allying with the reaper

On a date a few months ago, I had a gal state to me in the first five minutes of meeting that she hoped Trump would die of covid.  That she was actively, hopefully waiting for it.  She said this while giggling and smiling, like she was describing her new kitty cat to me.  I’m sure she woke up this morning feeling a great big hug, it probably made her month.

To hear the way she said it back then, alongside the brazen, bare knuckled, hate filled way she described how she was going to help Biden win so she could become a political appointee, well, it kind of disgusted me.  I felt like I was talking to a ghoul, surely this kind of dark human soul only exists in fiction, it was so over the top.  Needless to say, I never saw her again by my choice.  But I always try and be a gentlemen about these things, and so these words did not exit my mouth on the way out the door:

a) “Love your neighbor.”

b) “By acting this way, there’s essentially no difference between you and Trump.”

c) “I don’t know how you sleep at night.”

To 83% of the media and pop culture and their followers, Trump is an evil man.  Not just a bad president, but a bad human.  And so I suppose it’s perfectly normal to a whole bunch of people to actively wish for his demise.  Kind of like how everybody would have been cool if somebody dragged a razor across Hitler’s throat in 1937.  But I just don’t agree with this kind of thought process.

1) Loving and respecting your neighbor is a hallmark of living a moral life, and generally speaking, helps you stay a good person.  Which should be a constant goal for any human being.

2) I thought the whole point of Trump being a bad guy is his actions are generally beyond the pale.  Well, to me, actively wishing for a fellow human being to die (except for Hitler, and probably Stalin, and Mao) is beyond the pale.

3) Most of the people preaching this thought process on social media, or the media, or to their friends, or to a guy they met eight seconds ago are like this because they are in fact no better than Trump.  They are in fact, just cut from the same cloth as every other hard core politico and their cultural straphangers all across society.  They act like this because generally speaking, they have no morals.  It’s not about society, or you, it’s about them and the power they want.  When all they care about is power, and they’re bereft of any kind of moral compass, allying with the reaper is a meaningless, routine gesture.

I think nearly every single family member I have wants Trump gone.  I always try and remind them to temper their expectations.  Whatever happens in November, by January America will still be ruled mostly by dirt bags who care only for themselves.  It’s just shuffling the chairs with a different type of parasite.  It’s been a complete team effort by both political parties to guide America into our current sewer.  But, no matter how much I hate those folks, I’m never allying myself with the reaper.

Civil War – 22 April 1862 – a visit from Uncle

The Battle of Shiloh was fought 06-07 April 1862 and was the first truly massive battle in the Western Theater and up to that point the largest of the war.  Its ferocity must have shocked the civilian population on both sides who even though the war was almost a year old probably still assumed somehow that massive bloodshed could have been avoided.

Instead, the stakes of the war and how strongly the individual soldier believed in their view of it shone through.  Entire units would fight nearly to the last man rather than retreat.  Men who were exhausted from the worst day of their lives yesterday, would show up today and do it all over again.  It wouldn’t be for the last time.

Two weeks later the Union Army remained encamped on their victorious battlefield at Shiloh.  Private Lucius Barber, then 22, was in Company D of the 15th Illinois Volunteer Infantry:

I was agreeably surprised one morning when I awoke to find Uncle Washington in my tent.  My friends had sent him down to see if anything was needed.  Although his services were not required, his company was very acceptable.  He stayed a couple of weeks with us and then returned home.  The roads were in an awful condition at the time and it was impossible for the army to move…

You’re in the bloodiest war in American history (though nobody knew that yet) and your Uncle shows up just to check on you.  Note a few things from this short passage:

– A walk (or he could have rode) from Illinois to Shiloh and a multi-week stay is not a minor amount of time, one wonders what, if any, employment Uncle Washington had

– Note that his friends, undoubtedly shocked by what they had read of the battle, sent Barber’s Uncle to check on him

– His friends were still at home, not yet enlisted in the Army, over the years this would have changed as the war turned into mass mobilization for both sides

– The roads were impossible for movement by armies, but apparently not by one Uncle checking in on his family

In wouldn’t be the last the war would hear from Private Barber.

Democrats fall into Trump’s trap

The headlines are about Ukraine, but make no mistake this is about the election and nothing more.  And the Democrats just fell into Trump’s trap.  Whether Trump did this on purpose or by accident (I have no idea) it is nevertheless reality.

Pelosi is now about to launch an impeachment hearing, which is the easiest way for the Democrats to permanently alienate 49% percent of the electorate for over a decade in one fell swoop.

What makes this worse is impeachment is a hopeless gesture.  The Economist did an article back in August that shows how with a divided Congress, a President (any President, of either party) can basically do whatever they want:

“The unwritten convention now says in effect that, if his skin is thick enough, a president is indeed above the law.”

So impeachment might help Democrats feel better, or feed partisan rage, but it will not help them win in 2020.  It accomplishes nothing of actual value.

Additionally, now the words Biden (the only actual serious Trump challenger) and Ukraine will go together throughout the campaign just like the word Hilary and e-mail did.  Do folks remember this, how much this helped Trump?  Apparently the Democrats forgot.  I guess?

Long time readers of this blog will be familiar with my utter contempt for both political parties and this shows why.  The Democrats are not Trump, but they sure never show they’re any wiser, or worthy of power themselves.  Here is a perfect example of why.

 

 

 

the spin cycle continues

I’ve probably been in that El Paso Walmart half a dozen times, but still: Kindly observe (again) another act of senseless evil by human scum(s).

Kindly observe (again) how said human scum(s) will now be given a platform by the shameless media to become famous and get their message out.

Kindly observe (again) how the political, business, entertainment, and/or educational elite express the same pointless platitudes without ever proposing any concrete solutions whatsoever thus ensuring its continuation for the next few decades at least.

Kindly observe (again) as the usual rhetorical bomb throwers use this event to justify whatever preconceived notions they have on religion, terrorism, guns, culture, and/or whatever and compete to see who can shout the loudest.

Kindly observe (again) as this spin cycle continues.

Kindly observe (again) that it will happen (again).

We recommend you do as I do, which is to not pay attention. For the average person on the street, it’s not even worth it anymore. You can’t change it, and you’ve got problems of your own to deal with each and every day as you live your life. This sort of thing is now as common as the changing of the seasons, and it’s not going to stop, so why bother expending your very valuable mental energy on it?

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Version #37 of 83 – Circa 2019

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Version #38 of 83 – Circa 2019

The National Gallery of Art – you’re not welcome

Sometimes the safest way to get through the day is to never get excited about anything. That way if things tank, you can just shrug and go get a beer. Instead, I got somewhat excited, things tanked, and it sort of robbed me of part of my brain for the rest of the day.

Those unfortunate to be long time readers of this blog will remember I occasionally go to galleries, dig Japan, and like weird art. I thought this was encapsulated in a visit to the National Gallery of Art which I walked to after being in DC for work.

They had a visiting exhibition on Japanese art and animals. What could go wrong?

The exhibit appeared to be underwhelming, and lacking structure, so I was having a hard time getting sucked in. But, this was because I spent the entire time looking over my shoulder to see whether a security guard was going to yell at me again.

I’ve probably been to a dozen galleries across the globe and never had to talk to a security guard, let alone interact negatively with one. It happened to me at The National Gallery of Art, four times, in less than an hour. Whether they were unhappy with the way I was carrying my backpack, or how close I was standing to an exhibit, or so on, they were in your face. They even got directly into the face of some poor old guy who was clearly hard of hearing.

Here is how a normal human interaction should work:

“Excuse me Sir, we would ask you stand back from the exhibit. You’re a bit too close. Thanks so much.”

This is how The National Gallery of Art thinks human interactions should work:

“HELLO!!!???”

I literally walked out. I said something unfortunate to the fourth guard, waved him off, and stormed out. I’ve never done this before. I was in the place for less than an hour. What a shame.

Turns out my experience is not rare. So now I’ll turn it over to some additional online reviews for folks who didn’t appreciate a Stasi like experience while looking at art, some of these are just heinous:

Lived in Paris where I had the very best art available. This is the best American art displayed I have seen by far. One complaint: I have a service dog and the staff who watch over the art in each of the rooms containing art were always anticipating my service dog was going to do something wrong (which never happens….ever) and they were anxious to catch it in the act. It was hard to relax and enjoy the art when someone is doing that to you in every room you enter over and over and over for hours.

Wow my son is 12 and I’ve raised him correctly, I dont need you following you telling me to not let him touch.

there are scumbag security officers working there. i was not warned in advance about closing time i didnt gave time to gather stuff. they got physically aggressive with me when it was closing at five pm. i am deaf and schizophrenic. i was trying to draw in peace in their galleries. i recommend to avoid the area. dangerous staff and guards. even the info desk lady scowled at me for being evidently deaf. avoid this hellhole.

The place is jammed with sweaty rude security guards that looked at me as if I had no business there and followed me around as if I was in a department store about to steal something. If I had blue eyes and blonde hair I’m certain I would have had a different experience. If you are of color go with someone or be prepared to be uncomfortable . I’m so disappointed because I love art and had planned to visit often but the security staff is extremely unprofessional and ruined the atmosphere for me to fully enjoy the art. Also no curator at any of the popular exhibits I visited. I expected more from the nations capital😶😢😒

How can you get kids interested in art if they are not welcome at all! I went to visit with my 3 kids (10, 7 and 5). We live in the area but I was waiting for the right time to go as I was hoping to get them interested in art at a young age. Unfortunately my experience was really bad. The museum is great as it hosts great works of art, however almost every person I interacted was either a snob (very common on people interested in art for some reason) or plain rude. As soon as we entered the very first room, my 7 year old got to about 2 feet from a painting pointing at something he liked. My wife quickly stopped him and started explaining that he needed to stay away from the art. Even though she stopped him in time and we clearly had the kids under control, a security guard came and started scolding my son. My son got really scared, sat on a sofa and started sobbing silently, since he wanted to cover his face he put his legs on the sofa to cover his face with his knees. The guard came to him again and told him he needed to take his shoes off the (very cheap and plastic) sofa. I told the guard he was overreacting since he was just a kid and then he started with his typical speech of “you cannot tell me how to do my work” and actually asked us to leave the room. We did not leave the museum but you can imagine the kids have no interest on ever going to that museum again, and neither do I. I have great respect for the Smithsonian as an institution and love all other museums, however I was deeply sadden with the experience. I really cannot imagine how art can be promoted to kids if they are not welcome at all.

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fuck this place

DNC’s master plan to reelect Trump makes headway, say sources

“We couldn’t be happier with the progress we’ve made, particularly in the last two nights,” said a smiling Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez. “We’ve had a well-oiled, styled plan to get the job done and we’re doing just that.” Perez referred to the latest incarnation of the Democrat’s master scheme where the 47 viable presidential candidates spent the better part of a lauded CNN debate insulting each other over things they said when they were twelve. “The way we figure it, we want to leave a final candidate to face Trump who’s so battle scared, so discredited that they stand no change in the general election. It’s the way to get the job done,” Perez commented as he donned a MAGA hat, cackling, “lots of people talk about a circular firing squad, well, we’ve got that, only each candidate has a flamethrower!” Local Democrat activists seemed most pleased with the prospect of a second Trump term. “It just warms my heart to hear our front running candidates propose policies that are both simultaneously unaffordable, making the Trump tax cuts look tame, AND also sound like lunatic fringe ideas concocted in a Moscow salon that are toxic to 84% of American voters,” said Michelle Anderson of Soho, “my friends and I couldn’t be happier with how this has played out.” Perez ended his interview early as he was offhand informed by an aide (that this reporter overheard) that the planned candidate-on-candidate sexual assault (with racists remarks included) scheme was going according to plan. Perez seemed pleased, stroking his MAGA hat as if it were a white fluffy kitty.

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everything is not a sound byte

Depending on what bad news article you read this week, you probably got the wrong idea of what was going on in Jamestown. This is understandable when the goal of a writer, or television presenter, or whoever is not to inform you but to shape your brain, one way or the other. There is no history anymore, I guess, it’s just what can be used to shape contemporary politics. Well, sorry, everything is not a sound bite. History matters.

But when you look at the insanity of it, it’s quite wonderful in how depressing it is. It is (despite bad news) not the 400th anniversary of Jamestown. It’s the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the first General Assembly of Virginia. Some news articles have called this the birth of democracy in America. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but it’s a rough approximation.

Accordingly, Virginia went ahead and held an event. After all, the Virginia General Assembly can trace its roots to this original creation. So, if you were into history, and wanted to commemorate an event in today’s hyper insane world, why would you invite anybody of consequence? Instead, they went ahead and invited the most toxic president since Franklin Buchanan and Virginia’s governor (a guy who either has amnesia or is a liar or both).

Hmm, maybe instead, maybe just leave both those guys on the bench for this event, eh? Maybe not? Oh, they did it anyways? And it turned into a big political event and shitstorm? Gee, who ever could have foreseen that? Isn’t there like a firefighter who’s a mayor somewhere in all of Virginia. Like some guy who once pulled three urchins from a burning orphanage and as a farewell life tour he ran for mayor at 73? Get that guy to give the speech! For fuck’s sake.

What you have to remember about Jamestown goes beyond sound bites. Per the info garden of Wikipedia: “Of the 6,000 people who came to the settlement between 1608 and 1624, only 3,400 survived.” Hey anybody want to go to Antarctica with me, with some dogs and a sled, and we’ll set up a colony there and play with penguins. You’ve got a 43% chance of fatality within 15 years. Interested?

Jamestown was a failed business venture established on one of the worst sites for human habitation you could imagine. So much so that the original site was eventually abandoned completely. The only reason Jamestown survived was a sheer stubborn force of will and contempt for death which would serve the British Empire rather well (and also rather poorly) throughout its history.

By 1776, Virginia was the most populous and richest of the 13 colonies. Don’t think that didn’t come without a commensurate level of nightmare. Between disease, a challenged food supply, constant warfare, disease, and a health care system that still thought bleeding helped it’s a wonder anybody survived. Colonial America was many things, it was also a big meat grinder.

It’s worth remembering just how precious life was back then. Particularly when so many can’t see beyond the latest tweet. The act of establishing a General Assembly in the middle of a failed colony where everybody was walking death is quite the act of community. It’s a challenge to life itself, that despite all the hardships, they would survive and prosper. That they had a future.

Quite the gamble. But none of them could have done it alone. It’s worth remembering when everybody apparently hates everybody else that a sense of community is likely one of the only things that allowed them all to survive. In most ways, what America is traces its roots to these very early, first, dangerous steps. It’s worth our time to ponder it. Because we became that future.

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we demolish Stella Artois’ (aka InBev) pathetic advertising lies

Once upon a time it was said that celebrities who wanted to make money shilling product were required to go to Japan to do it. It was considered poor taste and reflective that the actor’s career was in the tank if they tried it in America. This is the entire plot point of Lost in Translation (which remains among my favorite movies) where a washed up Bill Murray heads out there to hock Nippon whiskey.

Well, those days are long, long over. Soon it’ll be no big deal to see a celebrity promoting a vacuum cleaner. I don’t really care either way, I hate most celebrities anyways and so couldn’t care less how they earn their coin. But it’s directly applicable to the point of this post which is to assault the lies of Stella Artois.

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During this last Super Bowl the viewer got to see Carrie Bradshaw and The Dude drinking Stella. The idea that The Dude drinks anything other than white russian is bullshit, but I digress. Now they’ve dragged out Idris Elba to push the beer. A guy who would have made a great 007, but turned it down, is now reduced to pushing this cheap beer. What a loser. Doesn’t he already have enough boats?

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The general idea of the ad campaign is that Stella is fancy, a sophisticated way to poison your body by ingesting a toxin known as alcohol. The most emphatic scenes in these commercials are the ones where they show dressed up rich people swilling Stella at the original 1926 Christmas party. And there’s multiple shots where Stella poured from the tap foams over and requires the use of a foam knife.

I laughed out loud at the foam knife part. For those who don’t know, in the old days draft beer typically came in barrels. Before the age of refrigeration these barrels basically sat at room temperature. With warm beer, when the carbon dioxide was exposed you got a ton of foam into the mug. So barkeeps needed the foam knife to get rid of all this extra foam. To the modern drinker, this warm beer would have tasted skunked or funky due to the poor overall carbonation of the end product.

Only later when keeping beer cool became widespread did this practice disappear because it was no longer required. It’s why you don’t see bartenders using foam knives today, unless they’re tapping a firkin. So while it looks fancy (in theory) what Stella is basically saying in these commercials is that they prefer Stella warm at room temperature, at poor quality, and skunked out. You can even reinforce this trend by buying the Stella foam knife on Amazon (I’m not joking) so that you too can dispense warm, poor quality beer to your guests.

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Stella is a mainstay European beer and has been for decades. Only recently has the goal changed to sell it widely in America. In 2008, Stella got wrapped up in the creation of the AB InBev behemoth creation which probably now sells half the beer on the planet. Sometime later somebody at InBev was probably like, hey we can sell Stella to dumb Americans and pass it off as real swanky Euro beer.

Now I’m one who truly believes there is no actual bad beer. I’ll drink just about anything. But there are certainly beers that aren’t good, and Stella’s one of them. It’s basically just Europe’s Bud or Miller. There’s nothing special about it. Except the advertising campaign that says so. That and the stupid (and entirely unnecessary) tulip glass that they always show it in.

So is this scam working on the American people? No shocker here: Yes! From 2010-2015, Stella sales more than doubled in America. Today Stella remains one of the country’s fastest growing beers. It’s why you see it and those stupid tulip glasses in almost every bar now. And you better believe they’re not charging you Bud or Miller prices for Stella. Nope! You’re paying extra for that ultra-fancy Euro beer, fools.

The Giant Octopus is very wise and aggressive. I wonder how many Americans know that Stella is owned by InBev, or what InBev even is? Or that in Europe Stella is basically Bud? Hell, I doubt most Americans even know that Bud is foreign owned. But basically it worked, Stella’s blatant advertising lies have made a ton of gold for them. So, sadly, I guess the conclusion of this post is once again that we’re all doomed.

In general, society’s just not smart enough (or doesn’t care enough) and is happy to be manipulated and lead around on a leash by the Giant Octopus, straight to the bar, to hand over its cash without coherent thought. Doomed! [sigh]

break the cycle

Reality has gotten to the point that you can’t even watch a soccer game without folks breaking out rusty switchblades to advocate for their chosen religion / side (oh, ehm, I mean political beliefs, yes, yes, right). Politics is everywhere now. Both ‘sides’ have made it so. It’s nonstop. It’s in sneakers, shaving equipment, sports, your family’s dinner table, the zoo, medicine, public transport, your haunted dreams, and under your very own bed, where it waits for you. Remember that monster hidden under your bed when you were a kid? Now said monster has nightmares that politics is under its bed at night.

I’m, so, very, over, it. This spin cycle helps no one, benefits no part of society: except those who want your money, or just your eyes, and specifically those whose lives are so shallow that they would rather engage in this political maelstrom than say help the homeless, or their neighbor, or something useful like that.

I’m done.

1) Here’s a happy picture of a mommy dolphin and it’s little one. Awww, just look at how happy they are. And look! The little baby dolphin is spraying a happy infant sized amount of water out it’s blowhole. Awww!

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2) I’m not going to read the news for one week. I read the print edition of the Economist and get their morning Expresso update, and that’ll be it. Nothing else. Not one bit. I will avert my eyes from stupid televisions in public places that put up the dumb news. I will report to you dear reader how this feels after one week.

That is all. Please carry on.

nature reminds West Coast of approaching nightmare

Lost amidst yesterday’s revelry, fireworks, beer, my dog’s inability to detail with percussive sounds, political mayhem, massive blatant disregard for local laws dealing with the employment of explosives by the citizenry, and so on, was the news that California endured it’s largest earthquake in 20 years.

A relatively mild 6.4 on the American scale yielded minor damage but the usual television mayhem as C grade news organizations tried to hitch viewers by showing helicopters following police cars around open desert communities like they were after the ghost of some 1849 horse thief.

In case most folks forgot, because I know I did, the entire West Coast has nature’s handgun held to its temple.  20 years!?  That’s how long it’s been since California has seen anything approaching a reasonable earthquake.  In geologic times this is less than a fraction of a heartbeat, but it’s quite a long time for us.

But these are not things to be ignored.  A good chunk of the West Coast is built on glass.  The supposed ‘big one’ might never happen, but if it does, oh man that’d be quite the mess.  A full scale cascadia subduction zone quake with the accompanying tsunami would make the 2011 Japanese tsunami look like a wave in a kiddy pool.

I wonder how much planning has been done in California, Oregon, and Washington lately to deal with these eventualities?  Or has all that institutional knowledge been lost after 20 years of not caring at all about it.  Not sure.  I hope folks are still thinking about it and planning.  Yesterday’s earthquake had only one minute’s warning.

When the nightmare of nature calls, there are only seconds to answer.  So after 20 years, maybe a thought or two needs to occur in case the nightmare actually comes.  It’s way more important than some tweet, or celebrity outfit, or whatever.  Here’s hoping the West Coast takes yesterday as a needed wakeup call.

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