Monthly Archives: March 2018

When Scandals Collide

I’ve considered starting a regular feature: the scandal of the week. The problem with that notion is that it’s more like the scandal of the day, hour, or second. There are so many Trump administration* scandals, that my head is spinning like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist:

We’ll skip the projectile vomiting GIF even though Team Trump makes me wanna hurl.

One of the funnier minor scandals is brain-dead retired brain surgeon Dr. Ben Carson’s $31K table at HUD. He’s acting like a character in a sitcom and blaming his wife. You cannot make this shit up, y’all.

This tweet from a Herriman biographer and Laissez Boy Michael Tisserand sums it up:

Of course, Ralph Kramden was smarter than Ben Carson. I’ve decided Dr. Ben is a surgical savant. The man is a blithering idiot in the rest of life. He should heed my advice in this post from 2015: Brain Surgeon, Heal Thyself. I lied about the advice thing. I mocked him relentlessly in that piece. Trumper mendacity appears to be contagious.

Looks like I got sidetracked by what is best described as a brain surgeon fart. The focus of this post is *supposed* to be the two scandals that are consuming the president*: Kremlingate and the Stephanie Clifford Shitstormy. You can tell that Trumpy has retreated to the panic room of his mind when he attacks Hillary Clinton and tweets WITCH HUNT, WITCH HUNT. Insult Comedian meet Kaiser of Chaos.

Trump knows from witch hunters, his mentor the dread, as well as dead, Roy Cohn was Tailgunner Joe McCarthy’s sidekick. Cohn may have been an evil asshole but he was an excellent lawyer as opposed to the misfits, has-beens, never-wases, and wannabes Trump has assembled.  There’s been tremendous turmoil and tumult on Trump’s legal team: they’re playing T-Ball while Team Mueller is playing hardball. It’s been hilarious to watch Dowdy, the Mustache Man, and company bumble. Making matters worse, Trump has added Fox News conspiracy theorist Joseph  diGenova to the team; mostly because he saw him lying on Fox and Friends or some such shit. Shit meet storm.

In the Stormy Daniels case, Trump’s mouthy fixer, Michael Cohen, is up against a superb lawyer, Michael Avenatti. Cohen and his idiot client have stumbled into every trap laid by the cunning Avenatti. The non-disclosure agreement was supposed to keep Trump out of it by calling him David Dennison: chili magnet. Instead, Trumpy filed a massive counter-suit thereby outing himself. Dumbass.

Like Putin, Stormy/Stephanie must have some serious dirt on Trump or he wouldn’t be fighting back so hard. We all know that the overgrown, brain addled frat boys who make up much of Trump’s base envy his affairs with porn stars and Playboy playmates. My hunch is that he’s one of those rich guys who’s submissive and likes his bum bashed. That would not go down well with his debased base who mysteriously think this whiny baby man is a stud. Once again, weak lawyering makes Trump’s situation worse: Michael Cohen is a fixer, not a litigator. He’s in quite a fix right now.

The Stormy/Stephanie shit storm is a mere sideshow to the main event: Kremlingate. Trump is thrashing about, threatening people, and acting like a methy teenager. For the moment, he seems to have abandoned the “be nice to the wolf at your door” approach preferred by Cobby and Dowdy. That does not mean he plans to fire Bobby Three Sticks. Plan is a word that is not in the Insult Comedian’s vocabulary. Anyone who tells you that the Kaiser of Chaos is either going to fire or not fire Mueller is talking through their hat as a character in a Thirties Warner Brothers film would surely say at this pont. Nobody knows. Deranged people are unpredictable. He’s likely to do anything. Right now, he’s dangerous because he’s cornered. I have studied this president* very closely and cannot say for certain what will happen next. Believe me.

We had something confirmed last week with the firing of Andrew McCabe. In addition to liking blondes with big boobs, Donald Trump is a sadist and Jeff Sessions is a weakling. Firing McCabe at 10PM right before he planned to retire is an act of petty vengeance that will backfire. It’s called witness tampering and it’s something that Roy Cohn and your basic mob lawyers are adept at. Cohn would not have done it openly and never would have bragged about it on twitter. Of course, he died in 1986 but maybe they have social media in hell.

The Congressional Republican leadership continues to pretend all is well and that Trumpy is normal and worthy of defending. If the president* were not guilty, he would not be trying to derail the Mueller investigation both publicly and privately. He’s acting guilty because he is. The good news is that his efforts are clumsy and stupid. The bad news is that this criminal was elected at all.

Watching scandals collide is not pretty. It’s what Gret Stet Senator John Neely Kennedy would call “as ugly as boiled sin.” Stay tuned. The worst is yet to come.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Seeds Of Love

This 1989 cover by David Scheinmann is a perfect distillation of Tears For Fears’ music: grandiose, overstuffed, and glorious.

The full album isn’t on YouTube so we have videos:

Ferro, Tronc, Journalism and Money

This guy is a boring, gross asshole who is getting paid MILLIONS OF DOLLARS while laying off journalists, please talk to me some more about how I don’t value news: 

Both women say they were drawn to these late night meetings by the promise of financial reward—further investment and connections for Minshew; a potential partnership and possibly even a lucrative job for Kappler. After these encounters, both described being frightened and taken by surprise, as well as fearing that their business ventures were in jeopardy.

Minshew and Kappler, who are now speaking about their experiences on the record for the first time, encountered Ferro through his work as an investor and dealmaker. But his sphere of influence and power increased over the past couple of years after he became the non-executive chairman and largest shareholder of Tronc, the publishing powerhouse that includes iconic titles like the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, and the Baltimore Sun.

On Monday, Ferro announced that he was retiring from the board of directors of Tronc, and that CEO Justin Dearborn would succeed him as chairman. Ferro will still be paid $5 million-per-year by Tronc through Dec. 31, 2020, to serve as a consultant.

Consultant on what, exactly? What on earth could possibly be the value he provides? For years we’ve been told our newspapers are transforming into more nimble, digital-first enterprises focused on the internet because all us terrible dastardly readers didn’t want to pay for news anymore, and all it’s ever seemed to mean is cutting days, cutting staff, cutting the physical size of the paper down to a pamphlet and propping up a website that heaves with pop-ups.

This is the Chicago Tribune’s front page today, without Ad Blocker running.

Where is the news? What am I supposed to look at? Where is the name of the goddamn paper? Why did my browser just empty both barrels into itself?

When Ad Blocker does run, the little SIGN UP TODAY! pop-up is still there, the menus are still tiny and I don’t see how laying off a bunch of reporters fixes this problem. In fact, the more reporters that get laid off, the dumber this shit seems to become. Subscribing doesn’t get me an ad-free experience. It just gets me access to the articles if I can find them under all the sponcon and automotive pimping going on.

If this is the indispensable knowledge for which Ferro’s employees were expected to endure his sad, middle-aged advances, it sucks.

Whenever there’s a round of layoffs, as there was last week, journalists jump on Twitter to sanctimoniously lecture everybody about how if we all paid for news none of this would be happening. WHICH ISN’T THE GODDAMN CASE. We could all pay for news tomorrow at the rates people subscribed to print in the 1940s and anuses like Ferro would still siphon it all off to snort blow off a hooker’s tits.

It’s easier to yell at imaginary readers online than it is to yell at your bosses to adequately value what you do for a living over their own venal, sexually harassative interests. But the boards who hire disgusting pigs like Ferro for their supposedly irreplaceable genius and pay them like they’re worth anything more than a wooden nickel and a punt in the junk need to hear that there are people in the industry starting to see through this bullshit.

In the end corporate ownership and hedge fund-backed chain management have done damage to journalism the internet could only dream of doing, taking money away from the things it could pay for to throw at “consultants” who are just trying to bang the interns.


Who’s Not Extremely Online

Let’s keep having hearings about Facebook and Twitter as if those are what motivated 79-year-olds in Michigan and Indiana to vote for Trump: 

As was true in previous Pew Research Center surveys of social media use, there are substantial differences in social media use by age. Some 88% of 18- to 29-year-olds indicate that they use any form of social media. That share falls to 78% among those ages 30 to 49, to 64% among those ages 50 to 64 and to 37% among Americans 65 and older.

Despite the best efforts of publishing companies to completely bow down to social media, what primarily gets shared on social media is … traditional media content. And what’s blaring in the waiting room of every podiatrist in the Midwest is Fox News or MSNBC. We vastly overestimate the influence Facebook has on the older folks who tend to vote Trumpish.

Leaving Trump aside though, you know what I see in this data? Customers. Unreached customers for some enterprising news organization to solicit, whose money is green and who would loyally read or listen to something that served their interests. There’s no need for traditional media outlets to flail blindly at every app that lifts its skirt when there are always people out there who aren’t on it. Go find them, sell to them, and you’ll be set up for life.


Unsolicited Tea for the Tillerson

Image by Michael F.

First of all, I know that tea is slang for gossip, I watch, to my everlasting shame, the Real Housewives of Atlanta, after all. I’m seeking to expand the word’s meaning to include advice. Anybody buying that? I just want to fit it into my running Tea for the Tillerson joke.

Second, I’d like to thank my colleague and fellow Gret Steter Michael F for letting me use his image. I’m the world’s worst photoshopper so I gave it up in favor of memes years ago.

Michael and I discussed the irony of having *any* sympathy for the former Exxon-Mobil CEO. It’s the whole “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” thing writ large. I don’t have a lot of sympathy, just enough to fit into an album cover sized teacup.

Here’s my unsolicited advice for Rex: spill all the tea you have on Trumpy and spill it loud, proud, and immediately. You’re richer than God so you don’t have to wait to put it in a book: DO IT NOW. It’s a way to restore your good name post Rexit. Burn it down.

Think about it, Rex: before your trip to Trumplandia, the headline on your obit would have been “Former Exxon-Mobil CEO dies.” Right now it would be “Weak Secretary of State fired by President he called a fucking moron dies.” Is that how you want to be remembered? Another dutiful lamb to the Trump slaughter? The latest dignity wraith humiliated? What more can the fucker do to you? He’s already destroyed your reputation, so it’s time to fight back. Do the Sunday shows and fry the unfit fucker. It’s your patriotic duty, and it would be fun to burn it down. Make Rexit matter.

The last word goes to Los Lobos:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “And the loons shall lie down with the Lamb” edition


Okay people – coffee break’s over – back on your heads!

One subject for today’s Obsession – Pennsylvania special election live thread!

Lamb vs. Saccone Special Election PA18
NY Times ^ | March 13, 2018

Posted on 3/13/2018, 7:16:01 PM by Pinkbell

A thread to discuss the results.

I feel like Lamb has a lot of momentum, has run as a moderate, and has run a better campaign. I’ll predict he’ll win tonight (although I’d like to see Saccone win).

NYT does a good job with election results.

1 posted on 3/13/2018, 7:16:02 PM by Pinkbell
Oh, DO they, now? So the “New York Slimes” is always full of fake news, but suddenly they’re the go-to for factual election results?

To: Pinkbell

The republicans would have had more excitement excrement if they ran a head of cabbage.


How can these clowns lose a state like Alabama? They’re going to give it all back to the commies if they don’t get their act together.

I thought you Freepers loved you some commies?  Or is that just since 2016?

RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel needs to go home if they cannot do better than this.

10 posted on 3/13/2018, 7:21:54 PM by boycott

I wonder how long it’s going to be before the other Freepers strap on their blamethrowers?
To: boycott


The republicans do not want the majority because they cannot justify what they are doing, tax cuts aside.

12 posted on 3/13/2018, 7:24:39 PM by Lagmeister ( false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders Mark 13:22)

Twelve posts in – that has to be some kind of record.
To: VeniVidiVici


Marine officer and democrat…

Two terms that just don’t seem to right in the same sentence.

20 posted on 3/13/2018, 7:30:44 PM by NFHale (The Second Amendment – By Any Means Necessary.)

Nice try, wannabe. I’ve got a Marine friend named Dan who could cut you into pieces small enough to hide, and he’s as liberal as they come.
To: NutsOnYew


God…yet another potentially close race with a LOSERTARIAN also on the ballot. I wonder if Soros is back-channel supporting these idiots?

23 posted on 3/13/2018, 7:33:01 PM by House Atreides (BOYCOTT the NFL, its products and players 100% – PERMANENTLY)

And then –
To: Pinkbell


Saccone takes the lead by 14 votes!

woohoo it’s in the bag!

27 posted on 3/13/2018, 7:35:26 PM by JPJones (More tariffs, less income tax.)

You a fonny boy.
More below the “Read Roy Moore” link…

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We Understand Gun Gulture Just Fine

This shit again: 

KNOXVILLE, Iowa — As Democrats have fled rural America — or rural America has fled Democrats — many of them, living in cities, are left without an understanding of rural culture and its core values. If it isn’t on abortion, our deepest cultural divide might be on guns. The guns issue also has a profound political dimension, reliably driving rural Americans into Republican arms.

You know, Democrats in cities understand gun culture just fine. Here, let me explain it to you:

There are hunters who like to hunt. There are hobby shooters who go to ranges. And then there are racist paranoiacs who drive around in vans covered in HITLERY stickers who can’t stop waving every single gun they own around, who eat Fox News and InfoWars for breakfast lunch and dinner, who can just never SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT THEIR STUPID GUNS.

Those are three distinct groups, and when I, a city Democrat, was growing up, the first two laughed their asses off at the third and there was no major lobbying group to tell them to make common cause against the evil conspiracy of reasonable regulations on 5-year-olds owning M-16s or whatever it is milquetoast thing Democrats stand accused of these days.

If all people did with guns in “rural America” was hunt animals and protect their houses from horror-movie villains breaking in, that might not be every city Dem’s bag but it would be fine. You know why?


God almighty, I am right up to here with the guns right now, how much you love them and how sacred they are and your great-great-grandpappy who fought for slavery in the Confederacy and whatever else. I understand gun culture just fine and it bores the living shit out of me and the only reason I bother engaging with it at all is that lots of people are getting DEAD.

You know, for the past two years we’ve been hearing about how Republicans were so sick of having basic respect for others “shoved down their throats” that they had to vote in the current racist monster and his gang of ten-a-penny fascisti in the White House. They were so, so sick of political correctness that they had to burn the whole world down. Their dicks all fell off because women were writing words on the Internet and they had no choice but to yell LOCK HER UP and vote for Trump.

Political correctness and women voting having killed exactly nobody, I would then turn that deep understanding of others’ culture right back around and offer this.

You can have all the guns you want.

Provided you don’t shove them down everybody else’s throat all the time.


Not Everything Sucks: Writing Edition

People are good and kind: 

“I just found my happy writing place in a Tires Tires Tires waiting room and decided to tell people about it,” Amy said. “With all the sad stories in the news, the thousands of things that get us down in life, sometimes, you just need to open up Facebook and have a laugh at a weird author appreciating the little things in life.”


Sunday Morning Video: Van Morrison & The Chieftains Live

I can’t seem to let go of Saint Patrick’s Day. Here’s a 1988 set at the Ulster Hall in Belfast.

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Irish Rover

High Spring Tide by Jack Butler Yeats.

The Irish Channel Saint Patrick’s Day parade is on the day itself this year. I’m not sure if this will increase drunken revelry but I plan to do some day drinking. Dr. A and I have been going to our friends Greg and Christy’s open house for the last 11 or 12 years. It’s hard to be precise since whiskey and beer are involved. Whiskey, of course, is the devil.

The big local news is the death of New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson at the age of 90. The local media has done some cringeworthy coverage of this gruff car dealer whose demeanor and voice reminded me of Archie Bunker. The hagiography is a bit much given Benson’s attempt to move the Saints to his *other* hometown of San Antonio as the region reeled from the Katrina and the Federal Flood. He sent his image to rehab with donations to charity, the Super Bowl win didn’t hurt either. He was also a supporter of the GOP and other dubious conservative rich guy causes. As Archie would surely say at this point, goodnight nurse.

This week’s featured image is by the Irish painter Jack Butler Yeats. And, yes, he was related to the poet William Butler Yeats: he was his kid brother. I’m uncertain as to whether he was a pesky one. It would be poetic justice if he were…

Our theme song is a traditional Irish folk song. The Pogues and the Dubliners recorded The Irish Rover together in 1987. It was a hit in Ireland and the UK.

Now that we’ve taken a trip on a ill-fated ship, let’s jump to the break and hope we land in a lifeboat.

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McMaster, Baited

Trump World and the Tweeter Tube were aflutter  yesterday with rumors that the bald-headed glowering general/National Security Advisor was about to be ousted in the Not-So Great Purge of 2018. The dread Sarah Huckabee Sanders has denied the rumor, which means that it’s true.

Trump’s Kaiser of Chaos persona seems to have overtaken the Insult Comedian. Imagine firing your top national security aides a week after impulsively agreeing to talks with Little Rocket Man. In a word: madness.

If another rumor is true, John Bolton and his mustache will be McMaster’s successor. That makes the Kudlow hiring look good: Bolton has never been right about anything either, plus he’s batshit crazy. Believe me.

It remains obvious that the General is not McMaster of his own domain. I should apologize for that pun and the title but I won’t.

That is all.

Friday Catblogging: Doorman

Like any good private eye, Paul Drake likes windows. In this picture, he’s peering out a pane on our front door. I think he’d make a helluva good doorman. Imagine him with a red jacket with epaulets to go along with what Athenae has called his fur beret. It would be a fashion sensation, y’all.

Catblogging tends to expose us as lousy housekeepers. We’re not big on washing windows. In our defense, the interior pane is smudged with feline nose prints and the doorman is there every day. Window washing is futile.

Van Morrison gets the last word with this tidy tune:


The Lambslide

I am, of course, being sardonic, sarcastic, and other S words. Conor Lamb’s special election margin is 627 votes as I write this but a win is a win is a win. It’s a victory for coalition politics and a defeat for the president* and a feckless Speaker of the House who seems incapable of distancing his members from a wildly unpopular Trump. Paul Ryan is the most politically inept Speaker of my lifetime: the goal of any Speaker is to preserve their majority. Ryan is too afraid of the rabid right-wing base he’s pandered to all these years to even try to save his majority. Thanks, Paul.

This triumph will prove to be somewhat ephemeral since the crazy quilt Pennsylvania Gerrymander scheme was tossed out by the courts. Lamb will have to run in a differently configured district this fall but that somehow makes this victory even sweeter. Lamb beat a Republican in a district drawn to make it well-nigh impossible for a D to beat an R.  It took an asshole president* to produce a 20 point swing. Thanks, Trumpy.

In classic Trump fashion, he’s making excuses and absolving himself from any blame for the GOP’s latest special election defeat:

 “The young man last night that ran, he said, ‘Oh, I’m like Trump. Second Amendment, everything. I love the tax cuts, everything.’ He ran on that basis,” Trump said at the fundraiser, according to an audio recording obtained by The Atlantic. “He ran on a campaign that said very nice things about me. I said, ‘Is he a Republican? He sounds like a Republican to me.’”

In fact, Lamb ran a classic lunch pail/kitchen table pro-union campaign. It’s the way Democrats have won elections in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since the New Deal. I don’t recall Trump being a fan of organized labor. Fake populism can only get you so far.

Here’s how former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau described Landslide Lamb’s campaign:

It takes a coalition to win any election that doesn’t take place in the purest truest bluest district. For the 50 state strategy to succeed, that requires supporting candidates who can win in a given district. That was the strategy Howard Dean used to help Democrats take back the House in 2006. You might recall that Dean ran as the most liberal candidate in the Democratic presidential race in 2004. He was still a believer in coalition politics, which is what made Nancy Smash Speaker and Harry Reid Senate Majority Leader.

The important thing is to win and negotiate our differences later: the future of the Republic may well depend on a blue wave this fall. A candidate who can win in Berkeley or Brooklyn cannot win in Western Pennsylvania or statewide in, say, Texas. A lot of “non-partisan progressives” on twitter have been unhappy with Beto O’Rourke because he’s insufficiently pure. Do they prefer Rafael Edward Cruz who the last time I checked was the wingnut’s wingnut?

The sitting president is *always* the issue in mid-term elections, especially since the South became a sea of red. The days when Tip O’Neill could hold his majority with a popular Republican president in office are long gone. Trump will be the main issue even when a candidate chooses to treat him like Voldemort and not speak his name aloud a la Landslide Lamb. It’s a losing issue for Republicans and a winner for Democrats and sanity. Believe me.

The last word goes to Genesis with my favorite song with the word lamb in it:

Class, Say Hello To Your Safety Instructor


Barney Fife would be an improvement — if I remember, he had only a single bullet that he kept in his pocket. I don’t think he ever shot his gun, either intentionally…or by accident.

As thousands of students walked out of their schools on Wednesday to pressure Congress to approve gun control legislation, three other students were healing from wounds inflicted when a teacher’s firearm accidentally discharged in a California classroom.

The teacher, Dennis Alexander, who is also a city councilman in Seaside, Calif., was showing the students a gun on Tuesday during his advanced public safety class at Seaside High School when the gun accidentally went off, Marci McFadden, a spokeswoman for the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Mr. Alexander was pointing his gun at the ceiling when it fired, she said, causing pieces of the ceiling to fall to the floor. Ms. McFadden said that California law and district policy prohibit teachers from bringing guns on campus.

Cmdr. Nick Borges of the Seaside Police Department said in an email on Wednesday that nobody suffered serious injuries, however, a piece of bullet shrapnel ricocheted and hit one 17-year-old on the neck, and two other students were also hit by debris.

As for the rallies yesterday, it’s a steep uphill climb, but good for the students.  Against all odds and in the face of a deeply entrenched, well financed establishment, they’ve managed to at least keep the conversation going.

And the special election in Pennsylvania is also good news. Trump’s luster was never quite what he and the establishment media claimed. His “win” was an accident of dumb luck and weird rules. That said, maybe it’s also wearing thin. Sure, he’s got a couple of years to go, and I worry we’re entering a particularly dangerous time, his terrible twos…but still…you’ve gotta have hope nonetheless.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Applegreen Cat

I’m not sure what the hell an applegreen cat is but I like this Rudolph Belarski cover.


Poison Tea For The Tillerson

I’ve enjoyed my Tea for the Tillerson series and will miss having Rex Tillerson to kick around. Having said that, he was a rotten Secretary of State who hollowed out his department and did lasting damage to the foreign service.

Tillerson’s tenure at Foggy Bottom is proof positive that guvmint should NOT be run like a business. Tillerson was convinced he knew better than the area experts who populate the department. He tried to run it with a small cadre of loyalists and had no support at State when the crunch came. He was right on many policies but had no influence at the White House or in Congress. But the next guy is worse.

It’s been obvious for quite some time that Tillerson was not long for the job, especially after the “fucking moron” incident. Coming after he blamed Russia for the London spook poisoning, the timing made him look better than he deserved. Anyone who associates with Trump is diminished by the experience. Tillerson is just the latest in a series of dignity wraiths whose reputation has been damaged. But the next guy is worse.

The best description of the Rexit “process” came from New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait:

Every Trump administration personnel shake-up is a noir story of terrible, incompetent people squabbling with other terrible, incompetent people.

It’s a nightmare for the American people, but the Kaiser of Chaos is building the administration of his dreams: populated by yes men, ass kissers, courtiers, and sycophants. The incoming Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is a former Tea Party Congressman who ran the CIA in an overtly partisan manner. That should have been disqualifying since the head spook should be sneaky and able to play his cards discreetly. As far as Pompeo is concerned, pleasing Trump is all the matters. But the next CIA director is worse.

The MSM is forlorn since their narrative of the “grown-ups restraining Trump” has been shattered by John Kelly’s malakatude, Rexit, and the rumored departure of the National Security Advisor who is still not McMaster of his domain. General Mattis is the lone remaining adult in the room. The rest of the crew fit this president’s definition of loyalty:

“I don’t want loyalty. I want loyalty! I want him to kiss my ass in Macy’s window at high noon and tell me it smells like roses. I want his pecker in my pocket.”

The president in question was Lyndon Johnson and he only half-way meant it. He had many strong people in his administration but he liked having yes men on the White House staff, especially as the intractable Vietnam conflict destroyed his administration. Unlike LBJ, Trump is an unqualified fucking moron who wants lackeys everywhere.

We’re on our own now.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: She’s So Unusual

In the Trump era, we’re in desperate need of fun. What pop star has ever been more fun than Cyndi Lauper?

She’s So Unusual was Cyndi’s debut album. It was a monster hit because of the monster hits Time After Time and Girls Just Want To Have Fun. I told you she was fun.

The photography is by the great Annie Leibovitz:

I came upon this video of Cyndi describing how the cover photo was selected:

The entire She’s So Unusual album is not on YouTube so here are the aforementioned hits:


Tillerson Out


Most of the time I can’t get too het up about the ins and outs here, because wow, a burning dumpster is full of garbage that is burning all the time, but THIS MAN THOUGHT HE COULD SIT IN JOHN KERRY’S CHAIR AND I WILL NEVER FORGIVE THAT.


‘The Work Is Worth Doing’

Mallory Ortberg on their new book and the nature of the unknown: 

Ortberg: If you look at the Christian Bible—again, that’s the story that I come from—you look at the Book of Job, and there’s this fascinating, open-ended question of what is the Satan? Because that’s literally the name of the character in the book. It’s called the Satan, not like the devil or Lucifer, Satan, like that’s his name. It’s just the Satan, and it means that he has a job. It’s your job. You bring evidence against humanity, and you are in God’s employ, and obviously we lost some of that over time. You remember the cartoons of the sheepdog and the wolf who would fight all day, and then they would end by swiping their punch cards? That’s been lost, and there’s just the sense of—it is this actual demonic, supernatural entity that lives somewhere in the ether and is out to get me. I think if you look at those stories, they are incredibly destabilized and all over the place, and that’s fantastic.

Rumpus: In these fairy tales is a universe that is random and tricky. You write with a real confidence, yet a lot of what you’re getting at in this book is the ways in which no one knows anything.

Ortberg: The confidence is in saying, This work is worth doing, not, I know what the work is, or Here’s how we all get it done.

There’s a lot in this interview — which is about fairy tales and gender identity and all kinds of questions which is to say read the whole thing, as the kids once said — about questioning as something to be feared. The Olds get so ragey about the gender stuff, like it’s maddening to them, “how do I know what you are?” And they’re actually asking how do I know what I am.

We are not comfortable with our own unknowns. We feel like there is some point at which we get to Know Things, and be Done. We feel like at some point we’ll stop feeling uncertain, we’ll stop worrying if we’ve accomplished enough, and sometimes we even fool ourselves into thinking this is the case. And then along comes something to upend that.

The reason this interview struck me so directly is that what Ortberg is saying is that not only is the work never done, but the work itself is the work. The figuring, the questioning, the exploring, the arguing, the uncertainty and fear, those are all the point, and if you never find answers it’s still worth shoving yourself forward. Accepting that the work will never be done, put your shoulder to the wheel anyway, and glory in the moment of being alive to do so.

How do I know what I am isn’t something you ever stop asking, even if it gets buried under all the shit you have to do to make it day to day.


The Fixer

I’ve written about Michael Cohen before. He was malaka of the week in July, 2015 because of an incident involving Trump’s first ex-wife Ivanka. At that point, I viewed him as a peripheral player in Trump World. In 2018, I think he may be the linchpin to the Insult Comedian’s relationship to dirty Russian and Ukrainian money. Why? He’s Trump’s fixer.

Cohen is currently trying to fix the Trump-Stormy Daniels mishigas. I’m one of the few people who believes that Cohen *may* have paid off the porn star girlfriend with his own money. But I don’t believe that he mortgaged his house to do it. Cohen allegedly owns an apartment building in New York City for which he paid $55 million. Does that sound like a cash strapped guy to you? I think he’s working a future jury pool by posing as a working class lawyer. It’s a lie but what else would you expect from Trump’s fixer?

Here’s the reason I think Cohen might have paid hush money to Stephanie Clifford. He wants to impress and/or pay tribute to the boss. His relationship to Don Donaldo Il Comico Insulto is akin to a Mafia wise guy-don relationship. That’s why I’ve paired him with Soprano family consigliere Silvio Dante. It’s easy to imagine Silvio or one of the capos paying off someone for Tony. Once again life imitates The Sopranos.

The Sopranos analogy breaks down because Tony was *sometimes* loyal to his crew and might have even paid his fixer back. Trump is legendary for disloyalty and refusing to repay debts. That’s right, Don Donaldo is worse than Tony Soprano.

The last word goes to Pearl Jam, not the E Street Band. Sorry, Little Steven.