the incidental music from Charlie’s Angels and pulled audio from Hanna-Babera’s 1960s version of The Fantastic Four. One tribute talked about his early years and his deconstruction of minstrel shows and similar pop culture racial stereotypes.

So there you go – deconstruction of forms and acknowledgement of The Spectacle.

I didn’t expect to be a Situationist in my old age.

Oh well.

The Kraken drinks and goes home

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” Dwight Eisenhower 1953

“There exists a subterranean world where pathological fantasies disguised as ideas are churned out by crooks and half-educated fanatics (notably from the clergy) for the beenfit of the ignorant and superstitious. There are many times when this underworld emerges from the depths and suddenly fascinates, captures, and dominates multitudes of usually sane and responsible people, who thereupon take leave of sanity and responsibility. And it occasionally happens that this underworld becomes a political power and changes the course of history.” Norman Cohn Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy And the Protocols of the Elders Of Zion 1967


“Apart from the extremely lazy way the film shorthands its characters through regional and class stereotypes, Hillbilly Elegy is an incoherent, meandering, misogynistic tangle of vanishing subplots and vague ideas. I hesitate to even call them subplots since that suggests a plot arc to begin with. For example, I honestly spent the whole movie wondering why the opening leaned so heavily on the narrator’s childhood summers in Kentucky — his seminal time spent with “my people,” a phrase he said over and over again like Moses freeing the Israelites — even though we never returned to Kentucky or his extended family again. Our hero, real-life memoirist J.D. Vance, spent most of the film treating ‘his people’ like shit.J.D. is easily the most loathsome protagonist since Holden Caulfield.” Aja Romano

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Tolstoy

“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” Dr. Johnson

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings

Since 2016 all of us here in the blue cities we’ve been unable to dodge the question, “Who are the Trump voters?”

The question comes with the underlying assumption that they’re some sort of monolithic bloc that lives somewhere in the middle of the country where many are busy producing something we could call in the aggregate, food. The average city Bolshevik finds them a curious lot who makes – at the very least – my cadre shake their collective heads and ask, “Who are these people?”

To which I answer, what would you like to know?

I grew up in a town with a population of roughly 7000 people in rural Colorado. While we were considered the big city in the area it was possible to drive a little over an hour to find hamlets and villages which had populations of less than 500 people, one of which was the town where my grandfather lived. While he was retired from the grocery business his siblings all lived nearby and were cattle ranchers, i.e. The Future Cheeseburgers of America. His brother-in-law had been a functionary of one kind or another in the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association until finally in the early 1950s when he became “President of the whole shootin’ match.”

In addition to having box seats at The Western Stock Show Rodeo, he and my great-aunt were considered the local aristocracy.

James Buchanan Watkins spent 86 years on the planet and in all the time he was known to friends and family as Jimmy. After I was old enough to drive I would go see my grandfather and take him on errands, chief among which was a stop at the post office. We’d go in to get the mail and buy stamps. More often than not Uncle Jimmy was there as well. We were usually the last to greet him as the other locals had to stop, tip their Stetsons, and pay respects.

Think of it as the local cow-tow.

Granddad didn’t have much for use for the ceremony. He thought it made Uncle Jimmy “A stuffed shirt, all that goin’ to his head, you can trust him to vote a straight Democratic ticket anymore.”

And my grandmother’s opinion?

Funny you should ask.

Simulacrum and its Discontents

For the past couple of days I watched and re-watched a few sections of Ron Howard’s Hillbilly Elegy, a film that carries the onerous burden of explaining the Trump voter once and for all. The movie got that honor due to its source material, the book of the same name by J.D. Vance. Book reviewers believed it was the single best view as to who those people are who didn’t vote for Hillary. What followed, according to the conventional wisdom, was to turn it into a motion picture that would eventually be advertised in Variety under the heading, “For Your Consideration.”

Seemed simple enough – get a couple of brand-name stars (Glen Close and Amy Adams) and a major director. (Ron Howard)

And who knows more about what it’s like to grow up in a small town than Opie?

And this is where it went off the rails for the movie reviewers who called Elegy little more than Hollywood’s idea of how poor people live. Several sites gathered up reviewers like Aja Romano (see above) who had come from small towns and who were aghast at how the movie was in no way related to their own first-hand experience of growing up in the middle of nowhere. Like them I have some problems with the film in that there’s no there there. As Richard Brody said in his New Yorker review

Yet, paradoxically, this cultural blankness, this reductiveness, isn’t just an error of omission on Howard’s part; it plays like a calculated aspect of the drama—and, even more strangely, like a positive trait, a mark of authenticity. The film’s stagings, images, and tones are as formless and as vague as its characters’ mental lives, and that vagueness replaces elements of Vance’s book which are politically and ideologically quite explicit—and which have been criticized for the simplistic lessons that they extract from his experience.

Long story short – of all the movies every made Hillbilly Elegy certainly is one of them.

Oscar bait it’s not.

In no way is the Vance character in the movie is as loathsome as Holden Caulfield or Anakin Skywalker because the character is devoid of a personality. He has all the likability of a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder combo deal. The only character worth watching is Glen Close who plays the family matriarch, Mawmaw. In Mawmaw I saw much of my own grandmother. When Vance brings home the top grade in algebra he doesn’t get a big hug and a kiss on the forehead from his grandmother. Instead he gets a stern look and a talking to that this is just the start, the opening skirmish, the real battle to do make something of yourself and get out of this place is just beginning.

That cold and calculated tone, that resolve, that lack of warm and fuzzies also described my grandmother. She was an iron-willed lace-curtain Irish Catholic. There was no way her daughter and her only child was going to grow up in a cow town. She walked out on my grandfather and forged a new life and drove it into my mother, who then drive it into me, that we’re no cow punchers. At no time were we going to ever have to get up before dark and wade through cow shit to make a living. We were not going to break our backs and be beat down by life with nothing more to show for it but box seats at the rodeo. In small towns it’s the grandparents who step up. (In my case due to the sudden unexpected death of my mother from previously undiagnosed cancer when I was 14.) The previous generation more often than not finds that once again they’re the ones driving the bus. When that comes along they double down. Mawmaw’s confession that she could have done better job raising Vance’s mother is a telling moment, but different that the ones that followed my mother’s death. Back then my grandmother squared her shoulders and once again drove the message home that we were always on the razor-thin edge of falling back into the abyss – the entropy that can hold you to a place – a place that’s no damn good for you.

As a sort of bookend I kept thinking back to American Graffiti. Granted, it’s a highly romanticized version of small town life. (George Lucas’s Amaracord) AG takes place in 1962. Jack Kennedy is still alive, the WW2 generation is firmly in control of everyday life, and the front end of the Baby Boom is starting to pass through high school. Piketty said that at the end of WW2 less that one-third of the American population had graduated from high school. Here we see that life is full of high school kids so the idea that the next generation will do better than the previous one is still valid.

Most of the movie revolves around the tension between old friends Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) and Steve (OPIE!) as to stay or go. The movie serves as the original template for end credits which answer the question, “Where are they now?” The end titles lets us know that Curt left and Steve stayed and married his high school sweetheart. (Cindy Williams) Grafffiti speaks more to my experience which I think applies to Elegy as well.

There’s them that stays and them that goes.

Like Mawmaw my grandmother was all too aware of the entropy – the way small town life can lull you into never leaving.

It also helps if you don’t fit in.

Not that I’d know anything about that.

Small towns assign you an identity, e.g. “You Smiths are all alike. Ain’t none of you any damn good!”, but if you leave and return to visit sooner or later you will get, “You think you’re better than us, don’t you?”

No.

Working from the idea of who stays or goes you can see in retrospect that the people you grew up with all had many different trajectories. In this case some of us started off in different directions as early as age 14 or 15. We had already been growing apart by the time we reached age 18 so it was little wonder that some of us scattered and some stayed. I managed to internalize my grandmother’s will to get off the bottom rung of cities and to make sure the offspring would live in a better place.

In short Elegy is worth a look, but don’t get your hopes up. It doesn’t offer any answers or revealed truths. It is kinda what it is which isn’t saying much.

ASIDES:

Tip of the tin foil lined M’s cap to Mr. Sharp who sent this – a Chevy ad featuring 1970s Krautprog phenoms Popol Vuh.

Setting aside for a moment the strong resemblance between this ad and those awful cloying Coke commercials that run before the feature film, you gotta wonder what’s going on here?

If you’re going for wide appeal shouldn’t you be using Billie Ellish?

How many cars are you gonna sell if nobody but antiquarian prog-rock geezers pay close attention to you commercial?

Speaking of movies – Borat 2 is also worth a look. The movie is greatly reminiscent of the Cheech and Chong movies – you see the joke coming from a long way off, but you laugh at it anyway and feel a bit sheepish that you did.

Indecision married to a lack of vision

“In 1922, the sociologist William Fielding Ogburn, interested in how technology and society interact, coined the term ‘cultural lag.’ The concept is straightforward for our 21st century sensibilities, where things change fairly rapidly. As Ogburn wrote: ‘The thesis is that the various parts of modern culture are not changing at the same rate, some parts are changing much more rapidly than others; and that since there is a correlation and interdependence of parts, a rapid change in one part of our culture requires readjustments through other changes in the various correlated parts of culture.’

“What happens when different parts of society change at unequal rates and fail to adapt to each other? Ogburn’s example in his seminal book resonates easily with today’s issues. He argued that industry and education correlate. If one changes, the other has to change commensurately. If one changes rapidly, but the other does not—if industry changes rapidly due to technological advances, but education does not—we get cultural lag. In Ogburn’s view, that leads to Ogburn called maladjustment and instability, the gears of society fitting poorly together.” Zeynep Tufekci

“That aspect of the modern crisis which is bemoaned as a ‘wave of materialism’ is related to what is called the ‘crisis of authority.’ If the ruling class has lost its consensus, i.e. is no longer “leading” but only “dominant,” exercising coercive force alone, this means precisely that the great masses have become detached from their traditional ideologies, and no longer believe what they used to believe previously, etc. The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” — Antonio Gramsci, 1930

“There once lived a man named Oedipus Rex, you may have heard about his odd complex, his name appears in Freud’s index,’cause he loved his mother.” Tom Leher


“(Lord Alfred Douglas’s) who held the title of the Marquess of Queensberry, for a start, were cartoonish in their grotesquerie. The Douglases were mad, and flying into ‘fits of rage, gibbering and snarling’ was an inherited trait. Cannibalism (one ancestor in 1707 impaled a cook’s boy on a spit and roasted him), dramatic shooting accidents, suicides, explosions and mountaineering mishaps beset the clan. Incest was not unknown. Bosie’s uncle was ‘deeply attached to his twin sister’ and was heartbroken when she married Sir Alexander Beaumont Churchill Dixie, known as Sir ABCD. He drank himself into a deep depression. One of Bosie’s (Lord Alfred Douglas) aunts kept a pet jaguar, obtained in Patagonia, which annoyed Queen Victoria by killing deer in Windsor Great Park.” Douglas Murray

Unmoved though Witlings sneer and Rivals rail,
Studious to please, yet not ashamed to fail.
He scorns the meek address, the suppliant strain.
With merit needless, and without it vain.
In Reason, Nature, Truth, he dares to trust:
Ye Fops, be silent: and ye Wits, be just. – Dr. Johnson


Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line for the next available Bolshevik.

On the Friday before the election the phone rang. On the other end was a gent who said he was from the far eastern end of the state and he was certain I was responsible for “turning your town into a shit hole.” (Such flattery!) For good measure he followed that up with, “Liberalism is a mental disease!” To which I said, I’m not a psychiatrist so I can’t speak to that.

Well that did it.

He hung up only to call back a couple of minutes later. This time he was shouting, “Liberalism is a mental disease!” This time I said, yes, got that. As I said before, I can’t speak to that as I am not a psychiatrist. Is there anything else I can help you with?

He hung up again and shifted his strategy. He texted, all in caps, “LIBERALISM IS A MENTAL DISEASE.” which begs the question, “Why me, God?”

When you come right down to Mom ‘n me aren’t just lovable, we’re all wrinkly and cute like Sharpei puppies.

Why would anybody want to do a thing like that?

… oh … wait …

It’s about how we vote, isn’t it?

Look, on the most recent pass I didn’t really make a choice based on policy or some lofty set of ideals. I voted the way I did because I just can’t take any more winning. At my age I have to think about my health and all this winning was getting to be too much of a strain. The day after day of excitement of winning got to be too much. I’m not as young as I used to be. I can’t put in all the hours necessary to make this town a shit hole only to come home, turn on the tv, and be overwhelmed by more winning.

Some of us need to move on.

The War on Christmas will be here any minute.

The silver lining in this comes from Jared’s public-private partnership which will let me pick up some Geritol while I’m at CVS getting tested for the bug.

Now looking back at all that conservatives can say, “I don’t think you’re taking us seriously.”

How can I when you run around acting like the dumbest pack of motherfuckers on the planet?

Face facts – the last thing any of you need to do is challenge the outcome of this election. The second Biden takes over you’ll be ass deep in ridiculously complacent liberals who think the sun shines out their collective ass because they beat back the hordes. Once the 2022 and 2024 elections smack ’em side the head they’ll just wander around dazed wondering what just happened. Shortly thereafter they’ll come up for air and start with all that, “We need to educate people.” bullshit.

Alaska Wolf Joe and I have been talking about this since the dust settled on Pennsylvania. He points to the guy who runs the barber shop he frequented prior to the pandemic. The owner/operator is a Second Amendment fanboy. In listening to him talk AWJ says he has no interested in being “educated” since his definition of “educated” is having some libtard go full metal schoolmarm on his ass. Put another way, as far as these folks are concerned such “education” runs along a spectrum that’s patronizing on one end and damned annoying on the other.

Not that it stops there as there’s plenty of stupid to go around.

Once the GOP had people like Howard Baker, Everett McKinley Dirksen, Jerry Ford, Jake Javits, and Barry Goldwater who knew when to shut up and sit on their hands and let all good things come to he who waits.

Today?

Lessee- there’s Gohmert Pyle, and incoming freshman senator Tommy Tuberville who this week identified the three branches of government as “The House, The Senate, and the executive.” (Oxford comma courtesy of the New York Times)

That’s two outta three and as the old saying goes, close enough for horseshoes and gummint work.

If anybody on the Right had any sense they’d play the string out and let him go down to Florida to achieve martyrdom. He can claim to be the government in exile. Supposedly the family will start their own cable news channel which is as interesting as it is elderly.

Start a media venture on a medium that’s flailing since the medium is only popular with people over 60?

It will be unique because it will be the first time someone claiming to be the government in exile used something other than shortwave broadcasts to get their message out. Each missive will keep the faithful wound up and breathlessly waiting another transmission.

And while we’re on the subject consider this – in 10 years it will as hard to explain Rush Limbaugh’s popularity to young people as it was for my parents to explain Arthur Godfrey’s appeal to me.


No contact curbside pick up

In no particular order here’s a variety of items that need to come off the desk.

– Zeynep Tufekci is one of those every-so-often eggheads who captures the public’s attention. Think of her as the new Malcom Gladwell or rather the new Alvin Toffler. In mentioning William Fielding Ogburn (above) she rolls the clock back past Future Shock to the place Toffler got his ideas. You know, that book that certain people of a certain age read when they were teenagers because it was either that or The Greening of America which was a lengthy tome cribbed from Marcuse.

It was the 70s.

You had to be there.

– Thanks to a series of freebies we have now sampled all the major streaming services. My favorite by far is Hulu.

Why Hulu?

Besides being the only service which features my people’s Christmas movie, a heartwarming tale of a widower and his young son who take Santa hostage?

Hulu is trashy. If Hulu were an actual human being Hulu would be warming up a stool at the far end of the bar. Netflix is a starched Elizabethan collar and Disney+ suffers from Disney trying to put put too much synergy into each and every undertaking.

Did you see their version of Hamilton?

However Disney+’s vast store of old cartoons proves that Roger Rabbit was right when he said, “That Goofy’s a genius!”

That said I have spent a good deal of time on Amazon Prime which doesn’t do Amazon’s internal research any good. I just watch and re-watch The Boys and old episodes of What’s My Line? from the 1950s. Thanks to WML? I came up with a name for the alter ego I’ll be using on Parler – Lady Remington.

Both Jacobin magazine and Alaska Wolf Joe have explored the idea that the DSA should all become registered Republicans in order to steer the working classes towards socialism. Jacobin laid out the case while AWJ thinks it’s fever dream that’s not going anywhere.

But Lady Remington thinks it’s a great idea!

BTW – the new Jacobin examines the idea of America being a failed state. I’ll be taking that up in a couple of weeks.

Between now and then let’s join hands and sing along.

Joe ‘n some dough

“It’s one louder, isn’t it? These go to eleven.” Nigel Tufnel

“Well, look, I mean, I don’t think society should look at the total gestalt of the political system and say, ‘You know, the people I really admire are consultants.’” Stuart Stevens

“Earlier this month, while speaking via Zoom to a promising group of politically inclined high school students, I was met with an abrupt line of inquiry. ‘I’m sorry, but I still don’t understand,’ said one young man (age 17), his pitch a blend of curiosity and exasperation. ‘What do Republicans believe? What does it mean to be a Republican?’


“I decided to call Frank Luntz. Perhaps no person alive has spent more time polling Republican voters and counseling Republican politicians than Luntz, the 58-year-old focus group guru. His research on policy and messaging has informed a generation of GOP lawmakers. His ability to translate between D.C. and the provinces—connecting the concerns of everyday people to their representatives in power—has been unsurpassed. If anyone had an answer, it would be Luntz.

“’You know, I don’t have a history of dodging questions. But I don’t know how to answer that. There is no consistent philosophy,’Luntz responded. ‘You can’t say it’s about making America great again at a time of Covid and economic distress and social unrest. It’s just not credible.’

“Luntz thought for a moment. ‘I think it’s about promoting—’ he stopped suddenly. ‘But I can’t, I don’t—’ he took a pause. ‘That’s the best I can do.’

“When I pressed, Luntz sounded as exasperated as the student whose question I was relaying. ‘Look, I’m the one guy who’s going to give you a straight answer. I don’t give a shit—I had a stroke in January, so there’s nothing anyone can do to me to make my life suck,’ he said. ‘I’ve tried to give you an answer and I can’t do it. You can ask it any different way. But I don’t know the answer. For the first time in my life, I don’t know the answer.’” Tim Alberta

“The (Grand Junction) Chamber (of Commerce) has endorsed criminals for city council, they’ve endorsed people who can’t write a coherent sentence for school board, and they even endorsed a dental hygienist for Drainage Board who’d lived here 2 years, moved here from San Diego and couldn’t tell a drainage ditch from an irrigation ditch over a candidate who’d served on Palisade Town Council for 8 years, been mayor pro-tem, sat on the 5-2-1 Drainage Authority Board, sat on the Colorado Municipal League’s Executive Board for 6 years, had attended seminars on wastewater management and subscribed to periodicals about drainage just for fun. Why? Because the lady from San Diego opposed a fee the drainage district sought to fund much-needed updating of the valley’s troubled, outdated drainage system.The Grand Junction Chamber (of Commerce) is a gatekeeper for Mesa County’s Old Guard Republican Establishment (OGREs). The only thing that matters to the Grand Junction Chamber is that candidates they endorse have an “R” after their names and oppose every single tax or fee ever proposed, unless it’s for one of their bonehead projects like the North Avenue name change, the Downtown Events Center, the Riverside Parkway Zig Zag Project, the Brady Trucking Rezone, large-scale gambling in Mesa County or other losing ideas they’ve floated.The Chamber would endorse a 2 day-old pile of dog doo for elected office if it had an “R” after its name. And if someone stepped up to run for local office who was a descendant of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Mother Teresa combined, had six advanced degrees and decades of public service under their belt but was a Democrat, the Chamber wouldn’t touch them with a 50 foot pole.But the Chamber decided NOT to endorse whip-snortin’, gun-totin’, right-wing slogan-spewing, small business owner Lauren Boebert. That’s Pretty. Damn. Bad. (Or should we say ‘good’?)” Anne Landman

“I have no more pleasure in hearing a man attempting wit and failing, than in seeing a man trying to leap over a ditch and tumbling into it.” Dr. Johnson

A Dispatch from an Anarchist Jurisdiction

Australia has a geological quirk – rivers that flow in from the sea. While conventional rivers begin as dew on a rock that leads to a rivlet and eventually into creeks and streams, the inbound Australian river rushes onto land full blown only to give out after a few miles. The river’s rough equivalent in American politics is the idea that certain ideologies can only go so far over a few decades and then, like those rivers the movement either evaporates into the air or is able to do little more than muddy the ground. Given that it’s been 40 years since Ronald Reagan was elected it seems as good a time as any to test that theory.

A couple of weeks ago Bill Kristol said this

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan by 9.7 percentage points. And Republicans took control of the Senate for the first time in a quarter century, picking up 12 Senate seats, along with 34 House seats.

The 1980 election marked a clear rejection of the Carter presidency. And the rejection lingered: Reagan and Bush would go on to win the next two presidential elections, easily. Some of the policy changes put in place during the 1980s had a lasting effect, and Bill Clinton didn’t campaign on reversing many of them.

So the 1980 election had consequences, with some structural political changes: It created a class of party-switching Reagan-Democrats, who became a permanent part of the Republican coalition. And it marked the modern conservative movement’s conquest of the GOP and its first time in power.

All of that is important. But 1980 wasn’t, in the grand scheme of things, either a realigning election or a transformative one. Its after-effects—which were significant—were measured in decades, rather than generations.

I’ve long thought that the election wasn’t strictly about Carter as that overlooks the long held idea that Reagan’s election was the end of The New Deal and its associated Keynesian approach to governing. Since 40 is a nice round number it made sense that 2020 might be a harbinger of what is to become of neoliberalism and a single minded monetarist approach to governing. While its taken days to determine the outcome of the 2020 election we’re probably going to enter a period closer to Nixon’s first term than Reagan’s, but for whoilly different reasons.

My first introduction to the idea of political swings came from former Attorney General John Mitchell a man, who like his boss, knew what he was doing.

And that’s the key.

Nixon and his people were competent. They knew damn good and well what they were doing in constructing The Southern Strategy and carefully deploying the term, ‘law and order.’ They managed to work quietly and chip away at the New Deal coalitions. Setting aside China, Nixon’s greatest accomplishment was to turn the Boomers’ parents, who grew up under FDR, away from the politics they had become familiar with in their youth.

Now?

Love ’em or hate ’em 45 ‘n Friends (tm pend) have no clue. By being either asleep at the wheel or seriously out to lunch they’ve lost control of their own people and ancillary media. While the people and their alternative platforms are loyal and enthusiastic they represent no cohesive movement to change the course of political thinking in the same way Nixon et al. did in their early going. If anything the current bunch will never get credit for delivering their version of a Reagan Democrat. The boat parades, the endless owning of the libs, the rallies are not game changers.

That’s not change – that’s turning the stans up to 11.

Along those lines –

Life in Joe Biden’s America

Let us now consider the curious case of Pistol Packin’ Mamma. (R-CO)

From Politico

CORTEZ, Colo. — A Glock on her hip and stilettos on her feet, Lauren Boebert stood behind a grocery store and waved as pickups, Harleys and Subarus flying “Trump 2020” banners and “thin blue line” American flags drove by. The procession calls itself the Montezuma County Patriots, a group of locals — fence menders, firefighters, retirees, unemployed dispatchers and others — that parades through town every weekend. This week, they steered their vehicles into a cracked asphalt parking lot and climbed out. They were here to see Boebert, a 33-year-old first-time candidate for Congress. In June, Boebert pulled off a stunning upset of a five-term incumbent in the Republican primary — the first time an incumbent member of Congress had lost a primary in Colorado in almost a half-century. The owner of a gun-themed restaurant called Shooters Grill in the town of Rifle, Boebert went into the race with scant experience, money and national support. The Republican incumbent, Scott Tipton, was endorsed by President Donald Trump and had been embraced by constituents as a down-the-line conservative.

As one my ilk who resides in America’s least geometrically challenged state said last week, “She’s got big boobs too!”

Armed, busty, and adequately inarticulate – she’s a Republican operative’s dream.

I first became aware of her as I received a flurry of emails about her ’round about Labor Day since I’m more of a CO ex-pat that a former resident. While we have no intention of ever living there again (QED) my family history is so intertwined with the damn place that it even got my mother a Wikipedia mention. We’re like some old New England family who’s lived along the shore since Ahab took his first boat ride. Not a month goes by without an email about somebody in CO doing something stupid which always includes the question, “Know this troglodyte?”

Nine times out of ten the answer is- no, but I went to school with his brother/sister/cousin. (circle all that apply)

But I digress.

Ms. Boebert’s success was only surprising in that she didn’t win by a landslide.

Why?

Because – and this is what 99% of the left leaning among us can never get through their heads – the 60s flew right over the place in the very same away commercial aircraft go over and never touch down.The counterculture did little more than stop for gas on its way to the coast. Now and there were things you could point to, but it was strictly cosmetic or ephemeral.

The guy across the street, the one with the real long hair who was always working on his car? The guy who bought weed from the guy who washed dishes at the Chinese restaurant?

That was the pupa phase. In later life he broke out of that chrysalis and arrived full blown beneath a MAGA hat.

He put Lauren Boebert in office. He has no problem with Boog Squads. You can holler ‘socialism’ and he’ll vote the way you need him to vote.

In the coming months he will be the American version of a Peronista.

Lastly –

… mmmmm …jellies!

Not all mask wearing is a political act.

In my capacity as a civic booster I was invited to -thankfully- an outdoor retirement party for a couple who had been community activists for 30-some years. There was quite a turnout as his extended family showed up in droves. Most of them were young men between 18 and somewhere in the mid-20s. They were a jovial bunch and while they came masked in no time at all were they unmasked as Dude Bro A needed to talk to Dude Bro B and the mask was in the way. Now and then someone would tell them to mask up and they’d oblige.

That was until the donuts arrived.

At that moment all the dude bros pulled their masks off like they were made of hot lava.

Three dozen donuts vanished in 10 minutes.

So if there’s anything to take away from all that let’s remember this; people who don’t wear masks are not always making a political statement and donuts are a great social leveler.

In a troubled and divided nation maybe we should start with some baked goods and work our way along from there.

Use your inside scream

“Visitors to Japan’s amusement parks are being asked not to scream when riding roller coasters so as to help prevent spreading the coronavirus, while the limited numbers of football fans allowed into stadiums this weekend will have to support their teams without singing, clapping or waving scarves. When the Fuji-Q Highland theme park reopened on 1 June after a three-month closure due to the pandemic, it asked visitors to follow the recommendations of the amusement park association and not to shout or scream. Some customers complained it was impossible to stay quiet on rides, particularly the two-kilometre-long Fujiyama roller coaster, which reaches speeds of 130km/h and drops 70 metres at one point. Named after nearby Mount Fuji, the roller coaster was the fastest and tallest in the world when it opened in 1996. In response, the park released a video of two stony-faced senior executives riding Fujiyama without uttering a peep, urging visitors to imitate them and ‘Keep your screams inside.'” The Guardian

“The biggest change to American society over the past 50 years has been the death of the middle class. This used to be the middle-class country. It is not anymore. Most of the population has become poorer in real terms while a shrinking number of people controlling the ever expanding percentage of the wealth. That means that fewer Americans overall have a meaningful stake in society. And more are dependent. That makes the country much more volatile than it once was.These riots really shouldn’t surprise you. It is hard to know exactly who is responsible for these sad changes to America, but it is easy to see who is benefiting from them. They are the same people lecturing you about white privilege and systemic racism.This isn’t accidental. CitiBank is happy to put Black Lives Matter logos on their Instagram page precisely so you won’t ask what interest rates they are charging black people. If you really cared about the poor, you wouldn’t crush them with debt they can’t afford to. Of course if you really cared about black lives, you wouldn’t put abortion clinics in black neighborhoods but they do.” Tucker Carlson

“The white man will try to satisfy us with symbolic victories, rather than economic equity and real justice.” Malcolm X

“It was always a given that 2020 would be a year to remember. Even so, it continues to surprise. It seems likely that June will go down as one of the pivotal months of our political era, a period when our streets, our press, and some of our major institutions were rocked by the force of progressive identity politics. Conversations over the implications of all that’s happened in recent weeks will continue for some time. One of the more active debates is whether our recent social controversies should be seen as further evidence for the advent of what the writer Wesley Yang has called a “successor ideology” that might supplant liberalism altogether.This was the conclusion of an essay on upheaval in the media from journalist Matt Taibbi. ‘The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation,’ he wrote. ‘They are counting on the guilt-ridden, self-flagellating nature of traditional American progressives, who will not stand up for themselves, and will walk to the Razor voluntarily.’ In another recent essay, New York’s Andrew Sullivan charged that progressives now believe ‘the liberal system is itself a form of white supremacy’ and that ‘liberalism’s core values and institutions cannot be reformed and can only be dismantled.’ Versions of this argument have been circulating for over half a decade now. In a 2015 piece, New York’s Jonathan Chait warned readers to take a series of then-recent campus controversies seriously. ‘The upsurge of political correctness is not just greasy-kid stuff, and it’s not just a bunch of weird, unfortunate events that somehow keep happening over and over,’ he wrote. ‘It’s the expression of a political culture with consistent norms, and philosophical premises that happen to be incompatible with liberalism. ‘Now, it really would be quite remarkable if American students and activists had, within the space of five or so years, constructed or wandered into a real and novel alternative to the dominant political ideology of the last few centuries. But they haven’t. The tensions we’ve seen lately have been internal to liberalism for ages: between those who take the associative nature of liberal society seriously and those who are determined not to. It is the former group, the defenders of progressive identity politics, who in fact are protecting—indeed expanding—the bounds of liberalism. And it is the latter group, the reactionaries, who are most guilty of the illiberalism they claim has overtaken the American Left.” Osita Nwanevu

“In every change there will be many that suffer real or imaginary grievances, and therefore many will be disillusioned.” Dr. Johnson

‘Trigger’ meant something very different to Roy Rogers

This was the week where it became obvious that if you wear your mask or neck scarf for any length of time it will always smell like yestreday’s lunch.

Damn right I’m wearing a mask.

Real or not real I’m not taking any chances because the clouds have parted and down from high Olympus came Alan Jeffs who helped prove something I said years ago and I need to carry on to soak up all this I-told-you-so.

Even though Sasha Baron Cohen stopped by the Big Damp Woods recently his performance did not do much for me. Don’t get me wrong – I find him funny, but funny in a slapstick way – as if he hit your cherished values in the face with a pie. The difference here is that Jeffs is a sly motherfucker, sly to the point that he flirts with being a Jungian trickster.

How did he achieve this lofty status?

Last weekend he got the boog squad’s in a wad by relentless posting to social media a claim that there was going to be a massive flag burning ceremony at the Gettysburg National Military Park on the Fourth of July.

From that newspaper you don’t like –

For weeks, a mysterious figure on social media talked up plans for antifa protesters to converge on this historical site on Independence Day to burn American flags, an event that seemed at times to border on the farcical.

“Let’s get together and burn flags in protest of thugs and animals in blue,” the anonymous person behind a Facebook page called Left Behind USA wrote in mid-June. There would be antifa face paint, the person wrote, and organizers would “be giving away free small flags to children to safely throw into the fire.”

As word spread, self-proclaimed militias, bikers, skinheads and far-right groups from outside the state issued a call to action, pledging in online videos and posts to come to Gettysburg to protect the Civil War monuments and the nation’s flag from desecration. Some said they would bring firearms and use force if necessary.

On Saturday afternoon, in the hours before the flag burning was to start, they flooded in by the hundreds — heavily armed and unaware, it seemed, that the mysterious Internet poster was not who the person claimed to be.

Biographical details — some from the person’s Facebook page and others provided to The Washington Post in a series of messages — did not match official records. An image the person once posted on a profile page was a picture of a man taken by a German photographer for a stock photo service.

The episode at Gettysburg is a stark illustration of how shadowy figures on social media have stoked fears about the protests against racial injustice and excessive police force that have swept across the nation since the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25.

And you really gotta give it up for Jeffs’ posters.

A few years back I made the point that what most people commonly refer to as “divisiveness” stems from the fact that we all prefer pre-fab points of view. At the time I said it was like getting an app for your phone – which app depends on which phone you have. You didn’t have to really come up with anything on your own, you just run your greasy finger around a few times and, as Mr. Vonnegut would say, “HEY Presto!” it’s all taken care of.

Got to thinking about this as the Laird of the Orange Grove sent two articles by Jason D. Hill.

In one Mr. Hill writes –

In the calls to “decolonize” course syllabi on campus colleges we see a perversion of any fight against legitimate racism. There is now momentum on college campuses to decolonize the syllabi of courses populated with canonical texts written by white (usually) male scholars, writers and thinkers. If one can indiscriminately attack and vandalize the statues of slave abolitionists, cultural heroes and fighters for racial equality like Winston Churchill, David Farragut, Matthias Baldwin, and Abraham Lincoln, then one can equally imagine the deranged amoral imagination of educators calling for course syllabi to be expunged of male white canonical figures. Nowhere can it be imagined that the moral and emancipatory vocabularies for oppression could ever have arisen from some of these canonical figures such as John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, John Locke, Thomas Paine, Hugo Grotius, Charles Dickens, and even Aristotle.

I myself was shocked when I received an email from my home institution apprising me of a workshop that had as one of many programs on its agenda the business of “decolonize that syllabus.” The reasoning is predicated on misguided social engineering. This is not a matter of diversifying the syllabus. It means literally divesting it of all white canonical figures who are presumed to be racist because they are white and who wrote during particular historical epochs that did not celebrate black agency. I leave aside the obvious malarkey of such reasoning which is putatively obvious and emphasize a point I have made in previous essays: our universities have ceased to be bastions of learning and have become national security threats, purveyors themselves not just of inverse racism, but educational tropes of cultural Marxism where hatred of America and the most ameliorative aspects of America’s civilization are presented as part of the systemic and endemic problem.

What we are witnessing in the ascendancy of the culture wars whether in certain segments in the streets, or, in virtually all domains of our educational systems is virulent nihilism predicated on an axis of moral and cultural relativism.

While I don’t doubt Mr. Hill’s sincerity it’s hard to miss the simple fact that he’s using the right vocabulary for someone wanting to establish his credentials as a publishable pundit. It’s less what he said than how he said it. His articles brought back a point made in 2013 about tech writers which I believe very much applies to Mr. Hill.

(Jeff) Jarvis’s two books, in contrast, are branding exercises, ritual objects of exchange, not meant to introduce new insights so much as certify that the author occupies the role of the published guru. In Public Parts, Jarvis thanks entrepreneur Seth Godin for having encouraged him to become an author, recounting how Godin told him that he would be “a fool” not to write a book, and a bigger fool if he “thought the book was the goal.” Instead, the book should “build [Jarvis’s] public reputation, which would lead to other business.” And it has done just that. While Jarvis’s first book sold reasonably well, its royalties were almost certainly dwarfed by other sources of income—he claims that he requires up to $45,000 for a speaking engagement.

Unsurprisingly, the books are neither interesting nor good. Jarvis is a technology intellectual only in the sense that he fills a particular sociological niche. Overly provocative ideas would tarnish his brand. His books repackage the technology industry’s intellectual prejudices and sell them back, all the while highlighting the author’s many influential friends and the multitudes of important people who take him seriously. Like Randall Jarrell’s President Robbins, Jarvis is so well attuned to his environment that sometimes you cannot tell which is the environment and which is Jarvis.

Supposedly Jeff Jarvis is a respected media pundit for reasons I cannot explain.

Despite expecting different outcomes, both Hill and Jeffs performed the same task.

They used all the correct words in perfect order.

If there’s anything to take away from this it really has nothing to do with the Boogers who showed up at Gettysburg. Rather it should be a cautionary tale for those people who are always trying to “own the libs.” If we are moving to not only having different points of view and radically different words to describe them then it’s going be damn near impossible to do much owning if we fail to have a shared vocabulary.

Ice cream, Fountain Drinks, Sundries, and Notions

Some desk clearing –

– At Christmas dinner Alaska Wolf said Tucker Carlson is as concerned with class as a French Marxist and the NYT has become an isolated form of information that appeals to a smaller and smaller group of people. I was going to make the point that it still serves as the conservative movement’s major irritant until I caught my self and remembered that the title of ‘Major Irritant’ has moved on to the WaPo. So, like this elders, he’s taking a victory lap for seeing that one coming. As we speak what’s been called the entertainment wing of the GOP is victorious, but how long can you coast on the various tropes, agit-prop slogans, and outrage that powers that worldview?

– A whole mess of double domes and pointy heads signed onto a letter published in Harper’s this week. Not sure what to make of it other than the elders are trying to tell the kids to get off their respective lawns.

– Also worth noting from the article by Osita Nwanevu linked above.

As such, leftists are the very last people who need to be reminded that corporate P.R. is just P.R.; press releases are not actually going to satisfy those intent on fully remaking the economy, and socialists who take the concerns motivating Black Lives Matter seriously have been among the strongest critics of what some have called the “anti-racism industry” that suggests inequality can be remedied primarily by self-help—the nicer side of the same small coin as grin-and-bear-it individualism. That realm of discourse ⁠can be challenged without belittling underrepresentation and personal indignities or denying that they can have material consequences.

As we work through what to make of the successes of progressive identity politics, we shouldn’t forget that progressive identity politics were not supposed to succeed. Not long ago, critics predicted that as legitimate as the core grievances motivating activists were, dust-ups on campus, rhetoric condemning “white supremacy,” and property destruction accompanying protests against police violence would ultimately alienate the broader public and prevent ordinary people from joining identity political causes. It is empirically plain now that these arguments were wrong and that the past several years of activism have produced a large and rapid positive shift in American public opinion. We will spend many years working through how it happened, but one factor already seems crucial: The critics of progressive identity politics were not only unpersuasive but fundamentally uninterested in persuasion. Even now, white liberals sympathetic to Black Lives Matter are disdained and mocked, and those most committed to denouncing the zealous rhetoric of progressive activists have never paused to assess the effectiveness of their own histrionics.

The failure of these critics has only deepened their sense of themselves as martyrs⁠—the last disciples of the one, true liberalism, who will be vindicated once a grand backlash against progressives finally arrives. There are good reasons to believe it won’t: Cultural antagonism on the right will continue to drive middle-of-the road Americans away, and progressive millennials and Gen-Zers will continue aging into the center of American politics and American life. But for all the positive changes we’ve seen and will continue to see in the consciousness of the American people, progressives are still far from being able to declare victory. The material work of creating a just society has barely begun.

That might explain the letter to Harper’s better than I ever could.

– The last post mentioned Matt Taibbi’s sputtering, ill-edited piece from a couple of weeks ago. This week he started a Twitter kerfuffle by coughing up his hairball once more for the Chapo Trap House podcast. In true blogging style I have not listened to the podcast which means I should be able to run out six to eight paragraphs on something about which I have no idea.

My guess?

Even spoken out loud – his thoughts come off like a tangle of wires and can be readily seized upon by any number of people.

Not that it’s been a good week for the Chapo boys as Reddit tossed ’em off the site. I tried listening to their podcast a couple of years ago, but each time I fired it up the podcast played for a few minutes and then restarted. If they said anything of note after three minutes there was no way to find out.

– This post means that I still haven’t been able to bring your PDF (Paranoid Delusion Fantasy) up to the current version nor has there been any prose on the every few decade swings in American politics. Never mind that I’m still chewing on some ideas about community and identity politics after a different email exchange with the Laird of the Orange Grove. One of these days I swear I’ll get around to all that.

Join us then, won’t you?

Gotta stop here to work on something. Our neighbor who has no end of nervous energy is attempting to set some sort of record for how many power tools one man can use in an afternoon. We’ll be returning the favor around dinner time when we point the speakers in his direction so he might be better able to hear a generous selection of Scandinavian death metal and selections from the five hours of Rammstein remixes Spotify sent out last week.

Until then practice your silent scream

Fearless Freep: A Pindaric Dithyrambus

“Their (Ivy League schools) benefit comes from artificial scarcity.Instead of making unexceptional teenagers into exceptional adults, they focus their energy on the teenagers who were able to prove themselves exceptional to an admissions committee.They brag that they turn away 90 percent of applicants, which is tantamount to a head of a housing shelter bragging that he turned away 90 percent of applicants last night. They are no longer in the business of public service. They are a finishing school for rich people and some incredibly remarkable lower- and middle-income people. They will most likely maintain their pricing power and double down on their exclusivity.” Scott Galloway

“It is one of the most melancholy features in the social state of this country that while there was a decrease in the consuming powers of the people, and while there was an increase in the privations and distress of the labouring class and operatives, there was at the same time a constant accumulation of wealth in the upper classes, and a constant increase of capital.” Gladtone c. 1843-44

“All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.” Marx

“A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilisation.” Dr. Johnson

Goldurn idjit galloot! Now look what ya gone and done!

This was the week where we stopped waiting for the 101st Airborne to drop from the skies, invade our autonomous zone, and set our hippy asses straight. While waiting there was time to explore HBO’s new streaming service which features brand new Looney Tunes shorts. To my great surprise one of the shorts finally confirmed my belief Yosemite Sam is a Republican. While at Sam’s amusement park (billed as the third or fourth happiest place “give or take a few”) Sam pulls Bugs off the roller coaster as no rabbits are allowed. Sam points to a sign which ends with “NO RABBITS” but starts with the following.

The adventure in full, roughly five minutes in length, can be seen here.

Speaking of Yosemite Sam – it’s been a delightful two weeks for The Outraged. Never have they had so many reasons to be all angry ‘n stuff. The new Warner cartoons took away Sam and Elmer Fudd’s guns which many of us, the gruntled, have said is a good idea since neither was responsible gun owner. Setting aside the fact that they never hit anything they shot at, there is the small sticking point that Elmer never hunted out of need. In fact, by his own admission Elmer was a “veggatawian.” Never mind that The Outraged failed to notice that both, as well as Wile E. Coyote, are still equipped with dynamite.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, isn’t it?

Damn nanny-state bureaucrats want you to cover your face, Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben have been put out to pasture, and somebody forgot to activate the activist judges just right.

Right now it must be glorious to be easily and readily offended.

And let me be the first to extend to The Outraged my best wishes and hope that in the years to come you will always cherish this moment.

“Charles Foster Kane is a scoundrel. His paper should be run out of town. A committee should be formed to boycott him. You may, if you can form such a committee, put me down for a contribution of one thousand dollars.” Charles Foster Kane

Originally, this post was to put out some thoughts on how the political pendulum swings back and forth over 40 or so years and the social upheaval that ensues. Before it gets too stale there’s one item from that scratchpad that will get mentioned.

Why did George Floyd cause such commotion?

I don’t have a definite answer, but one thing that’s been overlooked in all this.

We were all home to see it.

There were no distractions. You couldn’t say you were out having dinner with friends. You couldn’t run to the stores because the stores all closed early. You weren’t at the mall and you sure as hell weren’t at the movies. As Dave Chappelle observed in his recent special, the news of the five Dallas police officers killed in 2016 moved slowly on the front end because it happened at the same time as Kobe Bryant’s last game.

No matter how you consume information – there was George Floyd.

Moving along –

Today’s edition of The Sunday Long Reads contained this article from Matt Taibbi.

Under the heading, “The American Press is Destroying Itself”, he writes:

On the other side of the political aisle, among self-described liberals, we’re watching an intellectual revolution. It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It’s become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres who move from discipline to discipline torching reputations and jobs with breathtaking casualness.

The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation. They are counting on the guilt-ridden, self-flagellating nature of traditional American progressives, who will not stand up for themselves, and will walk to the Razor voluntarily.

Now, this madness is coming for journalism. Beginning on Friday, June 5th, a series of controversies rocked the media. By my count, at least eight news organizations dealt with internal uprisings (it was likely more). Most involved groups of reporters and staffers demanding the firing or reprimand of colleagues who’d made politically “problematic” editorial or social media decisions.

All that after I spent an hour Zooming along with a couple of extra super powered Brainiac media pundits (HINT: their initials are JR and JJ) who came down from high Olympus last Wednesday to explain it all to us mere newsroomless mortals. (More on that in a minute.) Long story short – right now no one knows how to manage a newsroom. It’s taken almost 15 years to get newsroom management to join the rest of us living in the 21st Century and while they were being drug, kicking and screaming all the way, stuff happened. Trump was elected, the staff got younger, and management was in denial. If you spend any time reading the trade publications and newsletters you’ll find the words “newsroom culture” used ad nauseam. If you’re looking for a grant the first thing you have to do is append the word “reform” to “newsroom culture” if you want to get even a smidgen of cash.

And the double-dome pundits, what did they have to say?

Gosh darn that newsroom culture!

So who are we really talking about here?

The people who write these things only care about people who work for print publications. As far as they are concerned only print matters. Per them TV is only OK at best unless they invite you on to yell at other print people. Otherwise broadcasting is for people who like to spend time combing their hair and sucking in their cheeks. Also you can only be considered part of the media if you work in one of the 30 or so major cities in America and your outlet covers an entire city.

Given that definition you might now be surprised that at about this time last year a panel of the ink-stained elite, who ostensibly represented online publications as well, roundly poo-poo’d Mom.

People asked if I got upset.

Sure, if they’d said something original, but they didn’t so I gave it a pass. Mom doesn’t give a rip and at least it was an out-and-out poo-poo’ing. It’s not like the patronizing way the capital-J Journalists treat the local NPR people. In this world The True Keepers of the Flame make, what Mom calls, “Nice Nice” with the NPR folks. When they interact the print people treat the radio people as if they were children giving flowers to visiting dignitaries. It comes with all the graciousness you would associate with Prince Phillip if he were to receive a tote bag and a coffee mug left over from the last pledge drive.

Where were we?

Looking back – if I were Taibbi’s editor I would have flipped it around. The article could have been improved with running the last half at the top and saving his many h-r-deprtment-themed grievances for the end. Additionally, I would have found a substitute for the word “narrative” as it has become weaponized. His use of Lee Fang’s question posed to Maximum Fr needs work as it comes off as more of an indictment of Fang’s “newsroom culture” which would render Taibbi’s lengthy defense of Fang as something of an aside which could then be shortened. Overall Taibbi sputters, but that’s understandable. Things are moving so fast that it’s hard to get a handle on anything so you might as well just cough it all up.

Need an example?

During our last City Council election – just a scant few months ago – each and every candidates fell all over his or herself saying the police need more money.

Now?

Not so much.

While this might be a Golden Age for the The Outraged they must be exhausted by now.

Lastly – the phrase Taibbi used that bothered me the most was, “bullying campus Marxism that passes for leftist thought these days.”

First, Mom’s readily poo-pooable and now Alaska Wolf Joe is a bully.

Some Father’s Day this turned out to be!

To recap – you can avoid trouble if you always act like you’re being watched all the time. Don’t forget – everybody has a phone to document your every stupid and poorly thought-out move and as a wise man once told me, “No one notices anything you do on social media until you do something stupid on social media.”

With that – let’s all take a moment and relive a moment from print’s happier past.

I want to put on my my my my my Boog-ie shoes just to Boog-ie with you!

“Every decade or so, it seems, the econ­omy seizes up, central bankers go into overdrive, and commentators temporarily converge on the view that the neoliberal era is over. Then everything goes back to normal, only worse. The recurring crisis of neolib­eralism has proven to be a central feature of neoliberalism itself.Of course, this time could very well be different. But if we want to assess neoliberalism’s prospects for sur­vival, we shouldn’t yet go looking for clues in, say, the fluctuations of the junk bond market or Eurogroup communiqués. It’s too early to know what the long-run effects of those machinations will be once the acute phase of the pandemic is behind us. Instead, we should start with a more basic question: If neoliberalism were to end, how would we know?” – Seth Ackerman

“People still read Marcus’s private writings on stoicism, published thereafter in a collection known as The Meditations, in search of the solace and guidance his work sought to bring to honourable souls troubled by the impossible task of living nobly in a world of madness and stupidity. ‘I learned to be religious, and liberal,’ he wrote, ‘and to guard, not only against evil actions, but even against any evil intentions entering my thoughts.’ He advocated (and personally adhered to) living with only simple comforts, a strong work ethic, manly integrity, and other such calmcore (sic) macho beard-strokery befitting of a Good Dad who thinks the world revolves around him. At least in the emperor’s case the world did revolve around him, which is perhaps why the Meditations are so popular among entrepreneurs, politicians, and business bloggers who are surely gonna make it big any day now. Pompous white men who creep on women and believe that they are anointed for great things worship the guy: Bill Clinton claimed to have read the Meditations twice on the campaign trail. Eric Trump quoted the movie version (Gladiator released by Dream Works 2000) of Marcus thinking he was just a fictional character, because that’s American meritocracy for you. – Laurie Charles

Tradinistas: These unusual Catholics, to put it politely, combine the aesthetic sensibilities of a French royalist with the political instincts of a Cuban apparatchik. Originally used to refer to a small band of committed Latin-Mass Marxists, the term now refers to anyone attempting to reconcile theological orthodoxy with Leftist politics, such as Washington Post columnist Elizabeth Bruenig. Tradinistas hold liberalism responsible for the collapse of Christendom and see capitalism as incompatible with Catholic social teaching. On the grotesque failures of socialism, and its condemnation by successive popes, they prefer to observe the monastic tradition of ‘the Great Silence.’ Tradinistas have a sense of humour, but it fails them when fellow Catholics giggle at their intellectual contortions.” – Michael Warren Davis and Damian Thompson

“The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.” Loose translation, commonly attributed to (Antonio) Gramsci by Slavoj Žižek, presumably formulation by Žižek

“If we make the praise or blame of others the rule of our conduct, we shall be distracted by a boundless variety of irreconcilable judgments, be held in perpetual suspense between contrary impulses, and consult forever without determination.” Dr. Johnson


(ABOVE: Tip o’ the tinfoil lined M’s cap to Hizzoner Emeritus, The Prop for making a newsstand run for us.)

“Bolshevism! Sheer Bolshevism! Ripe for the quashing!” C. Montgomery Burns

This was the week that began placidly enough. Special Old Coot Shopping Time at the grocery store was particularly leisurely as many of our fellow shoppers stopped to consider the canned goods as if they were hanging in The Louvre. As the fluorescent la light fell across the many colors of the fruit cocktail label they became transfixed and very stationary. While it added an additional 20 minutes to our shopping trip it was worth knowing that these people had come away with both their bodies and their souls equally nourished. That’s why it was a damn shame that the governor got everybody all pixelated a few days later when he went on tv to say we could leave this house next week. So as not to be upstaged, our mayor ordered a curfew last night with only 15 minutes notice which was fine as we probably could do with spending some time at home.

With such little notice the streets still had normal traffic or at last what passes for normal traffic these days. On my way home – as I am nothing if not a law abiding libtard – while stopped at the light at one of our larger intersections there were was a delivery struck in front of me and another delivery struck in front of that. So while downtown was on fire and the National Guard was called out no tanks rolled through the streets.

But the Amazon delivery trucks did.

And that’s probably all any of us need to know about where America is at right now.

The mayor had a press conference and while she did a miserable job of explaining why she gave everybody 15 minutes notice, but she was adept enough to not blame outside agitators. Up here in the Big Damp Woods nothing will get you un-elected faster than blaming outside agitators. Make no mistake, several pols tried that one and most found that the words “one term” are always applied to whatever office they used to hold. Sure, you can get a little cheeky and say the agitators came from “nearby” just so long as you make it sound like a 20 minute drive. Even if there’s incontrovertible proof that these nogoodniks came from the South Pole you just sit on it because Seattle and the South Pole are both on the same planet and that – as they say – is good enough for horseshoes and gummint work.

Long story short – the local electorate doesn’t care who did it or where they came from – they want their electeds to make sure nobody makes a dog’s dinner out of downtown.


“For the apparel oft proclaims the man.” Polonius from Hamlet Scene 1 Act 3

Speaking of outside agitators it pains me to have to do this.

Friday night on libtard Twitter some guy in Minneapolis put of a picture of a truck parked across the street from his house. He said he’d never see it nor the driver before, but he was curious as to what the big decal on the back of the truck was.

It looked like this:

The conservatives among you can now go get more coffee as I must talk to my fellow libtards, especially the ones whose information diet is made up of so much pre-chewed food from NPR.

Over the past weeks you’ve seen demonstrators demanding to be let out of the house. (We’ll deal with the sticky issue of how they got out of the house to protest at another time.) Many of these folks believe that there’s going to be another civil war any day. They refer to this upcoming conflict as The Boogaloo and somehow Booglaoo as morphed into the use of the word “igloo” for reasons unknown. While they were at it they have also decided that they shall be known by the colorful Hawaiian shirts they wear in public.

Voici.

I find this deeply disturbing as they’ve appropriated clothing meant for short, fat, middle-age men. If I were to wear my purple one that’s covered with plumerias, which looks amazing under a black light, I wouldn’t look snappy – I’d look like one more pistol packin’ old spoot with an agenda.

And I will never be able to forgive the Boog-ie Men or whatever they call themselves for co-opting my wardrobe.

Now that we’ve established that –

The truck suggests that there might be a Booger in the midst of the Minneapolis riots. That differs from those who believe Antifa is involved. In either case it denies that the people who are in the streets are there as a matter of active consideration. Despite three months of near isolation, massive job losses at the minimum-wage level, and across the service industries, despite the fact that using public transportation is a serious health risk, and despite adequate access to health care should they need it – these people are not out in the streets of their own volition.

Somebody put ’em up to it.

After all they’re merely innocents. God knows, the lady who cleans the house would never riot. She’s always so punctual and has such nice manners and the Junior League goes that community center in her neighborhood to put on a little something for the children at Christmas. The place is as drafty as an old barn, but you do it for the kids.

Those people wouldn’t repay us by rioting would they?

Of course not.

It’s all the work of some naughty white kids who want to stir things up and organize unions.

Which leads to the question – if you blame outsiders are you merely taking The White Man’s Burden into the 21st Century?

Wanna know why we want to blame outsiders?

Too many us no longer own our own hot buttons. Sure, we have the personal ones, (e.g. Who left the cap off the toothpaste?) but at the more macro level what self control do we have left after years of cable news and social media?

Here’s a little exercise.

Please watch these videos in the order presented.

How much of the second video did you discount because of what you saw in the first one?

Could you determine that there was anything of worth in the second video after watching the first one?

You can take your time with that.

If there’s one thing to take away from this week it’s how quickly we want to blame the match while never acknowledging the gasoline.

You can work on that one at your leisure as well.

Me?

Hey – we get to leave the house in less than 48 hours.

Not that we have anywhere to go, but we get to leave the house.

The governor said so!

And time keeps draggin’ on

“The world that we tremblingly stepped out into in that decade was a bitter, gray one. But San Francisco was a special place. Rexroth said it was to the arts what Barcelona was to Spanish Anarchism. Still, there was no way, even in San Francisco to escape the pressure of the war culture. we were locked in the pressure of the Cold War and the first Asian debacle — the Korean War. My self image in those years was of finding myself — young, high, a little crazed, needing a haircut, in an elevator with burly crew-cutted, square jawed eminences, staring at me like I was misplaced cannon fodder. … We saw that the art of poetry was essentially dead — killed by war, buy academies, by neglect, by lack of love, and by disinterest. We knew we could bring it back to life.” Michael McCLure

“The Seventh-day Adventists and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are thriving religious movements indigenous to America. Do not be surprised if QAnon becomes another. It already has more adherents by far than either of those two denominations had in the first decades of their existence. People are expressing their faith through devoted study of Q drops as installments of a foundational text, through the development of Q-worshipping groups, and through sweeping expressions of gratitude for what Q has brought to their lives. Does it matter that we do not know who Q is? The divine is always a mystery. Does it matter that basic aspects of Q’s teachings cannot be confirmed? The basic tenets of Christianity cannot be confirmed. Among the people of QAnon, faith remains absolute. True believers describe a feeling of rebirth, an irreversible arousal to existential knowledge. They are certain that a Great Awakening is coming. They’ll wait as long as they must for deliverance. Trust the plan. Enjoy the show. Nothing can stop what is coming.” Adrienne LaFrance

“Recently, I read that Charlie Brooker, the creator of the ‘Black Mirror” series, is holding off on a sixth season. The plot of every Black Mirror episode, of course, is that same one about How Innovation Goes Wrong that I and my colleagues keep telling again and again. Brooker told ‘Radio Times’ that he didn’t think people could stomach the story any more, and he’s shifting to lighter fare. Here’s to happy endings.” Steven Levy

“The whole huge bounty of the past, every dinosaur fight and asteroid blast and flood and war and ice age and invention and mistake, has led to this particular second — to me sitting here at my desk eating a peanut butter chocolate protein bar, worrying that my pants are too tight, writing these words about the nature of existence. No bush has ever rustled precisely the way the bush is rustling outside my window right now. No one has ever inhaled exactly the bouquet of fresh molecules that you just inhaled, this very moment, into your unique wet lungs. And yet our moments are also constantly dying. We pass through time like someone walking through a swarm of mayflies: The moments come so thick that we hardly notice them dropping around us, and we can’t imagine they will ever be gone.” Sam Anderson

“To-morrow’s action! Can that hoary wisdom, borne down with years, still doat upon tomorrow! That fatal mistress of the young, the lazy, The coward, and the fool, condemn’d to lose, a useless life in waiting for to-morrow, to gaze with longing eyes upon to-morrow, till interposing death destroys the prospect. Strange! that this general fraud from day to day should fill the world with wretches undetected. The soldier, labouring through a winter’s march, still sees to-morrow drest in robes of triumph; still to the lover’s long-expecting arms to-morrow brings the visionary bride, but thou, too old to hear another cheat.” Dr. Johnson


Are you talking about the guy I shot in Reno?

This was the week that went downhill fast. Give or take a few days it’s been about six months since my last haircut given the quarantine. Last Wednesday some guy at the grocery store hollered, “COOL HAIR, BUT YOU NEED A BEARD TO GO WITH IT! YOU’D BE AWESOME!”

I waved politely while growling under my washable mask. Of all the over-used bonsai’d adjectives “awesome” is at the top of my shit list. It makes no difference how “awesome” something is and it makes no difference how much awesome sauce you smother it with – the word makes you sound like a moron. Thanks to social distancing I didn’t have to get close to the guy to explain my objection to the use of the word nor did I have to tell him that there’s not going to be a beard.

Why?

Because now that color of the hair on the face matches the color of the hair on the head I’d look like the f’n Bumble.

While that was going on my stature in the community came falling back to Earth. In the last installment you might remember that some one thought I was the founder of some professional group and some sort of non-profit guru. This week it was one phone call after another for the better part of three days informing me that I would not be getting my Social Security check this month because of my criminal record.

This came as quite a surprise.

I had no idea I was getting Social Security.

The reason why no check this month?

Not so much.

Since when have I been getting Social Security?

How much am I getting and what did I do with the money?

This is going to give me self-esteem issues.

OK – new ones – the old ones are right where I left them.

Cripessake – I don’t need this right now. We have to get going with the formalities.


PLEASE RISE AND REMOVE YOUR HATS FOR THE PLAYING OF OUR NATIONAL QUARANTINE ANTHEM*


“You’re a full grown cat still watching cartoons!” Ren Höek

Over the past couple of months you’ve been deluged with all sorts of what-to-watch or what-to-listen-to lists. All well and good, but as a public service I will now tell you what to avoid.

AUDIO:

I love a good critical take down especially when it’s about a band I loathe.

Nevertheless, the culture couldn’t get enough of “Kokomo.” The song hit radio in the summer of 1988, and in early November, it reached No. 1, the first time a Beach Boys track had topped the charts since “Good Vibrations.” Suddenly, the band (Beach Boys sans Brian Wilson) was back in demand. They played “Kokomo” at halftime shows. It was central to the plot of a Full House episode. Hell, even the Muppets did a version of “Kokomo.”

But simultaneously, there were a growing number of brave souls who absolutely despised that song. When the now-defunct music magazine Blender (in conjunction with VH1) put together a list of the 50 Worst Songs of All Time for its May 2004 issue, “Kokomo” placed at No. 12, decried as a “gloopy mess of faux-Caribbean musical stylings” filled with “anodyne harmonizing and forced rhymes.” In July 2015, pop-culture writer Molly Lambert went after “Kokomo” even more aggressively, complaining in Grantland that songs like that and “Margaritaville” were inherently racist:

“As sung by white dudes Buffett and the Beach Boys, ‘Kokomo’ and ‘Margaritaville’ always make me think first of colonialism, because of the complex and harsh colonial histories of the tropical countries in which white vacationers Buffett and the Beach Boys suggest you take a totally carefree vacation free of any cultural context. There’s a clip in the ‘Kokomo’ video where you see white women splashing in the ocean and then a black woman walks across the frame carrying a tray of tropical drinks. Kokomo is not relaxing when you have to work there.”

But even if most people ignored the song’s uglier implications, it was fairly easy to just “OK Boomer” the track’s glib pursuit of brainless fun. (It was a little too perfect, really, that “Kokomo” appeared on the same soundtrack as “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” Bobby McFerrin’s similar ode to guilt-free docility.) Pretty soon, “Kokomo” became a cliché of Corona-on-the-beach escapism — the epitome of slick, empty yacht-rock hedonism. – from The Worst Summer Song Ever

VIDEO:

Here at The Dude Ranch Above the Sea Hulu is our preferred streaming service. Not only does it have a better selection of trash viewing than the others it also has The Handmaid’s Tale. Mom’s a fan of the show and it’s must-see tv for us libtards as we never know when Barbara Streisand might phone and quiz us about the most recent episode. Hulu also gets the short shrift on most of these lists or at least it did until this week when some of the list creators were gushing about Solar Opposites.

While many of the people associated with Rick and Morty, sadly much of Solar Opposites comes off like lo-cal, lo-carb plant-based Rick and Morty. The show was intended for Fox as I’m sure there was some Fox v-p who was looking for something ‘edgy’ and as well all know network vp’s want something edgy until they finally get something edgy.

Then they run like hell.

Solar Opposites was retooled for Hulu, assuming your definition of retooled means seeing how many f-bombs you can pack into 25 minutes. The real root of the problem comes from Solar Opposites being pitched to a network instead of Adult Swim. For almost 20 years the superior animated adult fare has come from Adult Swim. Freed from prime time Adult Swim managed to get away with the wonderfully subversive Boondocks (the Bob Ross as urban art guerilla being the best one) and The Venture Brothers who managed to do the one and only complex parody of the movie Magnolia. Given that background it was little wonder that Rick and Morty, an Adult Swim original took off.

For those of you who have never seen R&M you might want to look around for The Rickshank Redemption. It’s the quintessential episode as it not only offers you unvarnished Rick, it also kicked off the McDonalds Szechuan sauce commotion.

If you want a sample of R&M here’s 95 seconds of The Rickshank Redemption.

And the damn sauce riot was why I never took the Gamergate people seriously.

Who wants to read something scrawled all over the Internet by some nerd who’ll trample anybody who gets in his way just so he can get something he saw in a cartoon?

Asking for a friend.

Speaking of required viewing…

Does Macy tell Gimbel?

It’s 17 minutes, but well worth it.

Tom Nichols taught at the Navy War College and was an advisor to both of the Bushes. He was a regular contributor to The Federalist, a website devoted to lifting up the God-fearing, churching-going folk who made America what it is today. The only hitch in this is that he hates Trump which – I think – makes him a RiNo and a RiNO – I think – is defined as a registered Republican who puts on a fake beard and sunglasses before shopping at the health food store.

Kinda wanted to get that out there before Obamagate takes over the news. So far all I’ve learned is that Obama tried to help Hillary every step of the way in 2016. Supposedly he pressured people, tried to rig the primaries, and he even let her copy off his algebra homework at lunchtime. All of this overlooks the party’s own Super Delegate apparatus which was the fail safe in case Bernie got too close to being nominated. The SD’s have been around for quite sometime. The original intention was to make sure someone like Jimmy Carter never got the nomination. (Hey, can’t be too careful Jimmy’s still alive and he still has one more term coming.) While many see this as undemocratic, the SD’s are really a more subtle and highly weaponized version of my grandmother’s natural habitat, the smoke filled room.

The only way any of us can put an end to Obamagate is to never vote for him again.

We have to make sure he’ll never hold public office for the rest of his life.

Otherwise it’s time to synchronize out watches.

1. Tara Reid was allegedly attacked in the Senate Office Building, a cold a drafty building made possible by the good people of America’s taxes. So whatever happened – given the location – must have been in the public interest.

So some people cool with it.

2. E. Jean Carroll was attacked in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan. So that makes it all classy ‘n shit.

So some people cool with it.

Now that we have our respective hypocrisies aligned let us all link arms and march forward to November!

oh … wait … that’s not social distancing…

You are practicing social distancing, right?

Holding up OK?

Family OK?

Anybody trying to tunnel out?

Just to be safe – why don’t you go out to the kitchen and count the spoons.

I’ll wait here.



*Tip o’ the tinfoil lined M’s cap to KEXP’s Don Slack who ran out a set of songs about staring at the walls on this week’s show.

Bleachy keen!

“As Jonathan Morris documents in his recent book, ‘Coffee: A Global History’, epicurean coffeehouses in the United States numbered in the hundreds in 1989, and in the tens of thousands by 2013. A lot of that is Starbucks, but not all. Roasters in Italy went from exporting twelve million kilograms of espresso in 1988 to more than a hundred and seventy million in 2015. Not surprisingly, the growth of a coffee culture has been trailed, and sometimes advanced, by a coffee literature, which arrived in predictable waves, each reflecting a thriving genre. First, we got a fan’s literature—“the little bean that changed the world”—with histories of coffee consumption and appreciations of coffee preparations. (The language of wine appreciation was adapted to coffee, especially a fixation on terroir—single origins, single estates, even micro lots.) Then came the gonzo, adventurer approach: the obsessive who gives up normal life to pursue coffee’s mysteries. And, finally, a moralizing literature that rehearsed a familiar lecture on the hidden cost of the addiction.” Adam Gopnik

“What better way to toy, below the surface, with the cultural tensions of the late ’60s and early ’70s? Juxtapose two borderline misfits in Velma and Shaggy—who are perhaps experimenting a little with sexuality and drugs—with two grown-up stand-ins for the more conventional sort in Fred and Daphne, and then let the offbeat characters consistently (yet all in good fun) one-up the establishment types. Even the show’s signature line, ‘And I would’ve gotten away with it if not for you meddling kids,’ sounds like it could have been uttered by Richard Nixon.” Christopher Orr

“Well, I was terrified. Everyone was terrified of Doug. I’ve seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Doug. Even Dinsdale was frightened of Doug. He used… sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, pathos, puns, parody, litotes and… satire. He was vicious.” Luigi Vercotti

“We are going through a crucial historical crisis in which each year poses more acutely the global problem of rationally mastering the new productive forces and creating a new civilization. Yet the international working-class movement, on which depends the prerequisite overthrow of the economic infrastructure of exploitation, has registered only a few partial local successes. Capitalism has invented new forms of struggle (state intervention in the economy, expansion of the consumer sector, fascist governments) while camouflaging class oppositions through various reformist tactics and exploiting the degenerations of working-class leaderships. In this way it has succeeded in maintaining the old social relations in the great majority of the highly industrialized countries, thereby depriving a socialist society of its indispensable material base. In contrast, the underdeveloped or colonized countries, which over the last decade have engaged in the most direct and massive battles against imperialism, have begun to win some very significant victories. These victories are aggravating the contradictions of the capitalist economy and (particularly in the case of the Chinese revolution) could be a contributing factor toward a renewal of the whole revolutionary movement. Such a renewal cannot limit itself to reforms within the capitalist or anti-capitalist countries, but must develop conflicts posing the question of power everywhere.” Guy DeBord c. 1957


“It is much more common for the solitary and thoughtful to amuse themselves with schemes of the future, than reviews of the past. For the future is pliant and ductile, and will be easily moulded by a strong fancy into any form. But the images which memory presents are of a stubborn and untractable nature, the objects of remembrance have already existed, and left their signature behind them impressed upon the mind, so as to defy all attempts of erasure or of change. As the satisfactions, therefore, arising from memory are less arbitrary, they are more solid, and are, indeed, the only joys which we can call our own.” Dr. Johnson

Wahll sir, there I was standin’ shoulder to shoulder with Alvin York hizzelf and he had Kaiser Bill trapped in the root cellar!

This was the week that brought an email asking if I could set aside some time for a telephone interview. The sender said he wanted to talk to me about what it was like to be one of the founders of an organization I’ve never belonged to. Figuring he had mistaken me for someone else I ignored the note, but a day later there was another. This time he said he wanted me to focus on what it was like in the early going of this illustrious body which I’ve never been associated with. To move him along I threw together some notes based on the only movie I’ve ever seen about high finance and some alleged captain of industry. (In short – I made myself sound like the comic relief which is sorta true in that I now look like Gabby Hayes given the ready availability of hair cuts these days.) The email was similar to a phone call from 10 or 12 years ago. A very nervous guy asked me if I’d like to be on the board of some non-profit. He said it has taken a lot of courage to call as he knew I was already sitting on the board of several non-profits.

So once again this week, like all those years ago, I had to wonder if I was leading some sort of secret life that was so secret that it was even a secret to me.

Think about it – founding professional organizations and being a mover and shaker behind several charitable groups?

If I didn’t know me any better I’d have to say I sure sound like a swell guy.

The hitch/plausible denial in all this is my tenure as The Slouch on the Couch. (tm pend.)

If I’m so busy doing all this stuff why do I know so much about all those Law and Order reruns?

Frankly, I don’t really want to know if I really have a secret life since it’s better if I am a mystery to myself.

Unravelling me gives me something to do while we’re all stuck in the house.

Speaking of something to do –

Exile on your street

Did you see The Stones new video?

We were watching it around lunchtime the day it came out. When done Mom asked, “Aren’t they all their own at-risk group for the virus?”

Well…

And this is where you come in.

Get up off your sorry quarantined ass and find a clean sheet of paper and something to write with because we’re having a pop quiz.

Ready?

Please answer the following question: What happens to the COVID-19 virus when it comes into contact with Keith Richards?

Be specific.

Use examples.

Show your work.

You have 20 minutes.

That’s MISTER Walker to you, Junior!

Once again it’s time to explore the cottage industry that’s grown up around punking people of a certain age.

1. The image at the top of the page gets an honorable mention. The Q-Anon images are set against the 50 year-old poster-image of Huey P. Newton. As most of you can recall, Mr. Newton founded The Black Panther Party with Bobby Seale. While Mr. Newton died a little over 30 years ago he still seems to be a powerful attractant to the far right. For at least 40 years the far right has never been able to escape his gravitational pull. First they quoted him without knowing they were quoting him and now his image has been appropriated.

Terribly Situationist if you ask me.

Before we move on – and as a reminder – here’s the Boomer-punker meme that retired the trophy.

2. As a public service I read the funnies every morning so you don’t have to. Earlier in the week we learned that there was a wealthy American roaming the African veld shooting animals for sport. He had no intention of using them for food and he ignored the warnings of the locals that such an action flew in the face of their most cherished values. That left them with with no choice but to summon The Phantom to track down this moneyed ne’er-do-well’s ass and set him straight.

On Wednesday we got our first good look at The Great White Hunter.

He looks oddly familiar, don’t you think?

Some of you are asking, “What’s a hapless libtard like you doing reading colonialist trash like The Phantom?”

Because all the other libtards think the only thing in the funny papers is Doonesbury and all the conservatives I know have no idea what “colonialist” means. Oh sure, they could call one of their kids or the niece/nephew who goes to one of those expensive small liberal-arts joints, but we all know that’s not going to happen. Between the two it’s a shame that my ilk, the fifth-columnists, dupes, and useful idiots, don’t take more time to explore the funnies. Not only is it one of the great American art forms, it serves as an excellent insight into how many Americans see life. For instance I find that by spending just a minute every day I can effortlessly keep with up with the what the average Trump supporter thinks at any given moment.

Because I read Snuffy Smith every day.

If you’re goin’ to Detroit City be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

Michigan was in the news this week as their legislature was overrun with protestors, some of whom were armed. If you live a couple of time zones to the left Michigan you had to Google up some news results for all that the next morning, but your probably found that this result was at the top of Google News:

For Michiganders looking to practice safe sex, Lansing and the mailman have you covered.

The state is accepting orders for free condoms which will be delivered directly to lucky users, during this unprecedented “public health crisis,” officials said Friday.

Free condoms are normally given to local health departments and clinics to distribute within their communities. But now that virtually everyone has been ordered to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic, condoms are being made available via email at at MDHHS-FreeCondoms@Michigan.gov.

I, for one, welcome the State of Michigan’s stance on making love vs. making war. God knows, Judge Judy could be a rerun and on second thought the old man doesn’t really look all that bad going around the house in that Red Wings hoodie he’s worn almost daily for for the past 15 years.

And it’s not like you had anywhere to go.

The trouble here is twofold. First, there’s the cultural problem of a government entity publicly acknowledging the small fact that people might be dabbling in what Mom calls “nookie.” Every time the subject comes up our Republican contingent starts screaming in a mannner which proves that Wilhelm Reich was right when he talked about sexual repression. The second problem hits closer to home as I need to find a way to make Mom, a bona-fide second-wave feminist, stop laughing hysterically every time she sees some large hairy man carrying multiple firearms while waving a sign that says, “MY BODY MY CHOICE.”

Alaska Wolf Joe believes that happened in Michigan is just a dry run for what we can expect over the next 10 years. That pretty much piggybacks onto many of the articles that have popped up over the past few weeks which make the case for America being a failed state.

Rather than delve into either of those perhaps a thought experiment is in order.

Ready?

Let’s say we could travel back in time to the summer of 1969, say a week or two after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. We’d stop random people and show them pictures of the Michigan Legislature from last week or some open-carry folks, armed to the teeth, pushing a grocery basket across the parking lot.

How would the people of 1969 react?

Very likely they would ask when WW3 started and wonder if the United States government was nothing more than a few general sitting around a table buried deep in Cheyenne Mountain. They also might wonder if the people with the groceries were fending off marauders, bandits, or scavengers from the radioactive wastelands.

Now imagine the looks you’d get if you told them, “Oh, there wasn’t a war. You see, we did this to ourselves.”

Going even further back in time we’d find that Thomas Jefferson said the president would set the moral tone of the nation. But no one was there when he said it, so we’ll never know whether or not he was just being sarcastic.

Very hard to tell.

But if you told the people in 1969 that the people of the future were drinking bleach and swallowing fish-tank cleaner they’d probably take it in stride given the context of their times.

CONELRAD Cuisine

“Ten days later I am at a Forever 21 in the worst city in the world trying to figure out what sunglasses most closely resemble Matthew Lillard’s in 1995’s Hackers when I get the email: I, a dumb slut, have been admitted to Mensa, a virginal organization created by English barristers for people who only want to hang out with other virgins. I make the decision immediately before purchasing my seven dollar spoils: I am going to ruin the Los Angeles Mensa chapter by dragging my dumb little ass around on their boring, elitist carpet if it’s the last thing I do. And so, to quote Lillard in that same frosty-tipped film, “I’m in. Whoa. I’m in.” Mensa has been hacked by an idiot, and now it is my cursed duty to investigate what goes on in the remains of what was once maybe possibly a trendy organization but currently stands in stunningly low membership and, as many fully erect commenters on message boards have postulated, ever-lowering standards for admission (hi, bitch). So what do you actually do once you’ve hacked into the mainframe of Mensa?” Jamie Loftus from “Good News, They Let Dumb Sluts into Mensa Now”

“Joel Miller, the friend who defended (Weird Al)Yankovic from college bullies, said the relationship between Weird Al and his hard-core fans is deeply personal. ‘He’s giving them validation,’ he told me. ‘They feel a kindred spirit. When they’re at his concerts, they are in a safe space. They are able to be stupid or outlandish or whatever, exactly as they want. And nobody judges them. In fact, it’s the opposite. People appreciate them for what they are, not for what they aren’t.’ The connection is so deep that it is more like a merging, and after a while it struck me that Weird Al has spent basically his whole life making his music for exactly these people, which is to say for his childhood self. For many decades, he has been trying to delight Alfred Yankovic, the bright, painfully shy kid who grew up alone in his tiny bedroom. For the benefit of that lonely boy, he reshaped the whole world of pop culture. His ridiculous music sent out a pulse, a signal, and these were the people it drew: the odd, the left out. A crowd of friends for that lonely kid. As I watched him with his fans, sometimes I felt as if Weird Al was multiplying all around me, multiplying inside of me. We were one crowd, united in isolation, together in a great collective loneliness that — once you recognized it, once you accepted it — felt right on the brink of being healed.” from “The Weirdly Enduring Appeal of Weird Al Yankovic” by Sam Anderson

“So while the grownups owned the night (prime time was for folks who bought things), the kids divvied up the rest: third-string musicals, dumb comedies, creaky melodramas and back-lot jungle flicks. The western was especially well represented in this B swarm. The moguls of discount Hollywood had been turning out hundreds of oat operas, most of them running five or six reels—an hour-ten each, give or take. These films had served in World War II, entertaining the troops in barracks and aboard ships all over the world. Westerns were perfect diversions: guy-friendly morality plays, easy on the cerebrum but full of fightin’, ridin’, and shootin’, with just a threat of chicken-fried humor. Good guys and bad guys were clearly marked: the guys in the white hats, like the USA, always won. After the war, the well-traveled reels found new homes Stateside, just in time for the you-know-what boom. My little pals and I parked it in front of the home screen and absorbed many kid-hours of chases, showdowns and punch-ups. It was largely boy-stuff, but my sister and her friends were fans as well. (We’ll cover the “a six-gun for Billy, a dolly for Sue” social model at another time, or never). ” Michael McKean

“Babies do not want to hear about babies; they like to be told of giants and castles, and of somewhat which can stretch and stimulate their little minds. When in answer I would urge the numerous editions and quick sale of Tommy Prudent or Goody Two Shoes: Remember always that the parents buy the books, and that the children never read them.” Dr. Johnson

There’s no rhyme nor reason to what follows because sometimes you just gotta get rid of stuff that’s been sitting around.

Was it something I said?

My younger years had a distinct break. Before I was 15 or so people used to tell me, “You weren’t invited because you’re a loser.” After that someone would invariably say, “You weren’t invited because people were afraid you’d say something.” Usually I’d ask, like what? To which they’d say, “You know very well what!” That left me no choice but to say, hey, it’s your paranoia not mine, how the hell would I know?

Which leads us to the email I received from someone named Enid, who lives in Provo, Utah. Enid said she’s been passing time in quarantine brushing up on her genealogy. She thought she’d reach out to let me know she’s my 41st cousin. Per her – our mutual ancestry goes back to some guy who was once a guard at The Tower of London.

For the sake of argument and to save time we’ll call him Norman Piltdown.

Years ago I would have said something along the lines of, “Did he do anything interesting like supervise Cromwell’s conjugal visits?”

Instead I sent Cousin E a brief email thanking her and hoping she was well.

Why?

Looking E’s profile it seems she’s just a little over a year older than I am which makes her one of only a scant handful of women born after WW2 who were named Enid. Looking at her original note I was overcome with the thought that I hope she goes by her middle name or a nickname like ‘Tammy” or ‘Suzie’ which was assigned to her for no damn good reason at all.

OK – other than being named Enid.

Some of you might ask, “Are you mellowing with age?”

Perhaps.

My personal theory revolves around having been caught up in some emotionally and physically traumatic event that I have no memory of which sounds a whole lot cooler than just getting old.

Enid comes from my mother’s side of the family, who were all very, very tight lipped about their pasts. By the age of 20 I decided that if they didn’t want to talk I had no choice but to give them all a backstory. In this case I have decided that Grampy Piltdown did supervise Cromwell’s conjugal visits. In his later years he was something of a dirty old man who endless pelted his coworkers and the passersby with vulgar jokes about “inspecting the crown jewels.”

And Now a Virus Free Musical Interlude



MISC.

1. For those of you just tuning in, Alaska Wolf Joe’s institution of corrosive nihilism, which is hellbent on turning against us while being a wellspring of cultural Marxism, disbanded due to the bug. That means he’s taken to fomenting revolution from his room. In turn, he’s also subject to our once-a-week quarantine grocery runs which can be hit-or-miss.

The house brand? Shitty paper towels? A size larger or smaller than what we usually get? Frozen vs fresh?

I’ve come to think of making due as Fallout Shelter Cooking.

2. Riddle me this, Batman.

WTF is this?

Since I think that “gun” is nothing more than a word in the dictionary maybe one of you well-armed folks can help me out here.

Is this some sort of COSTCO thing I wouldn’t understand? Meant for someone whose hand shakes? Necessary for someone who loves to hunt but has all the deadly aim of Elmer Fudd?

3. Every time I look at IFC they’re running a Hogan’s Heroes marathon.

Did somebody lose a bet?

4. Interesting item from the shank end of last week – “Is the Virus on My Clothes?” As pointed out in the article – it’s a mini-lesson in aerodynamics. It was all the more interesting as someone on NextDoor related the tale of how her daughter goes through an rigorous, personal decontamination process every time she comes home from Target.

YMMV because NextDoor.

If you’re not familiar with NextDoor here’s a short video primer.

5. Yesterday there was a worldwide concert featuring no end of famous names. This morning Seattle’s NBC affiliate ran a story which mentioned many of the performers, but neglected to mention the local kid.


“Boy the way Glen Miller played, songs that made The Hit Parade”

As a public service we’d like to remind you that there’s an election going on.

Buried in this article is a link to an old Onion story which ends –

In a follow-up study, citizens were exposed to a variety of things—celebrities, snacks, movie franchises, corporate logos, cultural attitudes, and more—only one of which they were familiar with. The study found that 100 percent of those surveyed immediately smiled, pointed at the only thing in the group they recognized, and said, “That one.”

“I don’t like new things unless the new thing is a lot like an old thing,” said Phoenix resident Jennifer Alvarez, 54, explaining that she likes it when someone takes a thing she already enjoys and makes a newer version of it that is almost identical to the original thing. “When a new thing isn’t like any old things, I don’t like it at all.”

“If a few old things are put together to make a new thing, that’s good, though,” Alvarez added. “I like things like that.”

At press time, Americans appeared pleased when told that everyone would continue to make and do things they were already familiar with for the foreseeable future.

If that doesn’t explain Joe Biden I don’t know what does.

Moving along –

The original Pitchfork article revolves around the neuroscience as to why your brain doesn’t want to seek out new music. Supposedly, what you like is what you hear first and that’s what sticks with you which I supposed is fine unless you came of age in the 1970s. If you had achieved some level of awareness by 1970 or so you were then subjected to Gilbert O’Sullivan, disco, fern-bar Boz Skaggs, dumbed-down Fleetwood Mac, or the many hours of listening to the once interesting Steve Miller phone it in. It created a body of music that was not only hardwired to our brains, but to our lower intestinal tract as well. Any given song was less likely to invoke a warm and fuzzy feeling than it was to spark a major bout of acid indigestion.

Make no mistake, if rock and pop had a discount factory-outlet phase it was the 1970s.

This leads to something I failed to mention in the last post.

Somewhere around 1980 there was an opinion piece in Melody Maker c. 1980-81 which put forth the idea that The Eagles were the progenitors of punk. The author of the piece moved forward from the idea that at some point around 1973 or 1974 we’d experienced one too many peaceful easy feelings and it was time for an allergic reaction. While a novel idea it didn’t take into account the larger view which would include Warren Zevon and Tom Waits. Over the course of the decade they wrote songs about warm beer, cold women, lawyers, guns, money, and coming home to a refrigerator full of science experiments. That would lead one to believe that they were the decade’s first insensitive singer-songwriters who followed many who were dubbed as “mellow” and in touch with their feelings like this Nosy Nate.

In closing may I just say, Prine?

You fucking useless sickness!

Steve Goodman’s biographer lives in the neighborhood. Per him, this addition to “You Never Even Called Me by My Name” by David Allan Coe is pure bullshit.

Well, a friend of mine named Steve Goodman wrote that song and he told me it was the perfect country & western song. I wrote him back a letter and I told him it was not the perfect country & western song because he hadn’t said anything at all about mama, or trains, or trucks, or prison, or gettin’ drunk. Well he sat down and wrote another verse to the song and he sent it to me
and after reading it I realized that my friend had written the perfect country & western song and I felt obliged to include it on this album

The last verse goes like this here:

Well, I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison, and I went to pick her up in the rain, But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck, She got run over by a damned old train!

Interestingly enough, Mr. Prine departs the planet leaving even more questions as to the real lyrics of that song.

CDC – Central Dad Control

“Rudy was known for doing things his own way. In the pre-cellphone era, he used carrier pigeons to send messages between hunting camps. When Jake and Steph were little, Rudy and Deb bought an African lion cub; they kept it chained in the horse corral and fed it a diet of roadkill. Neighbors complained that it frightened the livestock; eventually somebody shot and killed it from the highway—the Gunnison County (CO) equivalent of a drive-by shooting.” Rachel Monroe from The Killing of a Colorado Rancher

Travis Coates: No, Mama!
Katie Coates: There’s no hope for him now, Travis. He’s suffering. You know we’ve got to do it.
Travis Coates: Yes, Mama. But he was my dog. I’ll do it. from Ol’ Yeller

“What, art mad? A man may see how this world goes with no eyes. Look with thine ears. See how yon justice rails upon yon simple thief. Hark in thine ear: change places and, handy-dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief? Thou hast seen a farmer’s dog bark at a beggar? Lear Act 4 scene 6

“We really want people to understand it’s about preparation but not panic and that you can’t build a toilet paper fortress that’s going to keep coronavirus out.” US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, USN

“Punk ain’t no religious cult. Punk means thinkin’ for yourself. You ain’t hardcore ’cause you spike your hair when a jock still lives inside your head.” Jello Biarfra

“I can’t used to this lifestyle.” David Byrne

“Pleasure and terrour are indeed the genuine sources of poetry; but poetical pleasure must be such as human imagination can at least conceive, and poetical terrour such as human strength and fortitude may combat.” Dr. Johnson

See some ID? Part 1

The first-run movie house in our neighborhood runs the darndest ads. Instead of the talking M&M’s we get these lavishly produced spots for spas in Thailand, Italian motorcycles, or treks in Patagonia. The ad block always ends with an ad for some clothing store that’s only found in Monoco, Paris, and New York. The conclusion is a sultry-voiced woman saying, “Immerse yourself in a total shopping experience.”

Thanks, but the only shopping experience I immerse myself in is the Safeway up the street from the theater.

Last week Safeway announced that they’ll only cater to the 60+ crowd from 6am to 9am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That meant we had to get over our usual aversion to anything senior-centric given how people our age are supposed to deal with the bug. It also means we have to get more organized than we’re used to. Normally any trip to the grocery begins with one of us looking in the ‘fridge and saying, “Gawddammit!” This can happen once maybe twice a day, but now that we’re supposed our trips out of the house to a minimum we’re forced to think ahead and that comes a little too close to acting like grownups for comfort.

So far it’s working out pretty well. The woman who runs the customer service desk where the store sells lottery tickets, smokes, disposable lighters, and small bottles of liquor (She calls it The Bad-for-You Aisle.) waved and said, “You can’t be shopping now. You don’t look at day over 59!”

Flirt!

And right in front of Mom no less!

But when you stop to think about it the only thing shame and Safeway have in common is that both start with the letter ‘s.” Mom has long shrugged off such things saysing, I still have my hair and if it wasn’t for the dog most women our age wouldn’t know any guy who still has his hair.

Meanwhile in Gunnison, CO they banned people over 60 from the bars. Not that I plan to see Gunnison anytime soon, but it made me think of something my mother said – you can buy beer if you have a draft card. Not that it would work today as you’d probably have to spend 15 minutes explaining what a draft card was to the 30 year-old kid working the door which in turn would probably give you away.

The upshot?

I never thought I would live long enough to need another fake ID.

Also you’ll have to pardon me for what follows because all this getting organized and thinking about grocery shopping days in advance is not my strong suit. The overarching task of semi-sheltering in place is really too much for my teensy pea brain to deal with.

TOTAL BULLSHIT INTERLUDE THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE VIRUS

Let’s take a break and watch something that has nothing to do with what’s going on.

You know, like Ol’ Yeller

As a public service, may we remind you that there’s still an election going on?

An article I saw a couple years back said we’d have definite proof of global warming when things that had been trapped under sheets of ice for millennia once again saw the light of day.

You know, like Joe Biden’s campaign.

Also bubbling up to the surface was the concept of the Yellow Dog Democrat, once described as a voter who’d rather vote for an old yellow dog than vote for a Republican. We can probably thank the Super Tuesday voters for this archeological find as it seems no one is interested in systemic change, but a return to a little peace and quiet. Thinking back, this has been floating around since Doug Jones got elected to the senate from Alabama. Buried somewhere near the bottom of the NYT’s coverage were some exit-polling results which contained the phrase, “People want their weekends back.” Put another way – voters were looking for people who would go to Washington and make the news cycle sit down and shut up on Sunday afternoon. Instead of Morning Again in America the voters were looking for Afternoon Nap Time Again in America.

Systemic change comes with too much noise so that lets Bernie and Warren out. Mayor Petey Bourgeoisie trips too many alarms when it comes to The Culture Wars so all that’s left is Uncle Joe.

He’ll never ruin our weekends by going on and on about Colin Kaepernick since the only quarterback he can name off the top of his head is George Blanda.

MUSICAL INTERLUDE

See some ID? Part 2

To pass the time indoors, which we’re kinda used to up here in The Big Damp Woods, I’ve been watching a serial documentary called Punk. The four-part series works forward from the conventional wisdom that punk traces it roots back to Iggy, who acts as executive producer, and how The New York Dolls were the bridge between glam and punk. David Johansen took a flyer on appearing, but the other living member of the Band, Sylvain Sylvain takes up a good portion of the first installment. Most of his talk centers around what The Dolls had to do and how they had to dress to get a rise out of people in New York City. He catalogs the endless hours they needed to walk the streets of NYC looking for clothes that would lead to shock and outrage.

Sounds like it was pretty labor intensive.

Not that you had to do much to get a rise out of somebody in rural Colorado in the early 70s. (OK except for owning a lion – see above.) Back then the bar was set awfully damn low. All I had to do was stop going to the barber shop and develop and interest in Herman Hesse novels. Rolled up together all it got me was one of the English teachers calling me “intellectually precocious” and an invite to the counselor’s office. The counselor was a very short woman who had worked at the school since the early 1950s. She was very direct – no one who looked like me could in any way represent the school. Therefore I could write off being involved with any kind of student-of-the-month voodoo, sit on the student council, and I was banned from any group hellbent on decorating the lunchroom with crepe paper.

She was somewhat alarmed when all I said was, “OK.” and walked off.

She was still laboring under the notion that such a move would isolate me and I would then have to conform. Little did she know that my immediate social circle was composed of people who would routinely ask, ” Did you see that, they’re at it with the crepe paper again? Heyyyy – let’s hide their crepe paper and see what happens!

But that was high school, college was another matter.

Boulder, CO in the 70s was so strange that you might think somebody like Timothy Leary or Jerry Rubin would phone and tell everybody to take it down a notch. Instead of being “that kid” with all the hair and a copy of Das Glasperlenspiel I was one of countless people walking around with unkempt looks reading something that could be called European transcendentalist literature. Suddenly whatever your major malfunction was it was just one of many, many countless major malfunctions. You were no longer singled out as the square peg as you were sorta/kinda conforming in a very twisted sense of the word.

Around the edges you’d encounter people for a fleeting moment or two. One was a kid named Eric who used to stand in the front of the stage at the student union shows so he could mercilessly heckle the opening acts. Several years later he changed his name to Jello Biafra. Not that I ever formally met him, but I did meet a friend of his who said The Kennedy’s song, Stealing People’s Mail was based on what they liked to do during their junior-high years. I also met a graduate student in the art department who told me she had sex with both Jello and his then fiancée.

Simultaneously.

So you can imagine the shock that comes with watching Punk only to see some jowl-y guy with thinning salt-and-pepper hair in the center of the screen as the words JELLO BIAFRA” appear on the left side of the screen.

At least he dresses appropriately for someone our age.

John Lydon’s appearance wasn’t all that shocking as we’d seen Public Image about a year or so ago. He still puts on a great show even if he needs to use his reading glass to see the set list. Never mind that he walks on stage looking like someone just got your dad out of bed, he still can run out 90 minutes without a break. The second episode of Punk shows us that he has just as bad an attitude as ever, which is a glorious moment for all of us who’ve ever been accused of having one, but he did get wistful talking about Syd, admitting that he still regrets introducing Syd to Nancy.

“Human beings screaming vocal javelins, signs of a local pundit’s mind unravellin'” Chuck D (slightly restated)

So what’s the point of all this?

I have no idea.

Over the past couple of weeks updating this page is a bit like putting notes in a bottle and setting them loose on the sea. The only thing that comes close is the old article from The Onion which was headlined,”Not Knowing What Else To Do, Woman Bakes American-Flag Cake.”

From that article –

TOPEKA, KS—Feeling helpless in the wake of the horrible Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed thousands, Christine Pearson baked a cake and decorated it like an American flag Monday. “I had to do something to force myself away from the TV,” said Pearson, 33, carefully laying rows of strawberry slices on the white-fudge-frosting-covered cake.

Or not given that I just don’t know what to do. I guess what’s happened this week is that I got a good hard look at the march of time and a pretty good idea of how long ago it was when I was young while cooped up in the house hiding from a disease. It’s all so confusing and there’s no real place other than this page to express some of the things I’ve been thinking about.

You see, you’re lucky.

You have Facebook and I don’t.

I don’t get to see cool stuff like this.

But you do.

Now go wash your hands while I feel sorry for myself.

Love in a time of COVID-19

“I decided to wander around, keeping the flag in sight. These real rough looking dudes, Hells Angels-types, had an industrial-sized can of Chef Boyardee ravioli. They were doling it out with a big wooden spoon to a huge line of hippies, all waiting to eat from that same spoon. So I got some of that. I actually went back for seconds!” from How Chef Boyardee Helped Me Survive Woodstock’s Infamous Brown Acid by Mike Greenblatt

“It show the flexibility of the human organism that people who would willingly sit in the mud and chant, ‘No rain!’ between badly amplified rock groups turn out to run the economy.”
Frank Zappa

“Americans who now find themselves politically divided over seemingly everything are now forming two very different views of another major issue: the dangers of the new coronavirus. Democrats are about twice as likely as Republicans to say the coronavirus poses an imminent threat to the United States, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted this week. And more Democrats than Republicans say they are taking steps to be prepared, including washing their hands more often or limiting their travel plans. Poll respondents who described themselves as Republicans and did not see the coronavirus as a threat said it still felt remote because cases had not been detected close to home and their friends and neighbors did not seem to be worried, either.’I haven’t changed a single thing,’ Cindi Hogue, who lives outside Little Rock, Arkansas, told Reuters. ‘It’s not a reality to me yet. It hasn’t become a threat enough yet in my world.’Many of the U.S. cases that have been reported so far have been in Washington state and California, more than 1,000 miles away from Arkansas. Politics was not a factor in her view of the seriousness of the virus, Hogue said. Other Republican respondents interviewed echoed that sentiment.” Reuters

“Verges is a good old man, sir, but he’s always babbling. Like they say, ‘When age comes, wit goes.’ God help us, what a world! You did well, Verges, honestly. Well, God’s a fair man. If two men are riding on one horse, one must naturally ride behind. Verges is as honest a man as any, but, God bless him, not all men are created equal. Am I right, my friend?” Constable Dogberry from Much Ado About Nothing, Act 3, Scene 5

“There are perhaps very few conditions more to be pitied than that of an active and elevated mind, laboring under the weight of a distempered body.” Dr. Johnson

It’s 10am, do you know where your pants are?

You’ll have to pardon us if we’re not as sanguine about the bug as Ms. Hogue. As of this writing about 80% of all COVID-related deaths in the US have occurred in King County. Never mind that the week began with the county’s announcement of an emergency quarantine shelter being built within convenient driving distance of the house. While we have no real fear of immediate infection, the deaths and other actions people are taking have lead to no small amount of anxiety. If there is a rough equivalent of all this it would be the first few seeks that followed 9-11. Back then the attacks were compounded with the anthrax scares and a ban on all airline travel. After a sufficient number of weeks passed people tentatively returned to their routines. I expect something similar to happen here.

And what is it like living this close to Ground Zero?

Downtown is largely empty as the major employers have asked their workers to Work From Home. (WFM) So far all WFM has done is to clog the neighborhood streets. Traffic crawls as if there are multiple fender benders scattered along the major arterials. Toilet paper has been hoarded and – for reasons I cannot understand- bottled water is very difficult to come by.

Do people think the infrastructure will break down?

Who knows?

Not that Seattle has ever been a dress-up kind of place. The tech bro t-shirt and cargo-shorts look has been in vogue for almost 30 years which makes you wonder what constitutes not having to put on adequate work attire now that you work from the couch?

In summary – the bug is still going around but locally it was confined to one building in the suburbs. We’re OK … for now and we have food on hand and lots of hand sanitizer as I broke into Alaska Wolf Joe’s stash of hand sanitizer and Tide pods that he had on hand in case any of his friends dropped by over the holidays.

We hold these truths to be self evident that all men and women are created by, you know, you know, the thing

In the novel Infinite Jest David Foster Wallace describes a government so bereft of funds that it has no choice but to sell the naming rights of entire calendar years. He called it “subsidized time” which lead to a decade where instead of numbered years there were The Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar, The Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland, and in what might be called a prescient moment that could very well have predicted the 2020 election, The Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment.

Super Tuesday has come and gone and it looks like our choices come November comes down to your doddering, inarticulate, old coot vs. our doddering, inarticulate old coot. Sure, Bernie’s still in this, but he’s pretty spry and adequately coherent to really get much further. Look what happened to Liz Warren and Mayor Petey Bourgeoisie – two people who had well organized thoughts, who spoke in complete sentences.

Last Tuesday America said, “Fuck that!”

Barely three months into the year and the overarching scenario for the November election is clear. The candidates who wanted to actively undo the results of the 1980 election are mostly gone. That leaves us with one man who wants to go back to an America that’s always been more myth than reality while the other man wants to go back to that couch in the White House Obama let him nap on.

The question that came up over and over prior to this bout of “social distancing” was always the same, “Why do the kids love Bernie Sanders?”

Simple – their reality differs from ours in one way – the single most important historical event in their lifetimes was The Great Recession. Boomers can point to the Kennedy assassination or the moon landing, but one you got past the public funeral and the ticket tape parades people went back to their mundane routines. The Recession lingered and was less of an abstract concept to the kids. Especially those kids who came home to an unemployed parent or came home to an apartment as the family had lost their home. Family gatherings included the woes of older cousins burdened by student loans. It’s little wonder than when us olds say capitalism works the kids look at us and ask, “Since when?”

And if you don’t believe me then have some fake news to blame.

This Owl of Minerva has arthritic wings

I don’t know about you, but I think this is where I came in on this movie.

The Dixie Chicks?

So first we’re trying to have a do-over on the 1980 election and we’re back to fighting the Culture Wars with the same weapons we used 20 years ago?

Pinch me.

Yeah, perspective’s a bitch and it only gets worse with time. A short time ago I got another year older (Trust me – it wasn’t my idea.) which means my perspective on what’s coming and going has gotten more than a little sharper.

For example?

Once you watched the people who ate industrial quality ravioli from the same filthy wooden spoon turn into avid Reaganauts it’s burned into your brain for good. You can call that one up as need be or shuffle it around with other observations. It would have been nice to have this perspective when I was 19.

oh well …

From a distance this birthday looked a bit inauspicious given its numerical value, but on closer examination it was a milestone. First, this means that the total number of years I’ve been out of high school adds up to a number which is divisible by five. That means, like the bug, there’s some relentlessly chipper individual from the alumni association lurking out there who will phone around dawn, begin the conversation with, “‘MEMBER ME?!?!?” and prattle on about yet another reunion. It should also be noted that I have finally crossed over the line into Murder She Wrote demographic as I am now eligible for the low-end check from The Social Security Administration. Now if I can figure out how to live up here in the Big Damp Woods on $1300/month I’ve got it made.

Mom believes that crossing over into being eligible for A GOVERNMENT ENTITLEMENT I should ramp up my search for a jaunty old-guy hat. All well and good, but the only time I ever see a hat I like it’s usually on Turner Classic and William Powell is wearing it. OK – that’s somewhat unfair as I’ve also seen suitable hats being worn by Ronald Coleman, Humphrey Bogart and once, believe it or not, by Edgar Buchanan. Kinda make you wish that TCM would sell something besides wine and t-shirts. They should have a 800-number hat store. You’d call up and say, “Yeah, OK, see the hat Richard Widmark is wearing right now? Yeah, there, wait he moved, OK he’s back – see that hat? Do you have that in a seven-and-a-half?”

Lastly, there is one thing I haven’t had time to do yet. At this age you celebrate your birthday by watching and re-watching this video over and over while feeling really, really sorry for yourself.

It’s the Boomer way.

Now go wash your hands.

Our SIG Sauer-ing relations

“One critic said my show wove a narrative even Frank Zappa couldn’t understand. His review had an asterisk next to Frank Zappa’s name that went to a footnote explaining who Frank Zappa was. Those sure are some readers, I’ll say!” Bruce McCullogh

“’The rhetoric seems more revolutionary than ever,’ Winkler, the UCLA law professor, said. Also new, he said: the possibility of ‘a lot of people coming in from out of state’ to join protests against local Virginia gun laws. … Winkler, the gun law expert, said he believed responsibility would ultimately come back to the NRA if the tensions in Virginia did spark any violence. For decades, the NRA has been pushing ‘overheated rhetoric about the second amendment protecting your right to rise up against the government’, he said. ‘This is the natural result.’” The Guardian 1/10/2020

“Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. … Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language. Thus Luther put on the mask of the Apostle Paul, the Revolution of 1789-1814 draped itself alternately in the guise of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, and the Revolution of 1848 knew nothing better to do than to parody, now 1789, now the revolutionary tradition of 1793-95. In like manner, the beginner who has learned a new language always translates it back into his mother tongue, but he assimilates the spirit of the new language and expresses himself freely in it only when he moves in it without recalling the old and when he forgets his native tongue.” Karl Marx


“Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.” Dr. Johnson

Let’s make the most of this beautiful day, since we’re together, might as well say “Would you be my, could you be my, won’t you be my Boog Squad?”

What an odd week. As it came to an end many people took to social media to point out how the new Space Force logo looks like an old Star Trek insignia. Not that it really makes much difference as no one is going to see it against the background of those space camo uniforms the Space Force is expected to wear. But it does leave open the question as to whether or not The Grand Negus in his second term will pursue some sort of don’t-ask, don’t-tell policy for any Space Force applicants who might be Klingon.

That aside – the week got off to an auspicious start. Not only was Monday Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday, it was ostensibly the start of the Second Civil War. Not that I really know why we need a second one. The first one lasted five years, it spawned any number of historical studies, countless books have been written about it, and school children still learn that it was one of the most significant events in American history. Some 150+ years later it still works its way into our lives in ways we rarely notice. The Civil War is why your dopey cousin nobody likes never comes to the family gatherings as he’s usually off in some meadow pretending to be Col. Shad “Squirrel Stew” Armstrong, Defender of the Honor of Virginia.

A state he has never set foot in nor seen.

At last summer’s family picnic after Grandma said, “Eddy won’t be joining us. He’s at one of those things he goes to.” a little golf clap broke out and she rolled with it. Please don’t misunderstand, she loves all of her grandchildren, but Eddy is a bit of a hill to climb.

Moving along –

The whole gun thing is pretty foreign to me as I’ve never owned a gun nor put any thought into getting one. Which is why I think bills before the Virginia legislature don’t seem all that unreasonable (e.g. a limit on hand gun purchases per month) and while that would seem to lead to no end of arguments I’ve never been in one. The only gun related conversations I’ve had centered around my alleged rejection of my birthright as an American male to not only own a gun, but to pass down any firearms I might have to my male offspring.

The worst and lengthiest came when I had to sell of my father’s shotgun as part of the settlement of his “estate.” For those of you just tuning in, Father thought that all you needed to do business was a handshake. Sadly, the folks in charge of Medicare and Medicaid don’t work that way so I was left with a tangled financial mess to untangle during his last couple of years of life. So per the court order the shotgun was put on consignment at a well known locally owned sporting goods in my hometown. My arrival coincided with some sort of Glocktastic Weekend. A Glock rep was there with all manner of t-shirts, holsters, pins, buttons, and no end of Glock tchotchkes. The only thing that was missing were some doll clothes so you could dress your Glock up like Topo Gigio and kiss it good night. When he overheard me talking to the guy behind the gun counter he charged over and started berating me about abandoning my birthright and being a negligent parent for not keeping the gun to pass along to my progeny. He kept insisting, “Think of your sons, think of your sons!”

Told him it’s son – singular – who was all of a year old at the time.

That really riled up Mr. Glock. He then ran out some rant about how my kid’s peers would make fun of him, belittled him, and how he’d be shut out of any gun-related bonding experiences later in life. I told him we live in Seattle and the only real dad-n-lad hunting we had available was to go down to the beach and see how many seagulls we could take out before the cops arrived. He stormed off and the guy handling the transaction took a quieter approach asking, “Why sell the gun?” I showed him the legal paperwork and said I’m not all that interested in guns. He was then more curious as how I arrived at that and I said I had no answer. I’d been in these situations before – someone looking for a single motivator. For example, while I can say that we drive Japanese made automobiles because I had Ford and Mom had a Chevy, I have no similar explanation for why I don’t own a gun.

Sorry.

This also begs the question, “Where’s something about the impeachment in this post?”

Because while the impeachment will come and go the idea that American men has some sort of sacred obligation regarding firearms will go on. Compounding matters is that the gun issues we face in the cities is very different than the gun issues that pop up elsewhere. The Atlantic had a recent issue devoted to where or not we’d have another Civil War. The single outtake was that when people think they have no voice they will act out. The South saw that it had no allies in whatever would come from the westward expansion so they decided to hold their own turf.

Who’s to say the same won’t apply of all those people who showed up in Virginia?

Who is to say they won’t act out if they think the walls are closing in?

Last Monday went as well as could be expected.

No one was hurt.

But what about the next moment of Booglaoo?

The impeachment?

It’ll come and go. Nothing will change. But the moment it is complete then we can point to that very moment when the 1980s became triumphant. At that moment we will be the America that was build by junk-bond traders, downsizing artists, and the countless MBA’s who were certain that there was much money to be made in being just good enough. The moment the impeachment of the man, who can be considered the Hegalian figure of the 1980s, is over we will have fully transitioned from being America, The Shining City on a Hill to America, The House Brand Mayonnaise.

Hey there, it is or is not Yogi Bear!

Some of you have heard, others haven’t, but two weeks ago I was kicked off Facebook. While trying to log in a notification popped up saying my account was suspended and my access to the site was restricted as my page had been identified as an imposter site. There was some other boilerplate and a generous amount of BLAH BLAH BLAH involved. Per them – my email for the the log-in did not contain my real name.

Seriously.

As far as FB is concerned I am Texas Chuck.

Never mind that there’s some guy out there logging on with his parrothead1952@aol account who does nothing but put up anti-Hillary memes and recycle jokes from the August 1978 Playboy. Never mind that half of Parrothead1952’s FB friends are all named Cheyenne, Autumn, Breezie, and Pepsee. Never mind that all those young women are really Texas Chuck’s co-worker, Yuri. Parrothead1952 is gold as far as FB is concerned.

Some have asked if there’s a way to appeal.

Yes, you have to send them something from this approved list to prove that you’re you.

Passports? Blank checks? Utility bills?

Hell, why don’t I just spit on a fucking Q-Tip while I at it?

Thrown in a little DNA for good measure!

In reading up about this it’s easy to find no end of people who have willingly surrendered many if not most of the items on that list only to find nothing happened. When they asked why they only got an automated response that said, send it again. That left me with the impression that I could send all manner of ID along with a suspiciously damp Q-Tip and still be in the same boat. Never mind that I’d be giving all that sensitive information which might include credit card and bank routing numbers to an organization that’s flirted with having its own currency, its own retail credit market, pioneering work in face recognition while telling The Wall Street Journal they might need to come up with their own OS.

Really?

An OS that could have you wake up one morning and find out your computer didn’t work and there was no way to get it work?

Thank you, but that was called Windows Vista and no one wants to do that again.

Among the many things that can get out bounced off FB is having someone report you as a stranger. Sadly that didn’t happen to me, but it would have been far, far more amusing if that was the case. Think about it – getting reported because somewhere out there in the ether there’s some guy who thinks he’s King Shit Yogi Bear Fan #1 and he’s not putting up with any pretenders to the throne?

That would be glorious.

Better yet it would give some FB middle manager with a moral compass worthy of Martin Shkreli the opportunity to introduce me to the other guy. He could even set us up with some space in that shitty little cloud farm FB has stashed behind a trailer park in the Dakotas. He could lock us in and walk away not giving a rip about what happens next. Then he’d have every right in the world to walk straight up to the big boss and say, “Excuse me, Mr. Zuckerberg? I took the liberty of rounding up all the sad assholes and putting them somewhere where they can’t bother anyone.”

Don’t tell me that’s not the fast track to a corner office.

So for the time being I’m embracing my inner Texas Chuck which is not to say I won’t be returning to FB, but it sure is relaxing to be away from it. There’s no being greeted – at 6:30 in the morning – with a long post about someone who has been through a terrible night of panic attacks because the new meds aren’t working. While you’d like say something and it’s not that you’re unsympathetic to their plight, it’s just … well the poster is only a FB friend, not a real friend.

Also I’m not missing the people who have to post every few minutes about what Hannity/Maddow (pick one) just said. But I do miss all those people who shared what the Tammy Larren gal was guaran-damn-teeing. I can only hope that she’s still out there guaran-damn-teeing stuff which relieves the rest of us from the awful burden of having to guaran-damn-tee things.

But I do have one thing to say that you’re not going to like.

Too many of you keep running out FB post after FB post linking to articles most of us have already seen.

You’ve really gotta stop doing that.

Because that’s what Twitter’s for.

But am I an imposter?

The Twentieth Century produced two great mystics, Gurdjieff and Councelor Troi’s mother. Both said that we are many people and we bring different ones to different situations. Gurdjieff summed it up best when he said, you are one person when you are with your lover and another when you are with your mother.

And I don’t want to know what any of you are like when you’re around Councelor Troi’s mother.

So by that definition the person I appeared to be on FB is not really who I am so therefore I was an imposter.

Truth be told?

When it comes to platforms and methods of expression who is to say that this page isn’t my meadow and I its Col. Shad “Squirrel Stew” Armstrong?

Again – I’m not saying I’m going to walk away from FB, but blogging seems to come more naturally.

And one last thing thing – in this meadow do you know who the King Shit #1 Yogi Bear Fan is?

Damn right.

So shut up and sing along.

Come doused in mud, soaked in bleach

“Racial discrimination in the United States is a product of the colonialist and imperialist system. The contradiction between the Black masses in the United States and the U.S. ruling circles is a class contradiction. Only by overthrowing the reactionary rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class and destroying the colonialist and imperialist system can the Black people in the United States win complete emancipation. The Black masses and the masses of white working people in the United States have common interests and common objectives to struggle for. Therefore, the Afro-American struggle is winning sympathy and support from increasing numbers of white working people and progressives in the United States. The struggle of the Black people in the United States is bound to merge with the American workers’ movement, and this will eventually end the criminal rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class.” Chairman Mao c. 1968

“I’m increasingly frustrated with the elites. Look, you can’t run a modern society without some sort of hierarchy. Let’s get real. It can’t happen. So that means that you cannot run a modern society without some sort of elite class. So whatever the public is doing, it’s never going to end up in a perfectly flat society in which we all rule ourselves in some protesting way.So we need structure, we need institutions, we need elites. But I’ve been astounded by how clueless so many of these elites are. Because of what I do, I’ve interacted with lots of important people, and they simply don’t get it.The 20th century was so comfortable for them. They stood at the top. They talked down and nobody talked back. They want to return to that world and it can’t happen. So the elites are in a reactionary mode. They feel like the internet is this horrible thing. It has to be regulated back into the 20th century. But that’s pure fantasy.” Martin Gurri


“Eventually it was discovered, that God did not want us to be all the same. This was Bad News for the Governments of The World, as it seemed contrary to the doctrine of Portion Controlled Servings. Mankind must be made more uniformly if The Future was going to work. Various ways were sought to bind us all together, but, alas, same-ness was unenforceable. It was about this time, that someone came up with the idea of Total Criminalization. Based on the principle, that if we were all crooks, we could at last be uniform to some degree in the eyes of The Law. […] Total Criminalization was the greatest idea of its time and was vastly popular except with those people, who didn’t want to be crooks or outlaws, so, of course, they had to be Tricked Into It… which is one of the reasons, why music was eventually made Illegal.” – liner notes from Joe’s Garage

“The mid-’60s to the mid-’70s—that was Thompson’s lean and scowling journalistic prime. ‘This fucking polarization,’ he laments to one correspondent, ‘has made it impossible to sell anything except hired bullshit or savage propaganda.’ But he was unstoppable. While researching his book about the Hells Angels, he rode with his subjects for about a year, getting a quasi-ritualistic stomping from them at the end of it; he was assaulted by Chicago cops at the Democratic National Convention in 1968; under wild duress, he composed the immortal hallucination that is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; he covered the Watergate hearings. And while he didn’t perfectly or lucidly see the future—didn’t see us, didn’t see now—he didn’t exactly need to, because in his head he was already here. … So the fissures ran deep, in his time as in ours. From the core, from the White House, disruption emanated. My hack brain keeps wanting to write ‘the parallels are uncanny”’—but that’s not it. These are not parallels; this is the same story. Thompson’s letters impart the lesson: Decades later, this is the same America—the America of the raised nightstick, the shuddering convention hall, the booming bike engine, the canceled credit card, and the impossible dream. – James Parker

Many a man thinks he is making something when he’s only changing things around. – Zora Neale Hurston


If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it. – A. Lincoln


“My congratulations to you, sir. Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good. ” Dr. Johnson


But enough about me

There’s a certain quiet that comes over the nights which fall late in the year. In that time it’s possible to still your mind and reflect on many things. In the past day or two I’ve managed to shut out the rest of the world and concentrate on a central idea – finding the marketing genius who wants all retail and service workers ask, “Anything fun planned today?” so I can chase him or her with a stick. Sure, it’s one thing if you go to Dutch Brothers (a regional espresso chain) because bantering with the barista and counter folks is part of the overall experience. You place your order and then the banter begins while metal band guitar solos go off all around you. If you don’t have anything fun planned then the Dutch Bros folks step up and tell you about “the awesome smokin’ hot” things they’ll be doing when they get off work.

Again – it’s fine because it’s part of a greater whole.

The last straw came when we were getting the carpet cleaned a few weeks back. Just as I was settling up the Stanley Steamer guy asks, “Anything fun planned today?”

Besides standing on one foot or the other for four solid hours waiting for you to drag your sorry ass over?

Therefore as a defense I have developed an all-purpose answer.



Well… my brother-in-law’s funeral is at two and there’s a reception in the parish hall afterwards. Not that we’re expecting much of a turnout. He outlived both of his wives and even if they were alive they wouldn’t show. We’re not sure if his daughter is coming. He never saw her again after she got that restraining order. Got a sheet cake at COSTCO, but we’ll probably wind up taking most of it home. Father Mike said he’d come make coffee. I’ll tell you something – that man is a saint, but for the whole world he thinks Folgers are the only people who make coffee. … I’m sorry what were we talking about?

Feel free to tweak as need be.


“I anticipate the terminus of ‘Gravity’s Rainbow.’ That’s from a book called Gravity’s Rainbow. No one has ever read ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’.” Benoit Blanc

The original incarnation of this page appeared on Memorial Day 2000. At that time the site was built with something Adobe called Pages which relied on the antediluvian digital architecture known as frames. Doing some math that means that this page – in all its various forms- had been around for two decades which leads to the question, “What have you learned in all that time.

Absolutely nothin’.

OK, two things –

1. It was this or wandering up and down the aisles at Safeway muttering to myself. In the long run I’ve found pestering all of you more satisfying as you mutter back less often than many of the other people going up and down the aisles at Safeway.

2. Frames sucked.

What follows can be thought of as the “honorable mentions” in what I’ve learned after all this time.

– Never lose sight of the fact that how people perceive media is based solely on how they consume media. I only mention this as a couple of weeks ago someone dredged up Mom’s appearance in Time Magazine. The article appeared almost 10 years ago, but we still hear about it now and then. The interview took place via an email exchange which lead to the finished product misrepresenting everything she sent. (We’ll set aside how she was misquoted FROM AN EMAIL EXCHANGE for another time.) Not that it’s ever concerned her as all but one person who brought it up is well over 70. The sole exception was a woman I know who saw the article while waiting to get her hair done.

Flipped through Time lately?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

One thing that has changed is that you can no longer expect a traffic spike if you get mentioned by a national or international news source. The folks who have mentioned the Time piece are shocked that it didn’t catapult Mom to stardom. But that can be easily explained as most of the people who read Time get the analog copy which is surprising devoid of hyperlinks.

– The whole participation trophy thing has gotten seriously long in the tooth. While packing up various items from my father’s house I found a series of medallions about the size of a quarter. I got some of those for showing up on time to tennis tournaments. The rest were awarded for not falling down or wetting my pants. All were awarded during Nixon’s first term.

Which brings me to a quick thought on political endorsements at the local level. Unless the people endorsing you can pass the hat, ring doorbells, or drive people to vote then what you’ve got is a participation trophy. Also we should note that we have some many amateurs running for local election that they never ask those endorsing for money. Instead these folks run around waving some letterhead around and thinking they have the world by the tail.

To them I say – thank you for not wetting your pants during this long and difficult campaign.

– You cannot get more Seattle AF than this obit.

Wes’ claim to fame was that he was a passenger on the airplane hijacked by D.B. Cooper in 1971. The best part of that story, for him, was that he was pretty much oblivious to the drama while it was happening and afterward resented all the fuss made over it. But such was Wes, unflappable and selfless.

– Speaking of dead people, Scorsese’s Irishman brought back one of my favorite questions – what happened to Jimmy Hoffa?

Now the step-son of Jimmy’s step-son has weighed into the debate. The cremation theory makes sense. My uncle who was in the funeral home biz for over 50 years said cremation takes between 10 and 20 minutes and only varies by the size of the body. (You might not have found dinner conversations with my extended family to be your cup of tea.) What’s left is ash and the metal from any dental fillings all of which could have been put out in the trash for all we know.

Again, this is all speculation and there’s no disrespect intended for all of you think Jimmy is part of that odd bulge in the Meadowlands’ astroturf.

Notable reading:

We lost Clive James a few weeks back. In 2008 he published a series of his old essays under the title of Cultural Amnesia. At no time does he come right out and say it, but taken as a whole he build the case the intellectual history of Europe was shaped in Germany during the 1930s. Running a finger through it after the news of his death came I found it’s a subtle and elegant piece of work.

– Finally got around to finishing Gods of the Upper Air (GotUA) while simultaneously finishing up Watchmen. (strictly coincidence.) GotUA traces the history of American anthropology back to its beginning in the late 19th Century. Back then many things passed off as scientific were merely pumped up versions of prejudice – immutable facts based on prevailing social currents of the time. Over 100+ years the patina of scientific fact has fallen away and now serve as the foundation of various stereotypes. The book centers around the ongoing fight of Franz Boas, a German immigrant, who wanted to rise up beyond all that and how his prize students (e.g. Margaret Meade) managed to try to engage the people they studied.

The middle of the book deals with the problem of immigration c. 1895-1905. Americans were terrified that people from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean were overrunning our country and soon we’d be knee deep in people who spoke using no vowels or who smelled of spicy food. But the true horror came in finding out how many of these people were Roman Catholics. You’d couldn’t swing a dead cat at Ellis Island without hitting a papist.

And what about the children?

God forbid Kenworth “Petey” Peterbilt III should run off with Anna Maria Alberghetti.

What will the people at The Bath and Tennis say?

And heaven help us if one of those mackerel snappers gets elected to something!

Those people only swear allegiance to that pope of theirs and not the United States of America!

They can’t be trusted!

Which is why I decided many years ago after serving for two full years as Monsignor O’Malley’s assistant head altar boy that I would never run for office as a public service.

No need to thank me, the hot tears of joy running down you face at this moment are thanks enough.

So long story short – as a history of racial attitudes in America GotUA shows that over the course of the 20th Century white people finally came around to being OK with a simple majority of other white people. Otherwise us white folks have a ways to go. Personally I think we need to see how the legality of disgust applies to our various relations ships and work forward to see how that in turn applies to each side of the culture wars. In summary – Martha Nussbaum works from the position that many things that have been illegal do not share the same basis as most crimes. For example – if a man marries another man or if the person sitting next to you in a movie theater does not share your exact same skin tone then there is no property loss, no act of violence, nor physical injury involved. Therefore you cant’ equate gay marriage or any of the Jim Crow laws with manslaughter or bank robbery.

Which probably brings us to this:


Ain’t nothin’ a couple ol’ cowboys couldn’t fix up inna whip stitch

Early this morning Mom said there’d been widespread pearl clutching across Twitter over the Trumpstock article in today’s NYT. For those of you who missed it – the article centered around an Arizona gathering of the president’s most ardent fans which ended with a couple of them threatening violence in the name of a second Civil War. As she told me article it took a minute or two before I realized I had read it shortly after I got up. There was no pearl clutching on my part as the article came off like a recap of a slow Saturday afternoon in the town where I grew up.

For those of you just tuning in – I was born (and sadly) raised in unincorporated Rio Blanco County, CO. Over the course of my first 18 years of life I failed to succumb to the will of the local elders and was thus banished to a blue state. While I am no longer there I am more than familiar with what the people in the article are like and how they think. Also I still have some relatives in that general vicinity who keep me apprised of their current think is memes and/or their constant assurance that they always eat what they shoot. In fact, one of them was very proud to be serving prime rib for Christmas dinner.

I guess you’d be proud too if you spent an entire day tracking down the wily and elusive cow.

Having not only grown up in fly-over country but also having flown over the fly-over I grew up a few times leaves me without much desire to read the various articles on what makes those folks tick. I know what makes them tick. They’ve told me what makes them tick. In fact the line above about two ol’ cowpokes was taken directly from a conversation about how to solve the Iranian hostage situation of the late 70s. The folka in question have always had fixed notions and unwavering ideas on how things should be done. Not that they’ve ever seen much of their ideas in action save for a few things here and there during the Reagan years. As such they really don’t difference much in ideological scope than the elites they despise.

Alaska Wolf Joe snorts loudly at what I’m about to say, but I’m going to say it anyway.

American politics is still bogged down by two events from long ago – the establishment of The Great Society and the night Nixon resigned.

I believe that much of the culture wars can be traced back to the resentment many people felt at the loss of Richard M. Nixon. They held onto that wound while everybody on the Left took off all their clothes and did a victory lap that lasted from August 1974 right through to election night 1980. The Left took the resignation as total victory for the counter culture when in fact it was merely a one-off historical event tied to the action of a few men, one of whom happened to be president of the United States.

And The Great Society?

Yuval Noah Harari is the author of Sapiens, a multi-volume look at what transpired between the time our distant ancestors touched that monolith and the present day. One of his key points is that science is an area of study where it’s OK to be proven wrong. In fact some scientists eagerly want to see if they can be proven wrong as it might lead to an advancement in knowledge. Harari says the opposite is true of the social sciences and he’s very insistent that economics is the most likely of the social sciences to double down if any of its tenants are challenged. Whether fiscal or monetary Harari believes that the average economist treats his or her respective tilt as no less than something found on golden tablets hand delivered by archangels.

Which leads to a discussion of the current Democratic field.

The central problem with everybody running for president is that they come off like they’re part of some old family feud. If we work forward from the idea that the social sciences have a basis in regular science then we always wind up using the Newton’s clockwork physics as the dominant analogy for what passes for current liberal/neoliberal economics. Each side has a clockwork and they believe that the way their clockwork has all the gear teeth meshing, springs winding and unwinding with pinions always perfectly placed. Twenty-some years ago a physics professor told me that Newton’s clockwork was OK for Newton, but he didn’t think Stephen Hawking was working forward from a clockwork analogy.

Can we say the same for economics?

Probably.

At this point it’s really hard to say what changes if a Democrat is elected other than Twitter tantrum-free weekends. The ol’ boys are will still scrape to get by and the tariffs cannot save them because the industries that left will be too hard to bring back. We’re not going to see anything like the economic and technical boost we got out of NASA in the 60s as we’re being ruled by a gerontocracy that has amassed enough clout to see to it that their underlings can fiddle around with that Internet(s) nonsense. But in the run up we’ll see much noise and violence of some kind.

God knows if people think they are being denied a voice or if they think they’re outnumbered then they will resort to violence.

See also, US History 1860-1865.

No, the only guy talking about what we really need to do is Andrew Yang. At the last debate he said the gummint needs to start thinking about a plan to relocate towns that will be underwater in a few years. That means he’s the only one on that stage willing to admit that the building is on fire while the rest of America argues over whether or not we smell something burning.

And now that we’re getting a binding Democratic primary for the first time in what Spongebob called “the whole history of forever” I will be casting my ballot for Mr. Yang.

Don’t get me wrong – I still loves me Th’ Bern. God knows if he gets the nomination he’s the only one in the pack that came shame his opponent into a debate. Even if he’s impeached and removed that means Pence would have to debate Bernie and I have no doubt that Bernie would send Pence running back to Falwell’s pool boy for comfort.

The latter being more entertaining to watch than the former.

OK – so there it is.

As we approach 20 years of blogging please know that if nothing in the past 19 hasn’t made any sense please remember one very important thing.

For 19 years every time I wrote something this is all I could hear in my head.