At Retirement, Looking Back on a Career in Academia (posted on 5/13/22)

Today, on my last official day as a professor, I’d like to share a few reflections on work and career.

First, thanks for all of the good wishes on my retirement, which I wrote about on Monday.  As many of you guessed, given my politics and my snarky disposition, it has been a challenge to make through three decades as a prof in a university liberal arts department! 

I’ve been biting my tongue at work for a long, long time – which is why I am not exaggerating when I’ve talked about what a joy it has been to write for CO and this site.  It’s been cathartic, even as it’s carried with it more than a little uneasiness about the chance that some of my colleagues might find out about my columns here.  (My saving grace might have been that there’s an apparently impressive British guitarist named Martin Simpson, and if you google that name, he’s the one who’s going to pop up first.)

Having said that, I have loved my time with most of my co-workers.  They are a useful reminder to me that as much as the leftist elite in our country seem like reprehensible people with terrible politics, that’s not the case with everyone on the left by any means.  My department is full of friendly and generous people, and it has been a pleasure knowing them.

One quick example: in the fall term of 2014, when my dad was dying of cancer in TN, I was teaching a course in Writing in the Law.  During the last month of that course, the students in each class were put in teams, and they debated a specific case.  The best of those teams would then debate against the best teams from other sections of that course, with law school faculty judging the competition.

I got the news in late October that dad had just a couple of months to live.  I had been driving back and forth from FL to TN to spend time with him each week for most of that semester, but I decided then that I was going to TN to spend those last few months with him.  I went to my Director’s office prepared for a confrontation, and ready to quit my job if I had to.

But he was nothing but gracious.  One of my other colleagues stepped up to take over my class, and coach my students through the debate part of the course, while I was able to stay with mom and dad – Cassie the Wonder Dog went with me, of course, for moral support – and grade my papers from up there.  I don’t think many workplaces would make that kind of accommodation to a co-worker, and I’ll never forget it. 

So whenever I’m writing about some reprobate like Joey Gaffes or Que Mala or the Deerskin-Dress Demagogue Grandma Squanto (#wemustneverstopmockingher), and feel my heart hardening against all leftists and their ideology… I think of my kind, thoughtful, lefty colleagues.   They are a useful reminder that there is more to life than politics, and people of good will can get along despite political differences, if they’re willing.  (I know: that last part is key.) 

One other valuable aspect of my professional life has been the chance to experience both blue collar and white-collar life.

My mom was one of 4 kids and my dad one of 8, and none of them went to college; everybody had blue collar jobs.  I spent most of my 20s getting a BA, MA and PhD in English, a field in which job prospects weren’t great.  By my mid-30s, I had cobbled together some college teaching gigs, but without a pension or a very high salary, I realized that I needed to do something to prepare financially for retirement.

So I bought two rental houses in several years, and then two more a decade later.  They were all in rough shape and needed work, and dad happily came down to teach me all of the stuff I’d been uninterested in when I was a teenager with my head in a book all the time.  Now, 25 years later, we’ve got three old rental houses (including Rosewood, the burned Victorian that I’m hoping to be able to restore and keep), and I’ve spent decades with two distinct circles of friends: blue-collar family and tradesmen who have helped me with my rentals, and white-collar university faculty. 

I’m glad to have been both a professor and a landlord, for several reasons.  First, because mixing physical with intellectual work has felt like the best of both worlds.  I’ve always loved reading and writing, and it’s been a joy to teach great lit, to be able to communicate some of that greatness to those students who were receptive, and to help those who were ambitious to become better writers.  

On the other hand, academic politics have become more and more stultifying and intolerant, I’m allergic to meetings, and the results of the work can often feel like casting seed on rocky soil.  Spending three hours grading produces nothing tangible.  And in the last 10 years or so, political correctness and intolerant woke-ness have made it tougher to have the kind of lively, thought-provoking debates and discussions that were a significant perk of intellectual life.

By contrast, home renovation and repair can be very challenging and satisfying, not least because the results are tangible.  Doing demo is therapeutic, and there’s pride to be earned by learning skills from various trades.  Spending 3 hours hanging sheetrock or painting produces obvious, dramatic progress.

And renovation and property management engage the mind at least as much as teaching does.  Solving layout or repair problems takes creativity; evaluating various properties and estimating ROI on potential purchase or renovations involves risk, along with the possibility of gratifying rewards.

On the other hand, doing only dirty, physical work – full-time, 50 weeks a year for decades – would drive me crazy.  There’s nothing like getting clogged toilet calls or doing roof repairs in a steamy summer to make you appreciate reading great books in an air-conditioned office and having people call you “Dr. Simpson.”

And yet, there’s nothing like a semester trying to teach Shakespeare to kids who complain that he’s a dead, white male with a patriarchal, capitalist bias to make you want to put on some work clothes and a tool belt, and knock down some lathe and plaster with a small sledge and a crowbar.

Ultimately, working in such different environments has kept me from retreating into a bubble with other like-minded people, which is a strong temptation for those in high-status jobs in politics, business and academia.   It’s given me an appreciation and understanding of different kinds of work, and differing classes of people.  And while I really admire some of the very intelligent scholars I’ve met, doing focused, diligent work in their fields, I’m looking forward to retirement partly because I feel more at home working on houses with my blue-collar friends.

Now more than ever, I find myself agreeing with William F. Buckley’s famous quote that goes something like, “I’d rather be governed by 300 people drawn from the Boston telephone directory than by the faculty of Harvard University.”  

As much as I’ve enjoyed my time in academia, it’s felt less and less like a natural home to me.   I know that blue collar people can be too dismissive of “intellectuals,” believing that they have no common sense, and are too concerned with theories at the expense of reality.

But I think a lot more damage is done by intellectuals and other elites who look down on regular people.  And when you combine the perks of a high-status academic job with the utopian and quasi-totalitarian aspects of leftist politics – they generally believe they know better than the masses how those masses should live – what results is not often pretty.

That’s why it has been so gratifying to participate in the Cautious Optimism website: it feels like the best of both worlds.  Writing these columns involves engaging in discussions among some very smart people on some very high-falutin’ subjects… combined with the chance to mock some people and ideas that richly deserve it, often with some satisfyingly juvenile humor mixed in.

Now that my professor days are behind me, I’m looking forward to doing more writing here on the CO site — I’m hoping to start writing two columns per week, on Fridays and Mondays – and maybe even experimenting with some podcasting. 

Thank you all for reading, and I’ll be back on Monday with a look at some of the hysterical lefty commentary on the potential reversal of Roe v. Wade, along with whatever trouble Joey Gaffes manages to get himself into over the weekend.

A Career Change, + the Left Reacts to Roe (posted 5/9/22)

First, I didn’t get the chance to respond to the comments on my Friday column, so I’ll do so here: you people are great!  

When I go to the comment threads on most internet sites – which I try not to do very often — the results inevitably veer between laughable, depressing and horrifying, with lots of mouth-breathing ad hominem attacks, vulgarity and inanity.

But the community that CO has created here feels like an antidote to all of that.  On Friday, the comments ranged from long and thoughtful (from Ellisa Mitchell, Bill Willcox, Jamie Galioto, Damian Cullinane and others) to pithy and witty. 

Alan Paterson pointed out the irony of the bitter sourpusses from the View being named “Joy” and “Sunny,” and Lloyd Wilkinson summed up my main point better than I could: “We may not be perfect, but the other side is insane!”

People here consistently reveal glimpses of their eclectic backgrounds and differing opinions, but with an obvious undercurrent of good will and good cheer — though the latter is sometimes understandably dampened by current events.  And I cannot say often enough what a pleasure it is to read this site, and to write for you all, and to engage in enlightening, virtual conversations with so many good souls!

Having said that, I’m hoping to be writing here more often.  Because at the end of this week, I’m retiring from my day job! 

I’ve been an English professor for 30 years, but last week I turned in grades for the last time, and I’m looking to the next phase of my life with great anticipation.  I’ll be writing more about this soon, but for now I’ll just say that I feel lucky to have finished my career without receiving any professional blowback that I anticipated if any of my colleagues had discovered my politically incorrect ramblings at this site! 

On yet another personal note, I’m still waiting to hear back from my insurer and a contractor about our Victorian house (Rosewood) that partially burned last month.   I think I’ll hear this week — though I’d thought the same about last week! – and will share more when I know it.

In the meantime, I’ve posted another picture of Rosewood on my site, Martinsimpsonwriting.com.  This one is of the scorched underside of the roof, shot from beneath where the second-floor ceiling had been, before it was destroyed.  As you might guess, the roof is going to have to come off and be replaced, if we can keep the house!

But enough about heartbreaking, fiery destruction – let’s talk about the left’s weekend reaction Alito’s leaked Roe v Wade draft.

Um, let me re-phrase that: let’s talk about MORE heartbreaking, fiery destruction… of cherished American institutions, behavioral norms, and also a Madison, WI pro-life headquarters. 

Yes, our leftist friends have shown their usual restraint when things don’t go their way. 

By which I mean that they spent the weekend screaming at non-violent pro-lifers, vandalizing churches, and engaging in street theater that involved spittle, frightening hair, terrifying facial piercings, and doing unspeakable things to dolls that represented babies.

Oh, and they also tried to burn down a storefront pro-life HQ in Wisconsin.  Thankfully, they apparently couldn’t find anyone who could properly operate a Molotov cocktail.

Which is a bottle full of flammable liquid, with a cloth fuse stuck into it.     

That’s it.  If there were an instruction manual, it would have two steps:  1. Light the fuse.  2. Throw the bottle.

Illiterate Russian peasants used to successfully burn stuff with these all the time.  But you get a gaggle of Gender Studies majors together, and they are freaking stumped! 

I picture three of them huddled around a strip of cloth, trying to light it with a vape pen.  After 10 minutes, one of them finally tries it with a lighter; the cloth catches fire, and one of them throws it at the building, but it goes 8 inches, drops to the sidewalk, and goes out.

Pro-Abort (PA) 1:  “What went wrong?”         

PA 2: “I don’t know.”

PA 3: “The bottle!”

PA 1: “Oh yeah.”  He rears back and throws a bottle with gas in it at the building, where it shatters. 

They all look at the building, then at each other.

PA 1: “What went wrong?”

PA 2: “The fuse needs to be IN the bottle.”

PA 3: “Right!  Good idea!” 

Ten minutes later, they’ve finally managed to create a Molotov cocktail, and PA 3 lights the fuse while PA 1 holds the bottle.

PA 2 (holding up her cell phone): “Okay, make your speech and then throw it.”

PA 1: “What speech?”

PA 3: “The one we’re going to send to CNN.”

PA 1: “What should I say?”

PA 2: “We talked about this.  A woman should have control over her body—”

PA 3:  “Boo!”

PA 2 (confused): “What?”

PA 3: “Pronouns!  You said ‘her’ body.”

PA 2: “You know what I meant.”  (turning to PA 1) “Do the speech!”

PA 1 (holding the bottle with the lit fuse in front of her):  “We represent Rachel Sent Us, and we—”

PA 3:  “Ruth.”

PA 1: “What?”

PA 3:  “It’s ‘Ruth Sent Us.’”

PA 1: “What did I say?”

PA 3: “You said ‘Rachel’.”

PA 1: “I don’t think so.”  (Sees PA 2 making a frantic circling motion with her hand.)  “Um, okay.  We’re from Ruth, and our pronouns are—” (the bottle bursts into flame)  “AIEEE!”

And, scene.

That’s not necessarily how it actually happened, but a humble roving correspondent can dream. 

As infuriating as it was to watch the brainwashed loons losing it over the last week, I’m glad to see that the elite left is still completely clueless about how bad they look to normal people on this issue.

When the MSM and congressional Dems won’t even condemn the doxing and threatening of judges, they’re losing the mainstream of the nation.

And though I’m usually loathe to speak ill of the dead, Biden has reached new personal lows this week – which I wouldn’t have thought possible!

His angry slurs against “this MAGA crowd,” and his unhinged scare-mongering that the GOP will kick gay kids out of classrooms and forbid interracial marriages are really repulsive.

It’s enough to make me nostalgic for the good old days of a week ago, when Sleepy Joe was beclowning himself at the WH Correspondents’ dinner:  Laughing uproariously at jokes about the terrible inflation he’s unleashed on the nation.  Pawing at his bowtie – which you know a handler had fixed for him back stage, repeatedly slapping his hand away when Brandon kept picking at it – until it was cockeyed, and made him look even more off-kilter than usual.

And the way he mangled the most memorable quote of the last 50 years was pure Biden.  Trying to evoke Reagan’s great line, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” he came up with, “Tear this wall down!”

And then he mumbled a lame Disney joke that made regular voters everywhere remember how much they like Ron DeSantis. 

Keep it up, Joe.  Keep giving speeches.

Tell us how Lincoln said, “Four years ago, I scored!” and how Patrick Henry said, “Give me Liberty Mutual, or Death by Chocolate!” and how Obama said, “If you like your doctor, you can keep Joe Plumber!”

It’s been a long 4 years, and it’s only been 66 weeks.

Avenatti/ Literally Anybody Else, 2024!

The Left Loses it over the Leaked Alito Draft (posted 5/6/22)

As a happy warrior in our partisan political skirmishes, I’m very much aware of the moral dangers that come from extreme partisanship.  We all have a tendency to let our political (and other) allegiances cloud our judgment, and tempt us toward pride in our own correctness, and harsh condemnation of the other side’s error . 

So soon after Easter, I’m especially mindful of Uncle Jesus, and his teaching about the logs in our own eyes and the motes in others’ eyes. 

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that I recognize the slippery moral slope of believing that we’re really the good guys, and our political opponents are the real bad guys.

On the other hand, the last several years – and especially the last week – has forced me to make this observation:  Deep down, I think that we’re really the good guys, and our leftist opponents are the real bad guys!

It’s not because of our own great virtue.  We’re all – individually — fallen, and made of the crooked timber of humanity, and all the rest.  And the national GOP is definitely no collective profile in courage or political fortitude, to say the least.

But Man o’ Manischewitz, has the left not lost its marbles and steered straight toward the twin poles of stupid and malicious?

Consider a quick spin through the howling voices on the left during the first 24 hours after the draft of the Roe ruling was leaked, first focusing on the stupid:  

An army of national Democrats and lefty celebrity immediately took to Twitter, making their usual, reasoned arguments:  lots of F-bombs, exclamation marks and all caps screaming that if Roe is overturned, abortion will be illegal in the US.  (In reality, the issue will go back to the states, and leftist states will immediately reinforce their current laws, enshrining the right to abort your kid until the band starts playing Pomp and Circumstance at her 8th grade graduation.)

MSM talking heads screeched that this will be THE END OF DEMOCRACY!  Because when 7 unelected men in robes dictated a new abortion policy for the nation, THAT was democratic.  But when the citizens in all 50 states are allowed to vote on abortion policy, THAT is UN-democratic.  Get it?

Peak Stupid may have been reached on Tuesday, May 3rd on the View, when the Dynamic Duo of Dumb — Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin – proposed the idea of a “sex strike,” which would involve women like them refusing males the benefit of their charms until abortions are ubiquitous as Starbucks.  

They really thought this strategy would work!

There might be a more effective method of birth control than simply contemplating – and I’m shuddering as I write this — having sex with Joy Behar. 

But I can’t think of what that might be.  And I hope to never find out.

Grandma Squanto also got in on the action, throwing several theatrical tantrums in the last several days.  When prompted by a sympathetic reporter, she wagged her finger and stomped her feet and expressed her outrage until she was red in the face.

Which was the first time her skin could ever be described with that particular adjective.   (#wemustneverstopmockingher)

My favorite moment came (you’ll pardon the expression) when CNN trotted out Jeffrey Toobin to pontificate on the issue of abortion.  I know: you’d think that with his PhD in Onanism, abortion would never be a concern of his.

But you’d be wrong.  Because a few years back – and I’m not making this up – the married Toobin (I’m as shocked as you are) had an affair with the much-younger daughter of his CNN colleague Jeff Greenfield.  When she became pregnant, he tried to bully and bribe her into aborting the child. When she had the baby, he denied being the father and had to be forced to take a paternity test, and then pay child support. 

So, yeah.  Let’s definitely wait for that creep to pull his pants up, get some make-up on, and put his earpiece in, so we can listen to his wisdom on abortion!

And of course we can’t forget the Big Guy himself, who went off-script for about 93 seconds, during which he un-did 50 years of leftist propaganda about abortion. 

In the midst of a short — and yet still rambling! – slurred word salad, he inadvertently told a core truth, when he referred to the right “to abort a child.” 

If you listened closely, you could almost hear a nationwide flurry of face-palming and spit-takes by thousands of Planned Parenthood ghouls, soul-less pollsters, MSM spinmeisters and White House spokesweasels.

I picture the entire elite left reacting with the kind of shock that jolted the newsroom in the movie Anchorman, when Will Ferrell unknowingly signed off with a hearty, “Go f*** yourself, San Diego!”

“Child?  Abort a CHILD?!”   

“It’s a ‘tissue mass,’ Joe!  Or a ‘non-viable entity.’  Or a ‘blastula’ or a ‘zygote.’  Or just ‘a woman’s body.’  ANYTHING but a CHILD!’”

But it wasn’t all just stupid; there was plenty of malice, too. 

As soon as the story leaked, leftist protestors started acting thuggishly, as is their perpetual wont.  They physically attacked some cops in L.A. (and went tragically un-shot and un-arrested).  They formed a mob outside the Supreme Court, forcing the capitol police to scramble to put up barriers to try to protect the building.

They threw gasoline on the smoldering fire by encouraging the mentally fragile among them to “take to the streets,” a la Maxine Melting-Face Waters’ infamous call to “get in their faces, and push back on them.”   They published the home addresses of the originalist SC judges, requiring frantic efforts to provide security for them and their families.

In my more charitable moods, I might say that this is a straw man argument, and that we shouldn’t lump all of them in with their lunatic fringe.  But what happens when that “fringe” looks to be a majority of their public figures? 

After all, it’s not like the “mainstream” or “establishment” of their party is condemning the loons among them. 

The White House can’t even bring itself to criticize the unprecedented ethical breach of leaking a draft decision, just as they didn’t condemn the sleazy activists who chased Dem Senator Sinema into a bathroom, or smeared Justice Kavanaugh with laughably false rape charges, or launched bigoted attacks on Justice Coney-Barrett’s Catholicism. 

I hate to say it, but they are acting like very bad people. 

And if, to paraphrase MLK, the arc of the mid-terms bends toward justice, this November will see Roe consigned to the dustbin of history, and the Dems are going to get their Durbins handed to them!   

Avenatti/ Jeffrey ”Hands-on-the-Table” Toobin, 2024!

Reasons to Live in Florida, & Biden is Ineducable (posted 5/2/22)

I’m still awaiting two very important numbers in the continuing saga of whether we’ll be able to restore our beautiful Victorian rental house, Rosewood, which was burned on April 13th.  Those numbers are a bid for the restoration costs, and the amount of insurance money we’ll receive. 

I hope to know more within the next week or so, but in the meantime, I’ve posted another picture from the house, this time of the second downstairs rosewood fireplace mantel.  I think the wood in this one is prettier than the first, except that it doesn’t have the lion’s head tiles lining the firebox. 

If you’re interested, you can see the new pic at Martinsimpsonwriting.com. 

I’ve got a couple of stories to discuss today, and I’d like to start with a local one that I’d file under, “Reasons to Live in Florida.”  It features one of my new favorite public officials, Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson.

A few weeks ago, Johnson reported on a 32-year-old recidivist criminal called Brandon Harris, who was apprehended after going on a burglary spree in the small town of Pace, FL. 

Harris, who recently took second place in a “Stupidest Harris in America” competition – the winner was Que Mala – was out plying his trade, breaking into multiple houses.  (In fact, he may have pulled off a two-fer, since he is also the second stupidest Brandon in America!)

Several homeowners objected, and called the cops, who responded with about 20 officers and some great police dogs.  At least one homeowner took a shot at Harris – tragically, he missed – but the cops and the dogs finally caught up to him in a house on – I kid you not – Tom Sawyer Lane.

All that is a pretty typical crime story.  You can imagine how it would be covered in a big blue city anywhere in the country: poor, disenfranchised victim of society forced into petty theft to feed his family, then cruelly set upon by fascist police.

Inconveniently, Harris is white, so the local media would not be announcing a campaign to build a statue of him in the town square.  But he would still get a lot of sympathy, and the evil guy who shot at him would be looking at some serious jail time.

But not in Santa Rosa County, and not on Bob Johnson’s watch! 

Johnson put up a picture of Harris – dull-witted, shaved head, half a goatee, surly expression – and narrated the day’s events masterfully.  He reported that Harris is a “frequent flyer,” having been first arrested at 13, and then 16 more times before his latest burglary spree.  “We sent him to prison for 6 and a half years for home invasion, and he just can’t seem to get the picture that crime doesn’t pay.” 

So I already like the cut of this guy’s jib.

But then – in what might be the finest paragraph written since Jefferson penned the first paragraph of the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence — Johnson addressed the fact that the identity of the homeowner who shot at Brandon Harris was not known: 

“I guess they think they did something wrong, which they did not.  If someone’s breaking into your house, you’re more than welcome to shoot them in Santa Rosa County.  We prefer that you do, actually.  Whoever that was, you’re not in trouble, come see us.  We have a gun safety class we put on every other Saturday.  If you take that, you’ll shoot a lot better, and hopefully you’ll save the taxpayers money.”     

Good lord!  Let’s bask in those glorious words: If a criminal breaks into your house, you are more than welcome to shoot him!  We prefer it!!  And we’ll help make you a better shot, so you can save the taxpayers some money!!! 

If mere words could give physical pleasure, I’d be the Meg Ryan character at the diner in When Harry Met Sally right now.  Only I wouldn’t be faking it.

God bless you, Bob Johnson! And if I might suggest a counter-part to the satiric closing lines of most of my columns… DeSantis/Johnson 2024!

In other news, I continue to be heartened by Joey Gaffes’ inability to learn from his mistakes, and the corresponding devastation that awaits him and his party in November. 

Recent Exhibit A: Several weeks ago, a judge struck down the federal airplane mask mandate, and immediately videos began appearing of normal people celebrating: cheers, songs, people twirling their masks over their heads like strippers about to toss garments into a crowd of horndogs.

It looked like a scaled down version of VJ Day, and everybody was a sailor looking for a nurse to smooch, or a nurse looking for a sailor. 

Except for the tiny remnant of paranoiac lefty true believers, whom you could recognize by their double-masks, their face shields and their sour expressions.  They sneered at their ebullient fellow citizens as if they were Ilhan Omar at a bar mitzvah, and couldn’t even ululate in outrage.

Any normal politician in Biden’s position would look at that situation and thank God that he’d been given an election-year off-ramp.  Normal people everywhere are sick of the mask-wearing, but Biden’s far-left loony fringe are committed to the face-burka, and would be furious if he bowed to common sense.

And now here is manna from heaven: he can drop the unpopular mandate, and blame it on that judge.  It’s a win-win.

But not Brandon.  He looks at that free helping of delicious chicken salad and says to himself, “I wonder if I can turn this into chicken Schumer?”  And he appeals the judge’s ruling!

This can only end in two ways for him: bad, and worse. 

Bad would be for a ruling to come down several months from now (closer to the election!) upholding the judge, which would only remind everyone that Biden wants to force them into masks, and that he’s on such a losing streak that he couldn’t even accomplish that.

Worse would be for the judge to reinstate the mask mandate, and remind everyone that this fresh hell is brought to you by Joe Biden and the Democrat party.

Recent Exhibit B:  Because the Dems don’t realize that Orwell’s novel 1984 is about them, they decided to create an ominously titled “Disinformation Governance Board,” which evokes echoes of the Ministry of Truth, only even creepier.  Because governing through disinformation is their modus operandi.

Coming on the heels of their “the censors have no clothes” hysteria over Elon Musk buying Twitter and promising to use it to promote freedom of speech, the optics are terrible. 

But there’s one way to make the optics even more terrible: appoint a biased AOC clone – not overly smart, with equally crazy eyes, and less attractive – to run the damn thing. 

Nina Jankowicz has a long backstory full of disqualifying evidence, from wacky singing videos to serious condemnation of true stories (Hunter’s laptop is a Russian false flag!) as disinformation, and lauding of disinformation (Steele’s dossier is accurate!) as true.

Sure, you might say, “Who better to police disinformation than someone who has expertise in creating and disseminating disinformation?”

But then you would stop yourself – because you’re not insane – and say, “Anybody! Anybody would be better.  Also, this is not an office or a position that should exist in a free republic.”

Biden is absolutely ineducable, and all he can do is keep doubling down on the terrible mistakes he’s already made.  He’s a textbook example of the old saying, “Dead men learn no lessons.”

No, wait.  That’s not it.  I think it’s, “Jeffrey Epstein tells no tales.”  Or was that Mary Jo Kopeckne?

You know… you know the thing!

Avenatti/ “Let’s go Brandon” Harris 2024!

One Sad Story, and One Happy One (posted 4/29/22)

As is becoming a pattern, I’ll start with a brief update on our burned Victorian house, called Rosewood. 

I’m not trying to get ahead of myself, but we’ve met with a contractor, and had multiple talks with our insurer, and it’s looking more likely that the house is going to survive, and maybe that we’ll be able to hold on to it through the necessary, extensive renovations. I’ll write more about this soon, as I know more.

In the meantime, I’ve posted another picture to my site (Martinsimpsonwriting.com), this one of the double front doors, with stained glass inserts.  We had these windows removed, repaired, and re-installed when we bought the house, and the doors are lightly damaged, but will definitely be saved.  I took this pic from inside the house, and the pinkish-looking glass is actually a darker red color.

A reader mentioned that she went to my site and could see my columns, but no pictures. 

First, the columns should be reason enough to go there. 😊 Second, I tried on my phone and got the same problem.  The only thing I can conclude is that you need to use a computer to access my site, if you want to see the pictures.  I’ll be making some upgrades to the site soon, and see if I can fix that.

Turning to the larger world, I’ve been thinking about two stories over the last 10 days, one tragic and one delightful.

The first is the grim Chicom crackdown on their own population in Shanghai over the latest covid outbreak.  Reports suggest that tens of millions of people have been virtually imprisoned in their apartments on the pretext of preventing the spread of a virus – which is still spreading – that had at the beginning of these new lockdowns resulted in 3 deaths. 

I see one small bright side to this horrific story, and one huge one. 

The small one applies to the Biden administration, which has to be grateful that they can finally point to a government whose reaction to covid is even worse and less competent than theirs!

The huge one is the added wake-up call – as if, at this late date, we still needed one – to rational Americans everywhere about the danger of allowing a power-hungry government to exploit a public health “emergency” to increase their own control over their people.  

The most chilling details I’ve seen come from video shot early this month, of high rises in which thousands of people had gone out onto their balconies and screamed, protested and sang to cope with their suffering.

Then a government drone appeared, broadcasting their communist overlords’ propaganda.  I don’t speak Chinese – although if anyone who does will send me a phonetic pronunciation of “Let’s Go, Brandon” in either Mandarin or Cantonese, I will do my best to learn – the translation provided is eerie:

“Please comply with covid restrictions.  Control your soul’s desire for freedom.  Do not open the window or sing.”  

If this isn’t a perfect encapsulation of our leftist elites’ message to the American people over the last two years, I don’t know what is! 

Comply with our restrictions (even though the scientific basis for them has been disastrously overblown and/or absolutely disproven). 

“Control your soul’s desire for freedom.” Wow.  That’s a lot of admissions against the totalitarians’ interest in a very few words:  Yes, people have souls.  And yes, those souls have an innate desire for freedom. 

And yes, your leftist betters are hell-bent (literally, IMHO) on suppressing and thwarting that desire for freedom. 

Also, trying to engage in the outside world, and singing, are strictly forbidden. 

Well done, Chicom murderers.  You’ve given the American Dem elite a perfect slogan for their 2022 and 2024 campaigns!

Speaking of the lefty elite, it has been a schadenfreude-tastic experience to watch them getting progressively (HA!) more hysterical as Elon Musk has run circles around them.

I was never a fan of Jack “Boots” Dorsey.  (Anybody who grows a beard like that – not because he’s been thrown into solitary confinement in Alcatraz or a Super-Max somewhere, but voluntarily – is not to be trusted!) 

But his successor as Twitter CEO is a smarmy little creep whose name I refuse to learn how to spell, because life is too short.  Conveniently, it’s very close to an anagram for “pagan narwhal.”  So I’ve got that going for me.

Mr. Narwhal and his board of arrogant and pinch-faced censors initially panicked when Musk announced that he’d bought around 10% of the company stock.  They tried a ju-jitsu counter-move by playing nice and putting him on the board, which would have kept him on a leash and without any real power to force substantive changes.

Musk turned them down, and teased the idea of offering to buy huge blocks of Twitter stock from shareholders.  The board responded with a “poison pill,” deflating the value of their shareholders’ stock in a desperate move to thwart Musk. 

He pointed out that this would be screwing their shareholders, and triggering a tsunami of lawsuits that would tie them up in court for years, and devastate the company.   Then, while they were still reeling, he announced a financing package that allowed him to buy the company right out from under them.   

You’ve heard of one person playing chess while a less intelligent person plays checkers?

Well this was Musk playing 4-D chess while the Twitter board was playing “Pull Your Dress Over Your Head and Soil Yourself While Stomping Around in a Room Full of Rakes.”

(And yes, for you history buffs, that is the very same sport which recently inducted Joey Gaffes and Que Mala into its Hall of Fame.)  

The predictable Schumer-storm of hypocritical outrage, projection and tantrum-throwing has been a wonder to behold. 

Hollywood celebrities, leftist pols and MSM talking heads unwittingly revealed their bone-deep dishonesty and bad faith when they raged against the prospect of transparency and free speech taking hold at Twitter.

A columnist from the Washington Post – owned by partisan leftist billionaire Jeff Bezos – warned against the dire consequences of… wait for it… allowing a partisan billionaire to control a media outlet!

Many others cluelessly panicked over the prospect that Twitter might be used to stifle the reach of people who disagreed with its owner, or even that it might affect election outcomes by suppressing negative information about opponents while covering up the scandals of its own side.

The hell you say!       

I don’t think that Musk is a conservative, but in the context of, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” I am cheering him on.  If he sticks to his promise to transform Twitter into a platform that fosters and welcomes the free marketplace of ideas and speech, he’ll have done a great service to our country.  

Meanwhile, internal leaks and message boards are full of overwrought Twitter employees rending their garments and gnashing their teeth over their new boss’ hideous promises of freedom. 

Terrible, terrible freedom!

If I were ever to feel any sympathy for those malevolent, emotionally stunted children trapped in gender-fluid adult bodies — so far, nope! – I guess I’d give them the same advice they’ve sneered to the many conservatives they’ve been censoring over the last 6 years:

Stop whining, and build your own Twitter!  

Avenatti and Pagan Narwhal, 2024: Control your Soul’s Desire for Freedom!

CNN+ dies, the Hero Bird of Iowa, & the Easter Bunny Corrals Biden (posted 4/25/22)

First, the fate of our partially burned Victorian house is still up in the air, but I’ll be getting a bid from a contractor and a number from our insurance company this week, and those will decide whether we can try to hang on to the house or not.

In the meantime, I’ve posted another pic from inside the house to my page at Martinsimpsonwriting.com.  On Friday I posted a picture of one of the fireplaces, and today’s pic is a close-up of the lion’s head tiles on that fireplace.  

My tech support is coming home from her sophomore year at college in a week, and if we can hang on to Rosewood, she’ll help me set up a folder (or whatever the kids these days call such a thing) on my site, where I can post some Rosewood pics in one location, rather than one at a time on my homepage. 

In the meantime, behold the tiles that made me buy the house!

As always, the larger world continues to provide fodder for meditation and mockery.

Let’s start with the mockery.

Regular readers know how much I love running jokes.  Whenever I think up a “Pelosi is a mummy,” “Joe Biden is actually dead,” or “#wemustneverstopmocking Grandma Squanto” line, I feel duty-bound to keep wringing out that shammy.

In my experience, repeating the same joke a handful of times can make it tiresome.  But somewhere around the 9th or 10th iteration, it gets funny again.  I’m not a trained humorist, so I can’t prove it – but it’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.

So imagine my dismay when CNN+ closed down faster than an all-you-can-eat buffet when the owner saw Lizzo and JB Pritzker approaching the front door.   

I was looking forward to having CNN+ to kick around for at least a year or so, but no.  They spend between $400-500 MILLION dollars launching it, and I’ve barely had time to grab some popcorn and ease into my recliner, and… it’s gone!

Not since Willie Brown took Que Mala to a swingers’ party as his “plus one” has a plus turned out to be such a negative!

The amazing thing is that in the fever swamps of the delusional left, people somehow thought this would work!  Do they not conduct any kind of market research over there?

In recent years, the vast majority of the nation has been offered the option of watching CNN for free, and they’ve said, “Nope.  Still too expensive.  It’s literally not worth anything.”  So why would anyone expect people to pay for something that they weren’t willing to watch for free? 

I especially enjoyed a NY Post story on how shocked many CNN employees were at the implosion.  (“A giant dirigible filled with a highly flammable gas?  What could go wrong?!”) One unintentionally hilarious inside source was quoted as saying, “CNN should have just stuck to what they do well, which is hard news, not Anderson Cooper giving parenting advice.”

I get that last part, because who would go to Pretty Boy Cooper for his thoughts on parenting? (“First, choose a partner with whom it is physically impossible to have children…”)

But “hard news” is what CNN “does well?” If I weren’t such a gentleman, I’d make the obvious Jeff Toobin joke at this point. But I am far too classy for that.

Changing topics, I’ve noticed some great animal stories lately, several of which involve members of the animal kingdom getting one over on our Cadaver in Chief. 

The bird pooping on Brandon is almost too perfect.  If you were a fiction writer and came up with that, any decent editor would object on the grounds that it was too ham-handed, and too cute by half.  The karmic perfection of a president who’s been showering us with a fecal avalanche of lies and horrible policy being Schumered upon by a bird during a speech? No one will buy that.

And yet it really happened! 

And the White House staff’s reaction was completely on-brand: they denied the evidence of your own eyes, and insisted that what hit Biden’s shoulder was “corn.”

I was raised in the Midwest, surrounded by corn.  So while I’m not a biologist — and thus can’t determine whether Sharon Stone in the leg-crossing scene from Basic Instinct (giggity) is a woman or not – I’ve got the equivalent of a Master’s degree in Corn Recognizing.  (A degree that would make one much more employable than a PhD in Grievance Studies, by the way.)

And I can unequivocally state that that was NOT corn.

Unless it was creamed corn. 

In which case Hacky Psaki’s theory is that a bird taught himself how to use a can opener, emptied out most of a can of creamed corn, and flew over the president.  Then, in a feat not equaled since the battle of Midway, that heroic bird flipped the can upside down in his mighty talons, dropping its contents toward Joe’s bald head as if it were the Japanese carrier Akagi.

Or, alternatively, a bird crapped on the president on live tv.   

As a big fan of Occam’s Razor, I salute that nameless hero of a bird, who in one brave action, has done what all true Americans wish we could do. 

But Joey Gaffes was not finished with the animal kingdom. 

In the same week, during an event on the White House lawn, Biden wandered too close to a crowd, and began speaking to them.  Fearing the kind of mortifying incident that usually happens when the prez goes off script (“Our soldiers will soon be fighting in the Ukraine, and using chemical weapons.  Also, Republicans will soon be putting blacks back in chains, and sanctions never deter.  I’m not joking, it’s a big f’ing deal!”), his handlers leapt into action.

And deployed someone in an Easter bunny suit – you can’t make this up — to corral the leader of the free world, the way you may have seen dogs herding dull-witted sheep into a pen.

But I mean no offense to those sheep.  At least they manage not to be defecated on by the dogs who are herding them.  Plus, you never see one of them turn and shake the hand of an invisible sheep that doesn’t exist, while “Hail to the Sheep” plays despondently in the background. 

But let’s not end on that dispiriting note.  Instead, let us praise a heroic Ukrainian Jack Russell terrier named Patron. 

You may have heard that the Russians miscalculated when they tried to take the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.  Apparently they thought that the defenders were a bunch of blue-state types, the Vermonters of eastern Europe.  Instead, they found out that “Kyiv” is Ukrainian for “Texas.” So they got sent packing, with their tail between their legs.

As they withdrew, they left hundreds of mines and booby traps in the area.  Enter Patron, who has been spending his days detecting those mines, so that his handlers can defuse them.  All he expects is some cheese treats and some belly rubs in return.  You can find pictures of him online, wearing an adorable little dog-sized military vest.   

I think I speak for all of CO Nation when I say that I’d much rather be governed by Patron the Jack Russell and the Nameless Hero Bird of Iowa, than by Joey Gaffes and Que Mala.

It’s been a long 4 years, and it’s only been 65 weeks.

Our Burned House, & Race and Crime Stories (posted 4/22/22)

Before getting on to the usual tomfoolery, let me say that I love me some CO Nation!

When I was writing my somber column about the fire at our Victorian house — Rosewood — on Easter evening, I anticipated that it would not be a popular column, just because of the joke-free, Tenebrae-ness of it all.  (To all of you who said, “I bet Martin can’t find a way to work the Latin word for darkness into a normal conversation,” you now stand corrected.)

(Also, my favorite Springsteen album is “Tenebrae on the Edge of Town,” my favorite expose of Communist perfidy is “Tenebrae at Noon,” and one of my favorite novels is “Heart of Tenebrae.”) (I think I’ve made my point.)

But boy, did I underestimate you folks!  If you read the comments, you saw the outpouring of well wishes, prayers and commiseration that accompanied that column.  Readers told their own stories on related topics.  Alan Greenleaf hit my Tip Jar hard – thanks Alan! – and everybody was just as “salt of the earth-y” as we’ve all come to expect from this little corner of the internet that the Great and Powerful CO set up years ago.

I tell you, if I weren’t as tough as a $2 steak, it would have brought me to tears!  Instead, I kept a stiff upper lip, but also gave each and every one of you a tip of the metaphorical cap and a curt nod in salute.  Thank you all!

There have been a lot of developments in that story in the last 4 days, and I’m going to be writing more about it next week.  But in the meantime, I’ve put up a new picture of one of the downstairs fireplaces on my page at Martinsimpsonwriting.com.  It was taken this week, after the fire, and yet the room appears remarkably undamaged.

The mantel is carved from the “rosewood” heart of pine, and the firebox is lined with glazed red-and-yellow tiles interspersed with lion’s head tiles.  (I’ll be posting some close-ups later.) When I first walked into Rosewood 7 years ago, I was already smitten with the outside of the house, but when I saw those tiles, I said, “We are buying this house!”

Because that’s how you want to make huge financial decisions, kids: with a burst of completely irrational emotional attachment!  😊

But enough about the ups and downs of my own little life: let’s get back to our political scene.  Because there have been some highly mockable events that my preoccupation with our fire has delayed me from addressing.   

Where to begin?

How about in NYC, where a black nationalist, whitey-hater named Frank James shot up a subway car and terrorized many New Yorkers for a while.  It doesn’t take someone with an advanced degree in race-ology to know he was probably black just by reading the initial reports, and for the same reasons you all knew the same thing: his race was never mentioned.

It’s amazing to watch the MSM pushing their racial narratives, no matter what lengths they need to go to.  If the criminal suspect is black, the story will go on for days without mentioning that fact.  If the perp got away and is on the loose, and they therefore must give a description, it will be something like this:

Between 5’10” and 6’, wearing jeans, a blue t-shirt and Air-Jordans with a slight scuff on the inside of the left shoe, and gray laces.  Also, he had a far-away look in his eyes, and an overbite, and an air of ennui. 

If the suspect is white or Asian?  “The WHITE/ASIAN suspect is described as WHITE/ASIAN, less than 10 foot tall but over 3 feet tall. Possibly wearing clothes.  Racial bias is the suspected motive in this horrendous, racially motivated hate crime by this alleged WHITE/ASIAN nationalist.”

My two favorite parts of this story were: 1. The perp committed his crime in one of the most heavily surveilled areas of our largest city (run entirely by guess which party?) … and none of the city’s cameras were working.

2. After the perp was arrested, Police Chief Eric Adams took a victory lap, crowing, “My fellow New Yorkers…we got him!” 

Which would have been impressive, if the cops had tracked him down using a network of informants, high-tech tracking devices, good ol’ fashioned shoe leather, and a comically oversized magnifying glass.

But nope.  The racist loon called the cops and said, “I’m Frank James and I shot those people in the subway. I’m here in this specific McDonalds, so come and get me.”

That’s not exactly on par with some American soldiers tracking Saddam Hussein to a specific spider-hole in a gigantic country, or Holmes tracking Moriarty to his mountain hideout deep in the Alps, is it? 

I’m no big-city cop, but I bet I could be a darn good one if the job mainly involved finding a body on a busy street and calling out, “Anybody shoot this guy?”  And then one moron steps out of the crowd and says, “Over here!”

But the Dems who run NYC are looking for a win anywhere they can get it these days, and you can’t blame them.

By way of comparison, how about a crime story that took place in a red state?

Let’s go to Dale County, AL, where a homeowner heard someone making multiple attempts to break into his house.  He called 911, but as he was still on the phone, the criminal came through the window in his child’s room. 

So the homeowner shot him in the head.  Because: America.

“Isn’t it awfully callous to joke about someone getting shot in the head, even if he is a criminal climbing into a child’s bedroom?” you are not asking yourself, unless you’re NY Dem Police Chief Eric Adams. 

No, it is not.  With everything else going on in Brandon’s America, this counts as a feel-good news story.  Because, as I may have mentioned, I’m from the 19th century, and I like it when good defeats evil.  And this is good vs. evil. 

Breaking into someone else’s house is evil.  Giving a criminal a little “ballistic hello” is good.  Full stop.

Which, ironically, is what the home invader came to. 

Also, hat tip to the writer of the story about this on PJ Media, Kevin Downey.  I love a good, telling detail in a story, and Downey offered several. 

He said that when the cops showed up, “they found the thug on the ground, weighing roughly 25 grams more than he did when he arrived,” due to the weight of the bullet in his head.

He also called the criminal “the now-horizontal hooligan.”  Well done, Mr. Downey!

But race stories don’t always have to be downbeat or upsetting.  For example, a couple of race-obsessed “diversity, equity and inclusion experts” in Arizona made everybody very happy recently.

Jill Lassen – who is so pasty that she could cosplay as Lizzie Warren (#wemustneverstopmockingher) – and Stuart Rhoden – who is black, both got their Kente cloths in a bunch when a PTA fundraiser at Hopi Elementary school featured a DJ wearing black face.

Now I can’t imagine what would possess anybody in this ultra-woke age to go out in public in blackface.  And neither could our two intrepid racial offense hunters!  They quickly complained to the school’s principal and the local PTA about this outrage

But just when they were about to link arms and sing a rousing chorus of, “We Shall Overcome,” the head of the PTA explained that the DJ had a good excuse for being in black face. 

It turns out he’s black, and he has a face.  (Cue the sad trombone.)

That’s right, these two SJWs threw a fit over a white guy in black face who turned out to be… a black guy, with a correspondingly color-coordinated face.

You’d have to have a heart of stone not to laugh at these two dullards. 

Avenatti/Eric “Inspector Clouseau” Adams, 2024!

A House Fire, and a Moving Tenebrae Service on Good Friday (posted 4/18/22)

This was a tough week for our family. 

We’ve got three rental houses, and by far my favorite is a two-story Victorian built in 1886.  The original owner called it “Rosewood” after the distinctive color of its heart-pine wood floors, mantels and trim work.  It had been restored and updated in the 1980s, and we bought it the spring of 2015, and did a little more restoration. 

The circumstances in which we bought it has given it a little extra emotional hold on us.  As I’ve written in a couple of Father’s Day columns, my dad died in December of 2014, after a five-month cancer battle.  I spent a big chunk of those months driving back and forth from north Florida to Tennessee.  I would teach my college classes from Tuesday through Thursday, then drive up to TN Thursday night, and back home on Monday. 

When dad passed, I went home and slept for a week, and at the beginning of the new year, I started searching our town for an old house to buy.  I came across the Victorian, and when I was walking the surrounding neighborhood to see if it was a good place to invest, I found another house built in 1930 that had good bones but was ugly. 

So I went home to my long-suffering wife and told her my plan.  And three months later, we’d refinancing our existing houses and borrowed up to our eyeballs to buy both of those buildings, and I then threw myself into about 7 months’ worth of working on those houses, alongside some trusted tradesman I knew. 

I wasn’t really aware of what I was doing at the time, but looking back on it, it’s clear to see.  Because I’m a Midwestern male from the 19th century, I’m not the type to go to a therapist and discuss my feelings.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and not that writing these columns isn’t a great form of venting and therapy for me!)  I’m more the type to engage in a little Job-like, dark-night-of-the-soul meditation on a “from ashes we came, and to ashes we return” theme, along with listening to some hymns, some Johnny Cash and a selection of Appalachian murder ballads. 

Then I’m liable to locate some old houses that need work, order up a dumpster, and sublimate my grief over dad’s death into some sweet, sweet toxic masculinity, in the form of attacking some lathe-and-plaster walls with a 5-pound sledge and a crowbar.    

In this case, it worked out.  We’ve had years of tenants in that Victorian house, including two years during which my oldest daughter and four of her Christian sorority sisters lived there.  (She’s the nurse who – I may have mentioned once, or 600 times – saved someone’s life last November.)  If you’d like to see the house, you can go to Zillow, and type in the address: 320 NW 1st Street, in Gainesville FL.

Anyway, on Wednesday night, that house caught fire. 

The good news is that the two girls who were home at the time got out safely.  One of them got her cat out with her, but the other had been dog-sitting for a roommate who was out of town, and when she panicked and grabbed the dog’s collar to pull him along, he wriggled out of the collar and went to hide under his owner’s bed. 

I got a call from my alarm-monitoring service and drove over there, to find the top story fully engulfed, with three firetrucks pouring water onto it, and several firemen surrounding the dog on a gurney, where one was doing chest compressions and the other was trying to keep an oxygen mask made for humans in place on the dog’s muzzle.  When that wasn’t working as well as it could, he gave the dog mouth-to-mouth.

Sidebar: I love that fireman!  I would give Cassie the Wonder Dog mouth-to-mouth if she needed it.  (Obviously, because she’s the finest dog ever to walk the earth.)  But as much as I love dogs, I don’t know that I’d give a strange dog mouth-to-mouth, even in dire circumstances.  So God bless that guy!

The dog came to, and was taken to a local veterinary hospital, and he should be going home within the next two days.  The fire was put out within less than an hour, so there’s now at least a slim chance that the house can be saved, though the top floor will have to be removed and rebuilt. 

If you’d like to see the house now, I’ll soon post a collection of pics on this site.  You can also see local news coverage of the fire burning at this link: https://www.wcjb.com/2022/04/14/100-year-old-home-catches-fire-gainesville/

It turns out that a tenant was burning some incense on the upstairs porch early in the evening; she went back inside thinking that it was out, but it must have been smoldering, because the fire started there, several hours later.

After several sleepless nights, and days spent shoveling about six inches of wet insulation, burnt wood and other debris off of the upstairs floors in an attempt to preserve them, I went to a Good Friday evening service at our Lutheran church.

It’s called a “Tenebrae” service, which is Latin for “darkness.”  We never had those in the Baptist churches I grew up in, but if you’re a Christian and haven’t been to one, I’d recommend it. 

It’s very grim, of course, since it recapitulates the day of Christ’s crucifixion.  The crosses in the church are draped in black, and after each of six readings (the arrest, the scourging, etc.), one of six candles is snuffed out.  (Our church had someone working the lights, and turning more off with each extinguished candle.) 

At the end of the last reading, after the last candle is put out, the church is in darkness, and silence.  (This is the only service of the year that does not end with a benediction.)  Then after several minutes, a loud “thump” noise is made at the back of the church, to symbolize the rock being rolled in place to seal the tomb.    

It is a very moving service: somber, and thought-provoking.

But the timing, this year, was rough.  Less than 48 hours after the fire, I found myself ensconced in a ritual commemorating the darkest hour of human history. 

Plus there’s candles, at a time when fire of any kind is the LAST thing I want to see.  (I would say that it’s triggering, except that I’m a Midwestern male from the 19th century, and would thus rather give mouth-to-mouth to a strange dog than indulge in that nonsense!)

But as I write this, it’s Easter, and our hopes are born anew. 

The preliminary insurance inspection indicates that the house will be a total loss, and if that verdict is upheld this week, we’ll get a check that will pay off the mortgage and put some potential rebuilding money in our pocket.  I walked through the house with our realtor, and she’s confident that it can be salvaged, since the downstairs is almost intact, except for some water damage to the ceilings, which will have to be replaced anyway.

A woman from the city’s Historic Preservation department called me on Thursday morning, having gotten a call breaking the news from the couple who originally restored Rosewood in the 1980s.  She’s asked me not to make a decision or bulldoze the house until I talk to her, and she’s going to see if there is any way the city might provide any grant money to help in the restoration. 

Though my wife and I are still processing all this, we’re leaning toward selling the house to a restorer with the guts and cash to take the project on.  If the bids we get on the restoration costs look good enough, we might try to hang on, and have the restoration done ourselves.  But our emotional tanks are pretty empty, and I’m not sure if we’re up for that. 

But it seems appropriate on Easter to savor the chance to take a breath, and look at all there is to be thankful for.  Nobody was hurt, not even a pet.  We should be made financially whole, or close to it, and there’s at least a chance that Rosewood will survive, even if we will no longer own it. 

And, if my non-Christian readers will forgive me, Christ is Risen, and I’m going to get to see my dad again.  And we will laugh as we think about the fact that, in a strange way, his death led to me being able to own Rosewood for 7 years, and my daughter to live there, and then (God willing) I could pass it along to a new owner.

Okay, that’s it.  Not my usual column full of nonsense and mockery, but there it is. 

I will post a more typical column within a couple of days, because while we were going through our dark and fiery week, the world kept turning, and producing news that I am eager to comment on. 

Leftists continued to beclown themselves, Elon Musk terrified the censors, and – though my theological interpretation on this point might not be 100% correct – God sent an avian omen of His judgment to poop on Joe Biden.  (And we all said, “Amen!”)

Happy Easter, everybody!

Biden Attempts a Video, MSM Lies about Florida, & Nobody Knows What a Woman Is (posted 4/11/22)

The Cautious Optimism Roving Correspondent for Affairs (and Stuff) – CORCA – returns after a short hiatus:

After a week pounding out three snark-filled columns to close out March, I was unable to write a column last Monday due to the soul-crushing burden of having written about our nefarious leftist overlords thrice the week before.  

But now I’m back, because it will take more than a little tortuous soul-crushing to keep this roving correspondent down…

 …is what I thought before I watched Brandon’s performance over the last week.

He kicked the bucket with a video-taped message for our newest High Holiday.

Sorry, that’s “kicked things off,” not “kicked the bucket.”

Or is it?

Anyway, Biden’s embalmers produced a minute-long video that must have been editing together from a depressingly large number of takes — I’ve got the over-under at 42 – until he came across as almost life-like.  He opened with the phrase, “To evurrone celebrating trzzzgrder dayof vzzzzbillity.”

When I ran those words through my “Slurring-to-English” translation software, I learned that March is now officially the month that, “Comes in like a Lee-Ann and goes out like a Sam,” because the last day of the month is now apparently “Transgender Day of Visibility.”

I know what you’re thinking: it’s just not the same anymore, now that Transgender Day of Visibility has gotten so darned commercial.  In the old days, it meant a cozy day spent in the kitchen, helping your father/mother bake a tray of gingerbread he-shes (hat tip to Dennis Miller), followed by donning your gay apparel – or straight apparel, whatever – and making a trip around the neighborhood singing Transgender Day of Visibility Carols. 

Or Kevins.  Whatever.

But no longer.  Now the political elite have gotten hold of our beloved holiday, and they’re determined to score political points from it.  The theme of Biden’s Greco-Roman-Teleprompter-Grapple was that the prez sees transgender folks, and they will no longer be invisible.

Not like they used to be.  Like when you’d be hanging around on Main Street, and a person with the upper body of a Kodiak bear would be walking toward you, wearing a wife beater over a poodle-skirt and Doc Martens, a string of pearls hanging just below her prominent Adam’s apple, partially hidden by a bushy beard.

And just before you bumped into her, you’d be startled, and gasp out an apology, “I’m sorry! I didn’t notice you!”

“I know,” she’d say in her dainty, James Earl Jones voice, “I’m so sick of being invisible!”

Well suffer no more, transgender citizens.  Because your president sees you, and he values you, and he sniffs your hair. Unless you’re a dude — that would be gross.    

Speaking of invisibility, did you see the press conference last week when Obama triumphantly returned to the White House, rattled off some narcissistic lies, and then mingled with the various sycophants and lickspittles who crowded around him, eager to touch the hem of his robe? 

Poor Old Joe was left to wander around the periphery like the Ghost of Transgender Visibility Day Past,  unnoticed and un-missed by all in attendance.

But lest you think Joey Gaffes has cornered the market on delusional, consider the latest ad campaigns from the Dem brain-trusts running Chicago and NYC.  Both metropoli have noticed that they’ve been losing a lot of productive citizens to red states lately, and they’ve decided to fight back. 

And Florida’s so-called, “Don’t Say Gay Bill (actual title: “Stop Sexually Indoctrinating our Kids, You Weirdos!”) gave them just the opportunity they were looking for. 

Chicago bought full-page ads in several Florida newspapers touting its “In Chicago, We Believe” campaign.  Unfortunately for them, lots of Florida residents put on their bifocals to read the smaller print beneath the headline slogan, which began, “…that you don’t pay enough taxes; that recidivist criminals don’t kill people, guns do; that single-party corruption and a mayor who frightens children like a sewer-dwelling Stephen King clown is just good fun…”

Not to be out-done, NYC bought giant billboards in several FL cities with the word “gay” on them, and an invitation for Floridians to “come to the city where you can say whatever you want.” 

Especially if what you want to say is, “Please continue fiscally raping me, you socialist lunatics!” or “What are you going to do with that machete, deranged, whitey-hating, homeless person?” or, “Why are you shoving me toward the subway tracks, fellow Biden-voter?  AAaaghhh!!  Splat!”   

As a Floridian, I’d like to thank those nearly-bankrupt cities for spending some of their dwindling funds in our state on their insane ad campaigns.  And hey, if those ads entice a few of our recent Grievance Studies graduates with fluorescent hair and horrific facial piercings to pursue their obsessive urge to regale 5-year-olds with hot genitalia talk in YOUR state, we’ll call that a win-win.  

In a related story, if you want a sneak preview of the kind of entitled d-bags you’ll be sharing the Big Apple with, I give you “Jackie,” an entitled shoplifter whom I swear I am not making up.  She was recently caught shoplifting from a Manhattan Duane Reade store. 

When a security guard stopped her, she objected to being treated disrespectfully, just because she is a good-for-nothing, larcenous POC.  Quoth the thief, “Like, my whole thing is, is that they put hands on you when they’re not allowed to touch you.”

The store officials weren’t impressed by Jackie’s legal reasoning, so she had to enlighten them further.  “I said, ‘no, you can’t do that.  I gave you back your property… and you are not letting me leave the store.”

She also explained that SHE was the real victim.  “Taking stuff is hard.  Whenever you try to steal something, it’s a 50/50 shot that you’ll get caught.  But usually, you get caught.”

Brilliant!  She sounds like she might have been part of the focus group who came up with the marketing slogan for the cologne “Sex Panther,” from the movie Anchorman:  “60% of the time, it works every time.”

But let’s not dwell on the dregs of society. 

Let’s dwell on the dregs of the legal system, and the way that Biden kept his promise to nominate the best possible jurist to sit on the land’s highest court… as long as her genitalia and skin color were pleasing to him.    

The Ketanji  Brown Jackson story raises several nauseating points:  First, the gender and racial cheerleading is repulsive, and dishonest, and stupid.

Repulsive because this kind of identity politics always requires that we accept the premise that all women think alike, and all blacks think alike.  And that idea is surely at the heart of what reasonable people would call sexism and racism.

Dishonest because they know that that premise is not true, which is why they decry – not celebrate – Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett, even though their skin tone and genitalia should supposedly give them sacred, unassailable virtue.

And stupid because the same left has spent a large part of the last year denying that anyone can even say what a female is, and yet they’re celebrating her status as a new black FEMALE on the supreme court?  Even the nominee herself pretended to be stumped by the question of how to define a woman – which, in a sane world, would be enough to deny her nomination immediately. 

But now, I guess the MSM is suddenly crawling with expert biologists, since they have no hesitation in declaring that Jackson is a woman?

The over-reaction from the left about the most basic and relevant questions that the GOP senators asked during her confirmation hearings – especially after the ridiculous and evidence-free slurs against Kavanaugh as a gang-rapist, and Barrett as a religious lunatic – speaks volumes.

To me, it seems clear that the far left has a giant bug up their butts about any SC nominee who is not a committed, leftist, activist, legislate-from-the-bench enthusiast.

But since I’m neither an entomologist nor a proctologist, I guess I’m not qualified to make that judgement.

It’s been a long 4 years and it’s only been 63 weeks.

Avenatti/Sticky-Fingers Jackie 2024!

Que Mala & Joey Gaffes Go To Europe, and Chaos Rides With Them! (posted 4/1/22)

In trying to keep up with the avalanche of lefty follies that are threatening to destroy our polity the way Ted Kennedy used to destroy mini-bars – it’s Old Reference Friday! —  I find myself commenting on recent events that now feel like ancient history.  Case in point: Que Mala’s trip to Europe. 

It’s easy for most of us to forget – because of… wait for it… the significance of the passage of time – that Willie Brown’s old goomah laid metaphorical waste to eastern Europe just EARLIER THIS MONTH!

The VP’s European adventure was the most disastrous foreign policy junket since Hunter went over to Ukraine with two giant, empty canvas bags – one with the word “Meth” on it, and the other with a dollar sign – and then returned two days later with both bags full, and a Ukrainian hooker in a fireman’s carry over his shoulder. 

But Que Mala was barely home long enough for any of us to really, truly absorb the meaning of the significance of the passage of time – repeated maniacally, like Lou Gehrig’s last game’s echo of “luckiest man in the world…world…world” – before Brandon said, “Hold my Metamucil and watch this!” 

And then he stumbled up the mobile airplane staircase – falling three times along the way – to start HIS European trip. 

And just when I think I’m incapable of being surprised by anything this Star Wars bar scene of an administration does, Joe Biden out-disasters Que Mala.

It’s hard to even choose which gaffes to talk about, because in one brief trip (plus a few short days back at home), Biden made more egregious blunders than most administrations would be able to commit – and survive – in 4 to 8 years! 

Behold, the smorgasbord of bat-guano crazy:

Biden: “You US troops will soon learn about the Ukrainian war when you get there.” 

WHSW (White House Spokes-Weasel) response: “No, US troops are NOT going to Ukraine.”

Biden’s response: “No, I wasn’t talking about our troops going to Ukraine, just because I told them they were going to Ukraine.  I meant that they’ll see Ukrainian troops because we’re secretly training them in Poland.”

WHSW: “Whoa, whoa.  For the record, it’s NOT American policy to train Ukrainian troops in Poland.”

Peter Doocy: “But are we, though?”

Biden (before an aide can clamp a hand over his dentures): “Yes!”

WHSW: “Absolutely not.”

Biden: “If Putin uses chemical weapons, we’ll respond in kind.”

Peter Doocy: “Wha?  We’ll use chemical weapons?!”

Biden: “Yes!”

Spokes-weasel: “No!”

Biden: “I mean, No!”

Peter Doocy:  “But you just said that we’ll respond in kind.”

Biden: “What’s your point, Peter Lorre?”

Doocy:  “It’s Peter Doocy.  And ‘in kind’ means in the same way.”

Biden: “No it doesn’t!  Come on, man!”

Doocy: “I’ve got a dictionary right here.”

Biden: “Shmictionary.”

Doocy:  “What?”

Biden: “Schmictionary schmictionary.”

Doocy: “Are you trying to say, ‘dictionary, schmictionary’?”

Biden: “You know what I’m trying… You know… the thing!  I’m losing patience with you, Goosey Loosey.”

Doocy:  “It’s Peter Doocy.”

Biden: “Don’t get smart with me, Il Duce.”

Doocy:  “It’s Doocy.”

Biden:  “Pass the Dutchie?”

Doocy:  “Peter Doocy.”

Biden (waving dismissively): “Aaahh.  I don’t have time for this.  I’ve got a conference call with Gronkowski, and then the X-Men.”

WHSW: “He means Zelensky and Chairman Xi.”

And, scene.

When another reporter pointed out that Biden’s (late and half-hearted) sanctions didn’t stop Putin from invading, Biden snapped into his grouchy-old-man mode, and said these actual words, in a real quote that I am not making up:

“Let’s get something straight. Do you remember, if you covered me from the very beginning, I did not say that, in fact, the sanctions would deter him.  Sanctions never deter. You keep talking about that. Sanctions never deter.”

The reporter looked a little confused, since for the last two months everyone in Christendom has heard a chorus of Biden administration officials and Dem talking heads and MSM empty heads (but I repeat myself) claiming that sanctions are powerful deterrents.

Finally the reporter asked, “You believe the actions today will have an impact on making Russia change course in Ukraine?”

And our irritable Cadaver-in-Chief snapped, “That’s not what I said.  You’re playing a game with me.”

For the record, the only game anyone has played with Biden lately is a raucous round of, “Duck, Duck, Corpse.”  

Spoiler alert: he’s never the duck.  

Sadly, those gaffes don’t even include the top two biggest embarassments of the last week, one of which was Biden being caught with a cheat-sheet card full of talking points to use.  The cameras captured a shot of the card, which was headlined: “Answers to Tough Putin Questions.”  

You would think that the most worrisome thing about that card was how simplistic the answers were.  They were written down to the reading level of Que Mala’s explanation of the Ukraine war: “Ukraine is a small country.  It’s next to a big country, called Russia.  Which is a country name that starts with the letter ‘R’…”

But to me, the most worrisome thing is that the US president can’t be trusted to take simple coaching and spit out simple answers to anticipated questions without needing a cue card!

After seeing that performance, I shudder to think that it could have been even worse.  Can you not imagine Biden standing unsteadily at that podium, taking the first question, and then fumbling for his magic card?

Peter Doocy: “What did you mean when you said that Putin can’t be allowed to stay in power?”

Biden (pulling out every card from his jacket pockets, then squinting at the first one): “Queen of Diamonds.”

Doocy: “What?”

Biden (shuffling): “I mean… Community Chest.”

Doocy: “Ummm?”

Biden: “Congratulations on your Graduation!”

Doocy: “Are you reading from cards?”

Biden: “No!  Oh wait, I’ve got it.  I was speaking from moral outrage!” (looks proud of himself) “What do you think of that, Peter Piper?”

Doocy: “It’s Peter Doocy.”

Biden: “Ahh, go peck a purple picker.”

Doocy:  “Are you trying to say ‘pick a peck of pickled peppers’?”

Biden: “You know the thing!  You think you’re so smart, don’t you, Peter Criss—I mean… Peter Parker.”

Doocy (looking at the other reporters): “Wasn’t he Spiderman?”

Anonymous pool reporter from MSNBC (holding his head in his hands): “I think the first guy was the original drummer from KISS.”

Biden: “But I’M the important one here.  Every time I walk into a room, they play a little toon called, ‘How’s it Going, Champ?’  How about that?”

Doocy (confused): “Do you mean, ‘Hail to the Chief’?”

Before Biden can say anything else, Jill tugs at his arm and pulls him toward the door, while a Spokes-weasel says, “We’ll be issuing a 5-page updated document of corrections within the hour.”

And, scene.  Again.

That last gaffe – his already infamous, ad-libbed “9 words” — seems to be the one that informed observers are most worried about, since it plays into Putin’s hands, and reinforces the idea that we are determined to force regime change in Russia. 

I was about to say that it can’t get any worse, but… of course it can!  I can already think of more last-minute ad libs that no one would be the least bit surprised to hear come out of Joey Gaffe’s mouth.

Here’s a few off the top of my head:

“Follow me men, we’re invading Ukraine!”

“The Urals are undefended – who’s with me?!”

“For God’s sake, Corn Pop cannot remain in power!”

At this point, I’ll just be happy if, during the next 13 years of this interminable presidency, Brandon doesn’t end a press conference by shouting, “Death to America!”

The bottom line: we can’t send Biden to Europe any more.

Or to the Middle East.

Or to the Midwest.  Or the west coast, or the east coast.

Or the grocery store.  Or out in public.

It’s been a long 4 years and it’s only been 61 weeks.

Avenatti/Goosey Loosey 2024!