Some Thoughts on Christmas and other music, plus a Depressingly Familiar Tale from England (posted 12/12/22)

Today I’ll get to the good stuff first, and the political stuff last.

On Saturday my better half and I went to our charming local theatre and saw a live version of A Christmas Carol that was very good.  The theatre is located in an impressive old downtown structure built in 1911, in an age before the weirdos took over and insisted that all public buildings must be ugly and vaguely Soviet brutalist in style. 

One moment I especially enjoyed came before the play started.  A recorded announcement included the usual info – thanks to our local sponsors, check us out online, turn off your cell phone – plus one jarring sentence: “Masks are recommended but not required.”

I assume that this was recorded a while ago, because the free state of Florida canceled the lockdowns and mandatory masks way over a year ago.  On the other hand, I’m in a lefty college town – when you look at the north central Florida map on election night, we’re the only blue spot in a sea of red – and I wouldn’t put it past the local elite to try to hang on to their anti-scientific power-play for as long as they could.

The heartening part was that people in the audience started looking around at each other and shrugging their shoulders.  NOBODY in the building was wearing a mask, and everyone had a similar expression on their faces: “What?  Is anybody still doing that?”      

Not around here they’re not, and God bless us, every one!

As I usually do this time of year, I’ll recommend some Christmas (and other) music, for those of you who are interested. 

I’ll start with one I thought of after watching the uber-cool CO playing guitar on a short video last week.  It’s a request for his six-string take on “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.”  

As far as I know, he doesn’t have one.  But he’s obviously got chops, and as the son he never had, this is what I want for Christmas!  So consider this an entreaty to get all of CO nation to pester the founder of the feast until he grants my Christmas wish!

While he’s working on that, I’ve got a brief list of other less-commonly-heard versions of traditional Christmas songs: 

The multi-talented and multiple-instrument-playing oddball Sufjan Stevens has eccentric but great versions of some standards, including “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” “O Come O Come Emmanuel,” and “Once in Royal David’s City.”

But I particularly like his take on three more rarely heard (at least by me) traditional carols:  

“Lo How a Rose ‘ere Blooming” – somehow adding a banjo to a German carol written in the 16th century just works.

“I Saw Three Ships” – adding sleighbells and a snare drum to this late 17th century English carol?  Why not.

“Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella” – this 17th century French carol sounds like it was always intended to be sung through a bad phone connection, accompanied by a faint acoustic guitar.

For a more traditional take on “O Come O Come Emmanuel” and “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” try the Missouri roots music family group the Petersens, featuring three lovely daughters and a banjo, violin and mandolin, the way God intended. 

On the other hand, if you’re already sick of Christmas music, I’ve got one last recommendation that couldn’t be farther afield.

Regular readers may remember that a while ago I recommended Billy Strings, a baby-faced bluegrass guitar savant, and sharp-eyed songwriter.  His song “Dust in a Baggie” – look for the version he recorded on a couch in somebody’s den – is amazing.

If you liked that one, and if country roots music is in your wheelhouse, you should check out Colter Wall.   Though he’s been around for a while, I just stumbled across him this past week.

I first heard a song called “Sleeping on the Blacktop,” listening to it with the only graphic being an album cover with a rough-hewn drawing of a coyote with a cigarette in his mouth.  The album title is “Imaginary Appalachia.”  I was in. 

The guy’s got a baritone deeper than Johnny Cash, and he sounds like he could be a 70-something chain-smoking whiskey drinker.  His lyrics are gritty and evocative, and even moreso when delivered in that voice.

Next I found another one from the same album, a ballad about the singer’s dead love, called “Caroline.”  He sings the chorus with someone named Belle Plain, which is as tender as “Blacktop” was rough: “Caroline oh Caroline/I’ll be home just at any old time/The grave in the garden won’t be satisfied/’til your name’s next to mine.”

But the next one is the one that sold me, and I’d recommend that if any of this sounds good to you, try that one first.  It’s a murder ballad called, “Kate McCannon,” and you’ve got to watch the video version  from the “Original 16 Brewery Sessions.”

It’s just him standing with a guitar, and behind him is a kick bass drum, which I’d never seen used that way before.  He’s got a pedal under his right boot heel, and he uses it to drive a drum beat that’s intermittent, but really powerful.  His guitar sounds almost like the strings are too loose somehow, and he makes great use of vacillating between very quiet strumming and forceful hammering away.

Shockingly, he’s a slender kid in his early 20s, so when that deep voice first comes out, it’s almost off-puttingly weird.  Where did Johnny Cash’s older, rougher-living brother go?

I found the last two lines of the song especially mesmerizing.  The first one reveals why this is a murder ballad, and it’s delivered quietly, with a grimace, followed by the quietest strumming in the song.  But then he starts slapping at the strings, and the tension grows as the playing gets angrier, until he growls out the last line.

And then that base drum starts pounding again.

If you like country/folk/roots music and you like it raw, check this guy out.

Speaking of murder ballads, I wish someone had written one about a British jerk named Ngozi Fulani.  But unfortunately, she’s still alive.

I know, things just got dark.  Merry Christmas, everybody!

We’ve got a huge over-supply of race-baiting narcissists in America, but Fulani is proof that the same goes for England.   (Damian Cullinane, I share your pain!)

Fulani founded a charity called “Sistah Space” that allegedly supports “women of African and Caribbean heritage” who have suffered domestic and sexual abuse. 

Why not support all abuse survivors, regardless of their ethnicity, you might ask? 

Shut up, Karen!

Naturally, Fulani is also a big fan of BLM, as well as the annoying American bi-racial irritant Meghan Markle.  In 2021, Fulani tweeted that “it seems clear that Meghan is a survivor of domestic abuse from her in-laws.” 

Ugh.

At the end of November, Fulani was invited to a reception at Buckingham Palace meant to call attention to violence against women.  During the event, she came across Susan Hussey, an 83-year-old former lady-in-waiting to the queen.

Fulani was dressed in some kind of faux-native garb: a shell-necklace, an animal-print dress, and an elaborate, semi-dreadlock-y hairstyle.  Sussey saw her, saw her exotic name on her name tag, and asked the obvious question, “Where are you from?”

Fulani knew exactly what she meant, because that is a universal ice-breaker question when meeting someone from another land.  Though Fulani is actually British, she sensed the opportunity to create a racial pseudo-offense, and cash in on it. 

So she played a passive-aggressive version of 20 questions, and apparently recorded the conversation, since she claims to be able to report it word for word. 

When Hussey asked where she was from, Fulani said, “Sistah Space.”  Hussey said, “No, where do you come from?”  Fulani said, “We’re based in Hackney.”  Then Hussey said, “No what part of Africa are you from?”

It went on like that for half a dozen more questions, and then Fulani ran to the press and claimed to be traumatized by Hussey’s all-too-typical racism.  And the press over there must be a pack of dishonest lefties like our MSM, because they immediately took her non-story and raised hell until her innocent octogenarian victim was forced to resign her position. 

This is so disgusting, because it is so plainly a racial arsonist gaslighting.  Fulani was born in London in 1961, to immigrants from Barbados, who named her, “Marlene Headley.”

But if she had come to the palace wearing regular Western clothing and a nametag reading “Marlene Headley,” Susan Hussey would have said, “Oh hello, Marlene.  What do you think of Manchester United’s chances this year?”

Or whatever Brits normally talk about.

But no.  Marlene has to call herself “Ngozi” and dress up like a Nigerian princess, and then wait for a well-meaning senior citizen to take the bait.

Her ploy is obvious, and anyone could do it.  For example, I’m half-German.

Rather than going to a reception dressed in a tuxedo and looking like a run-of-the-mill, ruggedly handsome elderly white guy, I could steer into the German skid and wear a monocle, a WWI-style pickelhaube helmet, and lederhosen, carrying a beer stein as big as my head, with a name tag reading, “Wilhelm Von Gausleiter III.” 

And then when someone asked why I looked like I just came through a time portal from Octoberfest in 1916, I could puff myself up and yell, “What kind of question is that, you racist schwein-hund?!”

And then run to the press, demand reparations, and open a charity taking donations to fight the rampant hun-o-phobia that has been haunting my victimized people for generations.

Of course Fulani is now playing the traumatized martyr, announcing that her “charity” has been forced to pause operations because of all the trauma, and her paralyzing fear that a sweet octogenarian may burst in, slam her up against a wall, and try to get a straight answer to a simple question out of her sorry arse.

To which one can only say, “I wish!”

And also, “Bah, humbug!”

Fetterman/Ngozi “Marlene” Headley-Scrooge 2024!

I’m Getting Into the Spirit of the Season, Hailing Tom Cotton & Mocking California (posted 12/9/22)

As Christmas comes nearer, I always get happier.   

We’ve got the house decorated inside and out, and I’m savoring the carols and the first couple of advent services our church has held.  Next week I’ll do my annual listening to the late, great Frank Muller’s reading of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, which always rewards re-reading. Plus, this is my first Christmas in decades when I won’t be collecting a big batch of papers to grade today.

I mean, you start with “unto us a Son is given,” and you throw in a healthy family and no more papers to grade, and you’ve got the makings of an excellent yuletide at stately Simpson manor.

Of course, politics has not brought a lot of joy lately, though I’m thankful for the good news that has come our way amidst the disappointments of 11/8.   For example, we’ve been able to say a fond farewell to Beta O’Rourke, Stacey Abrams, Crybaby Kinzinger and Liz Cheney – who until her stomping in the primary was neck-and-neck with the Condescending Cherokee from MA in the “Most Contemptible Liz” competition (#wemustneverstopmockingher).   

And January will be brightened when the GOP takes the House gavel from Imhotep Pelosi.  It would be nice if we could savor the angry look on her face at that moment, but unfortunately the injections have done their work, and she’s no longer capable of communicating emotions through facial expressions.

But we know the well-deserved remorse that will wrack her bitter little heart on that day, whichever canopic jar it happens to be sitting in at the time.

Add to that a welcome display of GOP testicular fortitude in the Senate last week.  (I know: I was as shocked as you are.)  This delicious moment of a schadenfreude slap-down came via Senator Tom Cotton, during a Senate Judiciary hearing on the proposed merger of the Albertsons and Kroger grocery chains.    

Like many giant companies, Kroger has been regularly caving to woke whining and bullying, and sucking up to the quasi-socialist Dems who should be their natural enemies. 

Two quick examples, from a Daily Caller article:  In 2019, Kroger required their employees to wear aprons with rainbow/Pride Flag logos, and when two Christian employees refused, they fired them.  (The happy ending came when the fired employees sued and won $180K.)  And just this summer, a whiny poke-nose with a few thousand Twitter followers sent a “let me talk to your manager” tweet complaining about some patriotic, pro-American can koozies that Kroger stores in NC were selling.

She was offended because too many people are shot in Dem-controlled cities by criminals with illegally obtained handguns, and too many mentally ill people whom the Dems have kept on the streets commit mass shootings each year.  And obviously the can koozies – along with our horrible Founders and their hideous freedom fetish – are responsible. 

(I’ve paraphrased her tweet.  But accurately.)

So she demanded that Kroger stop selling the koozies, because Americans who disagree with her shouldn’t be able to hold their drinks in something that offends her. 

And Kroger immediately caved.

So fast forward to last week.  The Dems are trying to stop the proposed $25 billion Kroger and Albertsons merger, which requires regulatory approval.  Because why should two private businesses and their stockholders be able to take any action without having to beg permission from a bunch of low-IQ bureaucrats who couldn’t operate a lemonade stand?

Who do these grocery stores they think they are: free people, operating in a free market, in a free country? 

Kroger appeals to GOP senators to help protect them from the power-hungry Dems.  And Tom Cotton, bless him, wins a place in my humble conservative’s heart.

He points out that many large companies traditionally seek help from Republicans to uphold their rights in the face of Dem predations.  “I’ve cautioned them for years, that if they silence conservatives and center-right voters … if they discriminate against them in their company, they probably shouldn’t come and ask Republican senators to carry the water for them whenever our Democratic friends want to regulate them or block their mergers.”

And he closes with these immortal words: “So I’ll say this.  I’m sorry this is happening to you.  Best of luck.”  And then he slapped his microphone off. 

YES! 

That was the political equivalent of an old West gunfighter fanning the hammer on a Colt and drilling the bad guy in the heart, then twirling the gun on his finger and slipping it back into its holster.

More of this, please.

Finally, I’ve got 3 California stories that I think illustrate “reap what you sow” message, in different ways.

The first seems like some kind of fable, a “red flag” or omen story, even though it actually happened.

CA famously has terribly-managed traffic, and on December 2nd, two separate accidents happened within a few hours in Santa Clarita.  The second one happened in the morning, when a SUV and a big rig crashed, spilling a bunch of fuel and shutting down one freeway in a spot near where a different, elevated freeway passes by it.

An hour later, during the cleanup of the second accident, a box truck crashed on the elevated highway, and then fell over on top of the wrecked semi from the second accident. 

That sounds like it should be a proverb: “When your wrecked vehicles are falling off one highway and landing on your other wrecked vehicles, it’s time to flee the state.”

One day later, another Aesop’s fable happened in the Woodland Hills area of LA, where a father was unloading a minivan when a coyote loped up and grabbed his daughter.   He was able to scare the animal off after it had done only minor damage to the toddler, but she had to get rabies shots, and the coyote hasn’t been caught. 

I’m not saying that the coyote is still out there because of no cash bail policies, or because the authorities looked the other way because it was a brown c.o.c. (coyote of color), and thus a victim of our species-ist justice system.

But I’m not NOT saying that, either.

In fact, I’ll bet that the first thought of every sane California resident – the literally dozens of them – was, “Thank God it wasn’t a Balenciaga ad scout, or a Democrat puppy fetishist state senator, or a human ‘coyote’ who is smuggling illegals into our state!  Thank you, relatively benign and well-intentioned predatory coyote!”

The last story, and the one that best sums up what’s wrong with California, is the tale of a construction project.       

It seems that the public servants of San Francisco, having noticed that their streets are thigh-deep in human waste, recently announced that they were building a new public toilet.  

So naturally, with the best minds in CA at work on the problem, it was quickly and efficiently tackled, and was completed early and under budget.  The end.

HA!  I kid because I love.

Actually the only correct part of that last sentence was that the best minds in CA were deployed on the project.  

(Rumors that the roster included two junkies, a blocky grievance study prof with a Moe haircut and a perpetual scowl, a nonbinary emu with PTSD after having recently escaped from a San Francisco “petting” zoo – and please don’t ask what goes on in a SF petting zoo — three children’s teddy bears dressed in bondage gear, and Gavin Newsom, have not been confirmed.)

Planning began a year ago, and when they recently unveiled the proposal – and here I’d like you to imagine a rousing playing of “Thus Spake Zarathustra,” as if you were getting up for the appearance of Cocky the Gamecock before a SEC football game – it turned out that the toilet is going to cost $1.7 million. 

I wish I were making that up. 

And while the cost might sound unreasonable, there’s more to the story: The Versailles Palace of toilets is going to be ready for use in… wait for it…. 

No, literally. 

Wait for it.

Because it is scheduled to open in 2025! 

(Fortunately for San Franciscans, every public street there is a toilet, so nobody is going to have to cross their legs and hold it for the next 3 years.) 

There are two-thousand-year-old Roman aqueducts and roads that cost less and were finished sooner than that toilet.  And they are all in better shape now than that SF toilet will be two weeks after it opens. 

Meanwhile in the free state of Florida, two bridges connecting two islands to the mainland were destroyed by the recent CAT-4 hurricane.  They were rebuilt in 2 weeks.

In the words of Tom Cotton, “Best of luck, California!”

Fetterman/ Wile E. Coyote, 2024!

Biden’s and Putin’s Rough Week (posted 12/5/22)

In the lingering spirit of Thanksgiving, I think we should all be thankful that no matter what other challenges we are facing in our lives, at least we are not leftist French president Emmanuel Macron. 

Because that poor jerk came to the States last week for a state visit with Joe Biden, which went about how you would expect it to. 

The first mistake was that Biden’s team gave him a longer script than he can handle.  At this point in his presidency, he should be on a Fetterman regime, i.e. walk to a podium, clear his throat, and say, “Thank you, goodnight!” and then stumble off stage.

Instead, they gave him words to say.  And to slur.   

He bumbled through a brief review of our historically good relationship with France, including the debt we owe to “Marcus de Lafayette.”   Not the Heisman trophy winning running back; that was Marcus Allen.  Or the tv doctor; that was Marcus Welby. 

He meant the French guy who helped out in our revolution, who had the title of “marquis.”  Which is not pronounced “Marcus.”     

I’ll now give you a moment to slap your foreheads, and curse your fellow Americans who voted for this barely animated shell of a “leader.”

After his opening speech, Biden shook Macron’s hand for 42 seconds.  If you think it’s odd that I would know how long the handshake went on, you’re right.  It was so odd that a mainstream media report timed the handshake.

You’re probably thinking that 42 seconds is not that long.  If so, turn on a stove burner and try to hold your hand down on it for 42 seconds.  Or listen to AOC speaking for 42 straight seconds.  Or look at a close-up, high-def picture of Imhotep Pelosi’s mummy-face for 42 soul-shriveling seconds.

Yeah.  That’s how long Frenchy had to spend in the icy grip of the Corn Pop Slayer.  Macron tried to pull away several times, but Joe kept his hand clasped tightly.  If you watch the video, you can read his thoughts in his terrified expression: mon dieu, rigor mortis has set in!

When he was finally released, Macron then had to play the role of Joe-wrangler, as the two of them circulated to greet big shot attendees, while Biden kept wandering off course.

In a joint Q&A session later, Biden went on to what is now an established tradition of his: reading stage instructions out loud.  (Who can forget, “blah blah blah, repeat last sentence?”) To open the session, he mumbled that he and Macron were each going to take two questions, and then said that his managers had given him two specific softball-throwing bootlickers to call on.

(By the way, I once saw the Softball-Throwing Bootlickers open for the Titular Maniacs.  Thrash metal at its finest!)  (And if you got that reference, you’re a devoted reader of my columns, and God bless you!)

But he wasn’t done there.  Because why would he be? 

He tried to read a toast.  And unlike my toast at my daughter’s wedding – which was generally regarded as a triumph, and a high bar for all other fathers-of-the-bride to aspire to – Joey Gaffes das hündchen verschraubt.  (Yes, I’m still plugging away at my conversational German.  And that was supposed to be “screwed the pooch,” though I think there’s something wrong in my phrasing.)

Biden said, and I swear I am not making this actual quote up, “France was our first ally. First country to fly the American flag after our revolution.  And Frank hosted the first diplomatic post before more than anything else France has been our first friend.”

Yes, the syntax of that last sentence-adjacent cluster of words doesn’t make any sense. 

And yes, Biden called the nation of France, “Frank.”

I can’t wait for his European tour next summer, when he will helpfully explain that “Grace” gave us the philosophy of Aristotle and all of those great columns, and “Rommel” left us the writings of Marquis Aurelius, and “Austin” gave us Mozart.

Not to mention “Russ,” who gave us Evan the Terrible and vodka. 

As embarrassing as Biden’s performance was, I did enjoy watching a super uncomfortable Macron — whom I would bet Biden called both “Captain Morgan” and “Macaroni” at some point in the evening – standing there with a strained, “sacre bleu!” look on his face the whole time.   

Speaking of world leaders embarrassing themselves, you probably heard the reports that Vladimir Putin fell down the stairs at his Moscow residence last Wednesday, landing on his coccyx and causing him to – and I quote – “involuntarily defecate” on himself.

Or, as our own secret service would say it, “Putin pulled a Biden.”

Some persistent rumors suggest that Putin has cancer, and this recent incident may add credence to them.  While I don’t think any Jeffersonian democrats are waiting in the wings at the Kremlin to take Putin’s place when he goes, a changing of the guard may give new leadership in Russia a way to withdraw from the murderous disaster in Ukraine without losing face.

Regardless of what comes afterwards, it would seem like some kind of poetic justice for an evil dictator like Putin to go out by painfully riding his coccyx down a befouled staircase.

And if that last phrase isn’t some kind of gay slang, it ought to be.

Also, if you are playing Scrabble and have some hard-to-get-rid-of consonants, don’t sleep on “coccyx.” 

You’re welcome.

One other silver lining: for one brief, shining moment last week – before Macron landed in DC – we didn’t have the most embarrassing political leader in the world.

Fetterman/Evan the Terrible, ’24!

I Can’t Look Away from the Creepiness (posted 12/2/22)

Two stories today, both of which show the leftist establishment at its skeevy best.

The first story features everybody’s favorite paleface, the Land o’ Lakes Butter Maiden herself, Liz Warren. (#wemustneverstopmockingher)

She’s got another bee in her war bonnet (#neverstop), this time about Twitter, and the unfair way that Elon Musk has started to use it to foster free speech in America.  The nerve of that guy!

When a Fox business reporter asked, “Do you think that users have a right to freedom of speech, even if what they’re saying is wrong or offensive?” Grandma Squanto had reservations. (#nevernever)

Quoth the Shawnee Scold, “I think that one human being should not decide how millions of people communicate with each other.  One human being should not be able to go into a dark room by himself and decide: ‘Oh, that person gets heard from, that person doesn’t.’ That’s not how it should work.”

Unless that person is Jack “weird beard” Dorsey (former owner of Twitter), I guess?  Or Pagan Narwhal (Twitter’s former CEO), or Vijaya “Teflon Don” Gadde (Twitter’s former head of censorship)?

Or Jeff Bezos?  Or Mark Zuckerberg?  

Because all of those zillionaires have been sitting around determining who gets heard from and who doesn’t for years, and the Irritated Iroquois (#neverstopneverstopping) never seemed to mind.  But let someone who disagrees with her authoritarian political vision buy Twitter, and watch how her headdress feathers get ruffled. (#seriouslykeepmocking)

Out of our lefty elites’ vast oceans of cluelessness, the free speech debate might be the one area in which they are the most deeply ensconced in their bubble.  Over and over again, they’ve demonstrated that they don’t have the slightest idea of what their conservative opponents think.

When Musk took over Twitter, hordes of them either said that they’d leave before the Musk-rat could kick them off, or announced that they’d defiantly stay UNTIL he kicked them off.  When he didn’t kick lefties off, they were totally disoriented.

It was like they were bowed up and ready to push against Musk with all of their strength, and instead of pushing back, he just stepped aside without any resistance.  And they clumsily pitched forward and face-planted, like Joe Biden each time he tries to climb a mobile airplane staircase.    

They really don’t understand us at all, mostly because they all have advanced degrees in projection.  Whenever THEY get control of a news outlet or tech platform, they impose one-sided censorship, character-assassination and banishment.  So they assume that we would behave the same way. 

When we don’t, they end up looking foolish, as they have every day since Musk bought Twitter.

But I’m not sure that the elitist lefties understand themselves any more than they understand us.  Because nearly all of them chant the mantra of, “We love free speech, but not hate speech.”   

But that proclamation misses two huge points.

First, the most significant and culturally influential speech that the leftist establishment banned involved not hate, but political debate on such crucial issues as covid, possible voting fraud, Hunter’s laptop and Biden’s graft-tastic dealings with foreign regimes, the disastrous effects of an open border, etc.

That’s the essential stuff of democracy, from the Founders’ time to today, and the left squashed it without a moment’s hesitation or a second thought.   

Second, even in cases of what could arguably be labeled “hate speech,” the left – and, to be fair, many on the right – ignore the essential question of “Who gets to decide what is and isn’t hate speech?”  Because just like every contentious concept – racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, capitalism – hate is in the eye of the beholder.

The left will not tolerate anti-Semitism, for example.

Unless it comes from Screwy Louie Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, the jihadi twins Omar and Tlaib, etc. and etc.

They also won’t tolerate sexism.

Unless it is used to attack Melania Trump, conservative women, pro-life women, or attractive female Fox News hosts.

They are deeply offended by racism.

Except when it’s used to support rabidly anti-white groups like BLM or La Raza, or to attack “whiteness” and white people, and toxic white men and white Karens, and Asians who keep scoring too high on standardized tests.     

One point that the left is clear about: a less censorious Twitter is a threat to them.  Because their ideas are fatally flawed, and in a free and fair debate, they’re going to get beaten like a rented mule.

And that’s why the crotchety Choctaw from Massachusetts has got her buckskin dress in a bunch. 

So let’s do whatever we can to champion free speech.  And let’s never stop mocking her. 

In my “Find a Mirror” segment this week, I’m going to very briefly discuss the super deviant ad that most of you already know about.  

Until last week, if you’d asked me what I thought of Balenciaga, I’d have told you that they make a fine automobile that competes with the Ferrari and Lamborghini.  Or possibly that Balenciaga is an exquisite pasta dish that I prefer served al Pomodoro.

But last week as I walked into the living room, my lovely wife and I had this conversation: 

Norwegian Goddess:  Have you seen the Balenciaga ad?

Me: No.  I suppose the ’23 is out now?  Does it have 12 cylinders, and how many CO-ers will have to hit my Tip Jar before I can buy one?

NG: You really think you’re hilarious, don’t you?

Me (with a charming, self-deprecating shrug): Who am I to fly in the face of public opinion?

NG: Just look at this ad, bonehead.

Me:  That’s Dr. Bonehead, to you.  (after a 30-second perusal) Good lord! Why does that little girl look so sad?  And why is her toy bear wearing bondage gear?  And what kind of sick pervs (and probably big Democrat donors, I’m guessing) would think that this ad is acceptable?  I need a shower!    

And, scene.

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the repulsive, exploitative ads, and the resulting firestorm.  They are of a piece with our culture’s recent spate of pedophilia-adjacent weirdness, from twerking drag queens in “family friendly” shows, and drag queen story hours, and trans-ing the kids all over the place.    

“But Martin, what could be worse than these ultra squalid ads?” you are not asking, because you don’t care for rhetorical questions.

To answer that one, we must travel to where the intelligence quotient goes to die: The View.   

That Mensa club looked past the idiotic parents who let their little girls “star” in these ads, and the perverse “creatives” who came up with this pitch, and the soul-less executives who green-lighted it to find the REAL culprits behind this Satanic slumber party of a campaign: conservatives.

I Schumer you not.

Here’s the reasoning, according to the vacuous ladies of the View: 

“There’s growing anti-LGBTQ sentiment right now.  And how it’s being framed is as portraying trans people as ‘groomers’.  This is a term you’ll hear on the far right… this is where you get the anti-drag queen stuff.”   

Yes, the problem of ads that sexualize children is “how it’s being framed.”  And who is framing it that way?  The “far right,” of course. 

Because who else could possibly have a problem with drag queens doing burlesque routines in front of toddlers?  (By the way, that answer would include the vast majority of gay people, who are just as repulsed by this as any other non-groomers are.)

Einstein McSocial-Critic continues: “So Balenciaga played right into their hands, by having kids in a sexualized manner….  It was a really bad mis-step at a moment where it’s a dangerous time to give credence to those kind of insane takes.”

So the only real mistake that Balenciaga made was a mis-step that “played into the hands” of the real villains – the conservatives — and by doing so, giving “credence to [their] insane” interpretation of all of this innocent near-kiddie-porn stuff.

Or maybe – and hear me out, lefty brain trust – it’s not insane to accuse people of sexually grooming children when you’re discussing an ad that [begin Sam Kinison screaming voice] DEMONSTRATES SEXUAL GROOMING OF CHILDREN! OH! OHHHH!

After all, some sicko handed that poor little girl the S&M teddy bear, and if she asked about why he was dressed like that, probably told her something like, “Oh that’s right, you don’t recognize this stuff, do you?  It’s okay, you’ll learn all about bondage, ball gags and fetish gear when you start kindergarten next fall.” 

Ugh. 

The last word went to racist little ball of evil Sunny Hostin, who brought it all home, as only a morally-dead-inside cretin could, when she identified what’s really “distasteful” in all this: “Balenciaga lately… their stuff is just ugly!”   

I only wish that Chris Hansen could have burst onto the Balenciaga set, announced that this was an elaborate episode of “To Catch a Predator,” and arrested every adult involved in sight.

To everyone involved in that campaign, and everyone on the View excusing them, I say, “Find a mirror!”

Fetterman/ The Marquis de Sade ’24!

Thoughts on Fauci’s Farewell & a “Pandemic Amnesty”(posted 11/28/22)

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Ours was great.  Our youngest was home from college, and my brothers-in-law came over, and my wife made an amazing meal.  (Of all the husbands in all the land, I have definitely done the best job of marrying up.)

My oldest daughter – you may remember her from her beautiful wedding this last summer, and her saving her first life as a pediatric nurse last year — was saving lives in Denver, and so could not make it home.  But her pre-Thanksgiving Facebook post tells you everything you need to know about her.

In her “Friendsgiving” pic, she and her new husband are in their living room with several dozen friends that they’ve made in the 3 months they’ve been in Colorado.  (By contrast, I’m 116 and have lived in the same town for 36 years, and could assemble maybe 8 good friends for a photo-op, assuming they were willing to pose with me while I was wearing my “Let’s Go, Brandon” t-shirt.) 

On Thanksgiving night, after our guests had gone home, I experienced a moment that made me self-consciously grateful.  I was in our living room on the recliner, while my wife and our youngest were on the couch.  The big screen over the fireplace was playing the Vikings-Patriots game with the sound off, and our tree was up in the corner, covered with ornaments gathered over 33 years of marriage.   

Cassie the Wonder Dog was curled up on the floor beside my chair, and the three cats were dozing around the room.  All of us have gotten on a language kick, and were playing around with Duo Lingo on our phones, which was oddly fun.  I was doing my German (Mein hund ist schon und klug, thanks for asking), while the wife was working on Norwegian, and the daughter on Japanese.

As I listened to my family mumbling in comically difficult languages, in a house filled with people who love each other, I thought about lucky I am, and how lucky we all are to be living now, and in this great country.  With all of its flaws, and ours, there is still so much sweetness in life, and meaningful work to be done.  And Christmas is coming!

Speaking of things to be grateful for, Dr. Fauci made his farewell appearance at the White House last week, and it was an encouraging reminder of how nice it will be to not have to listen to him anymore. 

Our mendacious kewpie doll of a WH spokeswoman – she’s into the curvy folks with the XX chromosomes, so your criticisms are invalid – was at her condescending best.  She scolded journalists for trying to ask relevant questions, whining that they weren’t in charge, and that they were being rude to “our guest.”

By which she meant our highly paid employee, Dr. Science, Esq.

So if you were wondering whether the virus came from gain of function research in a Chicom lab, or whether we can finally admit that masks don’t work, or whether the potential downsides of injecting healthy people and children might outweigh the benefits, you got your answers.

And those answers were, “Shut up,” and, “How dare you?” and “Security!”

Watching that press conference brought me back to a much-discussed article from last month in the Atlantic magazine, in which lefty author Emily Oster famously called for “a pandemic amnesty.”  Her thesis was that if we are to get along in the future, we have to get past all of the animosity that arose because of the vaccine, mask and mandatory lock-down wars.  Her proposal is that we all extend some grace and forgiveness to each other, and move on.  

Her appeal for reconciliation was at least momentarily tempting to me, and for several reasons.  Morally speaking, my faith is big on grace and forgiveness.  And politically and pragmatically speaking, she’s right about the need to reconcile; our nation has become so polarized, and I don’t see how our current state of growing animosity and division can end well.

I thought of the example of Lincoln, who after the bloodiest war in our history called for a binding of our wounds, and for moving on “with malice toward none, and charity toward all.”  If he could call for accepting the former confederates back into the union after all that carnage, we should be able to reconcile with those on the other side of the covid wars.

But I can’t agree with her proposal as it stands, for several more reasons.

First, true reconciliation requires real admission of error.  (Uncle Jesus calls that confession and repentance, but there are alternative secular/psychological terms for it, if you prefer.)  And it doesn’t seem that very many of those on the leftist/alarmist side are willing to make that crucial first step.

To her credit, Oster comes closer than most of her allies.  She admits now that early on she and her family over-reacted, and were wrong – and that’s not something that I’ve seen often on the left, even at this late date. 

But her article has been so widely criticized because she also quickly excuses herself by claiming that we just didn’t know any better at the time.  She suggests there was a lot of intentional misinformation being spread, and that some people were right, but “for the wrong reasons.”  She goes so far as to say that getting some things right had “a hefty element of luck,” and that “getting something wrong wasn’t a moral failing.”

She’s being way too kind to her side, in a way that suggests continual – and I think intentional – moral blindness.  

The best way to evaluate our virus response is to distinguish between behavior early on – say from March to May of 2020 – compared to everything that came after.   During those first several months, we knew so little that it was reasonable to take all sorts of precautions, and we should all extend grace to each other for actions taken then.

But by the summer of 2020, a flood of data was coming in that contradicted the establishment left’s narrative.  A few examples: Florida’s Disneyworld opened in June, and contrary to the left’s alarmist predictions, bodies didn’t stack up like cordwood in Orlando.  By mid-summer we knew that the flu was dozens of times more deadly than the virus for young and healthy people. 

In August, the Association of American Pediatricians – no conservative group! – released a strong statement saying that healthy kids K-12 should be back in school, since their psych/educational losses far outweighed the tiny risk from the virus.

In October some of the best epidemiologists in the world released the Great Barrington Declaration,  giving scientific weight to the ideas that masks don’t work, and the smart path was to allow/persuade the compromised to isolate, but let the rest of society calculate their own risks and get back to normal.  

By that time, people on our side weren’t “right for the wrong reasons,” and we weren’t “deniers,” and there was no “hefty element of luck” in our being proven right.  We were following the science, and being gaslit and punished and fired and shamed about it.

And no, Ms. Oster, at that point – and ever since – you can NOT say that “getting something wrong wasn’t a moral failing.”  Because for the last two years, the left writ large has politicized the disease, and used it to achieve its unpopular and coercive political agenda to greatly increase the government’s power, and to get their preferred candidate elected president.

That’s a moral failing.  And until the left acknowledges and apologizes for that, reconciliation is not going to come.

But our primary goal going forward – even more than enforcing accountability on the bad-faith left that used the covid crisis rather than “letting it go to waste” – should be to make sure that this never happens again.

A good first step would be to reverse any lingering covid policy hangovers: ban any further mandates and rehire anyone unjustly fired; cancel any loan deferments speciously attributed to the “crisis;” return any unspent and unneeded covid “relief” appropriations to the treasury.

A good second step would be to expose and punish those who behaved badly and dishonestly, from Fauci on down.  Not primarily out of a desire for vengeance – although that is a legitimate motive too – but “pour l’encouragement des autres.” 

Because if Fauci gets the public arse-whipping he deserves – through investigating and publicizing his dishonest emails, responsibility for funding dangerous gain-of-function “research,” and dirty financial dealings – we’ll have made future potential power-grabbers a lot more gun-shy about trying this kind of stuff again.  

We’ll know we’ve succeeded when the next arrogant fool who stands up and says anything as stupid as, “I am the science!” will be mercilessly mocked and then thrown off the public stage like John Wayne tossing a bad guy through a set of swinging saloon doors.

Here in CO nation, we stand ready on the mockery ramparts!

Silver Linings After the Election, & the Greatest College Football Mascot Ever (posted 11/28/22)

Since there is more to life than politics – thank God! – I will touch on a few silver linings in our post-election milieu, and then move on to a weightier, non-political topic.

And because I might not be writing a second column this holiday week, I’m cramming this slightly longer column with even more insightful and entertaining digressions than I usually do.

You’re welcome. 

Or I’m sorry, if you’re one who thinks my columns are too long!

Okay, so one small bright side of this disappointing election is that Biden has been strengthened by the lack of a red wave, and seems determined to run for re-election in ’24.  I don’t think the Dems who are really running things can allow that, but it will be fun to watch all of the shooting inside the tepee (HA! #wemustneverstopmockingher) that goes on in the next year. 

They need to ditch Biden, but they also have to ditch the most common line-of-succession replacement for him, Que Mala.  And if you think it’s going to be popcorn-rific to watch them dump an old white guy who doesn’t want to go, wait until you see the fratricidal fireworks when they try to dump the first double-minority gyno-American VP in history!  Fun!

More importantly, I see more chaos and problems for the Dems, because their far-left fringe – which, perversely, is also their mainstream in DC – is taking the wrong lesson from their narrow defeat this month.  They are going to tack even farther left, which is neither where the country nor the majority of actual Dems in the country are. 

It’s also helpful that the person stepping into Pelosi’s ossified sandals is Hakeem “not Olajuwon” Jeffries, a far-left, race-baiting election denier.  The race-baiting doesn’t really set him apart from the rest of his party, most of whose members double-majored in Marxist theory and racial arson in their woke colleges.

But the election denying is a pretty sweet irony, and one which a minimally competent GOP (here’s crossing my fingers!) should hang around his perfidious neck every chance they get.  

For years he’s made ever more outrageous claims about Trump having stolen the election in 2016, being a fake and illegitimate president, etc.  You know, the way treasonous domestic terrorists – who should be hunted down, imprisoned and possibly executed – do.

(Having said that, given the incomprehensible lack of a red wave and the re-election of repugnant incompetents [Fetterbiden, Whitmer, Hochul, Hobbs, etc.] nationwide, it’s hard to be confident that horrible leftist candidates will lose, no matter how horrible they are.)

Even on the GOP side, there are also some glimmers of hope.  The red states – especially Florida, Texas, Iowa and Ohio, among others – provided salutary examples of good governance, conducting elections that were transparent and orderly, with the votes actually counted on election day! 

Zelden in blue NY managed to help flip a lot of House seats in his state, and DeSantis shepherded a mini-red tsunami in his state that should be a model for all red or reddish states going forward.

Even Kevin McCarthy – and I’m holding my breath to see how he performs as majority leader – is saying some encouraging things, such as that he will throw Swalwell, Schiff and Omar off of key committees.

Which is the least that a sane nation should expect, really.  It’s an embarrassment that even after Swalwell was banging Fang Fang, he was still allowed access to secret materials, and Schiff has been caught lying and abusing his authority on various committees dozens of times.  It’s a pitiful joke that either Swalwell or Schiff would ever be associated even tangentially with any committee that had “intelligence” in its title.

And Ilhan Omar is as vicious an anti-Semite as Rashida Talib, or whichever weird-beard jihadi is currently leading Hamas or Hezbollah.   

Plus, when the Dems kicked Marjorie Taylor Greene (who, to be fair, said a lot of stupid things, though she can’t hold a candle to any of the dumber Dems in congress, stupid-statement-wise) off of a committee, the GOP warned them they would regret establishing a precedent “in which the majority dictates the minority party’s committee assignments.” 

Enjoy reaping what you’ve been sowing, you arrogant, short-sighted socialist jerks!

But enough about all that.  This holiday week is meant to be a time when we set aside our political and other differences, and savor the finer, more important things in life.

Things like, say, football. 

Of course I don’t mean soccer.  Because a benevolent God gave us hands for a reason, and that reason is to stiff-arm an opponent, or grab his facemask if he’s stiff-armed us, or punch him in the throat when we’re on the bottom of a pile. 

Or to hold, throw and catch a ball, obviously. 

A game so perverse that it requires players to willingly forsake God’s great gift of hands in favor of kicking at a ball like a hand-less idiot seems almost – yes, I’m going there – blasphemous. 

Sure, feet are fine.  But do you know who else has feet, and could easily play a rudimentary kicking game? 

Monkeys.

And before you can object that monkeys also have hands, get out of here with that.  Monkeys have hands only in the sense that John Fetterman has cognitive ability.  Have you ever seen a monkey playing a violin concerto, or writing a hilarious political column with his so-called “hands?”

You have not.  So get back to me when you’ve got a couple of opposable thumbs, Dr. Zaius!  (Yes, that’s a trenchant Planet of the Apes reference.  Let’s see your average macaque come up with that!)

Where was I?

Oh yes.  

Because I’m a straight male who identifies as a straight male – not that there’s anything wrong with non-straight males… unless they don’t identify as males, in which case, get well soon – I love both college and pro football.

And after having lived more than three decades in a college town that has given the world both Tom Petty and the Fightin’ Gators, I’m very proud of my adopted hometown, and even more appreciative of SEC football in particular.

Have I spent many happy moments outside the Swamp (the great one, not the filthy, godforsaken one in DC) sitting cross-legged in front of the three statues of UF’s Heisman winners, Spurrier, Wuerffel and Tebow, you don’t need to ask, because you already know the answer?

If that sounds like I take this stuff a tad too seriously, I’ll counter by saying that those three are only my SECOND favorite trinity.  So I’ve got that going for me.

Anyway, my topic for today is Saturday night’s South Carolina – Tennessee game, which was amazing.  The unranked and three-touchdown underdog SC team defeated #5 TN by scoring 9 touchdowns!  I didn’t have a dog in that fight, but I always love a good underdog story, and this was a great one.

I especially love details like this:  The SC stadium has an incredible lighting system, with a giant horizontal superstructure built around and above the top of the stadium.  They’ve also got an apparatus for firing off multiple volleys of fireworks to celebrate each home-team touchdown.

Before Saturday’s game, the smart money said that they didn’t have to worry about firing too many volleys in their game against mighty Tennessee.  But they scored TDs on each of their 5 first-half possessions, firing double-volleys into the air each time. 

When they scored the first couple of second-half TDs, I noticed that they were firing only one volley each time.  And as they scored the final touchdown late in the last quarter, giving them 63 total points, they had no fireworks left, and had to be content with a potentially seizure-inducing light show.

That’s the beauty of SEC football: you can go into a game against a national powerhouse as an extreme underdog, and at the end of the night, your biggest problem with the game plan is that you run out of enough fireworks to celebrate your scores!

But more than any of that, I learned something new that has made me very happy.  It’s about the South Carolina pre-game team introduction, and the unbelievable cognitive dissonance-creating matching of music and lovably risible team traditions and mascots.

Many college football programs incorporate music into their in-game and pre-game routines.  Queen’s “We are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You,” are played often (some say too often) during games, as are the mesmerizing dirty guitar opening bars of AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”  More satisfying are Wisconsin’s playing House of Pain’s “Jump Around” and Florida’s playing Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” both during the break between the 3rd and 4th quarters.

Best of all (IMHO) is Virginia Tech’s use of Metallica’s sonic assault “Enter Sandman” as their players enter the stadium.  Over 80,000 people in the stadium – fans, the band, cops and EMTs, ROTC students in uniform, grandparents who risk breaking a hip – are pogo-sticking up and down as the music builds to a crescendo.  For a couple of minutes, the stadium registers on seismographs.

If you can watch that and not feel anything, you’re as dead inside as Joe Biden’s frontal cortex.

Which brings me to South Carolina’s pre-game ritual, which I’d never seen until Saturday night.  Rather than opening with an iconic rock guitar anthem, the good people of South Carolina have chosen – I swear I’m not making this up – Richard Wagner’s musical version of Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra.”

If you think you don’t know that music, you do.  It was most famously used in Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”  It’s iconic, and portentous, and evocative of a somber, awe-inspiring, incipient apocalypse.

So South Carolina plays that music, while rhythmically synchronized flashing lights fire off around the stadium, and cheerleaders roll an elevated, black-draped contraption out onto the field.  And at the climactic moment, they drop the black panels to reveal the South Carolina mascot in a cage:

A guy in an absurd rooster outfit, who then starts gyrating and kicking with his comically oversized, puffy yellow bird feet.

I laughed so hard when I saw that, and I had to watch it three more times to appreciate all of the nuances.  How many ways do I love it?

At least four.

1. The SC real-life mascot is a fighting rooster.  Which is already a little weird.  There are many inspiring birds in sports iconography: teams all over the country are called the eagles, or the falcons, or the hawks.  Baltimore went all Edgar Allan Poe with the Ravens.  Auburn’s War Eagle is the best.

But a rooster?  Even though roosters are known for being belligerent – the spurs on their legs can do a lot of damage if you get too close – they don’t have the majesty or gravitas of a falcon or an eagle.

2. What is the name for the actual bird mascot at SC?  “Sir Big Spur.”  Which is great!

3. But it gets better, because a particular subset of roosters that are trained to fight are called “Gamecocks,” which gives the team its official name.  And that, of course, has given birth to a thousand funny, politically incorrect references, from “Go Cocks” apparel to the student seating section of the stadium, which is called the Cock Pit.

(In fact, until recently the women’s teams were called “the Lady Gamecocks.”  Which in these days of creepy dudes dominating actual females in female sports might have created a too-disturbing mental picture.)

Yes, I’m nearly 100 years old, and a refined scholar and a gentleman.  So you’d think I’d be above juvenile [game]cock-related humor.

But you’d be wrong. 

In fact, in a PC age when various sports teams are meekly changing their names, and the Redskins played for several years under the generically neutered moniker of “the Washington Football Team,” I appreciate even more the way that South Carolinians have steered into the [game]cock skid.

(By the way, if you’re looking for a good title for a gay porno movie – and you definitely should not be – you could do worse than that last phrase.)

4. The chicken-suited mascot’s name?  “Cocky,” of course.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen something more quintessentially American than the opening of that football game on Saturday night.   The juxtaposition of iconic high culture from two dour Germans and the unselfconscious joy of tens of thousands of people rocking a stadium in celebration of a grown man in a suit that looks like Foghorn Leghorn and Big Bird had a baby, before playing God’s favorite game?

Priceless.

Yes, it’s silly, and trivial, and more than a little goofy. But in a world in which we’re led by dimwitted narcissists, and when a huge number of my countrymen just said the country is on the wrong track and then voted for more of the same, I relish the visceral pleasure of an innocent, joyous celebration.

Does it hurt that each rocking stadium at gametime is also a sea of mostly red voters, or that you could count the number of America-hating 1619-project fans in all such stadiums on one hand? 

It does not.   

I am thankful for a lot this Thanksgiving – the chance for time with family, to concentrate my mind on everything we enjoy in life now, and on goals for the future.  As always, I am very grateful that CO created this site and gave me the chance to rant and mock, and also to get to know all of you in CO nation, and to take part in our now years-long buffet of conversation, commiseration, celebration and commentary.  

Not to mention juvenile humor and snarkery. 

So as you approach this holiday, please join me in also being thankful for the turkey that will grace our tables, and for that other symbolic, great American fowl:

Cocky, the ridiculous South Carolina mascot.

Fetterman/Cocky the Gamecock, 2024!

Pelosi is Leaving, & Who Can Identify a “Delusional Maniac” in DC? (posted 11/18/22)

Now that the GOP has at least secured a narrow majority in the House, I can finally ease up on my medicinal bourbon consumption.  (It turns out there’s a fine line between “problematic” and “medicinal.” Who knew?)

As the worst-case scenario gloom – i.e. the prospect of the Dems still controlling both houses of congress – has lifted, my thoughts have turned to family, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I’ve been making good progress on converting my old garage into an organized, air-conditioned and heated workshop, and my conversational German practice has been going well.

I’ve also been cheered by generous CO nation member and all-around good egg Ivy Shafer, who hit the tip jar on my web page hard this month.  So thanks, Ivy!

Of course I’m still paying some attention to politics, and looking for silver linings in this early winter of our national discontent.  

One such glimmer of hope came today.  After lo these many centuries in power, Imhotep Pelosi has finally announced that she is stepping down in January.

So when the blessed day arrives and she hands over the gavel, her face an expressionless amalgam of botulinum toxins and the mysterious results of the embalmer’s art, she will turn and shamble over to a seat in the house chamber, trailing a strand of her burial cloth behind her.

Because of course she’s not leaving the House.  I mean why would she, after a mere 2342 years in power?

So the innocent residents of Washington (if there are any left) will still have to be frightened by the frequent cries of tourists who accidentally encounter her: “Aiieeee!  The mummy walks among us!  Kill her with fire!”  

To make things more complicated, when the Fetter-Biden lumbers out to take his oath, I fully expect new shrieks of, “Aaiiieee!  The monster has escaped the castle.  Get the pitchforks and torches!”

I saw a headline on RedState this week that brought with it a sobering realization.  It read, “Delusional Maniac Teases Run Against Trump in 2024.” 

Sadly, I was quickly able to make a dozen reasonable guesses as to whom the titular maniac in that headline might be.

By the way, for my money, Titular Maniac is hands down the worst of the 70’s sexploitation slasher movies.

(I know, that one was beneath me.  But dammit, it made me laugh when it popped into my head.  And after that midterm I’ll take laughs from wherever I can get them.)

My first instinct was that the delusional maniac in question was probably Liz Cheney.  But then I thought of ex-president of the world Stacy Abrams.  Then Gretchen Whitmer.  Then Gavin Newsom, Joe Biden (RIP), and Que Mala.

Asa Hutchinson – the actual delusional maniac in this story – wouldn’t even have made my top 30 list of Washington no-talent imbeciles likely to believe him/herself worthy of a presidential run. 

Again, it’s not a good sign for our country when someone calls one of our high-profile national politicians a delusional maniac, and we cannot even narrow down the list of pols that that label could apply to.

Finally, as regular readers know, I love a running joke.  In general, I think if a joke is funny the first time, it gets really tired the fourth or fifth time around.  But if you stick with it and keep hammering it, it starts becoming funny again. 

Thus the familiar lines I return to again and again, ad hilarium.  (That’s right.  Not “ad nauseum.”)  #wemustneverstopmockingher.  The Cadaver in Chief.  Imhotep Pelosi.

In that vein, I’ve been ending most of my columns for the last several years with a mock suggestion of “Avenatti/ Dullard du Jour, 2024.” 

It’s been my small way of reminding everyone that a few years ago, a bunch of the Dems and MSM talking heads became temporarily priapic over the transparently phony Creepy Porn Lawyer, touting him as a potential presidential candidate, despite his evident unfitness to do anything but pander to hateful leftists and steal from gullible porn stars.

But now that Avenatti is in the can for four years, I’ve given up on his chances to top the Dem ticket in ’24.  But thankfully, at least one prominent lefty has put forth a worthy successor to pick up Avenatti’s banner of terribleness.   

I give you MSNBC’s Katie Tur.  As in, “Katie Tur said something really insightful today.”

Said nobody ever.

Katie and superannuated hack Andrea Mitchell (Oh how I miss Rush, and his distinctive, nasal pronunciation of “Andrea Mitchell!”) were so giddy with the non-red-wave mid-term results that they got out over their straight-jackets with some presidential candidate speculation.

Sorry, that’s “skis.”  They got out over their skis.

Honest mistake.

Tur stated “Fetterman, as a nominee at some point for president” could be a possibility. “I know there’s some variables, obviously, but I just, you know, what he did in the super-red, deep-red parts of Pennsylvania… it makes you wonder about his future.” 

Yes Katie, we all should wonder about his future.  As in, will he ever regain cognitive and speech functions enough to do an even minimally competent job as a senator in the future?

But Mitchell, who is old enough to know better – and to BE better, for that matter – went right along with Tur, pointing out that after spending “a lot of time covering this race, and with Pennsylvania politics, going back some decades,” she was impressed with the way Fetterman performed.  She pointed out that he did better than both Trump and Biden in PA.

The former point should be a wake-up call to PA voters, and the latter is a well-deserved insult to Biden.

So as we begin to look toward the 2024 campaign (shudder), I give you…

Fetterman/Katie “the terrible” Tur, 2024!

My Two Cents on the Trump-DeSantis Debate (posted 11/14/22)

Let me say up front that I think the country owes a big debt of gratitude to Trump.  Not only did he spare us the hell-scape of a Hillary presidency, he governed much more conservatively than anyone since Reagan.  You all know the record – 3 originalist SC justices, cutting taxes and regulations, booming economy, energy independence, a less-porous border, no foreign wars, etc.

I was very skeptical of Trump in ’16 and voted for him with trepidation.  But his performance won me over, and I voted for him enthusiastically in ’20.  I’m not sure that election was “stolen” from him, but I’m certain that it was rigged, in many ways (the MSM tying him up in hoax scandals, suppressing the Hunter laptop, holding back news of the vaccine until after the election, etc. and etc.), and I completely sympathize with his justified outrage at the way he was treated.   

I share that outrage.

Having said all that, Trump has significant flaws (as do we all), chief among them a huge ego and impulsive lack of discipline.

In general, I don’t hold the former against him too much, because I don’t think that anyone without a big ego ever becomes president.  Obama, for example, literally said that his election would begin the healing of the earth and the receding of the tides, and that he thought he knew more about any subject than his advisors/specialists.  He also built fake Greek temple columns for one of his rallies, and he bragged about having a pen and a phone, so he didn’t need to deal with trivialities like the democratic process.   Etc. and etc.

Ego can sometimes motivate one to achieve worthy goals, as it often did for Trump at his best.  If he had enough common sense to know how a strong economy works, and thus governed conservatively, should I really care whether he helped the economy get stronger because he wanted people to succeed, or because he wanted a glowing name in history for presiding over a strong economy?

Sure, it would be nice if a leader really behaved out of selfless devotion to country.  But since that’s pretty rare, I’ll take the one who does the right thing, even if he’s doing it for mixed reasons.

I look at most human endeavors the same way.  Great writers, artists and musicians produce great books, art and music for a variety of reasons: to get women, to get rich, to get famous, to share a gift with the world.  As long as we get great books, art and music from them, I don’t particularly care whether their motives were high, low or mixed.  (Spoiler alert: 99% of humans’ motivations for working hard at anything are mixed.)

But a huge ego can be devastatingly counter-productive when combined with lack of discipline.  Trump bashing Dems and critics when they had no legitimate point was a thing of beauty and a joy to behold; his bashing Rosie O’Donnell for being fat, or McCain for having been captured was counter-productive and small.

Many times – and much more since the 2020 election – Trump’s ego has led him to hurt his party (and, I think, the country) in the service of personal grudges.

Biden was able to do much of the terrible damage he’s done because we lost both GA senate seats in the 2020 run-offs.  We lost both contests – in a reddish state – by very small margins, and Trump’s focus on how he’d been screwed rather than on getting out the GOP vote did not help.

Kemp in GA and DeWine in OH were the strongest gov candidates in their primaries – and both won on Tuesday – but Trump held grudges against both and did what he could to sabotage them. He put Dr. Oz over the top in the PA primary because of personal feelings, rather than any evidence of electability.

Worst of all, IMHO, have been his recent attacks on DeSantis.  To give any GOP governor a caustic nickname at a rally three days before the midterms was purely selfish.  (Why would he even be talking about GOP polling about primaries for the 2024 race when he’s supposed to be rallying the base to kick some Dem butt on 11/8?)  To continue taking other shots at RDS this week – along with Youngkin! — can be explained only by Trump’s personal insecurities.

One of the virtues of Trump’s fighting style was that rarely started a fight, but he was a quick counter-puncher.  But RDS hasn’t attacked Trump at all, and Trump is lashing out anyway, and in a way that cannot help the conservative cause.

This pains me to write, because again, I think Trump accomplished a lot in his presidency.  And after the weak-tea invertebrates who wouldn’t even take their own side in a fight whom the GOP had been running – Romney, McCain, even W, though I admire a lot about him – Trump demonstrated the value of joining the fight and punching back.

But you want to punch your opponent — not the referee, the ring girl, and your own corner people!

DeSantis has a solid conservative record that combines the best aspects of Trump’s guts and combativeness, without the negative baggage.  DeSantis has picked the right battles – over covid lockdowns and mask mandates, illegals being shipped into Florida, CRT and wokeness in schools, etc. – and he’s waged them as a disciplined, happy warrior.

I know that whoever we nominate, the Dems and MSM (but I repeat myself) are going to demonize and smear him, and they’ll do their best to give RDS the Trump treatment, too.  But I trust DeSantis more than Trump to withstand those attacks and strike back judiciously.

Finally, from a Machiavellian, practical viewpoint, I’ve got to look at the cost-benefit of both candidates.

Trump’s negatives are baked in; he’s got what CO called “a titanium ceiling.” Whether we like it or not, around 40-45% of the American electorate hate his guts, and will never vote for him, no matter who he is running against. 

Even if he kept all of his earlier support – and after the last week, and his bad-optics attacks on the best-performing GOP candidates on 11/8, he won’t – his path to winning in 2024 is not promising.

He has already run against two of the weakest opponents since the fall of Rome.  He managed to thread the needle and narrowly defeat the repugnant and unpopular Cankles McPantsuit in 2016, and even in the best-case scenario he fought to a draw (or possibly a super-narrow victory, absent fraud) with the demented, deceased Brandon, the second-most unpopular nominee in history in 2020. 

For what it’s worth – and remember, I’m the guy with the defective wizard hat and the clouded-over crystal brain – everything I’ve seen of DeSantis tells me that he’s got a lot more upside than downside. 

Though it would pain me to lose a fantastic governor, I’m hoping he runs in 2024.

Avenatti/Fetter-biden, 2024!

My Mid-Term Election Post-Mortem (posted 11/11/22)

Well, obviously my wizard hat is on the fritz, my crystal brain has some kind of wiring issue, and my gut has betrayed me.  I expected a red tsunami, and we all know how that worked out.  

Many conservatives are now looking for someone to blame, and there are a lot of candidates.  Feckless Rinos, lying Dems, Trump, bad GOP candidates, a corrupt MSM, suspicious poll malfunctions in AZ, pollsters who couldn’t pick the winner of a one-horse race, and on and on.

There’s probably some truth in each theory, because there is plenty of blame to go around.

For example, many have pointed to bad GOP candidates, and said Walker and Oz lost (though Walker could still prevail in a run-off) because of their manifest flaws.  And yes, if the GOP had nominated better candidates in those cases, they may have won.   

But are Rafael Warnock (a phony, unqualified and racist “pastor” who preaches racism while he’s also evicting poor blacks from his shady, church-owned real estate) and John Fetterwoman (a hulking combination of life-long failure, leftist extremism and crippling cognitive dysfunction) better candidates?

The latter is especially hard to understand, because PA has voted for years like a purple state, which means that a moderate – on either side – should get way more votes than an extremist on either side.  In which case a mushy moderate quasi-conservative like Oz should get a lot more votes than a far-lefty like Fetterman, even without the stroke.

And if bad candidate quality were the reason so many GOPers lost, how can we make sense of Kari Lake, Tudor Dixon and Lee Zeldin all losing to absolutely awful candidates?

Yes, the pollsters were terrible, again!  But for the first time, they were terrible in the opposite direction, over-estimating GOP performance, as in races where Bolduc, Zeldin, and Dixon were supposed to be tied, but lost by close to double-digits.    

There is so much in this election to be confused by.  But let me suggest a theory that none of us really want to hear: Many, many of our fellow citizens voted for Democrats, despite claiming to dislike the policies that those Democrats have been pushing, and while fully knowing that those Dems have pushed those policies. 

I know.  That doesn’t make sense to me either.  But hear me out.      

It’s a core part of human nature to want to blame the other side when things aren’t going well.  In years when the federal government is split, with one party holding the White House and the other in charge of congress, partisans easily do that.

Conservatives with a GOP congress blame the Dem president for everything bad, and lefties with their president and a GOP congress blame the congress, and vice versa. It’s an easy and a natural argument to make, for both sides.

But for the last two years, one party has been in total control of the government. And for the last year and a half, including all the way up through election eve, the vast majority of American voters have told pollsters that they hate the results.

Biden’s overall presidential approval is in the low 40s (among the lowest of the last half century), and his approval by independents – the group that has determined election outcomes in the last half-dozen cycles — on election eve was 28%!  The other most reliable election outcome predictor is the right track/wrong track number, and that is around 33/66 – again, one of the lowest recorded numbers in more than half a century! 

Those two numbers alone should guarantee a disastrous outcome for the president’s party.  When you add the fact that the Dems have had total control of the WH and congress, you remove the only reasonable counter-argument for why they would get the slap on the wrist they got, rather than the Tyson-ian beat-down that those numbers should portend.

Tens of millions said that the biggest issues for them were inflation, the economy, crime and the border.  And then many of them voted for the party and the politicians who have demonstrably increased inflation, harmed the economy, increased crime and flooded the country with illegals by opening the border. 

After a couple days to sift through the data, I still don’t understand it.   I’m going to be interested to see what smart people on our side come up with in terms of analysis or explanation, but in the meantime, I’m still wrapping my head around the idea that millions of people who are disgusted by Dem policies gave them only the mildest of rebukes.

But the Simpson coat of arms has a Latin motto on it, which I am not making up:  Nil desperandum.  Which means “never despair.”

And even though these are the times that try cautious optimists’ cautious optimism, let’s look at the silver linings on Tuesday’s gray cloud.

Three of the most obnoxious Democrat candidates were soundly thrashed on Tuesday.  President of Earth Stacy Abrams is once again Governor of Nowhere, Beta O’Rourke became a three-time loser by losing a butt-kicking contest to a man in a wheelchair, and Charlie lost to RDS by 20 points!  (I could have lost by less than that, and my closing statement would have been, “Please vote for Ron DeSantis.”) 

For the first time in over 40 years, the congressional leader of a party — Sean Patrick Maloney – lost his seat.  To make that even sweeter, his seat was in a blue district in the blue state of NY! 

Barring some real long-shot reversals, we are going to have a majority in the house, which means that we’ll have a check on Biden’s worst impulses, and in January we’ll get to see the Speaker’s gavel torn from the desiccated mummy hands of Imhotep Pelosi.

And then there’s Florida, the state the tsunami did not forget. 

How do I feel about my adopted home state of over 30 years, you ask?

If I may paraphrase the Canadian national anthem, “O, Florida, our home and native land, true patriot love, in all thy sons command!”

Not only did RDS and Rubio beat their opponents like rented mules, we also turned Miami-Dade red, added 4 house seats (single-handedly giving the GOP a big chunk of their congressional margin of victory nationwide), and achieved super-majorities in both state houses. 

After barely edging out a meth-head, gay-hooker-enthusiast opponent by only 30K votes four years ago, DeSantis won this time by 1.5 million votes! 

THIS is how the entire national election was supposed to look.   

Which brings me to some closing thoughts on a debate that has begun among those of us at CO nation, and around the country: Trump or DeSantis in ‘24?

Since this column is getting long, I’m going to save my thoughts on that for Monday.

I closed my column this past Monday by referring to our long, dark night of the political soul, and hoping that the dawn would begin to break on Wednesday. 

Unfortunately, the demented Fetter-biden staggered out of his fetid cave and saw his shadow.  So while I still believe that springtime is coming, it looks like we may have two more years of winter.

In the meantime, we’ve got to gather around our digital campfire, bind our political wounds and comfort each other, and keep that fire burning until 2024.

And with the powers vested in me by the great and powerful CO, allow me to deputize you all as honorary Simpsons (malfunctioning wizard hats and all) with these solemn words:

Nil desperandum, people!

Mid-Term Predictions [which proved too optimistic] (posted 11/7/22)

As we face the long-awaited election, I have two ways of looking at the various races: with my gut instinct, and with my brain.  Both are giving me contradictory input.

My brain tells me to try to honestly consider poll numbers, because the human tendency toward confirmation bias – I’ll seek out and cling to info that I want to be true, and overlook/dismiss info that I don’t want to believe – leads to self-deception and heartbreak.

But my trusty martino oblongata also tells me to take all polls with an entire shaker of salt.  The national polls over the last three cycles (2016, 2018 and 2020) have been more inaccurate than I remember them ever being before, so it’s hard to put a lot of faith in them.  

Many of them are obviously biased, partisan push-polls, meant to shape the election rather than accurately report on it.  Others that might not be consciously partisan are either sloppy or lazy, or both, as when they report on the opinions of three different groups – all adults, registered voters, and likely voters – as if they were interchangeable.

As I understand it, those groups consistently behave differently.  “All adults” are always farther to the left than “registered voters,” who are farther to the left than “likely voters.”  In the last three cycles, the “likely voters” have been much closer to the final outcome than any other groups, which makes perfect sense. 

Given that, I can’t think of a legitimate reason why any pollster would even survey the first groups or cite their opinions within the last week or two before the elections.  And yet many of them do.

For example, on Friday I was watching Bret Baier reporting on a Fox News poll, and the storyline was that Oz and Walker have almost caught up to Fetterman and Warnock.  Which struck me as strange, since I’ve been reading that both GOP hopefuls have had slight leads for over a week.

Then I looked at the bottom of the screen, and saw it: “poll of registered voters, taken between 10/26 and 10/30.”

So the poll was between 5 – 9 days old – in a fast-moving environment in which both states have been trending toward the GOP – and surveyed registered voters, whom Fox knows to be skewed to the left by at least a couple of points.

Polls like that – the old saying goes – should not just be put aside lightly.  They should be thrown with great force. 

As an outsider and an amateur, my impression is that the Real Clear Politics method – they aggregate a bunch of polls and report on the average of them – is probably more accurate than most individual polls.  At least they give a clearer sense of the trends in public opinion.

But as soon as I’ve said that, it sticks in my craw.  Why should we toss a bunch of polls that we know are outliers and very likely skewed into the entire data base?  Wouldn’t doing so necessarily erode the accuracy of the aggregate?

So I looked at an intriguing page on the Real Clear Politics site, which showed a ranking of the track records of the biggest multi-state polling outfits, in two separate listings.  One displayed the accuracy of pollsters in just the 2020 presidential and senate races, and the other displayed the average accuracy of the pollsters in the presidential, senate and governors’ races, in the 2016, 2018 and 2020 races.

Both seem valuable to me.  The 2020 ranking shows the accuracy of pollsters last time around, and the other one shows who was best over the last three cycles.

The accuracy rates varied a little, but there is also a lot of consistency in both lists.  Of the 18 pollsters ranked on the 2020 list, Monmouth was 18th, Quinnipiac was 17th, and CNN was 16th.  Of the 23 on the three-election averages, Quinnipiac was last, Monmouth was 18th, and CNN was 15th

So why are those pollsters even in business anymore?  Why would anyone take them seriously when they screwed the pooch consistently, over three cycles?

There are a lot of familiar names in the bottom half of both lists: NY Times, Marist, ABC, Fox and PPP.  

Four pollsters were in the top 5 of both lists:  Trafalgar (tied for #1 in 2020, #5 on average), Susquehanna (tied for #1 in 2020, 4th on average), Insider Advantage (#3 in 2020, # 2 on average) and UMass Lowell (#5 in 2020, #3 on average). 

So my brain says to pay attention to the best of the polls, and the RCP averages.

But my gut says to tweak that data , to take into account what I feel confident about, even though I can’t put any numbers to it.

For example, I know that the Dems have been metaphysically horrible over the last two years.  They’ve screwed up foreign policy, domestic policy, the border, the economy, and covid response.  Biden is dead, Que Mala is brain dead, Mayor Pete likes dudes but is lousy at his job, Kewpie Doll KJP likes chicks but is lousy at her job.

The entire Dem leadership is a drunken Halloween party gone terribly wrong: a Mummy (Pelosi), an Indian (#wemustneverstopmockingher), a guy in drag (“Admiral” Rachel/Richard Levine) a Valley Girl cheerleader (AOC), the Creature from the African-American Lagoon (Maxine Waters), Lurch (Kerry), drunk uncle (Schumer), Sea Biscuit (Hillary), the Thing (Jerry Nadler), a human whoopie cushion (Eric Swallwell), the Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse (the Squad), and Michael Strahan in drag (Stacy Abrams).    

So these people cannot (please God!) hold on to either house of Congress.

Also, I’m not convinced that all of the GOP momentum in the last several weeks is what the pundits say it is: a significant shift in public opinion, right at the end.  Their candidates have been bad all along, and the state of the nation now is only slightly worse than it was in the spring and summer.

So my gut tells me that the latest polls are finally beginning to show a more accurate version of reality, mostly because a poll’s reliability is judged by its final numbers, rather than its numbers from earlier in the year.  

In addition, late deciders generally break against the incumbent.  Especially in this cycle, when virtually nothing has been an October-surprise-style news story that worked in Dems’ favor, I would expect a significant GOP advantage in late-breakers.

Finally, while the accuracy of polls has been questionable at best, they’ve been consistent in one way: they’ve always erred in favor of Dems.  I recently read that on average, polls have given Dems 3-4 points more than they actually got in recent elections. 

So my hunch is that I should add 3-4 points in most races to the GOP contender.  If that hunch is accurate, then the neck-and-neck races are actually GOP wins, and the slightly trailing GOP contenders might actually be neck-and-neck.

Predictions

While I don’t have a crystal ball, I do have my crystal brain (hat tip to Adam Carolla) and my purple-felt-embossed-with-gold-stars wizard hat, which I’ve retrieved from its bullet-proof Lucite case just for this occasion.

As soon as I lowered the wizard hat onto my head, the mists parted, and I realized that my gut is more optimistic than my brain. So here are my slightly bi-polar predictions:

Senate:  

Brain – GOP ends up with 53 seats; Gut – GOP gets 55 or even 56. 

GA and PA – Walker and Oz are mediocre candidates, but Warnock and Fetterman are worse

OH, NC and FL – once GOP leaners are now comfortably Red

NV and WI – once tight races are now R + 2-3

NH, AZ and WA – formerly long-shots, Bolduc and McMasters are only down 1, and Smiley is only down 3.  If the polls are off by 2-3, two of these three races – possibly all 3! — could all break our way.

House:

RCP gives a range of between 14 – 48 GOP pick-ups, which is a comically large spread.  It’s like saying, “Next year we’ll earn between $100 and $1 million.”

Considering that the Dems are throwing money into what should be deep blue districts, and the GOP is too, it doesn’t make sense that the wave won’t at least double the low-end estimate. 

Brain – we pick up 34 seats; Gut – we pick up 40

Governors:

Brain – GOP picks up 3 seats; Gut – we pick up 5, and possibly even 6 or 7

Kemp stomps Abrams in GA, DeSantis drives all before him in FL, Abbott savors the lamentations of the Beta male in TX. 

Lake (AZ), Michels (WI) and Lombardo (NV) win by more than the narrow margins that RCP has for them.  

RCP has Whitmer winning by 4 in MI and Hochul winning by 6 in NY, but the former is the Wicked Witch of the Mid-West, and the latter is the Wicked Witch of the Northeast, and my gut tells me that we may just drop a house on both of them.

RCP has Grisham (D) in NM and Walz (D) in MN both up by 4.  But if my adjustment of adding 3-4 to most GOP candidates’ totals is accurate, my gut says we’ve got a puncher’s chance.

Okay folks, it’s time to cowboy up, and prove my gut right.    

Get out there and vote!

It’s been a long, dark night of the soul, but tomorrow the dawn can begin to break.