Monthly Archives: December 2017

Ring It In, Bitches

Here’s to becoming a menace to our enemies this year.

Here’s to being tired and scared and DOING THE JOB ANYWAY.

Here’s to remembering nobody wants “she was very well-rested” on their motherfucking tombstone.

Here’s to saving who’s in front of us, who we can, and if all that means is saving ourselves here’s to that being enough.

Here’s to saving each other.

Here’s to reminding ’em they ain’t killed us yet.

Here’s to standing our punishment like men and women, and giving some back.

Here’s to the art that kept us alive and the money that kept us alive and the medication that kept us alive and the stories that kept us alive.

Here’s to this campfire, this hollow, this home, that you build with your words every day.

Here’s to showing our scars, not our medals. Here’s to scraping our lives dry for each other. Here’s to sleepless nights and thin morning light and the last drop of gas in the tank.

We’re not in this for peace, assholes.

Quo vadimus. Can’t stop the signal. Get it done.

What do you hear?

Nothin’ but the rain.

A.

It’s Not Too Late

Hecate pointed my way to this today: 

Fear of failure, of course, can dim the pleasure of new beginnings and cause creative paralysis at this crucial time. When such anxieties arise, I remember this useful advice from Helen Keller’s mentor, Anne Sullivan: “Keep on beginning and failing,” she said. “Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose — not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.

Now’s the time when I see so many people trying to justify the things that didn’t happen. When I look back at the things I was gonna do and didn’t do, the things I began and discarded, the effort I didn’t make. I spent yesterday asleep under a cat when I should have been cleaning/cooking/writing/working, I mean, come on.

I don’t know if most normal people live with half-told stories in their heads but I’ve got a bunch of works in progress up here and sometimes they talk to each other about history and war.

A woman’s hands in flour for pie crust, going still as her granddaughter asks her a question about a boy in a photo. The kitchen window is open and outside a man mows the lawn.

I want to tell that story because it might save your life. Or mine.

This is going to be a year of hard choices.

Every day’s a fresh start. Every minute, every hour. Push a little harder.

A.

New Year, Nine Lives

Slade, this is the Internet. Internet, this is Slade.

Slade has been living with us since Thursday afternoon, when we brought him home from the West Suburban Humane Society. We haven’t had a pet since Claire died, in part because we were selling our condo and it’s hard to stage with animals, and in part because oh my God, a baby was exhausting and a baby plus animals was exhausting and we needed a break. That break was just long enough for Kick to become OBSESSED cats.

I mean seriously obsessed. Even for this family full of madmen, she was FOCUSED. We’d read a book and she’d point out every cat in the pictures. Feeling a little out of sorts? She’d meow at you. She threw over all her stuffed elephants and rhinos for a horrifying rainbow-leopard kitty she found at a gas station. Halloween costume? A cat. Cat cat cat cat cat.

(I blame my sister, who has 300 stuffed cats and gave her six, and I blame her nanny, who has five cats of her own including four hand-raised kittens who act like dogs. I also blame myself because it’s not like I discouraged it all that much.)

And I was jonesing for an animal. I was reduced to petting strangers’ dogs on the street. A colleague got a new kitten and I demanded to scroll through his phone. I followed 12 pet-related Twitters. I missed having something small and furry around. So we took down the tree early and set off on Mission: Cat.

Mr. A was reluctant. Mr. A thought he might be allergic. Mr. A worried the kitten might destroy everything. Mr. A thought Kick and I were insane. Mr. A walked into the kitten room at the local shelter and this kitten put its paw on his shoulder immediately, as if to say look, don’t bother with these other mangy critters, I got you. Mr. A fell in love.

Mr. A now spends most of his time carrying Slade around like a giant furry baby.

Slade (so named by the shelter and it seems to be sticking) spent his first night in the bathroom and has had the run of the house ever since. He wakes us at 7 yelling for food, wants to play fetch with his feather toys, wants to be wherever we are. He chirps and purrs all day long, tries to trip us down the stairs, leaps onto tables and counters and spent all day yesterday napping on top of me, waking only to smack me in the face with his tail.

He came with a sister, a tiny calico we’re calling Ada who’ll join us at home once she’s spayed and cleared by the vet. I think he’ll be happier when she’s there — they’re littermates — but I know we’re happier with him around.

And Kick? OH MY GOD is she happy. She was very little when Bucky died and doesn’t really remember Claire much, though she knew enough even back then to be very gentle with animals and always take into account that they’re smaller and more fragile than she is. The first night he was home she demanded to pet him goodnight and said, “Slade, I love you with my whole heart.”

(The next morning he jumped up onto her chair and tried to eat her yogurt and she called him a dingo and told him to go think about his life.)

She reads to him every night before bed. We’re gonna have serious fun with this one.

 

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Best Of Adrastos 2017

2017 was a terrible year for the country but a great year for satire. It made it hard to winnow down this list. It kept growing like topsy. I’m not sure who or what topsy is but it grows like, well, topsy. I suspect topsy is somehow related to turvy, but where the New Orleans jazz singer Topsy Chapman fits into the scheme of things is unclear; much like this sentence…

I *had* hoped to get the list down to a top forty like the AM rock stations of my youth. It wasn’t happening so I got it down to a top fifty. Yeah, I know: who the hell has ever heard of a top fifty? You have now. Besides, I posted a grand total of 483 times in 2017 so a top fifty is only slightly OTT. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Here it is in chronological order:

1/12/2017: The Fog Of History: Mark Twain On The First Gilded Age.

1/16/ 2017: The Gong Show Presidency.

1/23/2017:  Mock Jazz Funeral For Lady Liberty.

1/25/2017: Sean Spicer Can Lie & Chew Gum At The Same Time.

2/8/2017: The Fog Of History: Explaining Trump.

2/15/2017: Power Before Country.

2/22/2017: The Worst Person Ever To Live In The White House.

3/13/2017: King Of The Bigots.

3/18/2017: Saturday Odds & Sods: Disturbance At The Heron House.

3/22/2017: Tea About The Tillerson.

3/29/2017: The Americans Thread: The World According To Gorp.

4/12/2017: Gret Stet Grifter.

4/17/2017: MOAB DICK.

4/19/2017: The March Of Autocracy.

5/2/2017: Lost Cause Fest: The May Day Melee.

5/8/2017: Le Sigh.

5/17/2017: The World Of President* McBragg.

5/18/2017: The Spirit Of ’73: The Unraveling.

5/24/2017: Book Review: The Selected Letters Of John Kenneth Galbraith.

5/31/2017: Glengarry Glen Ross On The Potomac.

6/14/2017: Tweet Of The Day: Larry Tribe Edition.

6/17/2017: Saturday Odds & Sods: Get Back.

6/29/2017: Mr. Bad Example.

7/3/2017: Back To The Nineties.

7/12/2017: The Beguileds.

7/19/2017: The Finger Of Blame.

7/26/2017: Follow Me Boys To The Trumper’s Jamboree.

7/29/2017: Saturday Odds & Sods: I Should’ve Known.

8/3/2017: The Fog Of Cosmopolitan History.

8/14/2017: Lost Causers Fester In Charlottesville.

8/21/2017: The Fog Of History: There Is No Such Thing As White Culture.

8/23/2017: The Primal Scream President’s* Ego Rallies.

9/13/2017: Walter Trump: Teevee Western Con Man.

9/20/2017: Your President* Speaks: Apocalypse UN.

9/21/2017:  Malaka Of The Week: Bill Cassidy.

9/25/2017: Malaka Of The Week: Frank Scurlock.

10/2/2017:  Oscar R.I.P.

10/19/2017: Quote Of The Day: Movie Monsters Edition.

10/23/2017: Bottom Of The Barrel.

10/25/2017: Flaking Out.

11/8/2017: Fuck Yeah, Virginia.

11/9/2017: Putting The Dope In Papadopoulos.

11/13/2017: Judge Pervert’s Ten Commandments Of Love.

11/15/2017: Malaka Of The Week: Rob Maness aka Col. Mayonnaise.

11/21/2017:  Now Be Thankful.

11/29/2017: The Ugliest American.

12/9/2017: Saturday Odds & Sods: Cold Rain and Snow.

12/13/2017: Fuck Yeah, Alabama: A Perfect Political Storm.

12/14/2017: Only A Memory: Pat DiNizio, R.I.P.

12/18/2017: Seven Dirty Words, 2017.

12/21/2017: Welcome To The New Gilded Age: The Great Tax Heist of 2017.

12/27/2017: Headline Of The Day: The Power Of The Butt.

Some of our more anal retentive readers may have noticed that the final tally was 52. I *had* to include the butt post since the headline was written by First Draft pun consultant James Karst. It was one of the dear boy’s career highlights so what the hell else could I do?

That’s it for this year. The scariest thing about this long and winding list is that it could have been even longer: 483 posts, y’all. The final closing bat meme of 2017 is a tribute to the late Rose Marie who died this week at the age of 94. It was a long life, well lived. Sally Rogers lives on.

 

Friday Catblogging: Della On A Box

You’ve all seen pictures of Della Street IN boxes. Here she is ON a box.

First Draft Potpourri: End Of The Line

It’s my final full-blown post of 2017. Hey, stop cheering. There *will* be a Saturday Odds & Sods but it will be the best of Adrastos. It’s been an eventful year so it’s going to be an exhaustive as well as exhausting list. There’s nothing like being in opposition to raise one’s blogging game and 2017 was all about resisting and opposing.

Since there won’t be a theme song on Saturday, I thought I’d throw some Traveling Wilburys at youse:

Let’s begin with a some shameless self-back patting. Hopefully, the contortions won’t hurt too much.

The Jon Swift Roundup 2017: I was asked to participate by the estimable Batocchio and I submitted my Glengarry Glen Ross on the Bayou post. Click on this link to check it out. There’s some very good writing by some very good bloggers, and me.

I guess it’s time for some more super group mishigas:

Speaking of egomaniacs:

Roy Moore:  Sore Loser- Judge Pervert is still challenging his loss to Doug Jones. He continues to display his ignorance of the law by filing a last-minute law suit. The man who will never be a Senator’s complaint boils down to “too many black people voted.” It’s good to see that he’s staying on message.

Judge Pervert fancies himself something of a cowboy. Doesn’t he know that cowboys are supposed to ride off into the sunset like Alan Ladd in Shane?

Now that we’ve taken a walk on the Brandon de Wilde side, let’s talk twitter, toots.

Tweets Of The Week: If you’re on the tweeter tube, you know Al Giordano who is the self-described “majority whip for the accomplishment wing of the [Democratic) party.” Al is a veteran political journalist and organizer who is still willing to make election predictions:

I concur with the analysis of the distinguished gentleman from the get shit done wing of the party. I also enjoyed this waltz down memory lane:

The main issues of the 1974 election were Watergate, Nixon, and Ford’s pardon of the Trickster. I despair every time I hear people say that the Dems need a new policy issue to run on in 2018. As much as one might wish that they did, most voters do not vote on policy, they vote their gut. The big issue in 2018 will be: TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP.

If the right people turn out, there’s a Blue Wave building. Btw, in 2006 the issue was: BUSH, BUSH, BUSH. We did pretty well that year as you might recall.

One more tweeter tube related segment:

I follow Rosenberg on twitter and have helped his sleuthing a few times. The tweeting twits at the twitter are trying to thwart his efforts. I’ve given them an earful and you should too.

The Mueller Probe: I’ve been following it avidly as well as the smear campaign against the FBI and its former director. It’s amazing that there are Republicans willing to take down the leading federal law enforcement agency in order to save Trump’s worthless ass. They’ve really drunk the orange Kool-Aid.

There’s been much speculation about Trump firing Bobby Three Sticks. The background noise is ominous but my hunch is that it’s less about removing Mueller and Rod Rosenstein and more about discrediting the investigation in the eyes of the Republican base. It was the modus operandi of Team Reagan during the Iran-Contra probe: they relentlessly villified special counsel Lawrence Walsh whose probe was, quite literally, endless.

The drums are louder thirty years later but I still think Mueller will survive unless Trump gets a wild orange hair up his ass. Then all bets are off. I think Bobby Three Sticks has a 2/3 chance of surviving 2018. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.  It won’t be the first or last time for that, y’all.

Let’s lighten things up and go to the movies.

The Last Jedi: I like Star Wars but don’t love it. I have some friends who are *really* into the series. I like teasing them about their Star Wars Boners. Yeah, I know, I’m a jerk but you knew that already.

The Last Jedi was good but not boner worthy. I give it 3 stars, an Adrastos Grade of B- and a mild thumbs up. I kept hoping that Peter Capaldi would show up and give us the Doctor Who cross-over than I alone dream of.

Finally, thanks to our readers for really rocking it. You’re the top, which is why Der Bingle and Cole Porter get the last word:

 

 

 

Sure, Right…Because The Resemblance Is Uncanny

Sir_Winston_Churchill_Trump_Hair_600

Mike Hucakabee decided we needed a new example of the word lickspittle.

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas drew a swift and intense response with a provocative claim on Tuesday: President Trump, he wrote, is similar to Winston Churchill, one of history’s most iconic leaders.

Mr. Huckabee had just watched “Darkest Hour,” a film about Churchill. It was, he wrote on Twitter, a reminder of “what real leadership looks like.”

“Churchill was hated by his own party, opposition party, and press,” he tweeted. “Feared by King as reckless, and despised for his bluntness. But unlike Neville Chamberlain, he didn’t retreat. We had a Chamberlain for 8 yrs; in @realDonaldTrump we have a Churchill.”

And while I’m not into the cult of Churchill — he was an elitist, Gallipoli was a massive FUBAR, etc., and it’s not certain he ever dismissed TOTUS’ favorite game with a quote sometimes attributed to him…Winston DID say

We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender

And, gee, who wouldn’t confuse that with

I moved on her like a bitch…And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…

Right?

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Black Wings Has My Angel

I originally selected this book because of the awesome tag line. It turns out to be a highly regarded novel written by a guy with ties to New Orleans. Ya learn something new every day.

Headline Of The Day: The Power of the Butt

I’ve been feuding with the Times-Picayune/NOLA.com since the great purge of 2012. I doubt that they’ve noticed but I’ve enjoyed deriding them as the Zombie-Picayune since they “moved their focus to digital” and began “robustly” firing people left and right.

This year there was a Christmas miracle as the Zombie-Picayune published a front page that I can get behind:

That’s right, Saints Cornerback Marshon Lattimore intercepted a pass thrown by Matt Ryan of the hated Falcons with his butt. It’s been described as a “butterception” and a “butt pick” among other things. The consensus has settled on butt pick, which the former Ohio State Buckeye doesn’t like but the internet hath spoken and butt pick it is.

The butt pick helped clinch (clench?) the Saints win over the Dirty Birds. The team has snapped three years of monotonous mediocrity, and looks like a “contender and not a bum.” I like to work in an On The Waterfront reference wherever possible. I’m not sure if “Jesus (Breesus?) is on the docks,” but New Orleanians are hoping for another Super Bowl appearance. Who am I kidding? We want to win it all, y’all.

The great butt pick of 2017 reminded me of a classic Dana Carvey bit on SNL:

That’s Carvey as the late, great George Michael who went on and on about his awesome ass and the power of the butt.

The last word goes to my late countryman George Michael and the video that inspired Carvey’s bootylicious reverie:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: No Respect

I haven’t posted a comedy album cover in this space for quite some time. The drought ends with Rodney Dangerfield’s classic 1980 LP No Respect. The back cover is better than the front but back covers don’t get no respect.

It was hard being Rodney.

Here’s the whole damn LP in two bites:

In Praise of Frantic Christmas

Kick passed out before we left the subdivision. My mom’s cousin Andy’s party was the third she’d been to that day and the sixth in three days, it was 9 p.m., she hadn’t napped in 72 hours, and all she’d had to eat was four bites of ham and 357 types of Christmas cookies.

We had a trunk full of presents and bellies full of food and at one point at least every hour I’d laughed so hard it hurt. It hardly mattered I was slugging back repulsive bottled “peppermint mocha” drinks and testing the upper speed limits of I-94. Kick snored. Mr. A snored. Andy Williams on the radio was bellowing about the merry bells.

I grew up traveling from house to house on Christmas, from my parents’ to my grandmother on my mother’s side to my grandmother on my father’s side to my great-aunt Mary’s where 35 people crammed into a house the size of a modest NYC apartment and played pin-the-carrot-nose-on-the-snowman. When I tell people about it the reaction is almost always one of pity and it makes me insane.

“Oh, wow, that’s so much to do.”

“That sounds like a lot of work.”

“Don’t you wish you could just stay home and relax?”

“You go THAT MANY places?”

Yes. Yes we do. Yes, we have frantic American commercialized Christmas. There are too many presents and too many people and we should just be sitting by the window contemplating a single candle in monastic silence, right? How terrible for us, to have too many friends to see and too much fun to have. How difficult.

Lamenting how we spend our Christmases has become almost as American as how we actually do it. We swing wildly from buy-buy-buy to guilt and shame for buying, from wanting to celebrate to angrily asking how dare we celebrate. The exhortation to relax goes hand-in-hand with the accusatory question of whether you’re enjoying yourself enough.

And the entire War on Christmas, where we make it into a contest to out-Jesus each other, is exhausting. We confuse individual actions with the collective priorities of the state, critique the former and ignore the latter. We sanctimoniously Christ-jack the smallest interaction with a sales clerk who just wants to go home to their own family, like what happens at Macy’s actually means anything.

We spend so much time interrogating our experiences that we forget to have them.

I’m not immune. I do my share of complaining, but today in the light of it, I am sick of my own sick-of-it-ness. It’s 2 degrees below zero and the world, as ever, is caving in. We’re gonna run out of ice for the polar bears soon and we should not get het up, as I’ve said before, about our joy.

So if you do Christmas, do your Christmas. Go to church. Don’t go to church. But don’t go around scolding and hassling everybody about whether they are KEEPING CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS like it’s a damn contest and you’re somehow gonna win. Stay home all day and sleep in and go to the movies. Work at a shelter. Go to every single party you can find. Do what you have to do to stay alive and don’t worry about if it’s the right way to do it.

It’s dark outside, cats and kittens. Make some dang light.

When I look back at the frantic Christmases of my childhood I don’t remember the times I was overwhelmed or acted up or drove my parents nuts, and because they are good people, those aren’t the times we talk about. We talk about how every year Great-Aunt Mary made her alcoholic punch a little stronger, how she remembered the names of second and third and fourth cousins’ kids no matter how many of them there were and treated us all like we were the best thing she had. I remember the way my grandfather, a man of legendarily few words, would fling open the door and shout, “Meeerrrrry Christmas!” and the way his sweater felt when he hugged me. I remember the paper-ball fights my father and his younger brother would have, before Dad fell asleep in front of a tree that was usually so wide we called it the Christmas Bush.

I remember walking outside to the car after all that noise, in the echoing silence and the cold, and looking up at the stars.

Last night, right around the point where Kick started refusing to listen and her baby cousins were egging her on and I was about to tell Santa to come pick up all her shit, the other relatives had a genius idea to start a tiny rock band in the basement. Six-year-old on lead guitar, 3-year-old on bass, underneath the most impressive Packers shrine anyone has ever created. Kick played drums AND sang lead vocals. Upstairs the adults were exchanging small gift cards and drinking; downstairs the miniature thrashers absolutely wrecked a banging mashup of Moana and Hamilton.

Mr. A shouted “Cleveland, we love you!” at the end of the show and threw Kick over his shoulder. We draped her parka over her green velvet dress and we skedaddled home, 79 miles in the frozen dark.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

We want to help, always, from the earliest age on: 

“If my mom asked me what do you want for Christmas, I’d be like, lead,” Gitanjali said.

That’s right, lead, which Gitanjali needed for an invention.

“Imaging living day in and day out drinking contaminated water with dangerous substances like lead. Introducing tethys, the easy to use, fast, accurate, portable and inexpensive device to detect lead in water,” Gitanjali said in her presentation for the Young Scientist Challenge. She won the national competition for her invention.

These are the instincts we should be nurturing.

A.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Bannoned for life edition

Well, folks – I spotted a fetid little barrel of funny hiding among all the “Yay, I’m gonna be rich some day too and THEN my taxes will go down” crapola.

Observe:

G.O.P. Establishment Declares Open Season on a Weakened Bannon
New York Times ^ | Dec. 15, 2017 | Jeremy W. Peters

Posted on 12/16/2017, 11:28:58 PM by Trump_vs_Evil_Witch

But enough about Melania…

A small group of conservative leaders had gathered in the Trump International Hotel last week for a friendly discussion about the year that was ending and their priorities for the year to come, when Stephen K. Bannon spoke up.

“I’m not going to name names,” he snapped, looking around the room as he complained about being left virtually alone to defend Roy S. Moore, accused of sexually molesting and assaulting teenage girls, while the Republican leadership and Democrats bludgeoned the Alabama Senate candidate. “If we want to win,” he added, according to three people who were in the room, “We need to stop playing footsie with the establishment. They’re just going to string you along, pat you on your head, and send you on your way.”

…..many Washington Republicans have no intention of patting Mr. Bannon on the head. They intend to kneecap him before he has the chance to recover.

“First is to dry up his money,” said Scott W. Reed, the chief political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a pillar of the Republican establishment, explaining how top Republicans in Washington were making a new round of calls to donors across the country to press them not to donate to Mr. Bannon or the candidates he supports.

**************

Mitch McConnell and the GOP establishment are clearly to blame for the recent loss of the Republican Senate seat…..
1 posted on 12/16/2017, 11:28:58 PM by Trump_vs_Evil_Witch
Astute observation there, evil witch.
It’s not because the teabaggers have urped up their collective id, put spurs and a cowboy hat on it and run it for office – it couldn’t possibly be that!
To: Trump_vs_Evil_Witch

Bannon has the funds to get to the ROOT of the fraudulent votes in Alabama, and the “ESTABLISHMENT REPUBLICANS” know it !

Don’t for one second think that Judy Roy Moore lost that election !
Can’t you see DemocRAT generated FAKE VOTES right in front of you ?

3 posted on 12/16/2017, 11:36:08 PM by Yosemitest (It’s SIMPLE ! … Fight, … or Die !)
BatshitCrazy
To: Trump_vs_Evil_Witch

 

There is NO DIFFERENCE between the G.O.P. Establishment and the New York Times .

7 posted on 12/16/2017, 11:43:42 PM by MarvinStinson

That’s a bit like saying there’s no difference between snow and a snow-blower, innnit?
To: snarkytart

 

While I agree with you 100% the fact is Moore should have won by at least 5% if the people of Alabama gave a damn about the MAGA agenda.

The same phenomenon seems to exist in VA.

Whether it’s a RINO in VA or a Jesse Helms conservative in AL neither can win if the Trump voters stay home. Because it looks to me as though the folks who voted for Donald in 2016 think they did their job and now they’re done.

If that’s the mindset we’re dealing with now, then we could be in big trouble for 2018.

11 posted on 12/17/2017, 12:19:07 AM by Ceebass

Actually, you’re in big trouble RIGHT NOW.
You’ve just lost THREE unbelievably-red-state elections.
In three weeks.
To: Trump_vs_Evil_Witch

 

The only things worse than a dem are RINO’s and GOPe’ers.

16 posted on 12/17/2017, 2:50:25 AM by Boomer (Leftism is a Cancer on society)

YodaRINO
The Force directs you to click on the “read more” link…
.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

If Jesus had been born in Wisconsin…

On this hallowed Christmas Eve, everyone in my house is pretty much asleep or trying to pretend to be in hopes of getting out of work in preparation for the Wigilla celebration tonight. As my wife and I kind of muttered our way awake, we ended up on a riff about traditions and food and Wisconsin and suddenly, we were into “What if Jesus were born here?” I did my best to document the answers (and augment with a few additional thoughts), so enjoy regardless of your faith, creed or lack thereof:

If Jesus had been born in Wisconsin:

  • He would have been swaddled in a green and gold blanket, cuddled in a Packer onesie and photographed wearing a cheesehead. Like this poor kid.

 

  • The three kings would have shown up last, having been stuck in construction on I-94 and finding out too late that the Illinois toll booths don’t take gold, frankincense and myrrh.

 

  • The little drummer boy would have been replaced by a kid with an accordion playing this little ditty. (“He’s really big in Sheboygan Falls,” my wife added.)

 

  • His middle name would have been “Bart,” “Brett,” “Aaron” or “Vince.”

 

  • Most of the gifts would have come from the Mars Cheese Castle. Curds. Lots and lots of curds.

 

  • Joseph would have been found two hours later at a local tavern, drinking really shitty beer with about a dozen of his new “best friends.” In other news, Blatz would have immediately made a comeback as “The official beer of the birth of our Lord and Savior.”

 

  • He would have been born in June so Christmas didn’t interfere with hunting season or the NFL playoffs.

 

  • He still would be born in a manger, as we have plenty of farmland, but only because the Motel 6 was overbooked.

 

  • Chicagoans would immediately start explaining how the 1985 Bears Superbowl team is somehow better than this.

 

  • Some drunk uncle would have tried to photograph him clutching a Miller Lite can.

 

  • Joseph’s mother would have immediately asked when they plan to have another one. Mary’s mother would have immediately tried to feed everyone who showed up.

 

  • Had he been born on a Friday, two words: Fish Fry. Also, kids would have started bitching, “Do we have to go to church TWICE this week?”

 

 

  • Only about one-fourth of the businesses that use “Packerland” or “Badgerland” to describe their moving companies or HVAC services would have changed to “Saviorland.”

 

  • Christmas Carols would all be polkas.

 

  • The shepherds would have missed the birth because nobody had plowed Highway 41 yet.

 

  • The manger would have been buried under three feet of snow, taking the family about three days to dig out at which point, some old codger would have shown up and said, “Snow? You call this snow? You should have been here for the blizzard of ’47…”

 

Have a great holiday season.

Doc

Listen

Listen: 

 

It is going to be a very hard winter and we all know it in our bones
an almost atavistic memory with instruction—wear heavy clothes
horde food, drink water, stand against the wind

listen.

Listen: 

EVERETT, Pa. (AP) — An anonymous donor has paid off all the items on layaway at a Pennsylvania Walmart, giving 200 families a holiday gift.

WJAC-TV reports that staff members at the Everett store say this is the second year in a row that the anonymous donor has made such a gift.

Store veteran Barbara Kearns says she’s never seen generosity and humility on this scale before.

The Walmart staff has been making calls to families with the news, letting them know their Christmas gifts on layaway are paid off.

Nobody knows who the secret donor is, not even the Walmart staff. They just call him “Santa B.”

In total, the staff says the donor paid a total of $40,000.

Listen.

People want to be generous and brave and good and true. They always have. They always will. And we have to act to make them otherwise. We have to do violence to them, we have to tamp them down, we have to cut them out, we have to take them apart to keep them from being decent and kind. Left to our own devices, we would have enough and enough of us would share so that everyone would have something. Left to our own devices, this is what we do. There are a thousand of these stories every single day.

Our leadership on every level is telling us that’s not the case, that we can’t take care of one another. That we can’t make room at every inn for every family traveling, just looking for a place to lay their heads for the night, for a soft place to lay their baby down, for some warmth on the chill night road so far from home. Our leadership on every level wants us to think we have to lock our doors, that we have no other choice, that we can’t share what we have.

It’s going to be a long hard winter. The squirrels in my neighborhood are the size of beavers and they’re hiding food everywhere, digging up all the bulbs I planted, gnawing on the leftover Halloween pumpkins, stripping the trees of acorns and nuts. They’re hoarding so they’ll be ready. Left to our own devices we would hoard, too, stockpile flour and yeast so we would always have bread, lay in a few gallons of clean drinking water in case the power goes out and the streets shut down. I made everyone food this year, for gifts: dried homemade pasta, olive oil with herbs. Things that last in the cupboard. Things that wait til they’re called.

It’s already been a long hard winter and we’re barely a month in. It’s been a long hard year, a blur from last November to now and it’s so easy to get cold. But remember: We are here. If you are reading this, we are here together and we have food to share and the impulse to kindness and generosity is never the wrong one. There’s a candle in the window burning and if you can see it, you should come inside.

Listen.

A.

“our job is to save what we love,” or EVERYBODY TALK TO ME ABOUT STAR WARS AGAIN

I have many thoughts which are not organized into any sort of coherent thing. Deal with it.

Continue reading

Saturday Odds & Sods: Merry Christmas Eve Eve

The Big News by Rene Magritte.

It’s been cloudy, damp, warm, and foggy in New Orleans this week. It’s the sort of weather that makes you want to grunt gutterally. I’m not quite sure what that means but I found myself saying ugh a lot of late.

The Krewe of Spank finally has a theme for the upcoming Krewe du Vieux parade. It’s going to be hard to get it done in time for January 26th. We’ll just have to have a Tim Gunn moment and:

My friends Cait and Dave had their annual Chrismukkah retro party last Saturday. It was a howling success and I paid the price the next day. There were tasty retro dishes, which all seemed to be stoner food, even the ones once shared at a Midwestern church supper. There was also a modest bonfire in the backyard. I sat by it for a while and wound up smelling like a campfire.

While I’m posting my own tweets, here’s one with some First Draft content:

We made the big-time, y’all. Actually, we get more hits when Crooks & Liars includes us in Mike’s Blog Roundup. Of course, someone might use Roundup on my original post since it was called Drinking Weed Killer With John Neely Kennedy.

There’s obviously no theme song this week, so I’ll post some holiday fare from The Smithereens and Cyndi Lauper.

I’m not in the mood to write about the news of the day, so all I got for you are some regular features. My little gray cells need respite from the blizzard of bad news.

Separated At Birth: In our continuing attempt to humanize Team Trump, I give you Beavis and Kellyanne Conway.

I should apologize to Beavis for comparing him to the genuinely awful Conway. Even if he’s a toon, he’s a much better person. Funnier too: the Great Cornholio was a stitch.

Conway threatened to sue over this image when it popped up last February. It seems to have never happened. Another day, another lie.

Speaking of classic Christmas movies; we weren’t? Let’s do it anyway.

Saturday GIF Horse: Dr. A and I watched Christmas In Connecticut on TCM last night. It’s time for a lazy self-quote of what I said about it in my Christmas movie post:

It’s a farce in Christmas film drag featuring Barbara Stanwyck trying to con her publisher Sydney Greenstreet. What’s not to love about a film that includes SZ Sakall in the cast? There’s apparently a remake of this 1942 classic, which I’ve never seen. I hate remakes, especially when the justification is that the original is in black and white.

Stanwyck’s character claims to be the ultimate homemaker but she cannot cook. In this week’s GIF horse, SZ (Cuddles) Sakall teaches her how to flip a flapjack.

She does not get the hang of it just as he cannot get the hang of how to say “hunky dory.” Instead he says “hunky dunky” in his cute Hungarian accent. Btw, Cuddles was a nickname the studio hung on the poor bastard. Apparently, all was not hunky dunky at Warner Brothers.

Are you ready to rock?

Saturday Classic: Brian Setzer has carved a niche for himself as a tattooed Christmas rocker. Nobody does it better or rocks it harder.

Dig That Crazy Christmas was released in 2005 and was Setzer’s second holiday opus.

That’s it for this week. I hope everyone has a happy holiday or muddles through. Remember: the key to a happy yuletide is spiked eggnog or your favorite adult beverage. I’ll give the last word on this Christmas Eve Eve to the cast of All About Eve. Who else?

Friday Guest Catblogging: Dennie Sticks It To The Mannequin

Krewe du Vieux is early this year, January 26th. That means early den days and early sightings of Dennie the Den of Muses cat.

Dennie/Mannequin

Photo by David Tower.

 

Happy Winter Solstice

Today is the winter solstice: the shortest day of the year. As my friend Kat put it elsewhere on the interweb, axial tilt is the reason for the season.

And now for some seasonal musical selections:

Welcome to the New Gilded Age: The Great Tax Heist of 2017

Image by Michael F.

I woke up this morning to see that Michael F had “stolen” my tax heist theme. I decided to retaliate by “stealing” his image. Actually, it was the whole “great minds” thing, and I asked for permission to re-use his image. Unlike the Great Tax Heist of 2017, it was NOT highway robbery in broad daylight. And I am not a robber baron, not even a lesser earl or a discounted viscount. I guess you can tell we’re watching The Crown

Trump promised a throwback administration and this bill offers a throwback to the pre-New Deal tax code. It’s such a throwback that it makes me want to throw up. Ayn Rand believed that the New Deal enslaved people and her disciples are on the verge of perfecting her vision. Thanks, Speaker Ryan. We all know what happens next: proposed cuts to foreign aid, social programs, medicaid, and medicare. Why? Because they’ll suddenly care about the deficit that they themselves blew up. Welcome to the New Gilded Age.

The most horrifying thing about the Great Tax Heist of 2017 is that it emulates failed policies  in Kansas and the Gret Stet of Louisiana. Bloody Kansas has been bleeding red ink since that bloody fool Sam Brownback decided to roll the dice with the lives of Kansans. Bobby Jindal followed the same pattern in the Gret Stet: cut taxes, lose revenue, cut government spending thereby ripping huge holes in the safety net. Thanks, PBJ.

Like their late 19th Century predecessors, the 21st Century GOP only cares about those who are already rich. They don’t care about their ungrateful employees (the middle-class) or the undeserving poor. Welcome to the New Gilded Age.

There is so much else wrong with this bill that it’s hard to know where to begin. My new motto is: when in doubt, bullet point the hell out of it.

  • The president* has no clue what’s in the bill, all he knows is that he needs a WIN. The lyingest administration in history has claimed that Trump will NOT benefit from the bill. Gimme a break.
  • It’s a pay-off to the donor class so they will keep funding Republican campaigns. Sheldon Adelson, Robert Mercer, and the Koch brothers are happy plutocrats right now.
  • The Corker Kickback benefits not only the Senator from Tennessee but 12 of his colleagues *and* Donald Trump. In contrast, the three wealthiest Senators, all Democrats, voted against their own self-interest.
  • There is no plan to implement the bill. Congressional Republicans hope it will take effect in a few weeks, which is crazy to say the least. Do we really want the IRS acting as hastily as Congress?

Welcome to the New Gilded Age.

It’s an era where corruption is out in the open and celebrated as freedom. It’s really the freedom to be selfish and indifferent to the plight of people in need. I’d like to remind everyone that this bill reflects Congress’ vision *and* that of so-called establishment Republicans, not Trump. The only vision Trump has is of himself in the mirror. A different Republican president would be prepared to sign such a bill. They might, however, know what’s in it unlike the Insult Comedian.

Congressional Democrats and outside groups lost the fight over the bill, but won the messaging battle. I may prefer the term heist to scam but whatever works. This is a politically damaging bill and I cannot wait to see the attack ads with footage of Congressional GOPers celebrating their victory alongside their wildly unpopular president*. They’re all in with Trump and it’s going to cost them dearly in November, 2018. BUT only if we stay vigilant and organize the living shit out of the mid-term election.

The good news is that the Great Tax Heist of 2017 is reversible. The bad news is that it’s going to take years and it will inflict grave damage on the most vulnerable members of society. Congressional Republicans are so drunk on victory right now that they’re ignoring their promise to keep the CHIP program going. If I thought shaming them would work, I’d try it but we all know how shameless they are.

The abuses of the first Gilded Age led to the reforms of the Progressive Era. Of course, at that time there were many Republicans who supported those reforms. In the 21st Century, they’re all in with the plutocrats and those who want to deregulate everything. The sense of noblesse oblige that inspired Teddy Roosevelt and other progressive Republicans is alien to the current GOP. They’ve got theirs and they don’t care about the rest of us. They call it freedom, I call it willful cruelty.

Welcome to the New Gilded Age.