Fascism Is A Sweaty Shitty Mess

“I beg your pardon,” said Trump, wiping his mouth with a cloth napkin and sliding his chair behind him standing up. “Now is the time of the day when I like to take a nice big dump all over the Republican brand.”

Charlottesville

Good morning. Anything going on in the news lately?

You don’t say. White supremacists? And “counter-protesters,” as the news readers were calling them (I thought this was an interesting style choice, especially given how instantly universal it was)? Beating each other up with baseball bats and cans of sprayable weaponry? The biggots showed up wearing helmets and other military gear?

Some were brandishing guns?

And someone killed a person with a car?

Well. I hope the President of the United States had some strong words to say about this!

Ah. Yes:

“I have a message to all of the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today. Our message is plain and simple. Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you. You pretend that you’re patriots, but you are anything but a patriot. My message is clear. We are stronger than you. You will not succeed. There is no place for you here, there is no place for you in America.”

No. Wait. That was Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

Oh, yes. Here is what the Preznit said:

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.”

What I can’t tell is if Trump thinks that hatred, bigotry, and violence occur on many sides, or just violence. But many people sure did notice what wasn’t said by our pretty, pretty Preznit.

*

When I was growing up, every couple of years they decided to teach us about the Holocaust again.

They’d drag out the black-and-white pictures of emaciated men stacked up in bunks, the gates of Auschwitz bearing the not at all ironic phrase, “Arbeit macht frei,” they’d tell us the astonishing numbers of humans who were extinguished via this horrible effort, six million, 12 million, wow, you’d think as a kid trying to take all this in, that sure is evil.

In college, I spent a semester studying the Shoah under one of the most brilliant professors in the world, Sol Friedman. Friedman’s approach to teaching this history was to have his students understand the truly murky depths of anti-Semitism in the world and how it has essentially fused itself into the marrow of human beings.

At least, that’s what I took from it.

I mean, they trace anti-Semitism to back before the Middle Ages. But going back that far is a little in the weeds. A few key and fairly recent historical events, though, might make you think.

  • In 1492, Columus sailed the ocean blue. Also, Jews were being driven out of Spain.
  • In 1791, Catherine the Great creates the Pale of Settlement in an effort to bounce Jews out of Russia
  • In 1850, composer Richard Wagner–yes, “Ride of the Valkyries” Richard Wagner–publishes the essay Das Judenthum in der Musik. Among the notions discussed is the harmful myth that Jews actually rule the world.
  • In 1903, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is first published. The book is a forgery, meant to reflect the Jewish plot for world domination. Many regimes in the Middle East proclaim it as fact to this day.
  • In 1913, Menahem Mendel Beilis is acquitted of murder in Kiev, but only after his trial elicited charges that he conducted ritual murder because, you know, that’s what Jews do.

Now. I understand that the main point of contention between the “idiots” and the “counter-protestors” was more racial than it was regarding folks with crooked noses. But I know more about this than that. And I speak of it today because of a larger point:

This idea that this group of people is better than that group of people, and that that group of people is a problem and must be mitigated somehow, this is an idea so ancient that it lives within our DNA. It lives in the dirt. Adolf Hitler did not invent it. Nor did David Duke. This disease has been with us as long as cancer has.

And we now have a Preznit who cannot even remotely speak harshly of it because it is a part of what he is and how he came to power.

Those people you saw with the helmets and the shields yesterday on the CNN?

Those people are this Preznit’s base.

This is why he had to punt to false equivalence yesterday rather than to call out this festering illness and its horrifying breakout yesterday for what it is.

Way to go, America!

Dunkirk

After we walked out of the theater having watched Christopher Nolan’s new masterpiece Dunkirk, my DOD said, I know this wasn’t really your cup of meat*, but did you like it?

I gushed. I adored this movie. What a great movie. Look at how he told the story. Yeah, he said. The acting wasn’t so much the force of the movie. It was the direction. And the story.

And the soundtrack, I added.

That’s the thing about Dunkirk. Nolan goes out of the way specifically to not tell you this story in the typical way. There is no clear protagonist, no clear story arc. There is only one trumpeted moment of Hollywood victory. Every other moment of the film drops you into wartime and doesn’t pull you out until the credits roll.

Nolan has chosen to show everything and to tell nothing. Exposition in Dunkirk is held to a luddite minimum. And in most films, this would be where enjoyment breaks. In Dunkirk, it is a brilliant raconteur. It is a virtual reality machine. You viscerally experience the confusion and terror of war. By way of comparison, Saving Private Ryan toyed with this VR experience but spent most of itself creating the typical story arc. Dunkirk doesn’t do this.

Dunkirk is fully committed to showing and not telling. So if you have a friend or S/O who is the sort who asks questions during movies?

Go solo.

But go. This is a cinema experience you don’t want to miss. This is a gritty, horrible story beautifully shown.

*This is a phrase my Dad finds quite clever and I do not entirely disagree with him

So Long, Spicey!

This was the largest audience to ever witness a resignation— period — both in person and around the globe.

Now here’s something actually useful

I like a dot of Honest Amish Beard Balm for the mustache, but my chin whiskers are getting John Masters Organics Pomegranate Facial Nourishing Oil. It’s not even beard oil officially but I don’t care because it smell nice and softens wonderfully.

A little dab will do ya

Jaco Pastorius

A Groovy Oatmeal Recipe

Here it is in text. If you don’t want to sit through this guy’s weird video like I did.

1/2 Cup Oats
A small handfull of dried fruit.
1/2 to 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon cinammon
a pinch of allspice
chopped nuts (I like pecans)
A bit of whey protein (his add-in, not mine, though I might try it)

Other add-ins
Grape Nuts
Wheat Germ
Sesame Seed Nut Things
Nutmeg (fresh. What other kind is there?)
Whatever

All’s you do is mix all this stuff into a cup or bowl (I like this one) and pour hot water in there later. Let it sit for 10 – 20 minutes, stir, and eat it. It’s really good. Don’t skimp on the nuts. It travels well, too, if you have a decent vial to take hot water with you (I like this one).

Taco Potion #20

The following is Alton Brown’s recipe for something he calls Taco Potion #19. And it is the best recipe he has ever offered in my opinion, and from here on out, you may throw away that taco stuff you bought at the grocery and use this instead:

2 Tablesoons Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1.5 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

That’s it. Mix it up. Good for one pound or so of ground beef.

Just for public service, here is that recipe x8:

1 cup chili powder
1/2 cup ground cumin
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup hot smoked paprika
3 Tablespoons ground coriander
1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper

So I’m making a mess of meat with it tonight, and I realize: Why is there salt in it?

I am not likely to just throw a pound of ground beef into a pan and steam it. When I brown ground beef I treat that stuff like it’s little steaks. Hot pan. Little morsels of meat thrown down. Kosher salt. I wait until they’re GBD and then I throw it into a bowl. So I’m adding salt.

And I’m probably not likely to use water. Especially if like tonight I have a half carton of chicken stock hanging out.

No. I propose a new iteration: Taco Potion #20.

Omit the salt.

The original proportions (now sans salt, a.k.a. Taco Potion #20):

2 Tablesoons Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1.5 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

And the x8 version because that is the only logical way to make it since your girlfriend and your Dad are both begging you to make it (now sans salt, a.k.a. Taco Potion #20)

1 cup chili powder
1/2 cup ground cumin
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup hot smoked paprika
3 Tablespoons ground coriander
1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper

I will always endeavor to label correctly. But from now on in my kitchen, Taco Potion #20 requires that you salt your own.

A perfectly reasonable modification. I hope Alton Brown approves.

See? Rich Lowry Gets It!

“What I think is most poisonous in our politics now–it’s not necessarily partisan conflict, we’ve always had a version of that throughout our history–it’s the distrust in our governing institutions. It’s the word ‘rigged,’ which now both parties are invested in. I think that is the worst word in American public culture.” (Rich Lowry, Editor, National Review, on Meet the Press, July 9, 2017)

Them Bats Is Smart

A co-worker went on and on yesterday about a place called Bathtub Billy’s. Seemed like a sign to me. New Saturday lunch junket for DOD and me. And it was pretty good. Decent burger, CB on tap.

I walked right to the bar and sat down. I have never been to this place before.

I happened to sit right next to this handsome fellow:

You are remembered and missed, Mr. Aaron Pryor, my unintentional namesake.


So of late I have become somewhat interested in trying new grooming methods. I have come to enjoy running a boar-hair brush through my hair, what’s left of it, and am testing beard oils and learning their proper use. Today, I took delivery of my razor start kit from Harry’s. Razors, sadly, are a product it’s too easy to procrastinate replacing, and that’s not good for shaving. Harry’s will be sending me eight blades every three months for about $16.

I know. This is exciting stuff.


Over supper, DOD reminded me of a classic David Letterman bit: Them bats is smart. They use radar. I had forgotten completely about this bit and had to look it up to even place the source. The audio is not good here. But, here it is: The bats is smart. They use radar. By David Letterman.

Forgive me if I go around saying this a lot for the next couple of weeks.

Independence Day 2017

I will never forget the first time somebody used the line on me. It was in a newsroom in Revanna, Ohio. I think the reporter’s name was Craig, and Craig decided to lay a trip on me about Jesus while I was finishing my obituaries or whatever. And Craig laid the line on me for the first time I have ever heard it. Craig said to me

WE HAVE FREEDOM OF RELIGION, NOT FREEDOM FROM RELIGION.

I hope the look on my face at that time registered the sheer horror I felt at this horrifying statement. I mean I’ve always been a non-believer, I just stopped being shy about it in my 40s. At the time I was shy about it. But I hope my face looked like that time on the roller-coaster.

Because the sheer wrong-headedness of that statement is cruel and just downright wrong. Let us please be reminded of the introduction to Robert G. Ingersoll’s centennial speech: “One hundred years ago, our fathers retired the gods from politics.”

You may very well want to go read that speech on this day. Because it clearly defines what the Declaration was truly about: We are rebelling against a king. And kings have told us all along that their power comes from a celestial being. And we are basing an entire new experimental nation, at the risk of our own lives and livelihoods, on the notion that people should not be ruled by kings who claim to derive their power from “on-high,” but that people should govern people.

That is the idea that sparked the revolution. And we are no more a “Judeo-Christian” nation than I am Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.

The Declaration was about Indpendence from kings who told people for centuries that they got to rule and have all the wealth and got to make life-and-death decsions because The Lord told them they could. Our colonies said balls to that and made us a plainly secular nation.

Happy Independence Day.