Oops, I guess I’m a conspiracy theorist now

As the old proverbs and shit hold, don’t ask the question if you don’t want to hear the answer. Today’s question, from my dad, was why on earth Barack Obama allowed Congress to strip the DEA of the authority to seize suspect opioid shipments from pharmaceutical companies. My answer, to his chagrin and scandalization, was that Obama had probably been paid off, just as he’d certainly been paid off to lobby for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I guess I was supposed to have a different answer, maybe one preserving Mocha Haole’s air of high principle under a veil of inscrutability. Instead I called him a crook at a time when all the social cues are to call him a man of impeccable principle and manners, no matter how corrupt and useless his legacy, in a grand effort to highlight the coarseness and crookedness of his successor.

Well fuck me. Donald Trump being a crook does not preclude Barack Obama being a crook. *Sticking our Tricky Dick into the thick of it* Christ, don’t look at ME! This is exactly how the Deep State, and the larger, more diffuse Blob slimily adhering to it, have been trying to rehabilitate George W. Bush as our dear leader. *Briefly recovering from a fatal Kim Jong-Illness* Who called for me? If they’re using the same language as the North Korean regime (specifically, great leader, but far be it from me to resist the opportunity to poke fun at Rocket Man’s dad for his Il health), they’re using the language of the North Korean regime. Full stop. They don’t get to subvert democratic norms by trying to dictate fealty to shitty rulers through their crude social controls and then turn around and call dissidents antidemocratic. That’s bullshit.

A key difference between North Korea and the United States is that we, unlike them, have a large class of yeomen, proles, and lumpenproles who rudely maintain our right to speak freely of officials who displease us. This liberty causes our social superiors in and orbiting various cryptoroyal courts to be butthurt longtime. They have to bite their lips for any hope of favor from the sovereigns they flatter, so what gives us the right to be so licentious as to freely speak ill of our superiors? Our dissent gets between their noses and our rulers’ assholes; how rude of us.

Of course, it isn’t really license; there are generally consequences to such candor, including unspoken but unmistakable limits on the advancement of dissidents in politicized workplaces. The problem for the rulers and their brownnosers is that many of us are already effectively paying these consequences for the most overdetermined reasons due to the regulatory capture and secular collapse of the international economy. It isn’t just some tyrannical authoritarian shithead inside the Beltway who won’t give us a job because we won’t get with the program. The economy still sucks nine years after the financial collapse, although we aren’t supposed to talk about that. Questioning the official numbers is conspiracy theorizing, too. On the other hand, some of us follow the Colby Cosh Rule and do things with our hands for a living (sic?). What are they gonna do, sing a crappy comedy-folk song about us? This pisses the courtiers off, too.

A whole lot of floridly crazy shit has been said about Barry O, unfortunately for those of us, some of us his former voters, who have bad things to say about him that aren’t insane. I don’t believe that Obama has ever taken delivery of a suitcase full of cash or made clumsy incriminating phone calls about things fucking golden. That’s why he gets to cavort with Richard Branson on yachts while the Rod Unspared gets the opportunity to join the Rocky Mountain Club for his efforts to sell Barry’s old seat in the United States Senate. Mocha Haole doesn’t do his banking with his home freezer like that dumbass Jefferson down in Louisiana. He’s too smooth for any of that. And as I like to point out around here, that makes him dangerous. In the hands of a discreet sleazeball like Obama, courtly norms of decorum and shit are numbing paralytic agents injected by the parasite into its host. Basically, we can’t criticize a guy as long as he’s nice to his fellow crooks. May I remind you, Mr. Goldman, that O. J. Simpson was a model prisoner, and even, like Dennis Hastert, a coach.

Obama’s actual legacy sucks ass. Thank Chuck and Nancy it isn’t his alone, but he showed shit for leadership and screwed millions of Americans over. If he’d had some real principle, we wouldn’t have the kludgy, Byzantine mess of Obamacare. Sure, it’s a lot better than nothing, and the Republicans are vile to try to destroy it out of spite with no replacement, but it still sucks. It’s still a scandal and a disgrace. If the Democrats had had any fucking principle or accountability over the past, hell, thirty or forty years, they’d have broken the insurance industry’s legs by the turn of the millennium, with the option to either act in their policyholders’ interests forevermore or be dissolved and have their business handed to government plans. Instead, the Dems agreed to be bought off by the insurance industry. They had no electoral mandate to do anything of the sort, but they’d been captured, and they’re nice captives. They’re good boys and girls, because they know that good boys and girls get more candy.

Public service my fat white ass. They don’t give a shit about us. There was never a popular mandate for the bullshit “marketplace” incrementalism and income-based siloing that they passed instead of straightforward universal coverage. If they’d felt answerable to us, we wouldn’t have heard about the “marketplace” because they would have been too ashamed to utter the word.

How the hell is it inconceivable that the guy who signed this expensive, burdensome, punitive, Kafkaesque patchwork nightmare into law, conveniently providing private insurance companies with a market coerced into buying coverage with threats of fines, got paid off in some fashion by major corporate interests? How is it inconceivable that he got some sort of quid pro quo for all the sweet-talking and arm-twisting he did, although ultimately to no avail, on behalf of TPP? Cyrus Vance was bought off for ten grand in indirect payment to his campaign fund. That was enough to get him to conclude that Harvey Weinstein had a legitimate business reason to grope a model’s breasts without prior warning or permission. The campaign contribution may not have been the entirety of the bribe, so maybe Cyrus isn’t quite that cheap a date, but it’s misguided to think that elected officials need to be set up like kings directly and straight away to consider selling their souls.

For that matter, it’s awfully harsh to construe a rental agreement as a sale.

We’re at least 55 years behind Canada in the implementation of single-payer medical insurance because our elected officials keep pretending that it’s unpopular and doesn’t work. Our last president bragged about assassinating dissidents on other nations’ sovereign territory and tried his best to sell our own national sovereignty to a cartel of secret corporate tribunals. Our current president blusters to no end about all the enemies he wants to blacklist or get blacklisted for crossing him and the worst of his voters. Congress is full of fucking ghouls who listen to their constituents only after having the Capitol Police bodily drag protesters out of their offices. How the hell is it problematic to assume that Barack Obama is a crook? I’m not even trying to argue that the Donald isn’t one himself. I’d certainly like to think that Bernie Sanders is an exception, but seeing how he got ratfucked out of the Democratic nomination by a political machine and crime family, I guess he’s the exception that proves the rule.

If the GOP self-destroys in an orgy of mutual recrimination between the biblethumpers, the objectivists, and whatever the incomprehensible fuck Trump and his crew are, we’ll be one for two. We’ll still have the Democratic Party to destroy until, if we can imagine the possibility, it ceases trying to destroy us. Saying that the Democratic Party is automatically better than the Republicans (especially Trump, who’s all over the damn place) is like saying that sexy male nurse Lynn Majors is better than Elizabeth Wettlaufer.

That was still less disgusting than Congress. They’re all just Cullen the herd, but I’m obviously the crazy one for assuming that they don’t have our best interests at heart and joining the part of the herd that keeps braying back, Neigh! Neigh!

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Lives of quiet desperation and shit

This story is going to be way too emo, even for my worst tastes, but my dad and I barely avoided an outright argument over my plan to go out to Stewart’s and get some half on Saturday night instead of having him pick it up when he went to get (what else?) the damn Times on Sunday morning. I somehow managed not to escalate things, and he relented after a few rounds of this shit over the course of half an hour. My parents finally have a third car available for my express use, after some really nasty family fights months ago about whether or not I was stranded at their place or had reason to feel that way, but in spite of my having a car of my own here I still get into these bizarre, unhealthy situations where I feel unabled to get the fuck out of the house for an hour or two without a well thought out excuse, and hence trapped.

My parents would swear that I’m exaggerating everything again if I argued that their house can feel like a prison, but the obvious definition of a prison is a place that one is not allowed to leave without permission, and they’re often almost uncomfortable with my wanting to leave their house just to get the hell out for a bit. I’d really rather not spell out that this is a major purpose of my wanting to make extra trips to Stewart’s. Stewart’s is the closest thing to a corner store around here, so if I have nothing else in particular to do but can’t just swing over there because I feel like it, yes, Virginia, that is a fucking problem. There’s something very, very wrong with my even faintly sensing that I have to justify that to my parents. I shouldn’t need a damn pass to leave the family compound and go to the neighborhood convenience store. Getting out of the fucking house and having normal face-to-face social interactions with people other than my parents when I’m staying up here does much to keep me sane. On what planet is this a problem? It should go completely without saying. If my dad’s notion that I’m Temple Grandin and shit were serious and not just a catastrophization that Joe Dirtbag occasionally provokes in him by gaslighting us, he’d be relieved that I’m getting out and transitively socializing myself.

This is another situation in which I get myself into trouble by giving a shit. I start to feel guilty for being frivolous and wasteful for driving eight or twelve miles in a region with absolutely no public transit on trips that I know full well do more to improve my mental health than I’d ever expect of psychotherapy. I feel pangs of guilt that I’m wasting my parents’ money, even when I’m filling the car up and buying whatever three or five dollars’ worth of stuff I splurge on at Stewart’s out of pocket. I don’t ask them for extra money to cover this shit.

Not that it would have a measurable effect on their finances, of course. I have to explicitly remind myself that they are in no position to chide me or worry about me for spending literally a few bucks here and there on fast food and shit when they’re servicing debt from the $420,000 that they spent building their dumbass retirement house. That’s where the savings are, not in my refraining from stress-eating mediocre Buffalo chicken pizza in a gas station under an almost hauntingly beautiful February sunset while I beat myself up for not having gotten out of bed until noon. I have a duty to responsibly steward the money my parents give me, but going out to Stewart’s is not bad bad stewardship. (Of course I didn’t write that down correctly on the first try.) Neither does that duty of stewardship extend to living needlessly in painful austerity and isolation for no other reason than assenting to their rather socially unhealthy retirement lifestyle. That’s bullshit.

Even so, I probably feel guiltier about getting a bagel on top of a double order of hashbrowns at Dunkin’ Donuts than ISBF does about the $14k that she dropped on that wristwatch. Two guesses as to which one of us is the cradle Catholic and which one is the RCIA alumnus whose militantly atheist mother has pressured him to go to mass at the nearest parish.

It can be a real clusterfuck. These are White Whines, but we oughtn’t dismiss the possibility that the poor are socialized in ways that limit this smothering horseshit. It’s obviously better to go into any given situation with money than without, but I’ve been around a dismaying number of affluent people who manage to neutralize some very significant advantages of affluence by being foolishly neurotic, meddlesome, chaotic, or otherwise troubled, and by further refusing to admit that a blessed thing is wrong with them. The Insurance Schmuck and ISB are wicked fucked up, the latter also being an awfully credible cokehead. (ISBF, also a cokehead, would be broke to the verge of survival sex work without a rich boyfriend.) The educationally and professionally fraught neuroses of the Insurance Schmuck’s entire immediate family, save Failson Brother, are over the fucking top. Go figure that the one family member with the Kid Rock taste in drugs and the worst behavioral problems is the sanest and most coherent about this shit. I could find any number of much poorer people who are obviously better adjusted than any of us mentioned here so far.

Shit, I’m making a moral equivalency between myself for having a light case of bipolar disorder and ISB and ISBF for getting wound up and launched to high hell on freebase. I don’t know for a legally admissible fact that they’re cokeheads, but they’re cokeheads. I need to make a note to explicitly say so to the Insurance Schmuck by way of poking holes in his vodka-soaked sober living Story Whore nonsense. It’s time he dropped the just world sanctimony and admitted that I have a better sense than he does about his old boy being hopped up on the damn coke. The guy who’s hosting him in Phoenix this week is either chronically hypomanic or on scheduled stimulants himself. I might as well have Rob Ford slur at me that I’m a dissipated fat sloppy drunk.

My dad mentioned to a family friend of his on the phone that I’d rather my parents move back to California than stay in New York. It ain’t exactly so: I’d rather they hadn’t moved up here from Pennsylvania in the first place, and I’d almost rather that they move back to Pennsylvania. I still haven’t entirely gotten used to the logistics that they’ve sprung on me, and I certainly haven’t gotten used to the unhealthy reclusiveness and meddlesomeness that they’ve increasingly fallen into since moving up here. If they’d been interested in taking my wishes into account, they never would have built this bullshit and settled permanently in it, but this was always about my mom pursuing her fucked up psychodrama with her late mother on their vacation lake, not about living sensibly in the present. I’d be less uncomfortable with my parents moving up her had they actually moved so that my mom could take jobs in underserved communities, but her going back to work part-time was an afterthought, so I’m not allowing either of them to dry-lab this shit and blow smoke in my face about their process.

I’d feel ambivalently about their moving permanently to California at this point, but I wouldn’t expect them to show a lick of sense if they did that, either. The suitably classy areas are too expensive, and the less expensive areas have too much summer heat, year-round Mexicans, poories in general, etc. ad nauseam. They don’t want to give up the absurd rent stream that they derive from my childhood house in Palo Alto, nor can I blame them, but I don’t feel like listening to financial millionaire property owners bitch about how expensive it would be to move back to the most surreally expensive part of the nation while my mom sneers at more modest neighborhoods inland where I’d be thrilled to live. We’ve been over that crap before, and I’m happier leaving the hatchet buried. I don’t need to hear projectile neurosis about how some perfectly decent neighborhood not in a nice part of the Bay Area reminds her of her modest but perfectly decent childhood neighborhood on Staten Island. I get it: she has a chip on her shoulder about how she grew up poor in the whitey slums, the child of college-educated, professional homeowners. That doesn’t mean that I’m not mainly looking for places where I feel safe from the local criminal element, including landlords and the police.

Firehat is off-base: we can’t tax the Boomers for our upkeep if we’ve euthanized them. Speaking of off-base: David Russell Williams (Col., RCAF, Ret.), said to be in Port-Cartier, which is about as close to my parents’ current place as the latter is to where we lived in Pennsylvania. #TheMoreYouKnow, losers.

A literal soap opera

Since I was up all night, as in upright, locked, and shoehorned three deep into a window seat in cattle class, I got to spend part of my not quite cold, not quite Chicago morning doing laundry in the sink while Matt Lauer interviewed Bill O’Reilly. It was only a pair of socks, a pair of underwear, and two ball caps, but still, the productive watching the tragic feebly interrogate the pathetic: God bless America.

Matt Lauer, as we’ve discussed before, is a tragic figure, but Bill O’Reilly is not. To be tragic one has to have some sort of wasted potential or failed aspiration or, shit, something. O’Reilly is just an unbelievably spiteful son of a bitch. He’s miserable not just for the rest of us but for himself, too. No joy or serenity or hope or even smugness shines through his miserable bastardy; it’s just the featureless, inchoate resentment of a man who can’t point to anything that has been foreclosed from him personally and can hardly point to a thing that has been foreclosed from those he claims to give voice, other than pervasive assertions of their own superiority and opportunities for tax evasion.

The problem with him isn’t that he’s conservative: Victor Davis Hanson and Rod Dreher believe in things and take hope, if faintly so, in the incremental achievement of those things; Thomas Sowell clearly finds meaning and satisfaction in researching and writing about the hidden histories of Germans, middleman minorities, and the like. Part of O’Reilly’s problem is that he’s a reactionary nutjob, but in his case it goes beyond the ideological and into the deep psychological. If Hillary Clinton and Ann Coulter are creatures of hell, Bill O’Reilly lives in hell here on earth; the sorry fucker isn’t even on furlough. All his money can’t buy him a visible measure of the peace that might cause him to be intermittently gracious.

The recurrent sexual harassment allegations against O’Reilly reared their head, of course, and, good self-serious objective piece of shit that he is, reputed role-playing furry Matt Lauer dutifully asked Loofah Boy to confirm or deny. O’Reilly denied the allegations both unequivocally, as a man of wounded honor, and equivocally, as the client of defense attorneys. Even if the guy is a randy schmuck, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. He was an even sorrier figure, in retrospect, than Paula Deen, who was merely having an unstable televised sad during her Matt Moment four years ago. What was wrong with her was fixable with some sleep, some time, some distance, and maybe some substances. What’s wrong with O’Reilly looks like it’s been wrong for a long damn time and is going to stay wrong.

It isn’t just that he got into trouble for his indulging himself before the casting couch at the expense, if any, of women subordinate to him. That sort of thing is ubiquitous in the industry, and anyone who wasn’t born yesterday knows it. Fox News is particularly open about it, in a half-assedly coy way, in the exceptionally lurid and chauvinistic manner in which it objectifies women on air. A notorious blowhard at the Leg Chair channel is accused of getting lecherous with the ladies under his authority? Color me fucking shocked. The guy was bound to do or say something coarse enough to annoy even a woman who came to him from the whorehouse via a psychiatric nursing assignment focusing on the care of the shit-flinging incontinent. He isn’t just a threat to the hothouse flowers around him. Cracka don’t do subtlety and tact.

Some guys get into trouble for sexual harassment by burning ex-lovers or being socially hapless before treacherous women who would tolerate much more aggressive sexual advances in the workplace from men they find attractive. These guys are sympathetic  because they get tripped up by arbitrary, often ex post facto rules that are routinely violated all around them. O’Reilly looks like he was and remains bound to go totally over the top in his time of horn.

Whatever he gets out of it can’t be healthy. Like so many men, he probably chases after the validation of seducing amateur women that he wouldn’t be able to claim by bedding a prostitute. Seduction makes men feel relevant, virile, and worthy. It also gets them into a hell of a lot of trouble. What O’Reilly is said to have committed isn’t seduction, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t pretend. Why shouldn’t an alpha lion like him enjoy the services of the entire pride? He’s just the victor enjoying the sexual spoils. The guy’s loaded, so there are any number of ladies of negotiable affection who are well with his budget to entertain him on a daily basis and put up graciously with what sounds like his rather vanilla, if still crude, sex drive, but a man of his stature shouldn’t debase himself to negotiating with women who expect frank compensation for their services to him.

Matt Lauer knows a thing or two about degrading himself for money. A comparison with Ron Jeremy came to mind, but Jeremy is a man of unabashed sexual vulgarity, not of lofty journalistic principles to abandon on national television by 7:30 every weekday morning. His better angels must have been whispering to him: why the fuck are you interviewing this bumptious loser? Why the fuck are you going to such lengths to stipulate this blowhard’s newsworthiness in the midst of several catastrophic hurricanes and a renewed GOP push to repeal the Affordable Care Act? Of course, Matt donned the golden handcuffs decades ago and never tried to shake them off. Did he, Miss Swift? No, he most assuredly did not. Matt’s a compliant circus act, you see. He’s a good boy.

In his business, being a good boy means dignifying some of the worst people on earth. Jerry Springer doesn’t pretend that his guests are functional and healthy. He doesn’t pretend to be objective and solemn when some chair-wielding meathead bellows at his baby-mamma that she’s a no-good lying cheating whore. Cincinnati is not a city of solemnity. Neither is it a city of Matt Lauer or the classes of people interviewed by Matt Lauer. From this perspective, what comes through about The First 48 and Police Women of Cincinnati is the sheer modesty: twenty-dollar Over-the-Rhine blowjobs, murders over promises of crack rock not kept, James “Mack the Pipe” Mack walking around the East End carrying a different length of pipe. It’s pathological, but it’s contained, and although it is salaciously watched, ultimately it is not normalized or celebrated. It’s understood that these are marginal, ridiculous characters and that aping them is for blame fools.

Aping Bill O’Reilly would presumably result in riches and glory. Likewise aping Hillary Clinton. Charlie Sheen is rolling in coke and hookers. Ann Coulter gets book deals and airtime. There are a lot of terrible role models in show business, and they’re held up as role models. (On Hillary Clinton, refer to the “Television” section of P. J. O’Rourke’s chapter about the coequal branches of “Money, Television, and Bullshit.”) If power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, we’ve got a lot of deranged, depraved freaks using their power to pursue absolute wrath. Where Bill O’Reilly wants to watch his enemies be left to their own devices to suffer indefinitely in punishment for t heir own lack of initiative, Hillary acts like she wants to strangle them with her bare hands for disloyalty and Coulter looks of a mind to watch hers be executed and then ceremonially urinate on their corpses.

These are not normal, healthy people. We came, we saw, he died. O’Reilly seems positively restrained in comparison for merely wanting all the losers around him to be beggared so that he might become richer yet. We narrowly avoided the presidency of a woman who publicly gloated about a foreign leader being sodomized and shot by a rival warband, and we avoided it by electing a guy who encourages cops to bang arrestees’ heads on the cruiser door jam. Love too be represented by leaders who refuse to transcend the morals of Muammar Qaddafi.

It’s official: I miss Matt on Paula on reheated racism interview now. Why, I do declare that I do. That was a dumbass fucking donnybrook, but it brought Mrs. Butter and a guy who’d robbed her at gunpoint out to confess that they’d done wrong and needed to get their heads straightened out. Think about those two haphazardly leading their nation towards truth and reconciliation while Loofah Boy, supposedly a great political activist, painfully huffs his way through unapologetic quasi-denials of office lechery and Midtown Furry keeps up the pretense that it’s all news.

“How could ‘Bernie would have won’?”

Those who assume that the Hillbot Army and Your Fleek Abuela Herself have transcendent principles or coherent strategy or tactics and not just the demented, inchoate rage of the least sympathetic of cornered animals ignore the ever more abundant evidence that they’re crooked, reflexively evasive, and quite often absolutely motherfucking retarded.

To wit, our title. Or, in the long form, “How could ‘Bernie would have won’ when Bernie lost?” Let’s leave aside the notion, surreally childish for a professional political operative, that an exceptionally popular candidate with exceptionally strong crossover appeal, naturally high energy on the trail, and a robust grassroots campaign apparatus who narrowly lost a dark horse primary race against an entrenched patronage machine co-headed by a former two-term president, a machine that tipped the scales against him both overtly and covertly, inevitably would have lost the general election after doing better in swing states than the machine that sank him. Leave the syphilitic nonsense of Adam Parkhomenko’s shitty argument aside and reread his syntax: “How could ‘Bernie would have won’ when Bernie lost?”

Wow Much linguistix None conjugation Many counterfacsh Such subjunctive Very retard. How could I doesn’t speak English when I already speaks English? If Parkhomenko had said this after winning a Special Olympics T-ball game, I wouldn’t have anything to say about it (The Onion: “Special Olympics T-ball stand pitches perfect game”), but he worked for a fucking major-party presidential nominee, so, yes, as a voter I consider it reasonable to expect him not to descend into public retardation. That’s a bad sign.

It isn’t just dum-dum, though. There’s something specific about the idiocy of Parkhomenko’s language, like “What is ‘to be corn cobbed’?”, but more so, that’s even worse. That’s how cultists speak.

To anyone of normal intelligence and judgment, “Bernie would have won” is a full sentence made up of four separate words. To get sort of Wow Very Explain, it uses a noun, “Bernie,” referring to recently failed presidential candidate and sitting US Senator Bernie Sanders, the subjunctive “would have” to stipulate that Bernie wasn’t given the opportunity to show what he could do in the general election, and “won” to describe Bernie’s narrowly averted electoral whupping of Donald Trump’s soft, overhyped ass from West Virginia to Kansas to Montana. That was a lot of lecturing over four words, all but one of them monosyllabic, but anyone who isn’t innately retarded or brainwashed can tell that “Bernie would have won” is a full sentence composed from separate words to make an argument. Recognizing that, a non-freak can react by agreeing or disagreeing with the argument.

How did Adam Parkhomenko react to this statement? By treating it as a single word abrogating all rules of English grammar by its presence. It’s absolutely fucking absurd, but that’s exactly how the brainwashed dumbasses orbiting around Hillary approach their English with their fancy degrees. It’s our common language until it isn’t anymore. They notice a talking point, which could be one of their own or one of the opposition’s, and exempt it from all scrutiny. Every talking point is a Holy of Holies into which man dare not peer. Thinking about what the hell it might mean just isn’t the done thing.

This is surreal. It doesn’t get any more straightforward than “Bernie would have won.” There’s an agreed-upon context (Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic nomination and facing off against Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, in the general election) and an explicitly stated outcome to a specific binary decision (a sleazy oaf–incidentally the same one the Hillbots so deplore–getting his ass handed to him by–oops–someone they also deplore). (We’re ignoring What Is Aleppo, me and my fellow healing crystals freaks on the Stein Steamer, and the like, because, nah, shit, I don’t want to get bogged down in a discussion of two-party capture of an electoral system that is constitutionally open to all eligible comers.) There are reasons why Bernie might not have won the general election, not ones that I think are compelling, but not Special Olympics hot dog stand stupid, either. I think Bernie was on course to easily win well over 300 electoral votes, possibly closer to 350, giving him more than enough margin to not have to debase himself by pandering to the worst people in Florida, but arguing that he wouldn’t have had a lock on the Rust Belt and didn’t have a prayer in Appalachia doesn’t have to be a degrading, grammatically challenged self-own.

But that’s the difference between making a refutable argument and being a fucking brainwashed moron who doesn’t recognize nouns and verbs. I recognize that I’m even more confident than many Berniecrats about Sanders’s electoral viability in economically depressed parts of the highland South. I don’t expect anyone in particular to agree with me that he would have had a fighting chance to win Kentucky in the general election; all I have is a gut feeling that a groundswell in cracker country, physically and psychologically far from the posh horsey-horse shitheads around Lexington, might have been enough to put him over the top, and that the same demographic almost certainly would have been adequate in West Virginia. Counterarguments from pessimists or Republicans don’t bother me.

What does bother me, or more accurately stun me (*Terminal Robert Dziekanski Voice* You’re literally killing me, Biggie! I’m literally dying over here!), is grammatically brain-dead horseshit about how Bernie Sanders wouldn’t have won the general election because he lost a primary that was stacked against him by an army of Clinton enforcers and all the one-sided coverage they could order and buy. That’s just garbage. The BDSM dungeon morals of this ongoing campaign are reprehensible, and as a Sanders voter I have every right to take personal offense. Dat syntax, tho. How could Bernie would have won when Bernie lost? That makes Donald Trump sound like Abraham Lincoln. That is the syntax of the sworn presidential campaign of intelligence, thought, and policy heft. That’s the caliber that the Clinton machine deployed against Steve Bannon, who, nutty though he can be, may be the closest thing to a genius polymath to pass through the White House in my lifetime.

Gee, who can ever imagine how that fine team lost to a veteran television star with keen seat-of-the-pants political instincts advised by a theology autodidact from the Biosphere One project? For that matter, love too see arguments that Steve Bannon is paranoid but Hillary Clinton is not. Every crazy bitch from the HOA versus the neighborhood drunk with the biggest, most interesting home library on the block: who the fuck actually thinks the HOA bitches will win that race? That’s how deranged and out of touch it was to be #WithHer.

An organization run by people who can’t mentally digest a four-word opposition talking point that means exactly what it appears to mean will have you all know that you’re a bunch of unemployable racists with substance abuse problems while Hillary Clinton, noted prison labor beneficiary from the Arkansas governor’s mansion, jokes about having another bottle of chardonnay. This, friends, is meritocracy. Donald Trump is literally the worst politician ever. Verrit authentication code 9111488.

It takes a special, credulous level of reflexive trust in institutions to fall for this shit. Hillary is a wonk because she says she’s a wonk and pays others to say so, but that doesn’t apply to Donald Trump promising to make America great again because America is already great. Sucks that your factory was offshored because you refused to be competitive, though. The pathology of the Clinton machine operates, fundamentally, on both a socioeconomic level and a psychological level. Clintonworld spends huge amounts of money paying its lackeys off, lackeys that it attracts largely from the pool of upper-middle-class organization men and women who have never been burned by a cult. Most of them wouldn’t be in it if it weren’t for the money, but it takes a certain very troubled psychological disposition to tolerate such a poisonous, deranged environment in the first place.

Take heart. Our finest colleges select for exactly such creeps. That’s how I was able to recognize the Hillbots: I know them from school. Regarding Bill Durden as anything but a misallocated circus sideshow act is consistent with an equal regard for We Came We Saw He Died. The one thing I can say on behalf of these freaks is that Chuck “Get Your Balls Clipped” Dederich’s followers had a less socioeconomic interest in taking up with him on the old radio plantation than our Young Scholars have in casting their lot with their own political and educational (sic) cult rackets. If you do something debasing for the money and end up with the money, at least you go away with some money. That’s why I scavenge deposit bottles. That, and it’s generally a less hostile environment.

Would it even be possible for Hillary Clinton not to get 1984 ass-backwards? The Wellesley-Yale bitch has a book out about how George Orwell warned against failure to trust institutions the year after she failed to get the American electorate to trust her very institutional campaign for the presidency. There’s no way to make this shit up. Meanwhile her faildaughter, a Stanford-Columbia-Oxford graduate, is on Twitter spouting total bullshit about Hannah Arendt. Why do I keep getting the feeling that we, as a haphazardly constituted federal electorate, made the right decision in denying this family the elected high office that it demanded anew from us?

To be blunt, I don’t cotton to cults. Dickinson College can get fucked with its needy, pushy requests for my money, and so can everyone from its alumni community who feels likewise. Give your own damn money to that fundraising scam if you feel so passionately about it, and do shut the fuck up. My first visit to a Catholic parish where the priest has a projectile authoritarian personality is consistently my last. (I suspected that the arc of Catholic history bent towards Pope Francis, but I was impressed by the sharpness of that fine, fine curve.) I nearly voted for Donald Trump as a rebuke to the cultism of the Hillary Democrats, and I would not have regretted it. If they didn’t want him to endanger the Republic, they shouldn’t have ratfucked the most popular politician in the United States during their primary and then spent the Trump presidency to date rehashing their smears for the book royalties. I can actually provide an accurate discussion of the lessons of 1984, one of which is that prostitution naturally neuters the Junior Anti-Sex League if it is not comprehensively suppressed. I wouldn’t count on Bill Durden, Hillary, Chelsea, or any of the other dipshits currently under discussion having a clue what the hell that means. Ooh, they’re too dense (giggity) to be getting a clue, too!

I didn’t go to school for the liberal arts; I went to the internet for the liberal arts, and for the code enforcement complaint form. That’s why I vote.

On Donald Trump’s great wealth and business acumen

Donald Trump is a man of awesome wealth and a captain of industry in the same way that I’m the chief of surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering and also the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He ain’t none of that. He’s a hustler with exceptionally shady personal finances, a trail of bankruptcies in his wake, and a reputation for wealth and business savvy that he established by nothing more than brute assertion to uncritical, compliant news media and a crappy TV show in which he played a ridiculous caricature of a Fortune 500 executive. As much as he brags about his personal wealth, there are no credible statements of his net worth in wide circulation, or even any strong indication that his net worth is positive. It is, however, well established that he serially stiffed contractors, including small ones that couldn’t take the financial stress, repeatedly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (hence much of the contractor fleecing), ran company after showboating company into the ground, and was blacklisted by the US banking industry for effectively defrauding lenders with habitual strategic defaults.

After everyone reputable who did due diligence on him wised up to his constant bullshit and shut him out, Trump went to the intersectional Russian mob/oligarchy/government for additional capital and–where else?–to NBC for reputation management and, as they call it in the entertainment business, work. He was enough of a hustler that his old boys in the track suit crime syndicates presumably didn’t expect to have to take a crowbar to his knees down the road, since he’d have some lesser dupe holding the bag by the time they fancied repayment. Those who presume the big broadcasting networks more or less reputable might wonder what the fuck NBC saw in that washed-up permafailure, but NBC was actively turning itself into the most openly and aggressively corrupt of the big three legacy networks, so a big pimpin’ blowhard who enjoyed verbally abusing others and offered the executives the prospect of easy money in exchange for low outlays and cheap production values was right up their alley.

That’s the inexcusable part. Mobbed-up Russians of a certain moral character are expected to be vulgar, amoral, gaudy, and crass, but NBC is a preeminent national broadcaster with a large news division and a slew of FCC charters. In principle, someone would have stood up, publicly if private protests didn’t work, and said, whoa, this dude is too toxic for prime time. In principle, the bigshots in the C-suites, the guys at the Top of the Rock, would have seen the taint and recoiled, refused to dignify the bastard with a show of his own to make himself look like a corporate visionary when he’d actually just put his name on a bunch of shit that he had then promptly let go down in flames, and told him to go bother someone else with his shitty pitches because, look, we have standards around here and a good name to protect, and also just because yuck.

That didn’t happen because there were no standards and reputation to defend, just a pathological compulsion to stack cash. For the Donald, The Apprentice was an extended powwow with his own tribe. He was mad into money for the sake of money, and so were his bosses at NBC Universal. It was a fine cultural fit, if we dare call that a culture. In the sense of E. coli on a petri dish, it certainly was one.

The NBC shysters took him on because they were greedy shysters. Trump actually needed the money. As the sitting US president, he still needs the money. As Bruce Springsteen would say, he has debts that no honest man can pay. Good luck catching the prick on the 552 bus, though. He’s spending his presidency selling his cultists an expanding range of MAGA swag and hosing the federal treasury for all it will possibly yield with rent on all the properties he conveniently owns.

The Clintons would have done no less if they’d owned so much real estate, so he isn’t the uniquely crooked figure that a narrow focus may make him appear to be. Wow Much lincoln Such bedroom Very compensate. Trump, though, came into the presidency with much heavier and vaguer debts than the Clintons bore for their legal bills as they vacated the White House. The Clintons were yuppies who went into public service (sic) to do good and, in due course of time, did very well indeed. Trump was never content to be a mere yuppie. He had to put his name on shit and show off all the bling and bitchin’ pads he owned. Right there he had a grotesquely inflated cost of living for nonsense like owning a penthouse and a helicopter. Precious few people can make yuppies look modest, but he pulled it off. The Clintons prior to 1993 were graspingly aspirational, but they lived like cloistered religious compared to him.

Trump’s big deal was playing rich. He was trying to fake it to make it. His fluffers on the alt-right actually praise this as tight game, acting like everyone criticizing him is a sore loser for taking his claim to be worth ten billion dollars literally, like, lighten up, man, that’s just a nice round number to convey the gist of his message. Yeah, if I go into Burger King with a small handful of nickels and tell the cashier to think rich like I’m thinking and imagine that it’s a ten spot, I’ll totally be allowed to get a Whopper Meal. If Trump exaggerates his assets in an application for credit, that’s fraud, as it is for anyone else. Hence the open secret that he got himself unbanked in his own country. He obviously considers his net worth material to his worthiness as a leader; if he didn’t, he would never have spent so much time bragging about it; so, no, it isn’t petty or resentful of the rest of us to call bullshit on him for lying to us about it or to regard everything about that situation as antisocial.

The alleged source of this guy’s money is business brilliance, as explained in “his” book, The Art of the Deal. First off, that isn’t his book; he paid a pathetic mercenary ghostwriter to take notes on his bullshit artistry and then bought his way into a vanity press. I write this stuff myself, without so much as an editor (if I had one, less of it would be about the same rough dozen embarrassments to Canada); I’m a writer. That son of a bitch was never a fucking author. He hardly even maintains a narrative thread for two minutes on Twitter, and he does not have the exceptional talent for short-form writing that would justifying calling that shit writing in the publishable sense.

Aside from the disrepute of giving him credit for a pile of cheap, trite blather published under his rent-by-the-hour byline, he doesn’t know shit about dealmaking or running a business, either. He put his name on an air shuttle service that he had bought from Eastern Airlines and expeditiously bankrupted it. The guy is made out to be another Freddie Laker or Richard Branson when he couldn’t even keep a turnkey short-haul air carrier afloat in populous, affluent markets including his own country’s national capital and largest city. Putting on the ritz with Michael Jackson’s help in a decade of mandatory putting on of the ritz, he flamed out of the Atlantic City casino business on short order.

God, Wacko Jacko, another excellent steward of personal finances. What fine company Trump keeps.

These piles of shit, along with an obscenely overpriced adjunct seminar series branded as his personal “university” and a mail-order steak marketing operation, are Donald Trump’s “business background.” I have a stronger business background from three days of PCI Lockdown training and the proficiency tests that I failed. Amway distributorships are a sorry excuse for entrepreneurship, but they’re closer to what the public has in mind when it hears of Trump’s “business background” than the shit Trump actually pulled in his business life. This fucker is promoted as a great businessman because he plastered his name on a bunch of gaudy Eighties Excess enterprises, many of which went belly-up and left dumb money other than Trump holding the bag. As I discussed above, the banks got wise to this shit after a few years and cut him off as an entire industry.

More recently, he’s been celebrated as a businessman by sole virtue of his literally playing an executive on television. That crap wasn’t a business operation. We don’t see Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or Rex Tillerson (an impressively upstanding and well-spoken character for the clown show currently employing him) sitting at a conference table with a bunch of tearful D-List celebrities, pointing at them and dramatically telling them in so many words that they’re fired. Rex spent too much time in the back of the house actually running ExxonMobil to dick around with shit like that, and besides, the personnel office at any halfway well run corporation would intervene immediately if it heard of anyone in management firing employees in such a gratuitously humiliating and combative manner.

Tillerson is the real deal, and yet I’ve heard much more about Trump’s bogus business background than about Tillerson’s actual business background at the helm of the world’s largest oil company. We’ve got a Secretary of State who ran a Fortune 500 company successfully and without noteworthy scandal, and his reputation as a businessman is eclipsed by a bumptious yutz who serially bankrupted companies that he’d named after himself and who acts like a try-hard circuit-riding motivational speaker, the kind of blowhard who is on course to be fired within the quarter when his corporate sponsors discover that he’s an embezzler and a pathological liar.

Our national understanding of what it takes to run a business is absolutely fucking insane. This is the case in large part because NBC, a sleazy, amoral outfit, aggrandized Donald Trump into a business genius and every other faux-objective news outlet followed suit, parroting every bit of idiot drivel they’d overheard about the fellow. It’s the both-sides bullshit again, except with only one side, the positive, uncritical one. He and his people said that he’s a great businessman and it isn’t blatantly false, so it must be true. The assertion that Trump is a businessman can’t readily be fact-checked; that would require thinking and inquiring about what exactly he has done in day-to-day operations, planning, conceptualization, and the like, which would be le hard. His claims of great net worth might be fact-checked more easily, but that would get in the way of the cool story that everyone’s trying to tell about him.

A great deal of mainstream journalism today is nothing more than the dictation and repetition of whatever horseshit some PR flack spouts, with no critical thought or analysis whatsoever, like, is what this motherfucker saying credible or even possible. As long as it can be attributed to some mercenary fuckjob with an ax to grind, it’s fit to print. This is the sort of crap that passes for fact. Someone with the social proof and/or baksheesh capacity to make the papers runs some bullshit by a pet stenographer and it is entered into the record as space and stylistic considerations permit. Mixups in my Mind’s probably accurate story about the derelict bum’s fucking dog and the fucking rotisserie chicken is not backed up by the requisite social proof, but Donald Trump’s patently nonsensical and fraudulent backstory about being a business visionary and titan is, so in it goes.

The amount of marketing bullshit that the allegedly hostile media keep repeating on Donald Trump’s behalf is exceptional. Ronald Reagan was an actor, too, but no one was like, oh wow, what an amazing business background. An embarrassing number of his critics got so caught up in his status as a has-been B actor that they forgot about his also having completed two full terms as the governor of California. Gee, can’t see how that would prepare a person for high executive office. With Trump, we have an amazing number of his sworn political enemies without a basic working knowledge of some of the most basic, long-established opposition research on him. Like, dude, this is the clown who screwed the pooch with the airline and the casino and stiffed everyone in his path. This isn’t some eleventh-hour tempest in a teapot like the Bushspawn pussy tape; it’s serious stuff that’s been a matter of public record for decades.

What do we do about parts of the electorate that actually consider it more scandalous to make a crude comment about promiscuous grabtwat to a film lot dipshit than to bankrupt innocent family carpentry businesses by cynically using Chapter 11 to avoid paying them for services they’ve already rendered? God help us. Then again, this constituency was strongly #WithHer, and we’ve seen how that worked out. While we’re on the subject, which kind of emolument-whoring fuckhead do you prefer, the one with the private air fleet and the undisclosed debts or the one with the government planes at her disposal for over a decade and the hundred mil in post-presidency payoffs? Go ahead and call me names for voting for Jill Stein again.

Let’s keep in mind throughout this mess that it’s Trump himself and his organization that seeded the ridiculous notion that he’s a captain of business. No one goes around all like, oh yes, William H. Macy, truly one of the great American businessmen. We hear awfully little about Macy on the gossip circuit because he’s made a point of quietly being a mensch, not an uncontrollably raging piece of shit. It’s hard to imagine him getting upset over criticism of some business venture that he happened to set up. If he blew it as an entrepreneur, we’d either hear nothing of it or a few words straight from the horse’s mouth to the effect of oops, that didn’t go so well. With Trump, by contrast, we have not only his own personal narcissism but the structural narcissism of a celebrity-worshiping press that can’t bear the thought of criticizing someone so sacrosanct. Remember, he still has NBC and everyone who wants to stay in NBC’s good graces reflexively running interference on his behalf, not in his capacity as the sitting president but in his capacity as recent prime-time talent. The people running these sleazy operations know better than to recklessly dribble egg all over NBC’s face by criticizing it for publicly associating with him. That’s the dirty laundry that one dasn’t air.

Hmm, looks like I just grabbed a box of clothespins and strung out a line. Wow Much inside Many edition. Shit, who am I kidding? My Focus and my sleepy ass in the driver’s seat at the West Coast’s rest areas don’t come anywhere near that scene, so these are not my confidences to break. Sometimes I have inside information, but I’ve adequately heated up this take with exclusively public information. I just synthesized some basic background information about a loudmouthed arriviste who could never imagine taking a millionaire-next-door approach to building his fortune (unlike the Clintons, let’s remember, who didn’t get seriously loaded until they were well into middle age) and the scandalous episode (many such episodes, in fact) in which he got into a seedy symbiotic relationship with one of our major news broadcasters for exposure and moar bling in exchange for ratings.

The problem with Trump isn’t that he’s an actor who ran for president. The problem certainly isn’t that he’s a businessman who ran for president, because, as we’ve been tendentiously discussing, he isn’t a fucking businessman. On a higher moral plane, he might be able to use his disillusionment with the game to actually try to reform it, but as he said himself, he isn’t putting anyone on a moral plane. The main thing I’d like is for everyone to stop acting like the guy’s career background is as anything more than a bottomfeeding hustler and a one-trick acting pony with a revoltingly tawdry persona. Is that too much to ask?

Of course it is. This is America, Barnum. This is America.

Senioritis

The blueberry season is getting close to the end, with a few days’ worth of Legacy left to pick, and I’m getting antsy. Going to Idaho for the eclipse didn’t help. I was out of town for a full week, free of the nagging guilt and acute distress that afflicted me during my walkout last month when I was biding my time in Newport and Portland, and the time to relax was a damn nice refreshment. I also realize that after I got out of Elko, a bleak-ass city where I managed to have an overly athletic she-yuppie in a T-shirt from an annual marathon in Pacific Grove tell me that I’m not homeless because I travel while her husband, in a matching shirt, looked on timidly in something between embarrassment and dumbfounded pain–that after I got away from the surprisingly eerie circumstances of that fucked-up dump of a railroad watering stop and across the unearthly moonscape between Owyhee and Mountain Home, I spent the bulk of my waking hours in Boise and Idaho City around people who were significantly better put together and in healthier and more pleasant built environments than what I normally face at work. An exceptionally friendly and gracious older yuppie couple in a Midlife Crisis Beemer (Mercedes? If they’d been on a train, you’d be hearing the damn specifics) gave me a pair of eclipse glasses right after I pulled into the LDS Church parking lot (initially transcribed as LSD Church; lol) in Idaho City, a few miles into the southern line of totality, a lot that the local Napoleonic faithful had opened up for free with a request on a sign by the entrance that we clean up after ourselves and refrain from alcohol and tobacco use, and with two perfectly clean portapotties on the perimeter of the lot.

Damn, Dynamite, you and the liger came through, man. Groovy shit, cracker. One needn’t grok the Mormons to be able to tell that they do us gentiles many a mitzvah in spite of shit like Jamberry and all the business they provide for the FBI’s white-collar crime division in Salt Lake City. I was straight-up right about that crew, fam. And I was wrong about Boise, which I expected to be a dump but is legit bitchin’.

The real life to which I returned, a bit reluctantly and a day later than I’d been targeting, has me earning four dollars an hour in a very good hour working on a vaguely shabby property (standing portajohn contracts are inevitably Pot-o-Shit Friendly) for employers who try to paper over their recurrently shady business practices by being buddies with me and my exclusively minor colleagues. It may not be a really ominous sign that I’m the only legal adult they’ve managed to keep on the crew for more than a few days this season, but it can’t be good. Most of this shady shit is pretty minor (heh), and I’m happy to give them some extra latitude because they run a scrupulously safe operation in an industry whose prevailing standards include threats to life and limb, but it gets old.

I’m 35 and have a bachelor’s degree. Why do I keep working there? I don’t discuss such things at work; it isn’t appropriate, and it would provoke fruitless chaos in an organization that is already regularly chaotic. One of my motivations is that I love farm work, especially with fruit plants. That much is easily and comfortably explained. The socioeconomic background that got me to the Willamette Valley doing stoop labor for thirty cents on the dollar of minimum wage are a can of worms. Most of the others on the crew this year don’t give me the vibe that they’ve willing to listen and be sensible and thoughtful, and I don’t dare go anywhere near this mess with my bosses. Discussing one’s homelessness with normies, self-described or other-described, is a minefield: hence that PG marathoner dipshit in Elko and her embarrassingly uncomfortable husband.

On my second day back at work after all the cool Idaho shit, the highest-volume picker on this year’s crew bluntly asked me, “Why do you come so late?” After stammering under my breath for a few seconds, I told her, just as bluntly, “Don’t go there.” To my powerful relief, she got the message and didn’t say another word about that. She’s one of nine siblings, three of whom have worked with me, and one of her sisters was the teacher’s pet who tried to sheepdog me back onto my assigned row, which was a useless waste of time and energy, a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it runs in the family. They come from a Warsaw Pact immigrant background that would explain it pretty conveniently. Then again, the third sister, who is doing something that pays kind of decently this year, is nothing like that. But I’ll be damned if I needed another possible stool pigeon on the crew turning me into the butt of gossip. Teacher’s pets are keystones in any authoritarian regime. In the US context, they’re the Uncle Toms. The actual Uncle Tom, the one with the cabin, wasn’t like that, but, well, you know. Or maybe you don’t; I hate to say it, but you wouldn’t be the only one. I knew enough shitheads in college who acted like they’d rat anyone but their true loved ones out to the secret police for internment or gassing or come what may to last me a lifetime. To hell with tolerating another one at a three-dollar-an-hour job. Or two-dollar. Whatever; it ain’t enough for that shit. My punctuality isn’t that chick’s fucking business. Full stop. It doesn’t concern her, and her intrusion into it augured nothing but ill.

I’m glad that I nipped her aspiring keyholder act in the bud, and I’m relieved that I was able to nip it in the bud without walking off the job again. If she resents me for not having to come to work at the same time that she does, she has no business letting it get back to me, and she also has her head up her ass. This isn’t a normal job deserving industry-standard attendance or punctuality or loyalty. I’m already more loyal than most people would think sensible to a company whose internal prevailing standard is maybe trying not to be a total fucking twerp all the time. DiLH told this year’s ADHD twerp that they’d like to keep him on to weed for a few days after the harvest: “Your dad says this is your job to lose.” Personnel decisions involving the Ditzney Princess’s mother were swell, so I gain much by not being a part of the local community, which sounds fucking miserable. That kid wanders around and stares at the river in a vaguely forlorn state of disorientation because his old man thinks it’ll teach him some things about life and growing up and shit. God bless America and the Protestant work ethic. I’ve come to enjoy the kid’s company, but fuckin’ A. I have to wonder how many competent, focused adults the farm has lost because it has all these twerpkin running around, some of them doing God knows what from minute to minute. I can certainly attest that it takes exceptional devotion to the work for a grown-ass adult to come back for another shift with the Ditzney Princess.

The new teacher’s pet has gotten the message, at least. I had some credibility to spare, some political capital, because I’m not a whiny little brat like so many of the other pickers. Office politics shouldn’t be rearing their oily head at this crappy job, and usually they don’t with any virulence. The stuff that Americans find so captivating and resonant on The Office is fucking aberrant. It’s pathological, inimical both to morale and to getting a goddamned thing done at work. I might put up with some for $15 an hour, but my environmental consulting days made me question whether a less sexualized but more vicious version of it was possibly worth $19.75 plus benefits, as most of those around me insisted it ultimately was. Putting up with political bullshit at a portable shitter job site for $2.70 an hour plus under-the-table cash tips as low as a quarter? Go to hell.

That’s the thing. For what I’m earning, that job had damn well better be enjoyable and low-stress and flexible. My bosses don’t pay for the right to make it suck. On the whole, they get this, and I respect them profoundly for this. I don’t mean to imply with my complaints that I’m not immensely grateful for this. I keep coming back to this job and to others like it, when I can find them, because I love the work and consider it a calling. I don’t come to work to be a jackoff or a space cadet. If some of my colleagues consider that a good use of their own summers, that’s their circus and their monkeys. I come to plug in, get shit done, and make money. This feels like an excessively mature stance towards such a badly paid job at such a chaotic, low-key shady company, but no matter how pretentious or bumptious this may sound, the craft transcends most of this bullshit. I figure that some of the twerpkin may come to enjoy or treasure the work themselves or to take pride in it in due course of time, since I’ve seen colleagues who started off thinking that these jobs suck come to enjoy them.

None of this means that anyone has cause to give me lip for not showing up at 6:30 sharp. What the fuck? That’ll cost minimum wage with 100% FICA deductions, no shortcuts, no excuses. Our bosses are chiseling on FICA deductions with the cash tips, which we might as well inflate by two or three orders of magnitude to justify the trouble of reporting them to the IRS. Adulthood involves thinking about this shit. Or, for those who drop out into third-generation disability or professional sign-flying, it doesn’t. I’m working for people who aren’t setting the best example of diligent taxpaying, so yeah. Petty cash under the table, even unto dem shine George coin, doesn’t inspire me to get my ass out of bed right away.

Or out of the driver’s seat. I have no hope of explaining to most of these people that sleeping in my car is better than fearing domestic battery at Joe Dirtbag’s hands, constant domestic verbal abuse and gaslighting from the crossfire of his shitty marriage, or murder at the hands of an ex-Army Ranger paranoid creep of an apartment superintendent. Bizarrely, the Ditzney Princess might have gotten it on some weird level; she had maybe the soberest, least salacious, most empathetic reaction I’ve ever seen to the abridged story of Pot-o-Shit Friend. Still, I wasn’t about to risk the possibility that she’d run her mouth about it and get me into a mess.

And as much as I love this work, I’m not about to devote all my energy to an underpaid job on a shabby property run by a chaotic family on the outskirts of one of the shabbiest towns in the valley and burn the candle at both ends all summer when I can spare some energy to dick around a few hours a day in much nicer, healthier, and ultimately more edifying built and social environments instead. Again, that isn’t a lifestyle concern that I want to raise at work; I’m trying to be tactful here, and I’m trying to navigate social dynamics that could turn into a clusterfuck any minute. I’m not about to go in and tell anyone, yo, dawg, this is a crap job on a property where y’all curate a literal pile of crap in a plastic box in a shithole town, please to take it and shove it until at least 0800 hours daily. I’d like to maintain some fucking subtlety and discretion, and I’m able to pull it off when no one’s getting weird with me.

I haven’t yet gotten tired enough to fall asleep in the afternoon this summer. Given that I’ve nearly fallen asleep at the wheel in previous seasons after work, I dare say this is healthy. I’m not a wanker. A wanker doesn’t pick three quarters of a ton of blueberries by hand in a month and a half in spite of days when management sandbags everyone with row assignments that waste our time. I honestly don’t even know if I’d have picked much more by getting to work on time every day; I might have been too tired to stay so focused and productive. Regardless, it isn’t the business of some teenage gossip who’s trying out for a Mean Girls sequel. Girlfriend, I don’t even GO here! As they say in Midtown, I live by the light rail station in Rancho.

If these twits are trying to learn or, worse, teach lessons about what it means to have a job, I have one: find another job that isn’t such a joke. Spare me the lectures, Weber. I’ve been doing farm work since the current teacher’s pet was in preschool. Scavenging deposit bottles isn’t exactly a job, but it isn’t exactly not a job, and you betcha I notice that it doesn’t inflict an office politics on me as long as I keep an eye out for OTE roustabouts and staties. Chaka Can Chaka Can. It’s something of an Oscar the Grouch/Psychotarp intersectional lifetyle, but those two have better morals than Mother-in-Law on a bad day. Punctuality is for jobs where no one’s sneaking around the edges of Wage and Hour Division regulations and then handing out quarters as tips for a full day’s work.

Every day on the savanna, a lion and a gazelle both wake up, knowing that only one will survive: the gazelle. The moral of the story: be the microdicked shithead dentist from Minnesota who needs a full day and a full night to shoot the lion and then watch it bleed to death from a badly placed arrow wound.

Sts. Francis, Cecil, Cecil, and Jericho, pray for us. You’re shaking my confi–never mind, that’s starting to sound like a Baden-Powell tale. Chesterfield!

Feel free to recommend any money and/or personnel intercessors in the comments. Retweeting cash cats and the $115 badger makes about as much financial sense as taking my ass to work again tomorrow morning. The sad thing is that that’s more sense than trying to spell out adult finances for some teacher’s pet at a job where no one really earns a living. I’d be flying a sign at the rest area if I were in it mainly for the money.

Adulting, bitch.

Total eclipse of the head

Working over the summer in an area that will be under totality and keeping an ear on the radio, with and (preferentially) without Annnnnngellllllla Kelllllnnnnerrrrrr, has given me as much advance notice as anyone on the mess that’s expected to descend on Oregon this weekend for the eclipse. It sounded like a huge clusterfuck was on the way north, so I got out of Dodge on Thursday and started south. As I left the area, there had already been a couple of horrible rural traffic jams around Prineville, but every time I’ve checked Google Maps traffic since, the area looks pretty clear, so maybe the hippie importation into the Ochoco National Forest is mostly complete. KLCC had some ranch owner and real estate magnate on to brag about how his redneck values of self-reliance and grit forced him to do business with hippies in order to make ends meet in tight times, hence his inviting the organizers of upcountry Burning Man onto his property, which is miles from the nearest street address. Dude probably ain’t as strapped for cash as he makes himself out to be, but as Greg Gianforte would say, bullshitting city slickers about such things is the Montana Way.

On my way south, I stopped in Bend, a badly underrated city, as it fell under the pall of smoke from a huge wildfire west of Sisters. I had a panoramic view of the smoke coming across on Highway 20 and then got to savor the flavor for 150 miles. Hours after I left Bend, this jumped a containment line and prompted the closure of Highway 242, the windy mountain cutoff between Sisters and McKenzie Bridge. This is frankly a minor example of the shit I’ve been fearing. An active fire season is always possible in Oregon, and we’ve been having one this year. The more I think about it, the more relieved I am that 242 got closed days before the eclipse: a mass evacuation of flatlanders from the path of an oncoming fire in such rugged terrain along such a windy road would very likely have gotten people killed, quite possibly by the hundreds. Dozens of mostly local residents were killed earlier this year in Portugal when a forest fire that they were trying to flee burned over the road that they were trying to use as an evacuation road and trapped them in their cars, and that was in much more prosaic, normal circumstances that Oregon is expecting for the eclipse.

One of the reasons why I left was that I was worried about a mass-casualty fire scene even worse than that. I’m still a bit worried, but less so, since the traffic jams aren’t as bad as I was expecting. The northbound traffic I saw on my way south was heavy but orderly and not jammed up, and the timing of the eclipse, on the Monday morning of what many tourists will be able to make into a three-day weekend, should limit the rush the day and night before. The Monday afternoon exodus is still expected to be a zoo, though, and I’m glad to avoid that. I’d only get in the damn way. Nor did I relish the idea of sticking around an area where the last two rooms I could find, at a property that I often book for sixty or seventy dollars a night, were going for $1,399, plus generous taxes and fees.

I’m still trying to plan a trip to see the eclipse, but wicked inland, probably in Idaho. Napoleon Dynamite Country shouldn’t attract as many freaks and idiots as the Left Coast. Maybe I’m naive, but no matter how embarrassingly crunchy Western Montana is, it doesn’t have the sheer population to disgorge into Rexburg and Idaho Falls that California has available for John Day. Sensible Mormons seem like a good idea in times like these, and the Wasatch Front has many such cases. Better to have them colonize the eclipse path than the hippie swarm. They tend to bathe.

It isn’t just a matter of avoiding potentially contagious Anglo-Saxonisms such as the itch, the twitch, the mange, and the grunge. The dirty motherfuckers who choose to harbor such wonders (and the traveling ones are moneyed enough that it indeed is a fucking choice) are, as they say in activist communities, intersectional with the carriers of woo-woo. From what I’m hearing, a total eclipse is really worth watching, but I’d rather watch it with Mormon breeders who stockpile canned goods in a bunker than with healing crystals assholes. All the New Age bullshit is about to flood interior Oregon from Ashland and Nevada City and Santa Cruz, in an almost biblical sense, and I’ve had enough of that crap already. If you haven’t been exposed to it, you probably have no idea how fucking obnoxious it all is. The ideas that these losers have about the eclipse have to be UFC heavyweight wrestler fucking dropkicked that dumb bitch I did insane. I get the gist of it and can tell at a glance that it’s all retarded, so I really don’t need the details.

I don’t need another helping of the wholegrain vegan pancakes, either. Mixing whole wheat flour, olive oil, baking soda, oatmeal, and water into a batter (sic, and adequately sickening) might seem like a great idea to someone who also believes in “neurolinguistic programming” (Major Bones: “You realize, all that means is learning how to talk! Oh my God!”) and scatters affirmations that “EVERY DAY, IN EVERY WAY, I AM GETTING RICHER” around the house while snacking on rotten lettuce all afternoon. The Family Shrew earned her epithet in part by being a pushy bitch about how such a lifestyle would be edifying for me, too, and really for everyone. I have never figured out whether the nasty salad mix snacks (without dressing, because that woman knows how to wander out of her fucking mind) were entirely a health cult discipline or had something to do with her and Joe Dirtbag not being able to afford groceries at times when my dad had been giving them tens of thousands of dollars.

So, no, I do not want to go watch some special lunar shit with this crowd. It sounds miserable. It’s bad enough that I can’t reschedule it for a year not featuring a secular high in socioeconomic inequality in the OECD and an allegedly liberal Neo-Victorian IFL Science bourgeoisie that wants to tell the poor how to live and is successfully turning Donald Trump into the Millennium’s William Jennings Bryan as well as its FDR. There was a big-ass eclipse in 1888, too, during the Gilded Age. Back then all the fashionable moral people were open eugenicists who expected their breakfast cereals to double as laxatives and triple as masturbation suppressors. That’s where science got J. H. Kellogg. One fucking loves it. Everyone who wanted a cut of his money for research had to pretend that he wasn’t batshit insane for going to the zoo to watch chimpanzees shit and taking notes. #GorillaMindset. Grant writers today have to pretend that Uber isn’t a mashup of COINTELPRO, Dr. Mengele from the psychology department, and 38 Special Vinny from the taxicab racket, that there isn’t anything wrong with Elon Musk for wanting to colonize Mars and run a maglev pneumatic tube from New York to Washington at a time when no level of government in the United States has the wherewithal to fund a third heavy rail bore under the Hudson into Penn Station, and that Ashton Kutcher and Nicholas Jesus D. Kristof are international authorities on forced brothel labor, coextensive and coterminous with all sex work because they say so.

Shit, white boy. I haven’t even gotten to all the flak that the poor take for being fat. The eclipse is sure to be another excuse for people who expose entire communities to measles because Jenny McCarthy says vaccines are giving their brats autism to accuse churchgoing Christians of superstition. Okay, some cool shit is happening with the sun and the moon, but it doesn’t give some asshole who dicks around on the NASA website grounds to make fun of snake-handling holy rollers for being ignorant and backwards (they know a thing or two about animals, after all), and it doesn’t give some other asshole the dispensation to swirl a fucking amethyst crystal in front of my third eye. I say this as someone who took the plunge and went through with RCIA in order to avoid taking the literal plunge into the bathtub of a wacko cradle Catholic turned hardline Missouri Synod Lutheran/straight-up John Knox Presby hellfire preacher who wanted to summarily baptize me at a soiree that he was hosting.

I’m wary of zealots because I’ve gotten mixed up with a few. There are only two words that I need repeat about my institutional experience with Dickinson College: GO DIPLOMATS! Seriously, I’ve considered actually donating to Gettysburg and F&M just to spite the development office shitheads and the cult horde that they indoctrinate. It’d probably be a five spot, but I’d make damn sure that it’s enough to get my name on a published donor list. The eclipse already has the IFL Science community preening about its own superiority to uneducated religious ignoramuses who don’t fucking love science, so, yes, I’d rather go to Idaho Falls and see if any of the LDS MILF’s made some extra Jello salad. Remember: more sister wives means more recipes.

It also occurs to me that maybe Mormon eclipse-watchers in flyover country are Safety Bear enough not to start wildfires by driving on the grass. John Waters is full of shit about America being able to take in more people because there’s so much space, but there is something to be said for getting into a relatively unpopulated part of the country on a weekend when the populated part where I’ve been working is going to have a wildebeest stampede of flatlanders into climatic and vegetation regimes that they dangerously fail to understand.

There’s definitely something to be said for being rational about this stuff, to doing some real planning and trying to steer clear of those who don’t. The Boy Scouts taught me about more than just Chesterfield. Much of what we did there was retarded, but not all of it was. The BSA isn’t exactly an organization of heteronormative neurotypicality, so Our Lord Joseph’s Servant Gerald applying the DENNIS Method to one’s Heartland under its auspices shouldn’t come as a total surprise, but it did teach us some extremely useful things about gun and knife safety and wilderness survival when it wasn’t handing out merit badges like candy to anyone who spent a week at camp weaving dumbass kit baskets. In retrospect, I side with the kid who got frustrated and threw his basket into the campfire. Those who aren’t into arson can learn much from the BSA about how not to accidentally start fires. It isn’t a good place to send Jim DiMaggio or Sexy Male Code Enforcement Officer Lynn Rader for training (God, not another DENNIS Method), but the worst boys I encountered through it were average bullies or whiny little twerps, not psychopaths.

It’s true that none of my recurring memes are bad by BSA standards. It’s true that what’s most grievously missing from its camps are the camp whores. That sounds like an American Pie sequel, but prostitution would actually cut down on the juvenile bullshit, and it’s a lot more realistic than amateur hour with Mrs. Robinson. These boys aren’t about to get it on with Stacy’s Mom; I was one of them, and I know that we did not got it going on.

It’s a weird damn organization, Rex Tillerson being one of the exceptions that proves the rule, but as I said, it managed to teach some of us some good shit, and the people I’m trying to avoid in Oregon this weekend include ones who never got the personal hygiene merit badge. That’s the one you get by coming out of the bath not smelling like shit. Left-liberals can have a moral sense of purity, too, bitch. People who smell bad after they bathe offend mine, and they overlap significantly with idiots who start fires by driving on dry grass, smoke being another source of offensive impurity, but you know what they say: haters gonna haidt.