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nearly at a loss for words

May 20, 2020

Andy Rooney voice: Did you ever notice how Trump, even at his most grandiose, can still find time to be incredibly petty?

The farm is warming up nicely, thank you, so there is no lack of outdoor projects to tend to.  Jude is busiest with the garden, and I’ve been concentrating on next winter’s firewood supply.  We got a cord or two of choice maple trimmed from a huge tree looming too large over the house, and she got us a great deal on rounds of alder and Douglas fir that will keep me at the splitter for weeks.

We have settled into a routine of a leisurely breakfast as we catch up on The Don’s freshest outrages and tend to e-mail and such.  Then we go outside with the dogs, joining the ravens, hummingbirds, robins, eagles and swallows as they soar over our little valley.

The swallows are my favourites.  We have four pairs nesting around the house.  Long enshrined in classical literature (Monty Python, anyway), they swoop, hover and zip through the sky.  They are fearless.  I saw one scare off a raven.  They flew within a few feet of me as I was weeding.

When Jude and I come in, she fixes her typical fine meal as I adjust my attitude to face the evening news.  I have lost all perspective on Aging Orange.  He piles up the abuses at a dizzying pace, with barely a peep from the spineless GOP.  What I consider appalling seems to be tolerable with much of the U.S.  I can only dream that Justice Roberts and the Supremes will do the right thing about his tax returns.

Failing that, as Stephen Colbert says, “Our best hope is fried chicken.”

the next milestone in gravestones

April 24, 2020

I am fairly certain that there is no bottom to Trump’s sleaziness and desperation, but his suggestion to shoot up with Lysol is a pretty solid marker.  It’s no stretch to believe that he’ll soon be hinting that gargling with Drano might help.

Trump’s mishandling of the crisis in general, and the daily briefings specifically, has eaten into the rally-round-the-flag bump any president would get in a major crisis.  If he got any boost at all from his impeachment acquittal, it’s gone.

Statistician supreme Nate Silver’s 538 website runs an aggregate presidential job approval/disapproval chart adjusted for various factors like house effect.  Today it is at 52.5% disapproval/43.4% approval.  On March 28th, it was 49.7% disapproval/45.8% approval, the smallest gap since February 7th, 2017

The first ratings of Trump’s presidency, issued January 23rd of 2017, had Trump at 45.5% approval/41.3% disapproval.  By February 4th of that year, he was even.  He hasn’t seen approval numbers above disapproval ones since.

And if you can take one more stat, please let it be this one: the U.S. death toll from the virus is on pace to surpass 58,300 this month.  That’s the number of American troops killed in the Vietnam War.

POTUS is AWOL

April 5, 2020

My prime beef with Trump is how he can effortlessly exalt and fuck over the military at the same time.  Exonerate war criminals while shifting badly needed funds to the not-needed-at-all Wall?  No problem.  My boundless anger for him is based on my serving with the Marines in Vietnam, helping sort out the dead and wounded men whose families couldn’t afford bone spurs.  So, since he has declared himself a wartime president, I’m declaring him AWOL.

It continues to confound me that his approval rating is at its highest ever, even though he still hasn’t broken 50%.  How can an upright citizen feel positive about the apocalyptic scenes in New York hospitals as Donnie makes Solomonic (though foolhardy) decisions about ventilator distribution?

Trump’s reason to rapidly reopen America is painfully apparent.  His best, maybe only, chance for re-election is a booming economy, and it just went “BOOM!”  The official GDP rate for the first quarter of the year has yet to be released, but the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has it at 1.3%, down from 2.2% last quarter.  The Bank’s website cautions in red letters that this estimate does not measure much of the Covid-19 impact.

With unemployment soaring, 2020’s second quarter GDP will most likely suck even more.  If that pattern holds through the third quarter, Trump would likely be defeated.  He will keep pouring as much aid as possible into this, even as real Republicans are starting to chafe from his fiscal irresponsibility.

And, like any parasite does with its host, he will move on when he senses that there is nothing left to take.  That’s been his habit his entire adult life.  He’ll walk away to let someone else clean up his mess.  Of course, it will be someone else’s fault.

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Anonymous, thank you for alerting  me to “The Joke”.  Please check it out, folks.

coupla jokes for ya

April 2, 2020

Now that the long-simmering Covid-19 is officially a pandemic, gears are shifting.  Trump’s disapproval/approval ratings, which had been remarkably durable at 54-42, are at 50-46 today at website 538’s weighted average.  However, they are already leveling off as the augmented glare from the crisis are highlighting Trump’s abysmal response.

W. Bush’s approval was just above water at 52% until 9/11.  His approval ballooned 30 points in four days.  It peaked at 88 a few days later, then dropped steadily as he bungled his response.  JFK was at 58% approval at his death.  LBJ stepped in at 78% approval and was at a steady 74 until he escalated the Vietnam War based on false information.  He left office at 46% approval.

Trump is running out of ways to spin his total unpreparedness for the epidemic.  It’s fair for him to criticize Obama for letting national medical stockpiles run down, but that calls attention to the fact that he’s had 3+ years to restock.  The Obama transition team warned Trump of the chance of a pandemic, and he still says “nobody could have seen it coming”.

I believe Donnie will really drop in the polls when red states slow to shelter see their infection rates skyrocket.  God can protect you just so  much.  He (Trump, not Him) may be realizing just how dire it is.  In his last few updates, he seems sobered by reality.  Even his patented attacks on reporters seem half-hearted.  Unable to convene the rallies that are his life’s blood, he appears drained.  If we could scrape off his orange concealer, we might find him ashen grey.

But that’s not why I called you here.  I’d like to share a really good joke that hopefully you will share with your circle:

A middle-aged couple go to a therapist.

“Our marriage is solid,” the wife says, “but we’ve lost our spark in the bedroom.”

The therapist says, “Take it out of the bedroom.  Sex can happen spontaneously anywhere in the house.  You might be surprised.”

A week later, the couple returns.

“Doc, you were right!” exuded the husband.  “The other night at dinner we both reached for the salt at the same time.  Our hands brushed and sparks flew anew.  We swept everything off the table and went after it like rabid raccoons!”

“Tell me more,” said the therapist.

The wife responded, “We’ve been banned from Burger King.”

Dan Patrick’s dark secret

March 26, 2020

Let me first distinguish between Dan Patrick, the witty sportscaster, and Dan Patrick, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas.  The first Dan delighted ESPN viewers for 18 years before moving on to other markets.  The second Dan just made headlines by suggesting that maybe old folks would be okay with dying if it meant a stronger, less-populated America.

Earlier this week, Dan 2 told Tucker Carlson that he would be all in with risking his life to reopen the U.S. economy, and he thought many grandparents agreed with him.  I would like to go on record as one who disagrees.

Growing old and drifting out of the mainstream is challenging enough.  Dan 2, who turns 70 on April 4th, should know this by now.  Wars, economic cataclysms and political debacles aside, we septuagenarians have endured the viruses HIV, SARS, MERS, Hanta-, Ebola and seasonal flu, plus Disco Fever.  Staying at home is not a sacrifice for us, it’s what we’ve been working toward all our lives.

Dan 2 is a ruby red Republican.  He created the Tea Party caucus in the Texas legislature.  He is for charter schools, creationism, Confederate monuments and gun rights, although, oddly, he supports background checks for gun sales between two strangers.  Go figure.

He is against video games, illegal immigration, legal pot and gay rights.  After the Pulse gay nightclub massacre (49 dead, 53 injured), he tweeted Galatians 6:7: “Do  not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.”

While exhaustively researching this post (thanks, Wikipedia), I may have unearthed the real reason Dan 2 is willing to battle Covid-19.  In May of 2012, he had a feud with another Republican.  Patrick accused his fellow state senator of spreading lies about Patrick’s marriage.  His colleague denied doing so, but added “Put bluntly, I believe you are a snake oil salesman, a narcissist that would say anything to draw attention to himself.”

That colleague’s name: John Carona.  Coincidence?  Yes.

for your enjoyment

March 23, 2020

Please allow me to attempt some levity in the clouds of Covid-19.  For the past two years, I have been developing a radio series called “Nuevo Malibu”.  It’s an absurd comedy (unlike Trump’s absurd tragedy) that speculates what life would be like if Aging Orange had accidentally nuked Canada right after his election.

California, Oregon and Washington state immediately secede and form a new nation with British Columbia and Tijuana, Mexico, naming it Nuevo Malibu.  World-weary drifter Clell Landis heads for the new Promised Land, narrowly avoiding an aerial attack by Sarah Palin, whom Trump has appointed as Secretary of the Inferior.

Landis meets proctologist Shay Watt? when a flying Port-a-Potty lands on his foot.  The outhouse, which they name the TURDIS, is a time machine that whisked Dr. Watt? away from Woodstock.  Landis tells her of Trump’s election and bombing of Canada.  They jump into the TURDIS and head back in time to avert Trump.

On their way, they land on the Planet Stephanie, where they meet Mack, a subliminal being who communicates with them through holograms.  Mack knows all and can make anything.  Along with the Narrator, who longs to be a sentient being, the crew ends up in the closet of a 13-year-old Trump, where they more or less make things right.

In the second episode, the crew miniaturizes and searches Trump’s brain for his executive functions: processes like reasoning, problem solving and morality.  They find nothing but some seamy memories of Stormy Daniels.

In the third episode, the crew explores Planet Rom-Com, where the atmosphere sweeps them up in a romantic comedy with tragic results.  In Episodes 4 and 5, they stumble into a turf war at Disneyland between the Walts, characters like Mickey Mouse and Cinderella that Walt produced, and the non-Walts, the more recent additions to the Disney empire, like Darth Vader and the Avengers.

I’m still editing Episode 6, in which the crew checks in on Trump’s Old America and eats at the Caucasian Cafe.  In Episode 7, they play out a mash-up of Casablanca and Blazing Saddles.  In Ep 8, a stunning secret will be revealed about Emily Dickinson.

I’m having a wonderful time recording it with the many talented folks I’ve met through community theatre on the island, then editing it with my friend Dave.  We hope to get back at it when we get the all-clear about the virus.

And all of this is available to you.  Just go to cortesradio.ca and click on “Talk Shows” at the top of the home page.  Scroll down to the flying Port-a-Potty and click on “Nuevo Malibu”.  Scroll to the bottom of that page to get to Episode 1.  Eps 1 – 4 are already there and Ep 5 will be added this Saturday after being aired with Ep 4 from 8 to 9 p.m. PST.

Please check it out and let me know what you think of it.  I guarantee you’ll get more laughs than you would from a Covid-19 update.

 

 

genuine March Madness

March 20, 2020

So there will be no college basketball tournament this year, when my beloved Kansas University would have been the favourite to take it all.  I wish that’s as bad as it will get as we gird for massive casualties.  But with Trump complicating matters with his confusing and self-serving daily briefings, I fear we are just nibbling on the cheese cubes of this shit banquet.

With idle speculation and conflicting casualty estimates swirling around like Hurricane Katrina, it’s impossible to know what of it can be believed.  One study estimates the U.S. could see a million dead and the U.K. a quarter million.  I hope that’s a worst case scenario, but right after it was issued, Trump and Boris Johnson really changed their tone.

If Trump is the GOP candidate this fall, you can imagine the ads he’s writing for the Dems.  I envision a split screen of Trump assuring us it will all go away magically when it warms up in April as graphics on the other side show the number of cases and deaths the day he said that, then spinning like odometers to update us as he spews subsequent bullshit.

It is only as a lifelong fan of absurdity that I can enjoy his surreal attempts to evade any responsibility.  Certainly he didn’t cause the virus, but there’s not enough paint to gloss over his continual bungling of the response.  His moves are almost athletic.  That’s good, because he doesn’t get any other exercise.  No, golfing in a cart doesn’t count.

As members of a highly vulnerable age cohort, Jude and I have wisely, gleefully isolated on the farm.  It’s just the right time of year.  It’s warming up, so we can start on our garden.  The virus will really have to work to find us.  Don’t use public transportation?  Gladly.  Avoid crowds like religious ceremonies?  Way ahead of you.

Our hearts go out to our family and younger friends as they scramble for child care, utility bill payments and adequate food.  This is an extraordinary time that will change our culture profoundly.  It can make us stronger and better people.

And there’s already a silver lining.  Trump dare not hold any of his ego-stroking rallies.