2017 – A Look Back, Part 1 (posted 1/1/18)

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and have started the new year off well!  As 2017 ended, I felt very grateful for the past year of writing for CO’s site.  When CO first told me about his site toward the end of 2016, and asked if he could post one of my rants that I’d shared with him and several other friends privately, I was happy to have him do so. And I’ve been having a blast ever since — I can’t tell you all how much fun it has been to have the chance to pop off on the news of the day, and virtually “meet” all of you here.

I’ve always enjoyed Dave Barry’s year-end synopses, and I thought that as the new year starts, I’d like to look back on a very enjoyable year, and choose some of my favorite events of the year, as I commented on them in various CO pieces.  (Especially since the CO army is growing every day, I know that many of you may not have caught these musings the first time around.)

Because some of you have mentioned that some of my columns can get a little long – and by the way, how dare you! – I thought I’d divide these into 3 parts.

So I give you “The Best of 2017, Part 1: January – April”

The event that obviously dominated January was Trump’s inauguration, followed immediately by the wildly entertaining Inaugural Protest March:

“I’m sure that there were lots of well-meaning, good-hearted people who took part in the march in DC; I know at least one of my coworkers who did so, and she’s a good person.  And I know that it’s probably tough to police the group yourself, and to keep idiots from joining your group and discrediting it.

But Man o’ Manischewitz, what a menagerie.  The usual black-masked anarchists destroying property.  Unattractive people of indeterminate gender carrying signs forbidding evil males from impregnating them or telling them what to do once they are impregnated.  (I speak for all male-kind when I say, don’t lose any sleep over the possibility of the former.  Because, nope.)   Crude drawings of female organs, internal and external.  Obscenity-scrawled signs alongside marching children who should be taught not to say those words.  Shrieking celebrity harridans hollering about blowing up the White House.  Formerly attractive actresses screaming poems about incest.

And by the way, no decent poet ever had to scream his or her poetry.  No one in Christendom ever said, “Hey, you want to come down to the coffeeshop?  Emily Dickinson is going to give a high-decibel poetry wail.”  Or “Save the 15th, because Alfred Lord Tennyson is doing a standing-room only couplet yelping at the top of his lungs.”  Or, “You know what I like about Shakespeare’s sonnets?  They’re f**king deafening!”

(And yes, English majors, I’ve read self-proclaimed poet Alan Ginsberg’s  “Howl,” and it’s no exception: it might as well be screamed, and it’s terrible.  I’ve read the best minds of your generation too, and there’s a good reason they were starving.  No one in their right minds would buy that crap.)(To get that last joke, you may have to re-read the opening of “Howl.”  But don’t hold me responsible for any ill effects.)

Who exactly do the marchers think they are reaching with their subtle, persuasive message?  Think about it: a bunch of women marching in vagina-simulating hats?  Because if anything connotes well thought-out moral seriousness, it’s genitalia-evoking head gear!  Can you picture the impact of a million male march, all of us wearing phallic-symbol chapeaux?  (The ear flaps mimic testicles!  Get it?)  THAT would really make the matriarchy stand up and reconsider our point about the appropriate size of government!

Or would it just make us look like an army of un-telegenic lunatics? And launch a thousand late-night comics’ routines about whose hats were flaccid, and what the guys in the 10-gallon-size phallic hats were insecure about.   And what that Jenner person was doing there in a phallic hat and a vaginal scarf?”


Later in the month, as Trump had barely taken office, Chuck Schumer was already – literally – crying about it:  “When Trump’s perfectly justifiable but badly handled executive order temporarily banning foreigners from terrorism-riddled countries rolled out, Chuckie actually cried about it.  In public.  I was raised in the Midwest a hundred years ago, where there was a code about grown men crying.  A few tears were acceptable if your spouse died in childbirth, or your son died in battle, or you lost a limb in a farm accident.  If my sister or I had ever seen my dad in tears and ran to tell mom, I can predict her response:  “Oh lord!  Which arm is it, and can we pull it out of the thresher so the doctors can re-attach it?!”

You know what she would NOT have asked in a million years?  “Good God, how many foreigners have been momentarily inconvenienced at an airport?!”


In February, amidst the first thrashings of the lefty outrage that I had assumed would naturally die down after a while (update, so far: nope!), I wrote a helpful list of tips for my lefty friends on how to respond to the new president, one of which was:  “If you start with the outrage meter pegged to 11 for every garden-variety bonehead comment that Trump makes, you’re going to lose your voice, burst a blood vessel, and be thoroughly ignored when Trump does something truly egregious.  One of my favorite Simpson’s moments was when the mayor unveiled a presidential statue; the townspeople expected Abraham Lincoln, but Springfield could only afford Jimmy Carter.  When the statue is revealed, one character points and says, “He’s history’s greatest monster!”

Trump is likely to be an inconsistent president, but he’s not going to be a Stalin, or a Mao, or an Asmodeus, Destroyer of Men.  Don’t be the boy who cried Carter.”

A few weeks later, amidst leftist groaning about Trump’s narcissism, I pointed out that Barack “my election will halt the rising of the seas” Obama had just a tiny trace of egotism, too.  And I expressed a few thoughts on how leftist pols are probably more susceptible to egotistical mission creep because of their political beliefs:

“I would argue that leftist ideology tends to exacerbate and weaponize the narcissism that all presidents are prey to.  Small government, free market conservatism teaches humility, stressing that no bureaucrat in Washington knows as much about any area of the economy or society as those who specialize in those areas.  (Hence, “That government is best which governs least.”)   Yes, I know, very few pols live up to that ideal, we are all flawed and etc.  But at least a conservative pol who begins to over-reach has an ideology that will serve as a check, if s/he’ll try to be true to it.  (I’ll grant you that Trump has not so far been… how should I say this? … particularly dissuaded by that check.)

Not so, leftism.  An ideology that sees a huge role for a centralized, omnivorous governmental bureaucracy cannot help but tempt already egotistical pols into ever greater power grabs.  You say you don’t know a redwood from a crape myrtle?  Doesn’t matter.  You’re in the Interior Department, so you are WAY more qualified to set logging policies than those idiot families of little people who have only been in the logging business for 3 generations.  You’ve never had a job in the private sector?  By all means, set fiscal policy for 330 million people.  You’ve never been a security guard, or touched a real gun, or done anything more than watching a couple of seasons of NYPD Blue?  Please tell our nation’s police forces exactly how they should be doing their job.  You wouldn’t know a pancreas from a uvula? (which sounds like something dirty, but disappointingly, is not) Feel free to take over 1/6 of the US economy, and give doctors and nurses a helpful little 9600-page, rule-filled tome dictating how health care should work, down to the last mammogram and tongue depressor.”

In the middle of February came another entertaining lefty protest:  “In what parents throughout the saner precincts of the nation celebrated as the most teachable moment that their kids could ever have, the “Day without Immigrants” (2/16) was followed immediately in many areas (starting 2/17) with “A Future without Employment,” created when many employers decided that they could do without employees who don’t appreciate being employed.  I know that many immigrants who participated aren’t here illegally, but many are – I mean, that’s the point, right?  To show us how much we need all of the many workers who are living and working here illegally?  So leave it to the reliably thick-headed Atlantic magazine to publish an article on the topic, with the subtitle, “Around 100 workers were reportedly fired for participating in last week’s strike. Whether that’s legal remains to be seen.“   Yep.  We’re not sure that it’s legal to fire people who are working here ILLEGALLY.  Yikes.  You keep doing you, brilliant leftist magazines.

While I don’t usually enjoy seeing people lose their jobs, I certainly used this example to give a little “this is how the world works” life lesson to my two now-teenaged daughters.  Not that they needed it, however.  When my second daughter was born, my oldest was 4, and I had the talk with her that I’m sure all good dads have with their kids: “Honey, we now have an auxiliary daughter.   Should you be unable to carry out the duties of the primary daughter, your mother and I are going to move her up to the gold medal stand.  Now get back to your pre-K homework, because those state capitals and days of the week are not going to memorize themselves.”

I can only hope and pray that soon we will see a “Day without Lawyers,” followed by “A Day without Federal Bureaucrats.”  I would wish for “A Day without smarmy leftist Air America hosts,” or “A Day without President Hillary Clinton,” but then I remember that EVERY day is a day without those.  And I can’t stop giggling.”


By March, my Democrat friends seemed to be accelerating through “entertaining folly” and driving headlong into “incipient mental illness.”  Because I am not a better person, I have to admit that I enjoyed watching their reactions:

“As we approach the four-month anniversary of the election, I’ve realized that along with screwing up the economy, foreign policy, health care and being able to declare a Best Picture winner at the Oscars, the left has also screwed up the stages of grief.

I was a young man when I first heard of the Kubler-Ross grief cycle.  I was riding a lousy little Yamaha 400 then, with aspirations to move up to a Harley, but you can imagine my excitement that I could end up on a Kubler-Ross!  I wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but it had to be German.  And a “grief cycle!?”  Can you imagine the reactions of the young women in my small Midwestern town when I cruised by in a leather jacket on one of those?  I sure could.  I figured I’d put some loud pipes on mine, and paint some flames on the gas tank.

Imagine my disappointment when I found out that Kubler-Ross was an academic, and the cycle of grief had to do with how we deal with loss.  You know the process: first denial, then anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.

Not that I was thinking about any of that on election night.  I went into the evening thinking that Hillary would win, mostly because my fellow citizens had broken my heart in 2012 when they re-elected Obama.  (I could see voting for him in ’08, when he was young and new and biracial, and McCain was old and cranky and bipartisan.  But after those 4 years, and $6 trillion in new debt with nothing to show for it, and against the manifestly decent and competent Mittster? Ugh.)  But then the glass ceiling fell on Hillary like the house falling on the Wicked Witch of the East, and I shifted into the Simpson-Bailey giddiness cycle.

Named after me and Jimmy Stewart’s character in It’s a Wonderful Life, the stages are as follows:  1. scotch, 2. dawning euphoria, 3. running through downtown in the snow screaming maniacally (“Yeah!  Merry Christmas movie house!  Merry Christmas red states!  Yyyeeeaaahhhh!”), 4. Conan’s “What is best in life?” meditation (“To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, to hear the lamentations of their metrosexuals in the Javits Center.”), and then 5. a schadenfreude-induced reaction about which you are supposed to call your doctor if it lasts more than 4 hours.

Good times.”

In April, the year got even better when Nikki “joy of man’s desiring” Haley went to the UN:

“Not since I first saw an early 1980s Nena (and if you’re just joining us, drop everything and watch the Germanic adorableness that is the “99 Luft Balloons” video on Youtube right this minute), have I been as smitten as I am by 2017 Nikki Haley giving speeches at the UN.   In her first months on the job, she’s already lambasted the daily knee-jerk condemnations of Israel while overlooking human rights abuses everywhere else, slapped down Bolivia’s attempt to discuss Syria’s child-gassing behind closed doors (“Any country that chooses to defend the atrocities of the Syrian regime will have to do so in full public view, for all the world to hear.”), among many other rhetorical “drop the mike” moments. Almost all coverage of her, even by our reflexively hostile leftist press, has noted that she minces no words.  And after two terms of the Obama administration and their 8 consecutive gold medals in Greco-Roman Word Mincing, she’s a breath of fresh air, to say the least.

In fact, I’m not sure whether I now consider Nikki Haley more of a brilliant Indian-American Nena, or if I consider 1983 Nena as more of an irresistibly cute German Nikki Haley.  The point is, I can’t get enough Nikki Haley.  The only way I think her next speech could be better than her last several would be if she came out in skinny jeans and a black leather jacket, kicking red balloons out into the annoyed faces of the wretched hive of scum and villainy that make up the human-rights-trampling kleptocrats of the UN.”

Later in the month, I learned about a new lefty objection to Trump’s Wall (which, sadly, is yet unbuilt):

“When it comes to Trump’s Wall, I thought I’d heard every possible leftist objection: it’s racist, it’s Not Who We Are, it’s expensive, it’s not gluten free, etc.  But this month, some “scientists” pointed out a new problem, which the MSM then picked up with gusto: it will harm various migratory animal species.  I have to admit that I hadn’t thought about that, and at first blush it certainly seemed plausible, and as an animal lover, that bothered me.

Until I read that those soon-to-be-devastated creatures included “108 species of migratory birds.”  Now it’s been a long time since I won that Nobel Prize in Ornithology – bilingual ornithology, if I can be allowed to toot my own horn — and I haven’t kept up on recent developments in the field.  But if I remember correctly, many birds can fly.

Sure, a few can’t.  You’ve got your chickens, your ostriches, your emi.  (Not many non-ornithologists know that the proper Latin plural of “emu” is “emi.”  Again, you’re welcome.)

But are those leftist Chicken Littles (HA!) really expecting us to believe that there are hundreds of bird species out there who migrate ON FOOT?  They will stop at nothing to tug at our heartstrings, and I’ve got to admit that that PSA almost writes itself: Sarah McLaughlin sings softly in the background, while endless hordes of bedraggled birds trudge along through scorching sand, wincing at every step, until they bonk into a big black wall that looks like Sauron built it.  Then they stack up like cordwood at the base, quacking and bleating and making whatever other sounds they make (I didn’t really get a Nobel in Ornithology), while Trump and Ryan laugh from atop the wall as they start to tip over huge cauldrons of boiling oil onto the hapless birds.

And not for the first time do I wish that Sam Kinison was still with us, because you know that he’d bust into the middle of that PSA and start berating the birds: “Have you been WALKING across this freaking desert?  Really?!  Your feet have either tiny claws or webs on them – doesn’t that tell you something?  I’ve got an idea: how about you USE YOUR WINGS!!  They’re right there on your backs.  FLAP THEM!  OH! OOOHHHH!”

We miss you, Sam.  We don’t miss Harry Reid, or Obama, or Hillary.  But we miss you.”

Next up:  Part 2, May – August, in which Planned Parenthood embraces Mother’s Day, a national Dem convention embraces screaming obscenities, and an airline comes up with alternative-lifestyle seatbelts…

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