Category Archives: rants

The State of the Onion

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Yep, the state of the onion is stinky.  The great onion that is our world is hyuge.  And it tastes like an onion.  Especially if you eat it from the inside out.  Mmm… I love onions. I want to eat them all myself, every onion in this garden.  But if I am going to do that, I am going to need the support of all sides.  Yes, there is blame to go around on many sides.  But I need their support to get rid of all the dietary restrictions illegally placed upon our garden by the last onion-master-in-chief.  That illegitimate onion-master was not even raised in this garden.  He seems to think that everyone has a right to clean, pesticide-free soil to plant their roots in.  But all garden vegetables are not created equal.  Tomatoes are poisonous.  They all have radical religious beliefs that makes them hate our onion-ness.  They are therefore terrorists, believe me.  They are trying to sneak across the southern border of the garden and take over the onion-growing space that good, conservative, right-thinking onions have and need more of.  They are trying to spread their poison in our garden.  They want to replace our onion laws with their own stinky Tomatillo Law.  And corn.  The Corn Party tries to defeat every item on the onion agenda.  When we pass a law that all corn voters need to be stripped of their kernels before they can be allowed to vote, they selfishly vote against that law.  Government in this onion garden cannot work if they continue to do that.  And we need a wall to keep illegal jalapenos from crossing the garden’s southern border.  They are not the best vegetables, I guarantee you.  They are onion-eaters and foul mixed vegetables.  And promises were made to spring onions that were brought into this garden as seeds and now are crying that they deserve not to be uprooted and thrown into distant gardens where they don’t even speak the proper vegetable languages to get by.  I know this garden loves those onions.  I love those onions too.  I want to eat them too.  They are very nutritious.  But their protections are now gone.  I leave it up to the Corn and Onions of Congress to build that wall, and if they do, I will let the spring onions stay.

And now you can heap praises on me for the state of our economy.  Yes, I take credit for all the fertilizer I have created by speaking tons of bull manure every single day.  The quality of my manure is fabulous… simply fabulous, believe me.  It is the finest manure any garden has ever received.  And I, Donald J. Onioneater, am the finest onion-master you have ever seen.  No onion-master before me has done as well, except maybe for Abraham Limabean.  He was pretty great.  Although I don’t really know why.  Maybe I should have said Andrew Jackfruit instead.  So the state of the onion is stinky.  And let’s all work together now to MAKE THE GARDEN GREAT AGAIN!

 

 

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Another Brick in the Wall

I sincerely hope I never appeared in any way to be like the teacher in the video of Pink Floyd’s rock opera The Wall.  That teacher represents everything wrong about education and everything that looms over us as a coming darkness if the conservative privatization movement continues to move forward with their evil sausage-factory plans.

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In the video you see the teacher making fun of a student for writing poetry instead of participating in the rote recitation about math that the class is engaged in.  The school is portrayed as a factory that puts masks on the students, makes them march in a line, and eventually pitch forward, face first into the sausage grinder.

The song was written by Pink Floyd’s bassist, Roger Waters. It was written in the long ago 70’s as a protest against rigid education systems in general, and British boarding schools in particular.  But old problems can come back to haunt us.

Here’s the evil being protested.  Schools should never be used to suppress creative thinking and enforce conformity.  While it is true corporate America is hot for education that treats educating students like baking bricks, with attention to precise shapes and uniform size and color, that is not how kids learn.  They have to be treasured for what they are, unique individuals, no two alike, and all possessed of varied strengths, skills, and talents.  The idea of education is to help them add to what they are born with, use what they are born with, and fit into the jigsaw puzzle of working with and getting along with others.  We cannot teach them by pressing them into molds with standardized high-stakes tests, or taking their individual faces away by always trudging through the same low level thinking skills year after year just because a textbook written in conservative Texas says so.  Learning in the classroom needs to be through guided discussions, activities, and interactions.  Not through filling in all the blanks on a worksheet.

My own children, for the most part, have been cheated by the public education system in Texas.  They are bright kids, but have humongous school troubles stalking them like monsters, boredom, disengagement, and feeling like the young poet betrayed by the teacher in the video.  While I always, in my teaching, fought to creatively present learning opportunities, I found good teaching to be a rare thing in Texas.  It was sometimes actively discouraged.  And it is getting rarer.  The people who think teaching English means diagramming sentences and circling the adverbs are winning the battle for young minds.  I am left at a point of futility where the only thing I can do about the brick-making is write rants like this one about it.

Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos should be pleased with themselves.  The sausage factories in our schools are turning out sausages.  Sausages don’t think for themselves.  Sausages are easy to control.  And when the time comes, some corporate fat cat will eat them and become fatter (hopefully only in the metaphorical sense).  And I am guessing here, but I’ll bet sausages make up most of the Republican voting public.

 

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The Price We Pay

It is becoming obvious that the American experiment with democracy is now over… In fact, it has been over for quite a while.  We can no longer even claim that this is actually a Republic in the sense that the Roman government began as a Republic.  The current emperor, Emperor Bumpkin Pumpkinhead, has no clothes.  The oligarchs own the government, and we are headed down serious paths of fascism and chaos and potential civil war.  We have the Devil to pay for our economic sins, and many of us will be swallowed whole before the end of it.

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I have known since the 1980’s that Reagan’s supply-side theory of trickle-down economics, more aptly titled Voodoo Economics, was a monumentally bad idea.  If you let the rich folks get richer and capable of buying absolutely anything, they will sooner or later buy the government and rewrite the rules to allow them to do anything they want.  That is the system we have right now.  Anything the idle rich want… That’s the reason we are saddled with Trump right now, the fattest jockey that ever broke a horse’s back.  And some of the rich folks who want anything and everything they can afford are truly demented and psychotic, backed up by years of getting their way even in putrid, evil ways.

The reason that the Republican government is so hot to cut taxes for the wealthy is to continue the wealth-redistribution program of the Reagan years.  Apparently the anointed few deserve all the rewards the economy has to give even though they do little besides horde their money and buy politicians who will continue to help them rake more in.  Meanwhile the rest of us continue to slave for them doing all the work under oppressive debt burdens that keep us under control.

24294271_844430295763808_6294495221275275142_n Of course, “Why should anyone believe me of all people?” is definitely the question.  I am only a retired school teacher who spent a career finding and verifying information, followed by a simple and clearly-defined presentation of the information to be learned.  I have revealed myself in this blog to have the letter “L” on my forehead for “liberal” which translate into Republicanese as “loser”.   And that’s where we will stay if we don’t fight back.

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So, how do we fight back?  For one thing, we have to vote.  Current policies and beliefs of the administration do not reflect the will of the people.  The general consensus about health care and taxes is not even considered by the Bozos in charge of the circus.  And we probably won’t win in the coming elections, because, through gerrymandering, voter suppression, and outright cheating the Republican right always gets its own way.   But that should stir us to further action… doing things like I am doing here, using my innate ability to use hyperbole and doofy jokery to spread the word and stir up outrage.  Better than angry fascist propaganda, right?

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Haven’t we, by now, had enough of what Ronnie Raygun wanted?  Isn’t it time we considered what we want?  …What we need?

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Und So Weiter…

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Page Publishing finally has my novel in page design.  I am hoping to actually seeing a physical book in print, though I am no longer in any way confident that such a thing will actually happen.  The more time that passes, the more I find out about Page being a scammer-type publisher.  The mistakes they made in my work in editing were apparently on purpose.  Now that I have threatened to sue them, I am hoping they will no longer try to sabotage my book to the point they can extort money out of me to fix it.  I think if I had more control over the publishing process, the book might actually sell.  So my resolve is to hereafter do only the cheapest possible self-publishing.

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My art, my writing, and my life is basically organic, growing and changing in dynamic and unpredictable ways.  That is the biggest drag on living in this mechanized, grinding-wheels-for-profit world.  I don’t fit into their neat and perfectly stackable boxes of officially sanctioned society.  They have to chop the leaves and branches off my tree of creativity to make me fit.  I am thoroughly tired of saw blades and wood-choppers of the metaphorical kind.

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My swimming pool is now a grassless space for reading in the sunshine.  I hope to grow flowers there.  There need to be more flowers in this life.

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My work is more real to me now than reality is.  I intend to spend as much of my remaining time on Earth creating things, making the world of my mind tangible and viewable to others.

I finished a novel on my Tuesday blog posts.  I am debating what to plug in there next.  I discovered that the scammers at Publish America are being sued in a second class-action suit by authors.  I might be able to score some money, even though I never paid them for anything.  They have had the rights to my novel Aeroquest bound up in their publishing agreement since 2007.  But my contract is long over.  I can use that novel on Tuesdays with ample rewriting.

I have made peace with the idea of never having money enough again.  Life continues to cost more than I make.  I tried to sign up as an Uber driver for extra cash when I am well enough to drive.  Unfortunately I am only rarely well enough.  And even more unfortunately, my android phone refuses to download either the Uber or the Lyft driver apps.  So I am all signed up, but unable to receive even one driving assignment.  I just read a literary biography of Poe, though, and even though he was a better writer than I am, he lived in abject poverty for the majority of his adult life.  Who am I to do better than he?  For that matter, who is James Patterson?  I don’t claim to better than him, but he is definitely not better than me.  And that dude is a writing millionaire.

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The TV Justice League from my boyhood.

 

That, then, is my “So on and so on…” for today.  Thanks for letting me complain.  If you read this far through my ramble-brambles, you are a noble and worthy reader.  I appreciate you.  And I promise you, it gets better from here on.

 

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Tumbling the Trumpinator

It has gone beyond the realm of credibility.  How can a pumpkin-headed orangutan with a belly full of racial hatred and Islamophobia still be nominally running this country?  Has he not committed enough irredeemable sins to be sent to Hell, directly to Hell, do not pass GO and do not collect $200!?  I think he stole all the “Get out of jail free” cards before the game ever started.

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I have never called this Twitter twit-wit my president.  I never voted for him.  He did not win the popular vote.  He would not have won the electoral college without Republican cheating at voter suppression and Russian influence through email chicanery.  But the terrible things he has done so far have not gotten him removed from office.  Republicans still treat him as if he were a rational adult.  And Fox News is not only putting lipstick on the pig, they are covering him in red, white, and blue frosting and molding him into the shape of an American Eagle.  Why do we put up with these tactics?

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Perhaps other cartoonists and I are the only ones who see him for what he really is.  He’s an ignorant con man put into a position of power by billionaires so they can foist their evil agenda on us and have him rubber-stamp it with faux legitimacy.

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The betrayal of the DACA Dreamers was fifteen straws beyond the last straw for me.  Who is planning to remove him from office immediately?  I want to help.  I don’t believe in solving problems with guns, but I can throw a mean banana cream pie of satire and sarcasm.  I’m actually Hell at pie-whacking faces.   I can attempt to hurt him with rotten tomatoes of jokery and the silly string  of mockery too.  But even the image of this buffoon in cheap clothing with long red ties is immune to the assaults of mere humor.  He never gets the joke, and it is never on him.  It is on us instead.

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He hurts too many good people by taking away things that they need.  He may have damaged the way sick people access health care to the point that many, including me, will die for lack of funds.  He de-values human life by pardoning racist criminals like Arpaio and praising malevolent dictators like Putin.  He puts human life at risk by taunting another irrational man-baby who also has nukes to play chicken with.

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And no effort to remove him from office for crimes which he obviously committed and shows no signs of anything but guilt about will be made by the party now in power.

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So what will you do to bring back our country and our supposed sanity?  Tell me.  I want to hear a plan.  I stand ready with foam rubber whack bats to take the best shots I am capable of to help.  And I am not the only one.  (Truly, I drew none of the cartoons in this post myself.  Good cartoonists are legion in this day and age.)

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Tweedle Beetle Battles Over Swimming Pools

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I worked hard to repair the family pool and get it working again this summer.  I failed.  I am now resigned to having it demolished and already set up the demolition with a local company.  But last night we had to go to the city hall and sit in front of 6 of the 12 people who decide things about unsafe structures on residential properties.  Why?  So they could condemn us as useless bums who are apparently plotting to bring property values down for reasons unknowable.  Yes, we must certainly be evil.  The official ruling was, “If the pool is not demolished in 30 days time, the city will step in and demolish it and charge a tax lien against the property to pay for it.”  This was apparently necessary even though we have made arrangements for the demolition two weeks prior to the hearing.  What fun could the city commissioners have if they didn’t make us sit through the hearing and force us to explain ourselves for this hideous breach of social contract and then make us listen to a decision devoid of reference to any of the things we explained to them?  Their conclusion was, “These losers have done nothing to fix the situation, so let’s threaten and humiliate them!”  I took it fairly well, knowing the outcome was already settled and arranged at home.  My wife, however, launched into them with a rant about being unfair and unresponsive to the needs of homeowners.  Smoke was coming out of her ears as she finished.  They simply wrote us off as losers and went on to the next guy whose pool needs repairs for which he has no money due to recent surgery.  Him they made cry and plead.  Rich white folks and one guy from India make up that board.  Their function seems to be to make us feel miserable and grind us up over the fact that things continue to wear out and our incomes cover less and less of the replacement costs every single year.  No sympathy.  No mercy.  You argue, they just blink at you and pass harsh judgments.  So the pool problem is done with.  Double dips of dubious dog poop on them!

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Cartoonists Trying to Save the World

Back in the 1870’s (you remember it as well as I do, don’t you?) a cartoonist named Thomas Nast basically invented the political cartoon.  Back then, a bloated New York politician and his gang of criminals were busy getting wealthy through corrupt business and government relationships.  Nast used his gift for scribbly-art satire to lampoon the buffoons and make the public laugh at the evil he exposed.  Of course, they knew about the corruption of Boss Tweed before they laughed at the cartoons, but the focus on the problem created by Nast’s magnifying glass focusing the rays of sunlight on the problem is often credited with helping to burn up the scandal.

Cartoonists had power back then.  Power over public opinion.  The power to help fairly uncomplicated (and sometimes stupid) folk to recognize the absurdity of the situation and the need for changing it.

So why haven’t cartoonists fried the Make-America-Great-Again orangutan running the country now with his brand of corpulent corruption already?  Believe me, they are trying.

They have already highlighted the way the Bozo Administration manipulates the focus of the mainstream media.  Every time media coverage begins to converge on one scandal, he creates another big, smelly media poop of a controversy to redirect their focus.

And while he is doing his big shoe dance on the tables in the spotlight, congress is doing his rich friends’ evil will in the back rooms.

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The end result of this malevolent dog-and-pony show is patently obvious.

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Unfortunately, in the 1870’s, the stupid people that Thomas Nast was enlightening had not yet achieved the profound levels of shoot-yourself-in-the-foot stupidity that Trump supporters have now mastered.  Poor and middle-class Republicans, Texans, and other dim folk continue to take the Great Pumpkinhead at his word and believe every utterance of his mouth to be sacred gospel truth.  I have had conservative friends arguing themselves into pretzel-knots to defend his policies and dastardly deeds.

But if cartoonists can’t succeed in shining sunlight on the bloodsucking vampiric old moneybags and kill him soon, his reign will become immortal and we are all gonna die.

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Seriously.  We stand at the end of a long chain of greedy b*st*rds raping and pillaging the environment for profit and not caring about the impact of their actions.  We are dooming the planet to environmental collapse because the orange-faced name-stamper cares more about short-term profits for himself and his friends than he does about whether or no his own grandchildren will have water to drink, air to breath, and a place to live cool enough that metal doesn’t melt in the sunshine.

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So, I hate to be a double-trouble downer about the whole thing, but the truth is if we are depending on cartoonists and humorists to save the world, we are in trouble.  It is not working the way it did in Nast’s day.  Cartoonists are doing their lampooning and doing it well.  But more is needed.  And if we don’t get that something more soon, then (to incorrectly paraphrase and misquote T.S. Eliot), “This is the way the world ends… Not with a whimper but a bang!”

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