Thursday, January 31, 2013

Eight Isn't Enough

     I haven't been around much, I know, and for that I'm sorry. I've been busy pouring gallons of water into sand dunes and watching it disappear without a trace.
     At least, that's the metaphor that most readily springs to mind because trying to accumulate awareness of your self-published books, and translating that awareness into actual sales, has been just like that. Or, as I also like to put it, it's like dropping a ball of lint from 50 miles in space and waiting for the impact.
     To show just how unforgivably lax I've been while establishing myself on Goodreads, Twitter, my book blog, Google+ and the writer's forums on Linked In, I've let the 8th anniversary of my blogginess pass without fanfare. I'm a day or two off. But it's not as if I haven't been following the news. It's just that I've had (at the risk of sounding like Five Deferments Dick Cheney) other priorities.
     The world didn't make much sense when I began political blogging in late January 2005, which is, I suppose, the reason why I'd begun blogging. Throwing my candle onto a torch that had already long since been blazing thanks to places such as Firedoglake, Crooks and Liars and Eschaton, blogging about politics and social events was a classic case of, "The more you learn, the less you know." The higher I struggled up the learning curve, the less sense things made unless one were to entertain a conspiracy theory mindset.
     During the Dark Ages of the Bush years, only wild conspiracy theories made certain otherwise inexplicable events easier to understand. This occasional foray into Mel Gibson/Conspiracy Theory territory only made us seem more unhinged, spittle-flecked and wild-eyed than we in fact were. Among these conspiracy theories were who really pulled off 9/11, why was Iraq invaded and so forth?
     The absence of facts does not prove anything and these bizarre times have made a mockery of Occam's Razor.
     So, no, the world didn't make much sense to me when I was still a political neophyte in 2005 and it hardly makes any more sense to me now. A few of us, too many, have since fallen to the wayside because we went "legit", moved on to other things, got outrage fatigue or, in some tragic instances (Jon Swift, Steve Gilliard, Joe Bageant and, perhaps most tragically, Major Andrew Olmstead) have passed to whatever's on the other side.
     Those handful of you who have been following me from the very beginning or nearly the beginning have long noted I've been trying to get out of this mug's game of political blogging. I've said on countless times it's a dirty, thankless business that'll suck you dry and leave you with nothing but disillusion. Something, however, is sure to pull me back in. I've become like that latter day horror movie cliche of some scared victim who falls down right in front of the camera and, after a period of uncertainty, abruptly gets pulled kicking and screaming back into the shadows.
     I can't say that I'd wound up spending the spare time I would've ordinarily have dedicated to my blogging on my writing career instead in an ultimately judicious manner. But at the time I took my renewed ambition to try the self-publishing waters as a sign that perhaps this was all for the best, that this is my cue to start actually building a career instead of pouring gallons of water into the sand dunes of the digital ethers of political blogging.
     But then I got something in the mail yesterday from a dear, dear friend of mine in the Middle East, someone who'd been incalculably kind to us over the last year or two. Along with a generous gift, he wrote something in a card that seemed to put everything I've been doing these past eight years, at least for the moment, into perspective. He wrote,
     "Sometimes, the news is just so depressing and the people who are supposed to fix it are clearly not up to (the) job that I am glad to know there are people out there trying to do something about it."
     Lord knows I'm not the only one trying to spread awareness of the evils spreading across this planet of ours like a mutant, runaway cancer and, of late, many of them have been doing a much better job of it than I.
     There are only so many hours in the day and only so much time to do all the things I need to do. There's my eternal, Godot-like job hunt, household chores, blogging on three different venues, researching the publishing market and all the quotidian responsibilities and obligations that make up a human life. I haven't been around too much lately and for that I am so sorry.
     And I realize that my friend in the Middle East who's been on more than one occasion the only difference between life and death or at least middling, temporary solvency and shame is not the only reader I have who feels that way. My ongoing struggle against the Powers That Be both on a macroscopic and on a personal level has not been heroic. It has not admirable and, if I could do it all over again, I probably would've taken a pass and knuckled down on the writing for which I'd much rather be known.
     But for some bizarre, unfathomable reason, people care more about these semi-hysterical, barely-revised topical political posts I've tossed off by the thousands over these past 96 months than the literary work I've been painstakingly cobbling and crafting. Fleeting popularity is nice, especially when I get the occasional link on Crooks and Liars or somewhere else. But I'd much rather be making a living from my books than begging for donations every month or two.
     I'm sure you know where my much-abused Paypal button is. If you can at all help us out as I enter my 9th year of blogging (No, I'm not going anywhere), you'd be taking a great burden off my friend in the Middle East and whatever few other benefactors remaining who've yet to get sick of our constant problems.
     In the meantime, while I haven't the slightest intention of abandoning my stubborn, Quixotic quest to kick start my writing career, I promise to make a more concerted effort to stay on top of things and give you the content to which you're accustomed and to continue justifying in some measure whatever largesse comes our way. Those who have stuck with us through thick and the even more prevalent thin (and you know who you are), you know how much I love you and I want you all to know I have not abandoned or forgotten about you.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What is the Value of Fiction?

     Someone in one of my Linked In writers groups, taking his cue from an excellent article in the Asia Times, reiterated the original author's question: What's the value of fiction ? What follows below is my answer:

     It's one thing to challenge your mind by reading alternative theories not held by you. Someone, I forget who, once said the distinguishing characteristic of a superior intellect is to simultaneously hold two opposing sides of an argument.
     But aesthetic and philosophical differences aside, there's no reason to read the work of someone who's plainly a bigot and predicates their bigotry, racism and partisanship on hatred and ignorance. This is why I will never read a novel by Brad Thor, a man who, in my mind, isn't qualified to write the daily specials on a whiteboard at Kroger's. I have no patience for religious and right wing partisanship and paranoid bigotry, especially if your political partisanship is based on a pack of lies and/or an insistence on subtracting from the store of human knowledge.
     As for fiction being necessary or not: Of course it is, otherwise it wouldn't still endure to this day. Ever since A TALE OF GENJI, humans have sought to clarify the human experience and all the attendant emotions and struggles through fiction. It's been said that novelists lie in order to reach universal truths and I firmly believe that. Through the clarifying process of storytelling, we can chip away at the detritus of modern life like Praxiteles chipping away at granite until he finally "found" the statue of his ideal woman.
     And sometimes life doesn't make much sense to many if not all of us until it's told through a fictional prism because the totality of human existence is a struggle against chaos and our vain attempts to exert some control and order in that chaos. Chaos is the natural order of things but Mankind's single defining, overarching characteristic is a stubborn refusal to accept that chaos and to establish some order within it even through the falsehoods and illusions of pareidolia. Fiction helps gives us perspective, makes us more susceptible to universal truths and insights that would otherwise elude us in the chaotic matrix of happenstance.
     And, at the bottom of all fiction, is one question, one plot: "Who am I?" It is really the only plot or, at most, two: A stranger arriving or someone going on a journey. Fiction at its best gives us a glimpse into what's possible and attainable in real life even though for most of us, that possibility is on a voyeuristic level. Still, voyeurism and imagination is the first step toward self-discovery and self-invention.
     And, at a time in human history when most human beings feel disposable and like so much flotsam and jetsam, fiction helps give us that anchor to the theoretically possible.
     Is fiction necessary? God, yes! Seeing the struggles and joys and despair of fictional characters and seeing their resolution is an atavistic need shared and cultivated by humans since cavemen grunted stories at the campfire. Thank god we have novelists and short story writers who persist and insist on feeding that primal need so we'll always have at least a pinprick of insight into the absolute.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

"Give 'Em Head" Harry Strikes Again

     I guess "Give 'Em Head" Harry Reid decided that fellatio was a lot easier without that pesky spine.
     Last Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said something amazing to Ezra Klein of the WaPo: “I’m not personally, at this stage, ready to get rid of the 60-vote threshold.” Essentially, he pulled an Obama, negotiated in good faith with Mitch McConnell, which is like negotiating with a pissed off cobra whose basket's been used as a snare all week by Gene Krupa, and emerged thinking he'd scored a victory on filibuster reform.
     Problem: the deal didn't reform shit. They'd inserted, instead, changes to how nominations and appointments are done in the Senate. As one pro-reform aide told Klein, "“Right now, you have to negotiate with McConnell to get on a bill. Tomorrow, if this passes, you still need to negotiate with McConnell to get on a bill. It changes nothing on how we move forward.”
     So, thanks to Harry Reid, who never saw a Republican knob he didn't want to polish, we're back to the same old same old, with McConnell still permitted to act dependably as a stumbling block to any progress until Kentucky voters finally check the water supply or start drinking bottled water.
     Another problem: Reid's 60 vote super majority, which the Democrats aren't close to having and won't have for quite some time to come no matter how long Republicans continue their clown sex show in the well of the Senate, is a myth. For that one, brief, shining moment when the Democrats had 60 votes, when Norm Coleman was finally dislodged from his seat like the misplaced dingleberry he was and Al Franken was finally able to take his rightful place, the Democrats had that super majority and did what with it?
     Dick. Squat, Bupkiss. That's what. That's because even with a filibuster-proof 60 vote supermajority, you can always count on at least a half a dozen Blue Dog douchebags who technically caucus with the Democrats but often side with the Republicans to give them an unofficial majority.
     Sometimes it's scary to see because it involves flashbacks of goose-stepping soldiers and stiff-armed salutes but you have to give hidebound Republicans credit for one thing: They know how to close ranks and circle the wagons faster than 19th century homesteaders under an Apache attack. On countless occasions we've seen Republicans, far more often than Democrats, vote in lockstep for or against something to a man in both the Senate and the House.
     That kind of party discipline will always elude the Democrats, those not-so-lovable perennial losers who could've taken the momentum they've built up since Election Night last year and gotten their way. The Republicans lost the elections and would've lost the House were it not for gerrymandering. They lost on health care. They lost on women's issues. They lost the White House again. They lost on the debt ceiling. They lost on Benghazi and during Hillary Clinton's testimony (I hear Hillary's new change purse used to be Rob Portman's scrotum).
     And they would've lost on filibuster reform, which most Americans wanted, if Harry Reid had just resisted this one time to stay off his fucking knees and pull down McConnell's zipper. The Democrats, with their fractiousness and lack of party cohesion, are like that Bill Crystal character on SNL:

     "Don't you hate it when you break light bulbs on the floor, then get naked and roll around in it then rub salt in your cuts? Don't you hate when that happens?"
     That's what the Democrats will be like come Monday morning when they realized their bills that should've gone up for cloture or final votes last week are still tabled and trapped in committee. They'll wonder how this happened even as they take out the cayenne pepper-tipped bamboo shoots and start jamming them under their fingernails.

Friday, January 25, 2013

5 Ways Publishing's Changed in the Last Decade

     For anyone who's written anything more ambitious than a 52 year-old barfly's phone number on a cocktail napkin at last call or a Facebook update dedicated to how they drank too many Sex on the Beaches last night at the local dive bar and "who the fuck were those swarthy guys stealing my kidneys, OMFG, you mean that 52 y/o barfly's in cahoots with them? Is her phone number even real?! Why didn't they cut out my fucking heart, too, while they were at it?", publishing's undergone some serious-ass changes in the last decade.
     From the rise of POD (Poverty on Demand), publishing mergers and a radical acceleration of digital technology that only James Cameron could've foreseen, it's a Brave New World for novice authors and established ones seeking to dip their toes in the digital ether. What follows are the five biggest changes in publishing since we decided invading a sovereign nation with no more involvement in 9/11 than they had WMDs not much more dangerous than a zip gun and then giving publishing contracts to the top war criminals who pulled off this heist of the Iraqi oil fields were great ideas.

     1) Literary Agents Are Slowly Becoming the New Buggy Whips.
     Ever since 1980-5, or when we thought it was cool to roll up our suit coat sleeves to the elbows and tease our hair like it been washed in liquid Viagra, publishers got together with literary agents in a small, ill-lit, smoke-filled back room at the Four Seasons. In between being served aqua vit and Calamari Fra Diavolo by 400 pound enforcers with shoulder holsters, they hashed out a deal that basically went like this:
     "Yo, Binky, Swifty, lissen up. We don't feel dere's a poi-centage in slush piles. They're gettin' bigger than my wife Sophie's tits after our 5th kid. So dissiz what we're gonna do: We'll cut ya in on the action. We ain't talkin' to no more writers an' we ain't readin' their shit 'cuz yer gonna, capish? Then ya can skim whatever you want off da top. 15% seems about right."
     Then they all belched and farted in agreement, shook hands and celebrated their collusive new business deal by defenestrating some literary properties (and probably the authors who wrote them). A generation later, this corrupt business model's still firmly in place despite more and more literary agents making themselves harder reach than JD Salinger after an alien abduction. POD, however, is also making literary agents as redundant as they insist on acting like head cheerleaders toward the freshmen on try outs. Still, publishers who are approaching digital publishing like a horny sailor on a 12 hour liberty would that hot Filipino tranny with the suspicious Ann Coulter Adam's Apple are thinking of their agent henchmen. Some publishers with digital imprints still insist on you being fronted by an agent as if they were fencing stolen jewels. This is akin to a plumber who insists on employing his otherwise unemployable semi-retarded brother in law and bringing him into your home so he can piss all over your toilet seat, lick your frozen hamburger patties and driving up your repair bill.
     But this insistence on keeping these parasites firmly embedded on the underside of your nut sack just delays the inevitable: Literary agents will eventually become more redundant and useless than a female Strip-O-Gram at the Vatican's College of Cardinals.

2) The Blob
     The sight of two behemoths like Random House and the Penguin Publishing Group merge into one is what Steve McQueen must've seen in The Blob. The merger, when completed, will corner a quarter of the book market, making it the Optimus Prime better suited to take on Nemesis Prime (aka Jeff Bezos and Amazon). Despite the official press releases glowing about this corporate coitus, mergers mean only two things: Fewer book titles and selling opportunities for agents and authors, fewer reading choices for readers and expendable employees being stripped naked and excommunicated at gunpoint into the Siberian wilderness (Not really. Considering today's job market, I'm actually soft-pedaling it). To get an idea of the sheer size and scale this merger, one would have to go to the Hubble Space telescope when it witnessed galaxies merging.
     The Random-Penguin merger (which sounds like an homage to Tom Tomorrow) is designed solely to enrich top executives and shareholders who apparently make no distinctions between selling books and rolls of Charmin, making the Big Six the Big Five. And publishing pundits are telling us this is far from the last merger we can expect. Before they finally get around to publishing An Idiot's Guide to Antitrust Laws for the express edification of the Federal Trade Commission, there will be only one publisher and the American reader will be given a choice between only James Patterson, Stephen King, Tom Clancy's ghost writer and Lena Dunham.
     Like rats leaving a sinking ship, this only drives more of us off the rickety gang plank and on the deceptively palmy, balmy shores of self-publication.

3) You Are a Spammer Who Should be Flogged
     Publishing today is like walking into a whorehouse where virtually the only people there are johns who also ambled in after the whores had long since been outsourced to Bangladesh. You're told by the holographic image of a madame that if you want to get off, you'll have to pleasure yourself because paying whores is too expensive and we had to outsource them or lay them off. Maybe, if you're lucky, these editors/madames will hand you some Jergens and a travel 10 pack of Kleenexes doubling as bare-bones PR press kits that may or may not include a mention in your old high school newspaper.
     That's basically the fate of all writers who are allegedly lucky enough to get into traditional publishing unless you're shtupping the executive editor's niece, in which case you'll have plenty of oomph put behind your memoir of how you went on a coke and meth-fueled killing spree and got a literary agent catapulted at you right after the hung jury convened.
     For the rest of us. we have to publicize our own work and be whore and pimp rolled into one like those poor seedy Frank Sinatra hat-wearing bastards you used to see on 42nd Street handing out mimeographs for peep shows. Here's the problem: Whether you're traditionally published or self-published, good luck finding a venue that'll put up with even moderate street hawking of your book. I'm living proof that just putting up permalinks without even mentioning your books can get you banned for life on Amazon.com if the beneath-the-bridge-dwelling trolls have a problem with blatant capitalism.
     Yeah, they don't tell you that. Luckily, you have me to give you the 411. But the facts are, lazy-ass publishers and literary agents who think a good day's work consists of updating their index page want your audience lined up in advance, your book edited in advance and your marketing platform set up in advance. Then when you get out there and do what you're told, you're treated like a Nigerian banker or that email in your spam box from Hannah Golightly who wants to extend your penis length by 400% with Canadian Viagra while offering you payday loans to refinance your nonexistent home.

 4) "Baby, Come Back. You Can Blame it All on Me!"
     As for TPs crawling back to indie authors, it's notable they're interested only in sales & still insist that we have a ready-made, built-in readership and fan base because they're still too lazy to cultivate careers & actually drum up demand for their own products. Name me one other industry on earth that refuses to give adequate advertising for 90% of its product. Think of Betty White throwing a lead-lined bull elephant. That's about how far such a strategy would fly in the real world.
This new development strikes me as a classic abuser-abused relationship: "Oh, baby, that wasn't me. I'm so sorry. I'll turn over a new leaf. I swear, I won't use basket accounting & short you on your PR press kit ever again. C'mon, babe, come back to me. We can make beautiful P&Ls together. But make sure you still live under my rules & bring your assets back in with you, m'kay?"
      Independent author: "You blew your chance, now blow me for a change."
 
      After 30 years of broken promises, orphaned titles, bad advances, shitty royalties, basket accounting dirty tricks, no creative control, bait-and-switch promises of hard cover deals & having doors slammed in our faces, insisting we get repped by agents, who can blame us? 
What's interesting is that they're directly approaching the most successful indie authors (Shades of 50 SHADES OF GRAY) instead of waiting for agents to approach them with properties. I think publishers, as stupid & dim-witted as most of them are, are finally beginning to connect the two dots of 90% of their books failing with the 90-95% failure rate of agents trying to place adult fiction. It's not traditional authors who are being endangered, it's literary agents.
      Dogma, meet Karma. Squish. Goodbye, dogma.
      Problem: the number of successful indie authors are rarer than unicorns and honest Republicans. They're the only ones being sought out by publishers & if & when it comes time to approach midlist indie authors and newbies, they'll jump at an actual publishing contract with alacrity & the whole corrupt process and spousal abuser way of life will begin anew with battered and bruised authors insisting they fell down the stairs and crying out, "You don't see my acquisition editor's other, more tender side!". It'll also put agents not only back on the playing field but between the hashmarks. And we need literary agents in our lives about as much as Bob Marley needed another cancer.
 5) I'd Only Fuck You With Someone Else's Vagina
     Because that's precisely what modern publishing is like: babymaking by proxy. Editors ostensibly want to crawl between the sheets with you to bring your baby into the world but only if they can make it a threesome with an agent. It's kind of like those sex scenes in A Handmaid's Tale where Robert Duvall is fucking Faye Dunaway through their handmaid. Then when the product is stillborn for lack of support or doesn't come out at all, neither Robert Duvall nor his dowager wife get the rap, you do. Then you wind up in a plastic bag on Soylent Green Day and sold to the proles while Robert and Faye start womb-shopping again from their gated mansion. OK, maybe I'm mixing my metaphors and sci fi movies but you get the point.
     Dealing with an indie author, on the other hand, is often a personal, almost face-to-face process that at least brings some humanity back into this medium of the humanities. With Amazon author profiles, social networking through Facebook and Twitter, email addresses that authors may or may not put on their back covers, readers can directly interact (and even buy through) with authors in ways they still can't with hoity-toity traditional authors and their army of flaks. And if the author is charismatic enough, being able to interact with an author of a quality product may be an added incentive to go through them rather than the impersonal bookseller, publisher or even Amazon (if the author sells through their website or blog).
     Of course, actually reaching those readers is another thing entirely but, unlike before when book readings and signings were the only way to do so, independent publishing over the past decade has made the author, especially the independent one, more theoretically accessible than ever.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Best Moment of the Day

Whatever Weepy Boner was saying to the President, Michelle wanted to hear none of it. That's a serious Arctic shelf the First Lady has on her shoulder for the Speaker of the House. (H/t Sensico)

When Did Liberals Get Comfortable With War, Murder and Indifference?



     (Tip o' the tinfoil hat to constant reader CC for the heads up.)

     Before today, I'd never heard of Lupe Fiasco. In fact, you could fill the Library of Congress and the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of fame in Cleveland with the names of all the fur-draped, backwards NY Yankees cap-wearing, wannabe gangsta poolside rappers I'd never heard of. I'm a head banger from way back and, in my opinion, noise pollution laws should be applied to rappers and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.     
     Therefore, it serves as a pathetic commentary on our culture and on the so-called liberal antiwar movement (How many times have we heard Cindy Sheehan's name or that of the Gold Star Mothers since Obama took over?) that our opposition to this president's murderous policies is boiled down to mocked and jeered rappers such as Lupe Fiasco, a guy who took a lot of hits for the team last night by performing a 40 minute-long, anti-Obama pre-inaugural rap song last night and getting caned off the stage like he was Rush Limbaugh (whom he'd called out in his lyrics for being a racist) in a Klan costume.
     That's right, folks. We have to go to rappers, recording artists forever tied to gang-banging and gangsta life to give us our proper cues about the blood-drenched legacy of the Obama administration. In my mind, this is no better than having to go to comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert for our news.
     What was Fiasco's beef, it seems, was Obama's avuncular tongue-clucking at the recent Israeli bombings of Palestine in the Gaza Strip and playing the false equivalency game as if Palestine also benefited from having The Bomb, a huge standing army and $3 billion of annual US aid. This sin of omission on Obama's part is just the very least of his crimes and every day he stays in office makes a bigger and bigger mockery of his winning a Nobel Peace Prize for which he was nominated when he was in office a mere week and a half.
     Also mentioned in Lupe Fiasco's jeremiad were the drone strikes, just one of Obama's many biggest crimes against humanity, that have not only killed hundreds of innocents from around the world but have even despicably vilified the dead by labeling a certain age of male casualties (15 and up) as enemy combatants to both pump up terrorist kill counts while simultaneously playing down collateral damage figures (which we don't tally but are always willing to chew down by blatantly calling local authorities liars.). Not mentioned by smug liberals who still dream of sharing a stretch limo and wet bar with Arianna Huffington is the Obama administration's continuance of torture and extraordinary rendition for which they mercilessly took the Bush administration to task for eight straight years.
     Still, to hear liberals talk on Twitter and elsewhere, they've never been prouder to be Americans. You could practically see them ejaculating over their towel-draped keyboards tripping over themselves and each other vying to see who could praise our fearless Commander in Chief the most and repeating his every syllable during today's inaugural address as if he really was Lincoln reincarnated.
     I'm assuming these are the same exact liberals who'd excoriated Obama's idiot predecessor (C Plus Augustus, to borrow Charles Pierce's immortal sobriquet) for turning a blind eye to the carnage in South Lebanon when the Israelis were shelling and murdering dozens of women and children at a time and strafing Red Cross vans in 2006 or when Israeli commandos boarded a flotilla aid ship and murdered several aid workers in their sleep as they were bound for Palestine or murdering little Palestinian boys for throwing rocks at their massive tanks during their ceaseless land grabs of the West Bank.
     Yet you'll hardly hear a liberal whose name isn't Lupe Fiasco or John Cusack who doesn't get the dry heaves at the thought of taking Obama to task for his identical support for Israel's terrorist acts and policies, his ignoring Palestine and drone strikes that are ever so slowly beginning to define this man's administration much moreso than it ever did Bush's.
     You'd have an easier time finding a la Diogenes an honest man on K Street than a so-called liberal who has even the slightest problem with Obama's assassination list authorizing him to murder US citizens abroad and even their 16 year-old children and all without due process that his lawyers, maxima cum laude graduates of the John Yoo and Alberto Gonzales School of Law, assure him is all nice and legal, or the NDAA that gives Obama the power to arrest and indefinitely detain without charge anyone who criticizes him or his murderous policies (but don't worry and fear not, liberals: Obama said in a non-binding signing statement that can be ignored by him and his successors that he would never even do that, heavens to Betsy. But it's nice to know that I can if I have to.).
     And liberals hanging on to this fascist dictator's every word during today's inaugural and boilerplate bullshit and gushing over the first gay and Latino poet to warble the inaugural poem and how lovely and ladylike Sasha and Malia have gotten and marveling over the First Lady's new bangs also don't have a problem with Obama rendering the First Amendment even more moot by making protesting near a federal building or anyone who happens to have a Secret Service detail a federal felony and has historically cracked down on whistleblowers such as Bradley Manning while his Justice Department lets one Obama Wall Street crony after another slide like the slime that they are.
     But if you were to confront any self-identified liberals with these rather inconvenient facts, they'll just shout you down like the proto-teabaggers who'd mowed down crosses commemorating the war dead at Camp Casey in 2005, the same bellowing Bushbots who screamed that if we weren't with them and their moron President, we were with the terrorists.
     Lupe Fiasco found out who his real friends were last night and maybe he had an idea of how ill-received his 40 minute-long anti-Obama jeremiad would be and he went out and did it, anyway.
     Because, God fuck it all with His giant cosmic Cock, someone had to. And even though this 54 year-old white guy who still rocks out to the Foo Fighters and Jimi Hendrix isn't nearly in his demographic, I'll turn my Red Sox cap backwards and tip it to Lupe Fiasco for grabbing his crotch and finding his own set and waving it in the more than general direction of the self-satisfied face of the most fascist administration in all American history.
     And the fact that we're gushing over a second Obama term that will perpetuate if not escalate the bloodshed on the same day we also observe and mouth platitudes about the nonviolent Dr. King's legacy makes me want to burn my own invisible liberal card.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Will Mint Juleps Be Served, Too?


     It always amazes me on Twitter and elsewhere on the intertubez when right wing nut jobs bristle at the thought of being reminded of their racism and their adopted political party's enduring love affair with fascism. One such person denounced what I'd said about the Republican Party's stubborn adherence to Nazi policies by using the hashtag #GodwinsLaw.
     But where does it say that Godwin's Law necessarily involves falsehoods and spurious charges of fascism? It's one thing to label someone as a fascist and another thing entirely to be able to quantify it. And anyone who knows of Prescott Bush's past as Hitler's main American financier, his attempt in the early 1930's to use Gen. Smedley Butler and right wing industrialists to undermine FDR's administration and to replace it with a right wing government modeled on Hitler's new National Socialist Party in Nazi Germany and Operation Paperclip can easily find the one degree of separation between the Republican Party and fascists and rascists.
     Therefore, it was no surprise when we found out this week that the Republicans were holding a retreat this week on women and minority outreach on a former plantation and that tomorrow's Gun Appreciation Day was, until a public outcry forced their disinvitation, co-sponsored by a white supremacist group. Fox "News", naturally, is heavily publicizing the gun event that's to take place just two days before we observe Martin Luther King's birthday and just three days before the president's second inauguration. Just as naturally, Fox failed to omit from the record that the American Third Position (A3P), a nakedly fifth column organization, was to co-sponsor this event designed to give some consensus to gun-clutching Alex Jones-listening white conspiracy theorists.
     At the very least, the plantation shindig in Virginia ostensibly to host discussions on women and minority outreach on a venue where African Americans were enslaved and women raped and beaten betrays just how tone-deaf the latter day GOP is to their hideous judgment, timing and counterproductive irony that follows them like stink on shit. And that, in turn, is a form of racism and misogynism, however passive, understated or subdued through political correctness.
     The GAD organizers showed a similar tone-deafness and insensitivity by not even going on Google or Wikipedia to vet the lunatics who wanted to sponsor the gun-glorifying event. Their very proposed involvement merely solidified suspicions those of us in the reality-based community already knew: That 2nd Amendment gun nuts are merely thinly disguised racists sympathetic if not being an actual part of the John Birch Society, the KKK or any other white supremacist outfit. In fact, one of A3P's state party chairmen, Ryan Murdough, was so universally despised even the New Hampshire Republican Party called him "a despicable racist" when he ran for public office (he finished 5th out of 5, with less than 300 votes). According to Wikipedia, "Murdough is now the National Political Director for the National Socialist American Labor Party, a party which espouses Nazi beliefs."
      It's hard to understand why so many people exist in this country but one thing is for certain: Such organizations dedicated to racism, misogynism and guns over human lives couldn't exist and flourish without the support of We the People. And as long as we continue to allow such hate-based organizations to exist and as long as we keep electing Republicans, especially those who openly pray for the President's death and exhort others to do the same, America will always be a failed experiment.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

While You're Blowing Out Your Candles, Blow Me, Too

     By Cyril Blubberpuss, Esq.

     So, the proprietor of this liberal sewer of a blog turns 54 at 9:50 tonight. When you blow out the candles on the cake bought with food stamps, blow me, while you're at it.
     Instead of exploiting another meaningless birthday for the purposes of begging his dwindling readership for more income redistribution, your latter-day George Bailey decided to give me the mic and let me have my say.
     I remember when I turned 54. I had just made my first billion when I cashed in my stock in an adult video wholesaler that specialized in gay porn and horse bestiality. You didn't see me begging for handouts like a legless Vietnam veteran or welfare mother with nine kids clinging to her designer dress. No, sir. I came by my fortune the old-fashioned way: By claiming my thoroughbred horses for a five-figure tax credit just like Mitt Romney and another tax credit for bringing jobs into the state (although I later had to send those jobs to Bangladesh in order to avoid those pesky OSHA and minimum wage laws. We should start producing again after the firemen sift through and clear out the charred rubble.).
     The point I'm making is that no one deserves one handout after another because they lack the enterprise to outsource and offshore jobs that only make Americans fat and to avoid excessive taxes by incorporating in Ireland or Dubai. When my brother Cecil and I first got started, we had nothing but the pitiful $20,000,000 bequeathed to each of us on the death of our father Ambrose in 1979.
     With that pitiful amount of seed money and venture capital, Cecil and I got into a heated competition with Charles and David Koch to see who could offshore the most jobs and acquire more wealth than God and Croesus combined.
     Which brings us to your impoverished liberal host, who's too gun shy to start another pledge drive that's become more common than NRA ads after a school shooting. And I can't believe that I'm saying this out loud but here it is:
     I refuse to give this moocher a nickle of my hard-earned money. Too many dark-skinned people 10,000 miles away worked their asses off making $150 sneakers for Detroit gang-bangers for .20¢ an hour for me to just throw it away on a loser like JP. But if you want to throw away your own hard-earned money on a guy just so he can cling to luxuries like housing, auto insurance, gas and electric for another month, then it may actually benefit those of you who've had a ringside seat to this Rodney Dangerfield monologue of a life of his.
     Because if JP, his astoundingly generous fiancee and cat haven't a place to live, then his bleeding heart  liberal screeds and constant begs for money will come to a grinding halt. Then his numerous trolls and critics will have to go elsewhere for their transient amusement. And choosing someone else to stalk is a time-consuming effort.
     Take conservative firebrand and legend Rusty Shackelford, for instance. This stunningly brilliant patriot Republican-American has enjoyed countless hours over the last several years of his life when he wasn't masturbating in a dark corner under an oil portrait of Social Security queen Ayn Rand writing messages here at Pottersville despite being told countless times they would be neither approved for comment moderation nor even read. Yet still he continues with admirable persistence and fortitude vainly trying to solicit Crawford's attention like a five year-old tugging his father's pants leg begging permission to go to the bathroom before he pees his pants.
     If some undeserved largesse benefiting Crawford/JP/George Bailey indirectly ensures Rusty's continued vicarious amusement, then what's the harm in throwing a few sheckles his way? JP & Co win for another month, we conservatives win and everyone's happy. Plus, virtually every contribution made through his Paypal account puts another few bucks in Peter Theil's pocket and the more money he makes, the closer we conservatives get to buying an abandoned oil rig that'll provide the foundation for our libertarian utopia.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Cat's Out of the Bag

     Ain't it grand when you have such a talented cat he physically helps you turn a proverb?
     This is Popeye and Mrs. JP last night minutes after we got home from the airport in Warwick. I suppose this is the closest our stoic Russian Blue could bring himself to say, "I'm glad you're finally home, Mommy."
     Anyway, pending her breaking the news to her mother that she wasn't, in fact, staying indefinitely, I was under injunction back when she was still in Vero Beach not to mention her imminent return or the fact that I had to spend $150 we didn't have to get her back in what had turned into a ransom situation. This is why a couple of short posts I'd written last month abruptly disappeared. Sending her to Florida certainly wasn't my idea and her little Christmas vacation cost us about $400, which is about what her last trip cost a year ago. Except then we were much better positioned to absorb the costs and that trip was strictly voluntary.
     So now the cat's out of the bag, so to speak. One of my posts deleted by request was a plea for assistance to help us meet our rent come February 1st. Now I have to renew that plea. I haven't even turned the heat on in my house, yet, because I've been trying to pare expenses down to the bone this winter. But we're still going to be about $400-500 shy of meeting all of our bills so we'd be grateful for any help you could give us. Were it not for this trip that was foisted on us, we'd probably be all set for another month.

     By the way, I don't know about your cats, but Popeye's fond of jumping in and out of bags so his physical proverb last night wasn't all that fortuitous.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Caucasian Cockhead Threatens Mass Murder, Other White Men Waggle Finger



     By now, you've probably heard about James Yeager, the undeclared neonazi skinhead "CEO" who threatened to "fire the first shot" and "start killing people" if our scary black dictator made one move to take away his guns
     Well, the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security responded by taking away his concealed carry permit for his handgun, which ought to immediately make him completely defenseless against the horde of Marxists who want to make us all defenseless.
     What you see above are the 32 seconds he removed from the original video he was stupid enough to put up on Youtube on January 9th, then took down before replacing it with a more sanitized version that didn't actually, you know, threaten mass murder if he didn't get to keep his arsenal so he could commit conscientious and patriotic mass murder. Then he lawyered up in his next video and...
     This skinhead's reaction over nothing is only a slightly more extreme version of actual CEOs threatening and punishing people over ObamaCare even though it won't start to kick in for almost a year. Between these gun nuts coming out of the woodwork like alarmed termites and threatening to shoot up the joint and executives and franchise owners cutting back hours to evade their responsibilities, it's getting increasingly obvious to me that these lunatics will never see the light and things are going to come to a head pretty quickly.
     And if you thought Obama's first term was ugly, contentious and scarred by racism and paranoia, brother, you ain't seen nothing, yet. I'm not stupid enough to publicly say what I'd like to do to the James Yeagers of this country. But I really hope before the dust settles on the countless Wacos we can look forward to that the Powers That Be take out more than a couple of them. And, maybe, just maybe if we grow some balls, the employees whose paychecks have been cut down to 28 hours a week will all walk off the job en masse while the rest of us boycott these businesses permanently.
     If we're not already there, it'll be time to draw a line in the sand and stand tall on one side or the other. Which side will you be on?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday UFO Blogging

     Earlier tonight, I was taking my newly-downloaded Google Earth 5.0 on a test spin so I zoomed in on my old neighborhood and went to the street view. This is the west end of Cadillac Circle in Tampa, Florida and this picture was taken some time in April 2011. The highway going from left to right is 78th Street. Now, see the red and yellow house on the right? That's where I grew up between 1965-9. Then I noticed something in the sky that didn't belong. If you don't see it right away, then click on the image for the much higher resolution version and I guarantee you'll see it then.
     I rotated the mouse wheel one click forward and backward and this UFO that was flying almost directly over my old house is not there. I would think that if this was a jet (and the lenticular shape doesn't make it look like a jet), the second or two it would've taken the Google people to snap those three still frames would keep in frame something as slow moving as a jet flying 30,000 or 35,000 feet overhead. Yet it wasn't in view no matter how widely I panned one way or the other.
     I went back in time, so to speak, to the moment when the Google car turned off 78th Street onto Cadillac Circle. I panned to the left, which is south, and could see no evidence of this anomaly. Likewise when I panned north. It was captured only in this split second the camera was trained behind the car to 78th Street and at no other time.

     Now, I'm not a photographer by any means. Maybe shutterbug Stan Banos can help me out here. But I've seen enough lens artifacts to know what's what and this is obviously not a water droplet or lens flare or dust or bird shit or a break in the clouds or anything like that and if it was any of those things, they'd be reproduced. I would think, judging by the clarity of the pictures, that Google uses state-of-the-art high-speed, high-resolution digital cameras that aren't readily susceptible to artifacts. I'm not saying this is an alien spacecraft flying almost directly over my childhood home. What I am saying is that this is a UFO because I cannot identify it and it is most definitely in flight. And don't forget: We were in Tampa in the 60's because the old man was stationed at MacDill AFB and military bases, particularly Air Force bases, attract a lot of UFO activity.
     By the way, in case you're curious, this is far from the only UFO that's been captured on Google cameras.

All Time Classics

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