Saturday, March 30, 2019

People, please

Do not take to the social medias to sneer that Trump is too old and fat to throw a baseball sixty feet.  Downhill.  To a man who is trained to block bad pitches.

Do not point out that William Howard Taft did it.  Also FDR while seated in the stands.

You know it isn't true. He is the healthiest individual in the history of the world in spite of the wheezing and the bonespurs and the tiny, barely noticeable weight problem.

The problem is, no matter how diligently the Secret Service vetted the crowd, someone would boo.  Or laugh.  Then he would waddle off the field, neck-lard rippling with rage, and rush back to the White House.  He would climb aboard the golden toilet and spend the next two days tweeting about how baseball fans are dumb and stupid and ugly and probably treasonous, and golf is a much better sport anyway, and probably most of them are Mexicans.  He might even rage-eat himself into a coma, or choke to death on a "hamberder," and nobody wants that, right?


So just show some restraint.  We're better than this.

I'll bet Elizabeth Warren could hit the cut-off man.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Idiot wind

So many gems!  Where to start?

"I have a better education than them, I'm smarter than them, I went to the best schools they didn't."

"I support the Great Lakes.  They're big.  Very deep.  Record deep."

"I know a lot about wind.  I know a lot about wind...If Hillary got in you'd be doing wind.  Windmills.  Wheeee!"

"[Adam Schiff's] got the smallest, thinnest neck I've ever seen.  He's not a long-ball hitter."

First of all, there is no correlation between collar size and intelligence.  Second, it's "a better education than they," and you couldn't name the Great Lakes if somebody threatened to drop Ivanka into one from a great height.  Instead of holding imaginary conversations with the president of Finland about "raking the forest," try talking to the prime minister of Denmark, which gets nearly half its electricity from wind turbines.  Denmark.  Just north of Germany.  Jeez, it's like trying to teach a hamster to play chess.

Can we agree that you know a lot about wind and leave it at that?   Bob Dylan, Nobel laureate, wrote a song you should listen to. "Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth, You're an idiot, babe, it's a wonder that you still know how to breathe."

I don't have time for this anymore.

The hits keep coming

Everybody knows the Gorgeous Ladies of the 116th Congress:  Ilhan Omar, the scary Muslim with the hijab; Rashida Tlaib, the equally scary Muslim who doesn't dress the part but knows a motherfucker when she sees one; Ayanna Pressley, incredibly the first African American woman to represent Massachusetts in the House; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, already renowned for the quality and quantity of her haters, throw in a cannibalism-murder conspiracy and she's La Nouveau Hillary; and of course the Wise Sisters -- Nancy, Frederica, Maxine and Sheila, warning, encouraging, mothering, disciplining as needed.  It is, as they say in baseball, a deep bench.  But wait, there's more!

Yesterday was the first time I heard of freshman Tom Malinowski, who displaced a Republican empty suit in the New Jersey seventh.  That's down to his expert bitch-slapping of Secretary of State and useless tool Mike Pompeo, the noted pee-partier.  Sorry, Tea Partier.  The topic was Trump's second-favorite dictatorship North Korea, whose Congressionally-mandated sanctions he partially cancelled via Twitter last week.  It's spring, the last of the cherry blossoms were on display, and he felt like doing something impulsive and crazy for Kim Jong-un ("We fell in love").  Malinowski began innocently enough, asking why Trump loves Communism in the Hermit Kingdom but loathes "socialism" in Venezuela.  Pompeo's response was right out of the Daily Worker circa 1943:  "The government there will evolve over time."  Imagine, a Kansas Republican who believes in evolution.  Malinowski pressed on:  Does Kim operate brutal concentration camps?  "He's the leader of the country."  Did he order the murders of his uncle and his half-brother?  "He's the leader of the country."  Is he responsible for the death of the American student Otto Warmbier?  Thankful to be on firmer ground, the SoS expressed his admiration for Warmbier's family:  "I know those people.  I love them dearly."  Move to strike all the weasel's answers as unresponsive, Your Honor -- I'm sorry, I thought this was Law and Order.

I did a little research, and the picture became clearer:  Between 2014 and 2017 Malinowski was Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and I'll bet all these chips in front of me that the job has been vacant ever since.  But it gets better.  Tomasz Malinowski is an immigrant, born in Poland in 1965.  That means he can't run for President, but we don't need more people doing that anyway.  We need more people making life miserable for Trump and his courtiers, and Tom Malinowski won the week.


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Pop quiz

Which of the following has Trump not done over the last two days?

1.  Accused NBC News of "editing" the interview in which he told Lester Holt he fired James Comey to stop the investigation of Michael Flynn.

2.  Demanded that Adam Schiff be forced to "resign" as chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

3.  Cancelled funding for the Special Olympics.

4.  Called John Brennan "sick."

5.  Demanded that OPEC increase production to keep oil prices from rising.

6.  Announced that he is buying Ivanka "the most beautiful implants you ever saw" and that Mexico will pay for them.

7.  Said the FBI is guilty of "treason" for investigating him.

8.  Said the FBI should re-open the Jussie Smollett case, which was dropped by the Cook County district attorney.

9.  Tweeted that Theresa May is "a stupid ugly Bitch" because she has not sought his advice on Brexit.

10.  Demanded that the Justice Department "look into" Rachel Maddow.

11.  Said that Adam Schiff would be bad at golf if he played.

12.  Proposed that Puerto Rico be given to Russia because "they're doing a fabulous job in Crimea."

13.  Hinted at a pardon for Flynn and/or Manafort.

14.  Hailed the Christchurch shooter for "preventing Muslim terrorism."

15.  Announced that Steve King, David Duke and Erik Prince will receive the Medal of Freedom.

16.  Called for an investigation of the Phoenix tarmac meeting of Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton.

17.  Expressed envy of countries which "control" their borders with machine guns.

18.  Praised Lindsey Graham, calling him "Lindsey Grant."

19.  Promised to release his tax returns "next week.  We're working on that very very soon.  I just wish Nancy Pelosi -- I call her Nancy -- would release hers.  Many people have told me that she never pays any taxes."

20.  Suggested that Ruth Bader Ginsburg "is probably dead."


Friday, March 22, 2019

Life imitates art, badly

I see that the previous post contains numerous movie references.  Here comes another one.

Remember the scene in A Day At the Races (1937) when Groucho, as Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush, arrives at the track to place a bet?  He is importuned by Tony, an ice cream vendor (Chico), who assures him that a different horse is certain to win.  For only a dollar, Tony will sell him the name of the horse.  Groucho ponies up (sorry) and is handed a piece of paper.  The horse's name is in code.  To decipher it requires a code book, which Chico also sells him.  The code book lists the horse's ancestry, which must be traced through a breeder's guide.  The cart, we now see, holds a lot of books and not much ice cream.  Eventually Groucho manages to learn the name of...the jockey.  The name of the horse is always one payment away, and when he finally gets it, the race is over.

It's funny, because nobody dies.

At some point Boeing, a once-reputable builder of aircraft, seems to have adopted Tony the tout as a business model.  They will sell you their new 737 Max for millions of dollars, but if you want any of the extras -- let's say, the backup fire extinguisher for the cargo hold -- well, that's extra.  Some airlines, like Lion Air in Indonesia, have opted not to buy, choosing instead to keep fares affordable and stockholders happy.

From the New York Times:

"As the pilots of the doomed Boeing jets in Ethiopia and Indonesia fought to control their planes, they lacked two notable safety features in their cockpits.  One reason:  Boeing charges extra for them...add-on features can be moneymakers for plane manufacturers:  $800,000 to two million dollars on various options..."

The FBI has opened a criminal investigation of Boeing, but it isn't clear that they have broken any laws or FAA regulations, just as the Titanic carried the number of lifeboats required by the British Board of Trade.  Nobody went to prison in 1912.  In the present political climate, I can't imagine a big corporation being penalized for cynical greed, no matter who runs the FAA (at one point Trump was ready to appoint his personal pilot as director, remember?).  Regulations are "bad for business," and life is cheap, especially in the parts of the world serviced by Ethiopian Airlines.  And the Dear Leader has already explained why planes crash:  they're too complicated.  "I don't want Einstein at the controls," says the man who can't operate an umbrella.

Netflix and hot towels in First Class are options.  Software to keep the plane from nosediving on takeoff probably should not be.  But I'm no expert.  "Get-a you tootsi-fruitsiā€¦"  

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Spring is here, I hear

It's World Poetry Day, and it's the birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach, but do I have time to listen to Yo-yo Ma play the six Suites or read Philip Larkin?  I do not, for I live in the final days as the Great Turtle A'tuin prepares to think "Stuff this" and refuse to carry the world forward any more and then we all fly off into space making cartoon noises.  "Yeagggghhhhhhshittt!" we'll go.  But at least we won't have to keep batting away stupidity like this:

Most politicians have something they would rather not expose to the withering light of media scrutiny, like they once belonged to a computer-hacking club or they used to be romantically involved with a rabbit.  The smart ones get it out there first, like Obama acknowledging that he once tried cocaine.  The stupid ones drag it out proudly to show that, I don't know, they're just folks?  John Hickenlooper got to be governor of Colorado without anyone knowing that he took his mom to see Deep Throat, often described as the Citizen Kane of fellatio movies.  His mother never said a word, and nobody else who was present wants to talk about it.  Yet this was just the story he decided to tell on a CNN town hall last night.  I would say it terminated his presidential campaign if his campaign had been viable up to that point, which it wasn't.  Now I'm just wondering if he's related to Burke Hickenlooper, who was a senator from Iowa many years ago.  But not enough to Google either one of them.

In other shithead governor news, Matt Bevin, Republican (of course) of Kentucky (of course) readily admitted to child abuse on a near-industrial scale.  Just to show those elitists with their fancy medical degrees, he declined to vaccinate his nine (9) children and deliberately exposed them to chickenpox instead.  Now all nine (9) can look forward to developing shingles as they age, while telling therapists about the father who also forced them to contract measles, rubella, mumps, and presumably scarlet fever, pertussis and diphtheria as well.  Pelvic inflammatory disease and polio are other possible symptoms of Dad's pathological libertarianism.  I hope all nine (9) survive.

Harbinger of spring?  Clarence Thomas awoke from hibernation and said some words out loud yesterday while wearing his robe and sitting with the other eight.  They were dumb words, but that was to be expected.  He has gone back to sleep, but can be re-awakened whenever his wife arranges for someone to give him money for saying words.

"There is some forces behind her," said professional broadcaster Brian Kilmeade, because English are hard.  It was a very sober analysis of the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez crisis, with special guest star Mike Huckabee joining the three couch potatoes.  She's "almost like the Manchurian candidate,  recruited, prepared," the Huck warned darkly, because he knows that no 29-year-old female could possibly know all the things that she questioned Michael Cohen and Wilbur Ross about, was there a secret invisible earpiece feeding her lines like William Hurt in Broadcast News?  (The Huck knows how stupid females are, he's Sarah's father.)  And one day she will get a call inviting her to relax with a nice game of Angry Birds and she'll pick up a rifle and...wait, did the Huck and I see different movies?  With so many dangerous women in Congress, some of them openly Muslim, why is AOC the focus of so much fear?  If I had money to invest I'd find out who makes Depends, because a lot of old white men seem to be soiling themselves and their nice white couch.

Springtime is when the new racist fashions come out.  Gucci, which introduced the completely bizarre "minstrel show" sweater a few weeks ago, and withdrew it almost as quickly, is now selling sneakers made to look dirty.  The line starts at $870 for regular scuffing and goes up to who knows what for the deluxe mock-the-poor style.  The perfect complement to a Burberry "noose hoodie" and the indispensable Prada "Little Black Sambo" keychain.  I swear by Coco, muse of couture, I have made none of this up.

In less than a week, New Zealand banned semi-automatic weapons and established a government buy-back program for those in private hands.  During the same period, Indiana began forcing terrified teachers to undergo "live fire" drills (with plastic bullets) to prepare for the inevitable Freedom Free Fire Fest to come.  Hey, they get the whole summer off, whadda they expect, to live forever?

Trump has been threatening violence against "the left" (Democratic Congress) and boasting that "the troops" are with him.  That may not be the case.  General Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, has written to the Secretary of the Navy to request that the Imbecile in Chief stop shitting on his outfit.  Marines are being sent to the Mexican border to deploy razor wire and repel the invading force of very bad murderers and drug dealers disguised as women and children (and at least one man with advanced Alzheimer's).  They are therefore not participating in preparedness exercises alone and with our increasingly worried allies.  In addition, Trump is grabbing money appropriated by Congress -- the Republican one -- to repair hurricane-damaged facilities and provide decent housing for military families.  I have a feeling that when T-Day arrives, Donzo will look around and find that there's nobody backing him up but a couple dozen overage, overweight militia clowns led by Ted Nugent and Sarah Palin.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Today in 25th Amendment News

Trump complained that General Motors' layoffs, including the closing of its Lordstown, Ohio, plant, will have a negative effect on his wonderful jobs numbers.  The factory is closing in part because Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum have already cost GM over a billion dollars.  Either no one has tried to explain the connection to him, or someone has tried, failed, given up and killed herself.  Tonight he went to Ohio to explain that he will now save the auto industry by imposing more tariffs, and by penalizing people who buy foreign cars built by Americans in the United States.  There may be more suicides.  It is surely not relevant that General Motors' CEO is a woman, but Mary Barra should expect a devastating nickname one of these days.

While saving the auto industry, Trump found time to mention yet again his intense dislike of dead John McCain and his unhappiness at McCain's ingratitude.  He was never thanked for "allowing" the Senator to have the funeral he wanted, for Trump decides who may lie in state in the Capitol and who may be buried from the National Cathedral.  He also chose the music.

On the way to Ohio, Trump was inexorably drawn to some cameras.  He wanted to be sure the press were brought up to date on his historic electoral college triumph of nearly three years ago.  By contrast, this Mueller person he keeps hearing about did not win a single vote and therefore has no right to investigate him, his campaign, his spawn, his taxes, his bone spurs, his dealings with the Chinese sex trafficker, his casinos, his collusion with Russia, his payments to various women, his fake foundation, his fake university or his thousands of lies.  Now Benghazi, that's something that should be gone into.

Then, I swear by Apollo, he pulled out a map and showed the reporters where he thinks US forces will attack ISIS fighters in a few hours.  He has boasted on several occasions of crushing ISIS after Obama failed to do anything at all and probably started the organization, but this time...definitely.  It's a good thing nobody in the Middle East watches CNN.

What are they waiting for?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

It's all about the Benjamins

Devin Nunes (R-Trumpsass) would like Twitter to pay him $250 million because some Twitter users who are not Trump have made jokes about him and hurt his feelings.  By pretending to be his mother or his cow -- he claims to be some type of dairy farmer -- they have said mean things which are also funny, causing him to be re-elected with fewer votes than he thought he was entitled to.  As a Republican, Farmer Devin does not have a sense of humor, so the only response he could imagine was to hire a skeevy lawyer (de-licensed twice) and file the mother of all frivolous lawsuits.  For those of us not lucky enough to be tweeters, it contains deadpan descriptions of the cyber-meanness, making it the most hilarious legal document of the year.  Plaintiff asserts, among other things, that he and other rightzis are the victims of a Deep-State Conspiracy which has caused them to be shadowbanned by Twitter.  Shadowban is the name of my technokazoo Daft Punk cover band, so back off.  Get your own name.

If Nunes prevails (if, for instance, he can get his case before Judge T.S. Ellis or someone equally squirrelly*), he will learn to be more careful what he wishes for.  His Dear Leader Trump will be open to a class-action suit involving everyone he has mocked, belittled, lied about, threatened, abused or simply mentioned in his morning toilet-tweets.  This could be several hundred people ranging from LeBron James to Pope Francis.  If they each want a quarter-billion, well, I can imagine Days Inn picking up a lot of tacky hotels at knockdown prices.  Luckily the First Amendment and centuries of judicial opinion are clear about the right of everyone, even @DevinsMom and Trump, to say pretty much anything we like about one another.  Short of slander, of course, like attaching "Crooked" to the name of someone who has never even been arraigned.

It has been observed that $250 million is the same amount the Sandmann punk is seeking from both CNN and the Washington Post for the offense of reporting his dickish behavior on the National Mall.  It's a nice, round figure that causes no tearing or redness when pulled out of one's ass.  Donna Brazile certainly isn't getting anything like that to cut her conscience to fit this year's fashion, as Lillian Hellman might say.  As a former chair of the DNC and an intelligent black woman, she will enable Fox News to check a lot of boxes.  I hope they make it worth her while.  Financially.

Money is the root of all.  Trump's perpetual need of money to counterbalance his incompetence and prop up his "organization," and Deutsche Bank's weird willingness to lend him said money, seem to be the threads being pulled by the Special Counsel (or as I call him, Captain Mueller) to unravel the Jumper of Criminality -- look, this metaphor is getting out of hand.  Anyway, follow the money.  That's not in the book All the President's Men.  William Goldman came up with it for the movie.  Good advice nonetheless.

Alan Krieger, Princeton economist and chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama, committed suicide today.  I don't need Twitter to know that the cellar dwellers are already exchanging gaudy conspiracy theories about QAnon, Hillary and the Girl Scouts.

*Why else would a California Congressman file suit in Virginia?        

Monday, March 18, 2019

Oh Donnie boy...

GOP Faces St. Patrick's Day Backlash After Posting Anti-Beto O'Rourke Meme Insulting The Irish

I can't wait to see how the Republicans reach out to Italian Americans.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

"They are us"

Prime Minister Jacinda Arvern did not identify the victims of Friday's massacre as immigrants or as Muslims, but as New Zealanders.  It's a very small country, with fewer people than Houston.  This is their 9/11.

If it's any comfort, the murderer is an Australian.  So is the senator who rushed to a microphone to blame the crime on immigration and got egged by a heroic young man (also Australian, I assume).  (This asshole, who got a total of nine votes because Australia's electoral system appears to be even worse than America's, had previously called for the "final solution to the immigration problem.")  So is Sky Australia, a Murdoch enterprise, which refused to stop streaming the murder porn recorded by the killer and was eventually blocked by its New Zealand affiliate.  Australia's immigration policy is pretty terrible, with asylum-seekers confined for months on a small island before being returned, often, to war zones.  They recently revoked the visa of professional Islamophobe Milo Yiannopoulos, which is something, I guess.  Also, Australian laws about the acquisition of military-grade weapons are a lot stricter than New Zealand's.  Maybe that's why he didn't shoot up a mosque in Melbourne.

Violent lunatics have been writing manifestos for years, but I believe this was the first to praise a sitting President* of the United States by name.   Said office-holder tweeted his "best wishes" to New Zealand, as if they had just won a rugby title, but does not accept the premise that white nationalism is a problem anywhere.  On the contrary.  When Congress voted to end his fake "emergency" invoked to exclude brown people with WALL, he threatened them with official and auxiliary violence.  The cave dwellers have found a chieftain.

During the usual St. Patrick's Day duty-call by the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar,  the office-holder threatened to visit Ireland.  (Varadkar brought his partner, Matthew Barrett, and I completely loved the expression on Pence's face in the photo.  Mother wasn't there -- that would have lent legitimacy to their relationship, or maybe it was her day to teach hate art, but Mike drafted his sister.  She looked like she didn't want to be there.)  Don't worry, New Zealand, the office-holder doesn't even know where you are.

Be at peace.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Very bad. Very bad.


Thursday, March 14, 2019


When a massive shitstorm is accompanied by a huge drop in barometric pressure, it's called coprogenesis.  New levels of depravity call for new words, and this is mine.

Remember when Barack Obama posed for selfies with a Chinese sex trafficker?  No?  Oh, that's right, he didn't.  Li Yang covered a lot of bases, also snapping herself with Matt Gaetz (who represents her district), Louie Gohmert (who doesn't) and Robert Kraft (satisfied customer), all partying at Mar-a-Lago where she definitely has never under any circumstances had her masseuses make house calls.   Go Patriots!  MAGA!

The office of the Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller, has been funded through September.  This must be what Vladimir and Estragon felt like, every day of their lives.

America is coming to grips with the astonishing news that there is a different system for getting the thick, lazy offspring of rich people into expensive universities, and that corruption and bribery are involved.  This is called "white affirmative action," and has existed for approximately a century and a half.  The problem arises when people spend thousands rather than millions, paying off a tennis coach instead of ponying up for a new dormitory or computer center.  Of course, it's possible that George W. Bush got into Yale on his grades, test scores and superior cheerleading skills.  It's also possible that I will win the Nobel Prize in literature.

"I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers For Trump -- I have the tough people but they don't play it tough -- until they go to a certain point and then it will be very bad, very bad."  In case you didn't recognize the repetitious cadence of dementia, that's Donnie in a Breitbart interview, and "they" are the Democrats who defy him, presumably including the twelve Senate Republicans who joined in a vote to terminate his phony "emergency" 59-41.  It's not even a veiled threat of violence -- are Bikers For Trump some sort of praetorian guard?  We're continually invited to look with horror on events in Venezuela, but isn't that precisely what happens when a weak, incompetent dictator clings to power by unleashing troops to shoot and gas people?  It's a matter of time before Cadet Bonespurs starts appearing on his balcony in a gaudy uniform and makes the Secret Service wear MAGA hats.

I couldn't teach my grandmother to make braciole and I can't teach Nancy Pelosi to do politics, but I was taken aback when she refused even to consider impeachment for the would-be presidentissimo.  "He isn't worth it"?  Then who is?  Why do we have it?  "It will divide the country"?  Look  around, Madam Speaker, the divide is already an abyss.  I understand, you could get the House to vote articles of impeachment tomorrow morning, and the Senate would acquit before leaving for the weekend, followed by two solid days of "NO COLLUSION WITCH HOAX DEMOCRAT JEW HATERS ICE CREAM!!" tweets.  Maybe worse than a waste of time.  I will let you handle the politics while Mueller does the criminal prosecutions.  You were masterful in turning the persecution of Ilhan Omar into a put-up-or-shut-up on all forms of bigotry, and now we've got the racists and Islamophobes on record.  Maybe Pence would be worse -- he's a zealot rather than a lazy slob, but for all his religiosity I don't hear any glue-eaters hailing him as God's Anointed.  Keep baffling and curbing Trump, and I'll keep hoping it's the best course.

I credit a sense of humor with keeping me sane (now in my moderate to severe sixties), but I may have been mistaken all this time.  First Trump protested that his infamous "Russia, if you're listening" invitation to release Hillary Clinton's stolen emails was sarcasm.  Today Piers Morgan called on Trump to step in and fix the Brexit mess for Theresa May, and after being the subject of much derision, insisted he was joking.  Gents, please, could you employ the term LOL?  I appear to have lost all my mirth.  Thank you.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Unpopular Culture

I don't believe I have ever heard R. Kelly sing, but based on his performance (and it was surely as rehearsed and structured as any musical gig) in the Gayle King interview, I have to admit I'm curious.  He projects a kind of Otis Redding intensity that is only marred by self-pity and fake outrage.  In short, I wouldn't mind hearing him sing.

Of course, this is precisely the wrong response.  I know.  He has been credibly accused of terrible crimes against young women and common decency, and I am not supposed to like his voice, just as I am not supposed to laugh at Louis C.K. or enjoy the films of Kevin Spacey.  I got the memo.  Bad people.  Avoid.

By almost unbelievable coincidence, HBO is currently showing a two-part documentary about two men who were abused as children by Michael Jackson, two of the many, we are made to understand.  Jackson's fans, many bordering on worshippers, are in the millions, and their outrage is matched only by that of his family, who have a huge financial interest in keeping his image acceptable, if not pristine.  Inevitably, they have been compared to Trump supporters, undeterred by any crime or depravity up to and including treason or the proverbial shooting on Fifth Avenue.  This is surely where fandom or politics crosses over into religious faith, blind and unshakeable.

None of this is new.  The history of show business is full of people whose unquestionable talents were equaled only by their transcendent sleaziness.  Destructive of themselves (alcohol, drug abuse, financial profligacy, gluttony, dishonesty) or of others (adultery, grossly bad parenting, the crimes Kelly and Jackson are accused of), they often crushed the very gifts that made them stars.  Sometimes there was an excuse -- fear of poverty, demanding parents, abusive movie studios -- but ultimately, people are responsible for themselves.  And the debate rages on:   Can we separate the personal from the professional, keep our distance from the singer and just enjoy the song?  What does it say about us?  Are we, to some extent, also creeps?

Welcome to my world.  I have spent the last forty years trying to reconcile love of Wagner's music with loathing for his politics.  Did you know Verdi fathered numerous children with his mistress Giuseppina Strepponi, and forced her to put them all up for adoption?  (He may have wrecked her voice, too, by writing the pitiless role of Abigaile in Nabucco for her.)  Leonardo seems to have misbehaved with a very young model.  Wilde paid underage boys for sex.  Dickens left his wife and children and set up house with a teenage actress.  Yeats flirted with fascism; hell, he pretty much grabbed it by the pussy.  Byron fathered a child with his half-sister.  Then there are all those slave-owning Founding Fathers we need either to defend or to depose.  And don't even start on the classical world; there's a reason paedophilia is a Greek word.  Although ignoring Aeschylus and Plato may be more consequential than hiding your copy of Thriller when guests are due.  At least these people are all dead and will not benefit financially if I buy a book, nor will their relatives.

I have no wisdom to offer beside the unhelpful observation that talent often seems to require shitty behavior, genius even more so.  We must just decide for ourselves to what extent we can marvel at the art and tolerate the rest.  Tolerate, not excuse.


Friday, March 08, 2019


In Godzilla (Gojira if you're Japanese), an enormous nuclear-mutated lizard stomps around Tokyo, crushing buildings and killing people and generally raising hell.  I don't think about it much unless it's Unreasonably Large Monsters Day on Turner Classic Movies, but I can't seem to get the big green (I assume) guy out of my mind today.

I think it began when Trump took possession of the Fourth of July, which has been celebrated for decades on the National Mall with fireworks and an orchestral concert.  As with Frederick Douglass, he heard about it and decided to share his new discovery with the rest of us, like a cat presenting a dead mouse to its owner.  "A Salute To America" is the name he came up with all by himself.  Should he stumble across the information that the Declaration of Independence was signed on that date a long, long time ago somewhere, we can expect another breathless tweet.  With punctuation!!!

I'm used to this kind of thing.  ("Lincoln was a Republican!  Nobody knows that!")  I have developed a mental callus over the past three years and I didn't even flinch when he dry-humped a flag at the CPAC Rage-o-Rama before launching into a monologue of Castrovian length and porphyriac George III incoherence.   It's not the first flag he has humped, and it won't be the last, since it went down so well with the patriots.  It's part of the act now.  Kneeling for the national anthem makes you a "son of a bitch," but rubbing against a flag like a pervert on the subway is the new normal.  National symbols are toppling like dominoes.

Today he put on that ugly jacket and catastrophe cap, coaxed Melania out of her twilit lair and flew to Alabama to bother some tornado victims.  And there, in a Baptist church, he autographed Bibles as if they were remaindered copies of Tony Schwartz's The Art of the Deal.  It may be nothing more than an anthology of Iron Age recipes and folk tales to me, but it's also the central text of western civilization.  You don't get to sign it unless you wrote it.  "I'm hearing great things about King James."

This is where we are:  the orange lizard lumbers across America crushing one icon after another, shitting on national parks, spewing lies and idiocies into the air, wiping his ass with the Constitution his evangelical enablers believe to be the work of Jesus.  What's left?  Will we wake up one day and find Ivanka's vacant features on the Statue of Liberty?  A gilded "T" on the Jefferson Memorial and valet parking around the back?  Oh, I have it:  a corner of Arlington National Cemetery set aside for panty-pissing draft dodgers.  All that's needed is for an archeologist to determine where the Lee family had their outhouse.  I can imagine no fitter resting place for all the Trumps than the spot where a seditious general took a dump every morning.

International Women's Day Homecoming Queen


Thursday, March 07, 2019

What a dick

Billionaire diamond trader Ehud Laniado has died in Paris while undergoing surgery to enlarge his penis.

Happy International Women's Day.

Bakers of the world, unite!

I always thought of the Girl Scouts as a consolation prize for girls who wanted to be Boy Scouts.  Boy Scouts had knives and khaki uniforms, and were taken to the woods by Scout Leaders and forced to find their way home using only the stars and Boy Scout compasses.  They had an official handbook that was reviewed by Paul Fussell,* and they won merit badges for things like raising hogs and building tree houses.  Eventually they could become Eagle Scouts, which was dazzling, and then, I don't know, Navy SEALs?  Girls Scouts had Kelly green uniforms with skirts, and were pressured to sell cookies, a preparation for a life of selling Amway or Avon cosmetics.  Instead of Eagles, they would be mommies.  Mommies with careers in door-to-door commerce.

Like everything else, the GSA has changed utterly, as Yeats might say.   For one thing, they now apparently teach socialism.  We know this because Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a Girl Scout, and now she wants everybody to have access to medical care and clean water.  Where else could she have picked up these radical ideas?  That's why Jane Chastain, former sportscaster and current political pundit, demands a boycott of Girl Scout cookies.  Although Chastain herself qualifies as a feminist icon by virtue of broadcasting actual boys' professional football games, she believes girls should be taught godliness and kitchen skills, not all this Marxist-Leninist subversion or how to identify an illegal receiver without watching the replay.  It seems that a lot of the current Congresswomen have Girl Scout backgrounds, and the GSA is proud of having taught them "self-confidence" (as Chastain writes with unconcealed disgust).  Well, I imagine it takes a whole truckload of self-confidence to run for public office, and even more to endure the constant barrage of abuse directed at AOC and, to a lesser extent, her colleagues.  Alongside dialectic materialism, I hope the Scouts also taught them CPR, which will be useful when one of those old white men on the R side of the aisle starts wheezing and foaming at the mouth about climate change or WALL.  (The Oversight Committee probing Michael Cohen was just the curtain-raiser, and look how they acted.)

To go from hatred of Nancy and the girls to punishing the Girl Scouts seems like the kind of leap once practiced by Evel Knievel, but if Chastain had a merit badge for Logical Thought she wouldn't be working for World Net Daily.  Before she rose to prominence as the Hispanic Hillary, Ocasio-Cortez worked as a bartender.  I wonder if Jane Chastain plans to call for/participate in a boycott of mixed drinks.

*The Boy Scout Handbook and Other Observations, Oxford University Press, 1982      

Monday, March 04, 2019

Language police

I hate to have to do this, because I am really not a humorless prig when it comes to English.  It's pointless to try to impose rules on a huge, pulsating, amorphous entity like our language, scarfing down foreign words and neologisms all day and struggling to process social media scribblings and outright gibberish every night.  I have given up on all kinds of things that offend me.  I accept that "crispy" has replaced "crisp" as an adjective to describe potato chips (I suppose in Britain they're called crispy crisps).  I bade a sorrowful farewell to the subjunctive long ago, when even erudite people began to say "I wish I would have been there."  I barely hear the double verb now -- you know, "The reason is is because...").  I have even stopped wincing at the latest tic where people start sentences with "so."  ("Do you have a plan for addressing climate change?"  "So the Green New Deal...")  Better than "well," I suppose.

But I keep encountering a nasty new acronym, "SNAFUBAR."  Look, I know we live in a time when the old words for disgust are barely adequate, when language can hardly encompass the criminality and stupidity of our minority-elected Executive branch, but that does not mean we have to lose sight of the most eloquent expressions created by some anonymous genius of the Second World War.  I understand the impulse to take "snafu" and add another layer of horrified incredulity, but it already exists.  As explained by the late Paul Fussell, it goes:

SNAFU -- situation normal, all fucked up
FUBAR -- fucked up beyond all recognition
SAPFU -- surpassing all previous fuck-ups

As we endure a time that makes Operation Market Garden look like a triumph, I beg you to remember SAPFU, and to employ it every time another fuck-up surpasses the last one.  And it will.