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next for Pence: a paintball tournament

April 17, 2017

I suppose it was inevitable that Vice-President Pence would have to show his package after Trump dropped two huge loads recently.  But since Mike doesn’t have the authority or irrationality of Aging Orange, he had to settle for serving notice to Kim Jong-Un inside the Korean DMZ.

Cautioning the North Korean dictator that the U.S. “era of strategic patience” is over, the Veep assured Kim that all options are on the table to defend the good Koreans, the Southern ones.  He did not specify if that table was in the White House or the less hygienic Mar-a-Lago.

This is not the first time Pence has played the brave little non-soldier.  Ten years ago, he and John McCain visited a Baghdad shopping area.  According to Mike, “thousands and thousands of Iraqis were moving about in regular everyday life like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime.”

I remember the video of that.  Summer in the Hoosier State must be brutal, aside from the heat and humidity.  Pence and McCain were in flak jackets surrounded by U.S. troops in a sealed-off area.

This is a major sore point for me: politicians who hide behind the military.  More to the point, pols who never served.  You know, chickenhawks (not the gay slang ones, per se).  Current White House/Florida resident D. John Trump is a primo example.

The Cheeto received four student deferments.  After his graduation, he got a medical deferment for bone spurs on his heels.  Fortunately they went away and no longer affect his golf game, unless he’s playing through the pain.

To his credit, Trump did attend military school in New York, which likely has more dangerous summers than Indiana.  And he did tell Howard Stern that avoiding STD’s while dating was his “personal Vietnam”.

Yet he and his veep surround themselves with active duty troops and veterans for political parsley, promising a bigger military budget and better VA care.  I question the need for more muscle, and I’m still waiting for the VA to step up.

Some other vets may agree, but I’m speaking only for myself.  Indeed, the military definitely leans right.  In 2012, Time magazine said that’s largely because “today’s military is an all-volunteer force increasingly drawn from the Sunbelt, where the Pentagon has focused its recruiting efforts since the draft ended 40 years ago.  And traits the military prizes — like aggressiveness and respect for authority — tend to be more pronounced in conservatives.”

 

 

 

 

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Allen in Wonderland

March 29, 2017

The gap since my last post is easily explained.  I’ve been producing a play spoofing Grease, called Wheeze.  It just finished its weekend run.  Two years ago I approached Lois, the affable manager of the venerable Heriot Bay Inn, about doing a parody of The Sound of Music in the HBI dining room.  It was a hit, so last year we mangled West Side Story.

This time around we speculated about what the kids of Rydell High School might have dealt with over the last fifty years.  Hence, the song “Greased Lightning” morphed into “Cialis”: “You’ll be having lots of frolics ’cause it helps with your hydraulics/You’ll be flowing like Niagara as you gobble up Viagra/Go, boners!”

It was a most welcome distraction from a challenging winter and the daily outrages of Aging Orange.  I won’t even attempt to summarize all the shit he’s pulled since I last bitched about him, other than to mention today’s absurdity: him telling a room full of women that he will support their every effort, less than a week after he tried to take away maternity benefits with his abysmal health plan.

So we escaped to Midol High School to see what Sammi, Dandy, Dezzo and Kandinsky had been up to this last half century.  With a talented cast and gifted directors, we regaled 125 patrons over three performances.  It was a lovely way to keep it together until spring.  We used almost every song from the original movie and live TV special, plus this nifty little ditty lifted whole cloth from Grease 2.

I also added a rewrite of the Janis Ian song “At Seventeen” to give the merriment a quiet moment.  This haunting tune from 1975 gave us lyrics like “And those of us with ravaged faces/Lacking in the social graces/Desperately remained at home/Inventing lovers on the phone/Who called to say ‘come dance with me’/And murmured vague obscenities/It isn’t all it seems/At seventeen”.  Besides being blessed relief from the disco sound, Ian’s work has the historical importance of being the first song performed on Saturday Night Live.

Here is our version:

“At seventy I reached a place/Where harshness tacked to gentle grace/And smoother seas were my reward/As deepest feelings outward poured.

The vapid stabs to be uncouth/The folly of my misspent youth/All wasted time to be thought cool/So I sought themes that teach and soothe.

Like all the love we generate/Will someday neutralize the hate/And kindness in our common soul/Will be our foremost social goal.

So those who say ‘you’re not like me’/As they advance their bigotry/Please go away/Don’t bother me/At seventy.

We’re black and white and red and brown/We all touch feet on common ground/So pity, please, who will not see/The spectrum of humanity.

The rich who think they must be kings/And tell the rest to kiss their rings/Come join our walk in humble grace/As others gain their rightful place.

Let’s hope that those who set the game/Will lose their lust for wealth and fame/Humility will rule the day/And all around will be fair play.

The petty minds will open wide/And we will bask in common pride/This is my greatest dream/At seventy.”

 

 

define “cookie”

February 8, 2017

I had trouble sleeping last night because Known Terrorist Elizabeth Warren tried to blow up the U.S. Senate with the words of Renowned Terrorist Coretta Scott King, so I started speculating about how it had come to this.  I believe it can all be traced to this exchange between Kellyanne Conway and her mother when Kellyanne was six years old:

KELLYANNE’S MOM: Kellyanne, Gramma told me you took a cookie from the kitchen.  You know those were for dessert tonight.

KELLYANNE: Mommie, I laud you for bringing up this very important issue.  Like many others in this household, I share your concern about food theft and I appreciate that you are including me in this vital discussion.  I believe if we work together, we can resolve this before it ends in a needless tragedy.

MOM: Did you take the cookie?

K.A.: Define “cookie”.

MOM: In this particular case, a disc of flour, sugar, vanilla extract, baking soda, milk, butter, walnuts, chocolate chips and an egg, baked for 10 to 15 minutes at 375 degrees.

K.A.: And how many of these “discs” were allegedly made?

MOM: About two dozen.

K.A.: “About” two dozen.  So you don’t have an accurate count?

MOM: No.

K.A.: Also, I’m having trouble with your use of the word “disc”.  Technically, a disc is flat and round.  Let’s look at those adjectives independently.  If these so-called “cookies” did indeed have chocolate chips and walnuts, their irregular shapes would disallow flatness.  As to the roundness, did you use some sort of device — a cookie cutter, for example — to ensure uniform circularity?

MOM: No, I rolled them out by hand.

K.A.: And you said you baked them for 10 to 15 minutes.  Was it ten or fifteen?  Were the 375 degrees Fahrenheit or Centigrade?

MOM: Fahrenheit.  Oven time was likely closer to 15 minutes.

K.A.: “Likely”?  Mommie, I’m trying to work with you to get to the bottom of this incident, but your vagueness is complicating matters.

MOM: Then let’s move on to the eyewitness: Gramma.

K.A.: Which gramma?  I have several.

MOM: The gramma who lives with us and is standing beside me.

GRAMMA: Kellyanne, honey.  You looked right at me when you took the cookie.

K.A.: Gramma, all due respect, please don’t tell me what I do or do not look at.  It’s well-documented that people your age have problems with memory and eyesight.  What was your frame of mind, and what was the lighting in the kitchen like that day of the alleged event?

GRAMMA: “That day” is this day.  You did it about ten minutes ago.

K.A.: “About”?  This is the memory problem that concerns me.

MOM: Speaking of memory, do you remember me telling you not to touch the cookies?

K.A.: No.  Do you have a record or a witness of having told me?

MOM: No.

K.A.: Then I won’t participate in this witch hunt any further.  I have acted in good faith and you two have done nothing but give me the runaround.  I hope we can communicate more clearly this afternoon when we discuss exactly what you mean when you say “pick up your toys”.

MOM: Go wash your hands.  It’s time for lunch.

K.A.: I’m not hungry.

feel free to take a snow day

February 4, 2017

As multitudes march for the third straight weekend, as the presidency of Le Fuck l’Orange spins and sputters to its illogical conclusion, please enjoy these pics of the farm fresh from a 7″ snow.

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Peace be with you.

 

 

it’s funny because it’s terrifying

February 2, 2017

Katoo June, 2016 011

I posted this picture of our puppy Katoo in July and said there’d be more on her soon, but Trump happens.  She is doing fine.  He is not.  She weighs about 65 pounds and is on the brink of puberty.  Jude is at the home of Katoo’s mother, introducing Katoo to her half-brother Ookami, from her mom’s current litter.  We will bring him home in a week or so.  More on them soon.  This time I promise.

On a less endearing note: Trump.  To stay current on his outrages, I would have to blog constantly.  In the past day or so, he has insulted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, asked the attendees at the National Prayer Breakfast to pray  for higher ratings for “The Apprentice”, eased sanctions against Russia as pro-Russian forces escalate in the Ukraine, and seemed to think that 19th Century slave/abolitionist/statesman Frederick Douglass is still alive.  Not to worry.  Sean Spicer can clear all this up because he has no discernible ethics.

The Douglas gaffe was dumped by Trump at a meeting with African-American leaders to note Black History Month.  It was a receptive crowd, likely because they had worked on The Donnie’s campaign.  It looked like a dozen or so sitting at a conference table.  Trevor Noah thought it was nice that the President met all the black people who voted for him.  He barely looked up as he read his script.

In the wake of alternative facts, I’m wondering at what point the bar for The Cheeto will touch  the ground.  His approval rating is headed that way.  A Gallup poll released today shows it at 43 approve/52 disapprove, the widest negative gap I’ve seen.  Rasmussen Reports is a much more sanguine 53 approve/47 disapprove, but that outfit is widely criticized.  CNN won’t even use it.

Public Policy Polling has it almost even at 47/49, but it also reports that 40 percent of voters want Trump impeached, up from 35 a week ago.  And only 48 percent would oppose his impeachment.

The Trump camp’s disregard — nay, disrespect — for the truth reminds me of a comment GOP Senator Jon Kyl made in 2011.  He claimed that abortions accounted for 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s budget.  When it was revealed that the actual figure is 3 percent, a Kyl aide said that the 90 percent “was not intended to be a factual statement”.

And so it goes: the steady slog to Newspeak, which George Orwell introduced in his landmark novel Nineteen Eighty-Four”.  It is the language created by a totalitarian state to, according to Orwell, “diminish the range of thought”.

As the sublime Lily Tomlin said, “no matter how cynical I get, I can’t keep up.”

Bananas, Jabberwocky, Deadpool and Apocalypse Now

January 28, 2017

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.  Whom amongst us haven’t been thinking of these four movies lately?  In Bananas, Woody Allen’s third film, Woody’s character Fielding Mellish stumbles into a Latin American revolution and helps its leader become president of his country.  Problem is, the leader is quite the loon.  His first decree is to make all the citizens wear their underwear on the outside of their clothes.

In 1977’s Jabberwocky, from Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin, Palin’s character slays the fearsome, dragon-like title beast.  As soon as the monster is dead, the king and his coterie show up.  He sticks his sword in the cadaver and takes the glory.

Last year’s Deadpool opens with a very slow motion shot of the title character getting knocked ass over elbows in a bomb blast. That’s how I felt in Trump’s first week in office: in a glacially-slow explosion that I had no control over.

This may be the last time I can use “glacially” to describe extreme slowness.  Glaciers are likely to speed up during the new administration.

With the Cheeto already making absurd moves like launching an investigation into nonexistent voter fraud, and claiming victories by vetoing the already dead TPP, you can understand my dread.

I dearly hope the millions marching last Saturday morph into a movement.  We have plenty of opposition to overcome.  Yesterday’s March for Life, which also had a robust turnout, was not a Trump rally per se, but I’d bet there wasn’t much overlap between the two groups.  And it did have The Donnie’s approval, plus Pence’s attendance.

It fascinates and galls me how Trump’s surrogates can put such positive spin on his specious moves while ignoring or glossing over his outrages like the flap over Inauguration attendance.  One of the more reasoned of them erroneously said Trump had created 5000 new Immigration officers.  The actual creation and funding of that is up to Congress.

Many of his Executive Orders are empty gestures.  Very soon that will be obvious.  I realize that Trump has a core of supporters that would not abandon him even if they saw photos of him smothering Justice Scalia with a pillow.  The Democrats need to get their shit together rapidly so they can start peeling off the marginal Trump supporters burned by his failed policies.   A trade war with Mexico and a screwed-up replacement of Obamacare should start that avalanche nicely.

To finish my movie metaphor: I think Apocalypse Now speaks for itself.

 

our story thus far

January 21, 2017

I can count on one hand how often I’ve been proud to be an American this millenium.  Barack Obama addressing that massive Chicago crowd the night of his election was the last time.  (Miss you already, B.)  Today will resonate rosily in my soul the rest of my life.

I certainly knew I wasn’t the only one concerned about the Cheeto, but goddamn!  Connecting with a few million more all around the globe was intoxicating.  I don’t know how much of today’s energy we can maintain, but my heart tells me this day will go down as the start of a ground-shaking movement.

Legend has it that as hundreds of thousands demonstrated during one of the 1969 Vietnam War protests, Richard Nixon watched a football game.  Today, as millions marched, some of the Trump family bowled in the White House.  Donnie Junior posted a pic of his wife Vanessa rolling one down the lane.  In high heels.  To her credit, she did knock down eight pins.  But those heels would have to be spiked to punch a hole in their bubble.

Donnie Senior, in the meantime, went to CIA headquarters to tout his nominee for its new director, Mike Pompeo.  Yes, the Mike Pompeo who just told Congress that he’s cool with water boarding.

Standing in front of the Company’s memorial wall that honours the 117 employees who have died in the line of duty, Trump may have set a tone he can never repair.  Did he mention the 117 fallen?  No.  Did he thank the 200 or so current employees who came in on their days off for their service?  Of course not.

Instead, the Screaming Cantaloupe ranted about the Evil Media’s misrepresenting the size of his inauguration crowd based merely on facts.  I’m sure you’ve seen the telling aerial photos of yesterday’s 250,000 or so attendees compared to Obama’s 1.8 million in 2009.

He did, however, credit Fox “News” with a fair and balanced account of his inauguration.  Time magazine was also non-evil to him because it had put him on its cover on “14 or 15” occasions, a record Trump figures will never be broken.  How that’s related is beyond me.

Then, to bottom things off, he declared his love for the CIA and again blamed the media for misconstruing his attack on the agency recently.  You remember.  He idly speculated that the pee stories were leaked (sorry, couldn’t resist) by the agency.  Not a shred of evidence for that, but enough reason for him to justify a tortured Nazi allusion.

When CNN went back to its studio right after Trump’s talk, one of its pundits was sitting there with his jaw actually dropped.  Former CIA Director John Brennan said he was “deeply saddened and angered” by Trump’s “despicable display of self-aggrandizement” in front of the wall.

Not enough excitement for this historic day?  An hour or so ago, Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer delivered a statement augmenting his boss’s inaccuracies.  Mixing specious stats with outright lies, Spicer briefly babbled, then left without taking questions.

Another CNN pundit just hypothesized that all this whale shit is to distract from the Womens’ March.  Lying in the face of photographic evidence to make us forget about millions peacefully protesting?  Brilliant.