Conventional Care

The world is falling apart, and Peter Capaldi is leaving Doctor Who.

I’m glad I can still be concerned about frivolous shit. There’s still another season with Peter at the helm, so I’ll have a number of episodes to say goodbye. There are still conventions to attend and as long as actors are willing to brave the wild American wasteland, I’ll attend them.

Hell, Mark Hamill is coming to Dallas. He’s been pretty rough the ol’ Pres on Twitter. I hope the citizens of Texas are kind to him. I’ll be there for a photograph, perhaps. I’ve met Captain Kirk and two Doctors in Dallas (had to fly to London to see Tom), so I might as well add Luke Fucking Skywalker to the mix.

I’m going to bring my laptop so I don’t have to clumsily SwiftKey the convention roundup from my hotel bed. We actually got into the Omni this time, connected to the convention center, so no traipsing across Dallas streets with an infant, unless we want to.

We have plans this year, Gina, Willie, and I. We’re going to hit the FanExpo in Dallas, we’re going to WhoFest 4 in Irving, and we’ll most likely be driving across town that weekend to spend some time at Texas Frightmare, where, among others, we’ll get a chance to see Malcolm McDowell and the kids from Stranger Things.

I’ll be the Brigadier, most likely, with my stupid, glorious mustache. Willie will be Baby Benton. Gina is working on Sarah Jane Smith. If you aren’t familiar with Doctor Who, those sentences mean nothing to you, and that’s okay.

Maybe this is boring planning-talk but I need to repeat this to myself. I need to think about spending time with my family. I need to remember there are things outside the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Cora starts kindergarten this year. Bea will be in preschool by the fall if she can get the potty thing under control. The cat, well, if she doesn’t eat our pet butterflies (which she is attempting to do behind me right now), I’m sure we’ll have some other caged insect for her to fret over. GG want’s ladybugs but I’m leaning towards Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

I’ve spent my recent days with a never-ending tension headache caused by constantly clamping my jaw. I only find solace in family and friends, but it’s hard to talk about anything that isn’t the nosedive we’re currently in. It’s like asking the passengers on THAT GODDAMNED PLANE ANALOGY to play some amusing parlor games while Donnie pushes the yoke forward and the nose tilts down, the refreshment cart goes crashing by, the whine of the engines and the air ripping over the wings sounds like a WWII buzz bomber you probably only heard on Looney Tunes propaganda films, and we’re supposed to do charades.

Maybe we should. I’m going to try to go through the motions and stand in lines, stalk the Celebrity Zoo and take ninja photographs of actors I’ve never met, pay absurd amounts of money to press their flesh and snap a photo, or go through the autograph line and quickly run a well-rehearsed ridiculous anecdote by them and either make a connection or completely bomb my performance. I have a solid fifty-fifty record on that one. Maybe I’ll hold Gina’s arm and let her do her charming thing, which is always a sure bet.

Maybe this isn’t your bag, folks, and that’s okay. Make sure you make some time for you while you’re struggling for the fate of humanity. There may come a time when that’s an impossible thing, and our memories of life mostly unencumbered will be the only thing we have to drive us forward to the clearing. I don’t know who waits for you there, but for me, it’s people in funny costumes, and performers who made me feel.

Do the things people do until you can’t do them anymore. Make them drag it out of your hands, but while you hold it, live it.

Live, dammit. I’m going to try. Yeah, yeah, “Do or do not,” Yoda, but sometimes all you can do is give it a shot.

Why With Her? 

Can we lay off the Clintonlust?

I know it hurts. I get you. At this point I’d take President Bush (H.W.,W., or Jeb!), but it’s the fear talking and that’s what they want. They want you to shit your pants so hard you’re begging for President Pence, and I feel you on that too. Most of us would survive Pence (straight white moderate to conservative men and their wives would, anyway), and the long decline of late stage Capitalism would continue instead of irradiating us when WWIII starts next week.

Isn’t it punching down to blame the majority of American voters for not being excited enough about a bunch of shitty crooks to show up at the polls or press the correct button? Everyone stayed home and a huckster convinced the smallest possible group of idiots that he’d make them winners. That’s what happened.

This doesn’t equate the candidates’ value as leaders. I hope I never implied it would be the same while I screamed we were on the road to ruin last year. It’s the bare fact that someone did a better job exposing the failures of our system and the weaknesses of the American public. As they say around here, “If if if, if my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle.”

That shit isn’t even true, but you catch my drift. Hindsight is 20/20, and how many colloquialisms can I toss at this idea? If you want to spend time writing Alternate History, go ahead. Maybe you’ll be the next Harry Turtledove. I’m a bit too busy getting wrecked daily by unprecedented executive action.

Even now, Cory Booker and Liz Warren are playing ambulance chasing lawyer and showing up at protests with a bullhorn (Reynolds, 2017). Clinton isn’t in office, but wouldn’t your heart swell if she showed up at an airport? She’s too busy working on the launch of her Oprahesque talk show in preparation for the 2020 election. Gotta win over those white women somehow. Everyone look under your seats, it’s NeoLiberalism and James Taylor.

You’re right, though. We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I’d certainly take a President Clinton now, either one. I’d take a President Cheney and that motherfucker belongs in a courtroom in The Hague along with that other lich, Clinton’s Pal Henry Kissinger, but I digress.

We have to get Trump/Bannon out of office, and if that means settling for Lawful Evil in order to get small hands Neutral Evil and his whisky-swilling neonazi henchman, Chaotic Evil out of the White House, so be it. We can deal with that shit later.

I’ll even cool it on the ableist slurs for a minute. The way I see it, I don’t punch people as a solution. I haven’t done it since I was a teenager, but if I were threatened I would. It’s a shitty thing done in self defense, just like calling Trump a crazy, fat, impotent, narcissistic sociopath piece of wormy dog shit manbaby. There’s collateral damage to those words, so even though I feel like it’s justified, I’ll abstain for the sake of others who don’t want to see it.

What we can do is get down to substantive discussion about his wholly unprecedented breach of the Constitution. We can call him what he is, which is a misogynistic asshole and probably a rapist. He may not technically be a fascist if we’re going by Trotsky’s definition, but he’s getting closer by the day. I’d hate to separate him from his American roots by implying he’s some sort of alien life form, though. He’s the American Dream come true.

I’m still going to say fascist. Herr Bannon runs Bartertown. He’s sitting on the shoulders of our sad sack President, but Master will be nothing without Blaster to ride.

Anyway, I know you’re tired and afraid. So am I. I promise to lay off shitting on Democrats two notches if you promise not to vilify me for pointing out Clinton’s weak-ass campaign for over a year.

Just, find another hero, okay? It ain’t her, unless you’re fond of President Tom Cotton as an eventuality. I’m not.

Take Me to Church

I’m reneging a bit on my pledge to take Sunday off, but after yesterday’s fun arguing draconian Arkansas law with fundamentalists, I figured I’d briefly address my adoring public.

My website traffic is up, so either the drama paid off, or someone made good on their threats to, as they said, “Post your site in the church bulletin.”

Good morning, Arkansas. You may be checking on mobile, from your pew, so I’ll provide a couple of links here for your convenience:

2016 Archives by Arbitrary-Ass Category
2017 Archives Organized Whimsically

Please view them in their entirety. This will really tear me apart, when all my secrets I posted on the wide Internets for everyone to view are revealed. If you really want to stab me in the guts, write a 500 word essay on what your least-favorite entry means to you, and I’ll publish it on the site.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled Sabbath.

PS –

It was really hard choosing between this and the big Heritage not Hate Confederate flag on their profile, but I think this says more about their “Christian” demeanor. Since they identified themselves in their friendly comments yesterday, I assume it’s okay to post their name now. Whatever church’s doors you darken in Conway, Arkansas, must really be proud to have you as parishioners, guys.

Trollin’

Not pictured: The head anti-vax guy who has a Facebook page full of posts on Chemtrails.

Sometimes the frustration of life is too much and I get the urge to play Whack-A-Mole. Why travel down to the local Chuck E. Cheese and brave toddlers and fistfights when I can sit right here at home and slap down fundamentalists on local news social media pages?

It’s a hot time for this with the Arkansas Mumps Epidemic of 2017 rolling into Kindergartens all over Northeast Arkansas. The thrilling part is since none of these blowjobs understand how science works, they’re using the Arkansas Department of Health bulletins, which explain why the old vaccine may not be as effective, to “prove” why vaccines don’t work, even though there is an entire paragraph explaining how many, many more people would have the disease, with more dangerous symptoms, if not for said vaccine.

This echos the attacks on Climate Change research, which often come from the same group. “Well there’s this one paper here that says it ain’t real!” they shout, proceeding to ignore the 37,000 other published works on the matter. “If the scientific method is so useful, why do they keep having to redo everything!” yells the proud Christian mother who flunked eighth grade science.

People with discerning minds understand science is about increasing human knowledge and shrinking the sphere of ignorance, and we do it by, you know, asking questions. Sometimes we have to ask questions about those questions, and it’s too damned many questions for some people to handle. “Why can’t we just come up with some rules and shit and stick to them?”

I have to call out the fact that most of the people who frequent these arguments are women. The patriarchy is strong down here, y’all, and while the p-word comes loaded heavy with baggage, I’ve experienced enough of it to understand the low self esteem and outright self-hatred beaten, figuratively and literally, into Southern women. They’re often their own worst enemy when it comes to these discussions and the sad irony is that they actively perpetuate the very thing chaining them down.

I must also acknowledge that this is all, on the face of it, classist as fuck, but sometimes you have to break a few rednecks to make an omelet. Sorry, guys. As a resident of rural and semi-rural Arkansas for 38 years, I’m sick to death of this shit, and now that the poison has seeped out of Bumfuck and into the hearts and minds of millions, a demagogue found it useful enough to exploit his way into the White House, and here we are.

I’ll take a hard detour from the ivory-tower-sitting and attempt to avoid the mistake moderates made in the last election (left? What left?). Moderates long ago retreated to citied-suburbia and abandoned the rural worker. There were socialist movements in America a hundred goddamned years ago. Most of the farm co-ops that exist now are descendants of those systems set up way back when, but of course, Capitalism consumes all and the Nonexistent American Left remains nonexistent. Historically there hasn’t been much non-agricultural industry down here except when it comes in to exploit right-to-work laws. The companies stay until it’s cheaper to do it in another country, then broke and angry unskilled labor goes back to being destitute and furious.

What’s left for a poor white kid from Shit Town but to become a white supremacist or a Juggalo? I’d rather have a nation full of Juggalos, believe me, because this ailment is spreading, and I could keep the latter happy with skunkweed and mudholes. The former has mixed up a concoction of ignorance and superstition in proportions so exciting that no downtrodden hill dweller can turn it down.

We (the few, the proud, the Space Communists) are going to have to find a way to appeal to little Jack and Sally Biblebeater or else face the specter of fundamentalist fascism for all time, be it genuine (check out any red state legislature) or appropriated for votes (most of our Federal-level elected sociopaths).

I’m not that guy, though. I’m not an organization builder. I’m an idiot slapper. It’s easy because I have idiot inside me. I know how they think. I know where they live. I’m fluent in stupidity. I can code switch into that shit in an Arkansas second and soon they’re inviting me to their Sons of Confederate Veterans meeting.

Until something better comes along, I’m going to be coercing angry Jesus freaks into publicly admitting they want to torture women by forcing them to carry malformed fetuses to term. I want them to say it in all caps, over and over, vile, hateful. I want them to admit they loathe people, science, the one life we have, and tell me that it’s GOD’S PLAN.

I ain’t anti-religion, folks. There’s something to be said for fellowship, community, and sitting in a room together and singing. As always, these beautiful things will be stolen by those who seek to control others and appropriated for their evil intentions. Some of you shining-blue-city folk might have a great Methodist or Lutheran joint you frequent, and that’s fine. If agnostic atheists could get together and form such organizations, we’d probably be better off, but as with leftists and other such critters the very skepticism of authority that created us makes it difficult to engage in the subservience necessary to keep a group in lockstep.

If any of this bothers you, I get it. It probably should. I’m the asshole Gotham needs right now. Some of you can dance, some of you can play the fiddle. This is my GAWD-given talent. I was born this way, baby.

The Bob Talbot Memorial Hall of Embarrassing Shit

I’m not the type of guy who could ever have a museum. I’ve been to the Clinton Library and Endless Repetitive Architectural Trailer Joke in Little Rock, Arkansas, and they did an okay job of lampshading his indiscretions by including a small section on his impeachment debacle, but there’s still an air of, “I think they left some shit out.”

The nifty Facebook On This Day Feature (still the bane of my existence) fills in well enough, and some small part of me feels sorry for my friends and coworkers who have had to witness me stumblefuck my way through life without being able to tie me to a stake and set it ablaze. This has proven a few things to me, first and foremost that charisma goes a long way, and maybe I have a little more in common with Billy Boy than I’d like to admit.

Still, with regard to non-penis related endeavors, there’s plenty to fill something the size of the British Museum but with way less plundered artifacts. Oh wait, it’s exactly like the British Museum.

Mark Twain would have had this kind of talk locked up in a vault for a century after his death. The difference is, once it was revealed, it amounted to 3000 pages of things like, “Colonel Mustache was a bloviator who made smelly toots in the presence of company.”

While I do recall hacking LiveJournal’s Russian mainframe (I remembered my password) and making the entries private years ago, there still exist a number of essays about how I was about to become one of the captains of industry at Wal-Mart entirely through my own moxie, gumption, and bootstrap levitation.

Hell, just yesterday I almost threw a water bottle down the main aisle at work after I was informed we were no longer allowed to have drinks on the sales floor. Luckily, one of my comrades reminded me my body was property of the Glorious People’s Revolution and I’d do well to not die on that anthill.

Guess who else gets to have water at the register, though? Wal-Mart employees. I should count my blessings, though. There’s no amount of cool swigs I’d trade for the luxury of not having to return home after my daily 14 hour shift and calculate how drunk I can get before I’m forced to detox in time for the morning alarm.

“Where’s your truck, Bob?”

“Oh, uh, my wife dropped me off today.”

Miscalculation.

Last night on the drive home from work, it occurred to me how much I’ve changed compared to the spans of time over which I’ve held politicians accountable for their shitty opinions. A dozen years ago, while Hillary Clinton was saying marriage was between a man and a woman, I was beating my chest about American Empire and expressing Hitchensesque declarations about the Middle East. Perhaps I should have been a bit more forgiving.

Even if you don’t make a big 180, life has a way of blunting the edges off your spiky shell. Bernie Sanders complimented Fidel Castro (not necessarily a bad thing, but he wouldn’t do it today) and traveled to the Soviet Union (again, not a big deal) when I was in grade school thirty years ago. I feel like I’ve lived a dozen lives since then, and I’m sure he does too.

I don’t often talk about the years I spent unemployed and shut-in, existing among dog and cat shit pyramids on the carpet. I don’t think any of the big movers and shakers have periods like this, that they’ll admit to, anyway. It fits more in a fallen rock star bio. Chuck Palahniuk once wrote that every few years he takes his belongings, burns them, and rises like a phoenix from the ashes. I hoard my past lives, and instead of regenerating like the Doctor, I glom it on like Tetsuo in Akira, a big beefy rockin’ blob of Bob. I carry that albatross around because I have to look at its carcass to remember what I’ve learned.

On this day, years ago, I wrote, “When our children Google us, WHAT WILL THEY FIND?” I hope there’s still a Google for them to Google on, because what a show. I’m not going to be able to do what one of my ancestors did when they claimed they’d been married once instead of thrice, and I’m not sure I’d have it any other way. We make such caricatures of people when we simplify them in legend and on screen. I’m sure that if we could crack open every human psyche and reveal it all to each other simultaneously, either world peace would immediately spring forth, or we’d enter into an eight-billion-person suicide pact.

Until then, I’ll be spraying my diarrhea of the mind into the faces of the public. This is my free therapy. When this nifty digital thing ends, I’ll carve it into the cave walls while you visit the post-apocalyptic psychologist (accepts pelts, clams, assorted sparkly baubles) and we’ll compare notes.

I’m really holding out for the Google, though. Fingers crossed.

Clip Show

Hey, remember that time-

This is when everything gets wavy and you’re forced to sit through clips of old shows hammered into a frame story by a production crew with too many episodes scheduled and too little budget to complete them. I don’t think Doctor Who ever had a clip show, thank Rassilon. Golden Girls did, and I cannot possibly convey a chunky, mulleted kid’s excitement at the prospect of more all-new Golden Girls, only to be followed by the crushing disappointment of couch-sitting reminiscence interspersed with stale rerun footage. Hear me now and believe me later, I was devastated.

No, I woke up today at 7 am to the gut punch of, “This is actually happening.” I liken it to the months right after Dad died. Every single fucking day was the new waking realization that yes, I exist in this terrordrome. His house sat empty. There was nothing but his clothes hanging in his closet and his smell, fading. Now that we’re witnessing the death of something else, I don’t know where to hide. There isn’t time for that now. There’s only time for staring too deep into Facebook and having animated conversations in bookstore corners.

Maybe this is part of the cycle, that ideas die, dreams die, nations die. We all know people die, but whether it’s their time or not, it’s never easy. Even to a ridiculous Space Communist such as myself, raised on Star Trek dreams of post-scarcity, I’m not happy to go through this metamorphosis. When a caterpillar enters its chrysalis it doesn’t just sprout wings. It is absolutely destroyed, reduced to cellular muck. Butterflies are built from scratch. Maybe the future is, too. This is the only hope I can afford.

A friend of mine called this back in 2015. I don’t think he’s a fortune teller, just a smart fellow with a discerning mind who is well read in a lot of the subjects we eschew because America. We’re big on reading how-to-be-a-better-sociopath guides, but we tend to ignore those bearded 19th century dudes who may have had it all figured out. “Looks good on paper!” right, guys?

I can’t say I was on that boat immediately, but I eventually arrived at the same destination long before everyone received the jolt in November. You can diagnose terminal illness, but the moment of death is still a stunner no matter how you slice it. In hindsight, I may have had something figured out much earlier.

I was horrified by Chris Kyle the moment I first picked up his book, American Sniper. It was full of braggadocio about his actions overseas, and the tone struck me as horrifyingly inappropriate. I’m no history scholar but I have a few books on American military action under my belt. You will not find E.B. Sledge or Dick Winters communicating in this manner. Civil War historian James M. McPherson delivers quality tomes on that divisive conflict but nowhere within do I find the relentless savagery Kyle presents. The proud murder. To earlier warriors, killing was almost always a dire deed, a necessary evil.

I’m familiar with the works of Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, On Killing, On Combat, and Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill. His historical perspectives on military indoctrination in the United States are real eye openers. The last book I listed is full of spurious conclusions about video games, but overall, there’s something to be said for the way our government has taught the military to relish combat. Maybe I’m too softhearted, but violence should be used as a last resort, and the mood should be that of euthanasia. Instead, the government stokes bloodlust and berserker rages. They won’t be effective killers if they’re not rabid.

When American Sniper was adapted to film, Liberal Dude Bradley Fucking Cooper did press junkets looking all respectful and serious about this Important American he was about to immortalize on film (don’t get me wrong, you can absolutely play someone without endorsing or being them, but he presented it as a great deed instead of saying, “Yeah it was hard to get into character to play a child killer”), and the American public was rabid. They ate it up. Theaters full of red-blooded patriots sat through that abortion, silent as a funeral, punctuated by sniffles, and filed out stoically as the credits rolled. It was reported that all you could hear was the creak of chairs and the shuffle of feet as sad Americans exited the building.

My shitpost response was to share the Zoller film from Inglourious Basterds and claim it was the American Sniper trailer. This was met with a lukewarm reception. I yelled, repeatedly, “The sky is falling! American Sniper will sweep the Academy Awards!” I conveniently forgot who votes on the Academy Awards, and it isn’t the American public.

We also conveniently forgot who votes in elections, and it isn’t Hollywood. Oh, if it were, we’d all have seen Mark Ruffalo naked by now. No, it’s the wild Americans. It’s the quiet grayhairs in that theater who felt chills up their spine as Chris Kyle wiped out “our” enemies, but for all the wrong reasons. This is a guy who claimed he was sent to New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and shot 30 looters from the top of the Superdome. Lies, certainly, or at least we must hope. This was the Punisher, the one America made and let loose on the world, and now we’re facing yet another who tells horrible fibs so dire that we must assume they’re falsehoods, or face the terrible realization that he believes what he’s saying.

Our President did not spring forth in a vacuum. American values made Donald J. Trump. He is the fruit this tree has borne. I do not have it in me to write a poem about him today, but I did write one about Chris Kyle in January of 2015, and as I reread it, I find that it is applicable enough.

America
Shall I compare thee
to literary dystopias
or fascist clowns of yesterday
elicit laughs and shaking heads
dismissal of the slow crush
from people who know better
after all, it ain’t that bad
America
Empire seat of the world
poor Southern men weep
as that guy from The Hangover
puts children to sleep
and dirty hands
with fat farmer tans
echo “savage”
crocodile tears and the raising of beers
to our modern Achilles
the Man With Two First Names
who slew the dusky hordes in New Orleans
(or so he said)
dented Ventura’s dimpled chin
(or so he said)
And, Justified, did work for us
(or so he said)
’til chaos or your God, etc.
sent the Marines to Rough Creek
to put down a rabid dog
America
there are heroes, still

The world will turn after this, until it is eaten by the sun. Whether people will remain, I do not know. What is certain is that the people who have always paid, the poor, and people of color, will continue to pay dearly for American Progress. The jolly green giants will stride across the earth until some David comes to fell Goliath, or, perhaps, a Marine goes to Rough Creek. All figurative, of course. All figurative.

The system will destroy what it cannot assimilate. Sometimes it does both, appropriating after the target is liquidated. We’ve lived with a caricature of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for decades. What is Valhalla for us, the discontent? What is the promised land for others who will only ever know suffering? Is it to be erased but have some value so marketable that a semblance of them lives on, flawed, inspirational, still there to be dug up with the right tools but too often whitewashed? If no person can be singled out, then we’ll film it with a cast of thousands in Germany, on a ship, on a plantation. It’s the American Way.

If the options are to be marketable or be crushed, or to be crushed then marketed, which do we choose? Even Chris Kyle got caught in the gears, score one for whom?

To reference that awful pilot meme, I don’t want the plane to crash. I want the drunk hijacker to get out of the seat when there are so many qualified pilots on board. There is no chance of a safe landing while this is the case.

The only conclusion I can muster, which tears me apart, is that we are fodder for the fields. We are as the remnants of the great creatures we burn to move our machines. This is the chrysalis. We will not see the butterfly.

If you came here for hope, you’d best call Barack. He’s on vacation, I hear.

As for me, I’m headed to the store. I have a sink to fix, and living to do while there’s still living.

Postscript- The sink is repaired, for now, as it is with everything.

Moneytalks

You should learn something every day or you just ain’t livin’, as they say (see, I have to write it like that because I’ve spoken such things in public before and when people hear my accent and fail to grasp the irony, they assume I’m an idiot. Which I am, but not for using colloquialisms you prescriptivist fucks. You can take the boy out of Arkansas, or leave him in Arkansas, but you can’t take the Arkansas out of the boy except with extreme Victorian-era sanitarium measures often lampooned in weird goth glam films directed by Zack Snyder).

It is important to take note of these things lest they blow by us like farts in the wind and we begin to infer that we’re floating through life like a jellyfish, a stupid balloon (as opposed to an intelligent balloon), or some other metaphorical buoyant thing.

Make no such inference, ladies, gentlemen, et cetera! You are beautiful, no matter what they say.

Without further ado, here are the things I have learned in the last 24 hours:

  • It is good to take care when coming up with satirical names for your fake political party, especially when said term can be easily Googled and the first result defines it as someone who is a terrible, unabashed misogynist.
  • When you are overwhelmed by political malaise, it may seem like a good idea to start a conversation about attempting sexual intercourse with bestial video game characters. Humor is a great way to blow off steam but don’t expect others to openly participate in your sick, stress-induced fantasies.
  • If you are going to attempt some overt action against privately-owned property, especially in the District of Columbia, do not bring your smartphone, or else it and its contents may become the permanent property of fascist authorities.
  • Likewise, don’t engage in your First Amendment rights to free speech and free press or you’ll risk facing felony charges and ten years in prison.
  • Don’t continue to support or vote for Democrats who will not even pantomime resistance to a bunch of cabinet picks made up of billionaires, science deniers, religious fanatics, and a professional wrestling CEO.
  • Do start a pipe company, or a concrete company.
  • Don’t waste your time arguing with fascists, Randians, and Tea Partiers. They have counted themselves out of the group of rational people.
  • Do save your ire for moderates and neoliberals, because this is all their goddamned fault.
  • Try not to get too angry when the moderates and neoliberals claim this is all your goddamned fault.
  • Don’t bother emailing your company to ask them if they will extend healthcare benefits to their employees who won’t be covered when the ACA is repealed. I mean, part-time employees are pretty low income, right? They can get on Medicaid. Old people and teenagers, Medicare and their parents’ insurance, respectively. Bam. Solved. Oh, they’re 55 and this is their second job? Oh their parents don’t have insurance? Oh well. They’re always making more poverty level retail workers, right?
  • Don’t get too fired up publicly chastising the company that provides income and insurance to yourself, your wife, and your three children, especially in this political environment.
  • Do update your passport. You know. Just in case.
  • Do also realize that no other country wants your ass and taste the irony, America.
  • Do get ready to rumble.
WELP.

Whew, I probably left some things out, but that’s just yesterday. See, America, you could probably construct such listicles yourselves. Look how smart you are, you fucking geniuses.

Now get out there today and learn those tough lessons.

PS – Don’t get too nutty with the Facebook posting, guys. This isn’t Obama’s America anymore. I keep expecting him to show up and say, “This shit is crazy,” but I won’t hold my breath. He’s probably going to be more like, “Hey, let me slide into this multimillion-dollar-a-year speech deal and lobbying job.” We’ll see who’s right about that one, but as legendary Australian lyricists the brothers Young wrote, “Money talks, B.S. walks.”

Until Liz Warren chains herself to a backhoe in frigid North Dakota, make mine FULL COMMUNISM, BABY.

Whip It

I’m punching this book as hard as I can. Is Fascism over yet?

I get the catharsis of Nazi punching, but why are we still talking about Nazi punching? 

First, let’s call it something else. Dude didn’t punch an actual Nazi. That term refers to a specific group of people from last century, and you’ll have to comb the retirement homes to find a living one. Otherwise, find a shovel or a time machine and go to town.

We could call it white supremacist punching, but then you’d have to take the aforementioned shovel or time machine and punch many of the often-lauded women’s suffragists. Every time I read a liberal reply to a conservative poop about protesting and it mentions Susan B. Anthony in defense, I check to see if the author is white.

It always is. 

Maybe we can water it down from the historical ramifications by calling it Neo-Nazi punching? Fascist punching? Asshole punching might get you in for more than you’ve bargained for, but don’t knock it. You could make a lifelong connection. 

Thing is, that guy wasn’t the queen white supremacist. The hive isn’t going to die off now. He’s not the boss enemy, whose defeat will cause his pixeled underlings to blink off the screen. 

It’s not my job to tell you what to do, but I feel some responsibility as Chairman of the Brocialist Party of America. While shitposting is the thing to do right now, harder and shittier than ever, maybe we could shitpost about the ACA being dismantled or the massacre that’s probably going to occur in North Dakota, now that the pipelines are going through. 

Being a big lefty is a double-edged sword. The very quality that enables our nuanced opinions causes us to question authority always, therefore getting consensus on anything is a bit like herding cats. We have a different brain, else our lack of empathy would have us marching the mad drill against the tide of progress.

Still, I offer this bit of advice two minutes before the end of my lunch break: if we’re still celebrating something so insignificant days later, at a time when they’re spending their mornings signing executive orders (thanks, Obama) and throwing everything at you but the kitchen sink (full of Flint, Michigan tapwater), perhaps it’s time to move on. 

Kid Icarus

Someday when I give you the tenets of Brocialism (the precursor to FULL COMMUNISM, BABY, otherwise known as Fully Automated Luxury Pansexual Polyamorous Post-scarcity Space Communism or FALP³SC), I’m going to include the art of getting slothswole, bros (this will be on the test). This means no cardio other than the 90 bpm average of crushing anxiety, chasing toddlers, and breaking my ass for The Man.

La Resistance is all resistance all the time (except on days when I’m too tired). Oh, you’ve heard the jokes about Leg Day? I guess you caged cubicle rats can waste your time working the largest muscles in your body while fine tuning your balance. You wouldn’t want to get the DVT. I squat at least 800 times a day, often lifting crushing double digit poundage while I’m in the throes of retail wage slavery, so I’m good.

(I’m not going to get into diet, y’all, because I’m not a motherfucking nutritionist.)

Last week on curls day, because curls are the most important part of being a Brocialist other than work pushups (it’s what it sounds like. No one around? Do pushups at work. It’s a secret, until now), I was cruising along, fucking throwing those 50 pound dumbbells up there, and I felt a terrible stab in my lower back. I sat down and made a strange face while my spine did its best to slide out my asshole. Gina was concerned.

I did some quick Googling, and it turned out I’ve been lifting weights all wrong. See, there’s this thing called Crossfit where you toss huge objects around with your body weight and flail like a freshly murdered salmon, and I was basically doing that on accident by virtue of having shitty form. I was cheating, bros. The shame.

After more Google, I found a weightlifting forum with a checklist of things that would indicate I require medical attention. Now, in case you didn’t know, weightlifting forums are the best place to find the answers to important questions such as, “Hey bros, is 45 pounds a good curl?” or, “Hey bros, would you like to check out the woman I made out of duct tape, a Pringles can, and an old skeleton I found at the abandoned hospital?”

The author made up for their lack of citations with a take-no-prisoners approach. “Why spend time getting poked at the Doctor when you could be getting yoked? Can you feel your legs? Neither can I. Pissed yourself yet? Get a mop, SpongeBro. Are you able to achieve and maintain an erection? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SEE A PHYSICIAN IMMEDIATELY.”

Once I determined that I’d get by with Naproxen and rest, I raided the medicine drawer and steeled myself for next week’s disappointing lift session.

I’d been really excited to get those 50 pound dumbbells, bros. Once again, I flew too close to the sun, and my reward was injury and an deflated max lift. I’m back to 47 pounds this week (achieved by lifting 45 while wearing two pound arm weights), and much smaller sets. No more hip-tossing iron for me. I’m lifting with my goddamned arm muscles, as Marx intended.

POP QUIZ

  1. What is the natural precursor to the FALP³SC style of government?
  2. In what form of exercise does one abstain from cardio in favor of resistance training, shameful secret push-ups, and heart-destroying angst?
  3. What is the muscle group should you skip every day and what would you call this day if you chose to partake in such futile efforts?
  4. What is the best day of the week to get fucking jacked and take selfies?
  5. What weight-free resistance exercise requires employment and a good place to hide?

BONUS: Which technique will add five to ten pounds to your lift and probably end in horrific spinal injury?

Sorry bros, multiple choice is for capitalist dogs. You’ll find the answer key on page 42 of the January 1987 issue of Highlights for Children. Check it out at your local library, while you still can.

Dropped in the Pot

While the world turns and limos burn, some of us are at work, which is okay. Someone has to sell the books, but I’d rather be punching Nazis.

Something happened yesterday which was, I admit, an infinitesimal occurrence, insignificant in the grand scheme of revolution, but it struck me as strange so I’ll share it. If this is me, the frog, being plopped into a nice comfortable pot full of 90° F water, I’m not going to notice the incremental increase in temperature if I don’t take note of it now.

Yesterday I manned the service desk and did my thing. This usually means shelving merchandise and assisting customers, but late January is slow times in the book biz. I mostly stared into space and contemplated existence until I saw a couple of coworkers getting ready to leave. Current events being what they are, we had a chat.

I’ve tried my best to recall if I said something really off the wall, but I’m sure I didn’t. I absolutely did not mention Fully Automated Luxury Polyamorous Pansexual Post-scarcity Space Communism (FALP³SC, still working on it, folks), and I’m positive that while we did view a photo of property damage and express glee while doing so, no one saw us.

What I do remember is a family walking by as I described how the new White House website must have been primed to go, because as soon as the new president was inaugurated, boom, there goes climate change. Boom, there goes LGBT rights. Magical fairy bells, here comes a terrifying section on law enforcement written in the worst authoritarian tone imaginable.

The family never slowed down or asked for help, and the only reason I took note of them was because of the cacophony of harumphs and murmurs as they refused to make eye contact and continued their march down the aisle with hunched shoulders. “Opprobrium,” I imagine they must have growled through gritted teeth. “Calumny!”

My coworkers and I concluded our chat, and I commenced gazing longingly out the windows for another 15-20 minutes until I received a page. “Bob, can you bring me the new Clive Cussler book?”

Sure, no problem.

I made it up there in under 15 seconds, and guess who waited impatiently by the register? The Harumphs. The older guy, who looked like he was transitioning from Dad to Grandpa, wouldn’t let me hand the book to the cashier. It was three inches from her hand and he snatched it out of my hand and placed it into hers. Okay. Weird.

I returned to my station as the Loneliest Bookstore Traffic Cop and helped a couple of folks find teen fiction (it’s always teen fiction) between warging out and going to the Land of Make Believe.

Then, my coworker, the one who had paged me to the register, approached and asked a question.

“Who were you just talking to?”

“Oh, I was talking to Andrew and Veronique, like twenty minutes ago.”

“Oh,” she said. “Yeah. That’s right. Well, the customer said you wouldn’t help him because you were too busy talking politics and his wife was like ‘Yeah he wouldn’t help us at all.‘ ”

“No,” I said. “They never stopped at the desk to ask for help, but I know that’s because they heard what we were talking about.”

Which was LGBT rights. We weren’t even using rad cusses. We were discussing how you may have rights, for now, but you can’t find mention of them on the site. I’d been told that they were removed from the Department of Labor site as well, but I can still find them there. Someone’s wires got crossed in the fog-of-war reporting, which is usually the case online. Still, keep an eye on it. Things change.

Am I shocked? No. I want to reiterate, as well, that I know this isn’t a big deal compared to what has happened, what is happening, and what certainly will happen. I keep imagining I’m seated in front of some gray Republican senator on a committee, and he’s telling me to take a Valium. A tiny baby Valium, because I’m a tiny baby.

Still, we have yelled about politics at the service desk almost daily for eleven years now. It is our fortress against the cold, conservative Arkansas wind. We have discussed fucking Maoist revolution and I’ve never received a complaint. But yesterday, that day of all days, it finally happened for the most benign fucking reason. Someone got their collective panties in a bunch because we were upset that the new regime cares more for fascist language than they do LGBT rights, and the timing cannot be coincidence.

“Where’s that photo of Trump holding up the rainbow flag?”

They might have heard me say that.

So here it is, my report from Stupidland, in the heart of Trump Central, floating in the center of a sea of red, on the day you guys are marching for our freedom. Back during ‘Nam when your grandparents were all longhaired and trippin’, the folks around here were sporting buzz cuts in their hot rods. There are few liberals here, and even fewer Space Communists.

I sent a couple of emails, though. Does that count?

Anyway, that was yesterday’s temperature reading. Maybe today will see it increase a notch or two and we’ll be whispering in the side aisles instead of beating our chests at the service desk. Perhaps nothing will occur and we can chalk this up to Little Bobby Talbot yelling at clouds. In my experience, 99% of pissed off customers go home and drop it. Then you have the fantastic 1% of emailing, letter writing fanatics. Let’s hope I didn’t argue for the rights of other humans in front of one of those guys.

The West Coast is looking great these days. Pacifica, I hope you can hold your own against the Orc hordes waiting just over the Rockies. I’m afraid the New England Confederation will be quickly swamped by Real Americans. Canada doesn’t want this Arkansas trash. Please don’t judge me by my accent, or the fact that I followed Milo Yiannopoulos on Twitter before he got banned. I watched enough Ninja Turtles as a kid to do a rough Michelangelo.

I’ll be that weird bald guy at the beach bookstore who says “cowabunga” too much for comfort. Everyone will know where he’s actually from, but they’ll know he means well.