Pulp Fiction Thursday: Howard Hunt

All of this talk about Watergate has me thinking of E. Howard Hunt: White House plumber, Watergate conspirator, CIA agent, Bay Of Pigs handler and hack novelist. Hunt wrote dozens of pulpy paperbacks under his own name and a variety of pen names, most notably Robert Dietrich. Here are a few books from the man I call the master of disaster:

Bimini Run, 1952howard-hunt-the-violent-ones


Who among us has forgotten the immortal Steve Bentley? Everyone? I’m not surprised at all. Actually, those spy potboilers were Hunt’s most successful tomes. He had to use a pseudonym because he was a spook and so was Steve Bentley. Bentley, however, was a slick right wing spy and Hunt earned the nickname I bestowed on him long ago, the master of disaster. I wish I could claim that inspired this John Hiatt song but it did not:

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Odds & Sods: Dogs, Ducks and Populist Balladeer Edition

the-who odds--sods

It’s time once again for my newish semi-regular feature. Let’s climb aboard the magic omnibus for another magical misery tour of what’s going on in this crazy world.

Gone To The Dogs: I have an admission to make. While I enjoy Stewart and Colbert, I’m not a regular viewer. The main reason is that I don’t want to steal shtick from them. I want to make my own bad jokes about politics. I respect them, it’s *hard* to do what they do, even with a full-blown staff, on a daily basis. I was one of the least shocked people in America when Colbert took the CBS Late Night gig. It’s hard to stay in character for that long and not feel burnt out. Besides, they backed a Brink’s truck up to his house…

Now that I’ve said that, let’s turn to John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight. It has many of the virtues of the aforementioned shows and the advantage of being on once a week, which means they can edit out some unfunny bits. He can also say fuck without being fucking bleeped. Fuck yeah.

That was a long way of introducing Oliver’s absolutely brilliant casting of dogs as Supreme Court Justices. Since the Supremes refuse to allow teevee cameras into their stuffily sacred precinct, all we ever hear are audio clips. And it took almost a century after radio came into being for that to happen.

Anyway, Oliver offered footage to any news organzation who wanted to use dogs playing judges and lawyers to spice up their SCOTUS coverage:

Rachel Maddow said that she’d “totally use it” if she were the Goddess of NBC News. I totally hope that she totally uses it on her own show. Totally.

More oddities and sodities after the break.

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Parting the Red Sea

Uterus-not-havers, buckle up, cuz we talkin’ ’bout menstruation today.

My first period happened when I was 11. Every roughly 20-26 days after that, I got to bleed for another 8. The first two nights I didn’t get to sleep because they did not make feminine hygiene products that could deal with the amount of blood I lost. My cramps were so bad that my choices were “knock self out with Excedrin” or “be screaming in pain” and I’m not actually exaggerating this time.

I mention this because if there happened to be a math test on day 1 of “that special time” when I was “not at my best” because my “vagina was bleeding”? I was completely and totally screwed. Roughly once a month I was physically incapable of being a functional member of society, not because of any sort of social taboo or “moon hut” or whatever, but because my body was attempting self-seppuku. I was actually ecstatic when my period showed up on a weekend because while it completely ruined my weekend, at least I wasn’t missing obligations.

When I was 21 I found out that the birth control pill could be used to at least help regulate that sort of thing and might even make things a little less awful. When I finally got around to telling my parents that I was on the pill, it was in the context of being out shopping on day 1 of my period and my mother stopped and stared at me with her mouth open like “holy shit you can move?!” Last summer I got a hormonal IUD implanted and I haven’t had a period since – and I have never felt so much like an actual, functional member of society. This is what half of society feels like all the time, with no interruptions to their concentration or having to think about crap did that tampon just blow out and I need to get to the bathroom to check but I have to finish out this meeting because it’s important and nope there go my favorite work khakis and my pride.

We’re so squeamish as a society about menstruation, we’re fighting to get contraceptives removed from obligate insurance coverage because SLUTS, but the unfortunate side effect of that is not just that people with uteruses who like having sex with people with penises might occasionally be “punished” with unwanted babies but also that we’re Keeping Women In Their Places because they can’t afford to choose when and if Aunt Flo shows up or what force she shows up with. And that’s some bullshit right there.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: How Will The Wolf Survive?

We saw Los Lobos at the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival last Saturday. They were spectacular as always. I was too busy bopping to the music to take any snaps of them playing whilst the streetcar rolled behind them. It was an inopportune moment for a photo-op. So it goes.

Los Lobos is on a 40th anniversary tour so they played large chunks of their stellar 1984 debut album How Will The Wolf Survive? It put them on the map  and even finished #30 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 100 albums of the 1980’s.

The album’s art design was done by Kav Deluxe, who sounds like a really fancy car and the cover illustration was by Elizabeth Brady.

Wolf cover
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Working Mothers and the Promotion Thereof

The Stir lists the “10 Hardest Moments for Working Mothers.”

Not among them: Realizing that when you subtract childcare from your salary you make less than minimum wage. And then realizing that even at minimum wage you still need the money too much to quit.

I’m not saying the female CEO with kids doesn’t have problems, but for fuck’s sake, I’m just about done pretending every working mother is at an office and her biggest issue is angst over missing the school play. Poor women, poor mothers, have always worked, and always missed school plays or first words, because they were busy making sure their children had trivial things like enough to eat. Their hardest moments were along the lines of writing the rent check and they weren’t spending their lunch hours fucking around reading The Stir.

Lady-shaming middle-class and upper-class professional women is not okay, but neither is ignoring the fact that lots of women work not out of a desire to fulfill themselves but out of a powerful need to put a roof over their and their children’s heads. Not all women have a partner, not all women’s partners are able to work, and not all women need the same benefits from their employers.


Death Without a Theme Song

I carry Kick on my left hip. She’s in this phase where she wants to be held, all the time, and if I want to get anything done at all, I have to do it one-handed while bouncing her, and I’m right-handed. So I carry her on my left hip.

Four days ago my lower back started complaining. This isn’t unusual, though it’s generally not bad enough to make me throw up. Iced it, heat-padded it, and shoved some of my leftover C-section painkillers in my face. No relief.

(There are very good evolutionary reasons to have children when you are 19 and could eat Tupperware and lift hay bales and be just fine in the morning, turns out. I’m not saying that’s when you’re mentally prepped, but damn, my 19-year-old body would have aced this shit.)

Three days ago the pain migrated around to my left side and got worse. More ice, more painkillers, begging Kick to learn to walk early, hot baths. Saturday night brandy was applied with some success, but by Sunday morning I wound up in Urgent Care.

And the first question I was asked was if I had traveled to West Africa in the past three weeks.

I am not faulting the nurses here. The one who asked me this was rolling her eyes and she knew this was stupid and a waste of time, and said over the past week at least three crackpots, inspired by CNN, showed up in full Hazmat gear. Two of them had the flu. One, she thought, was just bored.

That’s a great use of our overstressed, understaffed hospitals’ time and energy: 

The economic costs of epidemics are often out of proportion to their death toll. The outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 is estimated to have caused over $50 billion-worth of damage to the global economy, despite infecting only about 8,000 people and causing fewer than 800 deaths. That is because panic and confusion can be as disruptive as the disease itself. Studies of past outbreaks have shown that lethal diseases that lack a cure tend to provoke overreactions. This is true even if the risk of transmission is low, as is the case with Ebola.

Poverty will kill more people this week than Ebola. Preventable cancers, malnutrition, gun violence, will kill more people in a single night than Ebola will in the lifetime of the world. It’s getting colder outside, and that cold will kill more people in one neighborhood of one city than Ebola will worldwide.

Those people’s deaths aren’t fodder for morning news segments and they’re not the subject of talk shows and nobody but nobody is demanding the president do anything to protect them. Nobody will politicize their tragedy, nobody will make money watching them die or garner ratings by shaming the health care workers who will try to help them, and therefore there is nothing to write a catchy chyron about.

I don’t have Ebola. I have an inflamed sacroiliac joint, like an 80-year-old, and should learn to do stuff with my left hand so as to vary the pressure on my hips and back. Mr. A gets to hold the baby a lot more for a few days, I get some muscle relaxers and a lecture about “taking it easy,” and we all go back to business as usual.


You Say Tsar, I Say Kaiser

Kaiser Wilhelm II. und Zar Nikolaus II.

If you’re like me, you remember one of the silliest and most vapid bits of wingnut anti-Obama tomfoolery from 2009. It was engaged in by people who were not fools named Tom, merely fools, but that’s another story. Enough beating about the bush: it was the right’s obsession with all the so-called “tsars” appointed in various areas by President Obama.  I prefer the British spelling to the Americanized czar because it’s closer to the cryillic. I don’t want to offend any dudes named Cyril out there. End of deeply silly linguistic discussion.

Most Gopers beat the drums about the so-called tsarist plague, it was almost as if Rasputin brought his filthy beard and BO-plenty cassock into the White House when the Obamas moved in. Not that most wingnuts know exactly who or what a tsar was. They just know it’s furrin; therefore bad to the bone.

Our old pal Senator Walnuts was among those baying at the moon, demanding no mo tsars in 2009.That was then, this is now:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday called for President Obama to nominate an Ebola “czar” to coordinate the administration’s response to the deadly virus.

“I’d like to know who’s in charge,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The senator’s appearance followed news from Dallas early Sunday that a second Ebola patient had been identified – a healthcare worker who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the first U.S. Ebola patient, who died last week.

McCain said his constituents in Arizona are “not comforted” and “need more reassurance.”

In the past, McCain had been critical of Obama’s use of so-called “czars” to name lead officials on particular matters. In 2009, McCain tweeted that Obama had “more czars than the Romanovs — who ruled Russia for 3 centuries.”

Not only did Walnuts reverse himself and call for an Ebola tsar, he did so in his happy place: on a Sunday show. I’m glad to know that this fake “crisis” is more important than having someone in charge of, say, saving the American automobile industry with a so-called car tsar. Hmm, I wonder if the Prez asked Ric Ocasek or Elliot Easton to take that job. They were just what we needed.

When the President did appoint an Ebola co-ordinator, former Gore and Biden aide, Ron Klain, the Republicans attacked the pick. How could they attack someone who was played by Kevin Fucking Spacey in the HBO movie, Recount? Next thing you know, they’ll attack Ed Harris who played McCain in the HBO movie, Game Change. The WaPo’s Dana Milbank pointed out the absurdity of this sitch on the Tweeter Tube:

Back to the post title. I have long disliked the term tsar, so when C Ray Nagin appointed Ed Blakely to be NOLA’s unrecovery co-ordinator, I proposed that he be called the Katrina Kaiser. My idea was brilliant: it’s alliterative and K is the funniest letter in the alphabet. My suggestion fell on deaf ears and Blakely was called the Katrina tsar.

Here’s my helpful suggestion to Republicans: use the term KAISER, so you won’t be called out and ridiculed for suddenly favoring TSARS. I am not usually in the business of helping GOPers, but I have a dog in this hunt and it’s one in a silly pointed Kraut helmet. Think about it, y’all. It’s a win-win sitch for me: they either take my sage advice or ignore it and I can mock them for doing so.

Finally, this bit of tomfoolery was inspired, not by Tom and Jerry or Tom Seaver, but by Rachel Maddow. Rachel has a habit of using the phrase “common wisdom” instead of the more, uh, common, “conventional wisdom.” This used to drive me nuts until I finally realized that she’s like me with tsar and kaiser: she prefers common to conventional and is trying to drive the term in that direction. That puts me in good company, at least I hope so. I can’t sing like Paul Rodgers, so I can’t be Bad Company…

Btw, I refuse to capitalize tsar or kaiser because I think royalty is stupid. Hell, the Greeks had a German king, what kind of sense did that make? It did mean that Greece had good beer earlier than some other countries, but otherwise it’s dumber than the Maine school board who gave a teacher 21 days off because they’d been in Dallas. I swear I am not making this up, I heard about it from my boy Lex. I guess they read too much Stephen King.

You say tsar, I say kaiser. Let’s call the whole thing off. Instead of Gershwin, I’ll play the earworm I caught at the end of a particularly punny passage in this post:

Boardwalk Empire Thread: Friendless Child


Nucky Thompson starts the penultimate episode of Boardwalk Empire fighting a gang war that he has no chance of winning. It’s hard being a fictional gangster up against real world criminals who live long and prosper. Nucky’s empire once looked sold and substantial, but it’s being swept away like sand by someone much more ruthless than he’s ever been: Charlie Lucky Luciano.

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Ignorant Racist Fucknutted Assholes Credit Kids for Their Racist Ignorant Fucknut Assholery

It’s all about THE CHILDREN: 

“I don’t feel comfortable sending my daughter to school with people who could be infected with ebola.”

“Really concerns me. I don’t want to keep my boy out of school.”

“Tell us when we come into the door. Don’t smile in my face and have a secret like that.”

“Anybody from that area should just stay there until all this stuff is resolved. There’s nobody affected here; let’s just keep it that way.”

“I think for another couple weeks. I don’t think it would hurt, I mean you have a lot of children that are involved, so I don’t think it would hurt.”

“That area.”

Please kill me.

I don’t feel comfortable sending MY kid to school with a bunch of people who are this fucking dumb. I don’t feel comfortable sending MY kid to school if yours is being raised by somebody who thinks Rwanda and Liberia are the same country because Africa, never mind the two billion sources of information on everything to do with Ebola being available right now. I don’t feel comfortable exposing MY child to the highly contagious disease known as middle-class white smug horseshit, which is fucking airborne, and EVERYWHERE.

Once and for all the marbles, do not cloak your own chickenshittedness in concern for your kids. They don’t deserve to bear the burden of justifying your opinions, your racism, your compassionless shrugging off of your goddamn obligation to live like a grownup. They don’t need this kind of “concern,” they don’t want it, and it is not their job to be your reason for being a fucking asshole.

OWN YOUR SHIT. You want to run fraidy-cat style from every black person you see and act all relieved that now you can call it some kind of public health initiative instead of your usual “furriners is weird, Ethel” mental shorthand? You just do that, and leave your kids out of it. They’re going to have plenty to overcome as it is, being raised by you.


Paragraph Of The Day: Rick Bragg Edition

One of the South’s best prose stylists, Rick Bragg, has written a biography of the crazy rock and roll legend, Jerry Lee Lewis. There’s an excerpt in the Guardian and this paragraph is pure gold:

“There was rockabilly. There was Elvis. But there was no pure rock’n’roll before Jerry Lee Lewis kicked in the door,” says Jerry Lee Lewis. Some historians may debate that, but there was no one like him, just the same; even the ones who claimed to be first, who claimed to be progenitors, borrowed it from some ghost who vanished in the haze of a delta field or behind the fences of a prison farm. People who played with him across the years say he can conjure a thousand songs and play each one seven ways. He can make your high-heel sneakers shake the floorboards, or lift you over the rainbow, or kneel with you at the old rugged cross. He can holler “Hold on, I’m comin’” or leave you at the house of blue lights. Or he can just be still, his legend, the legend of rock’n’roll, already cut into history in sharper letters than the story of his life. Sam Phillips of Sun Records, a man who snagged lightning four or five times, called him “the most talented man I ever worked with, black or white… one of the most talented human beings to walk God’s earth.”

Jerry Lee is as modest as ever. I, for one, am glad that the old reprobate didn’t shoot Rick Bragg. The mere thought leaves me:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “I’m a traveling ban!” edition

Good morning, all.  Well, the iso chamber is usually in use to keep the toxic Freeper sludge in, but we might be better off kicking them out and sealing ourself in. Meanwhile, the Freepers want to pull up the ladder and keep any sanity from getting in.

I do, however, find it amusing that the same Republicans who have been calling President Obama a “Dictator”, a “Tyrant”. etc – are now screaming for him to be one -Shutting down other countries’ flights, sealing up the border like Kim Jung Un.
Amusing, and predictable.

Anyway – don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

Why a travel ban wouldn’t work
Politico ^ | Oct 16th, 2014 | By HEATHER CAYGLE and KATHRYN A. WOLFE

Posted on 10‎/‎16‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎56‎:‎07‎ ‎PM by Mariner

he political momentum for a travel ban on West African nations continued to swell Thursday, but health and transportation experts were uniform in saying it wouldn’t stem the spread of Ebola — and could do more harm than good.

That hasn’t stopped politicians and pundits — ranging from House Speaker John Boehner to former Obama press secretary Jay Carney — from calling for a travel ban. The appeal is obvious: It sounds like a no-brainer to build an infectious-disease moat around the U.S., blocking some flights and barring people who come from the countries suffering the worst Ebola outbreaks.

But the reality, the experts say, is that those kinds of measures have failed before. And this time, experts inside and outside the administration warned, throttling travel would hammer already devastated West African countries, make it difficult to send relief where it’s needed, and send an unknown number of infected travelers into the shadows, increasing the difficulty of knowing how many were entering the U.S.


This article demonstrates the last delusional thrashings of a suicidal mental disorder, (Thank you Michael Savage for crystallizing that characterization for us).All their stories on this are transparently BS and they can’t see it themselves.The survivors will deal with these kinds of people before this is over.
1 posted on ‎10‎/‎16‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎56‎:‎07‎ ‎PM by Mariner
Told ya.
To: Mariner
What have we told people who have colds or the flu to do for the past hundred years or so?

“Work until you die, and if you miss any days we’ll fire you because “Right To Work”.    Goddamn Democrats.

“Stay at home, get some rest, and come back to school/work when you are feeling better, i.e. you are asymptomatic.”

Still people pump themselves full of drugs, go to school/work and get other people sick.

How does a travel ban NOT make perfect sense with all of this past history to go by?

5 posted on 10‎/‎16‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎59‎:‎35‎ ‎PM by who_would_fardels_bear
How would you intend to enforce such a ban? Tell all the international air carriers to just go broke? Strand every American overseas with no way to get home?  Does President Obama just wave his magic wand and declare all boats and planes persona non grata? Or should he stand at the end of Dulles runway 1L/19R with an Uzi?
To: Mariner
health and transportation experts were uniform in saying it wouldn’t stem the spread of Ebola — and could do more harm than good.And who the hell said their desires are more important than those of the American people?Its a longstanding progressive fantasy that a group of experts and academics make the decisions for us and it needs to stop.
10 posted on 10‎/‎16‎/‎2014‎ ‎10‎:‎02‎:‎15‎ ‎PM by cripplecreek
Yeah – because we should all be letting Alex Jones, Dead Breitbart, and The Food Bimbo make our national health policy.
To: Mariner

Listen you damn losers!!!!



What is your damn agenda?????

16 posted on 10‎/‎16‎/‎2014‎ ‎10‎:‎06‎:‎29‎ ‎PM by G Larry (Which of Obama’s policies do you think I’d support if he were white?)

Why, it’s to kill every human on the planet, you big silly.
I’ll let “Matt1234″  (you know, I have the same combination on my luggage!)  have the last word, as he strikes to the heart of the question of restricting travel:
To: Mariner
By HEATHER CAYGLE and KATHRYN A. WOLFGo make me a sandwich.
9 posted on ‎10‎/‎16‎/‎2014‎ ‎10‎:‎01‎:‎39‎ ‎PM by matt1234 (Obama fled. People bled. Iraq 2014.)
And there you have it.
More contagious stuff after the full body scrub.

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Prosecute People for Not Being Racist Anymore

Doc sent this along, and Jesus tits: 

The June issue of the paper went to print with the white space standing in for the letter, and without the word “Redskins” appearing anywhere. And this was when McGee decided to run around campus in his Quixotic attempt to collect all of the copies. This was also when the elder Pirritano made up his mind that the editors of the Playwickian should be prosecuted for their refusal to print his son’s letter.

“This in my opinion also reaches the level of a conspiracy, in any other context except a school environment it would be considered such,” Pirritano said in an email. “I see this as no different than if these students went into another students [sic] locker and stole their phone or any valuable. Theft is theft no matter how you look at it, and they admit conspiring to do such. My statement reflects that view and in my opinion a police investigation should have taken place. It also reflects my personal philosophy that taxpayers should not be on the hook for such acts and I made that known to the public that attended our meetings as well as received comments from the public that they supported such investigation.”

He’s arguing that the paper’s use of school funds is a misappropriation of tax dollars. One problem though: the final issue of the school year, historically, has been paid for by the students themselves. June 2014 was no different.

On July 2, Gayle Spoul, an attorney hired to represent the Playwickian‘s editors, wrote to Michael Levin, an attorney retained by the school district to sort out this issue: “It is inconceivable to me that the District would decide to expend time and ‘funds’ to ‘investigate’ and then potentially prosecute these students, who are simply attempting to stand up for the rights guaranteed them by the Constitution and Pennsylvania law.”

For more background see Doc’s post here.

We are so far up the ass of the bully society at this point that somebody wanted to jail people who aren’t bullies. That’s where we’re at with the conservative pushback against … I don’t know, being told not to be such racist fucksticks anymore. It seems to rise to the level of conspiracy to misuse taxpayer resources? Really? This is literally a federal case?

I’m still waiting for somebody, anybody, to tell me what we get out of continuing to punch down here, in this case and in the case of the Washington Redskins and every other case in which team names and mascots are offensive. How do we benefit from this, this middle finger to anybody who dares say maybe don’t take my identity and use it for your entertainment?

How do those of us who are white, straight, otherwise unencumbered by constant demeaning in various forms of media make ourselves any better by this? What is the fucking POINT? And no, the unbearable burden of having to reprint some T-shirts and shit does not rise to the level of the Trail of Tears, so just stop with that shit.


‘the real reason newspapers are failing’

Keep pissing off your customers, guys. I’m sure eventually it’ll result in profit: 

Ken Bilderback writes: “Another reason newspapers are failing. We subscribe to The Oregonian. The good news is that we will get the Thanksgiving and Christmas papers we’re paying for. The bad news is that our subscription will be shortened because of it.”

Forget that it’s catastrophically shitty business practice. I don’t understand how this isn’t illegal. “You paid for this thing, with a certain understanding. And because we’re making more money on our ‘special’ papers, we need to gouge you for a few more bucks, in order to … make more money on what we’re already making more money on! So the contract you entered into with us is no longer valid, and we decided that on our own. SUCKS TO BE YOU BYE.”


Sunday Morning Video: The Jayhawks On Austin City Limits

Ignore the date on the video. This appearance by the Rainy Day Music band occurred in 2004:

Here’s some lagniappe, an audio file of Gary and company on the radio in 2003 with an introduction by Stephen King:


Weekend Question Thread

Favorite fall activity?

One of the things I’m really enjoying about life with Kick is that it helps me to do things other than lay around on Saturday and watch Netflix. I’m solitary and lazy by default, so having a pint-sized excuse to hit the farmer’s market (on days when she’ll only nap in her stroller) or visit a pumpkin patch (at almost nine months she TOTALLY cares about the petting zoo, I know she does) is keeping me from hibernating early.


Escape Plan

I spent my day in the southern part of the state talking to some high school journalists, so this is a bit late. On the way there, I had to take some of the more rural highways to get from point to point, winding me through the various hills and valleys around the farms and small towns along the way.

I used to love these drives, as the farms were idyllic and the occasional “FOR SALE” signs on junky trucks and old muscle cars led to flights of fancy in my mind. I often loved the way in which the weaving roads and the sound of the engine kept me thinking about how lucky I was to live in this area.

This time, every turn was another bout with crippling depression. Instead of the cars and trucks on the sides of the road, all I saw was “WE STAND WITH SCOTT WALKER” signs.

They were everywhere, each one larger than the previous one.

In spite of the recent polling data that showed an almost dead heat between Walker and Mary Burke, the scenes on the side of the road were unrelentingly bleak. In watching the debate tonight, I don’t see this getting much better over the next three weeks.

(SIDE NOTE: You have a virtual sausage fest here on the panel and they’re all dick smacking each other to try to come up with the most horrible sports analogies as part of their really bad questions. Swear to God, the Wisconsin Broadcasting Association needs to post a “Your IQ must be this high to ride the debate” sign at the door of this place…)

Burke might be a great person, a smart person and a savvy business person, but she really sucks at energizing people or giving me any hope that she’ll win. Walker is slicker than buttered snot and every time I hear him speak, my blood pressure goes up by five points and I just want to scream, “You lying brainless cocksucker!”

And that’s just after he says, “Good evening.”

Given his slashing of education budgets, the slaughter of public unions and the general sense that he’s beholden to the rich, I have never felt more fearful of an election than I am right now. To recast a John Oliver-ism, anyone with a brain should understand that if you had to choose between Scott Walker and the minions of Hell, you choose the minions of Hell. I don’t understand how people can’t see this. It’s one of those things that seems so patently obvious to me that I can’t believe people wouldn’t see it too.

It makes me fearful of what state I have come home to.

About seven years ago, we decided to come back to Wisconsin. We left ten years earlier but we always considered this to be our home. Both of our sets of parents were here, as were our grandparents. Our moms both taught in the schools of the state, our fathers both worked in blue-collar jobs.

As we lived away, our grandparents died off one at a time. Our parents were getting older and sicker. We realized we needed to make a decision, so we packed our stuff and we came home.

What we found was not the “purple” state we left. What we found was a red-and-blue, oil-and-water separation that was more hostile and more hateful than ever before.

We saw pay freezes. We were furloughed. We were battered by public opinion.

I still can’t get several conversations out of my head that just left me dining on ashes.

When my wife was hired at the U, a friend (who wasn’t an idiot) told her she must be happy now that both of us were at the U since that meant we weren’t paying taxes.

Stunned, my wife asked her what the hell she was talking about.

“You guys don’t pay taxes. You’re the takers. It’s the rest of us who pay taxes.”

There was the one where people were raging at my mother about her pension.

“You don’t deserve that! Why should you have that pension when I don’t get one?” was a common refrain.

Well, you didn’t seem to mind it when they didn’t take the raises they could have had and put a bigger strain on the economy and instead took it as deferred compensation.

There are so many things I love about this state: Saturdays doing estate sales, Friday-night fish-fry options a-plenty, snow neighbors… And yet nostalgia can’t make up for pay freezes and those “hihowaya” waitstaff at local diners can’t make up for the unrelenting bile that people hold in their hearts.

It’s this kind of thing that has us pondering how long we can stay and what else we could do. It’s like we’re plotting the great escape, talking to friends at universities far and wide while holding out hope that somehow, some way this will get better.

If not for the family we have and love, we’d be gone by now, abandoning this frozen hamlet for other pastures and the only argument we’d be having is how far south is too far south. We still have parents here. We have our kid’s godparents and we are godparents as well. Because of these people we love, we cling to the idea that family matters so much to us that we can live with almost anything to maintain that ever more fragile bond.

A long time ago, a palm reader told me that my family line and my career line were joined up to a point and then they would separate. I would eventually have to make a choice as to which mattered more.

When we managed to come home, I thought maybe I’d managed to yank the lines together and things would be OK.

Maybe Thomas Wolfe was right. Maybe you can’t go home again.

Or maybe you just can’t stay there.

AHS Freak Show Thread: You Wouldn’t Know A Real Lady From A Goat’s Ass

Double headers used to be common in baseball, they’re largely extinct in the 21st Century so I thought I’d give you a double header American Horror Story: Freak Show style. Sorry for that joke but I could not help myself. Does anyone really think I’m sorry? You’ll learn after the break.

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Friday Catblogging: Pendulum Cat

I have a confession. We like to mess with our cats sometimes. Della Street makes an excellent cat pendulum as you can see below. The odd thing is how she goes limp, she’s the squirmiest kitty we’ve ever had. I guess she knows that she looks awesome. We’ll have to shoot some video so y’all can see her swing to and fro:

Pendulum Cat

The post title has given me a Creedence earworm. Here’s  a tune from (you guessed it) Pendulum:


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