Category: Politics

Brainiac On Banjo #080: Little Addictions

Brainiac On Banjo #080: Little Addictions

“Your nose may be bulbous, your face may be spotty / Your skin may be wrinkled and tight / But I don’t want to see you, the way that you are / So I turn off the living room light” – Ray Davies, When I Turn Off The Living Room Light

We all have our little addictions. Things we’ve done forever, habits that we would never consider breaking because they aren’t harmful and we’ve benefited from them. Nonetheless, they are addictions, and I say that without making value judgment.

You might be addicted to chocolate. Perhaps you’re into music — it’s almost always on whenever you’re in a place where you can control your environment. Maybe you are into comic books — hey, this is Pop Culture Squad, after all. If so, yeah, we’re going through a rough patch right now. Television? You don’t hear from those annoying snobs who proudly proclaim they “never watch television” while wearing a face that looks like somebody is holding a small turd under their noses.

Because I can multitask, I’m addicted to all of the above, and to barbecue as well. But I have an even stronger addiction, one that always has played a major role in defining who I am. I am addicted to the news. “Hi, my name is Mike, and I’m a news addict.” Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #080: Little Addictions”

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #083: Rule Forty-Two!

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #083: Rule Forty-Two!

At this moment the King, who had been for some time busily writing in his note-book, cackled out `Silence!’ and read out from his book, `Rule Forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.’ / Everybody looked at Alice. / `I’m not a mile high,’ said Alice. / `You are,’ said the King. / `Nearly two miles high,’ added the Queen. / `Well, I shan’t go, at any rate,’ said Alice: `besides, that’s not a regular rule: you invented it just now.!” – Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

If you’ve read Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, which I highly recommend, your take-away might have been “hot damn, that place is a real downer.”

Well, then. Welcome to Wonderland.

Drink me.

Every press conference held by America’s greatest unarmed bigot is little more than contradictions and obvious lies. Many are doing what we’re supposed to do, which is easier for those of us who have long thought social distancing is a swell idea. It sucks if you’re in a Red State where they are getting much of what they need to save lives, but it really sucks if you’re in a Blue State. You’re getting maybe 5% of what you need to protect citizens, first responders, doctors, nurses, the people who clean up the infected shit in the hospitals, the people who deliver the mail and packages and take-out food and work in the supermarkets, etc. etc. etc. You know, the people who are saving lives. Oh, and some of that stuff you’ve received is well past its “best-use” date. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mind #083: Rule Forty-Two!”

Weird Scenes 082: What Goes Around… Goes Around… And Around…

Weird Scenes 082: What Goes Around… Goes Around… And Around…

Instant Karma’s gonna get you / Gonna knock you right on the head / You better get yourself together / Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead…

Welcome to our first edition of Weird Scenes Inside The Covid Mind…

Yin: According to published reports, crime is down about five percent; of course, your results might vary.

Yang: On the other hand, domestic violence is up 10%. Add that to the ridiculous increase of gun sales – what, you’re gonna shoot Covid-19? – and we might have a whole ‘nother problem real soon.

Wha?: The term “coronababies” is a thing. If you think diapers are hard to get right now, just wait until November.

Hmm: If we make it through this relatively intact, and keep a pleasant thought, we will have the internet to thank. It doesn’t prevent the stir-crazy, but it does mitigate it.

Feh: Bailout for Boeing? Well, I try to be loyal to my landsman companies, but these profit-over-lives money worshippers deserve to go blooie – even if they swear on a pile of Boeing 737 Max 8 parts that they won’t spend a penny of it on stock buybacks. I should point out that when the government bailout terms were near completion two days ago, Boeing’s stock skyrocketed. 33 billion dollars to the greatest gathering of corporate assholes in America – the airline industry – while the Blue states are given Green Stamps. And when it comes to buybacks… Continue reading “Weird Scenes 082: What Goes Around… Goes Around… And Around…”

Weird Scenes #081: Visions, Softly Creeping

Weird Scenes #081: Visions, Softly Creeping

DEAD COLLECTOR (Eric Idle): Bring out your dead! / CUSTOMER (John Cleese): Here’s one. / DEAD COLLECTOR: Nine pence. / DEAD PERSON (John Young): I’m not dead! DEAD COLLECTOR: What? / CUSTOMER: Nothing. Here’s your nine pence. / DEAD PERSON: I’m not dead! / DEAD COLLECTOR: ‘Ere. He says he’s not dead! / CUSTOMER: Yes, he is. / DEAD PERSON: I’m not! / DEAD COLLECTOR: He isn’t? / CUSTOMER: Well, he will be soon. He’s very ill. / DEAD PERSON: I’m getting better! / CUSTOMER: No, you’re not. You’ll be stone dead in a moment. • Monty Python and The Holy Grail, 1975, written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Sir Thomas Malory

What… too soon?

I really did not want to write about The Plague. Or Donald Trump, a.k.a. The Other Plague. I wrestled with this while reading texts from my younger friends about waiting outside of Costco for 45 minutes only to be stuck in a 60-minute check-out line behind a plethora of people buying their daily limit of rolled corpses of dead trees. Yeah, no disease spread there, right?

There’s little we can do about stopping The Plague itself, and there’s nothing we can do about The Other Plague until November… assuming The Other Plague grows balls big enough to try to call off the election. My latter comment does not fit the textbook definition of paranoia.

There are other things going on. For example, Tulsi Gabbard just quit the Democratic Party presidential race. I’ll pause while you go Wiki her. Ah, Tulsi, we hardly knew ye. Then again, given her exceptional loathing of the LGBTQ community, we hardly want to. She tossed her massive support – she won two delegates in American Samoa – to Joe Biden, who responded: “Thank you. And you are…?” Continue reading “Weird Scenes #081: Visions, Softly Creeping”

Brainiac On Banjo #077: Disasterbaiting – The Lighter Side of Doom

Brainiac On Banjo #077: Disasterbaiting – The Lighter Side of Doom

I learned our government must be strong / It’s always right and never wrong / Our leaders are the finest men / And we elect them again and again • “What Did We Learn In School Today?” written by Tom Paxton, 1964.

It does not matter if your favorite movies and teevee shows and steamers have halted production – as most have. Theaters and binging parties and gas stations and toilet paper are history, at least for the nonce. Most sex workers are off the stroll but, hey, soft white gloves are impossible to find, so WTF.

Therefore, as a card-carrying obnoxious bastard (yes; I have a card – as does our Pop Culture Squad HBIC), I decided to bother a bunch of friends, contacts, and complete strangers who can mumble through their useless face masks. Hey, it’s a living. I asked them the following question:

“How does the ‘Hollywood’ shutdown affect you personally?” Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #077: Disasterbaiting – The Lighter Side of Doom”

Weird Scenes #080: “I Didn’t Know You Could Die From The Flu.”

Weird Scenes #080: “I Didn’t Know You Could Die From The Flu.”

Right from my toes / On up to my nose / Flow on, flow on, river of shit / I’ve been swimming In this river of shit / More than 20 years, and I’m getting tired of it / Don’t like swimming, hope it’ll soon run dry / Got to go on swimming, cause I don’t want to die. • Wide, Wide River, written by Ken Weaver and Lionel Lewis Goldbart from The Fugs’ 1969 album “It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest.”

Please re-read the headline above. It has quotes around it because, last Friday, the Great Orange Fool said “Over the last long period of time, you have an average of 36,000 people dying (a year) … I never heard those numbers. I would’ve been shocked. I would’ve said, ‘Does anybody die from the flu? I didn’t know people died from the flu.’”

For the record, the President of the United States did not start COVID-19. He has done all he could to spread the disease due to his actions, his inactions, his disgust with science, his jealousy of those more intelligent than he, the way he goes down on the so-called religious voters, and his obligations to Vlad Putin and to those who finance his ventures and have kept him out of prison thus far have reduced the global population to quivering androids of Jell-O without any real clue as to what they should do, except for washing their hands in 120 proof alcohol.

Worst yet – Trump’s actions started long before we ever heard the word “Coronavirus.” In 2018, many of America’s top officials charged with handling pandemics got fired for having dared to have been hired by Barack Obama. Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer, the National Security Council’s senior director of global health and biodefense, was replaced by giving his responsibilities to that well known health care expert, John Bolton. Not-Doctor-John promptly pushed out Tom Bossert, the NCS adviser who recommended maintaining strong defenses against disease and biological warfare. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #080: “I Didn’t Know You Could Die From The Flu.””

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #079: Weaponizing Nostalgia

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #079: Weaponizing Nostalgia

I used to be on an endless run / Believe in miracles ’cause I’m one / I have been blessed with the power to survive / After all these years I’m still alive • “I Believe In Miracles,” written by
Dee Dee Ramone & Daniel Rey, 1989

Mindless, vicious and deceitful red baiting is not a good look for the Democratic Party. Not even under the cover of NeverTrump.

If you think that Joe Biden kicked Bernie Sanders’ ass because South Carolina is a “more representative” than the previous primary states, then I’ve got a box of used face-masks to sell you. Three top “centrist leaders” quit the race immediately and tossed their support to Biden because, according to the purveyors of Fake News, Barack Obama told them that would unite the party and protect us from a horrible socialist. Each of these doddering hacks said they would be in the race “until the end.”

Well, this is the end, beautiful friend. The end. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #079: Weaponizing Nostalgia”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #078: Shoes For Defense!

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #078: Shoes For Defense!

There’s been a swell mantra going around for about six months now, and it goes something like this: Trump is going down in defeat, unless the Democratic Party screws it up – again.

Well, another phrase for “swell mantra” is “self-fulfilling prophecy.” Recently, we have seen two very strong examples of this redundant behavior.

The first is “Yup. The Democratic Party is screwing it up again.

For evidence, you don’t have to go any further than last Tuesday’s “debate.” These things have never, ever been a debate. Ideas are rarely offered and never questioned but always confronted. So, it was to the surprise of only the terminally optimistic that once the field was whittled down to a half-dozen viable candidates (and a couple who hang in there just because of their lack of reality testing) these TeeVee follies have devolved into screaming sessions – with most everybody screaming at the same time as the moderators drown in flop-sweat. To the viewer, who has yet to select among the survivors, such a display evokes our “why bother” reflex. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #078: Shoes For Defense!”

Brainiac On Banjo #074: Weed Thrills – The Stunning Conclusion!

Brainiac On Banjo #074: Weed Thrills – The Stunning Conclusion!

Previously… On Brainiac On Banjo: 52 years ago, a Chicago police sergeant coerced your writer, at the time not quite 18 years old, into purchasing a nickel bag of the Demon Weed marijuana at an anteroom of an L train station, upon pain of arrest for possession of same. This led your writer to a life of lawbreaking, senior delinquency and sarcasm. In describing the event, your writer indulged in dropping the names of architect Andrea Palladio and musician Rick Nielsen, so we should add “pretension” to that list as well. We now reenter our WABAC machine, throw an ancient knife-switch and flow up the timesteam to… 2019… starting with a song lyric from 1968.

The future’s comin’ in, now / Sweet and strong / Ain’t no-one gonna hold it back for long / There are new dreams / Crowdin’ out old realities / There’s revolution / Sweepin’ in like a fresh new breeze / Let the old world make believe / It’s blind and deaf and dumb, but / Nothing can change the shape of things to come • written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil

You can only imagine the magnificent confusion I felt fifty-one years later when my daughter and I made our post-legalization visit to Massachusetts. Yes, I brought my daughter to a legal weed shop. I don’t tell you how to raise your kids, do I? And, besides, she’s a full-fledged adult, easily more adult than I am.

It’s about a seventy-five minute drive to Northampton, MA, which is no big deal to me. I routinely drive much further for great barbecue, and, besides, Northampton has some great barbecue. It’s a wonderful town, home to Smith College, and sort of a flashback to those thrilling days of yesteryear. The town is littered with bookstores, cafes, good restaurants that are slightly underpriced, amusing earthy tchotchkes shops, and politically active and socially aware humans. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #074: Weed Thrills – The Stunning Conclusion!”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #077: Dope Frees Fool

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #077: Dope Frees Fool

Courtesy PUTIN – Pigeons United To Interfere Now.

Hey now, baby / Get into my big black car / Hey now, baby / Get into my big black car / I want to just show you/ What my politics are • Politician, written by Jack Bruce & Pete Brown

If you think Donald Trump’s commuting of impeached Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich after serving a little over half of his 14-year sentence has anything to do with correcting a grave miscarriage of justice, then I’ve got a bridge strutting across New York’s East River to sell you.

Rod was convicted of attempting to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat when the latter became president. He also was convicted of shaking down the local horse racing industry and the Lurie Children’s Hospital (a.k.a. Children’s Memorial), both for “pay for play” campaign contributions.

Before you get even more bent out of shape over this one, let me correct a common misconception. My Prairie State brethren need not fear being seating next to this felon when their next jury duty demand comes in the mail. Trump did not pardon Blago, he merely commuted his sentence. There’s a difference – according to the Springfield Illinois State Journal-Register (Springfield is the capital of Illinois): “A commutation is a reduction in a prison term but the conviction remains on a person’s record.” He cannot be elected to state office. He’s now an ex-convict. He’s still a felon. He remains a fool. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #077: Dope Frees Fool”