Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I Can't Wait Any Longer for the Clowns to Come to Town.

Joining us today for this first fictional preview of the 2016 Traveling Clown Circus here on the campus of Liberty University, presented by Fox News and sponsored by Mountain Dew are, in alphabetical order, Michele Bachmann, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Allen West. Hopefully the other ten candidates will be able to join us next week under the big circus tent being set up at Oral Roberts University. I'm your Master of Ceremonies and Ringmaster, Mike Huckabee. Please stand for the Invocation, Pledge of Allegiance, and Star Spangled Banner...
 [fifteen minutes later, with the crowd in a frenzy of patriotic tears
Huckabee: The first question goes to Michele Bachmann.
Cruz: And I really thought we had agreed to have only one token woman this year. This is going to get confusing to some of our viewers with two of them.
 Bachmann: Wait your turn! I thought there was only going to be one token Latino or Hispanic or Mexican here too, but we've got you and Rubio. Talk about confusing.
Huckabee: Didn't we agree in our pre-fight briefing that there would be no bashing of ladies or Mexiamericans this year? That's the only reason we lost those two key voting blocks in 2012.
Palin: That and nominating a lamestream Massachusetts moderate who had some very serious RINOplasty issues. I hope you see there how my air quotes while I was saying RINO mean that Romney was a Republican In Name Only.
Huckabee: Thank you for that clever clarification, but still we've got to pretend to be PC here, so no name calling about the wetbacks and members of the weaker sex. Only Dumb-o-crats and San Francisco Liberals can be  freely abused without consequences on this stage. Governor Palin, the first question goes to you... 
Bachmann: Wha..?
Huckabee: What have you done to combat universal healthcare Governor Palin?
Palin: First of all, while I want to thank the good folks at Mountain Dew for providing these pitchers of Dew -- real sugary Dew, not the diet stuff -- I just wish they had given us glasses larger than 16 ounces to pour it into... [raucous applause and laughter and an audible 'Fuck Bloomberg' followed by scattered rebel yells] ... That's good Dew. But seriously, I did more than anyone to stop Obamacare. Do you remember who warned you all about the Death Panels that were gonna kill your grandmas? Me.
Cruz: But I was the Tea Party champion who single-handedly shut down the government in 2013 to stop Obamacare!
Palin: And did you stop it?
Rubio: And has the province of Calgary released your birth certificate yet?
Cruz: Did you get your family's Cuban story rewritten yet?
[Loudly crosstalking candidates become unintelligible under a lengthy chorus of boos, or it could be that some sizable proportion of them are screaming 'Cruuuuuuuz'.
Huckabee [for the umpteenth time]: Order please. Please wait for your questions, you'll all get a turn.
Bachmann: Even me?
Huckabee: The next question goes to Rand Paul. What have you done to make sure the uninsured stay that way?
Paul: It's not enough to make sure that we take insurance away from all the victims of Obamacare, but we need to reexamine those earlier Socialist intrusions on our liberty, Medicare and Medicaid. This is about freedom and liberty to die like Americans, penniless and uninsured, if that's what we choose. Without Big Brother Nanny State telling us we need to go to the doctor.
Palin: Isn't your Daddy a doctor? [Governor Palin leans close in to her microphone to take another long audible sip on her soda straw, earning more laughter and applause]
Paul: Not only is he a doctor, but I'm a doctor too. We can do well enough with people who care enough to EARN the money to seek our services. And you can stop pretending you're the only one who cares about Americans getting enough junk food. Who was there to defend trans fats and America's donuts against the freedom-hating bureaucrats of the FDA back in 2013? I was.
Christie: Look at me. Look at me!
Huckabee: We're looking.
Christie: Look at me. Don't I look like someone who would fight harder than anyone for the freedom to eat donuts and drink large corn-syrup-enhanced American beverages?
Huckabee: You know, I was an overweight governor who learned to eat better.
Christie: I'm not gonna frickin mess with the chemistry that got me here.
Huckabee: Allen West, do you have anything to add to this discussion?
West: Is that a question?
Huckabee: I'm not really in control here right now, so say anything you want.
West: After we evict and convict the 80 Communist Party members of the Democrat Congress, then we need to deal with Iran with a few tactical nukes.
Huckabee: Anything else?
West: We're not executing enough prisoners fast enough...
[Interrupted by cheers]
West: If we run out of murderers, rapists, kidnappers, pirates, and traitors, maybe we can impose capital punishment for liberals and atheists or people who burn the Gadsden flag, or...
[foot-stomping, applause, whistles and a few pistol shots into the ceiling tiles fill the next ten minutes]
Huckabee: Because of tonight's spirited discussion and lively audience participation, we don't have time for more questions or closing statements...
Bachmann: Dafuq?!
Huckabee: We barely have enough time left for the closing prayers and the group singing of Lee Greenwood's 'I'm Proud to Be an American' featuring my extended bass solo.
Bachmann: I fought for junk food too!!
Huckabee: Cut her mike please.
Bachmann: ...where would traditional EasyBake ovens get their juice without my Light Bulb Freedom of Choice bill??
Huckabee: Are we done here? Let Us Pray.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

"We just set up the equipment. Everybody got high. And stuff would happen" - Jerry Garcia

Interview with Jerry Garcia about the Acid Tests and the early history of the Grateful Dead:

Happy 100th to Albert Camus (1913-1960)

As one of millions who works in a job whose rewards are not always immediately apparent (except on payday), I've often found the last lines of The Myth of Sisyphus a useful mantra in the midst of a complicated spreadsheet or the middle of a long meeting:
"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy." (La lutte elle-même vers les sommets suffit à remplir un cœur d'homme; il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux.)

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Lou Reed 1942-2013

The topic of this post is "old news" of course in the era of Blogger, Facebook, and Twitter, but out at lunch today I passed a plastic red The Village Voice box and saw Lou Reed's face staring out at me on that old medium, ink on paper. I used to subscribe to the Voice back in the Seventies when it was much more "content heavy" (to use an awful 21st century concept) and there was compelling writing and art in it every week. Now I rarely pick it up for free, but this week's is an exception, so grab the Oct 30-Nov 5 issue if it's still available around you.  It's filled with reviews from the Voice archives of Lou's concerts and albums, including a long 1989 Tom Carson review of New York that's worth a search for this issue. That and the cover, with the line from Halloween Parade at the bottom ("This Halloween is something, to be sure / Especially to be here without you"), which is suitable for framing.

Monday, November 04, 2013

The Word of the Day is (once again) "Terrorism"

Is there any doubt that a person with hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a semi-automatic rifle entering an international airport to kill as many TSA agents as possible should be labeled a terrorist? Apparently there is, because I saw the ABC news story about this murderer tonight and have been looking at many other videos online and I have yet to see any reporter refer to this "shooter" or "gunman" or "assailant" or "suspect" or "perpetrator" as a "terrorist".

Is there any doubt that the t-word would be used immediately if the LAX shooter's name were Abdul Muhammad rather than Paul Anthony Ciancia and if he were carrying a Koran rather than a note that included references to Janet Napolitano and the New World Order and talked about how he wanted to attack TSA officers and "instill fear into their traitorous minds"?

This is about more than language, and it's a pattern. Here's a link to a post from February 18, 2010 about another white male Christian terrorist suicide bomber who flew his plane into a building containing an IRS office in Texas. He, of course, was not a "terrorist" 
to the government or the press, but simply a troubled 53-year-old businessman with tax problems. Why? Simply because his name was Joseph Andrew Stack III rather than Mohammed Atta. But if we don't use the word terrorism for terrorist acts carried out by our home-grown murderous right-wing nuts, then we shouldn't use it for anyone. It becomes a word devoid of meaning.