Monthly Archives: February 2018

The Oaf Keepers

The Oath Keepers are a far right fringe militia-style organization that’s described thusly by the Southern Poverty Law Center:

The Oath Keepers, which claims tens of thousands of present and former law enforcement officials and military veterans as members, is one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today. While it claims only to be defending the Constitution, the entire organization is based on a set of baseless conspiracy theories about the federal government working to destroy the liberties of Americans.

In the wake of the Parkland massacre, this bunch of gun-toting nutters has volunteered to post armed guards outside schools. It’s a lousy idea cooked up by the group’s founder Stewart Rhodes:

Rhodes wants the military and police veterans who make up Oath Keepers’ membership to volunteer for unpaid, rotating shifts at schools of all levels, and colleges, throughout the country. He and two other representatives of the fringe militia community will hold a webinar Monday night where they plan to encourage Oath Keepers to station themselves at schools “to protect the children against mass murder, and to help train the teachers and staff.”

“I think it’s essential,” Rhodes told TPM in a Monday phone call. “It’s part of our responsibility to do what we can.”

“And what we can do is be outside of schools so that we’re closer if an attack happens, or when one happens,” Rhodes continued. “We’ll be there to be a fast response.”

Armed vigilantes outside schools? What could possibly go wrong? Everything. Sounds like a game of Russian roulette vigilante-style. Who you gonna call? Oaf Keepers? Hell to the no.

The Oaf Keepers held the aforementioned webinar at which they declared war, on the victims:

During a meandering Monday night webinar held by the far-right, anti-government group, the gun writer David Codrea referred to Emma González and David Hogg, survivors of the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida as “the enemy.”

González and Hogg have been at the forefront of a student activist movement urging Congress to pass gun control legislation.

Codrea, a writer for the Oath Keepers and War on Guns blogs, also said that Gonzalez’s father is a “refugee from Castro’s Cuba,” and lamented that the National Rifle’s Association 595,000 Twitter followers paled in comparison to the one million that follow “this young Communist girl.”

Has this cretin ever met any Cuban immigrants? The chances of the daughter of a Cuban immigrant being a “young Communist girl” are slim and none and slim is hoping to buy an AR-15 at Dick’s Sporting Goods next summer. If the Gonzálezes were Communists, they’d still be living in the land of old cars and even older leaders.

Codrea’s declaration of war on the Parkland kids is one of the reasons I’ve dubbed his group  the Oaf Keepers. They’re idiots with a skewed take on the constitution and modern civil society. One might even call them the real crisis actors since they always show up when there’s trouble (Ferguson, the Bundy Ranch) and make things worse with their oafish posturing. Unfortunately, they’re well-armed oafs who think they know best. They do not.

As you may have noticed, I believe that satire and ridicule are the best weapons in dealing with groups such as the Oath Keepers. This proposal is the pernicious “good guy with a gun” myth writ large. I shouldn’t even dignify it with the word proposal: it’s showboating at its worst much like the Insult Comedian’s claim that he “would have gone in there” during the Parkland massacre. Yeah, right, a chickenhawk with 5 deferments is suddenly Charles Bronson in one of the Death Wish movies:

Shooting 80'S GIF by RETRO-FIEND - Find & Share on GIPHY

Of course, Bronson with a pistol wouldn’t have stood a chance against a white dude (it’s always a white dude) with an assault weapon. Besides, that’s a bad vigilante movie, not real life. Life is unpredictable. It doesn’t always follow the script.

Guns and schools don’t mix. The last thing we need are vigilante crisis actors intervening in this volatile situation. Who you gonna call? Oaf Keepers? Hell to the no.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Sun Ra

In addition to being a world-class jazz musician, Sun Ra was a world-class eccentric. He claimed to be an alien from Saturn, his album covers reflected that as well as his fascination with ancient Egypt.

Are you ready to space out Arkestra style? Here’s The Heliocentric Worlds Of Sun Ra for your space age entertainment:




Tuesday Foodblogging: Kitchen Design Edition

While Mr. A and I were looking for houses, we saw lots of places with completely open kitchens. Like, somebody had taken a perfectly normal house and blown open the entire first floor so that you were basically cooking in your living room.

It drove me wild, because then what happens? You make fish and you smell it for hours while watching TV. You can’t shut the door on the mess and just sit and talk without being judged by the dishes and pots and pans on the stove and crumbs on the counter.

I was pleased to read there’s at least some diversity of opinion as regards designing all homes with this horrendous feature: 

Audrey Brashich, a real-estate writer, defended her decision to keep the original kitchen in her Craftsman bungalow the way she found it, in the face of pressure from an architect. “To me, they aren’t isolated and inconvenient but rather refined and gracious,” she said. James Fenton, the poet and critic, retained his Harlem brownstone’s original layout rather than opening up the kitchen. By imposing modern floor plans, he observed, “you’re giving an unsympathetic treatment to the idiom of the building. The history of taste is full of these moments when completely stupid, destructive misbehavior takes hold.” The notion that having fewer rooms means having more space clings stubbornly in the face of mathematical reality.


Choose Your Own Adventure

I used to stick my fingers in all the pages, trying to game the system, find the path that would get me home free.

I used to read Choose Your Own Adventure books, too: 

Yet you never quite escape completely. The lasting influence of Choose Your Own Adventure might be how it made us subtly reflect on traditional story-telling. It may be hyperbole to claim that books for kids planted a seed of doubt about our credulity in later life. And yet there is something of the alienation effect to a form of literature that continually suggested other paths, other possibilities. The senses of contingency and simultaneity that Choose Your Own Adventure suggested to attentive readers might have made three and five-act structures with their stock heroes and villains and tidy resolutions that much harder to fall for.


The Name of the Place? Babylon 5.

Apologies to everybody who came hither through Galactica or Game of Thrones. This show was my first true love: 

Over the course of the first season, the show focused on crisis-of-the-week storylines, such as the station dockers going on strike after Earth refuses to pay for more advanced and safer equipment after a horrendous accident kills several workers, and also on a series of longer-running mysteries. Sinclair’s missing memories (which gradually start to return) is the most prominent of these, but there are also the military provocations by the resurgent and belligerent Narn Regime against their former conquerors, the Centauri, which infuriate the proud Centauri Ambassador, Londo, whose constant plans to stymie the Narn are frustrated by what he considers to be a cowardly government…until he is offered a deal with the devil that rapidly spirals out of control. Other storylines are more mundane, such as Security Chief Garibaldi’s constant struggles to stay sober and first officer Ivanova’s constantly painful family and love life. In Season 2 the show unexpectedly has the Babylon Project’s mission of peace ending as two of the major powers go to war, manipulated by shadowy forces behind the scenes. Later seasons see the outbreak of a massive galaxy-spanning conflict, with the station’s crew going from bureaucrats and pen-pushers to big damn heroes, doing whatever it takes to make sure they and their homeworlds survive.

This show and the battle behind it came into my life through the very early fandom internet, where a big sprawling listserv run by the creator and writer J. Michael Straczynski broke down not only every episode but every bit of maneuvering behind the scenes to tell the story the way he wanted it told. He’d answer fan questions for HOURS, sometimes the same one three times, and talk and talk and talk about the writing of the show:

There will always be short-term setbacks, but as long as we climb back a few inches higher than we were before we fell down, we keep moving toward the goal of becoming a better people, and getting off the planet. Taking our place among the stars. While it’s vaguely possible that I may *see* a Mars colony sometime within my lifetime, I know that I will never live there…but that ain’t the point, it isn’t a victory if *I* do it, and a failure if *I* don’t, it’s if *we* do it or not. Maybe we’ll do it today, maybe we’ll do it tomorrow, the point is to decide to DO it, and then by god DO IT.

It’s all still online as the Lurker’s Guide to Babylon 5, and you have to know what you’re looking for but it’s there: 

… the most any writer can ever ask for. To tell a tale worth telling. To make people cry. To make people laugh. And even, once in a while, make them think about things, and see the world just a little differently than when they began.

And then they can centerpunch me on the freeway, or throw a plane at me, and I won’t even mind. Because everything I set out to prove, I proved. Everything I set out to say, I said.

I’ve carried this story like a hermit crab carries its shell for five long years, counting the pilot. It’s been an *awfully* long and difficult road, and no one will ever really know just how hard this show was to make. Nor should they, because it isn’t the difficulty that makes the story, the *story* makes the story.

I used to go back to that passage from the listserv (which refers to the end of the series as it was intended to end, not as it might have been cancelled by some capricious bunch of suits which was a serious fear at the time) over and over. I can recite it to you from memory. I used to read it in the middle of the night and I’m pretty sure at certain points in my life it kept me alive.

See, Babylon 5 was about an isolated place that became a symbol, an outpost that became a cause, and the unlikely victory it won against impossible odds, against cosmic forces, against cowardice and pettiness and revenge and death itself. It was about taking all the broken shit you have, and banging on it with a hammer until it became something useful, something good and true, something capable of saving.

It was about what happened afterward, too, about the aftershocks of war and the way symbols are twisted and turned, the way friends and comrades change, the way all the dark things you put aside in the struggle wait, and come to claim you.

And as all works that become important to you do, this hit me at a time when I needed what it had to offer.

I was part of an organization that was almost dying, that my friends and I were fighting every day to keep going. We fought outside forces and we fought each other, too, and then I’d go home at night and watch this group of people try to keep their station alive, and I’d log on to watch somebody try to keep his show alive, and I’d send friends who didn’t even watch the thing quotes I thought might help them, because we were all alone in the night. We had a lot of broken shit. We had a lot of hammers, and not a lot of hope.

May the gods always stand between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk.

The effects look cheesy now. Some of the standalone eps rely on outdated sci-fi tropes, or are dumb. But oh, these people are real, and their story — about what we owe one another, about the futility of vengeance and the need to reach upward, always — is more important than any 20 “prestige TV” shows I’ve watched in the past decade.

Delenn of the Minbari, a woman alone, saying to a bunch of nasty old fossils who’ve ruled her world since time immemorial: Your system serves us no longer so we will tear it down.

(Also Delenn of the Minbari, pulling her derpy boyfriend out of an interstellar jam and making her enemies glad they wore the brown pants that day.)

Ivanova and her bravado and her fear. Garibaldi and his impulsiveness and his regret. G’kar and Londo and Vir and acts of courage alone in the dark where no one will ever see them. The writing the writing the writing, good God, read this:

Mary Ann Cramer: I have to ask you the same question people back home are asking about space these days. Is it worth it? Should we just pull back? Forget the whole thing as a bad idea, and take care of our own problems at home?

Sinclair: No. We have to stay here. And there’s a simple reason why. Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics, and you’ll get ten different answers. But there’s one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won’t just take us. It’ll take Marilyn Monroe, and Lao-Tzu, and Einstein, and Morobuto, and Buddy Holly, and Aristophanes, and all of this…all of this…was for nothing. Unless we go to the stars.

I mean good God. Sometimes you’re reading or hearing someone’s work and you can just tell they were in a complete and total OTHER FUCKIN’ PLACE when that happened, and they must have come back to themselves stunned and bewildered.

And if there’s a message we need to hear more than this right now, I don’t know what it is:

Ivanova: This is Commander Susan Ivanova of Babylon 5, and this is the first official broadcast of the new Voice of the Resistance. We’re sending this signal out to every ship that wants to hear the truth, to our fallen comrades and freedom fighters on Mars and Proxima 3, and to Earth, which, despite what you may have heard, is still our home and still the one dream that we are as loyal to now as we ever have been. Over the last three years, ever since President Clark took over after arranging the assassination of President Santiago, you have been hearing nothing but misinformation, propaganda, and outright lies. Now we’re going to tell you the truth, and we’re going to keep telling it until they shut us down or until President Clark steps down and returns Earth to the hands of its people. You can kill us, you can bomb our colonies, destroy our ships, murder innocent civilians, but you cannot kill the truth. And the truth is back in business.

So happy anniversary, Babylon 5. And thanks for everything.


Tweet Of The Week: Senator For Sale

Like the rest of you, I’m thrilled by the Parkland students’ activism. They’re pretty darn good at snark too:

Admittedly, Marco Rubio is an easy target. He’s as soulless, inauthentic, and robotic as Willard Mittbot Romney. The NRA has bought and paid for his thoughts and prayers.

Florida is a fascinating place for the gun control/safety (whatever you want to call it) debate to happen. Justice Brandeis famously called the states “laboratories for democracy” and Florida is where the NRA carries out its nuttiest experiments. That’s why it’s so bloody easy to buy a “Marco Rubio” in the Sunshine State.

NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer is often called the real governor of Florida. Her power and influence with the lege is based on money and the power of single issue voters. Here’s how Mike Spies describes it in the New Yorker:

Hammer is the National Rifle Association’s Florida lobbyist. At seventy-eight years old, she is nearing four decades as the most influential gun lobbyist in the United States. Her policies have elevated Florida’s gun owners to a uniquely privileged status, and made the public carrying of firearms a fact of daily life in the state. Daley was referring to a law that Hammer worked to enact in 2011, during Governor Rick Scott’s first year in office. The statute punishes local officials who attempt to establish gun regulations stricter than those imposed at the state level. Officials can be fined thousands of dollars and removed from office.

Marion has the hammer and she uses it. The struggle between the NRA and the passionately aggrieved Parkland students will be a wonder to behold. Florida is holding statewide elections this year and it’s an excellent opportunity for voters to  break the NRA’s spell. If they can defeat pro-NRA members and elect pro-gun control legislators, it would go a long way to breaking the NRA’s hammer lock on the Florida lege.

The NRA more resembles a cult than a special interest group. Its members, pet politicians, and leadership recite stale talking points about freedom and the Second Amendment; instead of Hail Marys, one could call them Hail Gunnies.

The NRA’s deep pockets have helped them sell a lot of toxic Kool-Aid to members of Congress and state legislators across the country. The spell will not be broken by some companies bailing out on doing business with Wayne LaPierre and company. It can only be broken at the ballot box.

Here’s hoping that the Parkland students have as much persistence as pluck. They have a golden opportunity to spill the NRA’s toxic Kool-Aid by breaking the hold of the gun lobby over the Florida lege and governor’s mansion.  It’s time to take the hammer away from Marion Hammer and bring some sanity to Florida politics. I know that’s a tall order but the kids are alright.

Bayou Brief: The State Of Carnival

My latest NOLA-centric piece is up at the Bayou Brief. I take a look at two factors that made Carnival a bit less enjoyable in 2018: the Lost Causers and the Krewe of Chad.  If you want to know what the latter is, CLICK HERE.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – bytes and pieces edition

Good morning, everybody. They’re coming fast and frumious lately, so today – a little of everything.

Let’s start with – WHAT special election???

Kentucky Special Election – this is what complacency looks like ^ | Feb 21, 2018 | G. Elliott Morris

Posted on 2/21/2018, 9:56:45 AM by mooncoin

Turnout numbers from last night’s special election in KY #HD49, which swung 86%pt toward Democrats and flipped a district from red to blue:

Total turnout: 25% of 2016 ballots cast Dem.: 74% of 2016 Rep.: 11% of 2016


The only reason why dems won was that only 11% of 2016 GOP voters showed up yesterday while 74% of Dem voters showed up
1 posted on 2/21/2018, 9:56:45 AM by mooncoin
Sucks to be you.
Freeper get-out-the-vote team – assemble!
To: mooncoin
I live in KY. What special election? 

2 posted on 2/21/2018, 9:57:40 AM by robroys woman (So you’re not confused, I’m male.)

One Freeper dares to say it:

To: SMGFan


A year of “draining the swamp”, by the 4d chess playing grandmaster of politics, has yielded, in over a year … a memo. This is not surprising. Trump is getting his political butt handed to him, his supporters are too starry-eyed to hold his feet to the fire, and an almost unbelievably miraculous opportunity is being squandered. Oh, in addition to a 4-page memo, we have also gotten a number of snarky, albeit incoherent, tweets. And, possibly, Q, although that remains to be seen.

Oh yeah – we’ll get to “Q” a little later in this Obsession….

We are going to lose. Badly. And the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of Trump, and those who act as cheerleaders, and not true supporters (true supporters know that sometimes you have to speak up when the “leader” is making grievous mistakes — as Trump has done, in not seriously following through on his promise to drain the swamp).

38 posted on 2/20/2018, 7:10:31 PM by jjsheridan5

Otherwise, OK?
“ilgipper” (he needs to change his handle to “deadgipper”) finds a graveyard to whistle past :
To: jjsheridan5


We’ve lost zero House seats in these special elections. We’ve retained every one. These state level seats are not garnering any interest on our side. That’s not relevant to national politics. We have an even game on generic congressional polling which leads to minimal changes. It’s an off year election so we face normal cycles of opposition during a presidency but nothing shows it as a big swing.

48 posted on 2/20/2018, 7:25:43 PM by ilgipper

Pay no attention to those voters behind the curtain!
To: ilgipper 

We won over 1000 of them the previous 8 years in all the states. We are giving them all back. How dump are the Republicans? I have to laugh at the thread where every excuse is given in the book. I guess Conservatives just don’t give a care.

Almost FIFY.

Very evident that is true. Every week we are losing and losing and all we get are excuses.

66 posted on 2/20/2018, 7:55:43 PM by napscoordinator (Trump/Hunter, jr for President/Vice President 2016)

But they’re the BEST excuses!
Follow below the fold for some more short takes….

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During CPAC a lot of people asked where the Left’s CPAC was, and people offered up options, like maybe Netroots Nation had been at one point something like that, and lots of wingnuts think college campuses are basically CPAC every day.

And people are asking, now, what the equivalent of the NRA is for the Left, like what is the lobby that’s bought most of our congressmen and is presumed so powerful that nobody can cross it. Planned Parenthood? But there are anti-abortion Democrats as well as those who favor SOME abortion restriction, and so far as I know there are no anti-gun Republicans in any way at all so they’re only equivalent if you ignore the role of power.

And I know saying that makes me sound like some kind of insane sophomore Marxist poser but making college kids who don’t want to listen to that Milo creature out to be the equal opposite of a national news network is insane. Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon may say the occasional dumb thing but they’re not on TV coast-to-coast every single night. PETA doesn’t command the phones of every member of the U.S. Senate.

So who’s the opposite of the NRA? Children who don’t want to be shot?

I forget who said this first: Our society is so structured on binaries that we think cats are the opposite of dogs. We put two things next to each other and decide that because they’re both there, they must be in conflict.

“SJWs” on college campuses have killed exactly nobody and lack government sanction even if they had. In living memory the National Guard of the United States of America has marched onto campus and shot protesters dead.

Black Lives Matter is not the opposite of the police. Black people are not the opposite of the police. Gay people are not the opposite of guns.

It’s not just a question of if they’re actually saying things that oppose one another, with equal strength and coherence.

It’s whether what they say, what they do, what they stand for, will have equal consequences. Carry equal weight.

Murder the same number of people.

Until the body count of the Weathermen reaches that of Richard Nixon & Henry Kissinger I don’t want to hear about how the anti-war movement “went too far” and nobody who marched on Washington in 2003 blew off the limbs of any Iraqi schoolchildren. Black Lives Matter want cops to stop shooting black people without consequences.

There is no equivalent conference on the Left hosting the President of the United States while selling “rope. tree. NRA lobbyist” shirts on the side. And while I’m glad of that, for our immortal souls, it’s easy to lament the difference.

But only if you remember that the difference is the power of who shows up.


Trying to Beat Them

Pretty much:

If the past decade and a half has taught us anything it’s the futility of trying to find common ground with disingenuous peddlers of right-wing conspiracies who make money on not being convinced of anyone’s viewpoint but their employers’. Why on earth would we want to convert them? What would we get out of it?

Oh, I supposed we’d get the fickle loyalty of a group of voters whose hold on reality is so tenuous that they continually believe some Democrat is coming to take their guns even though THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED AND NEVER WILL. I suppose we’d bask in the temporary approval of people who think every Republican president is gonna singlehandedly outlaw abortion even though NONE OF THEM EVER HAVE NOR EVEN CAN REALLY AT ALL. That and a sack is worth a sack.

I don’t want a bunch of people around me who have to be converted to the idea that you shouldn’t be able to own a goddamn machine gun if you’re a wife-beating paranoiac who has a history of terrible behavior. I don’t need to get all snuggly with folks for whom that is a controversial position. If “not giving a dude who fantasizes about shooting up 5th grade a Howtizer” is a thing you have to be talked into, please take your flatware out of the toaster, and no you can’t sit with us.

And honestly, the time spent struggling to perfectly word the Facebook post that would make your gun-nut cousin take his TRUMP THAT BITCH sticker off his truck would be better spent registering your neighbor to vote and giving her and her mom a ride to the polls.


Sunday Morning Video: Submitted For Your Approval

I wrote about The Twilight Zone  yesterday. Here’s a 1995 American Masters documentary about the late, great Rod Serling.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Papa Was A Rolling Stone

Hesitation Waltz by Rene Magritte.

It’s been a frustrating week at Adrastos World HQ. Every time I think my pernicious and persistent cold is getting better, I backslide. I would have preferred to be really sick for a few days and then better. Make up your mind, cold.

In local news, the lame duck New Orleans City Council has been up to all sorts of mischief: voting to approve a new power plant for Entergy that won’t solve our blackout  problems and allowing taller buildings to be constructed alongside the Mother of Rivers.  I suspect that the presence of Mayor-elect Cantrell on the Council is one reason they feel free to take such votes. It does not bode well for those who hoped the incoming Mayor would be more neighborhood/citizen friendly. Score another win for real estate developers who are the worst people in the world. Exhibit A for this argument currently lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

This week’s theme song is a tribute to Temptations singer Dennis Edwards who died earlier this month at the age of 74. Papa Was A Rolling Stone was written by Norman Whitfield and Barret Strong and was a monster hit in 1972. Here are two versions for your enjoyment: the Temps and David Lindley.

Now that I’ve dissed real estate developers and my stupid cold, it’s time to roll over to the break. I’m too enfeebled to jump.

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Meme Of The Week: Teacher Of Fortune

The country has been buzzing this week over the notion of arming teachers. Let’s clear something up: it’s not Trump’s idea. The NRA has been floating this misguided and downright moronic idea for years. If the Insult Comedian ever had an original thought, his brain would explode thereby injuring the dead nutria atop his head.

This ridiculous idea is based on the “good guy with a gun” myth, which, in turn, comes from the movies as Michael F pointed out yesterday. Wayne LaPierre and Dana Loesch have obviously seen too many action movies: vigilante flicks have long been a Hollywood staple. Things don’t work like that in real life as we learned from the story of the terrified deputy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.

I won’t go into the practical problems with this ludicrous idea because I don’t feel like writing a 2,000 word post on this subject. I think that this meme from my friend Michael Styborski sums up how preposterous the arm the teachers notion is:

Friday Catblogging: Queen of the World

Here’s Della Street surveying her domain, which includes pesky kid brother Paul Drake.

Good night, Jack Hamilton

(Posting a bit early because of a sad bit of news. Hope it’s acceptable. – Doc.)

Of all the baubles and trinkets I’ve collected over the years that adorn my office, one of my favorite ones is a baseball signed by Jack Hamilton, who died earlier today.


The reason I got it was that I taught one of his grandchildren during one of my many stops in journalism education. I still remember her approaching me during our introductory reporting course to ask for special dispensation when it came to her profile.

“I know you said that we can’t do this on family members, but…” she began.

I had heard all sorts of excuses over the years: “I don’t have time to find anyone else,” or “My mom is my hero” or “I don’t know who else I’d do.”

I kind of did that “Justify your existence” thing and said, “Who and why?”

The answer was “My grandfather and he used to pitch in the major leagues.”

I decided it would be OK. After all, I let some kid do a piece on her grandmother because she was Jerry “Beaver Cleaver” Mathers’ mom, so why not a pitcher? Besides, I liked baseball. It was only after she turned in the piece that I realized who this man was.

Jack Hamilton had a relatively pedestrian career record of 32-40 during the heart of the 1960s. He bottomed out with Cleveland and the White Sox in 1969, going 0-5 before retiring. At 6-foot and 200 pounds, he wasn’t a giant, but a solid man who could mix his pitches well. His best season ended up being his most memorable one for all the wrong reasons.

In 1967, he started 2-0 for the New York Mets, who sent him to the Angels for Nick Willhite, who would retire from the game following a 0-1 campaign for New York that season. He was 8-2 and on the way to his only double-digit winning season on Aug. 18 when he threw the pitch that would define his career.

“It was a fastball that just got away.” I remember reading that line in my student’s profile. It stuck with me all these years and it hung with me today. I never heard the man’s voice, but I can hear it over and over in my head.

The one that “got away” smashed into the head of Boston’s Tony Conigliaro, a promising slugger who had already hit 100 home runs faster than any man in the game. The pitch fractured Tony C’s cheekbone, dislocated his jaw and damaged his retina. He sat out all of 1968 and would never really become the player everyone thought he would be.

Hamilton finished the season with an 11-6 record, but he too would never be the same.

“I had trouble pitching inside,” he told his grand-daughter. I didn’t blame him.

I remember reading that profile my student wrote, almost in awe and yet almost in shame. I felt like I was leering in on this man’s most difficult moment. I was thinking, Good God, man… you let this student ask her grandfather about all this? The hell is wrong with you? Still, I had to grade the thing so I kept on reading and I was glad I did.

He left baseball and settled in Branson, Missouri, where opened up several restaurants and raised a family. People liked him for who he was then, not because he was “a former baseball player.” He was just a great guy.

A year or two later, the student was working in the newsroom near Thanksgiving when we started chatting about something or other and she mentioned she was going home for the break.

“Are you seeing your grandpa?” I asked. “If so, tell him I loved reading about him.”

She said she was and that he’d be glad to hear that someone liked reading his story. I laughed a bit and tossed in a line: “Tell him I’d love to have his autograph.”

When she returned from Thanksgiving, she handed me a baseball. She had explained our exchange to her grandfather and my ask, he got this great big smile on his face and asked, “Really?” He then went out and actually bought a baseball so he could sign it for me. (I would have taken a turkey-stained napkin, for Pete’s sake.) His hand writing was a tad jittery, but right across the sweet spot, he inked his autograph for me.

I bought a plastic container to display it and subsequently found a 1968 copy of his baseball card. It was amazing but I could really see the family resemblance between that man on the card and his grand daughter in my class. I found it to be a nice reminder of a wonderful moment.

He also served as a reminder to me about how life can mix things up on you from time to time, but in the end, if you know who you are and you value the right things, everything will turn out OK. When I finished reading the profile on him, I felt I knew him and how he had become comfortable in his own skin.

He was just the kind of person you’d want as a grandpa.

So, good night, Mr. Hamilton. I hope you are at peace knowing you really were an incredible man.

The Good, The Bad, And…WTF?


Like Ed Kilgore says, with the bar for this administration set so low they needed a tunnel borer to put it in place, I’m surprised we didn’t hear at least one pundit solemnly declare yesterday that “Donald Trump became president of the United States,” given that he managed to appear concerned and mostly avoided overtly cloddish statements and behavior. Mostly.

If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy — that coach was very brave.  Saved a lot of lives, I suspect.  But if he had a firearm, he wouldn’t have had to run; he would have shot and that would have been the end of it.

And this would only be, obviously, for people that are very adept at handling a gun.  And it would be — it’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them.  They’d go for special training.  And they would be there, and you would no longer have a gun-free zone.   A gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is, let’s go in and let’s attack, because bullets aren’t coming back at us.

And if you do this — and a lot of people are talking about it, and it’s certainly a point that we’ll discuss — but concealed carry for teachers and for people of talent — of that type of talent.  So let’s say you had 20 percent of your teaching force, because that’s pretty much the number — and you said it — an attack has lasted, on average, about three minutes.  It takes five to eight minutes for responders, for the police, to come in.  So the attack is over.  If you had a teacher with — who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly.

For fuck’s sake. That’s Charles Bronson’s Death Wish as public policy, escapist alpha-male fantasy as response to a reality that this alleged tough guy/winner obviously has no clue about.

A major point, if not THE major point, of universal public education was/is that it’s a way to socialize each generation into civil society. Assuming some sort of armed cohort among the faculty is needed or required seems like an implicit rejection of this mission…and a troubling sign generally. Besides, I doubt most teachers want to add that burden to what’s already a challenging profession.

Coolly blasting bad guys to smithereens looks easy in movies. But movies aren’t real life.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Gun Molls Magazine

I’d never heard of Gun Molls Magazine until recently. It was a short-lived publication founded in the early 1930’s; presumably to capitalize on the success of early gangster flicks such as Scarface, The Public Enemy, and Little Caesar.

Gentle Annie is a misnomer since the gun moll on the cover below has resting bitch face.

I hope to never meet the Cobra Broad in a dark alley.

Malaka Of The Week: Willard Mittbot Romney


Remember all the MSM pundits who swore that the robot who wanted to be president would run for the Senate as an anti-Trump Republican? They were, as usual, wrong. Willard Mittbot Romney remains the flip floppingest, panderingist pol in the game and that is why he is malaka of the week.

Willard Mittbot Romney blows with the wind and in the GOP the wind is generated by the blowhard president* who endorsed Willard this week. Other than a few diehards, the #NeverTrump bubble seems to have burst. Willard isn’t the only one crawling back to the Insult Comedian. There’s a swell piece in the Failing New York Times about how Republican pols are forgetting about “decency” and coming to grips with the fact that Trump is popular among their tribe. Bob Corker is one of the rats returning to the sinking ship alongside Willard. Remember when Corker was lionized by the MSM? His head is back up Trump’s rump.

Nobody should be surprised that a man who changes home states like others change underwear has caved in to the pressure to conform.  Willard is a born conformist who never sticks his neck out when he doesn’t have to. So much for the brave words in his “Trump is a con man” speech. Like the man himself, the words were as hollow as a cheap chocolate Easter bunny.

As we enjoy mocking the MSM for getting something wrong again, let’s not forget that Willard could flip back to the #NeverTrump side if the Insult Comedian’s grip on the GOP base loosens. He’s such an opportunist that anything is possible. I’m not sure I buy the arguments made by Max Perry Mueller in Slate that Romney is on a Mormon mission to fulfill some goofy prophecy made by Joseph Smith.

The first rumors of a possible “Senator Romney,” which began to swirl in April 2017, brought new life to the long-whispered “White Horse Prophecy” that combines this messianic constitutionalism with Mormon politics. Depending on whom you ask, the White Horse Prophecy holds either that Mormons will one day save the American constitutional system in its darkest hour, or that Mormons will overthrow American democracy to create a latter-day theocracy. The prophecy is attributed to Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith Jr. In 1843, Smith purportedly told his followers that on the day when “the Constitution of the United States is almost destroyed… hang[ing] like a thread,” out of the “Rocky Mountains” the “great and mighty” Mormon people will, like the “White Horse” of the Book of Revelation, rush east to save the Constitution.

The last thing we need is a Mittbot on a white horse to save us. He’ll have to make up his mind as to whether his distaste for Trump’s table manners will turn into genuine opposition. It depends on what happens in November, which is why Democrats need to redouble efforts to flip the House and Senate. A blue wave could result in another epic Romney flip flop. Believe me.

Mitt Romney looks and sounds like a president. But he lacks the backbone to take on a president* of his own party until a challenge polls well. That’s a fact even if it’s a revelation to much of the MSM. And that is why Willard Mittbot Romney is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to Tom Petty with a tune that could be the theme song for Willard, Corker, and their craven ilk:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: A Witch Is Born

I checked Pulp Librarian’s twitter feed in search of material for tomorrow. Little did I know that I’d find a deeply weird album cover from 1970. This is an ad for the album, the cover is on the left.

Here’s the album. It’s spoken word with Wagner’s Die Walküre: Walkürenritt in the background. The 5 minutes I listened to were unintentionally hilarious.


Tuesday Foodblogging

Everything doesn’t suck.

So in 2004, some Eagle Corn seeds were sent to Nebraska. “The Pawnee had grown this corn here for 600 years, and they’d been trying to save it since they were forced to Oklahoma in the 1870s. Now we were trying one last time to see if it would grow here again,” O’Brien says.

The first crop didn’t take, but the next year, the last 25 seeds were sent in a desperate effort to keep the Eagle Corn from extinction. That time, O’Brien watched in astonishment. “It was just amazing—I’ve never seen plants just burst from the land like they did; they jumped out of the ground.”