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I Want To Fight Ted Cruz

One of the great sacrifices that comes from living way up here in the USA, miles away from Texas and the heart of the confederacy, is that we don’t enjoy timely access to the broad range of news pertaining to Ted “Tough as Texas” Cruz. Indeed, we barely hear tales of fabled adventures at all, unless he’s smiling sheepishly, like a proper milksop, while a certain fat old man calls Mrs. Cruz a “dog.” Or scampering away to “Old Mexico” because his tootsies got chilly when the nation’s only proudly unregulated power grid collapsed, leaving millions of his constituents literally out in the cold, literally powerless, and (again, literally) thirsty and hungry for leadership–not to mention clean water and warm food. Most of his moon-eyed shenanigans pass unnoticed up here in abolitionist country–not unlike his past campaigns for President. From a purely entertainment perspective, this is a shame–but I aim to remedy that.

Following the Mexico fiasco, which Cruz nobly blamed on his young children, Cruz has taken time from blocking economic relief during the Covid-19 Pandemic to work himself up over the custodians of the estate of Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel to halt production and sales of a half dozen books they’ve found to be “problematic” in one way or another. I’ve only read one of them, and that was about 20 years ago, so I’m not qualified to judge. For the record I’ll admit to leaning towards not removing elements of culture retroactively. Scorn them, excoriate them, leverage what we don’t like about them into a learning experience that might prevent us–humans in general, not just you and me–from backsliding. On the other hand, my intellectual preference is very far removed from the moral culpability one might feel from generating profit from material that many find offensive.

Ted Cruz has no such compunctions. So strongly does the man–the Senator!–who believes that the existence of married gay couples is an act of tyranny–feel that he’s retail marketing copies of one of Seuss’s other, less controversial, works at a significant mark-up, because Mr. Cruz is autographing these books as a fundraiser for his next crusade, er, pogrom, um, campaign. In the words of “Amish Elmer,” my former pot dealer: fucking genius, man. And for the record, Amish Elmer was shunned long before we ever met him, but stuck with the chin beard and blue on black ensemble to move stealthily below the radar of law enforcement. That’s another story for another day, but suffice it to say Elmer knows a slick entrepreneurial hack when he sees one.

It is thinking like this–creatively soulless, blindly exploitative, and objectively tone-death–that raises Cruz to the level of “potential adversary.” He does everything but twirl the edges of his mustache and kick kittens, although he’s been known to freeze a dog or two. He’s unapologetically evil, distinguishing himself in this regard at a time when his political allies are literally (there’s that word again–I use it again and again to emphasis that this isn’t a joke I’m making up, its real!) crawling all over themselves in a particularly venal game of King of The Hill to not just rhetorically, but physically, tear down the guiding institutions of our representative democracy–not to mention the very essence of democracy itself. He, like his cuck-buddy Mitch McConnell, has no qualms with embracing villainy for personal gain. Hell, he cherishes the opportunity, and at some level we are compelled to acknowledge his commitment to the role. Yes, he’ll stomp on immigrants! Yes, he’ll assert his masculine entitlement to regulate the reproductive organs of every woman out there–even it it means rolling up his shirtsleeves and getting his hands dirty in the process! Will he lead the struggle to suppress and disenfranchise poor and minority voters, even if it means making voting more difficult for everyone? You KNOW he will! His children, his wife–whomever he has to hurt, whatever it takes, he’s up to the task.

And that’s why I want to fight him. I think it would be a pretty good match. I’m bigger than him, but older too, and he’s butting on a pretty good push of late to catch up in the size department. My hair and beard are better–a nice woman trims me up monthly, so I’m not rocking that indigent, truck-stop predator look that Cruz has made so popular.

The question, of course, is why would he take time out of his busy day, putting aside his quest of personal power at the expense of every non-white, non-straight, non-male, non-christian just to sock it to a fading old smart-ass centrist “living constitutionalist?” But do villains need a reason to lash out at their adversaries? Do the powerful blanch at the opportunity to crush those who dare to speak against them? It is his duty. His calling. His noblesse oblige to knock my ass up between my eye balls while humming “Old Folks at Home” through a mouthful deep friend King Ranch chicken washed down with a tankard of warm Dr. Pepper.

And why am I so animated? Besides wanting to know whether he’s really as “tough as texas?” Me? I’m just pissed that Cruz’s immigrant father killed JFK.

Categories
Commentary Dumb Ass Hall of Fame

D.A.H.O.F. Returns: Blake Farenthold, Masterduelist

House GOPNobody  ever accused Mrs. Farenthold of raising a gentleman, and unconventionally telegenic Blake Farenthold, apparent owner of website http://www.blowme.org and republican congressman from east Texas best known for a particularly unseemly sexual harassment complaint lodged against him (click here, beware eeeww factor), is not content to rest on his laurels. He likes to say that ethics investigators dismissed that charge, but only after he reached an undisclosed out of court settlement with the victim.

In a recent interview, the former right-wing radio schlock jock wanna-be lashed out at Duckythe failure of the dysfunctional Trump government’s inability to conjure up sufficient support to pass its deeply flawed repeal-and-replace of the Affordable Healthcare Act, placing the blame on “some female senators from the Northeast,” according to The Associated Press. Unable to muzzle his drooling yapper, the dashing troglodyte suggested what he felt was an appropriate solution. “If it was a guy from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style,” he bragged.

First of all: no, he wouldn’t. As Democratic Senator commented to Maine Republican Susan Collins, one the targets of Farenthold’s bile, “”Trust me — you know why he challenged you to a duel? Because you could beat the shit out of him.” Other Republicans who have come out strongly against the deeply flawed “TrumpCare” scheme include Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), either of which could easily thrash their corpulent colleague from way down south in Dixie.

True to form for all loudmouth bullies, Farenthold changed his tune once the story went viral, insisting that his venal rhetoric was all in good fun, his comments reflecting that ““Like the President, I am sick and tired of the left-wing biased media trying to make something out of nothing. This was clearly tongue in cheek”

Note the key phrase there: Like The President.

Plenty more to read about Farenthold, another one of those redneck republicans too full of themselves to even try to hide and hold back the stupid from foaming out of their mouths, and for this, Blake Farenthold has been  nominated to the “back in business” Dumb Ass Hall of Fame.

*The Dumb Ass Hall of Fame regrets squandering the opportunities presented by the current democratically elected leadership of the United States of America and is, once again, welcoming nominations.

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Commentary

Johnny “Football” Manziel Throwing It Away

The cops knocked on another door last night and guess who answered? If you said Johnny anbjlqcxm3qr5fgleyqrManziel, the pride of Texas, you’d be right, although the odds were pretty much stacked in your favor.  Something like 67% of all police calls these days involve the ubiquitously undisciplined (soon to be ex-?) Cleveland Browns quarterback.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to watch a guy shovel money into a shredder, or turn gold into compost, Johnny Football gives you the chance.  I simply cannot recall a situation where someone with such promise has so methodically thrown away wealth that folks were literally scrambling over each other to deliver. The only thing he is squandering faster than his future is the goodwill of the people–rich, powerful people who don’t enjoy having noses thumbed in their direction, and who sign his checks. Not only that, but he could have owned Cleveland (like the Steelers do!), a city so desperate for even the promise of success that his inevitably slow development would have been patiently accepted. They’re dying for a hero in Browns’ country.

I’m forced to wonder if he’ll be so cavalier when he’s drawing $32,850 as an assistant football coach at some Division 2 college way out in the sweaty part of Missouri.

Categories
Commentary Funny and/or Strange

Soccer (football with a “small f”) Corruption

Wars, disease, famine, earthquakes, a really big case hitting the U.S. Supreme Court tomororow, and a movie about California breaking in half before The Rock fixes it with a helicopter–and STILL the top story in the news for a second day in a row is that some guys in suits related to some international soccer organization or another are corrupt. Woooooooo, I’m shocked.

What’s next? Hurling? (That’s not fair, hurling is kind of cool). Okay then: curling?

A guy named Sepp Blatter is somehow involved. I think he might have deflated some soccer balls, not to give anyone an advantage or anything, but out of vengeance for that name. Sepp Blatter sounds like an ineptly villainous Monty Python character–i’m thinking German guy, maybe with a lisp.  Or maybe it’s German for “Tom Brady?”

My news aggregator is full of these soccer stories. What the hell?  I could read them to find out what the deal is but, you know, it’s soccer.  Maybe if it was croquette?  Or Marbles?  Marbles would make it a story.

But maybe this Sepp Blatter fellow is bad. It’s possible, I guess. I know Putin is all pissed off about it.  But I’m wondering, what’s ISIL up to today?  How about those Chinese naval hijinks?  Floods in Texas?  Lost shipments of Anthrax–that’s a real page 6 whoopsie, eh?

But maybe they did cover all that stuff adequately?  It’s possible I missed it amidst all the coverage over news that McDonalds is going to make its buns a little crispier.  And speaking of buns, have you seen what’s going down on The Bachelor?  Oh, man–that Tammy Lee Sapinsky is up to no damn good, but she got a rose.  What’s the world coming to?

Categories
Commentary

So: What The Hell is Cinco De Mayo?

old-school-cinco-de-mayo
Image Source: San Diego Free Press

I grew up up rural western Pennsylvania, and I never even heard about Cinco De Mayo until I was grown up. I mean: hell, we didn’t even have tacos until the 1980s. Not in the town where I lived. Even after I first heard of Cinco De Mayo, I just assumed it was another one of those foreign holidays we Americans like so much to appropriate, an obscure (often stern and religious) celebration, like St Patrick’s Day, that we explode into full-blown binge-fests of sin an libertine indulgences–you know, because we can’t help our ingrained need to rebel against the puritanical undercurrent of our bawdy culture. And Cinco De Mayo is well on the way–just watch all the college bars running promotions backed by the makers of Mexican-themed beer and booze.

So, what the hell is it?

It is not, as I thought, a sort of Mexican Fourth of July.  Nor does it have anything to do with dead people–that’s Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead,  but I understand your confusion: all those foreign holidays sound the same to us.

Cinco de Mayo does commemorate a Mexican military victory over the invading French army on May 5, 1862, but the holiday has always been a much bigger deal in the USA because Mexican latinos realized, in beating back the French, that the Union could also win the Civil War.

Wait? What Union? Do I mean Lincoln and Grant and all those guys?

Yep. The French, you see, being back in the Empire game under Napolean III (you’d think they would have learned after the first two) naturally allied themselves with the the Confederacy, with their mutually twisted dreams of idealized courtly fairytale nonsense. Most Hispanics, on the other hand, weren’t thrilled about France’s stated goal of crushing a thriving young democracy and restoring a Mexican monarchy (under France’s auspices, of course); nor were they thrilled with slavery. Or Texas, which had pretty much been taken from Mexico by force, and was still a haven for vicious mercenary raiders who, fancying themselves freedom fighters, crossed the border into Mexico to steal, rape, scalp and murder Native Americans and Mexicans alike.

Hispanics in the American west saw a two-fronted war, with the confederacy to the east and the French pushing from the south, and in California and Oregon in particular it seemed that the army of freedom and democracy had struck a huge blow against the elitist forces of slavery and monarchy. It had little to do with Mexican patriotism–it was about defending freedom and democracy.

In fact, Latinos were joining the Union army, Union cavalry, Union navy. Spanish language newspapers in the west closely covered every single battle of the Civil War.

Networks of Latino groups called “juntas patrioticas mejicanas,” or Mexican patriotic assemblies, mostly in California but also in Oregon, Nevada and Arizona, with 14,000 members, organized parades, speeches, dances, banquets and bull fights as a morale builder for President Lincoln and Mexican President Benito Juarez, and from 1862 to 1867, the public memory of Cinco de Mayo was forged in the American West.

In the years after the Civil War, veterans of the Union and Mexican armies would put on their uniforms and give speeches every Cinco de Mayo but the meaning of the holiday changed as years passed, first becoming a David versus Goliath tale among Mexican immigrants in the 1900s, then morphing into a celebration of U.S.-Mexican unity during World War II. In the 1960s, the meaning shifted towards pride in Mexican heritage and on in the past decade has become what Professor David Hayes-Bautista calls an, “undeniable commercialization in the late 20th century, a fake holiday recently invented by beverage companies. Now it’s become this big commercial holiday and a wonderful opportunity to get services and products in front of the Latino market and it even got its own postage in 1996 and in 2005 President Bush even had a Cinco de Mayo celebration at the White House.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/cinco-de-mayo-party-history_n_1471509.html

http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/history/article20229972.html

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video

Tunesday: Jess Klein

If I were rich, I’d hire Jess Klein to sing in my kitchen.  This won’t be her last appearance on this blog, she’s a family favorite. You really want to give her a listen.

http://www.jessklein.com/

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Uncategorized

The More Things Change…

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Among the crowds welcoming President John F. Kennedy to Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, were some folks whose litanies sound very familiar to even the casual observer of American politics. Tea, anyone–while you read?

TreasonFlyer.jpg.CROP.original-original

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Friday Morning Rock n Roll Idols: Poi Dog Pondering (video link repaired)

Poi_dog_pondering_1989-WEB.jpg.w560h292

Poi Dog Pondering–I can’t think of a better band to throw out here as we enjoy the first truly warm days of spring.

One of the most enjoyable shows I ever saw was in the old Graffiti Lounge in michelle_shocked_cd_cover_high_2500Pittsburgh, late Spring 1990, for a triple bill featuring John Wesley Harding, Poi Dog Pondering, and the mercurial Michele Shocked.  The show started off on a great note–I’d picked up two comp tickets from the now-legendary progressive rock radio station WXXP.  You can’t beat a free show.

I remember nothing about Harding, and Shocked provided a solid if unspectacular show–though I liked her at the time, the album she was touring to promote, 1989’s “Captain Swing” wasn’t a favorite.

The real highlight of the evening turned out to be the quirky Texas-Hawaiian Folk-Pop-Rock-Hippie fusion collective Poi Dog Pondering, who had launched out of Austin Texas on the strength of a fun little song called “Living With The Dreaming Body” and landed in Pittsburgh with, it seemed, about two dozen members–including a flutist, a mandolin player, a fiddler, and a bunch of hippie-looking folks  banging on drums and looking like they’d been picked up at the youth hostel and added to band the night before.  Whatever was going on, Poi Dog brought the goods, and I was hooked.  Hard to believe it was 24 years ago.

Bonus: my favorite PDP song, recorded with Abra Moore in a motel bathroom (read the description on the youtube page)

 

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Friday Morning Rock & Roll Idol: Girl In A Coma

girlinacoma_thumbArt, in its multitudinous forms, rewards our attention every once in a while, and all too rarely, with small beautiful moments where thrill meets surprise–I find them most regularly in poems, but also in poems, paintings, and even in pop songs and punk rock.  Such was the case with the little Texas band Girl In A Coma, who I discovered looking for a particular old David Bowie song.  nina2Watching–listening to–their cover of  “As The World Falls Down,” my immediate thought was “these kids get it,” which is something, since most of them don’t.  Of note is the look of joy/bliss on the badass drummer–she doesn’t just get it, she feels it.  Nice.  In a just world, Phanie, Nina, and Jenn would be household names and none of us would have ever heard of all the insipid, generic auto-tune wonders out there.