Monthly Archives: August 2020

Summer Of Hate

The Kaiser of Chaos is living up to his nickname. He’s stirring the pot, inflaming racial animosity and violence. Despite being the most lawless president* in American history, he’s determined to duplicate the 1968 Nixon-Agnew Law & Order strategy.

 

Tricky, of course, was the nominee of the out party whereas Trump is the incumbent. Another irony lost on the Impeached Insult Comedian is that both Nixon and Agnew were criminals who were forced from office due to their malefactions. Projection thy name is Donald.

Despite all the angst from Democrats and spin from right-leaning MSM pundits, it appears that the Republican ticket got an itty bitty bounce from their convention in the early surveys from 2 to 4 points. The cult of the savvy were impressed by the illegal hate fest that was the Trumpvention, but so far, the voters are not. It’s hard for any president to be re-elected with a 31% favorability rating as opposed to 59% negative. That’s -28. That’s unpopular.

If the election is a referendum on Trump, he will lose. His path to victory is a narrow one despite what Michael Moore thinks. As long as Trump’s opponents do not get depressed and give up, he’s in deep shit. He has a record and it’s a bad one. All the lying in the world, can’t reduce the COVID death toll, which stands at 183.000 and rising.

Josh Marshall has written the best thing I’ve seen about why Democrats are electoral pessimists and GOPers are optimists:

Regardless of the objective realities, Democrats will consistently anticipate loss or worry about loss while Republicans will consistently be confident of victory. This is a good rule of thumb regardless of the objective realities of the moment, to the degree they can be known. This is not an absolute of course: overwhelming odds will buoy Democrats and hopeless situations will nudge Republicans to despair. But in general this is almost an iron law of political psychology in the United States.

This may be obscured by the genuine shock and horror Democrats experienced on election night four years ago. Democrats were pretty confident and all their worst fears were realized. But a closer look shows the general pattern was actually in effect through much of the 2016 cycle. Indeed we saw a particular example of it during the 2018 midterm election. The fall of 2018 was chock full of theories and predictions about how two years of ‘resistance’ activism were coming up short. It was the ‘caravan’. It was Trump’s 12 dimensional chess. It was low turnout among young voters. So pervasive were Democrats’ latent fears of coming up short that they actually persisted well into election night and even the first couple days after the election – until late returns, results of close call races and just the actual numbers made clear Democrats had won a decisive victory.

Despite being old enough to have experienced the 1972, 1980, and 1984 Republican landslides, I’m usually cautiously optimistic about elections and skeptical of other things. Perhaps it’s because I had a Republican father. Beats the hell outta me.

In weirdo campaign news, Herman Cain’s family is still running his Twitter feed. They seem to have forgotten how he died:

Deleted but not forgotten. Hopefully, we’ll be able to describe the Impeached Insult Comedian that way next year.

It’s time for them to go. Make it so, America, make it so.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – no rest for the weary edition

OK people – let’s get to the Free Republic thread about the Kenosha murderer being in the front row of that Trump rally in Des Moines a few months ago.  You know they’re dying to address this.

Hmmm. Nothing.

Odd.  It seems to be news everywhere else.

Maybe I need to refine my search criteria. Changing “murdering trumptard fuckhead” to “Rittenhouse + rally”.

“Nothing matched your criteria”

It’s like it never even existed.

Oh well – they had plenty to say otherwise about their new hero :

BREAKING: SHOTS FIRED in Kenosha Between Armed Rioters and Business Owners, 3 Reported Shooting Victims
24News ^ | 08-26-2020 | Greg Reynolds

Posted on 8/26/2020, 12:31:25 AM by montag813

Armed rioters”?  That’s not what the linked article headline says.  It actually says:

BREAKING: SHOTS FIRED in Kenosha in Clash Between Rioters and Business Owners, TWO DEAD, 1 Wounded

I guess you must have added the “armed” part yourself, huh?

Anyway – initial reactions?

To: montag813

I see a campaign commercial here.

24 posted on 8/26/2020, 12:51:19 AM by rdl6989

To: montag813

Does a heart good to see that little white punk bleeding out.

6 posted on 8/26/2020, 12:37:02 AM by dp0622 (I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE COVID GODFATHER I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. YOU CAN ACT LIKE A MAN!)

I’m not altogether sure you even have a heart.
To: roadcat

They’re not the brightest to begin with. They formed a mob and chased a guy who had an AR-15. When he tripped they tried to do a mob attack and he shot 3 of them.Maybe the survivors can play chicken with a freight train next.

71 posted on 8/26/2020, 1:40:18 AM by guitar Josh

…and so on….Next thread please….

17-Year-old Suspect Charged With Murder After Two Killed at Kenosha Protest (Kyle Rittenhouse) Daily Beast ^ | 08/26/2020 | Pilar Melendez Posted on 8/26/2020, 12:28:22 PM by Drew68

Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old suspected of fatally shooting at least two people and injuring another during protests in Kenosha over the shooting of Jacob Blake, has been arrested, according to local media reports.

Rittenhouse, 17, was arrested in Illinois and has been reportedly charged with first-degree intentional homicide.

1 posted on 8/26/2020, 12:28:22 PM by Drew68
First response?
To: Drew68
Not guilty!……… 😡
2 posted on 8/26/2020, 12:29:36 PM by Red Badger (Sine Q-Anon…………………)

ThatWasEasy

To: Drew68

Not guilty.

20 posted on 8/26/2020, 12:33:40 PM by heshtesh

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it.

To: Drew68

Deputize him and send him back in tonight to kill more commies. Note: NO Americans were killed last night by Kyle.

44 posted on 8/26/2020, 12:39:58 PM by DCBryan1 (COMDEMS would rather rule over a pile of ashes, than lose to Trump and REAL Americans)

You know – I’m gonna move on. I’m getting tired of hearing the quiet part screamed in my ear.

.

Follow me below the fold for some less depressing stuff.

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What Joe Biden Hasn’t Done

Hasn’t condemned looting and property damage that follow protests.

Hasn’t put the flag in the background of the Democratic Convention or in any commercials or campaign events.

Hasn’t mentioned God and/or took God out of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Is going to take away people’s guns.

“You are actively trying to amend your Second Amendment right and take away our guns,” the man said.

“You’re full of s—,” Biden replied, adding that “I support the Second Amendment.”

Opposes law and order. 

Hates police.

I can do this all day, you know. I can line-by-line refute what’s being shared around various circles and pages that might be owned by people you know or might be run out of a Fox shop or might be backed by Daily Caller pieces or might just be horseshit of the worst possible kind. I can show everyone where they’re wrong.

Are they going to listen to me? Or am I just some liberal loudmouth who hates their freedom and wants to destroy America? Or is there going to be another list full of other items that are terrible, of things Joe Biden has done and not done? And after I fact-check that list, another?

I’m not sure it matters what Joe does or doesn’t say. The past 7 days have been an object lesson in the power of Fox News, Facebook and other right-leaning partisan media in driving a false narrative about what Joe Biden and the Democrats do and don’t do.

I’m honestly not sure if the truth matters to people who are looking to express defensiveness and belligerence instead of honest political views. I’m honestly not sure there’s any profit in handing out Pinocchios to people who are still “for” their team and “against” the other one, citing issues that don’t exist and can’t be proven beyond a copypasta from your neighbor who knows a guy who heard from someone.

I’ve been tired of the meme wars since 2016 and my exhaustion has tipped over into aversion.

I don’t actually disagree with Michael Moore here: 

“I’m warning you almost 10 weeks in advance. The enthusiasm level for the 60 million in Trump’s base is OFF THE CHARTS! For Joe, not so much,” he later added.

He continued to voters: “Don’t leave it to the Democrats to get rid of Trump. YOU have to get rid of Trump. WE have to wake up every day for the next 67 days and make sure each of us are going to get a hundred people out to vote. ACT NOW!”

That I can give you those links, that I can check every fact, verify every statement, plus name four people who won’t be able to stay in this country if he has his way, that I can name 10 directly affected in verifiable personal ways by this administration to the adverse effect, holds no water with anyone when there’s a 24-7 propaganda network blaring that all violence is leftist violence. That Joe Biden would make it worse. That we have no choice but to re-elect Trump in some act of aggression against all the forces of the 21st century “ruining” America including some, let’s be honest, over which not even Trump has control.

Trump cannot make athletes play if they don’t want to. He cannot make the movies show the stories you want them to show. He cannot dictate that everyone be nicer to the cops. Don’t you think he would have if he could? The things people are so angry about — that the world doesn’t look like our past ideas of it, that nothing is the same anymore and the world is full of indignities and nonsense that drive us insane in a million little ways — those aren’t even all his fault.

But they’re part and parcel, aren’t they, of voting for him, since the same people who like the athletes and the movies like the Democrats? Isn’t it all just one big morass? Isn’t that the thing we liberals fail to get, over and over and over, through loss after loss after loss? That it’s not this or that percent, it’s God and the flag and traditional American values against … against. That’s what we don’t understand, right? That’s why we keep losing to him?

I haven’t felt so tired or scared since this all started. Not even in the early days of the pandemic. We lose this and we lose it all. And I’m not going to yell at protesters for protesting or even violent looters for violently looting because if they listened to me would be the first time that train ever showed up and who the fuck am I anyway to tell someone who’s angry at decades of subjugation to just put that aside? I am going to say, and I am not usually THIS pessimistic, that if we do nothing but fact-check and post memes and yell on Facebook, Michael Moore’s going to be right.

ACT NOW means register voters. It means volunteer to drive people to the polls. It means continue to post information about how to vote by mail. It means vote by mail if you can. The lines have to be out the door. The mail has to be an avalanche. It can’t be contested. It can’t be close. It has to be overwhelming and beyond dispute. It has to be a landslide the likes of which we don’t even think are possible anymore. It has to be something we ain’t ever seen in all our livin’ lives.

Can we do that? I don’t know. I look at what’s arrayed against us and honestly, until this week I would have said we’ll be okay. I would have said we’ve got a prayer. Now? I’m looking at maps to find a crossroads and I’m stocking up on salt and shovels.

ACT NOW means if you have five bucks and you haven’t given it to a candidate who needs it you need to do that. ACT NOW means sign up to text and send postcards and make your friends and kids do it too. ACT NOW means get the fuck off your social media and stop fighting the meme wars, it’s stupid, it’s unproductive, and it’s fueling the despair that, once and for all time, is NOT A PLAN.

Make a plan. Because those things up there, that Joe Biden did and didn’t do? On election day they don’t mean anything. True or false.

A.

Trump’s Illness Isn’t an Illness

Look, even if this shit was effective (and it’s not) it would still be hot garbage:

Trump is not a bad president because he can’t walk very fast or needs to use two hands to drink water or occasionally slurs his words. He’s a bad president because he’s appointed bad people to every job in the land and is spouting white supremacist nonsense every single day. If he was doing it from a body that looked like Arnold’s in his prime it wouldn’t make it any less horrifying.

(I get it, guys, he’s said the same things about Biden. Fine, fuck him. But for what it’s worth I’ve heard the most ableist shit about Biden from leftists during the primary, not from the GOP.)

This kind of crap tells people that a person can’t do the job if they can’t walk fast enough. If they can’t stand for long periods of time, or need assistance with eating or drinking. FDR didn’t need any help winning World War II from a wheelchair, and I’d take him in a heartbeat over what we have now. George Washington presidented while having the flu and a tumor in his leg plus whatever gnarly-ass stuff his teeth were doing, and he did well enough. Maybe someday we’ll have a president who uses a cane or a chair or something else and as long as they’re not retweeting deepfake wingnut conspiracies on the can nobody should care one bit how they get around.

I don’t want the president who does in fact need a golf cart to get from here or there to be prevented from having one because we’re more focused, literally, on the journey than the destination.

Which is what this kind of stuff gets in the way of. We rail against political coverage as fashion criticism all the time, that’s nothing new, the criticizing of who wore more flag pins or whatever we think will rile up the rubes. This is more insidious. Because there’s no physical standard (it’s not like being a firefighter and having to run up 10 flights of stairs) all we have to go on is our image of the past holders of the office and the stuff we project.

Right now we’re projecting hella bullshit and we need to stop.

A.

When Something Is Wrong With My Baby

 

The torch song tradition was not a casualty of the British Invasion.  It was carried on by many songwriters and singers, especially in the world of soul music. Stax-Volt-Atlantic-Memphis soul music to be precise. I’m expanding the parameters of the Friday Cocktail Hour to include a sad, sad soul song.

When Something Is Wrong With My Baby was written in 1967 by the brilliant songwriting team of Isaac Hayes and David Porter. For the uninitiated, Isaac Hayes was indeed the Shaft guy.

This torchy soul classic was first recorded by Sam and Dave:

There are many fine interpretations of this song but I’m still recovering from watching Trump’s speech,  so I’m going to keep this short. Our next take on Something Is Wrong With My Baby comes from Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville:

Let’s bring things full circle with a version by Friday Cocktail hour regular Billy Eckstine:

That’s it for now. Pour yourself a drink and toast the end of another week. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want:

Sleepwalking To Oblivion

Teleprompter Donald showed up to give his acceptance speech. Teleprompter Donald is a dull speaker. The content of the speech was, predictably, appalling. Earlier this week I said this:

“The Trump regime is like a three-legged stool held up by ethical violations, sycophancy, and hypocrisy.”

I’d like to amend and extend my remarks. It’s really a four-legged stool. The fourth leg is mendacity. President* Pennywise showed that leg at least 20 times last night according to the great Daniel Dale.

In addition to the lies, there were malaprops and mispronunciations aplenty. He “profoundly accepted” the nomination. He pronounced “walled-off” as Waldorf. It’s unclear if he meant the hotel or its signature salad. The speech was loaded with indigestible word salad.

The speech was aimless and meandering. Stephen Miller may be the worst presidential* speechwriter ever. It was a series of unstructured buzz words calculated to scare people shitless. The boring delivery made it seem as long as a speech by Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez. The running time was 70 minutes. It was an ugly boring mess.

It’s been said by many people but the use of the White House for this COVID super-spreader rally was another unconscionable abuse of power. The Hatch Act may be toothless, but they need be called on this shit every time. MSNBC’s Joy Reid nailed it:

Sometimes the best comments are terse and to the point:

There were a few masked faces in the crowd but people were crammed together like tinned sardines only not as tasty. It will be interesting to see who follows in Herman Cain’s footsteps, contracts the virus, and dies. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross looked like a prime candidate to join the 180K and counting Americans who have perished during the pandemic.

Alternate worlds in sci-fi are sometimes more pleasant than reality. The alternate world depicted by Trump is a dark and dangerous place where people jump out of the shadows to slit your throat. Hence the featured image from Sam Fuller’s Underworld USA.

I like how Jeet Heer of The Nation described it:

Click on the link and read the whole thread. It’s well worth your time.

Trump’s dull and toxic speech does not strike me as a winning message. Unfortunately, very few watched it live so its long-term impact is unclear. More important in this election will be turn-out and the pandemic death count, which grew by 3,500 during the RNC. Much as they try, they can’t lie those numbers away.

I woke up angry. Angry that we have a malevolent idiot as POTUS*. Angry that one of our major parties incites violence against immigrants and minorities. To listen to Trump, Joe Biden has been running the country for the last 47 years. Who knew he was that powerful?

Our publisher was angry about the misuse of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah:

Again. click on the link and revel in Athenae’s righteous indignation.

I came up with the post title as the Impeached Insult Comedian droned on. He had obviously neither practiced nor read the speech. I was a sleepwalker as a small child. Apparently, I’d wander aimlessly from room-to-room muttering under my breath about nothing in particular. I outgrew my sleepwalking. I hope that the country will awaken from our long national nightmare and send the First Sleepwalker to oblivion where he belongs.

The last word goes to The Kinks:

Hurricane Laura & Other Disasters

New Orleanians should have heaved a collective sigh of relief yesterday as Hurricane Laura headed due west of us. Instead, everyone who was here for or evacuated from Katrina was triggered. It’s a mere two days from the Katrinaversary. Plus, the storm is following in the footsteps of another devastating 2005 system, Hurricane Rita. People are unnerved, jittery, and depressed. 2020 continues to be the year from hell.

We’re expecting some rain bands associated with Laura today.  It will be nothing compared to what happened some 240 miles west from here. Lake Charles is the largest Louisiana town in the initial path of the storm; reports are grim but as of this writing there are no reported fatalities and the storm surge wasn’t as high as feared. It’s still a fucking mess that will leave thousands homeless.

In other news, the rolling ethical violation that is the Trumpvention continues. The MSM is shrugging-off the impropriety of holding purely political events at the White House. Fuck those guys. It’s the people’s house, not Donald and Melania’s house. The coverage of her speech was nauseating.  She’s complicit in her husband’s crimes and responsible for the lesser included offense of removing rose bushes planted by past First Ladies in the people’s rose garden. They’re slowly but surely eroding the norms of our civil society; make that uncivil.

The citizenship swearing in ceremony on Tuesday looked like a hostage video. It’s of dubious legality and participants were not informed that they were to be props in a Trumpist farce. The lying never stops.

I could go on and on about the freak show that is the RNC. They’re fond of red baiting so let’s respond in kind. This attempt to rewrite the history of the Trump regime is reminiscent of the Stalinist rewriting of Russian history. They’ve told so many lies this week that it will be impossible for them to keep them straight. Stay tuned.

The Impeached Insult Comedian has challenged Joe Biden to take a drug test as a condition of debating. Team Biden should throw its own gauntlet on the table: produce Trump’s tax returns or the debates are off.

Finally, I’m keeping a wary eye on events in Southwest Louisiana and East Texas. I feel a tinge of survivor’s guilt, but I’m relieved it didn’t hit my city. Nobody deserves to be hit by a devastating tropical system such as Laura. The fact that Acadiana has turned ruby red in recent years is irrelevant. People are suffering. It doesn’t matter how they vote. I’m sending waves of empathy their way. It could have been us.

The last word goes to Lucinda Williams who was born in Lake Charles:

 

Lickspittle Spoke

Only a grim sense of civic duty kept me from ignoring the gathering of the Trump cult, last night’s episode capped off with an extended word from Second in Command but Toady in Chief Mike Pence.

Wow. I don’t know what was more, I don’t know, amazing: the boot-licking fealty or the dire predictions of life under a Biden administration that sound a lot like the reality of the present one.

About all that was missing was a collective statement insisting that Donald Trump was the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being they’ve ever known in their life. And Joe Biden is Satan (well, Lou Holtz…)

One last attempt to peel off a few suburban suckers, um, voters. Will it work? I hope not.

I’m also thinking that, whether it will work or not, the Trump Cult up to and including Dear Leader, will do everything they can to encourage the kind of rioting and unrest you’re seeing in Kenosha and elsewhere. It’s all they’ve got. Amp up the chaos, see if they can slither through.

How’s that for a strategy?

Pompeo & Circumstance

The Trump regime is like a three-legged stool held up by ethical violations, sycophancy, and hypocrisy. The Republican reality show now airing is the culmination of everything that’s wrong with that party and their nominee. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s convention speech covers all the bases making it one of the Trumpiest things yet.

Let’s assemble the stool leg by leg:

Ethical Violations: As far as I can tell, Pompeo is the first sitting secretary of state since World War II to address a party convention. He looked somewhat uncomfortable sitting on the roof of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Deep down, he knew this was improper as well as ineffective. I wonder if Bibi was there coaching him. It wouldn’t surprise me since Netanyahu is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Trump regime.

Pompeo’s speech was the biggest bomb to hit the King David Hotel since 1946. That joke is in poor taste; almost as bad as the RNC itself.

Many other politicians have served as Secretary of State but they had the good sense to stay away from their party’s nominating conventions. The reason Pompeo spoke is:

Sycophancy: According to the WaPo’s David Ignatius,

The Pompeo paradox is that he often seems to know what’s right, even if he ends up doing the opposite. According to John Bolton, the former national security adviser, Pompeo would often grumble privately that the president’s ideas were mistaken but trim his sails to avoid offending the boss. When Trump gave an order, Pompeo’s default response was: “Yes sir, roger that, ” Bolton wrote in his memoir, “The Room Where It Happened.”

I’m glad Ignatius was able to get through Bolton’s book to share that bon mot. I was not. I only lasted 75 pages. The Mustache of War’s prose is heavy going.

“Yes sir, roger that” could serve as Pompeo’s epitaph. There’s nothing distinguished about his record as Secretary of State, after all.

Let’s move on to the third leg of our Trumper stool:

Hypocrisy: According to Slate’s Fred Kaplan,

Pompeo also violated his own guidance, sent to his underlings on Feb. 18 of this year. A bold-faced sentence in that memo read: “Senate-confirmed Presidential appointees may not even attend a political party convention or convention-related event.”

Pompeo’s hypocrisy makes him the perfect Trump Republican. The entire convention is a rolling violation of the Hatch Act where lies are the primary currency. It’s why I’m only reading about it instead of watching. I’m stressed out enough as it is.

I have a confession to make. I’ve had the title Pompeo & Circumstance in my virtual desk drawer forever. That’s why I wrote this post. An excellent post title is a terrible thing to waste.

The last word goes to Sir Edward Elgar and the BBC Symphony Orchestra:

 

 

That was nothing like my high school prom. Of course, I never went. I was one of the cool kids back then and cool kids skipped the prom.

Yes, sir, roger that.

 

Bits & Bobs, Not Odds & Sods

Tropical Storm Marco replicated the 2016 Rubio campaign and fell apart. It’s unclear if it will become Hurricane Laura’s sycophant thereby perfecting the Rubio-Trump analogy.

Since I wrote the bulk of this post on Tuesday and may never have another chance to repeat my Goodbye Rubio Tuesday pun, ladies and gentleman, the Rolling Stones:

 

We did not lose power but I’m still feeling triggered since Laura has blown up into a major storm. It’s not coming here but I haven’t felt this jittery about a tropical system since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Andrew wandered the Gulf like a mendicant seeking alms, so everyone spent days on edge waiting for it to light. My then landlords/upstairs neighbors first evacuated east then west. They landed in Baton Rouge, which was where Andrew ended up after knocking the Miami area on its ass. That concludes this walk down hurricane alley memory lane. At least Carl Hiaasen got a good book out of the Andrew mishigas:

The combination of two tropical systems, memories of 2005, the pandemic, Paul Drake’s death, and the neo-Nuremberg rally held by the GOP have me feeling overwhelmed. I had originally planned to write a Katrinaversary column for the Bayou Brief this week. It will have to wait until next week. I don’t feel like dredging up those memories until Laura has left the stage. I’m *almost* as confused as Dana Andrews in the featured image right now.

My regular features Album Cover Art Wednesday, Pulp Fiction Thursday, Friday Catblogging, and even Saturday Odds & Sods are on hurricane hiatus this week.  I already cooked up something tasty for the Friday Cocktail Hour before feeling so rattled by events.

 

I have some random and discursive thoughts about what’s going on in my world and your world. I suspect they’ll be more scattered than usual, but I think I can muster some jokes.

There are two things I hate as much as endless storm chatter. First, people complaining when a storm is NOT as bad as forecast. Out of an abundance of caution, there were many Monday closures for Marco. Nobody should whine and moan about that, especially if it’s a large institution. They have to pull the trigger 16 to 24 hours in advance. Y’all should be happy that it was a dull Monday, not angry. No wonder I feel triggered.

I also hate the patronizing tone that our leaders adopt during a storm. In New Orleans, we’re hurricane professionals. We know the drill. We don’t need the Mayor or Governor talking down to us. Of course, the word patronizing sums up Mayor Cantrell’s style. Voter’s remorse thy name is Adrastos.

My social media feeds are consumed with storm chatter and the Republican convention. I used to watch both major conventions gavel-to-gavel but who needs to see Gavin Newsome’s ex-wife scream? Additionally, all of Trump’s speeches are variations on the theme of me, me, me. I’m glad the Kaiser of Chaos is speaking each day. Repeat after me: every time he opens his mouth, he loses votes.

The Republican Party has declared intellectual bankruptcy. They have no platform other than: In President* Pennywise We Trust. I’m surprised they didn’t advocate adding his head to Mount Rushmore and replacing General/President Grant on the fifty-dollar bill with the Impeached Insult Comedian. The Lost Causers don’t like Uly, but they adore the Racist-In-Chief.

I’m uncertain what to make of the War of the Conways. While it could be a scam, it’s hard for parents to talk teenagers into anything so it might be genuine. Beats the hell outta me. One thing is certain: they’d never cast Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner as George and Kellyanne.

Danny DeVito, however, might work as George.

I realized how little I’d missed Adam Nagourney’s punditry when the Gray Lady published his ludicrous ruminations on how Trump could still win in 2020. Adam’s solution is that the Impeached Insult Comedian should imitate Poppy Bush in 1988. The analogy falls apart for a variety of reasons:

  1.  Michael Dukakis was a cold fish. Joe Biden is Mr. Empathy.
  2.  Bush was the Veep, not the president. People also liked him and his boss.
  3.  The Reagan record did not include 175K and counting deaths caused by their grotesque incompetence.

It’s also distressing that anyone at the Failing New York Times should be in the business of advising Team Trump. I know they’re big on both-siderism, but this is ridiculous. Only The Tubes can wash Nagourney’s nitwittery out of my hair:

 

Now that I’ve bashed the Gray Lady, it’s time to take a whack at the Amazon Post. I don’t understand why everyone’s hair is on fire about the NYT oped page when bootlicking Trumper Hugh Hewitt writes for the WaPo. He makes Brett Stephens look like Tom Wicker. Hewitt is an embarrassment to Hughs past and present: from Grant to Downs. There should be a hugh and cry for his removal…

A brief explanation of the post title. Like Odds & Sods, Bits & Bobs is a Britsim for Bits & Pieces. Sustained thought is beyond me right now.

The last word goes to Boston with today’s earworm:

 

Who Thinks Like This?

I hate horror movies.

(I am still watching Lovecraft Country, because Lovecraft + racial reckoning + OMAR COMIN’.)

However, I will not watch all five SAW movies. I will not watch the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I will not watch any of the Halloweens and I only saw one of the Friday the 13ths at a sleepover like 100 years ago and none of the others nor that one ever since. People tell me I should watch the Haunting of Hill House because SHIRLEY THEE JACKSON but I cannot. I got 20 seconds into The Ring and shut that shit down.

(I liked Get Out fine, but it had other stuff going on.)

I don’t enjoy being scared. I don’t get some kind of almost-sexual frisson from monsters jumping out of the dark. I have no desire to wonder if there is a dead thing under my house or some tentacled thing swimming alongside me at the beach. I get the psychology of it, of loving being scared.

I know there are people who love being terrified. I don’t get you, people.

I don’t get this, either:

What do you GET, out of convincing yourself your perfectly fine normal block is a dystopian hellscape from which only Donald Trump, himself some kind of underworldly creature, can save you? What does living in this kind of constant rage do to your body and mind? What HAPPENED TO YOU, that you feel this is a way to see the world, as a shiny cover over dark and skittering things, all of them thinking about eating you alive?

There’s a bulletproofed bodega near my old bus stop (back when I did things like take buses places; god I miss the bus) and it’s known to be disputed territory between two groups of assholes who take turns holding it up. Every other weekend there’s crime scene tape around it and I warn relatives off of it but I also go weeks and months without thinking about it at all, walking past it at all hours of the day and night.

I lock my doors at night, I’m not an idiot, you know? But when I told out-of-town acquaintances that our garage had gotten broken into this one time, everyone acted like I’d lost a child, like my sense of safety had been somehow personally destroyed. I suppose it could have been, but my crazy pills were working back then and they didn’t take my bike. But then the line comes out, “oh, I suppose that changed how you look at things,” meaning the old “conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged canard.”

Shove your worldview off on circumstance, I guess, blame your kids and taxes for you having always wanted to be a shithead, but what kills me is that by this logic the most conservative people on earth should be poor people who live in the neighborhoods Gaetz and his fellow electroputzes tell us to speed through in terror.

Poor people of color are disproportionately the victims of crime, so what is our excuse, my fellow honkies, for this constant “back in Grandma’s day you could leave your bike on the lawn and no one would steal it, it’s such a different world” kind of racist small talk? What is our immense need to be so scared all the time? Why do we WANT our leaders to tell us we teeter on the edge of a knife as the world holds its breath?

Did THAT MANY of us read Watchmen wrong?

I mean just generally how dare we, the group of people least likely to be shot by police in the back as we walk away from them, pretend to such depths of fear and despair as to turn to someone whose Twitter bio is “Florida man” to tell us how precisely we’ll be dismembered upon the morrow? How dare we get some kind of sick high from that?

Especially when there is so much to be scared of. I think that’s why I hate horror movies so much. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, the second of my lifetime to result in mass deaths, and let’s not get started on the massive unending unwinnable wars. You want me to look at that and worry about some dipshits posing for Instagram photos as gang members and six cars on fire?

I don’t lack for sources of fear. If I did I wouldn’t need to make up a story about prisons and riots and death in the streets. I could make myself terrified every day by turning on C-SPAN, but god damn, man, sometimes you just have to put down the political crack pipe and go outside.

It’s harmless out there, I promise you. Especially where you live.

A.

Letter From The Hurricane Zone

Dear Readers:

I’m usually not rattled by news of an approaching storm, especially if they’re Cat-1 or lower. This time is different. We’re having a doubleheader: first Marco, then Laura. The cool kids on the tweeter tube are calling it a doublecane.

It’s unclear how and even if the two systems will interact. If it were out in the ocean, I’d be interested in seeing it play out but since it’s not, I’m not.

This is not an original thought but 2020 is too damn much, y’all. Too many deaths, too much Trump, too much of anything and everything. Now too much damn weather. 2020 can go fuck itself.

What is it with Republican conventions and tropical systems? In 2008, we were in Bossier City after evacuating for Hurricane Gustav. In 2012, Hurricane Isaac led to an epic power fail that caused us to miss seeing Clint Eastwood talk to a chair. Watching it on the YouTube spoiled the element of surprise. I missed making a joke about the Neil Diamond song wherein the singer does the same damn thing:

 

I should apologize for posting a Neil Diamond song during such stressful times. I told you I was rattled.

In other news, Melania Trump has paved over the Rose Garden just in time to give the speech I plan to miss this week. What can you expect from people who have gold terlets?

I’m writing this on Sunday morning because I expect to lose power for some or all of the week. I doubt if I’ll post my regular features (other than the Friday Cocktail Hour) unless the one-two punch of Marco and Laura turns out to be a dud like Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign.

MONDAY UPDATE: Marco has been downgraded to Tropical Storm status, but Laura is strengthening. Hopefully, it will NOT be as big in 2020 as the movie Laura was in 1944. The storm should follow in star Gene Tierney’s footsteps and retire to Texas. As Lyle Lovett would surely say at this point, “Texas wants you anyway.”

Sorry, Texas. Hurricane season brings out the worst in all of us.

I’ll check in and update y’all if I can. I hope I’m wrong about the power loss thing. It won’t be the first or last time.

The last word goes to The Who:

 

I bet you expected a hurricane song. I like to surprise my readers.

Love,

Adrastos

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – The Darnold’s Even Worse Week edition

Well, so much for a mental health week. I’d hoped that the DNC convention week would give me a respite from Freeperville, but NOOOOOOOOO…

GodfatherJustWhenI wasOut

Also,

CofeeBreaksOver

“Coffee break’s over – back on your heads!”

Well, let’s get suited up and into the airlock.  The warning buzzers and overload sirens are getting on my last nerve.

Breaking — Steve Bannon, Brian Kolfage arrested and charged by DOJ…
www.citizenfreepress.com ^ | Posted by Kane on August 20, 2020 10:04 am

Posted on 8/20/2020, 9:15:08 AM by Red Badger

1 posted on 8/20/2020, 9:15:08 AM by Red Badger

Oh dear.

To: Red Badger

 

I said for a while that the build the wall fund was a scam and wouldn’t result in anything substantial but people wanted to believe that we could throw a buck on the pile to build the wall.

13 posted on 8/20/2020, 9:19:36 AM by Zeroisanumber1

Well, you know what they say – “There’s a Freeper born every minute”.
To: RummyChick

 

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been arrested after being charged with defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors through their campaign “We Build the Wall.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/20/former-trump-advisor-steve-bannon-arrested-on-charges-of-defrauding-donors-in-fundraising-scheme.html

5 posted on 8/20/2020, 8:45:28 AM by RummyChick (Stop Apologizing for things you didn’t do. Stop Demanding Apologies when refuse to forgive)

And probably the best non-conspiracy-theory-but-her-emails response:
To: RummyChick

 

We thought we were building the wall, but we were buying Bannon’s hookers and meth

7 posted on 8/20/2020, 8:46:54 AM by babble-on

 

WeHaveAwinner

And now, the Southern District of New York fan club chimes in:


To: Red Badge

The indictment was brought by prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
12 posted on 8/20/2020, 9:19:30 AM by MarvinStinson
To: srmanuel

 

Your article seems to confirm it was the Democrats at SDNY. And it involves that vet was the trying to build the wall, too. More targeted political prosecutions out of the “Trump” DOJ.

16 posted on 8/20/2020, 8:48:34 AM by lodi90

To: Red Badger

 

The SDNY is a very large office with hundreds of prosecutors of which some will be closet Democrats of those that have been accidentally overlooked by the Attorney General and Trump.

Once Attorney General Barr hears about Bannon’s arrest, the charges will be dropped and the rouge(sic) prosecutor will be fired and disbarred.

28 posted on 8/20/2020, 9:33:39 AM by Meatspace

And primates might take wing from my anus…..
.
And just like that – makeup was illegal…..

To: Red Badger

 

Not sure what everyone is complaining about with SDNY.  Audrey Strauss is Barr’s appointee. Trump and Barr fired Berman. Therefore – this would be Strauss doing this – and would be Barr’s “man” (woman) doing this.

21 posted on 8/20/2020, 9:29:25 AM by NELSON111 (Congress: The Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog show. Theater for sheep. My politics determines my “hero”)

 

Details, details….

To: Red Badger

Barr is a deep state stooge

CurleyConcidence

 

and needs to be FIRED now!

35 posted on 8/20/2020, 9:38:36 AM by Swirl

Drain that swamp, baby!!
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TrumpDerpImpact
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Come along with me below the fold to see much much more of The Darnold’s Very Bad Day.
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How To Lose 25 Pounds in Quarantine*

First, and this is critical, plan ahead.

Like ideally four years ahead, the point in the past at which your country can elect a neon-colored asshead cheeto bigot.

You’d think that wouldn’t be important later, as you’re intimately versed in how awful political losses are, but this one acts slow. First there’s the shock and fear, then the profound disappointment, then the anger. Skip bargaining and acceptance, they’re bullshit. Sometimes dabble in depression but mostly allow each day — with its particular indignity, executive order, general embarrassment, or outright attempt to murder those you love — to return you to anger.

Let the poison seep into your blood and expect every day to be a disaster.

If you can’t go back that far, or abstract yourself that much, try … a year. Maybe 18 months. You have a job you’re scared to love as much as you do, friends and family who are nothing short of angelic beings masquerading as people walking around on this earth. A healthy child, a loving spouse, a solid roof over your head, if not stupid money then enough to eat meat and buy wine. The rest of the country is on absolute fire but you should be doing pretty good. 

Now develop, for no particular reason, a muscle spasm in your torso.

See a doctor. See a specialist. Treat it conservatively. Rest, ice, heat, topicals, OTC pain meds. When it’s mostly gone, pretend it never existed.

Now make sure your anti-depressant, your best friend, your lifesaver for the past 17 years, stops working inexplicably, and kind of don’t notice for a while. Figure you’re tired because you’re working hard, and you’re nervy because the stakes are high, and the neon-colored asshead cheeto bigot is, after all, trying to kill all your friends. It’s normal to be a little … off.

Until you can’t stop crying whenever someone so much as looks at you. Until the thought of washing your hair makes you want to die.

Spent 20 minutes every morning sitting on the floor of your bathroom doing breathing exercises. Convince yourself this is meditation. Get really, really, really into expensive skincare.

Decide you should get a new therapist and probably switch up your meds.

Talk every night to your long-suffering spouse about how you probably need a therapist but, since not doing stuff you know you need to do in order to sabotage yourself is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT YOUR DEPRESSION’S JAM, don’t make the call. Convince yourself to tough it out.

Start to get nervous about work. Hit the three-year mark at the job and wonder if you should still be doing it. Pick some fights to see how they feel. Kick a bees’ nest or two. Get stung a lot. Realize that just because your brand of FUCK IT WE’LL DO IT LIVE has worked so far, doesn’t mean it’ll work forever. Have trouble sleeping.

Watch the neon asshead cheeto bigot try to deport your friends. Watch him nominate a rapey fascist alcoholic to the Supreme Court. Be just a little more tense at home than you really should with a sensitive, empathetic child who’s developing caregiver tendencies. Yell at your nice spouse a lot.

Plan a work project no one but a seasoned triathlete with NASA-level multi-tasking skills can possibly execute perfectly. Convince yourself, with utterly no basis in reality, that upon the success of this project rides your continued employment.

Then, have the pain return with a vengeance.

See a specialist. Try several ineffective medications. Have the specialist refer you to a surgeon. Have the surgeon tell you he doesn’t want to do surgery, but he doesn’t have any other ideas either. Look at him in disbelief as he suggests you go home and just … live like this. Have the surgeon suggest another surgeon. Be in excruciating pain that again, you might ONLY wish on Stephen Miller, every time you have to be on your feet for more than 20 minutes, which is all day, three days a week at least. Read several internet forums dedicated only to this problem, which convince you it’s unsolvable.

Go mostly vegetarian. Almost vegan. Drink smoothies. Take supplements. Then take different supplements. Then take more. Do breathing exercises on the bus home. Cook dinner, none of it appetizing to you at all.

Try legal marijuana. Become afraid of food. Transfer your work-related panic disorder to one directed at dinner.

Almost black out on the train. Collapse in your office. Grit your teeth, get back up, and nick some anti-anxiety medication from an absolute saint. Drink maybe a bit much for the situation.

When the anti-anxiety medication — and let’s be honest, the whiskey — kicks in, easing some of all of the above, decide the therapist and new surgeon can wait a couple of weeks, until you’re less busy. This should be around mid-March, if you’re on track with your diet plan.

Now.

Have the neon asshead cheeto bigot botch a pandemic response so thoroughly that the entire society shuts down and you can’t see any doctors for anything except dying of COVID for 2 months. Beg for appointments and be told there’s nothing available. Leave messages until your calls stop being returned.

Consider the ER and realize it’s full of COVID patients, or just people with contagions they think are coronavirus, and they won’t give you any real meds anyway.

Read every day about people’s parents, people’s children, dying alone. Sleep next to your child sleeping in her bed to make sure she is still breathing, which you haven’t done since she was a baby. Look at your parents, with whose mortality you thought you’d come to terms long ago, and realize you are in no way ready for them to die.

Teach kindergarten, ineptly. Work from home, ineptly.

Make jokes on the internet. Write about the neon-colored asshead cheeto bigot, indifferently. Tell your friends you are fine when they check in. Mention you’ve been having some stomach trouble to get out of social obligations. Continue to either not eat, or nibble crackers all day. Order various quack remedies from the internet costing hundreds of dollars. Read medical journals.

Fill pain-free days with fear of pain. On pain-filled days be unable to remember what it felt like not to be in pain.

Buy a ping-pong set. Buy a backyard kiddie pool. Let your child watch entirely too much trash TV. Turn on educational animal shows and find yourself explaining sperm and eggs and how babies are made because of the artificial insemination of a cheetah. Watch an operation to alter the genitalia of a puppy. Listen as the vet says “penis” 47 times.

Watch the extremely graphic and sticky birth of a rhino. Switch to baking shows.

Think, every day, that she deserves a healthy mother, a more patient mother, a better mother who can do more than just keep a roof over her head and cook her hot dogs, what kind of useless mother is that, what kind of idiot.

Think about the dark, cold days after your daughter was born into a polar vortex. Think about being inside all the time. Think about the snow. Think about how you were scared to be with her but how being away from her made you want to scream. Think about how sure you were that she would be better off with anyone but you, anyone at all.

Realize that the quarantine is tweaking memories of your maternity leave. Breathe a little, just a little, easier. Start, if not walking outside, at least sitting out there. Get a work project accomplished and feel a little less useless.

Recall that the singular feature of all depression is that it lies.

This is April. Twenty pounds down now.

You should still be in so much pain, like your entire torso is one huge muscle pull, like you have a charley horse inside you at peak tension at all times, that you think of two things and two things only:

How much pain you are in and

how little you are getting done on any front because of said pain and the attendant exhaustion.

Nap like it’s your job. Continue to beg for doctor’s appointments. In early May, have an emergency root canal and decide that this is the day you are just fucking done with your body and all its bullshit.

Ask a friend for a referral to her doctor. See him. Have him recommend tests that are agony. Have the tests anyway. Be absurdly proud of yourself that you spend only two days in bed afterward. Rule out various disorders and cancer. Be disappointed because if it was a tumor you could get rid of it.

Now, suddenly, somehow, it’s June.

Have the new doctor recommend a new surgeon. Have the new surgeon tell you that your previous surgeon was an illiterate moron. Have the new surgeon ask you to try more medications, which almost work, and then tell you you should go ahead with the surgery. Schedule it, have it done, and feel so instantly and completely better, so miraculously healed, that you dash off a letter to your previous surgeon suggesting several alternative professions for him including nudie booth janitor at the local strip joint.

Ask the surgeon who isn’t an illiterate moron if it’s legal to feel this good.

Begin, slowly, to eat food again. Find yourself, on certain days, now actually hungry for something other than animal crackers washed down with scotch.

Weigh yourself again. You now weigh three pounds more than you did when you got married, back when you were so broke you only ate one meal a day.

Congratulations! You’ve reached your goal!

*So that’s what I’ve been up to while everybody was making sourdough.

Thin culture is bullshit, okay, and the above? Not how I would recommend getting down to one’s 19-year-old weight, if that’s even a thing a 44-year-old should want to do.

I would put those 25 pounds back on right now if it would give me back the things I missed out on in the past six months, the work and the time and the money I spent trying to fix my problems, the patience I could have had for my family and friends and loved ones, the help I could have provided those in need had I not been housebound and in agony.

“You look amazing!” “Thanks, it’s a new program I’ve been working called who wants to eat things, eating things is gross and bad, and also my crazy pills stopped working and all my doctors were like GO TO HELL WE’RE CLOSED.”

It’s been a time. I’m on the mend. But if my attention has seemed to be a little … elsewheres, than on the ins and outs of a presidential campaign I just want to be OVER so we can all get back to our lives, it’s because all this was happening.

Sorry if I missed an email. Send it again, okay?

A.

Local Journalism

Whenever someone’s shrieking about SAVE LOCAL JOURNALISM I think of things like this, wherein apparently nobody could Google anything [loud annoying autoplay live feed at link because no journalist has ever considered UX in any way at all]: 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A peaceful protest against human trafficking in Grand Rapids brought a frequently forgotten criminal business to the forefront.

Wherever there are people, there is the potential for human trafficking, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The department says thousands of cases are reported every year, though many cases go unnoticed.

It’s a cause that compelled the folks along Monroe Avenue to make a stand.

“I’m really impressed with all the people out here,” said Kim Mol of Hudsonville. “They are for save the children!”

This is, of course, that horrible Q bullshit, and the protesters aren’t exactly trying to hide it. They’re counting on exactly this kind of credulous coverage because who, I ask you, could be against awareness of child trafficking? Who the hell doesn’t want to save the children?

(Awareness campaigns generally make me itch, unless it’s something we’re truly not aware of. Buying a $700 backpack or whatever doesn’t actually cure cancer and if you’re not aware that cancer exists you’re living in a dream world. Coronavirus being a real thing could use some awareness, but that’s nothing compared to a bunch of maskless honkies screaming on the street about a nationwide conspiracy of pedophiles.)

I’m not trying to pick on this one reporter. I am saying that we have what are basically keyboard macros masquerading as news stories happening. Protesters “clash” with police. “Police-involved shooting,” that’s one I scream about whenever I see it. Something “raises questions” or “ignites a firestorm of controversy.” Politicians “trade barbs” or “exchange accusations.”

We have all these ways of backing into a story by telling you it’s the same as every other story and none of it means anything. It’s not an exaggeration to say that our inability to give up on the way we’ve always written and talked about everything, our overarching laziness, is how we got where we are.

Watching ten minutes of morning local news (as I sometimes do when trapped in a place of business that hates its customers and wants them to be miserable) is a really, really good way to figure out how people vote Republican. Let’s keep poking this one station, shall we: 

PLYMOUTH, Pa. — Black and white American flag lawn signs dot properties all over Plymouth.

If you look closely, you’ll see the signs support fire, ambulance, and police.

Harmless fun! Raises money for a local volunteer firefighting company! Literally began as a response to Black Lives Matter and is an expression of belligerent hostility co-opted by well-meaning people who just want to support their cousin who’s a cop! There are layers and layers to this and none of those layers lend themselves to the kind of story you have to do in 30 seconds between videos of pets up for adoption.

Here’s some MORE credulous coverage of crazy shit: 

Trump also said the harsh restrictions put in place for the pandemic were politically driven by the Democrats.

“They don’t want Donald Trump at the Mohegan Sun Arena with 20,000 people there,” said Frank Scavo, a long time Republican. “So they just collapse it down and say okay 25 percent, no more than 250.”

Nowhere, in the story, NOWHERE, is it mentioned that this is IMPOSSIBLE and NOT TRUE and what the fucking fuck generally. That is bugfuck crazy nutso time. That is BONKERS. On its face.

Whenever I hear about how we need to root out deliberate misinformation and Russian bot Facebook/Twitter campaigns I think about how much low-level bullshit there is in the local news we’re meant to lionize. Thinking uncritically about SAVE LOCAL NEWS means support this the same way you’d give to your local nonprofit shop, and that makes less sense than those QAnon idiots up there.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: We Can Work It Out

New York Movie by Edward Hopper.

We’ve been catless since PD’s passing. It’s the first time in 35 years that I have not been owned by a cat. I miss having the silly buggers around so we’re looking into adopting. I regret not having given Paul Drake a furry sibling after Della’s passing but I was so traumatized by dealing with our former vet that I was slow to pull the trigger. Please don’t try to give us a kitten: we’re looking at older cats. They have a harder time getting adopted. It worked out well with Oscar and PD, after all.

If it’s a boy, Dr. A and I might have to fight over cat names. I want to keep the shamus tradition alive and call him Jim Rockford. She’s in favor of CK Dexter Haven, the name of Cary Grant’s character in The Philadelphia Story. I like both names, so it won’t be much of a tussle. Stay tuned.

This week’s theme song barely needs an introduction. It was written by Lennon and McCartney in 1965 and is one of the songs from that period that sounds like both songwriters were involved. It combines Macca positivity and Lennon’s mordant wit.

We have three versions of We Can Work It Out for your listening pleasure: the Beatles original and covers by Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan.

We Can Work It Out was selected as my high school class’ graduation song. It provided a swell send-off not that I remember much about those days. They’re a bit hazy, which makes posting this song mandatory:

Now that we’ve established that we’re experienced, let’s jump to the break.

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Friday Cocktail Hour: Smile

Assembling this post made me think of my favorite cousin. We lost her this year. One bond we shared was a love of movies, especially old ones. In fact, she’s the one who introduced me to so many classic films that I’ve lost track. One of them was Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times.

Chaplin wrote the melody that became Smile in 1936 for Modern Times. The lyrics were written in 1954 by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons. They were inspired by lines and themes from Chaplin’s movie. Smile is a bittersweet song that tries to convince you that everything will be okay as long as you smile. Perhaps that’s why Joe and Kamala are so smiley.

As with last week’s tune, Nat King Cole was the first artist to record Smile. He did the Little Tramp proud:

Judy Garland used to feature Smile in her act. The opening verse summed up her woes and her attempts to rise above them:

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through
For you

Here’s Judy on a Sunday night singing it to a grateful nation:

Smile has been recorded many times over the years. One of my favorites is by the long, tall Texan himself, Lyle Lovett:

Eric Clapton used Smile as the opening number on his 1974 comeback tour. The comeback was from the heroin addiction that nearly cost him his life:

What’s the Friday Cocktail Hour without a instrumental version by a Jazz great? This time around, my favorite pianist, Oscar Peterson.

Finally, some musical lagniappe with another song titled Smile. In this case, it was written by Gary Louris and was the title track of a 2000 album by The Jayhawks:

I usually call Smile The Jayhawks’ Sgt. Pepper because of the Beatlesque songs and lush arrangements. The strings on their Smile slay me every time. “Chin up, chin up.”

That’s it for this week. Pour yourself a drink before walking into the sunset with Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard.

Virtual Convention Notes: Allies Of The Light

People don’t think of Joe Biden as a great public speaker. Twitter was full of people surprised that the former Veep gave such a great speech. I was not. I’ve seen at least a half-dozen of his eulogies, which are always outstanding. One reason Biden is so good at eulogizing fallen political comrades is that those speeches are always about them: never about him. Donald Trump’s speeches are always about himself. Joe Biden’s acceptance speech was about US.

Joe Biden has been caricatured over the years. The Onion Biden was a popular guy during the Obama administration, but there was always more to Joe than met the eye. A crueler caricature of Joe Biden has emerged in the last year: an elderly stumble bum who is forever stepping on his tongue. It’s just as wrong as the Onion Biden.

Biden’s acceptance speech was every bit as good as one of his eulogies. In many ways, it was a eulogy for a country damaged by the Current Occupant. Biden spoke of the grief caused by the pandemic: 170K and counting dead. Biden spoke for all of us when he said, “It didn’t have to be this bad.”

Biden feels our pain. Trump inflicts pain.

I was particularly enchanted with Biden’s calling himself an “ally of the light.” A wonderful image that gave me this wonderful earworm:

 

We all must be allies of the light to vanquish the darkness caused by the misrule of the Kaiser of Chaos.

Joe Biden needed to give the speech of a lifetime last night. He succeeded.

Repeat after me: Joe Biden excels at overcoming adversity.

We at First Draft have always had a special place in our hearts for the man we call Joey B. Shark or just plain Joey Shark. 2020 is his time: He’s the opponent Trump fears. Biden is a regular Joe with a nice wife and a normal family. His opponent is a weirdo with a trophy wife and cartoonishly awful children. The contrast couldn’t be starker.

Before seeing Biden’s acceptance speech, I planned to use a Harold Arlen-Yip Harburg song as the post title: Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe. It was written in 1943 for the musical Cabin In The Sky:

It seems like happiness is just a thing called Joe
He’s got a smile that makes the lilacs want to grow
He’s got a way that makes the angels heave a sigh
When they know, little Joe’s passin’ by

Sometimes the cabin’s gloomy and the table’s bare
But then he’ll kiss me and it’s Christmas everywhere
Trouble’s fly away and life is easy go

Life won’t be easy go if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are elected. There are messes aplenty to clean up, but Joe and Kamala are allies of the light. They will do their best to bind our national wounds. They will do the work.

Repeat after me: Joe Biden excels at overcoming adversity.

The last word goes to Ella Fitzgerald:

 

Friday Guest Catblogging: They’re Back

It’s been awhile since I’ve featured my friends Christy and Greg’s kitties in this space. Harold and Scout are back with a vengeance and a box. There’s always a box.