Saturday, January 31, 2015

Good Times at Pottersville, 1/31/15

Friday, January 30, 2015

Top 10 Reasons Why Mitt Romney Won't Run for President in 2016

     Perennial Republican contender Mitt Romney has recently decided that he will not seek the presidency for a third time in 2016. His reason, as he told potential investors supporters in a conference call was, "I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the [Republican] Party the opportunity to become our next nominee." Romney's departure from the field frees up a lot of cash and delegates while at the same time not supporting the heir apparent to the Republican nomination, Jeb Bush. But Mr. Romney told his supporters there were other reasons for withdrawing his name from consideration. What were they?

  • 10) Slowly dawning realization that being unemployed isn't so tough, after all.
  • 9) Losing $10,000 bet that he was more unpopular than HIV in the Castro.
  • 8) Skull session with Jeb Bush in Salt Lake City earlier this month ended with Karl Rove slipping a length of piano wire in his luggage. 
  • 7) Unwillingness to stand more of Ann's constant notes in his lunches such as, "Every day you don't kill a 43 percenter is like a day without sunshine."
  • 6) Last Christmas Eve was haunted by three ghosts of Seamus, John Lauber and the IRS Commissioner.
  • 5) Presidential campaign would've conflicted with preplanned barbeque with Joseph Smith in the Kolob star system.
  • 4) Became suspicious when his most ardent backers turned out to be Hillary Clinton voters.
  • 3) Discovered Sarah Palin wanted to be his running mate.
  • 2) Josh's announcement he couldn't get a good price on all the Diebold voting machines necessary to ensure a Romney victory, which would've been virtually all of them.
  • 1) Apparently, the other 53% of the electorate only make up 1%.
  • Thursday, January 29, 2015


         I'll just spit it out: I've been blogging for 10 years as of today. And I don't expect people to make as big a deal about that as they did yesterday when Sullivan decided to quit blogging. Typically, 10th anniversary gifts are commemorated with either tin, aluminum or diamond jewelry. I don't even expect the tin or aluminum.
         At least in the early years, it was fun. Blogging was a new literary medium I'd worked hard to master and I have to say I'd climbed more of that intimidating learning curve than most. As with most any blogger, I'd gone viral a few times then people had moved on (save for a few hardy souls). But blogging's come and gone. Many of us had died or quit, the mainstream media after thumbing their noses at us for stealing their thunder finally got their feet wet. Now peoples' dogs and cats have blogs. It was relevant during the Bush administration but then after Obama got elected in 2008, we thought we could kick back our feet and relax because it's not as if he'd keep us in Iraq for three more years, escalate Afghanistan, fill his administration with Wall Street banksters and other criminals or kill brown innocent people with death machines like drones.
         And I have to say perhaps the biggest reason for the drop off in my readership these past five years is because after working so hard to get him elected, many so-called liberals didn't relish the sight of one of their own trashing a man they worked their asses off to get elected. For roughly 10 years now, I've been the Cassandra of the internet: Despite being right more often than wrong, I'm doomed to be ignored. When I put up links to this place on Twitter you can practically hear the fucking crickets.
         But it's been 10 years today and while the world has changed, I and this blog have not (save for that hideously overused Paypal button). I've had plenty of mud slung at me both here, in emails and on Twitter from right wing nut jobs such as the late Andrew Breitbart, Charles Johnson of LGF, Hal Turner and Jerome Corsi to limousine liberals whose names I refuse to mention,. Give me enough time and I will alienate you somewhere along the way. I've been banned from more blogs than most people have read and have been unfollowed on Twitter literally hundreds of times.
         But I never once said these past 10 years that I'm here to expand your comfort zone or to champion your choices for President or Congress or that I'll robotically help you vote in spineless Democrats infinitum ad nauseum. I've been publicly pilloried for voting third party despite it being my right to do so (And, yeah, I remember Ralph Nader and his 97,421 votes in Florida in 2000, which itself was refused to be seen as a referendum on the peoples' dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party. But that was then and this is now) and in spite of my disgust with the Democrats who seem to be in thrall of the schoolyard bullies of the Republican Party.
         So I do not owe anyone a damned thing except to tell the truth as I see it and on those all too many times when I'd stepped on my dick, I was the first one to admit it. I almost never retract or delete anything when I make an error because I choose to leave it up as a reminder of my own fallibility. But unlike Sullivan, I don't choose to damn with faint praise the party with which I'm more closely affiliated. When I damn someone, I do so with loud, profane damnation, complete with stinking fire and brimstone. As Patton once said, "I give it to them loud and dirty. That way they'll remember it."
         Blogging and my emerging radical liberalism fueled by it probably contributed to costing me my home and family of 15+ years in 2009 and perhaps even my job. By my reckoning, I've spilled into the greedy sands of time between two and a half million to three million words, taking me away from the novels I could've written, published and marketed. And for better than the first four years since putting up my first shingle, I gave it away and did so for free despite the great personal cost to myself. And I did all this for you, whoever you are, not because I'm a big mouth who loves to hear the sound of his own virtual voice but because I'm nothing short of passionate about the truth as I see it. And my job as a writer is to impart truth either through factual political blogging or in my fiction.
         You're welcome.
         Like Sullivan said in his farewell address to the troops of The Atlantic, "I'm a writer before a blogger." Out of the millions of words that Sully's spilled himself over the past 15 years, those were the ones that resonate the most with me. Amen, brother. We bloggers think what we do is so important and, on occasions far and few between, it is. But we too often lose sight of the fact, one I keep hearing myself say, that out of all literary mediums/genres, blogging is by far the most topical, with the shortest shelf life and done so in the most perishable of mediums.
         And, yeah, I should be working on my current opus right now (I wrote this yesterday, in fact, and postdated it for today) but 10th anniversaries don't come along every day and it is sort of a nicely-rounded milestone. But along with commemorating my 10 years as a political/social blogger, I'm also trying to impart to you the personal, physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual cost of doing something that turns out to be one of the very few capstans and constants of one's life over a decade.
         Both parties have broken my heart. Digging through the sewage of right wing "thought", for want of a better word,, researching, double and triple sourcing actual news hardly if ever covered anywhere else, rubbing through attrition all the consonants off countless keyboards, putting fingernail gouges into some of them (you may have thought I was kidding when I said that but I was not) and forcing myself to keep this place or the first two fresh even when I had nothing after a hard day of work.
         I did this for you because I respect your intelligence and your right to know the truth. I never promised it would be pretty or even palatable. The truth is what it is and I leave it to you all to make of it what you will.
         Having said that, I cannot predict where I will be by the end of the year let alone in 10 more years. Maybe I'll finally make it to the New York Times bestseller list or maybe I'll die penniless in the gutter. But while I've dedicated myself to my readers both constant and casual alike with almost the same devotion as my dream of being a published novelist, I think you all know by now which one I'll chose if push comes to shove. Andrew Sullivan made the right choice and so will I if and when the time comes.
         Until then, we'll need your help at least one more time, especially as my biggest and most substantial benefactor will be retiring this April. Just before the storm, I lost my brakes and had to pay $253 and change to get the car safely back on the road, which set us way back. Just are taxes are looked upon by progressives as dues you pay for being alive, consider these appeals for help the price you pay for knowing me, either in the real world or virtually. I may have alienated you over the years from time to time, which is why many of my old readers are not reading these words. But maliciousness was never once my reason.
         Because without truth and an abiding passion to disseminate it, all a writer has is a bag full of jumbled words.

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

    I Will Sully the GOP No More Forever

          D r i f t g l a s s will no doubt be rending his sackcloth garments while covered in ashes. Yes, the Atlantic's venerable editor-in-chief, Andrew Sullivan, is retiring from blogging. Let's hope he's more diligent about that decision than I've been over the years. By the way, this is an interesting juxtaposition when the news broke on Twitter a few minutes ago:

          Sullivan, a semi-fixture on Bill Maher's countless Real Time panels, can best be described as the Accidental Apostate. After championing the Republican Party for years, including the constantly-shifting rationales for the war in Iraq, Sully has spent the last several years in the virtual pages of the Atlantic struggling to criticize the GOP for its countless crimes against Humanity, all the while seeming to take credit for stumbling onto these revelations that liberals had made nearly 15 years ago.
           Indeed, since the end of the Bush administration, Sullivan has often given off an air of a newly-liberated hostage: While grateful to be freed, he still has that wistful Stockholmed mindset of a captive that had bonded with his captors. And he just can't bring himself to see these psychopaths for what and who they really are: Undeclared fascists who simply want to kill everyone who isn't white, male, straight and rich. Sully was supposed to be a heir apparent to the mantle left by the late William F. Buckley, that rarest, almost mythical of beasts: The conservative intellectual. George "Poindexter" Will is simply a buffoon with the charisma of a dead engineer. Jonah Goldberg is an evolutionary dropout and Mark Halperin has been inarticulate and incomprehensible ever since discovering kneepads to use at the feet of conservatives with real right wing bona fides.
          And poor Sully just never quite got it right, even though he gave it a game try. He was a man who saw pinpricks of truth into the absolute and empirical and mistook that for seeing the light in which liberals had been basking all along. I'm not going to delve into specifics. I'll let Sir Drifty eulogize his ersatz legacy of apostasy.
         Sullivan often got it right on many other issues and in the interests of full disclosure I have to admit that he'd linked to Pottersville or its last incarnation at least twice in the past. But in the end, it'll have to be said that poor Sullivan was a guy who gave it his best but never quite got it right.

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    Snowpocalypse 2015

         For today and the foreseeable future, Pottersville will be known as Ice Station Zebra. The initial weather forecast was for 7-11", with less striking inland. As you can see from my dumpster behind my house, we got considerably more than 11" overnight and today. To give you a better sense of scale, that pile of snow on the lids is about as tall as a three year-old child. I haven't seen this much useless, unwanted white shit since the 2012 Republican National Convention.

         This is our poor 17 year-old girl Betsy before I'd begun clearing her off. I left the wiper blades up last night but that proved to be an exercise in futility as the snow actually got up to the fenders, making it virtually impossible to push the snow off. That black vertical thing you see is the bottom of the wiper blade. It took me over an hour to clear off the stoop, the passenger side and a foot and a half-wide trench behind the car so my landlord's plow guy will know where to end plowing the end of the driveway. Hopefully, once he does that, I can just back away from the rest of the snow surrounding my car so he can push it to the front.
         So, for anyone who cares, rest assured, we three are still safe and warm at Casa de Pottersviile Ice Station Zebra. The lights and gas are still on, we're well-provisioned as I'd succumbed to the atavistic hoarding instinct by buying additional food and water yesterday and even a few nippies of whiskey and an inexpensive bottle of Chianti (all I need now is a census taker and a can of fava beans).
         Ergo, for you poor, hardy souls also living in the northeast, use this as your open thread to tell us about your Snowpocalypse horror stories. I'll be glad to post your pictures. Just email them to me at
    (Addendum:  The streets are sheer ice and packed snow and the sanders haven't even come out, yet. Gov. Baker called a state of emergency since we're the hardest hit state. That means I just broke the law and risked my life for two packs of cigarettes, some Pringles and a candy bar for Mrs. JP at the only store in town that's still open. I am the man!)

    Sunday, January 25, 2015

    Of Corsi

         As is always the case in my nearly decade-long odyssey of blogging, just when I try to hang up my brickbat, of course some right wing assclown always comes along and pulls me right back in. In this case, it's Jerome Corsi.
         Yesterday morning, I was treated to the news that Jerome Corsi, he of the Obamanation series of books (Yes, another one is out, entitled Obamanation II: Judgment Day. Maybe he's going for a Jerry Bruckheimer movie deal where an over-the-hill Arnold Schwarzenegger will play David Duke) is now following me on Twitter.
         Surely, there must be some mistake, I said to myself as I sipped my first cup of Joe. Surely, Mr. Corsi read my Twitter profile ("There are only two kinds of Republican voters: White collar muggers and willing victims. Let's make the GOP a bad memory in 2016.") with as much cognitive thought as he did Mr. Obama's birth certificate from Hawaii. So I fired off a couple of tweets telling him exactly what I thought of his unwanted and obviously misguided attention and thought that would be the end of that. Surely, once he realized his error, he'd immediately unfollow me.
         Apparently, "Corsi" is Italian for "glutton for punishment" because then he made the mistake of engaging me today. Oh my. And my birthday was eight days ago.
         Oh, really, now?
         Unfazed, he then steps right into my next salvo like a punch-drunk club fighter.
         I may be "ideologue" but at least I know how to use the indefinite article "an", O Bestselling Author. And what the fuck does "1ar" mean?
         Corsi, like all right wing nut bags, mistakes free speech with our obligation to seriously entertain their death threats, homophobic and misogynist comments and beyond Pluto conspiracy theories. Just as Corsi technically has the right to claim that Obama secretly has Afghani virgins smear his naked body every night with falafel while Michelle dances the Watusi as played by the Marine Marching Band in the Lincoln bedroom, it is not my or anyone's obligation to suffer fools like him gladly.
         And as a big mouth liberal, it is not even in my DNA to do so.
         And even if I wasn't an aspiring author with a dog in the fight, I'd have to conclude, as must anyone with two neurons to rub together, that the very fact that Corsi (who has barely over 8000 followers) has a literary agent and keeps getting book deals is the surest evidence that we are living the prequel for Idiocracy and that Western culture, for want of a better phrase, is circling the porcelain drain at warp speed 10.
         Corsi is a typical right winger: He loves to take drive by pot shots but hates it when someone busts a cap in their rear windshield when they try to speed away (or, in his case, waddle). They love to indiscriminately punch but hate it when someone counterpunches and bloodies their nose a little bit. The same faction that screams about Pride rallies, antiwar protests, Occupy movements and Ferguson protesters demanding the right to live, citing Affirmative Action, special treatment for the LGBT community is always the first one to bleat like wounded lambs about their First Amendment rights.
         And still, this goose-stepping, waddling homunculus cherry-picks the Constitution for whatever works best for him and his fellow racists, conspiracy theorists and all around Darwinian no-shows who can't stand the idea, even after over six years, that a black man is running their country. Indeed, it's difficult to imagine how Corsi could achieve bestseller status with a publisher outside of Regnery or Threshold without knee pads and Listerine eventually being involved.
         And just the fact that Corsi gets to honestly claim authorhood status while I can't even get a literary agent to read beyond the salutation shows that, just as Einstein said imagination was more important than knowledge, fevered conspiracy theories are sexier than brilliance, originality and talent. And as long as nut bags like Corsi, Hannity, O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Coulter, Palin and other twitching brain stems get book deals and literary agents, there is no hope whatsoever for this nation or whatever culture to which it aspires.
         And the very fact that a grandfatherly racist, jiggling meat bag like Corsi is between covers instead of minimum wage jobs is the real abomination.

    Friday, January 23, 2015

    Recycling Day

         This past fall and winter, I've been devoting about as much time to Twitter as I have to blogging, if not less. Still, I think I've produced enough quality material over the last month to justify collecting my mental fly specks.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    Chris Kyle: An Inhuman Interest Story

    (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan. on loan from Ari.)
         In all fairness, you have to give Clint Eastwood credit. For a man who lives a relatively quiet and private personal life, he always finds a way to get in the public eye. And it's a testament to his endurance and relevance, legitimate or otherwise, that he remains a political lightning rod for those on both sides of the Great Ideological Divide. After all, you show me one other 84 year-old director who's still directing movies let alone ones at the top of the box office that make people talk about them at the water cooler.
         And it's a crowning irony that Eastwood's newest effort, American Sniper, was directed by a man who'd once admitted in an interview decades ago that he hated guns. Yes, Dirty Harry and the Man With No Name who'd killed more fictional people than you can shake a .44 Magnum at, hated guns. Therefore, the old man who made a laughingstock of himself at the Republican National Convention almost two and a half years ago by yelling at an empty stool now finds himself in the spotlight yet again.
         Eastwood's box office-busting film should not be taken as a referendum on the legitimacy of the Iraq War (Eastwood, in fact, has publicly stated he hates war in all forms) but the manufactured controversy surrounding his film ought to be taken as a referendum on the enduring, virulent hatred and racism that has taken this country by storm ever since we elected a black man to run it in 2008.
         It's hard to understand why Eastwood chose Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL sniper who'd bragged about killing 255 men, for his next opus. If he'd insisted on making a movie about a sniper, he could've chosen Marine gunnery sergeant Carl Hathcock, who'd had a horrendously high body count during Vietnam and was the template for Stephen Hunter's bestselling Bob Lee/Earl Swagger series of action novels. Vietnam, after all, while still controversial to some aging deadenders, recedes much further into American history and the Department of Defense and its predecessors had produced many other notable snipers going back to the Revolutionary War.
         Ergo, it's difficult to fathom why Eastwood chose Kyle, who was murdered at a Texas gun range in early 2013 by another military man suffering from PTSD. Nicknamed "The Devil of Ramadi", Kyle was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars, a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and was once credited with shooting a target from 2100 yards.
         But this isn't a book report and no man's life can be adequately summed up in one. Or a two hour-long movie, for that matter. Rather than a dry recitation of one person's achievements and capriciously awarded medals, what matters is how that person's life affected and continues to affect those who didn't even personally know him. And it's that willful ignorance that's produced the disturbing backlash aimed at Michael Moore over a clumsily-worded tweet and anyone who criticizes Kyle for his conduct in Iraq and elsewhere. Typically, many of the rape and death threats comes from right wing nut jobs and armchair snipers who have turned Eastwood's movie into a referendum on the justness of the Iraq War and the low value of brown-skinned human beings.
         And the fact is, Chris Kyle wasn't just the personification of "mission creep", he was what one could call ...
    The Mission Creep
         Kyle wasn't shy about making his thoughts known about Iraqis. He once infamously wrote in his own memoir, "I hate the Goddamned savages. I couldn't give a flying fuck about the Iraqis." He also said he "loved" to kill and that it was "fun." Such a misanthropic and psychopathic attitude should alone have disqualified this man from being held up as an American hero and having his life glorified in a movie that seems bound for Oscar consideration. All things considered, it's a miracle this man even got a literary agent let alone a publisher to trowel out such filth.
         Such hateful statements alone should've invalidated the fetish that people of virtually all political persuasions harbor for those who wear military uniforms, regardless of where they'd served, not served or what they did or didn't do. Most disturbingly, even nearly 12 years after the most wrong-headed invasion and occupation in perhaps all American history, Iraq has never been tainted with nearly as much controversy as Vietnam. Therefore, the hatred and sociopathic bigotry of human monsters such as Chris Kyle, not to mention his murderous deeds, will similarly be shielded from any substantial and lasting criticism. And his needless and senseless murder on a Texas gun range only made him a martyr, thereby making him, at least for the moment, invulnerable to such comeuppance to the point where no one of any consequence even had the nerve to say, "Live by the sword..."
         And it isn't much of a stretch to say that Eastwood's and Kyle's fans happen to be the same ones that criticized African Americans this past summer, fall and winter for protesting having members of their own gunned down by so many mini Chris Kyles such as Darren Wilson and George Zimmerman. That would be the same libertarians who decry police abuse and overreach until they start killing dark-skinned people who "had it coming to them." Kyle himself bragged about, without substantiating it, killing looters (read: black people who "had it coming to them") in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Yes, Kyle was an equal opportunity misanthrope. He also hated his own people.
         Killing in war is unfortunately an inevitable consequence. At most, it should not be glorified and ought to be looked at as a grim duty. Good men ought to be troubled by the taking of human life regardless of how justified it was (and only a simple-minded misanthrope such as Kyle would even posit in polite company that every single one of his 160 confirmed or 255 alleged kills were absolutely justified). If war is an incurable condition of Mankind placed there by God, then it's horrible for a reason, The death, decay, destruction, plague and poverty that comes in its wake serves as an ongoing, albeit unlearned, object lesson that these ought to be deterrents to doing this to our fellow human beings.
         But even more despicable than monsters such as Kyle who use a wrongheaded and corporately-driven military action such as Iraq as an excuse to release his own racist demons to kill the very people the Bush administration piously swore for six years to be protecting are the people who are jumping on the Kyle bandwagon. The people who are misinterpreting Michael Moore's original tweet as him calling snipers "cowardly" are themselves resorting to hateful insults and death threats from the safe anonymity of their Twitter and Disqus accounts.
         Despite the fruit salad he may have worn on his Navy uniform, Chris Kyle was the very definition of an idol with feet of clay. And those who are threatening his critics with rape and murder only further dishonor a man who already has a blood-spattered legacy as well as the innocent Iraqis that Kyle glorified in victimizing. As with Sarah Palin and so many other right wing idols with feet of clay, in Kyle they've found someone who mirrors and validates their own irrational, misguided and ignorant hatred and racism.

    Friday, January 16, 2015

    The News at a Furtive Glance: Birthday edition

         Well, the book's final line edit is proceeding faster than originally hoped and, since I'm a little old for birthday hooliganism (I would've had a cake with candles but I couldn't get permission from the state fire marshal), that means I can take a day off from the book and devote a little time for some half-assed blogging. ( Not so subtle hint: If you can spare a few bucks for the kitty, please be advised getting birthday money's something I've never completely outgrown.)
         Spanning the globe, giving you a constant variety of foaming-at-the-mouth, hind leg-chewing wingnuttery. This is WBTP's Wide World of Assclowns.

    "Gravity?! That's a lib'ral myth! Push them off the edge of the earth!"    
         Ted Cruz, a science-denying, two year, first term senator, the chairman of an important senate Science subcommittee that oversees NASA? That's kind of like making Vladimir Putin the head of NATO. Or Sarah Palin the Director of PETA. Or Ted Nugent the head of Code Pink. Or... Well, you get the message. It'll be real interesting to see how Cruz slashes NASA's budget while pledging to "explore space, and more of it."

         In other news, professional token black Republican Ben Carson recently compared the Founding Fathers to ISIS terrorists. But it's worse than you think. He wasn't trashing Washington, Adams and Jefferson but praising ISIS, claiming the architects of our Republic were willing to die for their beliefs just like ISIS. Considering how paranoid the GOP has been about ISIS, it'll be real interesting to see how they square that with Dr. Uncle Tom's comments praising them.

        Speaking of Ben Carson's favorite terrorist organization... Four months after declaring his "time had come and gone" and that he wouldn't seek a third run for the Oval Office, Mittens has, predictably, flip-flopped and decided maybe since the black guy can't kick his lily white ass anymore, maybe 2016 would be a good time to run again. Hearing this, a Romney aide, Dick Williamson declared that if Romney were elected in 2012, we wouldn't have to worry about ISIS (You know, just like, under Bush, we didn't have to worry about al Qaeda or under Reagan we didn't have to worry about Hezbollah killing our Marines by the hundreds). Sure, Dick. Maybe if Romney was president, ISIS would've ceased to exist when Mittens outsourced all the bomb-making jobs to Bangladesh or China.

        "How dare you bar me from the country I abandoned to dodge paying taxes?!"
        Yes, Roger Ver, Bitcoin billionaire jailbird and career fraudster is outraged, outraged I tells ya! that he's been barred from entering the country to speak at a Bitcoin conference in Miami. That would be the same United States he fled and whose citizenship he renounced after being told that (gasp!) he'd have to pay income taxes like the Poors. Of course, everyone knows Bitcoin is just a way for billionaires to dodge paying their taxes so it's not surprising this career criminal is doing the same.

         Finally, while I hate linking to Ed Snowden's Boswell, Glenn Greenwald tells us a tale of rank hypocrisy. Just two days after the most sanctimonious pricks on the planet (Obama would've made it but the latest civilian-killing drone strike in Yemen went overtime) decided to hold their arm-linking, Martin Luther King-style march in Paris in support of free speech, French police had arrested a Muslim blogger for a satirical Facebook post. And as if that wasn't bad enough, they've also arrested  at least 53 others. Of course, it's no coincidence that every one of the people arrested for "promoting terrorism" and "antisemitism" are of the Muslim persuasion.
         To paraphrase Dieudonné, "Tonight, as far as I'm concerned, I feel like Winston Smith."
         Of course, to anyone who looks behind the smoke and anti-Muslim rhetoric, the Charlie Hebdo and kosher deli attacks had nothing to do with cartoons and everything to do with false flag operations to get non-radical Muslims on their side after the inevitable anti-Muslim backlash.
         That's it for now, kiddies. And, if you can spare anything for your incipiently prehistoric porcine, please remember the Paypal button at the top right corner or the end of this post.
    PS  There's an exclusive comic strip at Brilliant at Breakfast.

    Monday, January 12, 2015

    Throwing in the Terrible Towel

         I apologize first and foremost to my protagonist Scott Carson.
         He's a nice kid, if a social maladroit. He's the guy who killed Jack the Ripper and, while being the official cinematographer for Buffalo Bill Cody, invented moving pictures. And, since he's the narrator for my novel, Tatterdemalion, I've made him my scapegoat for not posting regularly since late last year. So, Scottie boy, I'm sorry. You deserve better.
         Sure, this book's kicking my ass. I'm in the middle of the fourth (and, hopefully, last) line edit that (again, hopefully) will make it acceptable to a resubmission to a top literary agency that was horrified by its original quarter million word count. I won't lie to you whether you've tried to write and revise a historical epic or not: It's a daunting task, to micromanage every fucking page, paragraph, line and word, making sure no word gets a free ride by not pulling its weight, adhering to the laws of physics and human psychology, sticking close to historical fact (in this case, the Jack the Ripper murders as well as the political and social conditions of the 1888 East End). I wouldn't wish something like this on my worst enemy.
         But it's not the sole reason I haven't been around very often. And, as much of a drudge as this book is after living with it for going on two and a half years (the prologue and first chapter was started in November 2012), I'd still rather be shaving words from it than doing this. But there are some things I'd like to get off my chest as well as explain to what very very few readers this dying blog has as to why I've been MIA since last year.
         And the fact is, I'm old and tired.
         Words on a monitor often belie age. Those deceptive little building blocks of speech, of thoughts and feelings rarely if ever convey just how old a person really is. But I'm going to be 56 this Friday. As much as I should be grateful for living so long when one considers the alternative, I'm feeling every nanosecond those 56 years. Save for when I get up unforgivably late, I can hardly get through a day without taking a nap. There doesn't seem to be as many hours in the day anymore as there used to be and energy is scarcer. Stairs are steeper, headlights on the road are brighter than they used to be and newsprint seems more smudged than ever.
         But most of all, after nearly 10 years of doing this shit, I think I've finally hit that final wall.
         I know, those of you who have stuck with me since the beginning or close to it have heard it all before. I've made no bones about the fact that political blogging's a filthy, thankless job. I'd even deleted my first two blogs in a fit of pique, as a way of saving myself through drastic action like that poor bastard who had to cut off his own hand with a pocket knife to escape certain death.
         But I keep putting myself right there between that rock and hard place. Something else, as I'd said before, kept dragging me back in.
         Yet the outrage isn't there anymore. That outrage, that hatred for Republicans, Bible bangers and other assorted right wing nut job fascists just isn't there. Now nothing, it seems, can rouse me from my slumber. It's like Quasimodo looking over his shoulder and seeing the hump that identified him now suddenly gone. I don't blog anymore and I even stay away from Twitter for whole days at a time because it, too, is a worthless celebrity-driven time suck that, like here, is guaranteed I go ignored.
         "Oh, look, I haven't blogged in over a week. Fancy that."
         And usually, I have a formula when I blog at length about something. I research and source, even double source, find some catchy lead in (or what we writers call a "hook") in which I propose the problem, then progress until I get to a revelatory if not shocking peroration. End of story.
         I've done that countless thousands of times, spilled by my estimate two and a half to three million words in this mug's game we call blogging, this most perishable of mediums. And I don't care to do it anymore. Consider this an unformed brain stew, sloppily ladled out as if by the hand of a tired or disinterested soup kitchen volunteer.
        And another fact is, we're all in a rut. Only some of us don't realize it, like newly liberated spirits who don't yet know as they walk away from a fatal car wreck that they're dead. But, really, guys, we're just repeating ourselves at this point. The more deluded of us like to think we're making some fucking lick of difference in the world and even fool ourselves into thinking we're brilliant while doing it. But we're just treading over old ground, doing the same schtick. The only difference is the combinations of words we use. But when all is said and done, we're just plagiarizing ourselves.
         And that's how I feel: as if I've just emerged from the world's longest pissing match, or letting loose with the longest wine fart of all time in a high wind. Ten years, a decade I've been doing this shit and this country has gotten worse and worse. And in all these years we've all been shouting down empty wells, the Republicans still took control of the legislative branch because you no longer care any more than I do. The police are murdering unarmed black people and mentally disturbed people and are getting away with it with such a high level of impunity, the police think they're even above criticism, let alone accountability.
         Fascists in religion, business, politics and elsewhere are dragging down our planet to the point where the only realistic hopes for salvation are either a Texas-sized asteroid smacking the earth a la Bruce Willis or the aliens finally having their fill of this shit and coming down from the clouds and taking over since we humans are so badly suited for stewardship of anything more significant than a pile of dog shit.
         This is not the United States I remember, folks. When I was growing up, you never needed to sit through 4 or 5 interviews for even a shitty job, you never had to pass a credit background check to even get those pre-interviews. And when you called 911, you got help, not shot because you looked a little threatening to some skinhead fresh out of the academy. If you showed up for work and did a good job, you'd be there for life if you wished. Your job didn't get outsourced so your company could make a bigger killing and having armed security balefully glaring at you while your corporate scum boss announces from a safe distance that your position is being outsourced to the Philippines or Bangladesh so the company could "stay competitive" after a quarter in which it posted record profits.
         There used to be a compact between ownership and labor and unions meant something like living wages, collective bargaining, an actual voice in the negotiating process. Police would be a part of every community, not apart from it, where they served us, the public, and not merely corporations who call them on you when you, too, look a little bit threatening. Instead, police have become little better than open terrorist sleeper cells in every town and city that, like the real thing, strike and explode when we least expect it.
         This country sucks, people. We have nice little toys to keep us amused but not the opportunity to actually make them or afford them. And those among us who like to think of ourselves as progressive and enlightened make the convenient excuse that we've been robbed. We've come to think things like jobs, interest-bearing accounts, pensions, 401(k)s, all sorts of things our parents and grandparents took for granted were stolen from us.
         But that's a lie. No corporation, no political party, no entity ever stole anything from anyone.
         There's a huge world of difference between someone actually stealing something from you and you giving it up.
         Can it really be said a misanthrope actually steals that candy from a baby? No, because the child is not strong enough to hang on to that candy and to fight for it.
         We are.
         And no corporation, no political party, no police department, nothing has power without the consent of the people. And consent is a two-edged sword. We can give informed consent such as when we vote for our elected officials and we can consent to have our God-given, inalienable rights stripped from us as when we allowed Congress and the Bush White House to take away our Constitution through the USA PATRIOT Act, an abominable act of deception and loathing for democracy that still has not been stricken from the books by the current occupant of the White House.
         Constitutional rights? Nearly a year and a half after submitting my first application, I STILL can't even get fucking ObamaCare.
         In short, I've shouted down a dry, empty well for nigh unto 10 fucking years when I could've poured those 3 million words into lasting works of fiction, to me where the action's really at.
         Because if 320,000,000 people don't give a shit, why should I? If you can't lick 'em, or wake 'em up, join 'em.
         And there's no reason for me to do this anymore. Save for one ruthlessly obsessive bot from Google, I wouldn't even get 100 hits a day. Our last major benefactor is retiring in April (you know who you are), the second in as many years, and that'll leave us high and dry so it's not as if the money makes it worth it. 2015 looks as if it'll be our worst year, yet. Our landlord is actively trying to sell the house and he's trotting buyers into our home literally every few days. Once he passes papers, it'll render null and void any lease we have with him and without a lease we'll be tenants at will with no protection other than 30 days to get out if they decide they don't want us here.
         And we'll have no job, no money and nowhere to go.
         Which brings me back to young Scott Carson and his memoir of how he killed Jack the Ripper with Buffalo Bill's posse. I'm looking at this as if it's my last chance at some kind of redemption, my final chance to put myself on the map. I'm going on 56 and I'm no longer young enough to shrug off putting two and a half years into a single book. I'm looking at this as my last chance of solvency since it's looking all but certain I'll never hold another 9-5 job or a job at any hours for the rest of my life.
         So I'm putting my nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel, yada yada and looking out for me and my own. I have a spoiled dependent cat and a disabled girlfriend I've pledged to take care of no matter what. And that's the tragedy. I can no longer provide even commentary much less any meaningful help to anyone else.
         In other words, the world is forcing me to live my life exactly the way Ayn Rand would want me to.

    Monday, January 5, 2015

    The 114th Congress is Now in Session

         This is what you get when you don't vote, you lazy assholes.

    KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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