Category Archives: politics

Zero Sum Living

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A new art project that will (hopefully) depict the negotiations of young love.

Human relationships do not work as a zero-sum game.  Let me take a moment to explain.  A zero-sum game is where one side wins, which means the other side has to lose.  In mathematical terms -1(the loser) + 1(the winner) = 0.  So, everyone who plays this game will either go all out to win or they will end up losing completely.  Faced with only those two outcomes, the game player is tempted to cheat.  Especially if the stakes are potentially life or death.  After all, in issues like the national debate over health care, the loser gets to die.

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This is, of course, what we have seen played out over the course of the last two weeks in the appointment to the Supreme Court of a radical right judge who was accused by a credible witness of a disqualifying action.  It is only a matter of the destruction of a judge’s career versus the defaming of a professional woman who was a teenage victim of attempted rape and sexual assault.  It is a very serious zero-sum game set up maliciously in order to achieve political power for the white male ruling elite.

This zero-sum game was won by the grinning evil cartoon mutant man-turtle over the minions of Mad-Looker Booker and the forces of “being right but never winning”.  The consequences are decades worth of malignant conservative rulings like the Citizens United Ruling and rulings about health care that take away things like protections for people like me with pre-existing conditions.  Losers get nothing.  And eventually, the winners have nothing to show for it because the sum is zero.

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The orange-faced Trumpinator was right when he predicted we would soon reach a point when we were tired of so much winning.  I am definitely tired of Trumpkins winning all the time, especially when they are so heartless in the way they bully and cheat.  The problems with the court would not be so severe if the Republicans hadn’t cheated on Justice Merrick Garland’s nomination and stolen that one from Obama to give to old Pumpkinhead.  And when it came time to let the FBI investigate the allegations brought up in the confirmation hearings, they cheated again by forcing the investigators to ignore so many corroborating witnesses.  You can’t find proof of something by not looking for the proof.  (Of course, they were obviously motivated to NOT find anything.)

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The solution comes from the fundamental principles of representative democracy being explained repeatedly on various news outlets by Ohio Governor John Kasich.  He has been pointing out that what we really need is bipartisanship in government.  All sides need to bargain it out so that everybody wins something and nobody wins everything.  Compromise is what the Congress is put in place to create.  The Supreme Court solution would have been to rescind the tainted nomination and find a candidate that could be broadly supported by both sides.

But in the current era of ruthless Republicans obliterating and overruling diminishing Democrats, non-toxic bipartisan solutions are not going to happen.  The two sides, the Neanderthals and their bonkable warclub targets, will continue to bash away at each other with their warclubs.  And the Neanderthals will continue to cheat.  And in the long run, everybody loses.  The overall sum, after all, is zero.

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Strawberries For Breakfast

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Today’s post should probably be titled with “raspberries” rather than “strawberries” because of the alternative meaning of strawberries being a red abrasion or scrape instead of the double meaning I actually need.  But I had strawberries from Walmart to serve for breakfast, not raspberries, so that totally ruined the potential metaphor.

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I tend to like to watch the news while I cook breakfast for the kids.  Hence the need for raspberries.  I mean, the angry orangutan in charge of my news-related happiness or horror is on a real tear about now because he can feel the law and the news media zeroing in on every crime and criminal thought he has been playing with for decades, intending to prosecute both him and those who support him.  Like several of the speakers at Senator John McCain’s funeral, I have no need to directly blow raspberries at him.  The oblique and carefully worded ones will do fine.  But I do have nothing but raspberries for him.  The things he is doing to health care, education, the environment, and international relationships have either undone the good the government has previously done or made the made the matter much worse.

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Of course, the Pumpkinhead in Chief is not the only evil, bloodsucking monster in the news that makes me blow raspberries at the TV screen during breakfast.  I will specifically try to sort out my voter registration problems so that I can register a vote against Grandpa Munster… err… I mean, the Zodiac Killer… err… well, you know, that guy whose name I do not wish to invoke at the moment to protect my children and virgins everywhere.  It is a problem because I let my voter registration lapse as a Jehovah’s Witness, and now the State of Texas won’t let me renew it by mail.  I have to find the proper registration office to sit in for hours being glared at by Republican officials who see on the paperwork that I was a registered Democrat more than two decades ago.

I also blow raspberries at Republican hard-heartedness that still hasn’t reunited children with their immigrant asylum-seeking parents out of fear of letting too many brown people into their “white” country.  Raspberries also for conservatives that talk about Democrats being violent and chaotic people as they post threats of shooting deaths for liberals on social media.

I’m sure you have probably already concluded that having the TV on during breakfast makes for rather rootie-tootie-fruity breakfasts around our house.  And you wouldn’t be wrong.

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I also have raspberries to give the Chicago Cubs this time of year as they try to beat my Cardinals out of the playoffs once again.  They deserve lots of fruit.  Particularly pineapples thrown at their prissy blue helmets during late innings of games they are winning.

But, fear not.  My dietary health is safe for now.  I am getting fresh fruits.  I am fortified with vitamin C.  It happens that we are eating STRAWBERRIES, not raspberries for breakfast.  And strawberries are good for you, even if the morning news is not.

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Political Pessimism

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I get tired of being the one whose blood is constantly sucked by vampires.  And I am not talking about actual blood so much as money I need to live.  Every time I turn around another corporate vampire is sticking a fang or a needle into my bank account to exsanguinate it more.  I owe more money than I can pay to the IRS.  I owe a huge gob of money to hospitals for the last two hospitalizations that struck my family.  And these are blood suckings that occurred after I went bankrupt at the end of 2017.  Why do I have these woes from things sucking on my neck?  Well, one thing that is staring me right in the face is how the current government, run by Republicans, is enabling corporate vampires who pump the economic blood out of middle class and working poor people like me and feed it into the gaping bloody maws of ever-engorging CEO’s,  fatbat investors, and wealthy one-percenters.

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You are not going to believe this, but I found an article that says Mitch McConnell is directly descended from Dracula.  You can see it for yourself at this link. So let me expand on this with a list of dire predictions for our economic health and wellbeing generated from my blood-deprived pessimist’s brain.

  • Even though it looks like the Trumpula Administration is about to implode from chaos overload due to porn stars and betrayals by lawyers, it is a very long-lived undead thing and will continue to survive.
  • Republicans will continue to suck trillions of dollars of our economic blood because they will win in a large way due to legal gerrymandering, voter suppression, and Russian assistance by hacking.  The minions of the vampire lords are many.  And at least a third of the American population is zombified to the point that no evil act committed by Trumpula will make them vote against him.
  • Midwestern farmers will all be driven out of business by Trumpula’s tariffs and trade wars with all their most important market countries.
  • The bread basket of the world will be turned into a toxic goo factory by Monsanto (noted vampire brand for GMO-based mind-controlling food substitutes).
  • We will all become mindless zombies and happily vote Trumpula into the presidency for life in 2020.
  • And then the whole world will gradually cook itself through un-combatted global warming into a lifeless orb fit only for the undead.

So there you have my rosy outlook on not only my economic future but that of everybody who is not currently a billionaire blood-sucking corporate vampire.  I say “rosy” only because red is the color of blood which is draining away from my bank account at this very moment.  I know it is an over-exaggerated conspiracy theory worthy of Alex Jones at his top-of-the-lungs shoutiest, but if Trumpula could become president, then any possible horror show could soon be coming to life.

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Word Salad and Idea Casserole

In a world filled with interesting and engaging ideas, I get frustrated with the constant barrage of word salad on social media tossed at me by conservative friends.  As Trump seems to be coming closer and closer to ending his administration with his own chaotic behavior, those who supported him are tossing more and more flavorless lettuce and rotted vegetables in the mix.  I have to resist the urge to throw the same thing back at them.  I do not resist such salad-making well.  Witness my attempts to alter this stupid meme from a friend;

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I admit, I kinda barfed half-digested word salad all over this one.  I get tired of debating the issues only to be insulted like this and then accused of only insulting Trump and avoiding what they call the “Real Issues”, like Hillary giving a gazillion per cent of our uranium wealth to the Russians and Obama being the one guilty of colluding with Russians.

But, enough of that.  It is time to make something healthier out of words and ideas.  I have a lot of things on my mind, and I want to get a lot of them said before I die.  So let me make some idea casserole, cooking a whole lot of very different ideas into one multivitamin dish.

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  • Trump, for all the damage he’s done, will end up being good for us if we can just survive his administration to the end.  Scar tissue is always tougher than the surrounding flesh when the wound heals.  Repairing the damage he has done will leave us stronger, wiser, and more able to cope with the root causes of the Trump phenomenon.
  • My friends and family who supported the whole Trump mess primarily to hurt people whom they feel are smarter than them and so more stuck-up and self-important than them, will eventually get back to leading more productive lives than they did before.  And they will continue not to credit the ones who actually made that happen the way they didn’t credit Obama for healing the blunders of Bush.
  • I will get back to writing gentler, non-political-type humor novels.
  • I have my novel Superchicken half-way through the final edit to publish it on Amazon Kindle.  You can see I have been playing with cover ideas.  I plan to write Sing Sad Songs next.  Also I have two more novel ideas that I will add to this casserole as separate ingredients.  And I have The Bicycle Wheel Genius, Recipes for Gingerbread Children, and The Baby Werewolf finished and ready to edit as well.
  • Here’s new idea number one; The Boy Who Lived Forever is a fantasy novel about Icarus Jones coming to stay with the Jones family of Norwall.  He has survived a house fire that killed his parents and now must evade the dragon that pursues him while trying to figure out what is wrong with him health-wise.  Could he be dying?  Or did he survive the fire because he somehow can’t die?
  • Here’s new idea number two; Kingdoms Under the Earth is a fantasy novel about Blueberry Bates, a troubled young girl, falling seriously ill, and the measures her boyfriend, Mike Murphy, and her friends have to take in a realm made of magic and fever dreams to save her.

The truth is I really can’t do anything about politics and government beyond expressing my beliefs and voting my conscience.  I need to concentrate on telling stories.  It is the one thing that still gives my life meaning through the pain, illness, and suffering.  I am not dead yet.  And, not being dead, I need to be writing.

 

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Today’s Tabula Rasa

Make no mistake about it.  I am quite capable of waking up in the morning with nothing at all in my head, no ideas, no words, no plans, no dreams…  I can be the most idiotically stupid witless twit when my brain is thoroughly drained.  But that is not the natural state of any man, and certainly not of someone like me who has lived for more than sixty years with a totally fermented head.

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So suppose I woke up this morning without remembering anything at all that I have learned about the world.  What would I do?  What would I write?  What would I think?

I think the first thing I might do if I didn’t remember anything at all about the world I find myself in, I might turn on the TV to find out what is happening, or watch cartoons, I can’t be sure I would know which should come first, if I even remember how to turn a TV on, or what a TV is…

But when I turn on the TV and look at what is really happening, and assuming I can tell the difference between Donald Trump and Donald Duck… Oh! Gonga!  My gawd!  How could it be this bad?

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Donald Duck is president.  And he gets totally angry and quacks on Twitter with that infamously hard-to-understand word-mangle of his, delivered while jumping in place and swinging his fists at the air around him.

A basset hound with a nose for clues has been tracking his every movement.  And that basset hound is a former FBI chief.  He’s very good at accurately sniffing out duck trails.

And then there is a lying and evil Keebler elf at the head of the justice department who is pursuing marijuana crimes relentlessly because he hates black people and wants to put them into the for-profit prisons he owns even though the rest of the country is deciding to legalize marijuana.

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This totally evil elf, it turns out, has been talking to Porky Kislyack, Russian spymaster pig about campaign collusion even though he swore to Senator Frankenberry in his confirmation hearing that he was guilty of nothing… that he could recall.  Hopefully the basset hound has his evil elf scent too.

And the racism and evil doesn’t end there.  Gasper the Unfriendly Ghost is still hanging out with the president, feeding him just the right duck food to create dyspeptic outrage in his duck belly.  Gasper will then spur Donald Duck on to quack more about border walls and guarding our southern border because too many Speedy Gonzaleses is a brown mouse problem in the closets of our country.  We can’t have too many queso-eaters here.

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Gasper the Unfriendly Ghost

And so, if I were to wake up with a Tabula Rasa, a truly empty head, and watched morning cartoons… or news… or whatever the heck that stuff on morning TV is…  I would be left wondering what I was going to do about it.  The options?  Certainly I probably need to vote this year.  Or I could bang myself on the side of the head with a brick and possibly knock all this stuff out of my head again, re-establishing the emptiness in my stupid head.

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The Doofus Divide

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I am trying to cut down on political notions and noodling in this blog.  It is like sugar to a humor writer.  The easy laughs are sweet, but if you are diabetic, they will eventually build up and kill you.

But between Twitter-tweeting twit-wits and Facebook false-fact fools, I keep getting drawn back in.  The gang of kids I grew up with in Iowa are seriously infected with Tea Party propaganda now that they are old coots like me, and continue to vote for Teabagger trolls (And I mean literal trolls.  Steve King, Congressman from Iowa, has green skin and lives under a bridge… and maybe eats foolish children when they try to cross) for public office.  And of course, I live now in Texas where gun-toting cowboys look at you intently to find any possible reason to shoot you and then thank Jesus if you are fool enough to give them one (like admitting to be mostly a Democrat in your political persuasion).  They want to argue anything and everything I post on Facebook.  Apparently even my bird pictures and cat videos politically offend them.

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Oooh!  This one really offends Teabaggers… especially the ones who make $25/hr or less.

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Can you pick out the Trump voters in this line?  All of them maybe?

And I am not suggesting that people who voted Republican in the last election aren’t as smart as my side.  I waited until now in this essay to say that, because the childhood friends and family members in that group who read my blog will have all stopped reading by this point.  I really don’t need to give them any more ammunition for Facebook and dinner table arguments.

But my side of the table are not wholly guilt free.

 

I regularly tweet or post things like these, innocently believing these heroes of the heart and mind have universal appeal because they champion truth and science and facts.  But I become alarmed when I learn how much Bill Nye offends them.  They tell me, “That guy is not a scientist!  He has no right to argue for climate change issues or the non-existence of God.  He’s just a TV guy.”  And, I suppose they have a point.  I mean, his extensive education and background in engineering, or his years in television promoting science to kids in research-based creative ways, doesn’t necessarily make him an expert on all science.  And Neil DeGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist.  He doesn’t have a degree in EVERYTHING.  And when I point out that their so-called experts on climate-change denial from Fox News cannot even claim to be TV weathermen, they are further put out by my brain-bashing bullying way of using my superior knowledge of science to put them down.  Okay, I get it.  I am not being careful enough of your feelings.  (Oh, I forgot, you stopped reading this a while back.)

But the point of this is, we have to stop listening to and electing stupid people, while at the same time being a bit nicer to each other.  We have to approach the discussion with the notion that you yourself may not be totally right about everything, and you may actually learn something by talking about it.  (Which is, of course, no problem for me since I really don’t know anything for certain and need to learn practically everything as if I were still four years old.)

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Okay, Bill, I get it.  I am probably wrong about that too.

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Blue Sunrise

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I am not a politician. I am not a political writer.  But I have opinions about the policies that affect my life and livelihood.  And my opinions, though often expressed poetically, or even humorously, are based on real troubles never-the-less.

I am disturbed by the problems I see in education.  Teachers are not paid what they are worth.  Anyone with half a brain can see that, for the level of education required of them, the professionalism expected of them, and the ever-increasing responsibilities foisted upon them, they are not compensated for their work in a manner comparable to people who do the same work in the corporate world.  And those comparable workers never have to endure the conditions of a teacher’s job, overloaded with students, forced to stand and deliver to a hostile audience whose behavior you are responsible for controlling six or seven times a day, and then being evaluated by how that audience does on tests that often measure the wrong thing with financial punishments waiting for failure and rarely any rewards waiting for success.

I started teaching in 1981 in South Texas for a salary of $11,000 dollars a year. That was below the poverty line in 1981.  If I had a family at that time, we would’ve been eligible for food stamps.  The highest I ever earned was $55,000 with a master’s degree, 28 years of experience, and a summer of teaching summer school.  Some one who delivers similar forms of information to a receptive audience in a boardroom, only has to deliver maybe once per day, and is paid upwards of twice that highest amount is treated far better.

And when teachers strike in West Virginia for being the lowest paid in the country, or  a teacher complains on social media by revealing their actual yearly salary from Arizona, or a teacher is forced to move from Oklahoma to Texas for higher pay even though they were the teacher of the year in the State the year before,  there is blow-back.  There are stupid people out there that think teachers are overpaid.  They think all teachers have to do is talk to kids every day, and they have only 185 work days a year, they have the summer off, and their job is one anyone can do.  These stupid people have less than half a brain.  What makes a guy who sits in an office all day with his feet up making decisions about stocks and bonds and business deals worth thousands of dollars a minute?  Teachers, in my amateur political opinionater’s opinion, are underpaid.

To quote the Beatles’ 1969 animated movie, the Yellow Submarine, “It’s a blue world, Max.”  Unfortunately, in the world of education, the Blue Meanies are now in charge.

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