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