Especially when he and his band, Wall of Voodoo, have been retro-cranked through a wall of synthesizers to perfectly mimic the Spaghetti Western sound of gritty rockabilly tunes. (As Mrs. Polly notes, “It’s like Johnny Cash and Harry Dean Stanton had an illegitimate son and named him Stan.”)
Roughly ten years or so (I think) before Queen debuted their first album, audiophiles like my brother were immersed in the complex harmony of a band called Tranquility. Tranquility possessed no super-powered front man like Freddie Mercury and lacked the signature guitar work that etched Queen tunes onto the human subconscious… but wowsers, they could sing like the Devil and weave an instrumental tapestry on which the vocals shined like brushed silver. Or, as this song implies, more silver than brown, anyway.
This is a powerful song with which to face the impending end of the Mayan Cosmos, and one that asks a question that is always pertinent whether the world is ending or not: “Who do I turn to now?”
The Truth is both sad and inescapable: our sagacious forebears left us only two devices by which to reliably divine our future as a collective species—(1) a wonky paleolithic calendar so wobbly and complex it runs out of dates before the end of time, and (2) a Stone Age alarm clock that scares Anglo Saxons and only goes off on weekends.
As we feared, both the Mayan calendar and Stonehenge concur that this year’s Christmas is going to be indefinitely postponed. This year, don’t bother watching It’s A Wonderful Life, just drink buckets of plum wine and go caroling nude.
Our hens raided the container garden during their free-range jaunt yesterday:
I never participate in the garden threads because my husband does every bit of the gardening around here. I couldn’t even grow a Chia pet or keep an air fern alive.
Anne Laurie’s early morning open thread featured the image of commenter Hitchhiker’s lovely cat in front of a Christmas tree. But instead of going, “Awwwww,” I went, “Sweet mother of fuck! It’s almost Christmas, and I haven’t done a damn thing!”
My fake tree and all the decorations are still in the shed. I haven’t ordered the Christmas dinner prime rib yet. We haven’t even quite wrapped up our kitchen renovations (although it’s mostly done – we lack cabinet toe-kicks and the backsplash only at this point), and our dining room still sports a bare concrete slab as we haven’t gotten around to laying the tile. Oh, and I haven’t bought the first present yet.
Why? Well, the home renovations have become a convenient excuse for being slobs. Why bother dusting or sweeping when there’s 70s-era glue on the walls where we ripped out the old laminate backsplash and bare concrete underfoot? We’ve actually enjoyed the respite.
As for the lack of Christmas spirit, it just doesn’t seem Christmas-y yet, partly because it’s been so warm. I’m a native Floridian, so warm Decembers aren’t a foreign or unwelcome concept to me. But it does seem unusual to get this far towards the solstice without once having to put on a pair of socks or rifle the closet for a jacket. There have been a few flannel-shirt-over-the-tee-shirt days, but I haven’t had to bust out the woolies. Nonetheless, there is work to be done.
Romneys Spread Loser Stink
Speaking of indolent people, Mitt and Ann Romney are continuing their loser tour. Noted fans of “sport,” the Romneys took in the Pacquiao-Marquez boxing match last night:
I don’t follow boxing, but I think Pacquiao was favored to beat Marquez. That was before Romney visited Pacquiao in his dressing room, exuding a giant cloud of loser dust:
“Hello Manny. I ran for president. I lost,” Romney told the fighter, according to Pacquiao publicist Fred Sternburg.
Then this happened:
“LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao never saw it coming. He never saw the punch that snapped his head back Saturday and dropped him to the canvas and left him sprawled there momentarily, face down, while his wife sobbed uncontrollably and the packed crowd at MGM’s Grand Garden Arena rose to its feet in shock.
With that, a rivalry known for its lack of a definitive triumph suddenly had the most definitive ending of them all.”
I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really hope Mitt and Ann Romney decide to pay the Notre Dame locker room a visit prior to the BCS title game.
Speaking of Losers
Remember the group One Million 51,700 [homophobic] Moms (OMM)? No? Me neither, but this spring, they failed spectacularly in a bid to get Ellen Degeneres fired as JC Penney spokesperson. After that effort flopped, OMM director Monica Cole announced that the breeder klatch was “moving on.”
But a JC Penney commercial featuring Ellen and several Christmas elves attracted their ire again last week.
It wasn’t that Ellen groped a female elf in the ad or anything. It’s just that everyone knows she’s a lesbian, and think of the chiiiiildren!
Because the commercial that occasioned the protest was so innocuous, onlookers found the OMM action confusing. (Pro tip: When you have to explain why you’re taking umbrage, you’re not successfully inciting it.) So OMM declared that the group is “moving on.” Again. Maybe someday they actually will.
Sure, Todd Rundgren’s acquaintance with Nazz predated his spectacular solo career as a composer, singer, instrumental powerhouse, and multi-media pioneer. But, geez, did their only music video have to be a slapstick rip-off of the Monkees?
I have bittersweet feelings, as an atheist, about the Thanksgiving season, because it is the gateway to Christmastown. I have things to be thankful about (Obama winning the election, the dying out of Rush Limbaugh’s audience, the tendency of major events to show science is, like, a real thing, not a hobby people in lab coats do for shits’n'grins, Y’know, like how global warming is real, or how contraception means “not conceiving”—those kinds of things.)
Anyway, I do sort of hate Christmas, and yet, I don’t begrudge believers their thing. No, seriously. If they pay homage to the Christ within their fellow humans by providing those near and dear to them with gifts, or sing songs, or make any kind of merry—I am totally down with the merry-making. I and merry-making have been one for the longest. I am a wassailing fool. I am a gift-wrapping, toe-tapping, high-spending, season-ending, bell-ringing, hotdish-bringing you-know-what of an atheist. I celebrate. I am not stealing or co-opting your joy. I have the spirit, you know?
But there’s this little thing with the all-Xmas radio channels and the in-store Xmas Musak. So many, many of my peeps are retail folks. So many, many of them are living with “Rum, tum, tum tum.” ringing in their ears, and regardless of belief, that regular aural assault on the eardrums of fala-lala-la is not healthy. It’s been used as a form of psyops by no less than Sheriff Arpaio.. As a member of student choirs since I was very young, I was exposed to a kind of SERE training against overt aural Xmas Ear Assault behaviors by the major retail establishments. But I know full well what they are and how they demoralize retail workers while trying to send Christmas telegraphs to regular folks—all about the same thing: the need for too muchnesss, and the availability of right jolly old elves who serve the Christmas spirit,
Me, I think the Christmas spirit is that thing you have when you aren’t even doing Christmas stuff, And I believe a Christmas is done best when it’s commercialized least—which is why I stand with Black Friday protestors, and support people espousing Small Business Saturday.
Your milage may vary. But I say just a little less “jingle” might better serve the better Kringles of our human nature. I am for the Matthew gospel of the season—more than the buy it now button of our culture. And I think its the outcasts and weirdos who espouse it better than some of the Christmas Warriors..
I approach the story of the demise of Hostess Brands with some trepidation because I am just not a fan of their foodstuffs. It’s not the food I was raised on. It’s not that I never ate Twinkies or Wonder Bread—I’ve eaten them. But I come from the land of TastyKake and Amoroso rolls. A Twinkie is like nothing compared to even a Butterscotch Krimpet. Please! Can Wonder Bread contain the glory that is a cheesesteak or a meatball sub?
No. These just aren’t the foods of my youth, and although I understand the nostalgia other people may have for them, their feeling of loss is not mine. And these days, unless I have the opportunity to eat some freaking great pizza, I’m not all that that hot on gluten, anyway. Or, for that matter, mass-produced baked goods that contain petroleum products. But leaving aside my developing consciousness about factory foods, how they are made possible by factory farming, and how we’ve come to accept highly refined chemical products as ingredients in our foods with little regard to how it impacts our bodies (whew, am I a freaking killjoy, or what?), the story of the supposed death of Twinkie the Kid is probably premature and more a story about (cake) makers and (money) takers.
If you were to ask the owners of Hostess Brands, they would have you believe that the union (read: the people who make the bread, cakes, etc.) are to blame for the demise of the company, due to a strike that impaired the company’s profitability*. The actual story is a bit more complex than that—and a good take on it is found at Forbes:
Hostess has been sold at least three times since the 1980s, racking up debt and shedding profitable assets along the way with each successive merger. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2004, and again in 2011. Little thought was given to the line of products, which, frankly, began to seem a bit dated in the age of the gourmet cupcake. (100 calorieTwinkie Bites? When was the last time you enteredMagnolia Bakery and asked about the calorie count?)
As if all this were not enough, Hostess Brands’ management gave themselves several raises, all the while complaining that the workers who actually produced the products that made the firm what money it did earn were grossly overpaid relative to the company’s increasingly dismal financial position.
In other words, while the employees were in the business of making the products (and they actually did make compensation concessions in previous rounds), the management took. They rewarded themselves for failure. And in the long run, the employees are the ones out of a job.
And yet the brand names or properties of “Twinkies” or “Wonder Bread” still have saleable value. Other companies will compete for the rights to make those products, and they probably will be manufactured outside of the United States and shipped all over the world. And for some reason, they will sell. People will buy them. As if nothing had happened.
Lesson: employees are disposable, managers should be paid regardless of performance, and Twinkies are immortal (even if their indefinite shelf life is an urban legend).
Is that the way it should be? Meh. It is the way it is. I’m ready for “Occupy Cake”. Make your own Twinkies and Wonder-like bread at home, if that’s what you like. Or patronize your local bakeries. (Or even discover the gustatory wonders of your local loam; motto “Locavore, locavore, locavore”—Washington apples like a baby’s head. Cranberry preserves on cheese from a dairy farm near you. Honey complete with comb in a clean little jar from your nearest co-op. Figs from your own tree, crepes from eggs whose chickens you have personally met.)
I know that isn’t a possibility for everybody owing to availability and price issues. But it would be neat if the business model Hostess followed was eaten out of house and home.
*NB: A strike actually is supposed to impair the profitability of a company, to smack the management over the head with the realization of who actually does the heavy lifting around here. This smack came too late for Hostess. Just a thing to chew over.
This post isn’t really intended to be a troll of you fine Roasters—clearly, I wouldn’t seriously suggest a literal endorsement of Les Mittserables in the least, but I did want to expand on Betty’s “How Low Will they Go?” post and especially Big Bad Bald Bastard’s comment regarding David Frum’s actual endorsement of a person who, to the very best I can estimate, we have only about a 47% chance of guessing at any time how he will act on any given issue. That’s well within a practical margin of error of a coin flip, no? That makes him the Schroedinger’s Candidate for the purposes of this election—and if one of our economic problems is uncertainty, I don’t like the looks of Mitt for either our short-term or our long-term problems.
But let’s seriously examine what a Romney presidency really means in a situation where the US Congress is likewise GOP-controlled, supposing that people actually did knuckle under and vote for Count Mittula out of a kind of Stockholm Syndrome:
The Teabaggers already have progress tied up in the basement, and if we don’t vote for Romney, they’ll start beating it with wet ropes! Or dry ropes! Or copies of Atlas Shrugged! It could get ugly! Oh noes!
I’m not in the mood to negotiate with hostage-takers just yet (what do I look like, the Reagan Administration?) Now, if you were to ask me, this would actually be more of a stellar argument against having a GOP-controlled anything. I would vote for Obama to particularly spite those bastards, and vote against any Republican just on the general principle that you can’t do me like that. After all, there are some GOP Senate candidates that are actually advertising on the hopes of Obama having coat tails, and a divided government becoming the hot, bipartisan thing. Fuck all that. (Actually, as a Smark going back a handful of years, screw a bunch of Linda McMahon.) Even if you don’t love Obama—I’d say the best thing is for people to vote for Democrats because Republicans in charge of the House have seriously sucked. Their suckage is not about a failure of the White House. Their suckage is about thinking legislating ladyparts creates jobs because Jesus. Mitt Romney is not the guy who can fix that. Why? Because he at least half the time pretends to believe it—if he doesn’t actually believe it. It’s hard to say.
So what is left for the people who want to endorse Romney to rely on? His business acumen? Seriously? As if that creates jobs! It didn’t when he was governor of Massachusetts and it’s dubious that it did when he was CEO of Bain. His job was to make money as the Bainiac-in-Chief, and as the Head Manager in Charge of The People’s Republic of “Taxamachusetts” (where he earned the title Governor FeeFee) he didn’t exactly earn plenty of points for either bipartisanship or fiscal awesomeness. Actually, in his only elected position, his veteoes were overruled by the majority Democratic state legislature more often than not, (No wonder he spent the half of his term that he spent thinking about being a part of the 2008 GOP presidential primary instead of being MA Governor bad-mouthing Massachusetts altogether, amirite?) And then there’s his record on civil rights. Which is so bad compared to what he promised when he ran for MA Senate against liberal lion Ted Kennedy, you know?
See, despite the wishful thinking of the Log Cabin Republicans, Mitt would be a garbage disaster for LGBT* people, because he gave money to NOM, for one thing. and he didn’t realize that gay couples might want to raise families for another. If anyone thinks he would stand up against bullies against LGBT folks, well, he’s okay with acknowledging the LGBT folks, except for the B and the T . Or really being, you know, helpful towards them. (What can I personally say about that? Um, as a former teen who is bisexual and was bullied, I can from experience say more education and acknowledgement about and of bisexuality might be helpful.) And I don’t think you need to read “binders full” about women to know he doesn’t stand in your corner if you are a feminist. Or just a woman, in general.
So what it comes down to, for me, is that, even leaving aside all Obama’s accomplishments and the ways in which (understanding foreign policy, macroeconomics, not being a mouthbreathing tool amongst other nations’ leaders) he’s simply superior, Romney is manifestly not the guy for the job. A serial lying bigoted know-little can’t understand why the job is even important, let along behave is if it was something more than the penultimate Big Deal on his CV. So I am manifestly not endorsing Mitt Romney. Not to talk up Obama, which I could, forever! But to point out that whenever I see someone who supports Romney, I think so much less of that person. Uck. Him. Such a lying sack. After the Election—good riddance!
The incomparable comedian and writer Steve Allen coined a useful term “dumbth” as a measurement of the willful ignorance of the (particularly) American people as a part of his book of the same name which suggested ways in which education could be improved. I humbly suggest “Trumpth” to mean the kind of willful ignorance that only the Donald Himself displays the way he does, and which is naturally personalized with his very own name, just like one of his buildings. It was his dumbth that made the Donald a birther; but it’s sheer Trumpth to think that his ignorant Twitterings could or should make President Obama render information like his school records—that no president has really ever been asked for before—public.
It’s an illness with me that I pick at things. A hangnail. A bugbite. Donald Trump’s stupidity. Indulge me. Because unless I totally explore the joke that is Trump’s awkward foray into politics, I can never really expand adequately on the joke that is Mitt Romney (Mr. Clean! snerk) and Donald Trump (bad cop?) in an alliance against President Obama. Because that—is what I’m staring at—
See, from the time that Trump endorsed Mitt to the time that it became clear that Trump was way down the rabbit hole on birtherism (contemporaneous, natch), I wondered when a more sober and circumspect Romney would distance himself from the iron grip of a genuine nutter. And then he didn’t. In fact, it looks like Mitt is pleased enough that Trump is willling to repeat the shameless lies of his advertisements:
even though they are quite clearly wrong; so long as Donald Trump will lend his CEO of a particularly (un)helpful 1980’s, art of the deal, greed is good, lifestyles of the rich and infamous cache to the campaign—in the form of everyone’s favorite form of campaign communication, the robocall, Romney is quite willing to embrace this kind of dumbth—the Trumpth, for all it’s worth.
I’m a cynical person. I do not understand this. Why does Romney want to embrace the success of tehstoopid? Is this the signal that “willfully dumb” is the new Republican smart? Is that why Unskewed Polls is so popular? And does anyone on that side suspect this is the sort of thing that even makes smart Republicans think of endorsing Obama because of odd factors like functional government and acceptance of science?
Let’s start with the obvious—Romney’s Campaign is not suspended. You can tell, because they are still lying about stuff. They’ve decided to pretend they are also doing some “relief events”, because they will be taking non-perishable items that no one wants and send them to—where did the worst of it hit—oh, that’s right, New Jersey. I’m not kidding:
On a day when millions of Americans face serious hardship as they recover from Hurricane Sandy’s damage, Mitt Romney clearly decided it would be crass to campaign in a conventional way. So he turned a scheduled rally in Kettering, Ohio, this morning into a “storm relief event,” and posed before piles of donated canned goods.
“We’re going to box these things up in just a minute and put them on some trucks, and then we’re going to send them into, I think it’s New Jersey,” he said, according to the Washington Post. “There’s a site we’ve identified where we can take these goods and distribute them to people who need them.”
You can feel the love in the above picture, that’s for sure. I’m not even going to dwell on Mitt Romney, because there’s more examples of disaster bringing out the best in people—like the Obama Administration getting advice from an old hand at dealing with bad situations: Former FEMA Director Michael Brown.
You might wonder what Bush’s FEMA head—famous for being the guy who did a “heckuva job” during Hurrican Katrina—had to say. After all, if folks learn from mistakes, he probably has a lot of wisdom to impar—meh. Here’s him:
“One thing he’s gonna be asked is, why did he jump on [the hurricane] so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in…Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?” Brown says. “Why was this so quick?… At some point, somebody’s going to ask that question…. This is like the inverse of Benghazi.”
Wow. Look at him pairing a weird criticism (Obama reacted too quickly to a natural disaster—which is kind of time-sensitive if you want to save lives and stuff?) with a partisan smear. You go, Michael Brown! I mean seriously. You go, now. Heckuva a job staying under a rock, dude.
Oh, and finally? I wasn’t going to give this guy attention, but here:
He obviously needs some kind of attention—like a gangrenous appendage. (Amputation?)
You know, I think my title may be misleading. I meant, “OMG the assholes.” Sorry about that.
I have no snark at all regarding the monster-storm that has the Mid-Atlantic (holler!) and New England states in a state of downward hunkering right now. I spent a few hours this afternoon making sure my outdoor container plants and lawn furniture weren’t transformed into projectiles by the high winds expected, and that my fridge was properly full of bottled water and beer. At this point, if you know you’re in the path of it, hopefully you’ve stocked up on canned goods, batteries, and the like. My spouse very thoughtfully pointed out the location of every flashlight in the house to me and we got out the old fashioned non-cordless phone as well as charging all our cells. Luckily, our house is all above ground level and we’re in Philadelphia (our power doesn’t usually stay off long—I’ve lived in the ‘burbs, and there’s a real difference.)
I could get into whether this storm is a sign of global warming (well, yeah) or what we can expect (apparently, something weird and unprecedented), or even relate the impending awfulness to the election (by reminding you all once again that a certain candidate thought states should take responsibility in disasters—give your own particular local governments a good long look, friends, and shudder along with me, hm?), but instead I think this should be more of a “check-in” thread.