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Saying “The ‘Rona” Ain’t Funny At All

I’ve been acting like a jerk on the internet. Again. Reflexively chastising friends on Facebook for breezily referring to 2020’s viral villain by its trendy sobriquet, “the ‘Rona.” Because I hate that crap like Indiana Jones hates Nazis. Don’t get me wrong; I hate Nazis too. I have a big enough heart to hold more than enough seething rage and disgust for both–with plenty left over for the current political administration. But I digress.

After taking one of my pals to task for her dismissive ‘Rona-quote yesterday she replied, “why do you hate that name so much? And what could be the alternative Nick-name?

Fair enough. I spewed out a quick and bile-tinted response along the lines of this:

You’ll be sorry you asked, but: just Covid-19. No nickname. No pseudonym. No alias. No tag. No hashtag. No handle. Just Covid-19 or, if you must, “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)”–the scientific equivalent of a mom who has had it up to here bellowing her child’s name off the back porch, brandishing full name like a k-bar with which she intends to eviscerate the guilty. “Elizabeth! Cora! Habersham! Get your sorry ass home RIGHT NOW.”

You know the tone. And we all know that Covid-19 has been a very bad girl. Not bad in the garters and bustier sense of the word, but bad like the Burgermeister Meisterburger or Dick Cheney. Joy-killing, breath-stealing, vomit-inducing bad.

There is nothing funny or cute about it. The virus posesses no sentience to pique with mockery, and no lighthearted irreverence will make anything better. It is serious as a blow to the back of the head with a lead pipe. When I hear that term, “Rona” used I think of mask-less, cheese-eating high school boys chortling around a keg of Coors Lite, shrugging non-nonchalantly over 1,712,818 (and counting) deaths and, even worse, the very real chance of becoming viral carriers. I think of thoughtless ass-hats who don’t give a damn.

We’re roiling in a dark shit-pit of death and despair mostly because a significant portion of our neighbors are either too ignorant or too selfish (I’m talking to you, you backwards freedom monkeys whining about your “consteetootshanal rights” to kill the rest of us) to take the virus seriously. You got us here. The very least you can do is not joke about it, no matter how much it shades that deeply felt and forcefully denied sense of utter fear and helplessness that haunts your every breathing moment. Call it by its name.

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Trump Draws Me Out of My Groundhog Hole

I’m sticking my head out of my rabbit hole…or, to be more regionally themed, let’s call it a Groundhog Hole, in honor of my neighbor to the north, the venerable Punxsy Phil?  I didn’t go into the hole to hibernate, rodent-style, but to focus on the oh so slowly progressing final draft of the part-time novel. My slothlike pace notwithstanding, the novel is going well enough, though somewhat hindered by age: I fall asleep more easily and more often, rendering the old caffeine-fueled process of long-hour writing binges impossible. I’ll be fifty years old in a few weeks, and I seem to be fucking immune to caffeine, which is grim. Many of you who stop by here are writers of some sort or another; you must understand?

The Groundhog Hole. If you’ve never been to Gobbler’s Knob, where Phil makes his annual prognostication, here’s the scene. The Hole is not a hole at all, but a sort of hutch that Phil is taken to from his nice warm full time home at the local library. It is usually bitterly cold and dark, and the hutch is surrounded by thousands of mostly drunk and/or stoned revelers and fanatics and the proverbial shit-tonne of media. Phil is shoved in the back door of the hutch and prodded in the ass until he lurches into the glare of dozens of film crews and hundreds of flash bulbs. Sometimes he freezes in place–like that groundhog you hit with your Buick last spring–or tries to lunge to one side or another. That means an early spring. A late and bitter winter is predicted when he recoils back into the hutch, horrified by the spectacle outside.

That’s pretty much what I’m facing, poking my head out of my own Groundhog Hole–horror. And not like any old horror; we’re talking  Heart of Darkness horror.

I maintained a pretty good attitude about the USA’s political mess for the longest time, and resolved to double down on the novel specifically because I didn’t want to get caught up in the whole thing. It took me a while to get over Bernie Sanders’ loss, and during that time I determined to sit back and revel at the comedy of it all, and from that perspective, Bilious Billionaire Donald Trump has not disappointed. From a primary that so many of us quickly identified as a metaphorical clown car, the 2016 election has exploded into a full-scale circus.

Well, it hasn’t been funny for a while. When my wife and I sat down to watch the third and final debate last night I did so with a distinctly queasy stomach. Trump isn’t the first politician to elicit a distinctly negative physical response. Gingrich and Cheney come to mind, but the smugly pseudo-intellectual serial philanderer and the robotic hate-bucket pale in comparison to the utterly hideous Trump. I look at him and I want to vomit. Then I want to beat him into submission.

I  hate bullies and I hate dumb people who lie to my face when we both know they’re lying. I hate spoiled, entitled pricks; and I hate people whose sheer awfulness compels me to feel that feeling–hate. Growing up, my mom always took me to task for using that word–hate–loosely. “Now that’s an awfully strong word,” was her line. Did I really hate this person or that person?

Sorry mom, I hate Trump. I’d like to beat his stained, flaccid face to pulp–and not in the least because I know that I could. And I can’t help but wonder if that makes me the bully?

The impulse disturbs me. Is the violent disdain I feel for Trump what bullies feel when they’re seeking a vulnerable target, picking a victim to cut out of the herd?  I imagine pummeling the man, his scrawny country-club limbs flapping like something between duck wings and tyrannosaurus arms, and I know it’s ugly, but the smug arrogance, the classification and ensuing dismissal of entire broad swaths of my fellow Americans, begs for it. Maybe the thing about Trump is that he plays so much like he’s a tough guy, when he’s really just another prissy, pasty rich guy. Who disagrees? Who wouldn’t want to knuckle-wipe that smug, entitled smirk from his face?

Fortunately, I have no access to Trump, no chance of being close enough to him that he couldn’t run away and, even if I did, I have something he could never understand: impulse control. (Take note, Secret Service)  Of course, should he happen to hear about my daydream beatdown and seek to call my bluff, I’d be more than happy to oblige.

And, finally–and even more importantly–the one element of a prototypical bullying scenario is missing from the electoral dynamic. A bully seeks a weak victim, and thus far Trump has come up empty. Secretary Clinton, an imperfect candidate on her best day, has proven more than capable of standing up for not only herself but for the countless demographic groups Trump despises. Thus far she has delivered repeated metaphorical beatings of her own–reminding me of the viral video in which the snotty little kid is mercilessly hounding a big, gentle boy right up to the point where the soft kid picks the douchey little kid up and body slams him.

In case you missed it, Trump is the douchey little kid, and just like that punk, when he staggers back to his feet he’s crying like a baby.

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Too Priceless (and typical) To Ignore

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Donald Trump has hogged so much of the spotlight thus far in the election that we have been deprived of all the stupid stuff other politicians, and Republicans in particular, spout. Screenshot_4This one makes the old “spontaneous abortion” rant look quaintly pastoral.  It seems that the GOP, in the form of its National Republican Senatorial Committee, thinks that Representative Tammy Duckworth–or Lt. Colonel Duckworth, if you prefer, isn’t doing a good enough job of standing up for veterans.

That could be because Duckworth lost both of her legs, and suffered catastrophic injuries to her right arm (it was basically blown off and reattached) while serving as an US  Army helicopter pilot in Iraq.  She was the first female double amputee from the war, but despite a medical Tammy_Duckworth_wheelchairwaiver, she continued to serve in the Illinois Army National Guard. She retired from the army in October 2014, just before winning reelection to Congress. The GOP not only Trump__3511154bblames the media for publicizing their callous whoopsie–because the real offense here is not that it was said, but that it was reported– but at this writing have yet to apologize for their snarky douchebaggery, and why would they?  The NRSC is infamous for shooting from the hip, and shamelessly basking in the attention–who was it that said there was no such thing as bad publicity?–because unless they let clueless interns from Dartmouth run their Twitter, there’s no way this wasn’t calculated. On the other hand, it is not like the Republicans have embraced a culture of mocking disabled folks. Right? I mourn for the nation we have become.

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F*ck Donald Tr*mp

donald-trump-hairNot long ago I decided that I would enter the same comment beneath every article, essay, or blog post that mentions his name, no matter how humorous or interesting or disgusting Three short words that echo his nuanced, thoughtful response to the great issues of our day:

F*ck Donald Tr*mp.

It’s short, it’s sweet, it’s as straight to the point as a giant wall in the desert.

F*ck Donald Tr*mp.

Try it. The sensation is a little heady, a little intoxicating, like four shots of smooth, cheap Canadian whiskey poured over a couple of ice cubes in a cool, wide highball glass.

F*ck Donald Tr*mp

You really want to get in on this, to be part of this movement from the ground floor. Imagine a world in which every media mention of him was followed by a cacophonous roar of

F*ck Donald Tr*mp.

It would be just like every day was Christmas, and what a wonderful world that would be.

and here I go:.Fuck Donald Trump. In fact, I”m going to make a post of it, maybe try to start a movement….

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Scalia’s Awesome Massive Marriage Meltdown

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has been getting hammered this week, on the losing end of a series of decisions that uphold legislation that runs contrary to his idealogical stance, including upholding the Affordable Care Act and, today, legalizing same sex urlmarriage in all 50 States.  Scalia and his partner, Judge Clarence Thomas, are two of the most ideologically predictable jurists in recent Supreme Court History–they consistently vote their politics, while just as consistently criticizing other judges for doing the same thing.  In writing the minority dissent for the latest decision, Scalia indulged in a massive hissy fit of epic, whiny, sour grapes proportion.  It’s kind of awesome–the link below leads to an article with some of the best quotes, as well as a slate magazine site in which you can enter your name and generate a personalized insult from Justice Scalia.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/06/26/gay-marriage-dissent-best-lines-scalia-kennedy-roberts/29345563/

tumblr_inline_mia9yfpNNg1qz4rgpI’m thinking back fondly to the series finale of Boston Legal, in which hetero-life partners/lawyers Allen Shore and Denny Crane, played by  James Spader and William Shatner, are united in same sex marriage with Justice Scalia presiding and Dick Cheney glowering in the background.  Somebody who knows needs to get that up on youtube.

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I Wonder What Chet Hanks Thinks of The Word “Douchebag?”

Chet Hanks, the rapper son of Oscar winner Tom Hanks, not only repeatedly used the slhus6k1jxiegmgavvquN-word on social media but defended its use because he believes it “unifies the culture of hip-hop across all races.”

“He also factored free speech, the civil rights movement, Jim Crow and “a racist” justice system into his lengthy contention for universal use of the term….”

Because, as the son of a many-millionaire super-celebrity, Chet knows these things.

What a douchebag–and I mean that in a way that brings us all closer together.

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Quotes From The Dark Side: Paul Ryan

Because he cares….

”We’re not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people.”

—Rep. Paul Ryan, March 12, 2013