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Thursday, Oct 18th

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Editorial

Hello, Dali...

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It's been threatening to get out of hand for some decades, and it's finally happened: Every news report -- global, national, local, and personal -- is competing for that rarest of all awards, the Golden MacArthur Oscar Genius Emmy Grant Globe Prize in Massive Surreality.

Life is now like being overdosed on an iffy batch of blotter paper acid, spending the day in a Salvador Dali exhibition featuring peyote hors d'oeuvres and really good wine, then moving right on into a Federico Fellini film fest boasting magic mushroom tapas and too many flavors of seat-side, delivered tequilas and mandatory, last-shot worm-eating ultimatums.  With curry.  And that really hot, yellow Chinese-dragon-mustard that attacks every moist membrane in, on, and around your body.

Yes:  The whole Reality business jumped the tracks some time ago, when The Incoming News shot off the rails at the same time as my health track slipped the surly bonds of Earth and took flight, winging me into the uncertainty of the ER wing. Again, some more.  One more once.

It all gets jumbled together, as most disaster victims will tell you: There are some inexplicable events, then comes perception and a beginning recounting of horrors -- peripheral and central -- as if everything was experienced in a waking dream...

Somewhere in there, at the end, after therapy involving hand-wringing, chin-scratching, wall-bashing, pillow-scrunching, and quite a bit of Kleenex use, there is a final uncomprehending shrug aimed at the universe at large, and a muttered, superstitious incantation of Hell, I dunno, and then, there is some serious drinking (and/or bathing in) some alcohol to be done.

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Riding Crops and Jack Boots aren't just for Sex Dungeons anymore

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Ho hum, another month, another quarter million new jobs. Obama's job creation streak is a new record by what, a year? You don't hear that on the news, and if it's talked about at all the Conservatives who always say, 'but they're low paying jobs'. No actually they're replacing the same jobs lost by Bush, most pay pretty good. Of course the definition of 'pretty good' has been changing.

The median wage of hourly workers is a little over $22/hour, meaning half of Americans make less than that. The problem is that by 1968 standards $22/hour should be the minimum wage, you know like the kid slinging burgers was making at the Golden Arches while the latest Beatles hit played on the AM radi

In 1968 we still ran a Trade Surplus, you know like China does now to the tune of $700 billion/year. We still had tariffs then like China does now, we'd had them from 1790. It was no secret in 1968 that the US oil shortage was a problem, in five years it would be a huge problem. Solar technology had been developed 50 years before, but no one that could understand the math was listened to. Jimmy Carter would make some inroads into people's thinking but Reagan would erase that.

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Doubling Down on the Crazy

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A couple of Trump supporters showed up to vote at Nevada's Republican caucus dressed in their KKK sheets and hoods. Yesterday (February 24th) the Iowa House passed a series of gun rights bills allowing children of any age to handle guns. Today the owner of an insurance agency in Georgia is requiring all of his employees to be armed.

Sane people all over the country are wondering, “Can someone please derail the crazy train this shitshow arrived on?

Last December Larry Wilmore of The Nightly Show said, "This isn't funny anymore ... it's just stupid." Well … it's 2016 and we're waaaaaaay past stupid. This is seriously crazy now.

But this isn't about Trumpenstein or the daily gun slaughter.

Billionaires and FoxNews created the tea-bagger wing of the Republican Party and the Republican Elite seem surprised that the mindless rabble they've inculcated for twenty years with distilled bullshit … are choosing bullshit candidates. What the Republican Elite forgot, or didn't know in the first place, was once they created a party that gave permission to embrace racism, xenophobia, and misogyny, their minions would vote for the candidate who best embodied those attributes.

Duh.

And as has been said many times before, if politicians did nothing to pass sane gun control laws after twenty 6 and 7 year old kids were ripped to pieces by a semi-automatic rifle fire in their elementary school, then it was excruciatingly clear there would be no meaningful gun control in the United States. Ever. Do you want to keep your kids safe from the gun madness that infects your city, state, and country? Fuck You.

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Conservative Liberals and Their Love of Reaganomics

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Those of us of certain age remember well the Reagan Democrats, mostly white guys with union cards who thought Reagan would be better at running the economy in their best interest. He'd cut their taxes, crack down on Welfare Queens, bring back the good old days, all that.   

Today we've got the liberal establishment that wants the good old days of the Clinton Administration back and would prefer that those pesky Progressives stop rocking the boat. There are Republicans circling in the water after all. (Be afraid, be very afraid)

It's hard for them to actually criticize Progressive goals, it's always what they say they want for everyone, but like Reagan Democrats they seem to only want these things for themselves and just choose to believe that things can't be changed. They keep trying to knock down the standard bearer but that turned out to be harder than they thought, so mostly they've been concentrating on disparaging his supporters for refusing to listen to them and saying mean things.

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Welcome to “The Other Side”

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A note to Mike Malloy at MikeMalloy.com:

I noticed during the 2015/2016 television season that characters could say … shit, along with the shit-esque variations: Bull and horse. Oh … and asshole. You can say those on TV now. But I'll be dead and stuffed into an urn on the mantle long before anyone can say fuck on AM radio.

I've sent you about 180 “moments” over the last ten years and not once have I been able to write precisely what I meant to say. But you know exactly what I'm talking about. You've spent your entire career skating along the edge of what the Federal Communications Commission will allow on the air.

Fuckers.

And so we must use … euphemisms … in order to avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in “indecency” fines.

From my dictionary:

Euphemism: Noun. The substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.

It is indescribably frustrating, when facing the wreckage the Republican party has wrought since Reagan affably strolled into office, to substitute mild, indirect, or vague expressions for … the truth. I hate euphemisms. The only reason I've used them in the past was to keep elderly relatives from ramping up their blood pressure in faux outrage and then stroking out. And, of course, to avoid the fines.

Our conversations became infantilized. Years and years ago, my then wife upbraided me for “my language” I used around our daughter. So I … watched my language. Months of studiously avoiding “bad” words finally became a habit. I “talked good.”

I was in a meeting with an idiot who was rationalizing the gutting of my budget. “You did so well last time,” he said, “Let's see what you can do with half the budget.”

I stood up enraged and called him … a poop-head.

We looked at each other in stunned silence. Then he started to laugh. I had to leave the office because there was no way to recover after calling someone … a poop-head.

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Doubt Remover

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The story of our combative, snake-oiled times:  There are antidotes, and there are antidotes.

Well, we also have vaccines to help us skirt -- or brace for -- the worst of what the world can chuck at us.  There are all sorts of ways to avoid focus on one thing and pull attention onto another, as flashy magicians, petty pick-pockets, and pokerfaced charlatans all know.

But there are always ingenious methods to pull us back from permanently swallowing The Really Big Lies, too:  truth serum, hypnotic therapy, anti-psychotic medications, cult deprogramming methodologies, and so on.  Sometimes, even logic comes bubbling up to the surface in the drowning and airless front lines of public thought and reason, but not often.

Usually, we ask fire to fight fire, and ramp up to meet the lathering blather of the moment.  But, really, we are free to choose our own weapons in any exchange of ideas, or in any attempt to highlight the utter nonsense of arguments presented to us as reasoned and reasonable notions.

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  • Yes:  The arrow chosen from the quiver depends on the nature of the foe, as well as the nature of the archer.  The nature of tool selection also depends upon the archer being somewhat conscious:   Back-fires seldom start themselves in helpful spots, no more than games of pin-the-tail-on-the-non-denominational-animal help locate murderers.
  • Circumstances hardly ever favor long-term extremes of any kind.  (That all things in moderation quote you may have been fed along the path of life is not only a preface to healthy living precepts by our founders -- it's a principle of the universe, and is supported by that noticeable bulge in the bell curve of nearly any measure.)

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Troll Models

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It may be the early Egyptians built the pyramids not with blocks, tackles, or roller logs, or even long-speculated minerals with anti-gravity properties.  They could have been hupped together by really, really strong coffee.

Although I admit the anti-gravity thing would be a nice touch, and would also help keep this season's ant parade from finding my triple-espresso mocha-supremo extra-grande within six seconds of touchdown of my free, attached, limited-edition, celebrity-signature model hand-truck-beverage-holder, up to the computer station, where it gets strapped in like tanks of liquid oxygen near the thruster ports.

Sometimes, you ride the caffeine rocket, and other times, it rides you. And, if you are interested in almost everything in Life, then it's sheer suicide to light the fuse without an onboard gyroscope and working directional fins.  (I speak from experience here.)

Anyhow, this is also how I started my morning's idle musing, pondering the concept of the role models being provided in our times, and then I wound up reading about a study of resilience in humans, then another about a test to indicate fragility and frailness...

... then, thinking back to that other article again, as I have been off and on, about the previous decades being about the celebrity of Production versus the celebrity of Consumption which we have now...

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