Thursday, September 30, 2021

September clearance sale

Floridahhhh!   In Tampa, DeAnna Stinson became the first person to hire a hitman (to kill her ex-husband's wife, of course) and pay in Bitcoin.  Elsewhere in the state, Carl Hiaasen deleted what looked to be a promising new novel.

You remember Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who courageously stood their ground against unarmed protesters last year in St. Louis.  Pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment and paid a fine.  He's even running for the Senate.  Now they're whining that the ludicrous photo caused "humiliation, mental anguish and severe emotional distress" although it is proudly displayed on his campaign website.  "Severe emotional distress" is lawyer-talk for "You owe me money," but exactly who does he plan to sue?  The internet?  Everyone who laughed about how silly they look?  

It's traditional to punish athletes for their crimes and misdemeanors, which is why Pete Rose is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  So what will happen to Klete Keller, who won a gold medal in the Olympics for swimming and pleaded guilty to obstruction for participating in the January coup attempt (wearing  his Team USA jacket)?  He's 39, so banning him from future Olympics seems pointless.  Commercial endorsements are probably not an issue.  Can the IOC ask for the medal back?  

Speaking of big-name criminals, Nicolas Sarkozy, convicted of violating campaign finance laws, has been sentenced to a year of house arrest.  I'll bet it's a really nice house.  Way to send a message, French courts.  Meanwhile the mayor of Riace in Calabria, Italy, got thirteen years for being insufficiently cruel to asylum seekers.  The prosecution only asked for seven.

The Martinez family have been harassed by a neighbor blasting "monkey noises" and racial slurs since they moved in, but Virginia Beach police say there's nothing they can do.  It's not as if they're playing hip-hop or anything.  Time to get out "Ride of the Valkyries."

The hospitals are overflowing with covidiots who wouldn't get vaccinated and that means violence with a capital V and that rhymes with T and that stands for Trumpanzees.  Hospitals are providing nurses with panic buttons for summoning help when the patients and their relatives attack.  Remember way back when this pandemic began -- was it last year?  People would stand at windows and on balconies at twilight, applauding and banging pots to thank the front-line health care workers who endured lack of PPE and insults from Trump ("equipment...walking out the back door") and risked their lives to save others.  I never expected to feel nostalgia for the pre-vaccine days.

Did you not read this blog yesterday, Mayor Dave Bronson of Anchorage?  Why would you concur with your idiot constituent who says mask mandates are just like forcing Jews in the Third Reich to wear yellow stars?  Idaho sends its ICU overflow to Washington state; where are you planning to send yours, Canada or Russia?  You are a disgrace to idiots.

In a hearing about the Texas Women-Are-Incubators law, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tried to explain to the boys that a woman does not instantly know if she is pregnant.  She should have saved her breath and showed an episode of TLC's I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant.  It's called "cryptic pregnancy," doofuses.

"Man who firebombed Arizona Dem Party HQ confessed on social media" is the header at AZ Mirror.  Actually that's called "boasting."

This just in:  Humpty Dumpty on the toilet stolen from Madison, Wisconsin, art fair:

I thought it was Trump until I saw the book.


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Give it a rest

In today's installment of "Who's invoking Hitler now?" we present YouTube host Dave Rubin.  After a speech by Greta Thunberg to the Youth4Climate Summit  he tweeted, "Just imagine if this girl had enough power, the horrible things she would do to people.  I could see...images of Hitler speaking up there."  The Reductio ad Hitlerum has been around at least since Leo Strauss coined the phrase in 1951, but it used to be kept in reserve until the loser pulled it out at the end of the debate.  Now it's first out of the box:   A compulsory face mask is no different from a yellow star, vaccines passports might as well be tattooed on your arm, abortion is the Holocaust under a different name and critical race theory is torn from the pages of Der Sturmer.   It's dumb, it's lazy and I'm tired of it.

Greta Thunberg?  The Swedish teenager with the braids who wants politicians to stop bloviating and do something about carbon emissions?  She scares you, Dave?  She reminds you of the man who ordered cities razed and murdered millions?  What a big manly man you are.  If you can't get through the day without a dazzling display of ignorance, here are some alternative bogey-men:  Stalin, Mao, Ceausescu, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Pinochet, Saddam Hussein, whoever the main Taliban is.  If Hitler were alive he wouldn't give a toss about climate change.  He'd be ranting about farm animals facing needless slaughter because two-legged idiots are eating all the Ivermectin.  Hitler loved animals as much as he hated most people.  Tell your followers about that, Dave, and then shut up.  Let Hitler rest in whatever Russian file cabinet his last scraps of scorched bone lie.



Private stock

Some things I've been pondering:

A lot of odd compilations have been showing up on YouTube with titles like "Noir Jazz" and "Autumn Forest."  I'm listening to one called "Being alone in a 1950s private club on a rainy night" which kind of overdoes the rain but is otherwise pleasant.  Who is doing this?  Suspicious customer that I am, I wonder if there are subliminal messages in the Chet Baker, like "Don't be so paranoid."  Who was it that said "Paranoia is another word for having all the facts"?  Should I try "you're studying in a haunted library with ghosts (dark academia playlist)"?  Cheaper than therapy.  BTW how can I opt out of being shown any more master classes led by countertenors?

It's the bombe!  Reuters had a story yesterday about young men in Kinshasa, Congo, getting high by snorting a powder made from the catalytic converters of cars.  My first thought:  this is going to speed up climate change, isn't it?  My second thought:  Who figured this out?  Did someone try ingesting every part of a car -- wipers, upholstery, brake fluid -- until one day, bingo!  So many colors....

TCM, we need to have a talk.  You program a night of Ned Beatty movies without Deliverance or The Big Easy?  Why have you never shown The Big Easy?  Also, I can't be having a whole Saturday monopolized by Sergio Leone westerns.  Also, too, what's up with this Francis X. Bushman doc in the middle of the night?  Some of us have daytime stuff to do.  Get on all that.  We'll talk again.

If Proust could conjure seven volumes out of a cookie I guess Warren Ellis can get a book out of a wad of gum.  Nina Simone's Gum will be published October 11 in Australia.  I wonder if the technology exists to create a Simone clone.

A Nippon Airways flight and four others were late taking off from Narita Airport while a large turtle was gently removed from the tarmac.  Meanwhile in Alaska two humans and a dog have been bitten by usually docile river otters near Anchorage.  I'm interested in weird animal behavior because of what it may portend.  Some can be traced to last year's lockdowns, like the UK's toilet rats.  Keep the lid down.

Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) describes himself as "a law and order policy maker" and says "women and children must be respected and protected at all times."  He also says R. Kelly will "be welcomed back into Chicago as a person who can be redeemed" because he's "an artist, one who's gifted."  There's a bit of cognitive dissonance here, as Kelly was just convicted of racketeering and child sexual abuse, among other things, and won't even be sentenced until next spring (he has more trials scheduled in the meantime).  Davis's primary opponent Kina Collins tweeted, "He's silent about attacks on our reproductive rights...but he has time for R. Kelly."  This man may not have the instincts of a politician, at least not a Democratic one.

Easy come, easy go:  Barack Obama supports tax increases for the rich -- "We can afford it" -- to fund Joe Biden's spending plan.  He and his wife are said to be worth a cool $70 million, none of it inherited.  Maybe that's it:  the Mercers and Kochs don't know what it's like to work your way through college or save up for the down payment on your first house.  Warren Buffett says he's also willing to pay higher taxes, while Bill Gates, Mike Bloomberg and Jeff Bezos have given away billions.  So let's start with a 90 percent inheritance tax.  It's how Clem Attlee financed the NHS.  Too many Americans identify with the Crawleys of Downton Abbey instead of the ex-maid who has to prostitute herself to feed her baby.  

Disturbing:  According to the Grisham book, when Trump got depressed a staff member (code name:  Music Man) was supposed to play his favorite song for him.  I won't keep you in suspense -- it was "Memory" from Cats.   The melody is a rip-off of Charles Aznavour's "She" and the words are not by T.S. Eliot.  So, more derivative crap from Andrew Lload Rubbish.  Perfect.  



Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The five stages of Trump

We will not be shut of Trump in the foreseeable future, even if a giant sinkhole opens under whatever course he's playing and he falls into the earth's core.  We might as well settle in for the duration.  Kubler-Ross's five stages are denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, and it's possible to cycle through them all in one afternoon.  

For anger I recommend the three stooges he imposed on the Department of Veterans Affairs based on their qualifications as paid-up members of Mar-a-Lago:  Ike Perlmutter, chair of Marvel Entertainment; Marc Sherman, lawyer; and Dr. Bruce Moskowitz of Palm Beach.  Their writ:  to "straighten out" the DVA.  Their scheme:  monetize the patient database of some nine million veterans by making it available to Johnson & Johnson, CVS and Apple.  This comes not from another gossipy book but from documents released by the House Committees on Veterans' Affairs and on Oversight and Reform, suggesting the "Mar-a-Lago Council" and VA Secretary David Shulkin violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act at the very least.  Luckily their own incompetence prevented it going much farther.

In the area of bargaining Arbitrator T. Andrew Brown threw out the non-disclosure agreement Trump says Omarosa Manigault Newman violated when she published Unhinged in 2018.  Brown also ruled that the Trump campaign has to pay her legal costs.  "People who signed these NDAs should sleep better and speak more freely," her attorney wrote.  If he's right that's good news for Mary Trump, who's being sued by her crazy uncle. 

But Newman and her book are old news.  Today's revenge tome comes from Stephanie Grisham,  the press secretary who never held a press conference even to hurl vitriol at reporters.  Hence the amusing title I'll Take Your Questions Now.  She was using all that extra time to store up juicy inside dope:  How Trump told Putin, "I'm going to act a little tougher with you for a few minutes.  But it's for the cameras..."  How Trump was "distracted" when Putin brought an especially attractive female interpreter along to their meeting in Osaka.  How Trump called Grisham from Air Force One to stress that his penis is not mushroom-shaped as Stormy Daniels had written.  How the staff had to conceal a plan to use the plane to transport the casket of George H.W. Bush:  "Dead bodies, death, sickness -- those things really seemed to creep him out."  None of this is surprising but the Trumps are spitting nails so it's all good.  One bombshell:  According to Grisham he cuts his own hair.  I thought the kid with the lawn mower was involved.

Joe Biden is the President of the United States, having won Arizona more times than any Democrat in the last hundred years.  And Joe Biden could invoke executive privilege to withhold phone records and other evidence of what Trump was up to last January 6 from the House select committee investigating the coup attempt.  Will he?  That's a no.  Normally presidents give their predecessors a pass on every known abomination (see Ford, Gerald R.), so this is a break with precedent Trump should find alarming.  He forgot to insist Biden sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Acceptance?  Never.  "Agitate.  Agitate, agitate," as Frederick Douglass said.  I wonder if Trump is still hearing good things about him.


Sunday, September 26, 2021

Amusing ourselves to death

I love underground comedy troupes who pop up to satirize the silliness of American society.  Westboro Baptist Church has gone quiet since the death of its founder Fred Phelps  (sometimes known as the Andy Kaufman of Kansas) but a new practitioner of this dark art has finally emerged.

Moms For Liberty of Williamson County, Tennessee ("a few miles from Nashville, a light year from civilization") has produced a video demanding the removal from elementary schools of a nasty, filthy book about seahorses.  "They twist their tails together and twirl gently around...the two of them dance until sunset and then she puts her eggs into his pouch."  I need a shower.  But that's just the opening number.  They also want to ban a "too dark" book about Johnny Appleseed, a "divisive" book about Martin Luther King ("divisive" being code for "mentions race") and a book about hurricanes because it might frighten the children.  These people are good.  Now that you're convulsed with laughter they slip in the knife -- they want to outlaw a Civil War novel for depicting "out of marriage families between white men and black women."  Get it?

The Moms are stepping up to parody the madness convulsing school boards ever since the Rightzi media outlets began denouncing The 1619 Project and all discussion of racism.  Over at the Guardian Arwa Madhari chooses to take them seriously, but she's not noted for her sense of humor.  (A book about Galileo "anti-church"?  Sure, but it's the Catholic Church.  That's the joke.)  I predict Tennessee will again outlaw the teaching of science in time for the centenary of the Scopes trial in 2025.  But will Texas get there first?

REPUBLICANS IN DISARRAY is a header you will see only here, because the MSM is panicky at being found "partisan" and swallows their bullshit with a sour milk chaser, smiling bravely.  But my goodness me, the wheels are clearly wobbling.

Item:  Patrick Parsons has quit after nine months as chief of staff to Margie Greene.  After the always dignified Margie screamed at Rep. Debbie Dingell on the Capitol steps, Parsons apparently decided to get out before she goes full Preston Brooks. 

Item:  Ahead of Trump's hate rally in the Peachpit State, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan suggested re-writing the Charlie Daniels song "A president went down to Georgia, he was looking for a party's soul to steal."  It doesn't scan, of course, but it will get him primaried.  Revenge is a Big Mac best served cold.

Item:  Another disloyal Georgian, Brad Raffensperger, spoiled the party in Perry when he told the Washington Examiner, "He's going to come and he's going to say what he's going to say, but he knows in his heart that he lost."  Brad had one job -- find 11,780 votes -- and he failed.  Perhaps the Cyber Ninjas will do better.  Perhaps they will discover another 11,780 votes for Joe Biden.  

Item:  If Peril is accurate, Mike Lee and Lindsey Graham both excused themselves from the Big Lie after being scared shitless (I extrapolate) by the January 6 coup attempt.  Two more disloyalists to be denounced!  Maybe Herschel Walker can move from state to state, running against all of them.

Item:  Lauren Boebert is bringing us mirth with her call to "Imeach [sic] Biden."  Give her a break, the ink's barely dry on her GED.

Three people died and many were injured when a passenger train derailed near Joplin, Montana, yesterday.  I'm sure Montana's entire Congressional delegation of three will be first in line to vote for the infrastructure bill, as soon as pigs fly.

The Moms for Liberty already have a competitor:  a disbarred lawyer doing time in Arkansas has filed to collect that abortion bounty in Texas.  Oscar Stilley sent what the Guardian calls "a rambling, weird document" replete with references to "bastards" and Elohim.  Stilley says he has nothing against abortion but "if there's money to be had, it's going to go in Oscar's pocket."  His competition (so far) is another disbarred lawyer in Illinois.  Dr. Alan Braid of San Antonio made it easy for them when he wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post explaining why he performed an abortion after the six-week limit.  Honest to Elohim, I can't tell who's auditioning for the Seth Meyers show anymore.


Friday, September 24, 2021

Freaky Friday

Warning:  I have decided to find everything funny today.

Not because it is necessarily, but because it has been a lousy week and I need to laugh.  

Our top story, of course, comes from Arizona, where the Cyber Ninjas finally turned in their term paper to Mrs. Fann, who teaches Undermining Democracy 101 at the state senate.  I don't think they should expect a passing grade:  "A month-long hand count of the 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County....found that Biden actually won 360 more votes than Trump than was reported in the November election."  Like Giuliani and others who disappoint Dear Leader, the Ninjas should expect their bill to go unpaid.  Now let's see if Wisconsin and Pennsylvania still want to hire them.  

"Rudy is really hurt" according to Politico, by his banning from Fox News.  He thinks they owe him because back in 1996 he pressured Time Warner to add them to its cable system as a favor to Rupert Murdoch.  Now the channel has also told former felon Bernie Kerik and various Trump flunkies they're not welcome.  The ban comes "from the top" and extends to Andrew Giuliani.  My take:  Murdoch is dying and wants to be remembered as a serious journalist.  Ain't gonna happen.

Wipeout!  Americans are panic-buying again, as port congestion makes supplies of household products insecure.  Costco has begun rationing toilet paper, cleaning products and bottled water, among others.  All the ports are backed up with container ships but especially Long Beach/Los Angeles, resulting from a shortage of trucks and drivers and soaring demand for imports.  Can't Americans even make water?  Perhaps I phrased that badly.

Mary Trump has identified her cousin Donnie Junior as "the stupidest" member of the family, astonishing those who were sure it was Eric.  Also, Uncle Donnie Senior is suing her for a hundred million dollars for providing his tax returns to the New York Times and "damaging his reputation."  Another day, another judge reduced to helpless laughter.

The news media are beginning to wonder if "missing white woman syndrome" contributed to their saturation coverage of Gabby Petito, even as they pound the story as relentlessly as ever.  Today we were informed that Brian Laundrie (still missing) has been charged with illegal use of a debit card.

Last week Republicans in Congress were demanding the resignation/impeachment of Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin over the shitstorm in Afghanistan.  It took DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas three days to say anything about the horrendous treatment of Haitian refugees by Border Patrol cowboys who apparently haven't heard that slave-catcher is no longer a profession.  Apart from a few Democrats, mostly the Squad, crickets.

Last December Harrison Deal, a twenty-year-old campaign staffer for Kelly Loeffler, died in a car accident.  Nine months later the Usual Suspects have decided that Joe Biden murdered him because he was so integral to her campaign and also he was dating Brian Kemp's daughter.  Not to be outdone, Tucker Carlson has revived the lie that George Floyd died of a drug overdose despite two autopsies to the contrary.  Now, why didn't FDR ever talk about the Lindbergh baby?

  Meet the new Taliban, same as the old Taliban.  Here's Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, minister of the propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice in Afghanistan.  He's afraid that "cutting off of hands is very necessary for security," just maybe not in a football stadium this time.  I wonder how he lost that eye.

Before you mourn Afghanistan's return to barbarism, please to remember that Texas has passed another anti-woman bill restricting access to the "morning after" pill and Florida state senator Manny Diaz  (R-Ofcourse) wants a review of all mandated vaccines including polio.  Does anyone remember where we stored the iron lungs?

 Too grim.  Let's end on a happy note.  Kayleigh McEnany, the last and least of Trump's press abusers, tweeted a graphic showing a 30 percent increase in murders last year and blaming it on Joe Biden.  Bless her heart, MAGA-Ninny never did master the Gregorian calendar.



Wednesday, September 22, 2021

All mixed up

Since they came up short by some millions of votes last November the demented half of the population have been more violent and unhinged than ever, the January 6 coup attempt being only the most noted example.  From all over the country come reports of people yelling at nurses even as they expire from covid, assaulting flight attendants, trying to force a doctor off the road because he supported mask mandates, and invading school board meetings to piggyback their anti-vax rants with anti-history rants.  People who didn't even know schools had boards are instant experts on critical race theory and why it will lead to baldness and impotence.  

One such outbreak caught my attention because it happened in York county, Pennsylvania, where my great-aunt taught for fifty years, beginning in a one-room schoolhouse.  When she started teachers didn't need a college degree, just two years of normal school.  And when she finished, in a modern high school, I guarantee she didn't unleash racist knuckleheads like these on the world.  

The Central York school district banned virtually all books by or about people of color -- "frozen," not banned, they weaseled -- at the insistence of parents, one of whom said, "I don't want my daughter growing up feeling guilty because she's white," as if Rosa Parks and James Baldwin lived only to hurt white feelings.  They also disapproved the autobiography of Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani campaigner for women's rights, which could only make members of the Taliban feel guilty if they were capable of shame.  Not very subtle, in other words.  

But their kids are evidently made of stronger stuff.  Hundreds of them protested under the name "Panther Anti-Racist Union."   (The Panthers is their football team but it's an amusing coincidence.)  And they got the ban reversed.  They learned about organizing and racism at the same time!  Aunt Ruth would be pleased.  As a white, I don't feel guilty because I read Nell Irvin Painter or Ibram X. Kendi.  I feel guilty when people who look like me behave like assholes.  Maybe it's critical intrarace theory.  Maybe it's why Rachel Dolezal passed for Black.


Now here's a young fellow with real trouble:  For two years he had urine and semen coming out of his anus and flatulence and poo emerging from his penis.  He's described in this obviously serious scientific journal as "a 33-year-old male with a history of illicit drug use" under the Conan Doyle-like title "A Curious Case of Rectal Ejaculation."  ("'Holmes,' I exclaimed, 'where exactly are you injecting the seven-percent solution?'")  It's called a rectal-prostate fistula and I hope I never hear about it again.

France has resumed diplomatic relations with the United States.  Well, that was close.

Having taken Kamala Harris to the woodshed over her attendance at a football game, Rachel Campos-Duffy turned her scathing attention to the Bidens spending the weekend at their home in Delaware, riding bicycles and possibly even doing Netflix-and-chill while the world comes apart.  Because he's old and decrepit and just can't put in the hours of TV watching and pre-dawn rage-tweeting like Trump.  On a related note, today's Woodward-Costa tidbit concerns Biden's response when he came across the giant video screen where Trump got his exercise by pretending to play on various golf courses:  "What a fucking asshole."  (The White House has its own putting green built for President Eisenhower, ripped out by President Nixon and restored by President Clinton.   Twenty steps from the house is too far with lifts in your shoes, apparently.  Perhaps a gentle incline is involved.)

The Buttermilk Sky Organization joins His Holiness the Dalai Lama in congratulating Justin Trudeau on his re-election as prime minister of Canada.  We also thank the PM for shaving off his scruffy beard.  Men on every continent have grown scruffy beards with varying degrees of success, in most cases succeeding only in looking old and inattentive to personal hygiene.  (Yeah, you, Cruz.)  Let us hope this signals a better trend.

His other Holiness Pope Francis told a gathering of Jesuits in Bratislava that he is "still alive, even though some people wanted me to die" after major surgery in July.  Rumors circulated of "chronic" and "degenerative" disease and some called him a "communist" -- so Bill Donahue is using the anti-Hillary handbook? -- but he's fine with that as long as they don't attack the Church  ("the work of the devil").  You hang in there, Papa.  You're enraging all the right people.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Into the storm

 What's roiling America?

The Constitution spells out only one job for the Vice President, presiding over the Senate.  Since the Senate was not in session on Saturday, Kamala Harris thought she'd drive over to her alma mater Howard University and toss the coin before its game with Hampton University.  Despite exhaustive research I am unable to say whether she stayed for the game, ate a hot dog or visited the winning team's locker room.  (I could probably find out who won but I don't care.)  Needless to say, she was criticized for taking time off from solving all the country's problems.  "She was at a football game because, you know, as the affirmative action  vice president who was selected because she was a woman and because she was the right color, she likes to go to these things," sniffed Rachel Campos-Duffy, who was definitely not hired by Fox News because they needed a Latina.  They admired the journalistic work she did on MTV's The Real World and were unaware of her racism.

VP HARRIS TOSSES COIN AT HOWARD GAME AMID CRISIS shouted the chyron.  What crisis?  A blonde woman is missing.  Gabby Petito, described as a 22-year-old "lifestyle blogger," disappeared last week near Grand Teton National Park and the nation, or at least its media, is apparently riveted.  A body matching her description has now been found, so expect the riveting to continue, or at least the sound of riveting in your head as you try to fathom why this one apparent crime has leapt to the top of the hit parade ahead of thousands of others.  Did her fiance do her in?  Who will take over her blog?  Does the FBI have nothing better to do?  

#EmmySoWhite is the Twitter label for yet another crisis, the fact that individual Emmy awards went to only two Black nominees.  Disclosure:  I tried to watch it.  I didn't recognize any of  the presenters and only John Oliver among the nominees.  I didn't get any of the jokes.  It was like watching the Bollywood Oscars in Hindi.  Clearly I need to stop reading so much and step up my TV consumption.  Gillian Anderson won for her terrifying portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Crown, which I did see; and a British actor called Brett Goldstein made a "fuck"-laced acceptance speech, possibly under the impression he had won a BAFTA.  I'm sure that woman who calls herself One Million Moms has already complained to the FCC.

CNN has issued a warning that Mike Pence is setting up an office in Washington so he'll be ready when God calls him to "serve" as president.  Yeah, funny thing -- when the crisis came on January 6 Pence responded to God's Anointed by singing "I Would Do Anything For Love But I Won't Do That" (ignore the state-certified ballots).  In a party of terrified "natives" prepared to appease King Con with human sacrifices, Pence has a significantly better chance of going to a wedding reception and changing water into wine.  Which he might try.

Elon Musk's ego was bruised because the President didn't take time out from dealing with Haitian refugees at the southern border, the never-ending pandemic, the gathering of world leaders at the UN and the impending Republican shutdown of the federal government to congratulate him on putting four rich amateurs in orbit.  Maybe he should think about letting his employees unionize.  I know, it's weird having a president who doesn't think "union" is an obscenity.

This is Officer Eduardo Matute of the Jersey City Police Department with the baby he caught when some lunatic dropped it from a second-floor balcony.  When police do good, we're happy to thank them.


Saturday, September 18, 2021

A chill in the air

 Yesterday was Constitution Day but you wouldn't know it by my little pocket calendar from Disabled American Veterans (  In September they recommend flying the flag on the second (VJ Day), the sixth (Labor Day) and the eleventh (Patriot Day?), and also advise about Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, POW/MIA Recognition Day and Gold Star Mother's Day.  The Constitution of the United States, signed  in 1787 by delegates from every state but Rhode Island, gets no more recognition than Talk Like a Pirate Day, which I had to pencil in myself.  (Sunday the nineteenth, shipmates.)  So relations between the military and civil authorities have always been a bit strained, despite half a dozen generals ending up in the White House.  When Mark Milley testifies before Congress next week we may learn more about this vexed question, especially if you hit <mute> when a Republican starts talking.

Have nominal allies ever gone to war over "unacceptable behavior"?  That sounds like somebody got drunk at an embassy party and dropped caviar down the ambassador's cleavage.  France is throwing a right old hissy about Australia breaking a deal to buy diesel submarines from them, deciding instead to spend a little more for nuclear-powered subs from the US.  Yes, the comparison shopping war.  French ambassadors have been recalled from Washington and Canberra and the lights burn late in the Quai d'Orsay.  France still has a fragment of empire in the region, mostly tourist destinations like Tahiti, but basically it's about the money.  And the jobs.  Who uses diesel-powered subs in 2021?  Did the Australians finally see Down Periscope?  

Of course the big story here is that Joe Biden momentarily forgot Prime Minister Scott Morrison's name during the virtual press conference to announce the deal, greatly amusing Boris Johnson.  Expect many demands that he be 25d, as soon as the disloyal opposition get home from the underwhelming Washington demo.  Meanwhile say hello to the new trilateral defense partnership AUKUS (Australia, US, UK) and no, stinky old France is not invited.

Really, I just had a look and even Fox is not covering "Justice for J6."  It's no fun when the cops outnumber the insurrectionists.  When it became clear that Putsch 2 would fizzle, organizer began warning about antifa infiltrators doing bad stuff to make Trump supporters look bad, or look worse, and according to the Washington Post the crowd was even smaller than the 2017 inauguration.  Sad.

When Texans travel they bring a little whiff of Texas along.  Like the three gals who were arrested at Carmine's restaurant on Manhattan's Upper West Side.  All they did was attack the hostess when she asked them to show proof of vaccination, punching her and breaking her necklace.  They must have thought they were on a plane.

Wait till they get home and find out that the Southern Baptist Convention, which denounced Biden's vaccine mandate, promptly announced one of its own for the new missionaries it sends out to bother people.   Mormon missionaries already have a choice:  get vaccinated or don't get an assignment outside the US.  In the Catholic Church Pope Francis is supposed to be infallible but apparently all he can do is make suggestions to his rebellious bishops and laity, though he's willing to go to the mattresses to prevent the return of the Latin mass.  Remind me why we tolerate the religion industry.

Steve Bannon and Margie Greene have become the Ed and Pegeen Fitzgerald of podcast crazy (do I date myself?  Very well, then, I date myself), but when Margie claimed the title "most effective member of Congress this session" it was too much for her glamorous cohost.  Margie famously has no committee assignments, unlike other signatories to the Insurrection Proclamation; her effectiveness is limited to demanding a roll call vote on each question before the House, allowing the other members to slip out to the toilet, check their email and roll their eyes with boredom.  (The Fitzgeralds were a married couple who did a weekday radio show on WOR from their apartment; he reviewed books, she talked about cats.)  Also, her insane jealousy of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez exploded again when AOC went to the Met fashion wingding in a joke dress with "TAX THE RICH" emblazoned across the back "so people would look at her ass."  Keep hitting the gym, Marge, maybe one day...

Proclaiming herself "a white common-sense conservative" Sarah Palin says she's unvaccinated because she "believes in science."  What she believes science to be is anybody's guess.  Once again, thank you, John McCain.

Here are some freedom-loving Idaho moms encouraging their children to burn masks in front of the state capitol six months ago.  This Thursday the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare issued a Crisis Standards of Care declaration because Washington can no longer accommodate its overflow.  That's right, death panels.  No surgeries, no accident or shooting victims, just covid.  Live free and die.


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Humps day

 Just chilling, coming off that nail-biter in California (just kidding, the results were announced before Colbert finished his monologue and Trump was right RIGGEDFRAUDCORRUPT! and for only thirty million dollars they get to keep their governor).  Then Terrance Deyalsingh, health minister of Trinidad and Tobago, addressed the other riveting story of the day, basically, we tracked down Nicki Minaj's cousin's friend's testicles and they are normal size, covid vaccine does not cause swelling, please stop wasting my time during a pandemic.  What to obsess about?

As it happens, a lot.  Bob Woodward likes to sit on the biggest stories until he can put them in a book months later than we needed to know about them and Peril, written with Robert Costa, follows the pattern.  It boils down to a well-known fact:  Trump is a psychopath.  Hardly anyone has read the book, least of all me, but the tidbits circulating are as follows:   After the coup attempt of January 6 General Mark Milley got wind that Trump was crazier than usual.  "I don't want to be your friend anymore," he threatened Mike Pence, if he didn't throw out the certified votes.  (Pence called Dan Quayle...I can't even take that part in.)  After Biden's election was finally certified early on the morning of January 7 Milley was afraid Trump would "go rogue" and called the other service chiefs, instructing them that any nuclear attack orders from the White House must be cleared by him.  Then he called his Chinese counterpart General Li Zuocheng to assure him that all was as normal as could be with a psychopath still in office and he should ignore rumors to the contrary.  And then called him again.

Of course we made it to January 21 without a "nuclear exchange" with China, but here's the conundrum that will be argued over for years:  What should happen to a general who ignores the chain of command and violates the principle of civilian control of the military just to save the world from a known psychopath?  The psycho and his acolytes are howling for Milley to be court martialed, tried for treason or just dismembered with bone saws.  Less emotional observers think he should be given a medal and then fired.  Asked if the general did the right thing, President Biden expressed "great confidence" in him, which is not exactly an answer.  Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (Ret.), whose career was wrecked by President Psycho, says Milley must resign.  In other words, this isn't over.  (By the way, Peril says Milley's fears of a "right wing coup" were shared by Gina Haspel, Trump's own CIA director.)

The FBI is having a particularly bad day.  Christopher Wray has been making excuses about why the agency did such a bad job of investigating sexual misconduct accusations against Brett Kavanaugh while there was still a dim hope of keeping him away from the Supreme Court.  (I'm sure Susan Collins would have made her frowny face and decided he had learned his lesson no matter what they uncovered.)  This morning Simone Biles and other gymnasts told the Senate Judiciary Committee about the "blind eye" the agency turned to Larry Nassar's abuse of them and other girls and women.  The FBI used to be a lot more proactive about sexual misbehavior when they were bugging the hotel rooms of Martin Luther King.  Not one anonymous letter suggesting that Nassar kill himself?  The feds have really lost their edge. 

Anthony Blinken was having a grim week trying to explain why everything didn't go perfectly in Afghanistan, so I was glad he got to enjoy James Risch's completely relevant questions about "the button" and who pushes it.  You know, the button.  The mute button they need because Joe Biden is so old and senile and might come out with some argle-bargle about how solar energy doesn't work at night or the millions of jobs created by his daughter Amy.  The button.  Yes, this is what Idaho thought should be a senator.

I have nothing against Indiana, birthplace of Kurt Vonnegut, Jean Shepherd and this blog's patron saint Hoagy Carmichael, but it's a political pig's breakfast.  When Mike Pence was threatened with the loss of Trump's "friendship" (presumably before his friend sicced a lynch mob on him) he didn't know what to do, so he turned for guidance to Jesus, uh, Dan Quayle.  Yes, the one who got into an argument with a fictional TV character.  Could he throw out the votes of swing states like Wisconsin as questionable?  "Mike, you have no flexibility on this.  None.  Zero.  Forget it.  Put it away."  But Arizona -- "Mike, I live in Arizona.  There's nothing out here."  And Pence went in and did his job.  Thanks, Dan.

Speaking of Arizona, where there's nothing, when can we expect to hear from the Cyber Numchucks or whatever they call themselves?  They must be all Ivermectined and feeling better.  Some Pennsylvania Republicans are eager to hire them.  There's a lot going on but we haven't forgotten.         


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

...and leave a hideous corpse


I'll have a large Schaden with a double shot of Freude, please, barista.

It's always better when they slime themselves, isn't it?  I don't know much about Britain's Daily Mail but I'd guess they're fairly pro-monarchy.  So when they heard Giuliani's drunken monologue on Saturday they had some questions about his mockery of their queen and his unsolicited denials of pursuing underage girls with the Duke of York.  And they just let him talk:

"Yes, I had a scotch.  But I was not drunk.  There is a deliberate attempt by the left wing to paint me that way...I am without a doubt the most accomplished prosecutor of the twentieth century.  I'm not an alcoholic.  I use the word functioning.  I don't know why I used the word functioning...I am 77 years old.  I've never been an alcoholic.  I've never been treated for alcoholism...I'm on television all the time.  I'm as lucid as you can be.  I'm not demented like Joe Biden.  I can go before the Supreme Court.  I have many times...I'm probably one of the sharpest guys you're ever going to meet.  And you want to put me in a courtroom and I'll kick the shit out of anybody.  I am not an alcoholic."  And so on.  The drunk-dialing, the cheap hair dye, the Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference, the flatulence, the offer to assault General Milley -- left-wing plots.  He can't even remember them.


Before I start to pity this racist jackoff, let's move on.  Interviewed by Dave Rubin of the Daily Beast, Tucker Carlson admitted being a liar but insisted people at CNN do it, too, so it's all right.  "I lie if I'm really cornered or something.  I lie.  I try never to lie on TV.  I just don't -- I don't like lying.  I certainly do it, you know, out of weakness or whatever."  But Brian Stelter, Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon lie, he said, to "protect the system...defend Jeff Bezos...[treat] Bill Gates like some sort of moral leader" and that makes them "clown people."  Lying is only acceptable if you do it out of weak character and lack of scruples, got that?  Or to game the system with fake vaccine ID cards -- that's not exposing children to a deadly disease, that's sticking it to the man (Joe Biden presumably).  In aid of which he read a strange tweet from epidemiologist Nicki Minaj about a friend of her cousin who got the vaccine and suffered swollen testicles.  So vaccines bad.  Proof.

Condolences to Denver radio listeners who can no longer listen to hate-radio pastor Bob Enyart.  Yes, another anti-vaxer has died of covid.  Remember how he used to play "Another One Bites the Dust" while reading obituaries of people who died of AIDS?  The time he flew to New Zealand to greet visiting President Clinton with a "Clinton Is a Rapist" banner?  His rants about "mask Nazis"?  His widow is also sick.  Thoughts and prayers.

Can you handle a Lin Wood/Ivermectin story?  What if I throw in QAnon and Herman Cain?  Q Qrazy Veronica Wolski has died at Chicago's brilliantly named Resurrection Hospital because the hospital followed FDA guidelines instead of submitting to Wood's demand that she be dosed with worm paste.  Wood has accused the hospital of "medical murder" and wants to sue them.  Also his close personal friend Herman Cain, who got sick at a no-masks Trump rally, was a victim of malpractice according to Wood, although horse medicine was not even a topic last year.  Whiplash Willie Wood believes the First Amendment also comes into it.  This is too rich, I shouldn't have had all that Schadenfreude.  

A crime wave is sweeping Kimberling City, Missouri, following the resignation of the entire police department.  We're talking about five people, but still.  Reasons range from "not enough money" to "no clerk to handle the paperwork."  The county sheriff is covering while the mayor looks for replacements.

The personnel problem is more serious at Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville, New York, where thirty people have quit rather than get vaccinated against covid.  The hospital is no longer able to offer maternity or newborn services.  Is it wrong that I hope these people never work in medicine again and have long careers as Walmart greeters?  It's not just pregnant women who will need to keep their legs crossed or find another hospital -- this man just died of a heart ailment because he couldn't find an ICU bed within two hundred miles of Cullman, Alabama.  Cullman should ring a bell as the site of a Trump superspreader event last month.  See, Lin, that's medical murder.

To make matters worse, if possible, a federal judge in Utica blocked New York's vaccine mandate for a bunch of medical workers who hid behind pseudonyms while complaining about the violation of their religious beliefs (the vaccines are produced with cell lines from aborted fetuses, which are fetish objects among the superstitious). 

The job embalmers do is hard to read about in normal circumstances.  Patrick Huey has done it in central Texas for thirty years and has been honored by his colleagues.  Read his account of dealing with covid corpses, if you dare.

To end on a lighter note, was it only yesterday I predicted someone would ask Secretary of State Blinken a brain-breakingly stupid question at the Senate Foreign Relations hearing?  Over and over?  Nailed it.  




Monday, September 13, 2021

Wild, weird week no. 465

A California man with multiple knives, a machete and a bayonet was arrested in front of the Democratic National Committee offices in Washington.  To make the job of the Capitol Police easier, Donald Craighead decorated his truck with a swastika and "other white supremacist symbols" and apparently drove three thousand miles without a license plate to attend next Saturday's Trumpsapalooza.  In a statement of thanks to police the DNC executive director Sam Cornale considered it necessary to add, "DNC employees are real human beings who fight tirelessly for a better America."  Tourists like Craighead are the reason the Capitol is again surrounded by barbed wire.

Christo is dead but people are still wrapping things up.  These women came all the way from Brisbane to see the Arc de Triomphe but no!  (Actually I don't know where they are from, maybe down the street.  It all seems rather silly though.)

 Salesforce advised all employees that it will help them and their families relocate if they do not want to live under the anti-choice law of Howdy Arabia a/k/a Texas.  This follows similar announcements by dating apps Bumble and Match.  Lyft and Uber have said they will cover the legal expenses of drivers who are charged with crimes under the Driving Somebody Who Looked Pregnant To a Clinic law.  Cheer up, Greg, maybe Hobby Lobby will open a store somewhere.  How's that rape-abolition thing going?

Thomas Stemen slipped up behind Katie Peters in a Churchton, Maryland, supermarket and stabbed her in the buttock with a syringe containing his semen.  He just got ten years for assault.  In Texas she would get ten years for going to the police.

"I don't intend to die on the Court," says Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, but he also won't retire.  I don't know what he has planned but it should be exciting.  Meanwhile Sister Barrett told the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville -- yeah, that McConnell -- that "this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks."  (Laughter.)  It's not hard to see why SCOTUS's approval rating has dipped below 50 percent.  

George Bush got a lot of positive response when he warned about domestic extremism at Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, but the implied criticism has triggered the Orange One.  "The World Trade Center came down during his watch!" Trump raved.  "He shouldn't be lecturing anybody!"  (Whenever Trump talks about that day he focuses on buildings -- how he saw them fall, how he immediately decided he now owned the tallest building in Lower Manhattan.  It's as creepy as Hitler's paintings of Vienna with no people in them.)  How does Trump know that when Bush said, "So much of our politics has become a naked appeal to anger, fear and resentment" he wasn't talking about "antifa" or Black Lives Matter?  Guilty conscience much, Donnie?

Anthony Blinken was testifying about Afghanistan to the House Foreign Affairs Committee when Scott Perry (R-PA) decided to ask him about the FBI investigation of Hunter Biden.  This is why Republicans cannot be trusted to run a fruit stand, and why the last thing the country needs is a "big strong Republican Party" no matter what Nancy Pelosi says.  We need one we can drown in a bathtub, and that is not a metaphor.  Tomorrow Blinken will face the corresponding Senate committee and some idiot will probably ask about Central American caravans or Ivermectin.

Intriguing article in today's Atlantic, "How Hollywood Sold Out To China."  The people who make movies tailor them to please the rulers in Beijing so they can reach China's vast audience.  If you're surprised, I recommend Ben Urwand's The Collaboration:  Hollywood's Pact With Hitler.  In the 1930s studio heads, most of them Jewish, tailored their movies to please Joseph Goebbels and reach the lucrative German market.  Plus ca change...


Sunday, September 12, 2021

The third decade

 And so we begin the next twenty years of never forgetting.  Although technically if you never forget you can never remember because you never stopped remembering.  But anyway.

Mick Brigden, tour manager for the Rolling Stones and other acts, has died in a bizarre gardening accident.  Stop laughing, this is not Spinal Tap.  Brigden was apparently digging a grave for his dog.  I have no other details.  Having lost their drummer and their tour manager, any lesser band would be reconsidering their fall tour.  The Stones have added a performance in Los Angeles.  These guys!

A resident of Prince George's County, Maryland, made the following call to police:  "I'm telling you I haven't been drinking and I haven't done any drugs.  There are zebras in my backyard."  Sure enough, five of them had escaped from a farm where a total of thirty-nine live.   Someone thought it would be funny to accuse Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) of liberating the animals.  Her office issued a good-humored denial.  As of today the zebras are still at large.

Joni Ernst (R-Idiot) thinks Biden's vaccine mandate is a "diversion" from the 9/11 commemoration, which in her -- mind? -- is somehow connected to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.  No, Senator Breadbags, that's why he created Hurricane Ida.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (Arrr-TX) is threatening revolt (unspecified) if the Democratic tyrants won't "leave people the hell alone" to sicken one another and die of covid.  

Unable to resist free eats, Rudolph Giuliani showed up at Cipriani's restaurant last night to unveil his new comedy act, which features impersonating Queen Elizabeth II and lying about the honorary knighthood she laid on him twenty years ago.  Then there were attacks on Biden, General Milley and Prince Andrew ("I never went out with him.  Ever.  Never!  Never had a drink with him, never was with a woman or a young girl with him!").  Good move, reminding everybody of your role in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.  Careful, Roodles, Anthony Blunt lost his knighthood over less.

Speaking of the queen, she has entered the "We do not give a fuck" portion of her reign.  Earlier this week a "senior aide" told Channel 4 that she supports Black Lives Matter.  As a matter of policy she will not say so; but she sent a special message of congratulation to Emma Raducanu after the unseeded teenager won the U.S. Open.  Taunting female athletes who don't always perform brilliantly has become the favorite pastime of doughy chair jockeys like Piers Morgan this season, even when he can't spell their names correctly.  After calling her "not 'brave,' just a shame," he was first in line to claim credit when she won.  I won't be surprised if Weary Piery is named "Lord Muck" in the New Year's Honors List.

On a personal note, I was outraged that the Metropolitan Opera chose to end its lockdown and commemorate the 9/11 attacks with a performance of Verdi's Requiem.  Don't they know how badly he treated his mistress Giuseppina Strepponi?  He wrecked her voice by making her sing Abigaille in Nabucco.  He refused to marry her because he hated the Catholic Church.  He forced her to put all their children up for adoption.  The man was a monster.  His music should be banned.

Of course I'm being sarcastic.  It would be a drab world if we could only enjoy the work of artists who led impeccable private lives.  I love Wagner's music even though he was a raging anti-Semite, and when I look at a Caravaggio painting or read a play by Ben Jonson my first thought is not "But he killed a man!"  Look, Chinatown is a brilliant movie, Sinatra was a hell of a singer, and when Rowan Farrow does something as good as Crimes and Misdemeanors wake me up.

Also Yannick Nezet-Seguin is a terrific conductor.  I hope he stays with the Met long enough for me to memorize his name.



Saturday, September 11, 2021

Class and crass

 Saying "Virginia is done with lost causes," Governor Northam's spokesman called off the search for the  time capsule -- "this moldy Confederate box" -- supposedly buried beneath the Lee statue.  Whatever was in there -- an advertisement for a livery stable, the missing pages from John Wilkes Booth's diary -- is gone forever. 

Trump decided to mark September 11th with whatever generic-brand social media he still has, calling it "a sad day" and attacking Biden for the withdrawal from Afghanistan.  (We were so close to Total Victory!)  He also extended congratulations to "Rudy Giuliani (for the 20th time!)" for the "leadership" he showed after his emergency command center was demolished along with the rest of the World Trade Center.  (Sorry, Rudolph, no money for you.)  Then he went off to get a manicure and a hair sculpting before the big fiasco fight.

Not to be outdone in filth, Rudolph tweeted::  "It's a sin to politicize the 9/11 ceremony.  I don't recognize any of the people up front being here that day saving lives."  Translation:  "To politicize" means "When a Democrat says anything about anything."  The rest is an expression of deep love for the firefighters who escaped from the towers despite his cheap-ass radios.  Joe Biden has made 9/11 "excruciating" for poor Rudolph instead of a joyous celebration of the one day he wasn't too shitfaced to do his job, more or less.  (George Bush -- you remember, guy with megaphone -- made a speech in Shanksville condemning "violent extremists at home."  Not politicizing the day, see above.)

Paulie Veneto, a 62-year-old retired flight attendant, pushed a drinks trolley from Boston to New York in honor of "brothers and sisters" who died that day.  It took him two weeks.

Flight attendants are under daily assault for doing their jobs, but when Biden suggested Americans stop behaving like airborne cage fighters Jeanine Pirro lost her mind:  "Maybe some of the flight attendants ought to show some respect to us, OK?" she screeched.   Seatbelts, face masks, what's next, getting your seat number tattooed on your arm?  Tyranny!

Nickelback thought it would be clever to remind AP Planner that today is also the twentieth anniversary of their "Silver Side Up" album.  It wasn't.

You get a Trump! and you get a Trump!  If you pony up nearly fifty dollars to watch the "fight" on Pay-Per-View you will hear, at no further cost, Donnie Jr. discussing aliens with Daddy Sir, just like real boxing commentators.  Junior solicited recommendations from his many Twitter followers for other topics they might cover, as they don't know each other well.  It was pretty funny.  Remember, Junior, if Daddy tells you to get him Coke he means the drink, not the powder.

Back in 1934 Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia pushed through a ban on street performances of music known as busking or minstrelsy.  He said it was for purposes of noise abatement; critics said that as an Italian-American he was offended by organ grinders and their monkeys.  New York continues to make life hard on public performers.  Kanami Kusajima is a dancer whose image was used on the city's "No Stopping New York" poster, but she is regularly hassled by the police for dancing in public.  Apparently the city's warm and fuzzy come-together era is officially over.

In 2001, nobody complained about tyranny.  They put on the mask.




Thursday, September 09, 2021

The displeasure of the president


This is former White House press secretary and dancer with the stars Sean Spicer.  He is not smiling right now because President Biden told him, Kellyanne Conway and a bunch of other Trump loyalists to vacate their posts on the boards of the military academies.  In fact he and Conway are telling him they're not going and are suing because they really need the paychecks that go with these McJobs.  Easter bunny work is seasonal.

The president is also fed up with federal employees who contribute to the pandemic by refusing to get vaccinated.  His executive order requires they quit whining and get the shot, along with companies that employ more than a hundred people or receive federal contracts.   It sounds like he's serious.

This Saturday, September 11, mixed martial artist Vitor Belfort and 58-year-old Evander Holyfield will meet at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, for what is described as a heavyweight fight.  Biden should appoint Holyfield to some board so he won't have to risk his life this way.  Speaking of over-the-hill palookas in need of a paycheck, ringside commentary will be provided by Donald J. Trump, who has no time for the memorial stuff that suckers like Biden are expected to do for free.  At the weigh-in he boasted that he could knock out Biden "within the first few seconds."  Maybe leave the trash talk to the fighters, Tubby.

"Love the party, love the country, advocate morality and art" is the theme of an entertainment industry symposium in China and not in Texas as you might think.  CCP officials warned celebrities to "consciously oppose the decadent ideas of money worship, hedonism and extreme individualism" and "abandon vulgar and kitsch inferior tastes."  They're also expected to "pass positive energy silently to the audience," whatever that means.  So, no Real Housewives of Kunming, I guess, unless they get together to drink chardonnay and sing "The East Is Red."

Next door North Korea was holding a midnight parade to mark Kim Jong-un's stunning weight loss and the 73rd anniversary of the country's founding.  No ballistic missiles but marchers in stylish orange hazmat suits stole the show.  Where can I get?  The Mu variant is days away.

Workers dismantling the Lee statue in Richmond are searching for an 1887 time capsule supposedly buried in the plinth, so far without success.  It's said to contain a photograph of Lincoln in his coffin even though those were not permitted.    

Take a breath and relax:  Gavin Newsom must be doing well in the California recall farce because Trump is already yelling "FRAUD AT POLLS!"  Maybe Larry Elder shouldn't have said he'd somehow remove Dianne Feinstein (which governors can't actually do) and appoint Stephen Miller.  


It's early for Christmas shopping but Rand Paul shared this picture of him enjoying a gun display.  But what is he doing with the other hand?

Texas women and girls are now legally required to bear their rapists' babies but Greg Abbott says no problem, Texas will just "eliminate rape."  Just as Trump eliminated covid by not testing.  Magic! 

The New York Times had to step off, a little, after publishing a think piece about how people don't like that Joe Biden still grieves for his son Beau.  The New York Times can kiss a hippo. 



Plinth for sale or rent

 As of yesterday there is a big empty plinth in Richmond where the bronze statue of Robert E. Lee and his horse used to be, and the argument about what to put in its place is already in an advanced state of mutual incomprehension.  Ol' Bobby was so big and heavy he had to be cut in half before removal and is now doubtless in the process of becoming twelve tons of curtain rods or something.  A handful of Friends of the Late Unpleasantness were filing pleas up to the last minute, but Justice S. Bernard Goodwyn of the Virginia Supreme Court swatted them away as "Lost Cause fetishism" (President Biden, keep this man in mind when you save America by expanding SCOTUS).  Then Governor Ralph Northam live-tweeted the unceremonious removal.

The nation's loudest, dumbest racist would love to see the Lee statue replaced with another Lee statue, of course, probably in his favorite color, gold.  In his new role as educator-in-chief Trump issued a statement so full of lies, idiocies and cheap politicking it would take hours to...all right, "Robert E. Lee is considered by many Generals [sic] to be the greatest strategist of them all.  President Lincoln wanted him to command the North, in which case the war would have been over in one day."  It's true that Lincoln offered the command to Lee; the rest is opinion and horseshit.  It goes on like that, stuff he probably got from Shelby Foote in the Burns documentary.  If Lee was really a "unifying force after the war," Virginia would not have waited until 1890 to honor him and nobody would have spent years fighting to get rid of the thing.  The rest you can guess (I don't know why I let this fool trigger me), the "Radical Left" is destroying our "culture" and we would have conquered Afghanistan if only a "genius" like Lee was in charge.  I should leave it up to Rep. Conor Lamb, who retorted, "I guess Trump & Robert E. Lee both know how it feels to suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of pro-democracy forces in Pennsylvania."  

As a reader of history, can I address the myth of the genius-general?  It's crap.  They tend to be admired by the military historians without necessarily winning their wars because so many other factors are involved, in Lee's case the overwhelming superiority of the North in numbers and industrial capacity.  Hannibal was probably smarter than any Roman general, surely more audacious in crossing the Alps with elephants.  Rommel was a better strategist than Eisenhower, Zhukov, and everybody else on the winning side including Patton.  Winning makes you look smart, even if you're a plodder like Douglas Haig.

Now, as to the empty forty-foot granite plinth.  "Nature abhors a vacuum," said Aristotle, although a couple of guys at Tulane would differ.  There are already calls to put someone else in Lee's place.  I counsel caution.  

The most famous empty plinth in the world is to be found in Trafalgar Square.  Two of the square's four corners contain statues of Henry Havelock and Charles James Napier, generals who symbolize the Raj and British imperialism.  Both suppressed Indian uprisings in the nineteenth century.  (Napier's alleged witty pun on retaking Sindh in 1844, the one-word cable "Peccavi"--"I have sinned"-- was actually the work of Catherine Winkworth -- I know, a man given credit for a woman's work, shocking.)  A third plinth holds an equestrian statue of King George IV.  The fourth was intended for his brother King William IV, but the money ran out.  Or they decided one fat Hanoverian on a horse was enough.  Anyway it remains vacant, site of temporary installations and more recently performance art.  It's easier, cheaper and less divisive than another referendum on who should occupy it permanently.  Given the reactions to the statue of Mel Gibson as William Wallace freshly unveiled at Brechin City football ground, probably just as well.  Not a golden age of representational sculpture:

The problem with public statuary is that fashions change and today's heroes are tomorrow's embarrassments.  What goes up must come down, at least in the opinion of the next generation, and people have been injured while engaging in ad hoc depositions.  It's not inconceivable that a hundred years from now, public opinion will call for the demolition of Lei Yixin's statue of Martin Luther King on the National Mall.  (Planned Parenthood removed Margaret Sanger's name from its headquarters because a hundred years ago she supported eugenics.  The Theodore Roosevelt statue no longer greets visitors to the American Museum of Natural History, having been found racist.  It could happen.)

The first statues were objects of worship -- gods, goddesses, pharaohs, deified emperors.  The answer, I believe, is to stop erecting statues of human beings.  (Stop defacing mountains, too.  That goes without saying.)  Nobody is perfect enough to worship, certainly not half-forgotten generals and politicians.  Not Ruth Bader Ginsburg, not John Lewis, not even Ralph Kramden.


Take down the plinth.  It's the only way.