Howard Beale Commemorative

Remember the film Network? Faye Dunaway, Robert Duval…and Peter Finch, who received his Academy Award posthumously…for portraying the news anchor Howard Beale. Well, people, it’s time to throw open your windows and scream (at the top of your lungs) I’m mad as hell and I’m fucking not gonna put up with Donald Trump’s shit anymore.

But, as we know, that isn’t going to happen. Is it? Yeah, I thought not.

Instead of raging, foaming at the mouth crowds leaning out the windows of homes, apartments and towering tenements across the nation, we’re mousey dipshits who tap timorously at the door of the McMansion across the way. The big, solid steel door swings open and a towering manqué athlete glares down at us, his immense belly shaking like a giant blob of Jello before he growls What the fuck do you want, weasel? At this point in the scenario we shiver and whisper through trembling lips, “Please, sir, you’ve raped my wife and my daughter, you’ve shotgunned my poor cat, you’ve poisoned the wild birds I enjoyed feeding…and I’m moderately disturbed at what you’ve done to all that I care about in this world.”

Reddened eyes blazing, the monster snarls What the fuck do you think you’re gonna about it before I shit on your forehead…bigly…

“Well, sir, my young sister is visiting and I wondered if you might like to meet her? She’s still a virgin.”

That’s where we are, isn’t it? “Red line to cross” my ass. It’s a brown line between his butt cheeks and we’re inundated in what crosses that line at frequent intervals.

Temporarily Down for Maintenance…

Four years ago I was Temporarily Down for Maintenance, sprawled on the wooden floor of my computer room, gasping for breath, hoping for a quick reboot to recover from what ailed me. Well, that’s what my significant other tells me. I don’t know; my memory of that particular day–the entire day and a few other days on each side of it–vanished somewhere. My personal disc drive was jiggled at the wrong time. That particular sector was corrupted, the data is unable to be recovered. No matter, I suspect she (my S.O.) is telling me the truth about what happened to me. I’ve examined my medical records, paperwork that says I went Code Blue shortly after the Paramedics arrived at our house.

My recollection, all of it, is blank from a day or so before I hit the floor up the the point when I came to in a hospital bed in Tucson. That’s when my memory recorder kicked back into gear.The precise moment was early in the morning. I was hooked up to a bunch of wires and tubes; machines with blinking lights were glowing balefully all around me. I struggled to get out of bed, managed to get on my feet on the floor…I wrote about that experience on a separate page of this web log that covers heart attack, operation and my first year after having CABG X3…

Anyway I jot down a few words on my anniversary date each year, kinda keeping up with what happened the past twelve months.

I’m fine, still walking five to seven miles most days, lifting weights, saying the wrong thing at the most inopportune moment, getting older but not wiser. That’s me.

Hmmmm. However…

My country is in much worse condition than I am.

This nation is in dire need of some sort of recovery procedure; maybe that applies to the entire world. After all, England shot itself in the pocketbook by voting to leave the European Union. North Korea is a major threat to the planet. Vladimar Putin dreams of world domination. So does Silvio Burlusconi (if he’s still alive). Here in the US of A, a madman has been elected Preszidunt. He’s brought an entire gaggle of maniacs into government along with elevating others who were lingering under rocks awaiting their opportunity to wreak havoc. Meanwhile, fires are raging along the west coast, burning California to the ground. Floods washed away major parts of the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas. Temperatures as rising (when the mercury isn’t perversely dropping out the bottom of the gauge).

Storms are increasing in violence at what seems to be an exponential rate.

These conditions, difficult as they are, might be patched up much as I was though I was prostrate at the door of whatever comes next. (No, gentle reader, I didn’t hear angels singing, see bright lights or smell brimstone…)

Unfortunately, we in the US (along with many other equally misfortunate lands) have a government that denies the existence of a problem. Imagine if my housemate, my significant other, would have prodded me with her foot and said, “Lazy bastard, get up. I’ll check on you later, see if you’ve come to your senses.” Or maybe the paramedics might have just shrugged. “He’s fine,” one of them might have said. “Just resting,” grunted the other before they left.

That’s what we’re doing in this country.

We’re Temporarily Down for Maintenance. Hopefully it’s just a passing phase, like computers and code blue heart attack victims go through.

Check back later.

If there is a later, later.

Has Anybody Noticed?

Uh…has anybody noticed…seriously…that the new U.S. Attorney General closely resembles a famous media character from past years? Face is the same. Ears stick out like taxi doors. Strings are attached to the arms, legs, and so on…and well…they’re manipulated from behind the scenes by the puppeteer.

Is the head of the AG made of the same material as that of the famous puppet of days yore? It’s certainly possible.

Is the puppet similar in any other ways? Like…no heart? No brain? No blood flowing through the veins? No veins, for that matter. Once again, it’s certainly possible.

Are the words that purportedly flow from the puppet’s mouth created from within the little wooden figurine or do they emanate from outside, thrown from the mouth of a ventriloquist?

Yeah, folks, today’s Howdy is a vestige of the past that’s being resurrected by the magic of modern media. The original Howdy wasn’t real, not really. He was just a carved doll dressed up in a cowboy suit. He never existed as a living, breathing human being. That’s another similarity between the original and the new Howdy. The old Howdy was the personification of an outside world that didn’t exist. So’s the new one.

Back when Howdy was on the tiny tube, women knew enough to keep their mouth shut or men would shut it for them. Women knew who was the boss. If the boss wanted to grab them between the legs…it was OK. Unpleasant, maybe, but OK. After all, groping the women was the boss’s prerogative. Hmmmm. Another similarity.

That’s the world our Attorney General represents, a world that never existed other than as a fantasy. Who, I wonder, might be pulling his strings and putting words into his wooden mouth?

I wonder. I wonder.

A “Good” Government Shutdown!

The current soi disant President of the US is quoted as saying, “We need a good shutdown,” referring, of course, to a closure of most US government offices and downtime for most US government employees.

Isn’t this an oxymoron? Is there such a beast as a good government shutdown? Yes, I understand that the fatman in DC will soon pucker his lips in his inimitable simulation of fellatio and chide the press for not understanding sly sarcasm. Is what he writes at 4AM on Twitter really a form of sarcasm?

I don’t think so. Neither does my cat. (I refer to said feline because our opinions are of roughly equal importance.)  However, going along with the concept of a good government shutdown, let’s examine other occurances we might need.

What about a Good Nuclear War? Certainly our relationship with the other crazy fat man…the one in North Korea…makes this a possibility at same point in the reasonably near future.

Consider postulating, “my wife needs a…good beating?” Hmmm? Or even, “I need a good beating?” Likely there are people who would agree with the latter suggestion, including some readers of this drivel.

What we need is a good earthquake. Surely the PotoS in DC (Yeah, it’s correct. Pot of Shit.) believes folks on the left coast deserve a massive quiver in the faultline culminating in a slide into the Pacific.

What our nation needs is a good impeachment and conviction. Hopefully that event will occur before the nuclear war or even the government shutdown.

Add Lip Gloss and Electoral Votes to a Cochina…Yeah…Still the Same…

Thought for the New Year: Add lip gloss to a cochina, provide it with a sufficient number of Electoral College votes to be ordained in high office…and underneath the makeup one discovers…yeah…same old, same old.

My apologies to Associated Press for purloining the above image then modifying it. Further apologies to the genus Sus and the many even-toed ungulates within the Suidae family for comparing their habits to the creature depicted in the above image.

Political Life with Filters Removed

Carl Paladino, Donald Trump’s New York State Presidential Campaign Co-Chair, has provided us with one more indelible image of political communication with all filters removed. Read about it here. So, one more old, ugly, obnoxious, overweight white male has vomited his hatred onto the national stage then grinned at the stinking mess he created. Did Paladino always think this way? Likely, but even in the edge of the civilized world environs of Buffalo, NY, (my domestic partner was born and raised in Buffalo, she says my characterization is unfortunetly accurate), Paladino probably limited his desire that Barrack Obama die and Michelle Obama return to being a man to sotto voce comments among his ignorant, overweight, rude and obnoxious, white male companions.

Not any more, folks. Pussy grabbing is in, people. Referring to people by the lowest possible common denominator terms is in. Ignorance is in. Hatred is in.

Maybe it always was but those polite society filters removed our awareness of such reality. Does anyone remember how shocked the nation was to read President Richard Nixon’s vulgar comments captured on a hidden audio system in the Oval Office? Well, neighbors, soon the Oval Orifice will reside in the Oval Office and rude pronouncements will be the order of the day.

Fake News Part II

Fake News stories aren’t accurate. Usually the inaccuracy is intentional, agenda driven distortion. No shit, I can imagine someone murmuring. How long did it take for you to figure that out?

Interestingly enough, these distortions have been with us for many years, varying primarily in the sophistication of their distortion. Fin de siecle (end of the 19th century) newspapers published in New York City by Hearst and Pulitzer were noted both for their extravagant claims and the bright yellow ink splashed across the front page. Yellow ink in a day of black ink, white paper, drew attention to the stories so effectively that the technique was eventually known as Yellow Journalism.

Examples of the genre: news coverage of the sinking of the USS Maine when it was anchored in Havana harbor back in 1898. Blatant charges of Spanish complicity in the explosions of the ship soon resulted in a war between the United States and Spain even though the US Navy itself believed the battleship fell prey to coal dust ignition in the hold. Of course those claims of Spaniards planting a mine of the outside of the ship’s hull had been preceded by many stories concerning mistreatment of the Cubans rising to the level of human rights atrocities.

The US won this little fight, and as a settlement claimed control over both Cuba and the Philippines. Well, our guys  won…so no harm, no foul. Right?

Skip forward a few years. WWI-era US newspapers were rife with vilification of people of Germanic descent, folks who thought socialism might have its merits, delusional union workers who thought the common guy had inalienable rights…the list goes on and on.

Two more modern examples of Yellow Journalism or…Fake News…occurred in Vietnam and Iraq. Lyndon Johnson wanted…really wanted…a war to be waged against the Communists in North Vietnam. Troops, supposedly unarmed and there for humanitarian purposes, had been crossing the Pacific to assist the South Vietnamese government since the time of President Dwight Eisenhower. Under President John Kennedy the flow of men and materiel had increased. A bit of manipulation by Johnson resulted in the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, unfettered flood of soldiers guns, planes and all the other delightful accoutrements of war and…as we know…the collapse of the South Vietnamese nation, loss of more than 50,000 American lives and so on.

Then, we have President George W. Bush and his fixation with Iraq, massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and, of course, another war. The US media was complicit by adding its own weapons of mass distraction so that we were mired in the mess before most people realized that once again we, the people of the US, had been bamboozled.

All of this Fake News, this Yellow Journalism, is old news. Men with an agenda, especially men with power and money, win out over the best intentions of honest legislators and forthright journalism every fucking time.

Winston Smith, the protagonist of George Orwell’s1984–the guidebook of the twenty-first century–is alive and in deep shit. Big Brother, antagonist of Orwell’s book, has just been elected President of the United States and Breitbart News, now reborn as the Ministry of Truth, has provided a slovenly advisor to the about to be crowned fat man in the White House.

In Fake News Part III we’ll examine the state of truth and honesty in journalism and why the paradigm of words meaning whatever people of power say they mean at the moment has arrived. Bigly…

Fake News – Part I

I’ve been seeing, encountering, reading more articles about…Fake News. Fake News? Yeah, the shit stories spread by minions of Donald Strumpet’s BFF Vlad Putin. Lies written by guys and girls working in alt.right dark environs like bugs under piles of feces and comments posted at the end of legitimate stories by paid shills for the creeps who are destroying our nation.

Note: Fake news as I understand the term excludes errors, misconceptions and poor research so endemic to newspapers and magazines. I should probably exclude radio, television and Internet writings from consideration as sources of fake news as these three categories predominently consist of erroneous material. Remove the fake news from radio, TV and the Internet and there would be no news at all.

The fake news so decried recently is merely our current iteration of fake news. In reality–if there is such a condition as reality–fake news might well have begun before there was real news.

David Brinkley–he of Huntly and Brinkley on NBC TV for those who aren’t old enough to remember the guy–was the speaker at an RTNDA convention (Radio Television News Directors’ Association). Brinkley noted, “The problem with TV News is it presents no news with the same emphasis that it presents news,” or words to that effect. I’m not quoting from an archive story, this is what I remember him saying, more or less.

He was right. I was a television journalist back in the 70s and when our small operation (WDTB-TV, Channel 13, an NBC affiliate at the time) in the panhandle of Florida had no real news stories, we presented whatever we could find. After all, we had to fill thirty minutes with something. OK, not really 30 minutes, since we had 6 minutes of commercials, 4 minutes of weather presentation, between 6 minutes of sports, another minute involved in intros, outros and segues, leaving us with between 12 and 14 minutes to shovel full of news or something that purported to be new. This sometimes included a local lede that was not really a lede (or lead, if that’s how you prefer the spelling). “City fathers announce funding for a new stop light at the corner of main and 7th…” uttered with urgency and backed by a chromakey slide of a stop light.

Part of a small market operation (larger markets, too) involved keeping a few video segments on hand that could be used to keep from having one of our female staff performing a strip on camera (thanks, Donald, for the suggestion…Megyn…que up David Rose…) while we searched for something to read. Where did those fillers come from? They magically appeared in the mail, sent to us from politicians, corporations, public relations companies, and so on, who knew the need for a well-produced segment to keep the system from toppling into the sounds of silence or a moment of the ever ready “We’re currently encountering technical difficulties” slide.

Did we vet the mail-in material? Sometimes. Maybe. Reels of two inch video were usually accompanied by a print read of the script. Maybe someone in news would read the shit. Other over-the-transom submissions were 16mm film, often with an optical sound track, sometimes with a magnetic track of single-system sound, occasionally with a separate script we could read.

Fake news, people.

All this nonsense with filler was worse when considering print journalism. Thousands of trees, maybe even millions, lost the lives to be pulped into pages of crap that appeared in newspapers without a cavaet concerning the source. If there was sufficient time available, the shit might have been rewritten or at least edited. Often it appeared with no more than a cursory jab with a pencil, a line or three deleted as too blatent to print…or maybe not even that. Images–yeah, black and white glossy prints which could be sized and tossed in to fill two or three, maybe even four columns wide by a proportionate number of inches deep with screened nothingness. Wonderful stuff to have when the advertising department came in with several inches of classifieds causing the paper to expand by two or four pages.

Some of this filler was submitted by political groups, people with an agenda other than just selling a product. Some–maybe even much–of it was ugly, material that shouldn’t have appeared in print because it was never vetted, questionable in value or occasionally even blatantly false.

Sounds much like what we encounter today, doesn’t it? Where did the term Yellow Journalism originate? Sure, with the color of the paper…but the moniker really referred to the content, the agenda-driven material that sucked readers into an emotional maelstorm of nonsense. Example: Remember the Maine? I don’t and I’m relatively old so I doubt you do either. Stories about the USS Maine’s destruction in Havana harbor led directly to a confrontation with Spain and the ensuing war. The perfidious Spaniards planted a fucking bomb in the innards of the ship and caused it to explode, destroying not just the ship but several hundred lives…at least according to the stories printed in newspapers from coast to coast of the United States.

False news, as it turned out to be. Likely culprit for the explosion was coal dust in the bin in the heart of the USS Maine. Oh, well. Tooo late.

In Part II of False News, we’ll look at stories which incited wars, destroyed nations and cost vast amounts of money and human lives. Part III of False News will move into the modern day lies of the Internet.


Too Sad to Consider

It’s been several months since I added more ramblings, flatulence or blather. Watching, however obliquely, what has passed for a political campaign…was too sad for me to consider. Two incontrovertable truths: Hillary Clinton is the waddling epitome of everything I believe is wrong with the Democratic Party. Donald Trump is the waddling, groping, whining, snarling epitome of everything I believe is wrong with humankind.

People, this election cycle was not a choice; it was a threat. I repeated almost endlessly during the past few months that I had no idea who would win the 2016 US presidential election but I had no doubt who the loser would be. Us. To trot out one of my favorite (slightly paraphrased, no offense to Walt Kelly) observations, We have met the loser and he is us.

It’s still much too soon–and much too painful, particularly seeing the absolute morons who will surround sTrumpet in Washington–to add anything. I’ve sworn off reading media for the time being as part of my mental health program.

So, as Sister Placebo–my favorite clergyperson–said after a few months of not bathing or washing her clothing, “Just to please the Lord I’ll change my habits…”

A Viable Alternate to Trump’s Wall

Donald Trump, the Grand Old Party’s 2016 Presidential nominee, steadfastly defends his determination to build a wall between the US and Mexico…but wait, people…there IS a viable alternative to consider. No, not a nuclear device nor a laser eradicator tuned to the frequency of people from south of the border, though Trump would likely consider such a suggestion.


First, lets do a quick examination of the putative wall. Yeah, that’s a map of the southern border between the US and Mexico. Land mileage–after all, the wall will be built on the ground, is somewhere between 1300 and 1500 miles, give or take a few measly thousand feet here ‘n there. Look closely at the lower right hand corner of Arizona. There’s a little town called Naco shown on both sides of the border line. Why both sides? ‘Cause Naco is a pimple on a horny toads ass plopped right on the border extending across on both sides.

I live about six miles north of Naco, Arizona. I’ve walked every street in Naco, Arizona, with a handheld GPS. You paid me to do it, too. (I did geo mapping for the 2010 US Census, one of my assignments was Naco.) I know this country along the southern border of the US. I’ve hiked, bicycled, motorcycled, driven cars and flown an airplane along probably every dry, dusty and usually deserted mile of the border between San Diego, California, and Brownsville, Texas.

People, this is not flatland just waiting for a backhoe to dig a trench. Mountains, valleys, billions of rocks…and an amazing amount of flora and fauna to be destroyed whilst digging and blowing up the border, not that any of that would bother The Donald.

How much would this fantasy cost (just in construction dollars, not ancillary damage to the environment)? Guesses have ranged from a few hundred billion dollars to well over a trillion, not to include the cost of on-going maintenance and surveillance to keep intruders from blowing up, knocking down or crawling over the wall.

What about an alternative? Should the two-headed hydra known as Hillary and Billary suggest it or will they leave the idea up to The Donald and his partner, the Que-Tip Batboy, Pants Pence?

What about single-payer, covers every US Citizen from birth to death: Universal Health Care? Hmmm? Would health care cost more than the great wall of the west? If the rest of the industrialized west is an indication, no it wouldn’t.

OK, people. Which one would you prefer?