Monday, August 11, 2014

More Encounters with Weirdos



I spent the last eight days traveling in a big circle from Denver, up through Wyoming to Washington and Oregon, then back through SLC and east into Kansas and Nebraska, before finally alighting again in D-Town.

This first little exchange took place in a truck stop outside Aurora, NE. The TV was tuned to ESPN and they were showing a highlights package, which ended with a “feel-good” clip of youngsters racing around the infield of a baseball park dressed as foam-rubber hotdogs. One of the youngsters couldn’t run in his bulky costume and kept tripping and sprawling on his face. It was, I have to admit, funny, in a precious sort of way.

Sitting at the next table was an elderly man. Very elderly. Methuselah, Jr. But, he looked like everyone’s favorite octogenarian – tidy plaid shirt; brown high-water slacks, belted just below his arm pits; even a plastic pocket protector to protect his pocket from pens. As I began to chuckle a bit at the trials of the kid in the sausage outfit, the elderly fellow started laughing a wheezy laugh. I looked his way, indicated the TV with a nod, and said:

“Poor little guy.”

The elderly fellow glared at me through a film of ill-will and cataracts, and said:

“Fuckin’ retard’s what he is.”

“Well,” I responded, “can’t be easy running around in those suits.”

The elderly fellow made a bah-humbug gesture at me, looking back at the TV, where the clip was running again. His tubercular laugh reappeared, gurgling from the hair-clogged drain of his esophagus.

“Lookit ‘im!  Lookit that fuckin’ retard!” He almost choked he was laughing so hard. “Why d’they let ‘em out in public? They’re disgusting!”

“He’s just a little kid,” I said, which earned me another bah-humbug finger flick. I wanted to say something nasty to the silly old fuck, but just couldn’t summon the resolve.

“Your kid a retard?” the man asked abruptly.

“Uh, no. No, I don’t have any kids.”

“Yers’d prob’ly be retards anyway.”

I stared at him. He stared at me. And he wheezed. And gurgled.

“Normally,” I said, with a big ol’ smile on my face, “I try to show my elders respect. But you, you are a repulsive old cocksucker, and the world will be a better place when you die. Fuck you.”

As I left the restaurant, he croak-snorted something at my back, but I couldn’t make it out.  And I’m glad, actually.

*****


And then I was in Ontario, OR, which seems to be a Mecca for aberrancy and mutation.

I had a night off, and didn’t have to rise early the next morning, so I decided to visit a few of Oregon’s fabled craft breweries, of which Ontario had but one. Oh, well. I put on some decent clothes, my favorite black, fedora-like hat, and headed out.

Parked on a stool at the corner of an L-shaped bar, I was enjoying a rather good barleywine when two guys planted themselves on the other leg of the L. We nodded at one another in acknowledgement, and went back to our own business – them to a wall-mounted TV showing auto racing, and me to my book. Time passed. Then more time passed. More than a few beers passed.

“Hey, buddy!” one of the duo called, but it took me a moment to realize that I was the ‘buddy’ thus indicated, so he shouted again. “Hey, buddy!”

I looked in the direction of the pair. Both were already looking at me. They more or less resembled each other: medium height, gangly, trucker’s caps (who the fuck still wears those dippy things?) wife-beaters, etc.

“I like your hat.”

“Oh. Cool. Thanks, man.”

“You look like Heisenberg.”

“OK,” I said, nodding. “It’s not a pork pie hat, but I’ll—”

The guy raised his voice. “I said you look like Heisenberg.”

“That’s great. All I meant was our hats are different. Heisenberg —”

Right here, the other guy entered into this diverting little tête-à-tête: “You a smartass, or what?”

“Yes,” I answered, “but not in this specific case.”

“So what’s yer problem?”

“I have no problem. All I was —”

Guy One interrupted again. “I said you look like Heisenberg.”

“And I said ‘thank-you,’ and then pointed out that my hat is nothing like Heisenberg’s.”

Undaunted, Guy One aimed a finger at me and declared: “You have a goatee,” as if that fact erased any lingering traces of complication and conflict.

My goatee is nothing like Heisenberg’s. His is tidy, trimmed, and looks pretty slick. Mine is bushy, untrimmed, and makes me resemble a mixture of Kris Kringle and one of the Mujahideen.  But there would have been zero profit in venturing down that particular road. Just as there would have been zero profit in my further engagement with this pop-cultural exchange.

“Hey,” I burbled (in so far as I am capable of burbling), “You’re right! I never thought of that. The hat and the goatee. Guess I kinda do look like Heisenberg. Neat.”

Fulfilling all of my hopes, this seemed to satisfy them, as they returned to their Bud Lights, nachos, and shiny things going around in circles on TV. I knocked back the rest of my barleywine, and took my leave.

Should you ever feel like traveling with me, remember this one thing. No matter where I am, or what I am doing, if there is a looney-bird about he or she will locate me as surely as wombats have cube-shaped poop.

Cheers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Encounters with Rudeness & Responses



Almost back to back last week I had it pointed out to me — hugely, insanely — that my Freak Magnet, which I had been thinking was undertaking a hiatus, was still wide awake and ready for action.

So, here we go…

I was in Tacoma. Had some time to kill, and popped by a bookshop. Love me some bookshops. Shopped around a bit, bought an Evelyn Waugh I hadn’t read, and set off again to continue working.

Now, as it occasionally happens in Tacoma, it was raining. Pissing rain, in fact. I scurried out to my car, hopped in, programmed my GPS for my next stop, and put the car in reverse. I was parked between two pickups. Between them and the downpour, I inched backward out of my space; cautiously, gently. When I could see around the trucks, I noticed there was a Volvo waiting at the end of the aisle, presumably for my parking space. I wheeled around, allowing it ample space to angle around me, and started forward. That’s when I looked over at the driver.

She was in her mid-twenties, brown-haired, bespectacled, and screaming at me. I mean SCREAMING, man. Frothing at the mouth. Spittle flying against the windows. Complete and total RAGE creasing her face. Her outburst was so energetic, so ugly, I was taken aback. She gunned the Volvo by and hurtled into the space I had vacated.

And I was, well, just kind of sitting there. Just sitting there and wondering what I possibly might’ve done to cause this girl uncork such a colossal gout of invective. So, I thought I’d ask her.

I reversed back down the aisle until I was idling behind her car. She glared at me in her rearview mirror. I made a little gesture at her, like “C’mere for a sec.” She climbed from the car. I stuck my head out into the rain.

“Excuse me,” I said. “What did I do to make you so angry?”

Her glare deepened. “Just drive on, Sir,” she growled.

“No,” I said. “But wait. Why are you —”

“Fuck off you cocksucker!” she screamed, showing me the middle fingers on both of her hands. “Fuck off! I’ll fucking kill you, motherfucker!! I’ll fucking kick your ass!! Get the FUCK out!!”

Holy shit. I was staring at her with my mouth open. But only for a second. I do, as it happens, have my limits.

“You know what?” I hollered back. “Go fuck yourself, you ugly cunt.”

And here is where it all got really weird.

Another voice, female, some woman lurking outside my field of vision, chimed in.

“Hey! Don’t you call her that!”

If the newcomer was close enough to have heard me call the crazy woman a cunt, she had surely been close enough to have heard the crazy woman’s original diatribe. But, in true SeaTac lefty bullshit fashion, I was the asshole since I was the one who had uttered the dreaded “C” word.

I scanned around for a form to go with the face, found nothing, and, dropping my car into “drive” and hitting the gas, shouted “Fuck you too, you goddamn crazy bitch!”

I still have no idea, no idea at all, what I did to instigate the thing. For the next hour and a half, I churned it over in my head, and still nothing. But then it hit me. 

Freak Magnet.

Jesus…

And now, the Second Baffling Occurrence.

I was in, of all places, the scenic hamlet of Hays, KS. Population: Who Cares.

I needed to stop off at a convenience store for gas and coffee. Filled up and went inside. Wandered the store for a time, just to see if anything yummy wanted me to free it from its stultifying Life on the Shelf. Turned out, one thing did. Right up by the impulse items. They were selling those peanut-butter eggs from Easter at fifty-cents a pop. And I loves me some peanut-butter eggs. Grabbed two, dropped them with my extra-massive cup of joe on the counter, and extracted wallet from pocket.

The woman manning the counter was probably, I dunno, thirty. Give or take a tricky pregnancy or two.

She rang-up my purchases, then paused. She held one of the peanut-butter eggs in her hand.

“Are you sure you want this?” she asked.

“Oh, how come?” I responded. “Are they that far out of date?”

“No,” she said, “but…”

And she drifted off, gesturing in a general sort of way at my (admittedly rather acutely striking) girth. She was, I gathered, suggesting a weight-loss stratagem.

“Really?” I said, my eyes going all wide and sort of buggy.

“Well…” she murmured.

“Are you actually suggesting that I — a total stranger — might be too fat to purchase that candy?”

“I’m just trying to be helpful,” she said stiffly.

“Really. Trying to be helpful.” I think my voice had taken on a somewhat…well…steely aspect. “Here’s an idea,” I continued. “Your ass is the size of a fucking foot-stool, so how about you work on that, and mind your own fucking business.”

The rest of our interaction passed in total silence.

So, anyway… Not sure why I encounter people like these two, but there it is.

The Freak Magnet, folks. Damn.

Oh, and by the way, I ate those motherfucking peanut-butter eggs. And they were fuckin’ yummy.

Cheers.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

President Ted Cruz--The First 100 Days





  • January 8th, 2020—President Theodore Cruz takes office. He is joined by Vice President Michele Bachmann.
    • Has Republican/Tea Party majority in both Houses of Congress.

  • January 21st, 2020—The Environmental Protection Agency is dissolved.

  • January 22nd, 2020—The Department of Education is dissolved.

o   Replaced by new Department of Biblical Certainty

  • January 23rd, 2020—President Cruz, by Executive Order, criminalizes homosexuality in all 50 States.

  • January 24th, 2020—Department of Decency created, overseen by new cabinet-level position headed by Marcus Bachmann.

  • January 30th, 2020—“Pray Away the Gay” Camps open nationwide.

o   Attendance compulsory for all American teenagers between the ages of 11 and 17.
o   Especially if they like to dance.

  •  February 3rd, 2020—Amendment 28 to the Constitution of the United States proposed.

o   AKA—the “Separation of Science and State Amendment.”
o   AKA—the “James Inhofe Act.”
o   AKA—“I Ain’t No Red-Assed Monkey! Nossir!”
o   Contained within the Amendment:
§ Climate Change officially declared a “hoax.”
§  Theory of evolution officially declared “atheist propaganda” and barred from all schools.
§  Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY, declared National Historic Site.
§  Provides funding for implementation of “Nancy Reagan Astrology Centers.”
§  NSA and NASA permanently defunded.
  • February 5th, 2020--Hearings scheduled to determine political affiliation of Galileo and Copernicus, as well as their possible ties to Osama bin Laden.
  •  February 6th, 2020—All federal, state and local airports renamed in honor of Ronald Reagan.
o   Ticketing chaos ensues.
o   Terrorist Threat Level raised to Mauvelous.
  • February 18th, 2020—Leap Years removed from calendars.
o   Cuz it’s just weird and befuddling and, in direct violation of the Constitution and the Intentions of the Founders “forces Math upon Americans.”
  •  February 21st, 2020—On her way home from a meeting of the “Society for the Creation of Comfier Church Pews,” VP Michele Bachmann, after misinterpreting a faulty street light as the beginning of the Rapture, leaps from her car in the middle of the Santorum Parkway, overnight bag in hand. Is painlessly euthanized by ASPCA truck.
o   Her funeral is attended by thousands.
o   Many of whom are “totally, like, bummed” when Jesus fails to show.
  •  February 30th, 2020—The “Founders Defense Act” is passed, unanimously.
o   America’s standing Army disbanded. Replaced by State-Centered Militias.
o   President Cruz’s Secret Service detail renamed the “Praetorian Guard.” Is staffed entirely by operatives of Blackwater Security.
  •  March 2nd, 2020—Hearings begin for Constitutional Amendment 29.
o   Intended to repeal Amendment 22.
o   President Cruz declares himself President for Life.
o   House members hold up lighters and toss beach ball around chamber.
  • March 8th, 2020—US severs diplomatic relations with Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Britain, France, Spain, Canada, West Xylophone, Freedonia, Lilliput and Skull Island.
  • March 10th, 2020—“Duck Dynasty” wins every Emmy in every category.
o   House members hold up lighters and toss beach ball around chamber.
  • March 11th, 2020—“Jesse Helms Center for Negro Reskilling” opens in Bug Tussle, OK.
o   Also on This Date:
§  American Civil War officially designated the “War of Yankee Aggression.”
§  “Chicago School” of Economics declared America’s National Philosophy.
§  “Fairness Doctrine” enacted on all American Indian Reservations. Now illegal for whites to lose in their casinos.
§  Nutrition guides in school cafeterias replaced with Zamboni repair manual and several handfuls of bright purple confetti.
  • March 15th, 2020—First students admitted into the Bob Jones University School of Legitimate Rape.
o   Senior-class projects to include practicum.
  •  March 18th, 2020—President for Life Cruz issues DFJ (Direct from Jesus) Order #1.
o   Exercising a vocabulary now a punishable offense.
  • March 20th, 2020—President for Life Cruz crushed under palate of Dr. Seuss books.
  • Surviving Americans hold up lighters and toss around a beach ball.

Cheers.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Talking about the Tea Party



On November 13th, 2013, I posted this picture on my Facebook page:

 Photo

Is it hyperbolic? Of course it is. And did I mean it seriously? Of course I did, to a point. And it really aggravated some people. Which was, after all, my intention.

People wanted to know why I was equating ‘Baggers with mass-murderers and/or white supremacists. My initial glib response was, “Well, if the sheet fits…” but then I realized that I would be better served by not using words like “racist” to describe them. Not because I don’t think there are racists in the Tea Party—there are plenty—but because the word “racist” simply isn’t a large enough descriptor to capture all of the group’s vile nonsense.

Therefore, I am going with the word bigot.

Moving right along, I want to make quick rebuttals to the various accusations made against me, on Facebook and otherwise, and to the various defenses trotted out by ‘Bagger apologists, while also offering some general facts about their tawdry, horrifically anti-American, little “movement.”

Anti-Intellect

The Tea Party is anti-intellect. Many members seem actually to be proud of not knowing things. America’s Founders, men with whom the ‘Baggers are wont to compare themselves, were serious people with serious credentials. They taught themselves other languages. The ‘Baggers are hostile even to the idea of Americans speaking anything other than English, and scared shitless of people who do. The Founders were scientists, and enthusiastic about science. The ‘Baggers are hostile to science, about which I will explain more below. The Founders were voracious readers on all subjects, and committed to the life of the mind. The ‘Baggers, as is quite obvious, do not read. Their favorite president, the gleefully ignorant G.W. Bush, apparently read only two books ever: the Bible (aka, The Child’s Book of Christian Mythology), and My Pet Goat, (of the two, My Pet Goat is the better guide to good governance…), and Ted Cruz cannot even successfully navigate the tricky literary landscapes of Dr. Seuss.

The Power of the Guv’ment

I’ve been told that the Tea Party is about limiting the power of the Federal Government, or, in the words of the degenerate Grover Norquist, to make government so small he can “drown it in the bath tub.” Republicans were trotting out this silliness long before the ‘Baggers started waving their misspelled signs. Generally it is a catch-all excuse for being against any legislation they do not like, which is, generally, any legislation than might help their countrymen. ‘Baggers do not like helping people, because helping people might make them appear weak, and is therefore an affront to their already tenuous mental health.

In truth, the ‘Baggers are against government of the kind they hate, and rabidly in favor of the kind they like, and they want more of it. Lots, lots, lots more. To wit:

  • Establishing Christianity as the national religion. Rand Paul, Rick “I’m a Christocrat” Scarborough, and Michele Bachmann, among others, have harped on this subject many times. North Carolina tried to enact state-level legislation to that effect this year. The whole idea is about as unconstitutional as it gets, and so will go nowhere, but it remains a fine example of the ‘Baggers having no problem with the government controlling the lives of citizens.

  • Voter registration laws. This is sweeping legislation in numerous (Southern) states aimed at stopping a non-existent problem. There have been exactly three—count ‘em—three documented cases of the type of voter fraud that so exercises the ‘Baggers. So, what possible point could they be making? Well, since those restrictive, draconian laws largely effect liberals and minorities… When the Supreme Court destroyed the Voting Rights Act, claiming it was no longer needed, it took less than 48 hours for those Southern states to enact legislation aimed at disenfranchising minorities.
  • District gerrymandering. Hey, too many congressional districts filling up with brown people? Well, we gotta fix that, by god! Let’s just redraw the district lines and split those minority voting blocs, thereby effectively silencing those pesky slackers! That’s teach them to vote against us! District gerrymandering has taken place in Virginia, Michigan, Texas (of course), North Carolina, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, with others in process.
  • Elimination of TORT laws. (A bone for their corporate leash holders.) This isn’t taking away governmental power. It’s taking away citizen power.
  • Allowing taxpayer money to fund religious schools and other religious activities. Again, totally unconstitutional, but this one is gaining unfortunate headway.
  • Cutting veterans benefits, as Bush did in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Apparently the ‘Baggers have more use for dead soldiers than wounded ones. I mean, who doesn’t like a parade?
  • Legislating against gay marriage. This one is on its way down in a massive fireball, thanks to progressive states like California and New York, but that didn’t stop the aforementioned ‘Bagger stalwart, Rick Scarborough from proposing a “class action suit against homosexuality.” This somehow leaves the realm of simply bigotry and enters the world of weapons-grade stupidity.
  • Stomping on female reproductive rights. Do I even need to enumerate this ghastly stuff? Get over your bigoted terror of lady parts, people! What are you, twelve??

Then, finally, there’s the whole “god’s law” business. ‘Baggers across the country are on the record stating that America should be governed by god’s law. Again, totally unconstitutional, but that doesn’t stop them from gibbering about it every chance they get.

Hey, guys, god’s “law” has had its day on the world stage. We call that era the Dark Ages. And, god’s “law” is what currently holds sway all over the Middle East, and we all know what a tolerant, successful and intellectually vibrant place that is. And while we’re on the subject, is there any way a government could be a larger, more oppressive, nanny state than by turning its control over to an Invisible Man in the Sky and his oh-so rational earthly lickspittles?

‘Baggers, stop pretending you are in favor of smaller government. You aren’t.

Anti-Science

Those of you who know me, know that I am a logical positivist and a philosophical materialist to my core. I love and respect science because science works. Because it makes use of testable facts. Because it explains the natural world and our place in it better than religion ever has, can, or will.

And the ‘Baggers have no use for it whatsoever.

  • “American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains.”—Christine O’Donnell.
  • They refuse to acknowledge the reality of climate change, absurdly claiming that the tens of thousands of scientists studying the problem world-wide are all part of some sweeping left-wing conspiracy to undermine…something-or-other, they are never very clear on this point. Like their ideological brethren on the postmodern left, they think science is “politics in white coats.”
  • They make up horrific nonsense that sounds “sciency” to bolster their need for larger and more oppressive government crackdowns on the rights of Americans. Fetuses feel pain at eight weeks. If a woman is “legitimately” raped, she can’t get pregnant.
  • They want creation “science” presented alongside evolution in public schools, screaming “Teach the controversy!” You know why no one is teaching the controversy? Because there isn’t one.
I could go on and on here, but it makes me too sad. And, yes, before you ‘Baggers start whining, I am fully aware that many liberal Americans are woefully ignorant about science, and that also makes me sad. And I am also aware of the recent study which claimed to demonstrate that ‘Baggers are slightly more scientifically literate than liberals. However, the protocols of the study were a bit wobbly, and, like all good science (statistical analysis is a science) we must await replication before drawing conclusions. Personally, if it turns out to be true that ‘Baggers know some science, I think that would be awesome, but I do not think it would do a thing to alter their preposterous blather on the subject.

St. Ronald the Addle-Minded

Oh, how the ‘Baggers love Ronald Reagan! To hear them talk, he was the next best thing to Jaysus!! For decades now I’ve been listening to friends, family members, and pundits shout St. Ronald’s name from the rooftops, but without ever saying what the guy did to make him so super-duper special. I’ve done a bit of reading on Reagan, and have come up with some bullet points that I think qualify as his major achievements:

  • He owed everything he got in life to labor unions (specifically SAG, Equity and IATSE) then became president and turned on unions like a rabid dog.
  • He was a turncoat and a rat, spilling his trembling guts to the scumbags running the HUAC hearings.
  • Despite a reputation as a tax cutter, he raised taxes nine times, effectively eviscerating the American middle class.
  • After famously stating that trees cause air pollution (gotta love that conservative commitment to science), he set about selling off the country’s natural treasures to the highest bidder, and gutting environmental protections.
  •  He honored dead Nazis at the Bitburg concentration camp.
  •  He unleashed a wave of torture and murder in Central America, under the guise of combatting communists, funding the scheme by illegally dealing WMDs to Iran. And he only got away with it because he was too senile to remember issuing the orders in the first place.
  • He cheated on his wife, divorced her to marry his mistress, then blithered on for two terms about “family values.”
  • He invented a war history for himself, wherein he didn’t spend his entire enlistment on a Hollywood backlot (which is what he did), but instead liberated camps and fought in major battles.
  • And, he was a completely talentless actor. Bonzo had more emotional depth.

Did I miss anything?

Oh yeah. Where was my brain? He ended the Cold War, right?

Well, no. No he didn’t. As has been well documented, the Soviet Union collapsed because Siegfried and Roy were playing Caesar’s Palace at the time.

The Cold War was ended by Mikhail Gorbachev, the Afghan mujahedeen, and Trofim Lysenko. Never heard of Trofim Lysenko? That’s why you think Reagan did more than just stand around and watch while the Soviet Union fell apart under the weight of its own oppressive bullshit, because you haven’t read your history.

Government Shutdown

Theodore Roosevelt was an interesting cat. Politically, he occupied a niche that no other president had occupied before (except for Abraham Lincoln, to an extent) or has occupied since. Conservatives have a hard time dealing with Teddy. On one hand, he was a rough-and-tumble man of action—a soldier, a hunter, a fighter. But on the other hand, he wanted to return the Republican party to what it had been under Lincoln—a progressive government that helped every American citizen, regardless of color or religion, get a “Square Deal.” When he failed to get certain legislation passed, he had this to say about political compromise (and I’m paraphrasing): If you are stranded on a desert island and all you have is a chisel, a saw and a screwdriver, then you put those tools to use building the best raft you can.

Confronted with the Affordable Care Act, Ted Cruz and the rest of the borderline-treasonous ‘Baggers instead did the following: they sat on their asses in the shade while their betters built a raft, then when it was done they complained about the design, and when nobody listened to them, they shot holes in the raft in an attempt to drown its occupants. Even Grover Norquist said the ‘Baggers were acting stupidly, and when a guy like Norquist calls you stupid, man, you got a whole lotta stupid goin’ on.

In ‘Baggerland, compromise is weakness, and weakness is, I dunno, socialism or something, a word they love to throw around, unfortunately without knowing its definition.

The End

In closing, do I think all ‘Baggers are racists? No, I do not. Do I think they are all bigots? No, I do not. Do I think they support bigoted and oppressive governmental policies?

Yes, I do.

Cheers.