Aftermath

January 20th, America woke up with a hangover of 
			biblical proportions. 
Which is to be expected after
		a four year bender of 
			authoritarianism
					science denial
			and general cruelty.
Now, after chugging a Monster-sized 
	      drink of reality, 
       we're looking at the mayhem
       we sowed in our orgy 
			of drunken debauchery and thinking, 
			"Oh God, I didn't really do all that, did I?"
"Yeah, you did," our friends and neighbors 
				tell us. "All that 
					and more." 
		Ugh, we know we're not 
				a fun drunk 
		but we never thought 
				we were a mean one. 
	Maybe we aren't. What if we're just the kind 
	who does whatever the fuck we want without 
		considering the consequences?
But now, the fun's over and it's time 
         to start adulting again:
        gathering up all the empties 
        and tracking down where we left our car 
        and figuring out just who we offended 
                    in our drunken revelry 
        (we're not sure but we may have wanted to hang Mike)
		because we need some idea of where to start 
				making amends.
It goes without saying we're never going
		to do this again. We know we were
	incredibly lucky and dodged 
			a major bullet this time. 
But it also goes without saying that we're 
			kind of lazy and no one's sure 
				not even us
		if we're really willing to put in 
			the necessary work to keep it from 
                               happening again.
It doesn't help that we're not great 
    at keeping our more destructive impulses at bay. 
	A quick look at our past history 
			tells us that. We try 
				so hard
			to do the right thing
		but always manage 
			to fuck it up somehow. 
	Not this time, we tell ourselves. This time, 
		we're going to stick to our guns 
			even though we know
				we have 
			the attention span 
                       of a coked-up hamster.
I mean, we'll try. Oh god, how we'll try. But, like every other drunk
	who's had a close call, we'll forget how
		bad we felt the morning after 
	        the last time and we'll keep 
		     bellying up to the bar
		     until our near misses
		stop missing and we wake up to 
	       swastikas and St. Andrew's crosses 
		              every fucking where.

January 6, 2021, A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

This past Wednesday, I saw a Confederate flag being paraded through the United States Capitol building. I’ve got to tell you, that’s something I never thought I’d see. Now, I’m not so naïve as to think people wouldn’t stoop low enough to display the flag of a failed state that made war on the United States inside a space that should sacred to all of us. I didn’t expect it because I thought the seat of our government had the kind of security apparatus that was at least on par with one protecting the stage at a Justin Bieber show. And, I was wrong

In case you’ve been under a rock for the past few days (like some of these folks), I’m referring to the failed coup attempt perpetrated by followers and enablers of Donald Trump, aka the worst president in American history (and that’s the last time I’ll use that word in conjunction with his name). On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, these rocket scientists stormed the Capitol Building as a joint session of Congress finalized Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ election as president and vice-president. The mob, egged on by multiple speakers at an earlier rally (that included Trump and his mouthpiece Rudy Giuliani), labored under the delusion that they could “stop the steal” with this action. They were thwarted by quick-thinking Senate aides who got the boxes containing each states ballots out of the building before the rioters could get there hands on them, thus preserving democracy. Like most of you, I’ve spent the last two days processing this insanity and thought I’d share what conclusions I’ve come up with.

Did he “cross the Rubicon”?

For the past few weeks, Trump sycophants followers have been urging him to heed disgraced former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s advice and “cross the Rubicon” by invoking martial law and “rerunning” the election. And, as more and more information that comes to light about Wednesday’s insurrection, it beginning to look like he did. Fiona Hill, another former national security advisor, told The Daily Beast that “The president was trying to stage a coup,” but was thwarted by lack of military involvement. She goes on to say that since he was prevented from using the military, he decided to go with the civilian option. At the rally I mentioned earlier, he told the crowd, 

“We’re going to Capitol and we’re going to try and give…our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re to try and give them the kind pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”

And, Giuliani called for “trial by combat”. Now, I’m no attorney but, considering the events that followed those inflammatory words, I can’t see them as anything other than incitement to riot. Add in the fact that federal agencies (DOD, Homeland Security, etc.) were exceedingly slow to respond and neighboring states were prevented from responding for an extended time, the whole thing begins to look like an active, concerted effort by the Trump administration to overthrow the United States government. And that, my friends, is treason.

He wasn’t alone though

Amazingly, even after all of this had occurred, 6 Republican Senators and 120 Republican representatives still contested the affirmation of Joe Biden as president. Now, I just spent several paragraphs laying out how this revolt was Trump’s fault. But that’s only half true because these senators and representatives were fully on board with the attempt to throw out the votes of millions of Americans in order to allow an authoritarian thug to remain in power. I think the takeaway here is that many of them will be up for reelection in 2 years. We all need to remember how they supported a treasonous attempt to toss out a democratic tradition that forms the bedrock of our nation. And vote accordingly.

Trump responds to the insurrection… sort of

It took quite a while for 45 to finally address what was going on at the Capitol. In part, I’m guessing because aides reported that he was too busy gleefully watching it all unfold. Finally, somewhere around 2 hours into the uprising, Trump finally addressed the nation… via a pre-recorded video posted to Twitter. That’s not a joke, but video was. He spent more time pushing the election fraud garbage that led to the attack than he did condemning the violence. To make matters worse, he told them, “We love you. You’re very special. … I know how you feel.” It should be noted that he only responded after Biden came out and spoke the way we expect a president to speak. If there’s one thing the Traitor-in-chief can’t stand, it’s being one upped.

His supporters who stayed home? Not so much

In spite of the fact that their Dear Leader was personally responsible for what happened in D.C. Wednesday, his supporters who weren’t on the scene where remarkably quiet. I mean, for the longest time, we didn’t hear a peep out of a crowd that has never shied from “owning the libs” and telling us “snowflakes” to “suck it up, buttercup”. At the time, I wondered if they were still proud of him but quickly realized their silence in the face of insurrection on his behalf spoke louder than any words.

Until they didn’t anymore

That silence didn’t last, though. Before the night was out, Trump supporters— including (semi)legitimate news outlets and members of Congress were claiming that the mess in D.C. was instigated by Antifa infiltrators. This in spite of the fact that many perpetrators posted selfies and videos of themselves in the act! How do you respond to lunacy like that?

Like Rats Fleeing a Sinking Ship

Over the last couple of days, Trump staffers and cabinet members are resigning in droves and his support in Congress is drying up. Wednesday evening, Trump’s main Senate cheerleader, Lindsey Graham called it quits with Donald, saying “…count me out. Enough is enough.” I can’t speak for anyone else, but I see this as a case of “too little, too late”. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad to see there’s a line these people just couldn’t cross. At the same time, I’m appalled that line turned attempting a coup by inciting violent insurrection. 

Conclusion

This may be the dumbest coup ever attempted but it’s still a coup. And, while these particular perpetrators are morons, there are people watching and taking notes who aren’t. We need to send a very clear, unmistakable message about what happens to people who try to overthrow our government. The best way to do that is to ensuree some tough consequences for everyone involved. And by “tough consequences”, I mean arrests, convictions, and sentences with real teeth. I’m no fan of capital punishment, but in this instance, I’m in favor of bringing back public executions for those convicted of treason. But, honestly, I don’t see that happening. At most, these idiots will get a slap on the wrist and we’ll go back to business as usual. Which, apparently, is the American way.

Thanksgiving is the Best Holiday of the Year

All right, Halloween and the election are over and there’s nothing left to get in the way of the holidays. But that doesn’t mean all you Christmas cluckers can start with all your “Tis the season” crap. I mean ,seriously, Christmas is two months away and if you start this twaddle now, by the time the day actually gets here, we’ll be looking at the epitome of the proverbial dead horse. Besides, Christmas doesn’t actually begin until December 25th. The time leading up to that is Advent (I hate Advent and you jackasses just made me reference it. I will never forgive you.) and that doesn’t even start until November 29th. Second, jumping the gun the way you nerds do completely ignores the hands-down best holiday of the year: Thanksgiving. 

Right about now, some miscreant is thinking, “Thanksgiving? What’s so great about that?” Really? Thanksgiving is the best. And, here are just a few reasons why:

  • All the food, none of the stress. Look, after a certain point in your life, all that opening presents crap starts to lose it’s appeal. Granted, the charm makes a comeback when your kids are little, and again when you have grandchildren, but the universal constants of Christmas are food and stress. And, there’s a ton of both. With Thanksgiving, however, you forego the stress and eat yourself into a food coma. How can gifts compete with that?
  • Speaking of food. American Thanksgiving fare may be one of our greatest contributions to the culinary world. Okay, excluding turkey. I’m not really a fan of some dried bird meat. But, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing/stuffing, deviled eggs, green beans, biscuits, and pumpkin pie? Oh god, yes! I realize I didn’t include macaroni and cheese in that list. For me, the jury is out on whether it’s a legitimate Thanksgiving side (in my family, it makes an appearance on New Year’s with the black-eyed peas and collards), but I ain’t hatin’. If it’s part of your tradition, go ahead on. 
  • The leftovers. Oh my god, the leftovers. Yeah, I know they start to get monotonous after a while (turkey sandwiches, turkey salad, turkey gravy, turkey hash, turkey a la king, turkey soup), but until they do? Heaven. Just… heaven. Especially this sandwich.
  • Spending time with family. Okay, this one is a bit of a double-edged sword. If you’re lucky, like me, you have a family you actually want to hang around with. But, not everyone is so fortunate. Look at this way, if you’re not one of the lucky few, Thanksgiving is pretty much a one day deal which translates to a much shorter time with relatives who irritate you than Christmas requires.
  • Because it falls on Thursday, it’s always a guaranteed 4 day weekend. This is one of the most underrated perks of Thanksgiving. A for sure long weekend every time it rolls around? Take that, Christmas with your middle-of-the-week crap.
  • The parades and football. Okay, I hate football (sports in general, really) but watching football is a Thanksgiving tradition even if it’s the freakin’ Lions. And, the parades aren’t what they used to be, with all those Broadway numbers and such. If I’m being honest, Christmas Day, with it’s “A Christmas Story” marathon, actually has better televison options. But, tradition is tradition, and we will watch parades and football on Thanksgiving Day.
  • The nap. I suppose you could take a nap on Christmas Day but when would you find the time? Between the enforced socializing, eating 2-3 meals, opening gifts, and traveling to multiple relatives homes, you can barely catch your breath, much less take a snooze. But, napping is de rigueur on Thanksgiving. In fact, about 30 minutes after the meal, the fat, Trump-supporting uncle that drives you crazy is going to be kicked back in the recliner with his hand shoved into the waistband of his pants (belt unbuckled, of course) snoring like a freight train and you’ll get a few moments peace even you don’t take a nap yourself.
  • It’s not religious. That means you don’t have put up with the Christian culture warriors and their incessant carping about the “War on Christmas”. You will have to listen to basic white girls yammer on about pumpkin spice lattes but that’s a trade I’ll make any day.
  • Corporations haven’t found an easy way to cash in on Thanksgiving. That means it’s not nearly as commercialized as Christmas. Sure, there’s Black Friday. But that can work in your favor since most of your more aggravating family members are often the ones who love that stuff. They head out to stand in long lines and fight crowds for deals that aren’t really deals and leave you at home with all that lovely food. That’s a win in any book if you ask me.
  • NO GIFTS! That’s right, friends. No obsessing over finding the perfect present for that cousin that’s so hard to buy for, no trekking out and fighting crowds, and, most importantly, no spending money you don’t have on crap they don’t really want. Does it get any better than that?
  • It’s the perfect excuse for day drinking. Not only is a glass of wine part of the Thanksgiving meal in many households, a cocktail or two before eating is also included. And then, there’s the digestif, an after-dinner drink to aid digestion (man, the French think of everything). Just make sure your uncle stays away from the Irish coffee or you might not get those few moments of peace.

Before I close, I want to stress that this is not an exhaustive list. It’s just the things I could think of in the moment. And, believe me, I am no expert on holidays. If there are egregious errors, please feel free to drop a comment and inform me of them. If not, then tell a Christmas freak to shut up and wait until December to start their BS. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

Generation Jones

I spent a lot of time, trying to put my feelings about this generational thing into a prose piece but nothing seemed to work. But the truth is, some things can only be said in verse. So, check this out:
When we were old enough to sit up on our own, Mom and Pop
plopped our impressionable, young (still developing?) brains down
in front of the boob tube and we watched in rapt fascination as
the mightiest nation on earth got its ass handed to it by
Little people in black pajamas and sandals made from shit we’d
thrown away, while simultaneously putting a human being on
the god damned moon. If you think that won’t fuck you up,
I suggest you think again.
They call us Generation Jones and say we’re obsessed with keeping
up with those proverbial people, or that we’re jonesin’ for a fix of the
good life that’s always existed just outside our reach. I’m not so sure
because I can’t see that we care that much about anything. How can
We when we saw our older brothers and sisters riding high on that
crazy post-war boom, expecting the same for ourselves. But
our defining moment wasn’t a war or a movement, it was was
the bust of that boom, leaving us with ghost towns and gas lines
As we sat, wrapped around the block, begging to pay two or three times
as much for the same old calcified carcasses as our elders had just
a few years before. Finding out the world’s a pregnant pile of shit
was tough, made tougher when we were tossed in with those
arrogant, entitled asshole Boomers. It’s fucked us up for
Years. Forced to suck up and make common cause with bastards
who fucked us out of our birthright (without even the decency
to offer us a bowl of stew in return), we tried so god damned hard
to be something we knew we weren’t, hoping against hope that
we’d reach that promised land.
But, it never happened and now some of us are finally finding
a way to say “Fuck it. I’m out” and leave behind that bullshit
we were taught from birth. that grinding it out from the cradle
to the grave is the gold standard of a grown up. We’re
hitting the road in ‘Bagos made from box trucks, doing
odd jobs to get by while carving out a life we actually want
to live instead of punching a clock and making widgets
until we collapse from the sheer fucking boredom of it all.
You can take your “gold” standard and shove it where the sun
don’t shine ’cause Generation Jones ain’t fucking with that shit
anymore. In the words of our voidoid prophet,
We belong to the blank generation
and we can take it or leave it each time.

Who Will Survive the Zombie Apocalypse That Will Inevitably Close Out 2020?

Greetings, beloved. I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me and I apologize for that. But finishing a degree in the middle of a pandemic took a large part of my available bandwidth. Also, I’ve come up with several interesting, timely topics, only to them blown out out the water by whatever new piece of batcrap craziness 2020 decides to throw at us. Putting together a coherent blog post in this environment has been… well, let’s call it “difficult”. But, I think I’ve finally come up something that might actually survive long enough to publish. It’s my belief that, with all the insanity that we’ve dealt with this year—not to mention the way each new incident seems to ramp up the crazy by at least a magnitude of 10—a zombie apocalypse is the only way 2020 could possibly end. Now, that statement brings up an interesting question: who will survive this dystopian hellscape that I’m so sure the world will devolve into? While I can’t say for sure, I’m betting that it won’t be any of those doomsday preppers and their underground bunkers jampacked with canned goods and an arsenal that would rival certain small countries. I mean, these numbnutted narcissists won’t even wear a mask in the middle of a pandemic – despite what the science says – because they just know it’s a tool of government mind control. I can just imagine how they’d react to the news of the walking dead. No, the people who will survive a zombie outbreak are people like the girl in one of the classes I tutor. She is obsessive about wiping down any surface she might have to touch, always wears a mask, and seems to have an innate ability to know exactly what six feet looks like. Basically, she is the consummate social distancer, displaying the attention to detail it will take to make it through the rising of the undead. Another person who will survive is my friend, Dave. He and his wife are part of an intentional community who share everything. Dave is a gardener and grows a ton of vegetables every spring, way more than he and Jena can eat by themselves. What they can’t eat, they can, freeze, or share with their group and their friends. Someone else in their community is a mechanic, another is a teacher, a third is an amateur plumber. When a community member has a problem, one of their neighbors steps up and takes care of it, knowing that if they have an issue in the future, someone will do the same for them. While Mr. Beans and Bullets is locked away in his bunker, eating the same, bland survival rations day after day after day, slowly going mad, Dave and his community will be living their best life, looking out for each other because humans are social animals and, as much as we hate to admit it, we need each other in the best possible way. I know that in the middle of a pandemic, when social distancing is the order of the day, this is going to sound counter-intuitive, but get out there (virtually if at all possible) and build those social connections. And, work at maintaining the ones you’ve already built because these alliances are crucial to your thriving, not just surviving. And, you’re going to need them when COVID-19 morphs into ZN-1 to close out this shitshow of a year.