Remembrance of things misplaced

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Diversity Drive? Well, shit, neighbor, I don’t know why I even asked, because I know full well how to get there myself. I’ve walked its entire length. It’s an immediate left turn off 101 on the way down from Waldport. I refer specifically to Diversity Drive in Yachats. As with Poo Poo Point, it’s a real place, and you can look it up if you don’t believe me. You can also look up the pronunciation of Yachats, which the locals will correct if you don’t because the missionaries or whoever first got the white people up in that motherfucker transliterated the local Indian language into a bunch of goofy shit having no relationship to normal (sic, mostly) English spelling conventions. Wow Much corpse of discovery Many pioneer None pronounceable Omg jason lee Very confuse.

The key thing to understand about Yachats is that it’s governed by the Society for the Prevention of Monty Robinson for Sheriff. Hence Diversity Drive, as opposed to diversity living on the drive. Or, as they say in Post-Soviet Canada, diversity drives YOU back into arrivals hall! Funny thing, it is also departures hall for one-way traveler! If you don’t have the energy to communicate to create the change you want to see in the world, perhaps you have the energy to communicate to create the taste you want to see: in my case, none whatsoever. I know, I know, that must have come as a terrible shock. Am I saying that Raw Ginger and Fish Man needed to be on a squad made up entirely of Village People as a precondition for their involvement in excessive force and perjury, eh? Of course not. Am I saying that I feel bad about preferentially pigsploiting this particular squad because it wasn’t pulled out of the usual box of crackers? Again, of course not. Is there any organization at all to my thinking? The night’s still young, so hell if I know. Much of Oregon politics is dictated by the Society for the Prevention of Monty Robinson for Sheriff. Hence not only Diversity Drive, the Amanda Trail, and the Ya’Xaik Trail (they’ll correct your pronunciation on that one, too), but also Dead Indian Memorial Road. A state that once took pride in the dereification of the red man now feels guilt, which it assuages by indulging in endless debate that it finally cuts short by spending a pile of money on new road signs specifying that the State now memorializes the dead Indian, instead of just naming a road after him. Glad we cleared that up.

What does any of this mean about popular sentiment in Oregon towards Indians? Those being questioned would not surprise me by correcting my language about Native Americans, proving my point. It’s a miracle that Kirk Siegler hasn’t been sent to Woodburn to meet Latinos who self-identify as Mexicans. The people who get bent out of shape over this shit never seem to be the ones hanging out with Indians. I knew a guy in school who had “GO SKINS” vanity plates on his car. That’s “skins” as in Redskins, the same team whose name Scott Simon is too woke to utter on the air. Dude with the Go Skins tags was a Nez Perce from Idaho. I got the strong sense that Indian pride was the only reason the Redskins had a fan base any farther afield than Glen Burnie, since I wasn’t aware of any other Redskins fans around me and never heard anyone saying anything like, “You know, they’re playing well.” This is why my head always spins when I hear other white people declare the Redskins name offensive to Indians. And what was the race of the minister who sternly advised me that the Hispanics I had just mentioned offhand found that term offensive because they’re Latinos? Hint: rhymes with the second syllable of “uptight.” Kirk Siegler reported the opposite cultural learning of Pueblo for make benefit glorious nation of Bougiekistan, so surely he is one of the great chroniclers of our age.

#TeshTips: Those who talk like this may not be talking to members of those races whose honor they so defend. Yachats, like many cities in Oregon, is an excellent Whitey Rancheria, a great place to find people whose reflectiveness is literally only skin-deep. Oregon has an embarrassing history of aggressive racial discrimination featuring especially bloody campaigns to exterminate its Indians and a racial covenant in its original state constitution barring the settlement of blacks. The latter, which has had no force of law for well over a century, has come to inspire lengthy woke thinkpieces about how Oregon is so hostile to the Community, what a scandal it is that Oregon is what to this day because it was officially white in its olden times, and so forth, notably coming from people who aren’t generally writing from any of the heavily black neighborhoods that they could find as nearby as the South Sound. They’re uncomfortable with natural law, but they also don’t really want the assertions of positive law that would forcibly integrate Oregon using newcomers who didn’t want to live there in the first place (nor do Oregon’s current black residents, who in fact exist, seem interested in such social engineering). The sermonizing about Oregon’s lack of brothers and sisters is just that. Wow Much lectures Such tendentious Omg jason lee Very annoy, I guess.

Yachats, for its part, is even whiter than Oregon as a whole. Go figure. Then again, minority neighborhoods so often feature visible poverty, and Yachats is all about coastal chic and shit. It’s reminiscent of White People in Santa Fe culturally appropriating Pueblo architecture from Indians who culturally appropriate the trailer and junkyard from the white man. May the circle be unbroken. That’s another community that’s eternally trying to prevent Monty Robinson for Sheriff, but let not your heart be troubled, its hinterlands are one of the best places in the Americas to be struck off your motorcycle by a drunk Indian whose oncoming Jeep just drifted into your lane.

I shouldn’t pick on Oregon so crudely. It isn’t the only state where farmland is paved over with streets bearing sick names like Harvest Drive. How you gonna get a harvest out of that, you dumbass? Statistically, innovation is not a primary goal or practice of American business, but it sure is a popular street name in business parks. The buses to Arden Fair stop, disgustingly, at the corner of Challenge and Response. Finally, two words that I can immediately use in a sentence: “The city of Sacramento never has a response to the challenge of its homelessness problem.” The orchard job listings that I find in California are all at Orchard Supply Hardware, just as every vineyard job listing I find in Southern California is for some shitty fast food joint on Vineyard Avenue or what-the-fuck in, like, Ontario. All applications for these jobs must be submitted through a secure website with picky browser requirements and an incomprehensible URL, whose algorithms will immediately shitcan your application.

And how could New Jerseyans not cherish liberty? They named their fucking airport after it. We name our infrastructure after virtues now. Muammar Qaddafi publicly pronounced himself liberty, inter alia; we declare one of our shittiest airports Liberty, in a time of constitutional crisis in the aftermath of a false flag attack on our commercial aviation system, no less. The idea is that we’re not supposed to notice that it’s gone.

Naming shit after Jimmy Hoffa would be funny. God knows that mobbed-up wonder hasn’t been around much lately. (I know: too soon.) Liberty Airport and the USA-Patriot Act are just goddamn sick.

Las Vegas is getting the Raiders. Can it get the mass-casualty slum fires, too?

The Oakland city government, one of the most troubled in California, spent decades being extorted by its football team, the Raiders (heh, I initially wrote “the Raders”), for special concessions at the expense of police services for the citizens of its violent ghettos, until this year, when the Raiders finally extorted a better competing suite of old boys’ gibs from the governments in Clark County, Nevada, which claimed to be too insolvent to fund the public schools under their jurisdiction.

This will allow city and county governments whose constituents live in storm drains to cater to what is probably the most execrable fan base in the NFL. Raiders Nation is a raging white trash fire. A sports league that fields both of its New York teams at the most famous entertainment venue in New Jersey had the discourtesy to charter a football franchise expressly representing the East Bay practically straight across the Bay from a much more widely beloved existing franchise at Candlestick Park, with predictably awful results. Oddly for a region where so many people wouldn’t put up with a B+, nobody gives a shit about the A’s. The Raiders, on the other hand, are overtly trashy enough in their iconography and geographically specific enough to a reputedly downmarket sector of the Bay Area to serve as a lodestone for every unwashed shithead from Fremont to Stockton to Crescent City. Having lived in Philadelphia and listened to Phillies fans all but call Ryan Howard Butterfingers for his fielding skills at times when he was hitting homers every game, I can say that what I’ve seen of Raiders fans is worse than what I’ve seen of any Philly fan base. And forget Chicago: da guys rootin’ for *DA BEARS* may have been idiots, but they were good-natured idiots. The Raiders manage to be the auspices for cholo shorties who look like they’re of a mind to shank you right here, right now and whitey meatheads who look ready to grab a length of scrap rebar from the nearest building demolition site and bludgeon you to death in the parking lot for looking at them sideways (or at their women, but of course). One of the last games played at the late Candlestick before the Santa Clara Forty-Niners moved to their whatthefuckular new digs over by Great America was a friendly (sic), if I’m not mistaken, against the Raiders, which resulted in a transbay tussle in the stands bad enough for the league to cut the game short and cancel repeat performances for the foreseeable future.

The Bay Area stands out among American urban areas for having had its football fans geographically cleaved into one that is mostly kinda sorta respectable and another that perpetually nurses grievances for being misunderstood by condescending elites just because it’s a bunch of overtly trashy caterwauling thugs. To add injury to insult, the latter team, whose presence has encouraged every sauntering dipshit with a deliberately untreated anger management problem to style himself as a viking marauder, spent decades extorting or trying to extort massive, lavish handouts from a city government that is notoriously unable (or unwilling) to provide adequate police, fire, and social services to its constituents. Requests by sports teams for free anything from the Oakland municipal or Alameda County governments are scandalous. In less than half a year, Oakland has had two mass-casualty fires in illegal residential rentals. The first was the Ghost Ship Fire, which killed 36 people who were doing an extra-seedy Rent LARP in a postindustrial deathtrap owned by the “poverty of self worth” shithead. Just this week, another three people were killed in a fire at their “transitional housing” flophouse, a property in such extreme disrepair that neighbors had been filing code complaints against it for years and a fire inspector had ordered its landlord to repair immediately within the preceding week. The identity of the owner, Keith Kim, suggests that Community-Korean relations are bad in the ghetto (in the ghetto) for reasons tending to justify the non-Reginald Denny aspects of the Rodney King riots. A minister who knew tenants at the transitional flophouse mentioned that it was a crucial stepping stone for ex-cons coming home to Oakland, implying (who could have guessed?) that the CDCR has been releasing its inmates with utterly useless reentry services. Ex-cons of which race, for the most part? Hint: rhymes with “shack.”

Now that Las Vegas has bought out Oakland’s fin-dom concession to the Raiders, Clark County’s citizens can look forward to the same callously deficient public services that the residents of Alameda County’s poorer areas have heretofore enjoyed. I don’t envy the civic-minded or vulnerable among them at all; they’ve just been screwed raw by a noisy and influential minority of their worst neighbors. Hell, Clark County government services are already spotty enough to compete with Oakland’s for civic dereliction, as the storm drain crew can attest, but a fresher hell awaits those living aboveground, too, as their governments raid (heh) the treasury for circus money at the expense of such things as bread. Johannes Mehserle was never the one running the Kwesi Millington for Sheriff committee; it was always the assholes who were the only ones to turn out to vote, along with the elected officials who never saw the need to appeal to anyone who wanted something other than sports subsidies from their governments. So now I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the Bay, watchin’ Rundel do his thang all day, but Fish Man ain’t worth shit in a city that still doesn’t have Benjamin Montgomery “Sauce Boss” Robinson in its Uber driver pool. White Lives Matter, too, friends.

What’s that? It stops being funny when bougie lives are the ones at risk? Why, yes, do go to the bad parts of Oakland to preach your word. Yes, do go forth and #CommunicateToCreate your own safe space with that message.

Out in the streets

So I’m up in the Clurb, and nobody’s girl is dancing up on me because I’m staying at the only place I can find that is within walking distance of the Metra system and not obscenely expensive. I managed to roll into Chicago, likely the biggest settlement of lace curtain Irish and wannabe Irish in the Americas, on the eve of a St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday, so of course lodging downtown costs an arm and a leg and a stupid little plastic green bowler hat with an elastic chin strap tonight. One weeknight on the Magnificent Mile was manageable with a $45 credit, but I’m not magnificent enough for more than that.

I happen to be familiar with the area where I’m staying tonight from a trip to Chicago that my parents and I made fifteen years ago this week. That time we stayed two or three miles east of the Lake-Cook Road Metra station in a hotel expensive enough that I preemptively screened it out this week. I’m staying instead at a Red Roof Inn that’s a mile or so around a big corner from the station on Waukegan Road. I’m able to walk this distance in twenty minutes, give or (usually) take. Being on foot this time, I’m noticing the condition of the local infrastructure that I ignored on my earlier trip, when my parents and I drove to the Metra station and everywhere else we went in the North Clurb. The main takeaway is that the sidewalks here fucking suck. In the course of a mile on two major arterial roads (Lake-Cook and Waukegan) I’ve run into several places where the sidewalks abruptly end, some of these hundreds of feet from crosswalks; several big piles of snow that have been left covering sections of sidewalk from a small storm several days ago; and exceptional amounts of gravelly construction and road maintenance debris, strewn across sidewalks and parking lots parallel to sections of missing sidewalk alike.

The common thread here is that no one gives a shit. This is a wealthy area, so it’s unlikely that the local constituencies have been abandoned by hostile or uncaring governments with nothing to lose on account of their neglect. I assume a number of the locals would tell me to drive or take Uber like a normal person. Fuck Uber, of course, and I see no reason to waste money on cab fare when I’m fit and awake enough to manage the walk, but having driven around here on my previous trip, I’m not eager to do so again. Chicagoland is laid out on an endless grid with hardly any diagonals, the roads are slow all day and into the evening, and Chicago drivers are terrible. As long as Metra’s schedules aren’t useless, only an idiot wouldn’t ride dem shine train. It’s $8.00 for unlimited all-zone travel systemwide on Saturday and Sunday, starting at midnight, although, as I implied above, the weekend schedules aren’t great.

Most of Chicago’s suburban development shouldn’t exist. The urban planning in the neighborhood where I’m staying is iffy, and it’s nowhere near the worst in the region. A bunch of barely serviceable crap has been allowed to spill out willy-nilly forty miles onto the prairie. These are terrible places for the poor to live, but with rents going up in the better urban neighborhoods and the worst urban neighborhoods going completely to hell, much of the working class is in fact forced out into areas with half-assed sidewalks and probably even worse bus service. Then there are the rich parts of the Clurb, which Fabius Maximus mentioned a few weeks ago. A study had come out showing that children raised in fancy parts of the West Clurb dramatically outearned those raised in bad parts of the West Side of Chicago. I haven’t read the study because I doubt it’d tell me anything I couldn’t already guess. High Whitey segregated itself into some ritzy shit with strategically drawn municipal lines so that it could continue to make the derelict choice to do nothing to resolve Chicago’s mutually reinforcing class and race problems, which are dire. Duh. I don’t know a whole lot about Chicago, but I know enough to infer that.

As a friend said about some fun-time hospital narcotics he had taken, it’s a great place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.

Snow day

The Soviet Union had these state-run neighborhood grocery stores called “Produkty.” “Products” was an accurate enough translation, although “Goods” or “Groceries” is probably a bit more precise. A number of these stores were still around in Moscow and St. Petersburg when I went to Russia on a summer immersion program in 2002. The most memorable one, a bit south of Nevsky Prospekt and a mile or two from the waterfront in central St. Petersburg, was staffed by a dead ringer for The Rock who told me two or three times, roughly verbatim, “All of our vegetables are disgusting. Just look at them.” I’d been sent out to buy zucchini for a crappy pasta dish that some girls in the exchange group wanted to make. When I tried to describe what I was looking for in Russian (like a cucumber, called “zucchini” in English), another customer told me that he knew exactly what I meant in English but needed to call a friend for the Russian translation. When this dude got his buddy on the phone and translated my question into a less tangled and childish Russian, the Rock of Russia inevitably told us that he did not in fact have zucchini in stock. Looking at me like I was becoming a greater fool every minute I spent in his store, he pointed at his produce again and reminded me that–who could even guess it?–it was all disgusting. The Rock of Russia was right on all counts.

This is a true story, by the way, as true as a story about Russia can be, I suppose (and the Western press assumes). Another story I heard about Russia, from a doddering emeritus professor of the humanities, was that Mushrooms are the Soul of Russia: absolute bullshit, no idea how he came up with that, according to one of our local language instructors. Less full of it but no less confused was the old lady housesitter who answered the phone when one of the guys in our group tried to reach his parents in Massachusetts, on around June 1: “Who’s this? You’re where? Where? Oh, Russia! How’s winter?”

By most accounts, Soviet-era Produkty stores sucked ass. Worse, entire city sectors, even entire cities and neighborhoods, had no alternatives to these shitty stores and their shitty product lines. In the worst times, customers had to spend hours waiting in line just to get into these dumps and see if they were selling anything that was worth buying. These stores were classic Soviet state enterprises in all the worst customer-service senses. The only workaround was whatever local barter and black markets had arisen in the shadow of the totalitarian state. These emergent markets were said to be much more robust in Poland, the radish of the Eastern Bloc (“red on the outside, white on the inside,” snork snork) than in State-Patriotic Mother Russia. So, yeah, shopping sucked.

We have nothing like that back in the US, back in the USSA. It’s not as if we have a car-owning bourgeois population that shops at properly stocked and managed Kroger stores with tenuous connections to the bus system while Mike Brown huffs it through a desolate urban food desert to the neighborhood QuikTrip. Don’t be a silly comrade. We have markets, bitch. And we couldn’t possibly have the highest incarceration rate on the face of the earth, aside from an obscure juntastic oddity or two, or a notoriously violent prison system teeming with convicts whose interrogations and trials featured procedural irregularities.

Nah, that’s crazy. So is the driveway plowing market where my parents live. For an area supposedly populated by a flinty, hardy, independent stock of country people who don’t like meddlers telling them what to do, it’s a sorry-ass excuse for a free market. It’s actually a hillbilly cartel, and the hillbillies who plow driveways in my parents’ part of the county seem to be a bunch of derelict shitheads who should never have been licensed to drive. They do sloppy, incomplete work and extensive damage to the graveling, which would cost thousands of dollars to have professionally repaired. Much worse, they drive like bats out of hell: I’ve seen them rounding narrow blind curves at forty miles an hour in their heavy-duty work trucks. It’s a miracle that they don’t regularly cause fatal accidents. These guys are the single readily identified threat to driver and pedestrian safety on my parents’ road. They often scare the hell out of my dad.

The side-by-side contrast with the comprehensive state could hardly be starker. My parents’ road is plowed and treated by the county highway department, which rarely allows more than a few inches of snow to accumulate. County trucks usually come through several times before the hillbilly cartel shows up to do $40 (sic) of work for my parents in all of five minutes. The county trucks are a foot or two wider than the hillbilly plow trucks and three or four times the unladen weight, but they’re always driven at safe, cautious speeds. Similarly, I’ve never seen state troopers or sheriff’s deputies go hot-dogging down my parents’ road. There are sections where too slow is a hell of a lot better than too fast. Some of us don’t want to be struck dead by lunatics.

The Nor’easter that’s coming in overnight is expected to limit travel pretty severely and make roads impassible in its heaviest hours. If the highway crews can’t keep up with it, it will be due to the sheer force of the storm, not official incompetence. Having spent my teens and early twenties in Southern Pennsylvania, I appreciate governments that don’t stick their thumbs up their asses all day and let critical infrastructure get shut down every time it snows. The fuckjobs at PennDOT were always blaming the freeze-thaw cycle for the poor condition of roads that they didn’t feel like maintaining. New Jersey had the same freeze-thaw cycle, and mysteriously, its highways weren’t such shit. I’ve seen enough of NYSDOT and the county crews up here to be confident that they aren’t jackoffs.

This doesn’t excuse the private plow cartel. They’ve left my parents snowed in for hours after eight-inch snowfalls that didn’t come close to producing whiteouts. It doesn’t excuse my parents for putting up with that bullshit, either. They’ve been stuck in their house solely on account of the last two hundred feet leading up to their garage. They don’t have a snowblower because that would be expensive and shit. They don’t have an old truck with a plow on standby because that would be too rednecky. They don’t try to get their neighbor from across the street, a responsible and upstanding local redneck with whom they’ve always gotten along wonderfully, to plow or sand their drive when the regular plowboys drop the ball. He jumped in and sanded the base of the drive from the bed of his truck free of charge when I ran into him a few years ago, and he’s definitely more responsible than whoever the hell my grandmother’s boyfriend’s surviving cousin is dispatching. If the neighbor and people he saw fit to hire were running the local plow business, none of this horseshit would be happening. Instead, anyone in the neighborhood who wants to hire private plowing help is stuck doing business with these reckless assholes.

It’s scandalous. As far as I know, it’s true, i.e., it isn’t some local whopper that my parents were too credulous to disbelieve. They’ve heard corroborating details from people who seem perfectly honest and are not Cousin Gigolo’s known plowkin. I shouldn’t be that harsh on Cousin Gigolo: he’s just a low-rent sugar baby, not the holder of a semiformal monopoly franchise on gigolo services in his town.

What keeps upsetting me is that every time something around here just doesn’t fucking work, my parents act like it’s local color, and if anything about it isn’t aesthetically hideous, they gush about how it’s so “cute.” Why in hell should I give a shit about the cuteness of the Saratoga train depot? It’s all right, and I don’t want some megalomaniac going full Robert Moses on it, but for fuck’s sake, it has only two scheduled Amtrak trains a day each direction, and at least half the southbound runs have shit for connections beyond New York City. It’s okay for travelers who don’t mind getting in at midnight or half past three in the morning. I don’t see a way to make that work.

My parents are even more captivated by the dumbass Polar Express excursions that the Adirondack and North Creek Railroad runs seasonally around Christmas, which have the depot mobbed with children in pajamas around the time the northbound Ethan Allen Express arrives. Even if I enjoyed children in bulk, I’d be offended to listen to gushing about how a station that is lucky to secure public appropriations for once-daily increases in intercity passenger rail service every twenty years has no trouble lining up private funding for vanity runs to take brat packs up the Hudson in pitch dark so they can pretend that they’re on a magical mystery train to the fucking North Pole. The fact that these twits are running a real train based on a fictional train is crazy enough; that they’re doing it in a region where the public transit varies from mediocre to useless to nonexistent is truly pathetic.

A few years ago, my mom carried on about an item in the local free rag out of Lake George that mentioned a couple of old ladies who had traveled from North Creek to Saratoga on a sightseeing run and connected to Amtrak, or vice versa, the idea being that the A&NR was a common carrier now. Of course it fucking wasn’t. I’ve driven across the tracks recently, and they look like they haven’t been used in months. I’m glad that the tracks are finally back in service and that the line hasn’t been irrevocably converted into a rail trail (irrevocably not for technical reasons, but on account of nimbies), but if it were viable as an Amtrak connecting service, I’d be the first to learn of it. I hate to have to drive everywhere, so I stay abreast of transit news. There isn’t much of it in the North Country.

This stuff wouldn’t be bothering me so if I were modestly independent of my parents when I’m staying up here. Instead, we’re codependent. There is something very wrong with their objections to my getting a cheap clunker for my own use up here and to my getting rental cars. They’ve become visibly offended when I’ve complained about being marooned at their place because I’m dependent on them to borrow a car or get a ride. There’s inevitably excessive emotional drama when my mom comes along to drop me off at the train station. I do not like her acting like I’m going off to war when I’m actually going off to Atlantic City for three days. It’s needlessly upsetting. In the past, she has gotten so clingy with me on the platform that she’s inadvertently cut off other passengers in her frantic efforts to walk all the way up to the train door; these incidents upset and alarmed me enough that I’ve started explicitly telling her to stay away from the train while I’m boarding (i.e., allow me to board like a grown-ass adult). A car of my own, either rented or owned, would allow me to stop taking part in public performances of Phil Collins musicals, but my parents are broken records whenever I suggest anything of the sort. They always freak out over minor logistical details that I’d have no difficulty solving. Where would I park it? Well, shit, do I look like I’d be unable to find a storage facility? I’m already renting two walk-in storage units in two states. I’m convinced that they’ll be absolutely useless in any effort I make to register a car in New York State (say, by agreeing to be co-owners of record), just as they have never agreed to cosign on a rental car for me or cosign on a credit card for me so that I can readily qualify for a rental car on my own. I have no objection on principle to bringing a bike up here for my personal transportation, assuming that I can somehow bicycling work over the distances involved, but I’d be surprised if my mom didn’t get all worked up over my bike cluttering up their garage.

One obvious solution would be for me to get a job in the area. But here’s the bizarre thing: I’ve suggested it to my dad two or three times, and maybe to my mom as well, and even though I’m the unemployed failson here, my dad has consistently turned discussions of my getting a job nearby into utterly fruitless and ultimately demoralizing quagmires. He insists on knowing what I want to do for my own optimal happiness and self-actualization, which he infers would be more likely to happen in California. Funny thing, being holed up against my own stated wishes in their retirement house for weeks on end and stress-eating my way through Lent ain’t it, but the truth is that I’d be flat broke if I’d been left to my own wits, and I’m the only child of two aging parents who insist on isolating themselves in the middle of nowhere, hundreds to thousands of miles from anywhere that I’ve chosen on my own to live or work. My parents have repeatedly expressed concerns with or frank opposition to a number of the goals I’ve expressed, including getting work back east where I can visit them more frequently, flying in from the West Coast every few weeks if they’re holing up in the Adirondacks, maintaining California legal residency at all costs, and not being abused by Joe Dirtbag.

The strictly fiscal impediments to some of these goals aren’t as daunting as they sound: for example, I suspect that I could simultaneously rent cheap apartments in marginal but decent parts of California and New York or Pennsylvania for less than a thousand dollars a month combined. The obstacles would be finding willing landlords who don’t insist on prohibitive employment, credit, and reference checks. The sociological aspects of socioeconomics can easily overwhelm the strictly economic aspects. The amount of trust and sociability needed to make couchsurfing and other cohousing arrangements work, for example, is ever so much higher than advertised. Without a doubt it’s safer for me to get a walk-up apartment of my own in any reasonably peaceable distressed housing market in Upstate New York than to trust my safety and welfare to strangers I met over the internet. Honestly, it’s safer for me to sleep in a car at a rest area than to shack up with randos I haven’t had time to vet.

I don’t think I have a prayer of convincing my parents that, given my weird personal circumstances whose development they’ve encouraged, it would not be frivolous of me to rent an apartment on each coast. It doesn’t matter that I’ve spent horrifying amounts of money on cheap lodging, some of it seedy or even dangerous, or that I’m the one who has routinely slept in cars or on trains to make ends meet and they’re the ones who spent $420,000 on a retirement house in a remote area where they had no friends. The sheer irrationality that I come up against is stunning. I’m not sure it would make a difference if I put together a spreadsheet showing exactly what cost savings I expected to achieve, line by line, by getting apartments; if they subconsciously found anything eccentric about it, or possibly even anything low-class, they’d probably sandbag it with irrational objections.

I’ve already gone through a period of years during which my parents repeatedly insisted that a relative whom I was explicitly accusing of specific abusive acts was ontologically incapable of abusing me; just in the past week or so I’ve had reason to believe that my parents are starting to provide Joe Dirtbag with cover again. My guess is that I’m really pretty stable and clearheaded for someone who has had a family clusterfuck like that lurking in the background for years on end and coming to a head every few months. Anyone who isn’t insensate would find it disruptive. My parents seemingly can’t or won’t let go of a vicarious desire for evidence that things are fine between me and Joe Dirtbag. This desire overpowers whatever interest they have in letting me protect myself from a man who I swear has serially abused and preyed upon me, so they distort and elide what they must to pretend that he isn’t really that bad whenever I am not actively promising to have law enforcement bar the door against him the next time he tries to come back into my life.

At the same time I’ve been dealing with the bizarre situation of being recurrently homeless but unable to discuss my homelessness frankly, no matter how calm and matter-of-fact I am, without getting the upper middle class completely bent out of shape. For two or three years I’ve consistently found it less distressing to be homeless than my parents, their friends, and some of my own friends visibly find it to hear that I’m homeless. It’s no wonder that homeless outreach services in this country are so terrible. Who the hell wants to be humiliated to walking death by emotionally overwrought concern trolls or religious busybodies for two hots and a cot? The most absurd outburst of this sentiment that I’ve encountered was from the family friend who asked me, almost verbatim, why I didn’t go to medical school instead of being homeless and worrying my mom. I don’t give a shit who you are or how sensible you usually are; to say a thing like that is profoundly and undeniably insane. Housing crises are not fixed by going back to school; they are fixed with adequate housing under tolerable conditions, full stop. The broad socioeconomic conditions of wasting a large chunk of my early thirties in my parents’ retirement house at incalculable cost to my short- and long-term health are less tolerable than I’d hope to have in my life, but beyond a certain threshold, which is never as distant as I’d hope, the alternative looks to be destitution on skid row. Or in rural terms, the Pot-o-Shit Friend Option. There’s no need to be that loser to live around that loser.

Keep this in mind, too: I’ve been watching people who own real estate in Palo Alto have emotional meltdowns because their children are failures as conduits of vicarious success. That statement’s so White, it’ll cause snow blindness. God help us, it’s also true. It’s probably a logical end result of a community too squeamish to buy its disappointing children sinecures and too craven to challenge the yuppie project. As I’ve said before, as failspawn we could be living in Lillooet crack dens, while in point of fact some of us hardly even drink. Palo Alto is a great place to neurotically compare the regression of one’s special snowflake towards the mean to several thousand overachieving Chinamen. It’s madness.

That sounds like something Rob Ford might have said. The big guy wasn’t woke when he put the coke into Etobicoke, but I maintain that he was a strong contender for the most effective cultural pluralist Toronto has seen in living memory. Bougie doesn’t usually do that kind of pluralism. It’s too permissive. It doesn’t give young’uns enough structure to duly impress their parents with great academic and professional success. Sino-Indian tiger parenting is surely a better model.

The adult decisions I’ve had to make are not the ones I expected. It never occurred to me what I’d be willing to do to keep a roof over my head until the projectile domestic acrimony between Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew mushroomed into an implicit but clear threat of sudden domestic violence against me. After that, I consciously admitted to myself that I’d already been putting up with horrific emotional abuse for weeks and months at a time over a period of years precisely in the hope of keeping myself off the streets. If Dickinson College tried to prepare its students for this possibility, it might find its donations being diverted, say, to long-term housing funds, and maybe its tuition money as well. It would be much better to preserve and abundantly refill this rice bowl by preaching abiding faith in gods of great providence. I suppose it’s a more pleasant story, unless one is savvy enough to tell that it’s dangerous bullshit or until one’s ass is thrown out into much more predatory and chaotic communities.

Realize that it is practically impossible for me to discuss any of this with most of my relatives or with many of my friends. I stumbled onto the wrong side of a gaping cultural divide that no one wants to bridge.

“Do I deserve a coffee for that?”

To be short, no. “That” was catching my attention and pointing out the ten spot that I’d dropped on the floor. Unfortunately for our Good Samaritan, “this,” as his proximate act would be known in the Jersey Italianate parlance, was interrupting my breakfast five minutes later to bother me for coffee. As Jimmy Powers, Nassim Taleb’s ultrasuccessful investor buddy from the Brooklyn Irish underworld, liked to tell his toffs, “We did this and then did that, badaboom, badabing, and then it was all groovy.” I was dealing with the resident door troll at a Dunkin’ Donuts in the Atlantic City ghetto: not all groovy. I must not run with Taleb’s crowd. Taleb listens to exceptionally talented and accomplished bigshots explain themselves to highbrow bullshitters with inscrutable nonsense; I listen to a neighborhood loser (hello, neighbor) try to guilt a 20% tip out of me for his good deed in the ghetto (in the ghetto).

I knew this dude from previous fooding sprees. On this cold Chicago morning, like most others (just be thankful I’m not meming noted Jersey trash Bon Jovi–yet), homeboy was working as a self-appointed doorman at the Dunkin’ Donuts by the bus terminal, with frequent breaks to step inside for warmth, nonconsensual kaffeeklatsch, and fuck-off money when the door tips dried up. Again, this is a far cry from Taleb’s celebrated “fuck-you money.” F my life money with on-air financial advisor Danny Bonaduce is more like it.

Don’t blame me for wandering into the part of town with the bus station. I’m an educated cracker, and educated crackers don’t hold with category errors. NJ Transit gave me a fine style of ride in from Somers Point on the Born to Run Highway, and it set me back a mere $2.75. Dysfunctional poories are segregated around America’s Dirty Dog Depots because functional people with money, and sometimes dysfunctional ones, are too stuck-up to take the bus. I’m guessing the 509 isn’t fuel-injected (it sounded like a diesel), but fuck whatever the hell Springsteen claimed to be driving, fuck your Hummer stretched limo, fuck your Escalade, and, yes, fuck your G6. I actually know what could do to be improved on the NJT bus system, and I can articulate it better than this and that, badabing, and it’s all groovy, guy. I can also articulate ways to improve services for the poors, including the middle and upper classes not boycotting and voting to defund common carriers in a spirit of rank class bigotry. Yes, moving out to Galloway Township was problematic. On the other hand, Joyzey has civic problems at all fractals, one of these problems being the Atlantic City government.

The Dunkin’ Doorman hangs out in a bad part of AC which is only two blocks from good parts of town and probably not much farther from worse parts. No, I’m still not convinced that Atlantic City is as bad as Reno or Vegas. A city is not necessarily improved by getting white people up in this motherfucker, as they say in Camden, and junkies from Haddonfield aren’t as bad as Whitey gets, either. The Dunkin’ Doorman is a member of the Community, but he is not a member of the drugs community. If a druggie is too incompetent to be a hustler, score one for drugs. We have too many fucking hustlers in this country. The organizing principle of the AC economy is that the city has no tangible economic reason to exist, so instead of helping it build a productive economy (a fairly easy project, given its favorable geography and infrastructure), the state and municipal governments have decided to invive sleazy hustlers to set up a bogus parasitical economy atop the ruins of Victorian beer halls. Yup, the Boss has a ballad about this, too. AC would be a great site for aquaculture, a first-class transit-oriented bedroom community, diversified light manufacturing, and short-sea shipping. Instead, the full extent of the local civic vision is gambling, retail outlets, and booking Kenny Loggins at the Borgata.

Wow Much alienation None means of production Omg karl marks Very dismay. This is one of the fruits of a society that declares it lucid and wise to have absolutely of how or where anything is produced because “we” can offshore it all to Asia and sell each other “services” for a living.

In a society so derelict and feckless, the Dunkin’ Doorman is inevitable. He’s marginally employable, last in first out but not obviously unfit for work. He’s ablebodied enough to stand by the door and open it several times a minute with no apparent distress. He appears sober and perfectly sane. He’s alert; if he weren’t, he wouldn’t be able to get the door on time. There’s no way he isn’t fit to do menial payroll work. It’s more that employers don’t want some middle-aged guy from the ghetto who doesn’t bring his own obnoxiously servile work ethic. He’s an annoying hustler, but he is not fundamentally a bullshitter, and he doesn’t look like one to countenance assertions of managerial authority for the sake of managerial authority. His is the heart where the sad remnants of the yeoman spirit abide, wounded, not even dead.

Tonight, on Jungleland: whiny bastards and the public assistance that might dislodge them from your store’s doorway. The casinos have security staff dedicated to the immediate removal of the Dunkin’ Doorman’s kind and other Ocean’s Eleven counterintelligence shit. They also have a customer base that’s profilgate and moneyed enough to deserve calls for alms in close quarters more than the downtown hashbrown crowd.

For all I know, the Dunkin’ Doorman may be on public assistance already. If he has a dubious disability pension, that’s the government’s way of removing him from the formal economy on a permanent basis, allowing him to reinsert himsel quite disruptively into the informal economy. They give you the Easy D, they put you on System D, cracka ya feel me? No, not you, Hastert.

There might be less disability fraud if the United States didn’t use Honduras as a remote breeding colony for deracinated serfs. The funny thing is, “we” never asked the Midwest’s unionized meatpackers for their consent to invite cowed, utterly disposable Mexican scab labor into their communities as their replacements and dispossess them from productive, honest, well-compensated heavy craft labor into citywide tweaker death spirals intersectional with California’s cholo prison gangs, the guy who had his girlfriend help him balance on the rim of their bathtub for his twice-weekly bowel movements, and Tom Arnold. The unions objected strenuously to this program from the start, but noted SAG member Ronald Reagan had no interest in solidarity with a bunch of hayseed losers when he could instead help management teams from more Studio 60-compliant jurisdictions ensure that in Late Soviet America, ritz was a putin on YOU!

For all our talk about how admirable and crucial it is to have a work ethic, one might expect this country to insist on justly compensating those who have the work ethic to hold down the same meatpacking job for twenty or thirty years straight. Just compensation in this case is generous compensation of workers who are so generous with their own time, effort, and wellbeing. But I’m knowingly overthinking the whole thing. All this talk about the work ethic is bullshit. Everyone who still sincerely believes in it and tries to put it into practice is a loser. It’s the damnedest thing for a nation that believes in the work ethic to trash pay scales and workplace conditions across the breadth of its productive economy and divert the savings to imperial warmaking and a bewildering variety of frauds. (I repeat myself, but not entirely.)

We’d have a hard time getting to where we are today without our shoddy, sloppy, badly degraded habits of speech. Bad habits of speech create bad habits of thought create more bad habits of speech, and next thing you know, we’re all driveling, disoriented idiots. If I come across as an intellectual giant for being the only person in my midst with the wherewithal to lead a discourse producing a thoughtful, honest, coherent definition of work, that’s much more a reflection on the incapacitation of my fellows than on my own prowess. Yeah, I’m smart, but straight up, dawg, that’s basic shit. It shouldn’t be too difficult to explain why there’s more socioeconomic value in manning the killing floor than in busting the meatpackers’ union, but in meatspace, so to speak, I figure that I’ll probably end up trying to porksplain this shit to twits who always assumed that meat comes from, like, Whole Foods or Giant or whatever. It’s hardly worth the bother.

I used to be strongly but silently of the belief that the fall from grace in Eden was the acquisition not of forbidden knowledge, but of language. Of which I use quite a bit myself, come to think of it. Oops. Here comes that original sin feeling again. With the ability to speak comes the ability to lie and to mislead and to shade the truth and to COMMUNICATE TO CREATE! Oh. That again. The real trouble. though, comes from people who never settled for a constable’s commission and a spot on the F-List motivational speaking circuit. It comes from hustlers who successfully elide hustling with honest work not only in their own minds but in the minds of the general public. Depot at least has mythical graduation standards that include looking good on a horse. Keep in mind, if it ever was in yours in the first place, that a myth in the classical sense is generally assumed to contain a kernel or more of truth in the midst of its ample poetic license. It is not a synonym for a jumble of hoaxes and hallucinated nonsense.

By Zeus, there’s another thing that we have absolutely no fucking ability to define. Real pleasant subject, I know. Mix that into your tallboy gin and tonic and get trashed on it. Bellyaching about a rising tide of illiteracy is fashionable in some circles, but difficulty reading is a frivolous concern in a society that fundamentally thinks at a fourth-grade level. Any word can mean the same thing as any other word our teacher didn’t explicitly say it doesn’t mean, and I’m synonymous with Kevin Vickers.

Do not underestimate the capacity of this mindset to ruin entire societies. As they said in Rome, it’s close enough for government aqueduct work. #PureMichigan

The Dunkin’ Doorman works. Opening and closing that door is prima facie a form of work. It’s accurate enough to say that he works for a living. It’s probably a piss-poor partial living, but so is commercial blueberry picking for most of us in that field (heh). It’s off-the-books bullshit that annoys customers who’d rather get the door for themselves than be pestered for tips, but as much of a pain in the ass as he can be, he doesn’t rival our sleazier corporations. He’s an improvement over Jamberry, which is also useless. At least he gets paid directly for his trouble, insofar as anyone isn’t too fed up with his stunts to slip him a love offering. Ethically, he’s an improvement over Amway, which manages to ruin the sale of surprisingly useful household goods by pyramid-pimping dipshits who ought to apply for stocking jobs at Meijer instead. The Dunkin’ Doorman ain’t Dutch, so he ain’t much. By contrast, we now have a Dutch touch in the Department of Education the likes of which would horrify a critical mass of voters in the Netherlands.

This must be what we get for being stupid enough to believe that a hustler is the same thing as a productive, responsible member of society. The DeVos clan is to Holland (the original one, not the one where Amtrak rolls in at daybreak) and its culture what the Jersey Shore is to Italy, except that I’m not totally averse to trusting Snooki. We can’t tell the difference between the best levee engineering on earth and some self-righteous godbothering shitheads with a pyramid scheme. The bottom is yanked out from under the job market and we start hearing about the need for “side hustles.” Cella, our Millennial friend from the margins of the Dallas metroplex pizza business, apparently ain’t got no main hustle to go with the main bitch that she avowedly ain’t got. She might be young, and she ain’t much but stupid, Trainor, but she isn’t the only marginal American for whom it’s a fuck-ass job market. There are worse things than calling bullshit on a managerial class that is exactly that. She may be a ridiculous little brat, but she trolled Robert Waple into publicly firing her on her Twitter feed, and anyone who successfully deploys a counterintelligence honeypot against a sleazy manager is bae for a day.

Many of us ain’t got no hustle at all. This scandalizes and offends a grab-bag of bootstrapper scolds, but it’s worth reiterating that the incentives are not in place to inspire engagement in the workforce by welcoming and then compensating us. They just aren’t. I turned my own work history partway around a few years ago when I got into commercial farm work, and I’m now in much better shape professionally than many NEETs, but I’m still dismayed at my own prospects, let alone the markedly worse prospects that less fortunate Americans face. The withdrawal of engagement and consent from the job market comes at a personal cost that I know all to well, but it is no way an inherently illegitimate response. Free citizens should withdraw themselves from abusive and unfair job markets whenever they’re willing and able to do so. So should slaves, because that way lies freedom.

None of this means that I regret not giving the Dunkin’ Doorman a tip. I doubt he’d hang around there if he didn’t pay. In a strict Gobias Industries sense he may have deserved a coffee, but I didn’t deserve to have him up in my face and trying to talk to me while my mouth was full, and the older low bougie black gentleman he started bothering after I killed his vibe looked like he deserved it even less. I figure he’d have said some things back to the Dunkin’ Doorman if he was interested in a chat, instead of looking straight ahead and pretending that he wasn’t there. I only caught a glimpse of their interaction, which was more than enough.

Panhandlers go for whoever looks the easiest pushover. It’s easier and more efficient when that pushover is the government. Whine all you want about moral hazard, but it’s not like an idle, adrift underclass is something that welfare has any prospect of creating. It’s already here, and it’s consistently a cheaper date than Lockheed-Martin.

I believe the children are our future. Teach them STEM. Walk them around downtown Alexandria on a chain gang.

If you’ve loafed around these pages much, you won’t be surprised to hear that yuppie eugenics are a self-regenerative damnation upon America and that Jeremiah Wright’s prayers are superfluous. America is officially too woke for hard eugenics post Carrie Buck, that Austrian pest with the excessive interest in military stuff, and so forth. Soft eugenics is another matter, but not a much less appalling one. This is a fucking vicious country, and matters of hearth and kin are especially easy excuses for our violent outbursts of parochialism. The worst among us were already itching to hunt down the poor and brutalize them; “good neighborhoods” and “good schools” for our precious snowflakes are convenient justifications for terror campaigns, frequently racially coded, against the marginalized and the vulnerable that were on the agenda long before and irrespective of family formation. This way, the evil gets a pass because all the nice bitches at the HOA demand it on behalf of rugrats who are probably too resilient to need or expect communal interference against their integration with the local poor trash.

The kids are all right. No. They would be all right, or right enough, if their parents and their parents’ peers weren’t insane. There’s a billboard at the King Street Metro Station in Alexandria advertising STEM immersion classes for toddlers. This billboard raises a bunch of questions: Why does it exist? Why does the market for what it’s advertising exist? Why does anyone think it’s anything but pathological to force preschoolers into formal scientific training? They can hardly make it to the potty. Why does anyone think that little Madison gives a shit about STEM? I have a bachelor’s degree in geology and I think it’s a goddamn scam. Are the self-important shitheads who take that billboard seriously because they seek vicarious aggrandizement through their desultory, belated broods really crazy enough to expect their precious snowflakes to know what they want to do for a living before they’ve matriculated to kindergarten? In spite of all the bad things that the US workforce is, we do not live in a society of astronauts, marine biologists, and princesses. When trailer park boys (TM) tell their landladies (in the traditional feudal sense) that they’re “gonna collect a check, just like mamma did,” that’s just the preemptive triumph of realism over aspiration. If we want them to aspire to a more edifying reality, maybe we should make a justly compensated one possible for them instead of constantly berating them for not staying in school until they’re in debt for life.

There could be jobs for the native poor, but we give them to Mexicans. I simplify, but I don’t mislead. There is something else that I saw in Alexandria, even worse than the toddler STEM billboard. I saw a line of–I believe it was sixteen, although I was too floored to make a definitive count–toddlers tied by the wrists to a length of rope, staggered on alternating sides barely a pace apart, with a young Mexican lady in a daycare T-shirt tugging on the rope from their front, a second young Mexican lady pushing the line from the rear, and a third mamacita sheepdogging the line from the right. The lady in the front was pulling hard on this line of mostly unhappy and barely ambulatory tykes.

In retrospect, I don’t think it would have been wrong of me to call 911. Legal or not, that’s the kind of thing that ought to trigger a child abuse investigation. Cops ought to be called out to make sure that stunts like that don’t go one toe over the line into an actionable offense. What really floored me about it, in addition to the child abuse/neglect angle (like, who thinks a 5:1 brat:adult ratio is adequate for a toddler field trip, and where the hell are the parents?), was the Dixie angle. The Mason-Dixon Line, commemorated by Tom Lehrer in coarse, coarse song, is one formal frontier of the South, but Maryland isn’t wholeheartedly Southern. These assholes just had to deploy their children’s chain gang on the Washington & Lee side of the river. I immediately, of course, had vivid images of antebellum slavery. It didn’t matter that there was only one noticeably black child on the rope. One just doesn’t fucking do that in–dear God–Alexandria. Marse Bob himself wasn’t much of a racist, and certainly not a bigot (much like George Wallace). Dat Confederacy, tho. Or, perhaps, one does fucking do that in Virginia. It’s for Lovers. Loving (heh; look, I hardly slept last night) one’s children must be less convenient than hiring Mexicans to neglect and incidentally abuse them on public streets. This was happening on King Street in Old Alexandria, in a very ritzy neighborhood. I have to assume that the parents have significant financial resources to pay for daycare. They, of all people, should not have children being tied into a tug rope like prisoners and bodily jerked around by negligent Mexicans. If American migrant workers were doing that to Mexican children in Mexico, I’d be equally scandalized and even more furious at the gringos because, as their compatriot, I expect them to have better ethics than that in their dealings with small children.

That Kwesi Millington for Sheriff feeling surged through me, electrically (how else?), as I watched this scene. Every American who isn’t too retarded for the sixth grade should immediately and viscerally understand the implications of putting anyone in physical bondage as part of a group in the Tidewater South. George Washington stole teeth from slaves for his dentures not an hour by horseback downriver. Robert E. Lee, as I said, was a local boy done good, or bad, depending on taste. Mercy Street is filmed there, but its target audience is too busy with Downton Abbey reruns to watch it. These are, shall we say, ties that bind us to our history in the worst possible ways. Donald Trump was right about the slave chains: they’re not good, really not good. We should all agree with him on that much. And we should be absolutely sure that there is a compelling public safety interest in putting anyone into anything even resembling chain-gang bondage before readying the rope. Being too cheap to hire more Mexicans doesn’t cut it.

Especially in the fucking plantation South. What in God’s name is wrong with these people? Did they elect Jeff Sessions mayor? NoVa leans left, and to the extent that it leans right, it doesn’t lean mercy me and shut my mouth, I do declare the General Lee is late right. Looking at that toddlers’ chain gang, I’d sooner expect dandies and their ladies to don their Sunday best for a public slave whipping than Loudoun County libertarianism. If there was a consensus not to normalize the ugliest parts of the Old South for young children, it must have gotten lost in translation into the Spanish. Chicas: no es bueno. Comprende? No bueno. Madre de Diós. It’s like the gardener not understanding how you wanted the hedges trimmed, except it’s also child abuse, and we’ll be lucky if Neil Young doesn’t write another whiny song about old-fashioned Dixie bigots when he hears about this shit. #CanadianContent #CommunicateToCreate!

#NeverMind

Alienating the citizenry from the means of production is certainly a Tidewater classic. Here we can’t find Americans to watch their own countrymen’s kids, so we also can’t find enough Mexicans. Or Hondurans or whatever. Probably Mexicans, though. Do I sound like I give a shit if some campesino takes me for a Canuck because the gringos all look alike? A skeleton staff of foreign women who don’t so much speaka the English are hired to acculturate toddlers into felon work-release culture so that the toddlers’ parents can make a killing for, just a hunch, the Pentagon and its institutional sugar babies. National defense my fat white ass. We can’t find American girls to do that. What the hell is wrong with us? What the hell is wrong with our women? Judging from the staff at our massage parlors, we can’t even find American women to work as whores. Childrearing and whoring are basic as fuck. Most women will have an inclination to one or both, probably focusing on the former but not mutually exclusive. It would be like having a nation of men who are unable to do basic commercial yard work.

Oops. We have that, too, apparently, judging from the Mexican guys in the matching uniforms who got off the Metro at Pentagon City. We can’t rake a damn pile of leaves. Proficiency in English seems like a worthwhile secondary qualification in a gardener, but what do I know? I’m not in a position to lord it over my Mexicans, since I haven’t any. Proficiency in English definitely seems a worthwhile skill for a whore catering to American customers, but maybe I’m just old-fashioned for wanting to have a language in common for communication during casual trysts, for wanting the opportunity to cohere dates with prostitutes into a broader social context than a dozen badly mispronounced words, including “sucka” and “ooh, bigga cock!” These dates usually involve massage, allowing for even worse nonunderstandings having nothing to do with sex. Seriously, I’ve hired masseuses who couldn’t understand basic sentences immediately pertaining to their practice and who didn’t seem to understand a full dozen words of English.

It’s absurd, but come to think of it, what else should we expect as a society for not generally agreeing that proficiency in English should be a qualification for customer service positions? Do you expect your day laborer to speak any more English than “Home Depot?” Do you expect the staff at Panda Express to have souls?

This has been little more than a list of working stiffs that we don’t want to recruit from or integrate into a cohesive citizenry. It’s cheaper when the help doesn’t expect the privileges of citizenship. The way it treats children in daycare is certainly cheaper, in any event. The yuppies need to train little Parker to be the next Fleming right now, but they also must loot the federal treasury during entirely overlapping business hours, so I guess little Parker will have to ride that rope again, no matter how much it hurts his wrist. If that brat pack came from poverty, it would be under the watch of neighborhood aunts and grandmothers, not mercenary Mexicans in matching T-shirts. NoVa toddler STEM immersion and NoVa toddler chain gang forced marches are intersectional. They come from the same dark recess of the heart, and it ain’t a school recess, dawg.

More Filipina nurses should moonlight as hookers. We instituted English instruction in the Philippines and the government kept it up after independence (sic?), so it would be more culturally congruent than China’s bottomless surplus of women who avoided sex-selective abortion in utero. Lynn Majors may be the sexiest nurse, but he is not the ONLY sexy nurse. I got, like, an hour and a half of sleep on a train to Philadelphia just before dawn this morning, so of course that was inevitable. But who am I kidding? Most of you still come here for Dubai Porta Potty. Why do we keep getting non-English speaking massage whores from a largely industrialized country with a severe structural shortage of marriageable women? Organized crime has to play a role, but more in a stay quiet and I’ll smuggle you to the Promised Land sense and less in a Nick Kristof-engorging kawaii damsel-in-distress sense. (It’s easier to keep a kidnapping victim silent in a garment factory full of Fuzhounese women than in a whorehouse where most of the customers speak English and know how to call 911.) As badly as medicine has been corrupted, we still seem to expect more of nurses than that. They have to be able to say things like “just a little prick” (heh) and, like, know what insulin is.

What do we do to get English speakers into landscaping? I’ve already double-scheduled the Filipina nurses (again, I’m running on fumes), but our boy Lynn would look damn good mowing the lawn in a mullet. Chains or no chains, rope or no rope, only Joyce Mitchell would let Cullen out on furlough to tend the grounds.

Don’t go around saying that the foregoing was tasteless. I said Jesus Kristof’s name, but I had the restraint (okay, the computer-stupid) not to link to his work.

A florid overproduction of elites: Roses are red, limousine liberals are miserable; put the liberals back in the car, and dump the car in the Kill van Kull

That’s “car” as in “Parker, fetch the car,” which Paul Fussell avers is a Social suggestion that one might make to the subordinate. When one is of a certain Class (C), one need not say explicitly that one uses limousines and waits in joyful hope for the inauguration of Kwesi Millington as Sheriff.

Well, shucks. That again. As Robert Dziekanski said, “I’m shocked, SHOCKED to see YOU here.” You may be reading that and thinking dude, it’s rude. Well, dude, I’m in Philadelphia; I’m violating the prevailing community standards by exceeding them. I’m hardly two blocks from the street where a bum blindsided me from a distance of two paces by announcing, out of the blue, “Believe it or not he IS my fucking savior! Don’t test HIM, pussy!” I wasn’t surprised to discover that the Catholic Church had left street ministry in this hood to the Protestants; it can barely manage its own internal catechesis. Mercy Street is an underrated PBS drama, not anything that the one holy catholic &c is particularly trying to reify in meatspace.

Where the hell am I going with this? My bum from above will surely say that I’ve answered my own question, but many mentally ill people will agree with me that it’s foolish to take the mentally ill too seriously. Unfortunately, you don’t have to be clinical to be crazy. If you’re high-functioning enough, you can always go into politics. The poetry (sic) in my title was inspired by a similar outburst of poetry (very sic) during last week’s Day Without Immigrants, to wit:

Roses are red

Tacos are enjoyable

Don’t blame Mexicans

Just because you’re unemployable

Don’t blame this white boy just for throwing you into the Kill van Kull. You were asking for it. The Democratic Party must feel at home on Staten Island. It’s run by people who point excitedly at every smoldering, repulsive trash heap of a mountain that passes into their view and eagerly volunteering to die on it. They probably do this because they presume themselves immortal. As I’ve discussed before, I’ve voted and even campaigned locally for Democrats, so yes, I find it disgusting that they’ve given practically their entire party apparatus over to sanctimonious, malignantly tone-deaf shitheads who make me look back wistfully on the innocent naivety of John Lindsay. That’s kind of like how, though time goes by, James Blunt will always be in a club with you in 1973, only more so, but still. Here we go again, I guess. It wasn’t actually a simpler time (that much is utter nonsense), but I get the feeling that the shitty left-wing politics of the time weren’t so stupidly shitty. For one thing, the left wasn’t trying to outmaneuver a bunch of sniveling useless eaters who had taken over the Democratic Party and refute the apparent category error that these fuckwads, who have been sinking the party for decades now, were part of the broad left.

So here we fucking are. The Democratic Party, the closest thing to a mainstream leftist party in the United States, keeps casting its lot with immigrant scab labor. A combination of party myth and entrenched strategy still holds that the labor left, especially union labor, is a crucial part of the Democratic base. But why the hell shouldn’t it defect from Hillary Clinton, who smears labor as bigoted and hopelessly backwards, to Donald Trump, who at least speaks glowingly about the working class and its trades on a regular basis? The Democrats keep shooting themselves in the foot. They keep bolstering the suspicions of Jacob Bacharach and other observers that they operate not to win elections and advance policies in the interests of their constituents, but to apportion jobs from their baroque spoils system to various hangers-on who demonstrate an adequate combination of political correctness and pedigree.

The Inside Baseball approach to correcting this ugly stance is to somehow convince these shitheads that the unemployed are able to swing elections, that we and our sympathizers are a hidden Florida lurking throughout the land. This would require credibly demonstrating that the unemployed don’t consistently sit out elections in a state of dejected apathy and, in many states, reversing the mostly Republican restrictions on the franchise for ex-convicts. It would also require inspiring Democratic apparatchiks with a desire to win elections by being pragmatic (e.g., by not gratuitously insulting key constituencies) instead of losing elections with stands of haughty principle (sic, as ever).

Fundamentally, this mess goes far deeper than stupid strategies. The Democratic Party’s stupid strategies are driven by a heartfelt bigotry towards the poor, the working classes, and the unemployed. The Republican Party is even worse in this regard, but it has managed to cobble together a functioning coalition of zealots, timid authoritarians, and Go-Galts under the auspices of a deep story that isn’t an utterly incoherent mess, so it’s able to win elections in years when the economy isn’t a total disaster and/or the Democratic Party is one. The Democratic Party has tried to peel off the Go-Galts with offers of a libertine paradise on earth for yuppies and bring them into a coalition with the very working classes that they scheme to dispossess for their own socioeconomic aggrandizement, and to do this under the auspices of a deep story that cherishes a balanced, equitable sharing of human freedom for all citizens, regardless of class.

Of course it doesn’t work. Of course the “socially liberal but fiscally conservative” crowd is a millstone around the Democratic Party’s neck. Any self-preserving leftist party that found itself concern-trolled into a death spiral by interloping yuppies would lay down the law: all right, shut the fuck up, you guys are Main Line Republicans catfishing as Democrats and sinking our coalition by showing up here, it’s time for you to take that shit straight back to Strafford. Leave. Instead, they insist that yuppies are the future and working stiffs are the past. Unemployment and disability stats suggest that they aren’t entirely off-base on the latter point, but the yuppie swarm doesn’t even return a reliable Democratic-majority vote, and the national job market (hell, the international job market) has turned into an ugly game of musical chairs.

This approach is electorally disastrous and disastrous for legislation and public policy, but it’s grotesquely adaptive if the goal is to close deals at country clubs. It makes frighteningly good sense under the assumption that Democratic politicians would rather trade favors with Republican politicians than answer to their own voters. This, after all, is the crowd that was caught doing business at Tim Russert’s funeral mass. If they’ll do that in a church sanctuary, where won’t they do it? *VERY RICHARD NIXON VOICE* Christ, they’re in a goddamn cathedral, they were supposed to help the priest help the poor bastard find peace at the center and they’re handing out fucking business cards. *TRICKY DICK OUT*

The Main Line and the Clurb are much less important to the Republicans than they are to the Democrats. As Republican voters, they provide funding and small regional voters bases to complement those that the Republican Party has amassed in poorer areas. As Democratic voters, they provide the same funding, the same small regional voter bases, and an attitude that alienates the Democrats’ major bases. This is a problem unique to the Democrats because they’re the ones who make a show of respecting the vulnerable lower classes and wanting to do right by them; the GOP safeguards itself against this line of attack by never insinuating that it gives a shit about the poor per se.

In addition to courting these fancy-pants who don’t know when to shut up and wouldn’t if they did, the Democrats have cultivated an overlapping but maybe marginally poorer and less secure base of strivers who regard Bill Maher as a public intellectual. Maher’s traditional self-justification is that because he’s abrasive and forward he’s the only person on the left (again, sic, mostly) who’s willing to speak harsh truths about, for example, Islam. His foils are a minority of scrupulous liberal dipshits who are afraid to upset the Ummah by saying bad things about terrorists. This is a very easy opposition for Maher to own. It’s foolish enough to defend Islam against claims that the entire religion commanded terrorist attacks instead of proposing a simple, targeted response, like “cease military and foreign aid to Saudi Arabia.”

Tellingly, Maher got woke liberals so upset in the aftermath of 9/11 by insulting Islam and the Ummah that he flew almost under the radar with his thoughts on grain elevators, specifically, that it’s funny as all hell when rednecks die in mass-casualty grain elevator disasters. In his world, it’s okay to make fun of people for dying in preventable mass-casualty incidents as long there isn’t an overt political component at play, and as long as the victims are poors. All those goofy hayseeds were doing was making sure that the rest of us had food. Who cares about them?

A party that curries favor with Maher’s ilk cannot expect to win over anyone who does honest manual labor for a living. Injurious and fatal accidents are an ever-present threat to manual laborers. Any party that truly cares about the working class will take them seriously and do what it can to keep them to a minimum. Instead, the Democratic Party keeps using Maher and other dipshits like Stephen Colbert to show that they’re hip. Colbert’s inaugural Late Show episode featured his stuffing his mouth with Oreos to the point of overflow as a stunt to show that he didn’t give a shit about production being offshored to Mexico from Chicago. The general point was to make fun of Donald Trump, but which of these television blowhards was looking out for the heavily black and brown production floor workforce at the Oreo plant: Colbert, the ostentatiously flippant one, or Trump, the one who demanded that the factory remain in Chicago?

It’s understandable that entertainers are alienated from the means of production. What’s special about Maher and Colbert is that they have achieved total alienation from the means of production. They are the platonic ideal of the knowledge economy incarnate. They transcend all knowledge of and care for their food supply (it’s a limited kind of knowledge). Meanwhile, they preach to audiences heavy on woke locavore foodies, which is insane.

The Donald is able to clean up just by showing an ADHD level of interest in how factories work and an admiration for the people who run them. When everyone else in show business is a shitty, hopelessly sheltered ingrate, that’s enough. When protesters demand that out-of-work, dispossessed Americans from old families (including black ones, in case you’re a fucking moron) respect Mexicans for their work ethic AND their tacos, and when there have also been campaigns of brown-on-black ethnic cleansing in bad parts of Los Angeles, how can anyone expect the deplorables not to conclude that they’re the targets of an ethnic population replacement project? It’s hip to politicize tacos now. They’re the breakfast of champions. Fuck Wheaties. Fuck whiteys, too. And darkies, for that matter. They’re panda-bearing us again.

It’s possible to be a foodie and not be an asshole, but being an asshole doesn’t seem to hurt. They aren’t uppity for wanting novel taco options; we’re the uppity ones for expecting preferential hiring over people who are not authorized to work in the United States. We’re just unemployable and bitter about it.

I’m already doing PT in preparation for this summer’s blueberry harvest. You’re fucking welcome.