A Trump administration official who’s in charge of protocol decisions on foreign soil resigned abruptly just before President Trump’s visit to Japan, Bloomberg News reported.
State Department Chief of Protocol Sean Lawler’s resignation comes amid accusations that he intimidated employees and carried a whip around the office, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. The department’s inspector general may open a probe into the accusations, according to Bloomberg.
President Trump likely won’t bat an eye over the resignation. According to the people who spoke to Bloomberg, Trump doesn’t like Lawler and has “repeatedly asked why he still worked at the White House,” in Bloomberg’s words.
Lawler’s role is confirmed by the U.S. Senate and his responsibilities are considered similar to those of an ambassador.
So, the protocol honcho carried a whip around the office. I wonder if he wore bondage regalia or a cowboy outfit a la Lash LaRue?
Holy pulp fiction lagniappe, Batman.
This undiplomatic story gives an entirely meaning to the term Foggy Bottom. Ouch.
First things first, we gave him rehydration fluid as he was very thirsty, having probably been trapped in the store for a few days at least. Fortunately, he was completely uninjured. We had a look round the outside of the building to try and see how he might have got in but with no windows, no doors to the outside, no louvres or obvious ventilation shafts we couldn’t spot anything. However, as a bat can get through a gap as small as a couple of centimetres and it’s a huge building, it can be almost impossible to find an access point if you don’t actually observe the bat going in or out.
On this hallowed Christmas Eve, everyone in my house is pretty much asleep or trying to pretend to be in hopes of getting out of work in preparation for the Wigilla celebration tonight. As my wife and I kind of muttered our way awake, we ended up on a riff about traditions and food and Wisconsin and suddenly, we were into “What if Jesus were born here?” I did my best to document the answers (and augment with a few additional thoughts), so enjoy regardless of your faith, creed or lack thereof:
If Jesus had been born in Wisconsin:
He would have been swaddled in a green and gold blanket, cuddled in a Packer onesie and photographed wearing a cheesehead. Like this poor kid.
The three kings would have shown up last, having been stuck in construction on I-94 and finding out too late that the Illinois toll booths don’t take gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The little drummer boy would have been replaced by a kid with an accordion playing this little ditty. (“He’s really big in Sheboygan Falls,” my wife added.)
His middle name would have been “Bart,” “Brett,” “Aaron” or “Vince.”
Most of the gifts would have come from the Mars Cheese Castle. Curds. Lots and lots of curds.
Joseph would have been found two hours later at a local tavern, drinking really shitty beer with about a dozen of his new “best friends.” In other news, Blatz would have immediately made a comeback as “The official beer of the birth of our Lord and Savior.”
He would have been born in June so Christmas didn’t interfere with hunting season or the NFL playoffs.
He still would be born in a manger, as we have plenty of farmland, but only because the Motel 6 was overbooked.
Chicagoans would immediately start explaining how the 1985 Bears Superbowl team is somehow better than this.
Some drunk uncle would have tried to photograph him clutching a Miller Lite can.
Joseph’s mother would have immediately asked when they plan to have another one. Mary’s mother would have immediately tried to feed everyone who showed up.
Had he been born on a Friday, two words: Fish Fry. Also, kids would have started bitching, “Do we have to go to church TWICE this week?”
Only about one-fourth of the businesses that use “Packerland” or “Badgerland” to describe their moving companies or HVAC services would have changed to “Saviorland.”
Christmas Carols would all be polkas.
The shepherds would have missed the birth because nobody had plowed Highway 41 yet.
The manger would have been buried under three feet of snow, taking the family about three days to dig out at which point, some old codger would have shown up and said, “Snow? You call this snow? You should have been here for the blizzard of ’47…”
Remember the picture taken at a Trump rally earlier this year in Mobile, Alabama? You know, the one with the wild-eyed strawberry blond cheerleader type thrusting her baby at the Insult Comedian. Here’s its scariest iteration thus far:
To see the silly/terrifying GIF, click on play. The crazed Trumpette looks a bit like white trash by choice Kathryn on Bravo’s Southern Charm. You can tell I have a cold: I just admitted to watching a show that makes the Real Housewives franchise look like Shakespeare.
I have to somehow cleanse myself after mentioning the trashiest thing I watch. How about a Mobile pun:
My chef friends have been buzzing all week over The 2015 Hater’s Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog. Drew Magary is best known as a snarktastic sportswriter but he’s also a Chopped champion, so he knows from kitchen tools. Here’s how he started his third annual piece:
I have terrible news for you, America. I know that you’ve already endured a harsh autumn of partisan politics and mass tragedies and inconsistent NFL officiating. I know you can’t handle one more goddamn piece of bad news right now. It’s too much. It may break your spirit entirely. But I have to do it. If I don’t tell you now, you may learn this from an enemy, or from Twitter, or from your rich asshole brother-in-law:
There are no chicken coops for sale in this year’s Williams-Sonoma Christmas catalog.
I know. I know. Stay strong. We’ll get through this TOGETHER. I know you feel lost now that you won’t be able to shell out $1,000 for a goddamn chicken coop made out of driftwood by celebrated Carroll Gardens wood visualist SAMUEL PINE. Between this and the collapse of that one Blake Lively catalog, your interminable compulsion to run up your credit limit on horrible crap may never find a proper outlet.
HOWEVER, I do have some good news to soften the blow, my friend. While the coops are gone, the Williams-Sonoma Christmas catalog is still here. And yes, it remains as hilariously tone-deaf as ever, ready to help you plan the PERFECT holiday entertaining season, because to experience anything otherwise would be COLD DEATH. You must have a flawlessly laid-out dinner spread. You must have coordinated china and stemware patterns. The lyrics to “Sleigh Ride” must literally BE your life. You must SING! Yes, you must join hands with your gorgeous WASP children and sing carols in perfect harmony aloud for all to hear, so that the rest of world knows the truth: that their lives are SHIT and you, good friend, live among the holiday gods, in an evergreen paradise scented with luscious peppermint oils and laden with soup tureens and festooned with garlands sewn from the skinned corpse of a dead swan.
Chicken coopless? I don’t know about you, but I’m desolate. It makes me want to chicken out and fly the coop or contemplate this Seeds of Decline float:
Monsters were all the rage in the mid-1960’s. The Universal classics were playing on late late shows on local teevee stations and the Addams Family and the Munsters were on ABC. Frankie Stein and his Ghouls were a rather successful attempt by Power Records to cash in on the trend. Here’s how Wallace McBride at the Collinsport Historical Society described it:
The music of Frankie Stein and his Ghouls is cooler than it has any right to be. Between 1964 and 1965, the “band” cranked out no fewer than five full-length albums. By all rights these records should have been little more than white noise, the kind of generic elevator music that blared from teenage radios in movies and television whenever the producers didn’t feel like ponying up the dough for a legitimate song.
But there’s something special about the Frankie Stein series. Something surprisingly focused, haunting and aggressive. Which has led fans to sometimes speculate about the identities of the anonymous musicians that made of the ersatz band. If Frankie Stein was a real person, he’s been suspiciously quiet in the years since his band’s albums were hastily released. And there might be a good reason for it, if even a fraction of the rumors about the musicians involved with this project are true.
The “Frankie Stein” albums were released by Power Records, a subsidiary of the children’s specialty label Peter Pan Records. Power would later strike a chord with its young audience during the ‘70s when it licensed movie, television and comic book properties for its famous “book and record” sets. Years earlier, though, it was still struggling to find an identity, which lead the company to create some … unusual products.
I didn’t remember the name Frankie Stein and his Ghouls but I recall the music. It’s the sort of instrumental pop-rock music you’d hear on teevee shows of that era only with mildly spooky sound effects and wacky voices added to the mix. I wish Frankie Stein would come out into the light and reveal his true identity unless, that is, he’d melt as a result.
I give you three-count ’em three-album covers including one after the break:
I usually try and not pile on even those who deserve it when writing this feature. It’s not out of a surfeit of compassion but because I prefer to boldly go where no one has gone before. It may be the result of watching too much Star Trek, I dunno. There are exceptions to every rule and that is why British Prime Minister David Cameron is malaka of the week.
I was a bit late to the #piggate dance or the Sooey shuffle as they call it in the Ozarks. I had suffered through the Saints mortifying home loss to a piss poor Tampa Bay team along with my Twitter colleagues and fled immediately thereafter. Did I say colleagues? I meant cronies. When I checked later I had what amounted to an assignment from my publisher:
I am never one to shirk my duty as a satirist, especially when it was Athenae’s birthday yesterday. Belated Happy yadda, yadda, yadda, A.
Initially, I was at loss as to what the hell this porcine uproar was all about. It’s about payback from a spurned sponsor. Lord Michael Ashcroft used to be one of the Tory Party’s biggest contributors and helped make Cameron party leader, then Prime Minister. He expected a big job in return but was left at the altar. Payback is a bitch or is that a sow? Ashcroft’s vengeance came in the form of an anti-Cameron book, which was excerpted Sunday in the Daily Mail. Here’s the money passage:
But Cameron went a great deal further. He also got involved in the notorious Oxford dining society, the Piers Gaveston, named after the lover of Edward II, which specialises in bizarre rituals and sexual excess.
A distinguished Oxford contemporary claims Cameron once took part in an outrageous initiation ceremony at a Piers Gaveston event, involving a dead pig. His extraordinary suggestion is that the future PM inserted a private part of his anatomy into the animal’s mouth.
The source — himself an MP — first made the allegation out of the blue at a business dinner in June 2014. Lowering his voice, he claimed to have seen photographic evidence of this disgusting ritual.
My co-author Isabel Oakeshott and I initially assumed this was a joke. It was therefore a surprise when, some weeks later, the MP repeated the allegation.
Some months later, he repeated it a third time, providing a little more detail. The pig’s head, he claimed, had been resting on the lap of a Piers Gaveston society member while Cameron performed the act.
The MP also gave us the dimensions of the alleged photograph, and provided the name of the individual who he claims has it in his keeping.
The owner, however, has failed to respond to our approaches. Perhaps it is a case of mistaken identity. Yet it is an elaborate story for an otherwise credible figure to invent.
Furthermore, there are a number of accounts of pigs’ heads at debauched parties in Cameron’s day. The late Count Gottfried von Bismarck, an Oxford contemporary of Cameron’s, reportedly threw dinner parties featuring the heads of pigs. (He later became notorious after Olivia Channon, daughter of a Tory minister, died of a heroin overdose in his Christ Church bedroom.)
Dead pig head? Oy, just oy. Disgusting they name is Piers Galveston, which has absolutely nothing to do with the Glen Campbell-Jimmy Webb hit songwhatsoever. At least it a-piers not to be the case…
It’s fascinating that animal husbandry and bestiality seems to be associated in the U.K. with such posh people as a descendant of the Iron Chancellor and the Posh Boy himself. In the U.S. we associate it with toothless, moonshine swilling rednecks and Aggies from Texas A&M. Old Etonian David Cameron is clearly in touch with his inner frat boy and may well suffer from Aggie syndrome, which is defined by the Urban Dictionary as follows:
the uncontrollable desire to make love to various members of the animal kingdom, specifically those found in a barnyard. This is named after the Aggie students from Texas Ag & Mech (Texas a&m). Most commonly associated with the humping of sheep.
[Bloggers note: A usage example follows]
Bubba came down with a bad case of Aggie syndrome on a visit to College Station. He and his sheep will be getting married in two weeks due to the pregnancy.
That gives an entirely new meaning to the term sheep dipping, doesn’t it? I, of course, have no idea whether the pigfucking story is true but Cameron *is* politically a pigfucker as well as an egregious malaka. Since winning the election, the Conservative government has taken a hard right turn and has gone after the BBC, the National Health Service, and poor people in general. In short, Cameron deserves whatever abuse he gets right now. He’s getting a right porking by the tabloids as well as endless jokes on the Tweeter Tube and a revival of the “squeal like a pig” scene from Deliverance. Then there’s the whole Black Mirror thing:
When the nation awoke to find “Black Mirror” trending on Twitter, most assumed it was in relation to the announcement of a new season of the show.
The episode saw a fictional prime minister ordered by kidnappers to have sex with a pig in order to ensure the safe return of a beloved princess. Twitter was amazed that, while Black Mirror’s PM in a dystopian future had committed the act in order to save a life, our own had allegedly done so simply in the name of uni banter.
I’d never hear of Black Mirror before today; guess I’m a bad Anglophile. The writer behind the teevee show, Charlie Booker, has denied knowing about Cameron’s days at the Oxford branch of the Piggly Wigglyand said that it “weirded him out.” Holy understatement, Batman.
I’m certain that William Golding did NOT have the Posh Boy’s porcine proclivities in mind when he created the character of Piggy for Lord of the Flies. It was published 12 years before Cameron started chillaxing on planet Earth, after all. But Dave would definitely fit in with the bullies who tormented and eventually killed poor Piggy:
Suckling pig: Cam performed bizarre act on oinker with his pork sausage, book says
Given the libel laws in the U.K., the Posh Boy could sooey over the Ashcroft book but is unlikely to do so. It might be a ham dunk legally but it’s best to ignore such things politically. There’s no comment out of Number 10 Downing Street but Prime Minister’s questions could be a hoot this week. I wonder if one can obtain a sooey pig Razorback hat in London?
It may be too late to have one shipped via Amazon in time for PMQ’s. Now that I think of it, a gigantic Amazonian drone drop outside Parliament would be a woody response to this tinny kerfuffle:
Pigfucker, what a tinny word as well as an icky one. Lord Ashcroft, however, considers revenge to be a woody word indeed.
I don’t want to make a pig of myself and try to steal or reproduce all the pig jokes that are flying about this morning. Buzzfeed has thoughtfully collected 28 of the best ones and I’m quite content to send you there for more porcine jocularity.
I have a feeling, however, that I’m one of the few people on the planet who thinks #snoutgate could lead to a revival of the late, great African American comedian,Pigmeat Markham:
Btw, Markham was his *real* last name. His given name was Dewey, which led to much ribbing so he became Pigmeat. I made that last bit up; guess I’m feeling a bit Dewey eyed after all the pig jokes…
The Independent newspaper has informed us that there’s been some practical fall out from the Posh Boy’s porky indiscretion:
That’s right, ladies and germs, it’s racist to make a pun on the name Juan. Members of the pun community are running for cover. I myself am feeling pale and wan in the wake of this revelation. I may even have to swear off won-ton soup jokes, which makes me feel all hot and sour…
The company in question decided it was easier to delete the tweet and apologize, which was the wise thing for a business to do. I would hope, however, they’d ignore the loonier suggestions of firing people and banning puns. While I prefer smoke free joints, I draw the line at pub pun bans.
There are so many valid claims of bigotry and racism in the world that specious ones such as this drive me up the fucking wall. It turns out that there’s a “racist” Mexican restaurant in Austin whose name is Juan In A Million. It’s owned by a man named Juan Meza. Guess that makes him a self-loathing Chicano. The slacktivists are planning to do absolutely nada about this. At least I hope not, the mere thought makes me nada off.
It turns out that we own a “racist” coffee mug designed by world class punster Sandra Boynton:
It’s time for the American pun community to circle the wagons and fight against this tiresome Twitter tyranny. We should not take this pun persecution lying down; it’s not punny any more. Actually, I just put the lie in lying down. The pun community is resilient, so we’ll just get over it and move on:
I had planned to post another cover until I listened to this album for the first time in many years on the YouTube. I’d already posted a Firesign LP cover, after all. I laughed so hard when listening to Firesign’s classic 1974 send up of Holmes and Watson that I changed my mind. Neil Young will have to wait until next week.
The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra is primarily an affectionate parody of the Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes film series of the 1930’s and ’40’s. It was one of the few times Rathbone played a hero. He’s best known as a hiss-provoking villain: Sir Guy Of Gisbourne, come on down. Bunny Bruce played true to type, portraying Watson as a bumbling, lovable upper class twit. Firesign’s Dr. Flotsam is thick and hard of hearing who incorrectly, and hilariously, transcribes the ravings of the brilliant but cocaine addled Hemlock Stones.
The puns are to die for in The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra as is Bob Schulenberg’s cover, which resembles a Victorian era penny dreadful magazine:
Right after the Flood, I began calling New Orleans Debrisville. In fact, my inaugural First Draft post was entitled Greetings From Debrisville. It wasn’t much of an inauguration, there was no 21 gun salute and we drank beer instead of champagne.
Anyway, the New York Times seems to be jealous of how many hits Buzzfeed generates with clickbait so they published a ludicrous article about hipster musicians, actors, and artists who have moved to New Orleans. It’s written by some silly billy named Lizzy Goodman who treats the aforementioned hipsters as if they were cultural anthropologists. The story starts off dippily and gets stupider the more you read. I have bold faced the money quote, the one that set NOLA twitter ablaze yesterday with mockery:
“New Orleans is not cosmopolitan,” said the actress Tara Elders. “There’s no kale here.”
We were sitting outside at Sylvain, a restaurant in the French Quarter that Mr. Huisman said “takes Southern cuisine and pushes it a bit more modern.” With its elegant but rustic décor, cocktails featuring noirish names (Blood in the Gulfstream, Dead Man’s Wallet), and inventive food, Sylvain wouldn’t be out of place in Brooklyn — but Ms. Elders said spots like this are still the exception. “So many of the cool places here are really rundown,” she said. “And not because a stylist designed them that way.”
On the unintentional comedy meter, this story was off the charts. NOLA Twitter went nuts over the kale crack. Here’s a sampler:
“I’m not sure, but I’m almost positive that all leafy greens came from New Orleans.” – Ernie Kale-Doe #nytkale
That’s right, ladies and gentleman, you should judge a community by its vegetables. Of course, kale is readily available at grocery stores and eateries throughout my city. One would have thought that these daring “cultural anthropologists” would have explored that avenue of inquiry but they did not.
In faux defense of the honor of my adopted hometown (I’m a transplant but I didn’t expect anyone to applaud me for moving here) I will start calling it KALEVILLE. No, not K-Ville like the crappy short lived Fox cop show but KALEVILLE. Hmm, maybe that show would have made it if they’d had kale parties instead of gumbo parties because it’s more on trend according to Gwyneth and GOOP.
Another thing I learned from New Orleans rising from the ashes and becoming Kaleville is that the received wisdom handed down by generations of comedians that K is a funny letter is true. Henny Youngman, Groucho Marx, and my personal role model, Shecky Greene are happy campers right now. Of course, Shecky is by far the happiest because he’s still alive…
This preposterous article and the punny reaction to it have a semi-serious subtext. Some of the folks who are moving to our city view the locals as either zoo animals or characters in the teevee show Treme. The term hipster does not do justice to the vacuous malakatude of this sub-set of newbies. When I asked for alternatives on the Tweeter Tube, one from a fellow Spankster stood head and shoulders above the rest:
There you have it kale fans: Welcome to Fauxhemia. That trail blazing band the New Fauxhemians will open their set with the New Orleans classic Ikale Ikale and may even play kale to the chief while heeding the kale of the wild. Okay, I’ll stop now and give the last word to Frank Zappa and the Mothers with their classic song Kale Any Vegetable: