Category: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind

Weird Scenes #101 — Everyday Surrealism

Weird Scenes #101 — Everyday Surrealism

There’s danger on the edge of town / Ride the King’s highway, baby / Weird scenes inside the gold mine / Ride the highway west, baby — The End, written by The Doors, 1967

As I walked upstairs to my Scribbler’s Sanctorum to write these words, I noticed daughter was watching a hockey game. That’s hardly unusual in this house; both of us are hockey fans and unless otherwise occupied we will watch any game that has a puck and a dearth of New York Rangers fans. But instead of nodding my head in regret, I was thinking of how surreal our times have become.

I do not believe we have ever had the privilege of watching the Stanley Cup playoff games in the middle of a workday afternoon. I’m pretty damned certain we never had new playoff games aired live in August. Hockey in the height of summer just feels wrong. To be fair, so does a team in Las Vegas, where it is (as I type) 106°. And I know for a fact that the Las Vegas Golden Knights, who dress like Doctor Fate on stakes, beat the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday night. Las Vegas, very hot. Chicago, very cold. The only thing we’re missing here is Porky Pig’s landing at Wackyland. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #101 — Everyday Surrealism”

Weird Scenes #100: Black Like He?

Weird Scenes #100: Black Like He?

I miss the old Kanye, straight from the ‘Go Kanye / Chop up the soul Kanye, set on his goals Kanye / I hate the new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye / The always rude Kanye, spaz in the news Kanye / I miss the sweet Kanye, chop up the beats Kanye / I gotta to say at that time I’d like to meet Kanye – I Love Kanye, written by Kanye West, 2016.

You may have heard of Kanye Omari West. He is a very successful rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, and fashion designer… and now, he’s a presidential candidate.

When it comes to businessmen as presidential candidates, I will say this: he is far more qualified, experienced and successful then the current clown-in-chief, President Orangeface. But he’s probably no more qualified than, oh, let’s say, you are. Or either of my cats. I’m just playing the odds here.

Don’t matter none. Orangeface has set the presidential bar so low it doubles as a sewer pipe. Yeah, West has made it onto a couple state ballots and doubtlessly will do so in a couple more — mostly swing-states, and that is for a reason.

As it turns out, major Republican campaign operators have been “assisting” West’s efforts to become our next president. You’d think they would be working for the reelection of Orangeface. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #100: Black Like He?”

Weird Scenes #099: Attack of the Ninja Stormtroopers

Weird Scenes #099: Attack of the Ninja Stormtroopers

When der Führer says, “Dis war won’t last too long” / Ve HEIL! HEIL!, although he could be wrong / If you doubt der Führer, you won’t last for long / So, ve HEIL! HEIL!, still he could be wrong.” Der Führer’s Face, written by Oliver Wallace, 1942.

There’s this goosestepper in Washington, DC named Chad Wolf, who enjoys the title “acting head of Department of Homeland Security.” Some might think his job title implies he’s merely a placeholder, a guy who need not know his job because it’s only temporary. You know, just like our acting president.

Well, it’s possible that the longevity of all Trump appointments (except judges) might be only temporary. But until that magic day in January arrives, I think we’re stuck with this Wolf fool for the duration. This is because he has the only talent needed by a Trump appointee — in addition to a complete lack of morality, the law, and “knowledge,” Wolf certainly knows where to put his tongue. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #099: Attack of the Ninja Stormtroopers”

Weird Scenes #098: A Truly Honorable American

Weird Scenes #098: A Truly Honorable American

The goalie committed, Buddy picked his spot / Twenty years of waiting went into that shot / The fans jumped up, the Finn jumped too / And coldcocked Buddy on his follow through / The big man crumbled but he felt all right / ‘Cause the last thing he saw / was the flashing red light / He saw that heavenly light — Warren Zevon, Hit Somebody!, 2002

Statue of General Black Hawk

You may have heard that the Washington Redskins football team finally moved to change its name a mere 72 years after its founding as the Boston Braves. They played in the same park as the baseball team of the same name. When they moved to the hallowed confines of Fenway Park, they changed their name to the Boston Redskins and took that with them to Washington, DC four years later.

That would be 1937, so the response “Well, it’s about time” is way too late. The term “redskins” is and always has been an offensive term, particularly to those people who, quite frankly, should be America’s landlords.

This is going to upset some of my liberal friends, but I don’t feel the same way about the names “Indians,” “Braves,” or “Chiefs,” et al. These names are not inherently bigoted. Yes, it is a fact that there aren’t a hell of a lot of Indians employed by professional sports teams outside of India. Then again, there aren’t a lot of lions, tigers and bears earning their livings in such fashion either… any more. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #098: A Truly Honorable American”

Weird Scenes #097: Liberals — Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em, They’re So Damn Cute!

Weird Scenes #097: Liberals — Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em, They’re So Damn Cute!

You’ll be all in clover, and when they look me over / You’ll be the proudest fellow in the Easter Parade / On the Avenue, Fifth Avenue… “Easter Parade,” written by Irving Berlin, 1933.

“Pull my finger…”

It’s likely that Donald Trump just had the worst June of his life. I could be wrong; we don’t know what happened to him in the summer of 1953. He could have fallen off of a runaway turnip truck. This would explain a lot of stuff that his psychologist niece didn’t write about.

The first nine days of July haven’t been any better. He was just scolded by the Supremes for arguing he was above the law. They upheld the rule of law 7 to 2, and both of his (actually Moscow Mitch’s) benchplants voted against him… again. In fact, all nine justices said the president is not above the law. I wish they were around for Nixon. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #097: Liberals — Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em, They’re So Damn Cute!”

Weird Scenes #096: The Great AMERICAN Virus

Weird Scenes #096: The Great AMERICAN Virus

We live in a political world / In the cities of lonesome fear / Little by little / You turn in the middle / But you’re never sure why you’re here — Bob Dylan, “Political World,” 1989.

I am about to propose a hypothetical. If you are the least bit uncertain about the definition of that word, or you are associated with the Department of Homeland Security or any official law enforcement agency, or if you are a knee-jerk right-winger who believes in magical thinking and that “Black Lives Matter” means you are in greater danger now than you were before police were called out for their unchallenged murder of Black people, please use this convenient link so you know what I mean by “hypothetical.”

O.K. And now for my hypothetical.

Let’s say a lone gunperson assassinates this president. Shoots him dead. I mean, red blood gushing from orange skin with a chunk of dyed-blonde hair flying into Mike Pence’s lap dead. Hypothetical, remember? The gunperson is arrested and stands trial for first-degree murder, as well as whatever other charges that give Attorney General Barr an erection.

The Accused enters a plea of self-defense.

I think that might work. There’s a logical case that can be made for self-defense. Now, I told you this is a hypothetical argument, and if you think my scenario is a good idea, I’ll add that despite the worthiness of that plea it will remain quite likely that the Accused will still get the Needle, if not the firing squad at dawn. But the self-defense argument, if made with precise, calm logic, is understandable. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #096: The Great AMERICAN Virus”

Weird Scenes #95: Gee, They Were So Young

Weird Scenes #95: Gee, They Were So Young

Whatever gets you through your life ‘salright, ‘salright / Do it wrong or do it right ‘salright, ‘salright / Don’t need a watch to waste your time oh no, oh no — “Whatever Gets You Through The Night,” written by John Lennon, 1974.

When it comes to sorting Americans into tribes based upon political beliefs — and we are so desperate to divide up into tribes — if you are thinking along the lines of “well, those [whatever] usually tend to be [whichever tribe you like, such as young conservatives, young progressives, young Libertarians, or jocks]…, you are most certainly full of two things, one of which is yourself.

We hear a lot about Gen-Z being very politically active and very progressive. Of course that’s not completely so. Like all previous generations, the largest subgroup are those who just don’t give a damn. These kids are much more politically active than the previous two, but they seem to be motivated not as much by some old fart’s progressive agenda as they are by the philosophy “You are destroying my planet, and I’m the one who is supposed to live here in the future. Not you.” And… that’s fair.

The younger you are the more cynical you might be, but I am living proof that cynicism is most likely to be a permanent lifestyle. For one thing, it’s more fun. This is a good thing: it’s easier to fight the good fights if you allow yourself to appreciate your victories, keep a sense of humor about absolutely everything, and never think about Sisyphus. It’s good to remember the words of some Joker: “Why so serious? Let’s put a smile on that face!”

So it came as no surprise that when I watched Donald Trump’s two pep rallies earlier this week, I saw a whole lot of kids. Almost entirely White kids, but there always are a few non-White people are there, some of whom were hired just like the large group of cheering fans at Trump Tower when the Donald floated down his escalator-from-heaven back in 2015.

Granted, the second of these sessions was held at a college, so it’s not a great an indication of teen-age lack of death-perception as the first. But both had this in common with our recruitment policies for our military: the younger you are, the less likely you are to be aware and protective of your longevity. By and large, if you were, say, a 45-year-old carrying a bayonet, and you were ordered to assault that well-protected Hill 59, you might hesitate. Then your problem becomes getting out of the way of the 19-year-olds who are much less concerned about maintaining their personal franchise.

It is at the core of military training: your master says jump and do not think, you jump without a thought as to your own mortality. 19-year-olds, by and large, have yet to fully develop that sense. I did all kinds of dangerous shit back when I was 19. And 18, and 20. I look back and smile, but I’m not smiling about those stupid risks. I smile because I’m still around to look back at all that dangerous shit. My actions were, and still are, quite serious. My cause is quite serious. My attitude is more “Why so serious.” Whatever gets you through the night.

So we’ve got several thousand southwestern young’uns shoulder-to-shoulder, in weather-appropriate dress (the southwest in late June demands less clothing), jumping up and down and shouting and screaming and cheering and carrying on, maskless, as though they were at the Titanic of high school pep rallies. As the Jefferson Airplane said back in my day, “bless their pointed little heads.”

Many of them think Covid-19 does not affect them because they are not old. Well, dig this kids: when all this plague stuff started, some Black people believed they couldn’t get it either. It was a big deal — a very big deal, until some of them folks started dying. Well, die and learn. Now we know that younger people are merely less likely to come down with Covid-19 than us old people who have little to lose but our memories.

Well, that’s America for you. This nation of ours is your go-to place if you want to age out of your own tribe.

Besides, our planet was overcrowded about five billion live-births ago. Soylent Green does not have to be made out of old dead bodies. I’ll bet the young dead bodies taste better.

Weird Scenes #094: Copaganda Kills

Weird Scenes #094: Copaganda Kills

The silence is speaking / So why am I weeping / I guess I love it / I love it to death / We still got a long way to go / Yes we still got a long way to go — “Long Way To Go,” written by Michael Bruce and recorded by Alice Cooper, 1971.

With respect to rhetoric, I will admit that the phrase “Defund the Police” was just asking for trouble. Some people tend to react before they think, assuming they ever get around to the latter.

Some people who hear “Defund the Police” immediately turn off their brains, rejecting it without thinking it through, just like they did reacting to the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” While it’s fun to watch these lazy fools go apoplectic, I suspect few of them could find Camden New Jersey on a map. Their police force was defunded in 2012. Police had to reapply for their jobs with no guarantee that they would now qualify. Several interesting things happened: the city’s violent crime rate fell 23% and its non-violent crime rate fell 48% (source: that radical democrat communist organization called “the FBI”). Amusingly, police violence increased, until the newly empowered neighborhood watchdogs were able to slow that down. Excessive force complaints started dropping in 2015. Camden is a better place.

This is a good program, and the Minneapolis city government now is adapting it for their use. You’d think everybody would be happy: the cops became less of a threat to the community, and crime went down dramatically. But, of course, the hysterical right will not see that. They believe an unfettered police department is a bulwark and every black person killed or severely harmed by police, as well as their fellow travelers, further establishes law and order. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #094: Copaganda Kills”

Weird Scenes #097: East of Centrist

Weird Scenes #097: East of Centrist

“(Trump is) the second president of the Confederacy… The people who are interested in law and order are not in the White House. The people who are interested in law and order are in the streets.” — Steve Schmidt, former Republican Political Strategist and political consultant to George W. Bush, Lamar Alexander, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and John McCain.

Kayleigh McEnany

As you may have heard, two days ago Trump tweeted “Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?” His press secretary du jure Kayleigh McEnany said on Wednesday “It’s not a baseless conspiracy. No, not at all. I won’t acknowledge that.”

Don’t you just love it when the nation’s public employees surrender their souls and lie through their teeth over easily disprovable Trump tweets, just to save their phony-baloney jobs? This is a time-honored tradition dating, oh, all the way back to Sean Spicer, Trump’s first chief shill. He established a tradition that has been followed by Anthony Scaramucci, Sarah Sanders, Stephanie Grisham, Raj Shah, and now Ms. McEnany… not to mention Michael Dubke and Hope Hicks, communication directors who posed as ersatz press secretaries.

What’s cute about McEnany’s latest prostration is that, back in June 2015 she told CNN that Trump’s campaign kick-off, in which he said Mexico was sending immigrants to the US who were rapists bringing drugs and crime to the United States, was despicable (my word, not hers). What she said at that time was “To me, a racist statement is a racist statement. I don’t like what Donald Trump said.”  Continue reading “Weird Scenes #097: East of Centrist”

Weird Scenes #092: Ask Mister Manners

Weird Scenes #092: Ask Mister Manners

National Brotherhood Week / National Brotherhood Week it’s / National everyone smile at / One another-hood week, be / Nice to people who are / Inferior to you. It’s only for a week so have no fear / Be grateful that it doesn’t last all year – written by Tom Lehrer, 1965

I’m hardly the poster boy for Miss Manners. I’ve been known to be disrespectful on purpose, as I hold a deep commitment to bringing offense to power. I am just sophomoric enough to call out assholes-in-power in language that projects my emotions. Hey, it’s a living.

So this might come as a bit of a shock, and it’s certainly going to sound very old school. I think we, as a species, need to be less preemptively judgmental. By “preemptively,” I mean we give people a certain amount of respect because they’re breathing, and they can earn more or lose some as you get to know them as individuals. If we find yourselves reflexively acting in an offensive manner because of our baked-in opinion of whatever group they represent, then you are guilty of prejudice. Pre-justice, if you will.

I realize usually we don’t think we’re victimizing anybody. We’ve got to keep an eye on our attitudes. Besides, it’s far more fulfilling to loathe somebody as an individual based upon your informed opinion.

I find it hard to believe that individuals only prejudge people of definable victimized groups, and there are those who hate people of all groups, sometimes even their own. We have a word for those people: misanthropes. They exist. I hate misanthropes. They’re very confusing. Focus, people!

You might find this hard to believe, but we used to celebrate something called “National Brotherhood Week.” Yeah, I know, that’s gender specific. It was the 1950s, when Westinghouse and General Electric made kitchens so marvelous that women never wanted to leave them. The slogan was — and you might want to sit down — “Take a Negro to Lunch.” Naivety, thy name is humanity.

Clearly, it didn’t work. Perhaps this was because it was co-sponsored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, which certainly sounds like (and often is) an exclusionary organization. Would a Muslim feel comfortable advocating personhood from their platform? A Buddhist? A Satanist? An atheist? Head’s up, people, we do not all believe in the same god, or gods, or even any god whatsoever.

As Shylock sort of said, “Hath not a [fill in the blank] eyes? Hath not a [fill in the blank] hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a [fill in the blank] is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.”

That particular scene-stealer is from The Merchant of Venice, and it was written by a bigot. But, here, Shakespeare seems to have moved past his environment. When you think of one of our victimized groups, think of Shylock… who, by the way, really wasn’t a very nice guy.

Among all the torment and horror it causes, at the root bigotry and prejudice is as disrespectful as it is a showing of a lack of manners. We came up with this whole manners thing out of self-preservation. It is thought that the handshake, now sadly banished for good cause, was created to flush out strangers who might knife you. We say thank you to people who help us because we don’t want them to think they’re being taking advantage of. We say please because we’re asking for that help and realize we are inconveniencing the other person.

We say “I can’t breathe” so that the asshole who has lost his bigoted mind might get his knee off of your neck.

It’s not just self-preservation. It is societal preservation. America is a cultural smorgasbord of infinite length, and that is what makes us unique. It’s the only part of American “exceptionalism” that is worthy of note. American enlightenment comes from a plethora of influences that, in combination, makes us smarter, more experienced, less bored, more entertained and much, much stronger.

This is not the Planet Kumbaya. We are going to hate people; that is what separates us from lower-form mammals. But, as noted, you should hate a person for his or her own actions and not because they’re members of a group somebody taught you were subhuman. Trust me, if you enjoy hating you have an arena full of nasty individuals from which to choose.

So if you’re going to offend somebody on purpose, at least do it with a smile on your face…and be prepared for Newton’s Law to kick you in your ass.