Expiration Date

I’m going to let you guys in on something. Gift cards/certificates are the worst gift imaginable. 

In the old economy, sure. If you knew the person well enough, Circuit City or Borders might have been a great place to turn your hard earned fiat money into landfill fodder. These days, you’d do well to put it all into Krugerrands. 

Winds in the east, kids, and it’s not Mary Poppins. Destruction of biblical proportions, perhaps, but what I’m talking about is recession. 

Since World War II, every Republican president has presided over at least one recession a piece. Eisenhower had three. Four out of five Democrats did not. References, Google and my ass

People aren’t going to stop celebrating life, but you should stop forcing them to eat at Chili’s when all they want to do is pay their electric bill this month. 

Perhaps this is a stupid thing to be concerned about at this juncture, but they say to write what you know. Why wax philosophical about something I “learned” from Salon (founder David Talbot, no relation) yesterday when I can give you the beat on the street? 

Look, guys. Maybe there’s something embarrassing about receiving charity in America. We’re supposed to be the gods of ingenuity and industry, right? You’re out there driving railroad spikes every day so you can spend $1700 a month on health insurance. Taking hand-outs would be forfeiting your place in libertarian legend.

I predict we’re about to see how hard you actually are, ‘Muricans.

In my lucky 13 years in retail, I’ve witnessed just about everything that can go wrong when it comes to those worthless pieces of plastic, and it all could have been avoided had those folks been handed a big sweaty wad of money instead of Kohl’s cash. 

There’s nothing like losing thirty bucks because you got a Visa gift card locked at a gas station. Better yet, complete a shopping trip and present an erroneously unloaded gift certificate to your weary, underpaid cashier (Wanda, 15 years of service!) and watch the magic happen. 

Sure, Wal-Mart or Amazon might seem like a good investment today, but until the bank starts accepting that shit as legal tender, you’d be better off gifting someone water purification tablets or a book on raising chickens. 

We need to get over our hangups when it comes to handing over cold, hard cash. Someday soon when you pop over to Bartertown to fetch pig entrails and grain, you’ll be glad you’ve got those silver dollars jingling in your pocket instead of a Subway® gift card. 

I’ve heard there are still sandwich artists living over the mountains, behind a waterfall. Their mayor used to be a musician. He tells all the newcomers that with a sly wink, but everyone knows he’s Tom Petty.

“That’s him,” the sandwich artist behind Tom will tell you in a hoarse whisper. He’ll point at Tom’s back. “Tom Petty.”

You’ll present your Subway® gift card to him for inspection. He’ll furrow his brow. “Hrmmm,” he’ll say. 

“This seems to be expired.”

Talbotcare

Welp. I’ll email you again Monday.

I’m going to apologize right away. This isn’t going to be chock-full of jokes. I’ve been in a doomfunk for days. Monday was particularly dark. Everything was death and dirt. Caving in. Suffocating.

I know introspection is often shit, but something hit me like a bolt of lightning yesterday. I have to go back to Monday, though, to tell it. 

The girls were rowdy, as always, and they kept flipping the footstool open on Dad’s old blue recliner with too much force for comfort. From the kitchen, I said, “Hey, could you not break the chair I dragged my father out of before we went to the hospital for the last time?” 

I knew it was a stupid thing to say as soon as I said it, and luckily they didn’t pay attention or understand. Still, moments later I looked at Gina and told her I’d seen something on Facebook’s On This Day feature (THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE) and it had wrecked me. It was simple but so sharp, a needle in my heart. 

“Nothing like naps and football.”

I don’t even like football, but I know where I was when I posted that. I was with Dad and Blake, and we were spending time with him right after his penultimate stay in the hospital. 

I told Gina, “I hope your parents live to be 125, baby. I really do. It tears a hole in you and nothing will ever fix it.”

She told me it was okay to be sad. I told her I don’t like being sad. For someone who is always fucking sad you’d think I’d have made peace with it. Nope. 

And yet, I had been as okay as I can be with Dad’s death for years. I think about him every day, but they’re usually happy thoughts, or benign at least. The horrifying things pop up from time to time, but they’re mostly blunted by the blessed fuzziness of years passed. Even when I think of him being a massive dick, of which he was certainly capable, I chuckle and think, “Well, that’s Dad. At least I came by it honest.”

What is so raw, so real, here, almost six years out? 

Welp. This is where the navel gazing comes in. 

I recognize the list of events that led to me being a more compassionate person over the years. Seeing the government’s lack of response to Hurricane Katrina was one of the first. Dealing with Dad’s illness was another. Finally graduating from college was one. Becoming a father myself was another, still. 

I can look back and mark those events and others, and they roughly correspond to when I stopped being a weird Randian Republican (can you be one of those without actually struggling though those garbage novels? I was), when I started my short stint campaigning for Obama, when I started yelling about Universal Healthcare, and when I began agitating for labor rights. I can see a rough progression of my human awakening. 

Don’t get me wrong. I backslide and fuck up constantly, but the arc of Bob bends towards justice. 

I recently tweeted,  “I hope the DSM-VI includes Political Dysthymia as a disorder.” That is, if civilization still stands. Regardless, it’s a thing. If you want to put it under the umbrella of Generalized Burnout, that’s fine, but it’s a fucking thing. 

My father died without insurance. He worked thirty years for the same company and was laid off at the start of the Great Recession. After some months of unemployment, he became ill. Insurance wouldn’t have saved his life, but ask these Republicans why that other lifelong Republican shouldn’t have had health insurance. He was a Company Man. Wasn’t he the guy who deserves it

That’s the thing, though. It’s not about deserves. It’s not about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s about money, and he paid. We paid. Someone is pretty fucking rich because of it, but either way, Dad’s dead, y’all. Dad’s dead. 

It seemed like vindication when the ACA passed. People wouldn’t have to do this anymore. Sure, it had been whittled down to a rump of what it should have been, but it was better than nothing, right? In retrospect, it had been sabotaged by its opponents who then spent years holding up those flaws as reason to euthanize the entire thing along with millions of Americans. 

Oh, there is a death panel. It’s called Congressional Republicans. 

This is what I do, though. I’m pretty reactive. I get nudged and I respond. I find reasons for things in a world where there are no reasons except the ones we make, and I made that one. Dad died. He was part of my healthcare stump speech, and we won. We won the consolation prize of “maybe this will be different for others.”

Now it’s being ripped away, like so many other things we build. Sandcastles kicked by a bully before the tide has a chance to take them away. We can’t stop the tide, but we can stop a man. 

Even now I worry that all the people who were dropped from their employer’s plans, mostly part-time folks who could “just go get on Obamacare,” will be left worse off than before the ACA passed. 

We’re not going back to square one. We’re at ground fucking zero. 

I’m going to do what I do. I’ll take this pain and hone it into a blade. I’ll appeal to who I can to save whatever I can, whoever I can, and I’ll be smart about it, Mom. Don’t worry. 

I’ll also be relentless. 

With great assholery comes great responsibility. My power is being a dick. My secret is that I’m always unhappy. Content for moments, sure, but it always lingers there. “Just wait,” it says. “Just wait.”

Well, you just wait, motherfuckers. 

You just wait.

Smackdown

So, the WWE was in town this week. John Cena ate a ribeye at every business on Main Street, even the ones that don’t sell steak, and took selfies with thousands of screaming Jonesboro-, uh, Jonesboroites? Jonesboroians?

Anyway, the big news was Randy Orton’s “altercation” (he cussed a dude for taking his photo without permission) with a supposedly-beloved local businessman at the Trim Gym.

There was no shortage of drama on Facebook as the good citizens of Jonesboogie lined up behind Orton or the businessdude (and ex-cop) to do battle.

The Ortonistas claimed the Amazing Randy was pissed about consent, and they presented other selfies with a seemingly happy Orton as evidence. Local conservative news sources (redundant, that’s the only kind) seemed to be backing business-cop, and the whole thing has gone viral. I’ll let you Google it.

When the bombs drop, I hope Zuckerberg saves this in the Likesbunker so it wasn’t all for nothing.

I wasn’t there, but I’m sure the testosterone was pumping and the chests were thumping. We may never know who was actually at fault, but it made for a great bit of smallish-town entertainment.

The destruction of America and subsequently, the world, is still scheduled for this Friday.

Good night, and good luck.

Weekend Beat

Hot Rentals

Genius (2016) – If you like montages, editing books, and montages about editing books, you’ll love this film. Max Perkins is a guy who never takes off his hat. Tom Wolfe is a crazy Southern writer with tuberculosis of the brain. The caricatures of famous authors really carry the film, and you’ll be wowed by Nicole Kidman’s performance as Psychotic Girlfriend. Four-and-a-half stars.

Tim Burton’s X-Men (2016) – Eva Green acts her pants off once again, figuratively this time. There’s a weird blonde chick, as is Burton’s forte, a leading boy boring enough to guarantee this franchise’s doom along the lines of Percy Jackson and the Aunt Who Touched Him, and enough wibbly wobbly timey wimey bullshit to confuse even the most hardened fan of nonsensical British science fiction pantomime. Two-and-a-half stars.

Suicide Squad (2016) – Everyone dies in the latest Star Wars installment. The rebels are on the run with a Betamax tape of the Death Star plans and nobody has free wifi. Alan Tudyk steals the show as Sassy Robot, and Darth Vader shows up and does cool shit. There’s enough vaguely racist stereotypes to keep the kids talking for years. The conclusion features Carrie Fisher’s latest and possibly penultimate Star Wars performance as Dead-eyed Cartoon Princess, giving us high hopes for more uncanny valley celebrity necromancy in the future. Five stars.

Real most stressful job – Editor of Tom Wolfe’s books.

POLITICS

Depending on your Facebook feed, we’re either approaching the pinnacle of American Greatness or we’re all about to die. Meryl Streep is afraid, and Bill Burr thinks she’s an idiot. The Democrats are mad at Paul Ryan but Cory Booker loves money too much to do anything about it. The Berniecrats are revolting, phew! Someone hose the Axe off those Brocialists because they’ve worked up a sweat posting hard and working those wage slave jobs. Stop whining, Millennials. Soon Mike Rowe will teach you the glory of hard work, plumbing, and eating bull testicles. Wrong show, but you know what we’re getting at. Here at U.S. News and World Report we’ll continue bringing the best in yarn hat patterns and lists of colleges you can’t possibly afford to attend.

Local News

We’ll have live streaming web coverage of the memorial service at Kate Middleton Middle School in Terrordrome Hills, California, for the entire sixth-grade class who perished last week from incurable drug-resistant brain tuberculosis. World Famous Actor and anti-science activist, Jim Carrey, lauded for his performances in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and The Majestic, will deliver the keynote speech over the incineration and mass grave complex which has been constructed behind the educational facilities.

Services for the fifth-grade class, which is currently dying of measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio, and smallpox, will be scheduled later next week.

 

A Spoonful of Sugar

I’m not much of a policy wonk. I don’t even pass as a policy wonk wonk, but I’m usually pretty capable of following their wonky summaries if I have time. “Oh, there’s a photograph of Hitler here and the word America,” I say, scrolling madly to get to the paragraph where I find out if America is Hitler or not. Call me Wonk³.

There’s a French book I haven’t read called How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read. From what I’ve gathered, life is much too short to spend time dissecting things when it may not be necessary in order to discuss them. It’s never stopped anyone anyway, so go for it. Wikipedia that shit. Get the Cliffs Notes. Cheat off Jake in calculus class. That’s what I did, and I didn’t have to take college algebra.

That said, maybe it’s time to start paying attention to the finer details before we go berserk about any particular subject. Every president replaces staffers and ambassadors. Not every president calls CNN “fake news” on national television. Every president pitches a host of policy changes while they’re on the stump, some good, some terrifying, but many never pass through Congress. Not every president threatens to change everything on day one with a Congress to back him.

Da Gubmint is working on murdering about 30 million people this week, or so I have been led to believe. I’m not sure how Triple Holocaust will work out in the end, but it begs a question. If someone is actually trying to kill you, isn’t it time to defend yourselves? I’m not referring to knitting a pink hat, either, unless it’s imbued with some magical property that gives politicians cancer.

Do people really want health care, anyway? We’ve recently developed a mumps problem here in Northeast Arkansas, and I’m just about done playing nicey-nice games with anti-vaxxers. We shouldn’t justify idiocy by trying to debate this anymore. I wouldn’t give someone who didn’t believe in gravity or the curvature of the earth the time of day. Next time I encounter this bullshit I’m going to SCREAM REAL LOUD like Pee Wee taught me.

Then again, these folks are in charge of government now, and our only hope is guys like Cory Booker who pocket so much money from pharmaceutical (thanks, spellcheck. So that’s why you guys write BIG PHARMA) companies that they can’t be bothered to back defeated Brocialist Bernie “Birdman” Sanders and get one small thing done.

As a proponent of Fully-Automated Luxury Omnisexual Space Communism (still working on it, guys), it hurts me every time I see frightened people double down on pantsuited neoliberal politics. That monster is the mother of the one about to take office. They are of the same bloodline, the dynasty of failing late-to-endstage Capitalism, the Hunger Games for you kids out there, Beyond Thunderdome for everyone else.

While I hold the unfortunate honor of calling this disaster months ago, it was still a punch in the gut when it came to pass. I liken it to knowing of the impending death of a loved one. There is no amount of preparation that will shore you up against the flood of grief.

Still, I often think of that night and what I would have said had Clinton been chosen. I had planned on extending an olive branch and posting the “Sister Suffragette” song from Mary Poppins. It seemed a funny way to acquiesce for a moment, and it’s just jerky enough.

Now I think of something different, which runs through my head while I’m taking a shower, or a shit. It goes, in part, like this:

Though we adore Libs individually,
We agree that as a group they’re rather stupid.

Clamp on the shackles of yesterday,
Further and further into the fray.
Our daughters’ daughters will abhor us,
As they scream in hateful chorus,
“Well done, bougie slacktivists!”

Sorry not sorry, folks. I’m not going to turn off my brain for this one. Maybe I don’t have any answers, and that’s okay. The people in charge are supposed to have those. I’m just some stupid asshole retail manager who writes a blog frequented by his mother and a half dozen close friends. What I can do is poke holes in everything, and I will, because that’s my goddamned job. It’s the only fucking thing I’m good at.

If I yell in the anti-vaxxer’s face for ignoring science, I pretty much have to yell in yours when you throw the future of the human race into the arms of a pitiful demagogue and decide to knit hats in protest. There’s nothing whiter than that. Nothing more American.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you folks have plans, and believe me, I’ll retract the shit out of this statement when middle-class Capitalists who can afford to take a few days off to bus themselves to DC change the fucking world, but I’m not going to hold my breath. I stopped getting excited about these things in 2011 when Occupy Wall Street walked up to the doors of the stock exchange, yelled a bit, and went and occupied a tent until everyone got bored. They were right at the threshold and they froze because that trust fund was too much to lose. Don’t want to be late for class tomorrow because you’re in jail. Oh look, there’s Scarlett Johansson. 

They were right at the threshold. All they had to do is step inside.

Ten Albums That Changed My Teenaged Life Forever 

In no particular order:

  1. Foo Foo Dolls by the Goo Goo Fighters
  2. Jif by the Rowdy Fuckminstrels
  3. Babyweiner by Heroin Manband
  4. Here Comes 1974’s Hot New Country Western by various artists
  5. Real Men of Genius Sampler by Bud Light
  6. Touchdown by Jim Everett and the Nighthawks
  7. Ambient Trashcan Noises by Impromptu Jazz Ensemble
  8. Disco Cylon by Battlesynth Galactigasm
  9. The Day the Clown Cried Soundtrack by various artists
  10. Frampton Comes Alive by Peter Frampton

Kidding aside, there’s really only one. Spice Girls – Spice. I broke out in a cold sweat in Hastings as I lingered in the music aisle. I had to have it. It was a cassette in one of those huge plastic contraptions, so theft wasn’t an option. I never was much of a shoplifter anyway. My teen thrillseeking maxed out at puking Evan Williams on dirt roads.

I approached the register and pulled out a twenty. To my delight, the young woman behind the counter didn’t seem to give a fuck what I purchased. Nobody really does, but tell that to a long-haired leather-jacketed dude with a Britpop cassette in his sweaty hand.

Before I knew it, I was in my 1995 Ford Ranger unwrapping my prize with slightly trembling hands. Which side is it on? Where is “Two Become One” on this damned thing?

There it is. Fast forward. Yes. Yes. This is finally happening. It’s mine, all mine. Oh. Oh. It’s starting. Oh my.

Candlelight and soul forever.

The Sky Is Falling

For 38 years, I’ve had the distinct privilege of not living in fear of the President of the United States.

The vast majority of humanity has always existed under the boot, or sandal, or foot of one madman or another. I realize now how fortunate I’ve been. 

In America, most of all, there are plenty of dandy dudes I’ve disagreed with, but they didn’t make me this anxious. Dead guys in dusty books never seemed very real, and the living war criminals I’ve seen televised look gray. Mundane. Pathetic. They belong in prison, sure, but they’ve never made me lose sleep. 

“Middle Class White Guy Finally Feels Existential Political Angst,” guys, and it’s not The Onion

I’ve noticed people have stopped sharing thinkpieces about how to handle the incoming regime. Maybe they’ve realized it’s like distributing a manual on punching tornadoes.

There’s also the mistake of comparing this thing to other things. It walks like a duck, but it has scales and tentacles and breathes fire. It quacks the speech of the Old Ones and sure, Daffy might have laid Europe to waste, but analogies be damned. Let’s call this what it is. 

I’m shitty and wealthy enough to consider selling all my junk and moving, but then I remember there’s nowhere to run from America. We never really got into space, either, so I’m chained to this rock. America hunts us all with a bad bowl cut and a pneumatic cattle-puncher. No matter what far flung motel we find ourselves in, America will be sitting there, in denim, with a silenced shotgun. 

One time, Cormac McCarthy removed all the commas from the Declaration of Independence. Then, he removed all the commas from the Bible. He put them in a bag and mailed them to me. 

(He should have mailed it to the Marx Brothers.)

We can’t impeach our way out of this mess. Check out the line of succession. It’s creeps all the way down by design. We’ll have our new American monarch, the horrifying Head of State, too lazy to do his duty as Head of Government. He’ll leave governing to a guy who thinks you can cure homosexuality with electricity, and they’ll be taking cues from people who think science doesn’t have all the answers because it keeps asking all those pesky questions. 

Oh, and breaks at work? Those aren’t really necessary. 

I identify with the soon-to-be Commander-in-Chief in one way: Every time I criticize some slacktivist, I get asked for my CV and my tax returns. I’m not going to justify that shit with a response, either. 

Nevertheless, I’ll stop blaming the pantsuited bourgeoisie for this if you can forgive sad, Brocialist losers like me. I’m ready, because every time this series of unprecedented events adds another tragic volume, I fear we’re just going to watch the frog boil. We’re appalled, but no one’s going to dump it out. Perhaps we can set aside our differences for a moment and get Kermit off the stove. 

I want to apologize to the people who’ve always felt the way I’m feeling now. I’m sorry that you’re going to be insulted/ inconvenienced/incarcerated/incinerated long before most people who look like me begin to feel the chill. If it’s any consolation, the winter wind is howling straight up my ass. 

When I was one of the young dudes, hoping for change, I used to throw a Alice Walker quote around. “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” The people who will rescue or destroy civilization walk among us.

Hell, wasn’t that always the case? 

Anniversary

I just spent 30 minutes hacking into my WordPress account on my new phone so I could bring you this message. 

Many Bothans. 

It’s that time of year again, when Facebook hammers some of my photos into a video and attempts to convince me to share it. I’ll not be doing that today, either. 

It’s difficult to wax poetic about my life before Gina. There’s no rulebook to follow on this sort of thing, so I’ve made my own. I’ll pick and choose what to remember, which is my way, and say that it was, and remains, an adventure

Because of Gina, I’ve set foot in places I never would have visited. I’ve shaken hands I never would have touched. I’ve seen things and done things, some harrowing, but that is the very essence of adventure. Indiana Jones is fun because he gets himself into so much trouble before he reaches for his hat and escapes.

Love makes us strive to be better than we are.

It is with this outlook we forge ahead into uncertain times. We’re lucky to have two anniversaries per year, one on this day, when we were legally wed, and one on April 16, when we celebrated with our friends and family.

Oh, and her birthday just happens to be tomorrow. 

We’ll mark another day, the birth of William Patrick on October 27, as a celebration of Gina’s heroic struggle to bring our son into the world. I am forever in awe. We were fortunate to have a brilliant RN, and an OB-GYN who answered his phone, drove fast, and cut faster.

Here’s to my wonderful companion, the patron saint of stepmothers and a fantastic mother in her own right, thank you. I adore you, my love, my wife, my life. 

Here’s to you, my greatest adventure. 

Allons-y!

Great Meteor a Hit at the Golden Globes

Opinions have been flying since asteroid 2017 DT13, popularly dubbed the Great Meteor, was discovered on November 9, 2016, and last night’s 74th Annual Golden Globes ceremony was no exception.

Hollywood legend Meryl Streep delivered a stirring speech that stunned every insanely rich person in the room. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I’ve lost my voice from dramatically screaming at the night sky in preparation for this hoarse appeal to the Emmy board, which is considering a Best Political Awards Speech trophy this season.”

“When they said only the fabulously wealthy could enter the Ark, I said ‘No, there has to be room for the sexy. The poor, poor sexy people,’ and it’s time we used our power and influence to make this so. My old friend, ol’ what’s-her-head from Blues Brothers, you know, the coked-out one with the machine gun. She once told me, ‘Ride a rocket or dig a hole, there’s no meteor yet that will touch a wealthy mole,’ and that’s exactly what I intend to do.”

Streep referenced the dual ongoing projects to launch expansions to the International Space Station, which will allow a crew of up to 50 unimaginably affluent inhabitants to survive for at least two years while an expansive underground rocket facility on Earth shields thousands of NASA and Silicon Valley’s best and brightest researchers.

These privileged few, along with the rich, the famous, and the hottest Freshmen from America’s colleges, will work to improve both facilities while the rest of humanity chokes, burns, and freezes above on the surface. This is, of course, after the subterranean dwellers pass a battery of financial inquiries or face the Fitness Board, colloquially referred to as the Sexy Panel.

The Great Meteor, which is scheduled to strike around midday on January 20, remains controversial among the uglier and less-moneyed citizenry. The stargazers stationed behind the velvet ropes of the red carpet line weren’t afraid to share their outlook.

“When the Great Meteor was announced, I was afraid like everyone else,” said Sally Wentworth of Torrance, California. “I really buried myself in social media. I have a secret Facebook group where we post mainstream media articles about the Great Meteor. There’s an offshoot group that’s just straight-up memeposts. We try to separate the serious discussion from the lighthearted stuff, you know? I think that helps. We wouldn’t want jokes about the Great Meteor getting mixed up with Great Meteor stories delivered from the new CNN headquarters they dug in below NORAD.”

Brent Keith drove all the way from Reno, Nevada, to witness the gala, and he wasn’t short on strategies.

“Look,” he said, “when this thing happened, we thought the government would build a giant nuke or something. I called my representatives, I sent emails, and I even started a Facebook group that has over 2,000 members now.

“We compare notes and come up with better form letters to send Congress. Now it looks like they’re throwing all their support behind this hole initiative, and I’m saying, look, guys. No matter what you’re doing, you can do more. You can make more phone calls. You can appeal to the people who are funding the hole and have a guaranteed place in the hole to stop digging the hole and build that rocket.

“We still have time. Tonight we’re going to livestream Armageddon and Deep Impact while we share articles and brainstorm ways to appeal to the all-powerful narcissistic sociopaths who are already cowering deep underground in the Ark.”

Still, others aren’t so convinced. Stan Fredrickson of Olympia, Washington, told us he didn’t plan on attempting to take shelter.

“Man, the media tells us what they want us to believe, right? Yeah, maybe it’s going to hit, maybe not, but all the calculations I’ve seen have it landing in Siberia. It’s a bunch of trees and ice. Last time it happened, like, what, a century ago? They barely noticed. When I was a kid that shit was in the UFO books like they weren’t sure it actually happened. We’re on the opposite side of the planet and I don’t think it’s a big deal. I’m not even calling out of work.”

We pointed out that the Tunguska event was thought to have been created by a body much smaller than 2017 DT13, which is estimated to be 52 miles across at its largest point.

“But how do you know?” Fredrickson replied. “I mean, really. No one can know these things,” he said while shaking his head and backing away. Fredrickson broke into a run when he reached the end of the crowd and was immediately hit by a city bus as he launched off the curb.

At press time, we are able to report that he is at Cedars-Sinai in stable condition.

After the show, we caught up with Hugh Laurie, who is already trending online thanks to his hilarious roast of the Great Meteor.

“Ah yes, that old thing,” he said. “I really feel for the people on the surface. I do. Someone should do something about it. In fact, back in the UK they’re digging an even deeper hole. We’re not so enamored with rocketry but we’ve got quarries and mines galore. You’ve seen Children of Men, right? It’s going to be like that Ark, but underground. Just brilliant.”

When we asked Mr. Laurie if British actors might appeal to their government to shoot a nuclear weapon at 2017 DT13, he reminded us of last year’s EU referendum.

“We can put it to a vote, but I’m afraid we’ll just end up with a couple more holes. They’ve been begging for an additional one for footballers, and frankly, I think most would prefer to burn if it meant they could take some immigrants down with them.”

Evan Rachel Wood turned heads in her stunning tuxedo, which she claimed was not meant to be a dig against dresses.

“I’ve been to this ceremony nine times and every time I wore a dress,” she said. “I wore a suit today to show little girls everywhere they can wear whatever they want under their protective biogear. In fact, I don’t think they recommend a dress under all that plastic. It comes with special breathable garments, kind of a long underwear setup. You should probably follow the instructions and don’t forget to change your filter at least once every 72 hours.”

The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards have been moved up to January 15, 2017, in anticipation of the Great Meteor’s impact five days later. With only half the usual material to select from, we expect the awards will be swept by online streaming services and Meryl Streep, whose aforementioned speech has already been nominated in every category thanks to last minute pre-apocalyptic rules changes.

We’ll be there, and we’ll be here covering the sensuous, opulent news as long as our respirators function. We may not have much funding to speak of, but we have a new intern who is a solid 9.5, and he’s in the final rounds for placement in an abandoned Titan missile silo. With our passwords and a little luck, he’ll be reporting on wrinkly magnates and sweaty, undulating starlets for years to come.

Good night, and good luck.

 

Landscape

I’m documenting the fall of something.

I can list the possibilities in order of decreasing precariousness: myself, my company, my country, my planet.

Don’t worry. I expect to outlive this bookstore. Still, anyone who engages in publicly accessible acts of self-expression (i.e., bitching and moaning) crafts their own epitaph.

While my eventual demise is certain (as is yours, fam), I cannot predict the exact moment the economy and/or Amazon will unsheath their steely knives and finally put a stop to our brick-and-mortar shenanigans.

Call the first two neck and neck, Bukowski. I’ll see you at the track.

No matter how much I shake my Magic 8-Ball, the rest remains uncertain. I recently saw someone ponder Disgruntled America, and he concluded that their dismay (and by default, ours) results from the realization they may have to get along with far less than our collective culture has promised.

Chalk it up to my incurable socialism, but I think a few individuals may be hoarding the harvest. Whether or not we redistribute the wealth, though, his sentiment was accurate enough. We’ve been privileged here. Not to say people haven’t struggled, but at least there existed a spirit of advancement. Call it the Promised Land or the American Dream. Now it reveals itself as the Great Lie, and the days approach where getting by is all most people can ever expect.

Yesterday I asked a few friends when they thought it would be time to get offline. “Will we know?” I wondered. “Has the time already passed?”

Their answers were fuckin’ jokes, but I’d asked a silly question. Of course it’s time. It’s time to kick the tires and light the fires, as they say. Once, I was temporarily banned from a certain website for allegedly advocating pyromancy. Therefore, I must include a disclaimer: Any mention of burning or fire should be interpreted figuratively.

Until it shouldn’t.

As for Mother Earth, she’ll probably evict us forcefully before we turn her into Venus. Look at me, all hoping we don’t choke. It would be simpler to murder that devil and accept annihilation, but I can’t stomp hope out. My last thought will be, “No, please.” I guarantee it.

Chronicle this, guys. I’m not talking about little ol’ me. I’ll cry ’til I die, so I’ve got it covered. Chronicle, this. Post, print, perform. Let them pry that smartphone from your cold, dead fingers. Something’s always falling, even if it’s just you, and it’s going to make a helluva story.