Six Cords Shy Of A Broken Back

I’m still on hiatus and more or less off line but I bumped into this at Knuckledgaggin My Life Away and it was just so perfect (and seasonally appropriate) that I had to put it here too. Great song!

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Light Posting

I haven’t been online in a week or so, probably won’t return again for another week. Hence the light posting.

In the meantime, I will neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of the thumbdrive with 30,000 “unofficial” state department e-mails that’s sitting on my truck’s dash. I’ll probably post something awesome about it after I’m done sorting through the details. Oh, look there’s some nice men suits pulling up in a black SUV. They seem to want to talk so I’ll log off now. See ya’ later…

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Airsoft Story

This made me laugh so hard I about had a stroke. Enjoy. (Hat tip to Knuckledraggin My Life Away.)

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Joel Is On Patreon

I read The Ultimate Answer To Kings pretty regularly. There’s a link on the right side of this page and it wouldn’t be there if I didn’t. He just posted that “TUAK now has a Patreon account”. My audience isn’t huge but I thought I’d link and send whatever traffic I can. If you’re of a mind, sally forth and drop a few bucks on his site. I did. Since I already went through the signup rigmarole long ago, it was a few  painless clicks to send a ha’penny his way monthly. It’ll probably be just as easy for you.

Of course, you can always drop bucks on my Patreon. That would be super awesome and so forth. There’s room in the world for both kinds of blogs; a fellow in the desert who calls his cabin a “lair” and a guy in the frozen north who calls his homestead a “compound”. Why does this remind me of the Blues Brothers; “we got both kinds of music, country and western“?

No pressure though. I’m pretty sure both Joel and I will keep writing regardless. Speaking for myself, Patreon is just an option for readers and not a deadly serious capitalist endeavor.

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Paving Your Own Road To Hell

“If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation.”

I put that up as a tag line in 2016. We’re in one of those periods in time when people are prone to totally losing their shit in large groups. The tag line and different kinds of writing were, in my half assed and ineffective way, an attempt to lead by example. I started writing about squirrels and (with more than a few failures) cut back on the politics. It didn’t help globally but it’s good individually to climb out of the quagmire. It’s a smart move even if you can’t carry the world up the hill on your own shoulders. I take some satisfaction in knowing that I had less to do with our current levels of unhinged hatred than I might otherwise have.

And now it’s time to discuss stampeding asshattery:

(Hat tip to 357 Magnum.) I get it. Really, I do. It’s fun to get together with like minded (or should I say hive-minded) folks and do something mindless. Road trip to some arbitrarily chosen location, people who are gathered for a common purpose, taking a day off work, etc… It’s non productive but it lets you blow off steam. How else do I explain drinking tequila on a beach?

That said, screaming helplessly at the sky is probably the worst possible way to blow off steam. It’s right there in the title. Helplessly. Resignation is not good for you. Why not a less… nihilist… activity?

Here’s an example:

If you’re going to do anything helplessly at the sky, try gazing at wonder. Bask in the glory that is all around us. Cool your jets for a while and reflect on how goddamn awesome it is to be alive.

I traveled to see the eclipse. I was helpless before the sky.  I did not scream in fury. It had nothing to do with the Orange Menace or the Pantsuited Felon. The universe is bigger than that. Anyone who sat out the total eclipse but makes a trip to scream in hopeless fury is misusing their short lifespan.

This is what I wrote:

“I saw veil of the universe pulled back. I saw eternity. For something like two and a half minutes, I peered past our atmosphere and beyond the ubiquitous yellow haze of normalcy and reached out into the firmament. I saw infinity.”

(Whole saga here. Post I quoted is part 8.)

So which would a sane person prefer? Pull back the veil of the universe or stand around screaming like an idiot? Which is better for your mental health?

It should be obvious that “hopeless screaming” is a terrible idea. Being hopeless as a group activity is crack with a side of heroin; delivered as a suppository into the corpse where your spirit should reside. Don’t build a jail out of your own mind. If you have the time and resources to drive all the way to Boston but can’t think of anything better to do than wallow in group dynamics of frustration and screaming over the irrelevant dust mote that is politics, you’re lost.

Become un-lost. Pick up a metaphorical compass and find a better activity.

Find something that doesn’t force you into publicly flogging yourself in a pit of self inflicted futility. Show some fucking agency in your life. It’s better to do anything positive than it is to scream like a toddler denied a cookie. Nobody wants to be a toddler. Here are some ideas:

Drive to the end of the continent and gaze at the ocean waves. Boston ‘aint far from the Atlantic. Leave screaming for childlike idiots and thoughtfully watch the sunrise over the waves. Enjoy being the evolved self aware being we were all born to be.

Wanna’ feel helpless? Go skydiving and find out how much gravity cares about your student loans. (I went skydiving and all hell broke loose. You can bet your ass I wasn’t thinking about immigration policy while I tumbled in the sky.)

Ideas flow easily once you let go of the hate: Go fishing. Take a kid to get ice cream. Buy that big box of Legos you really wanted. Make a scale model of Angelina Jolie’s breasts. Read a fucking book! Play a board game. Have sex. Toast a marshmallow. See how fast your car goes on an open empty highway. Watch the Muppets. Walk a dog. Drive to Oregon and spend a week baked on legal weed. Bake a cake. Go rafting.

I can do this all day. Alternatives are easy to find. That’s how I know the hopeless ones are addicted to misery. Folks are injecting hatred directly into their arteries and it’s eroding them. I can think of few ideas worse than getting together with a self reinforcing group of the unhappy and being hopeless en masse.

If you know folks who are this far gone, endeavor to help them. Conversely, if they start to drag you down, cut them loose. They’ve had a year to embrace reality and are still fighting it. It’s consuming them.

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Lipstick On A Pig

Dr. Mingo is well aware of my opinions about the AMC Gremlin. He sent me these photos to encourage me to consider alternative viewpoints.

I like the mostly empty engine compartment. It has a certain tractor like appeal.

So, given this new information, am I ready to accept that the AMC Gremlin has merit?

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Zombie Pirates In Cheesehead Land: Part 3: It’s A Thing

I would have warned the NFL to stay away from politics and I’ve already described the strange and lovable creature known as a Cheesehead. But the NFL made bad choices and the effects are described at Detritus of Empire: Zombie Pirates versus the NFL. If you have ever been to Wisconsin, or even met a Packers fan, you should check out the link.

Because there’s this:

Look at the picture (there are more at the link). Look. At. The. Picture.

Skeletal pirates.

With velociraptors.

Chasing skeletal football players.

Including, the Vikings, Bears, and… PACKERS.

This was in Wisconsin!

Packers fans are impressive. They wear cheese on their heads. They will sit on a bleacher in December in Green Bay. Have you been to Green Bay in December? I have and I damn well wasn’t about to sit on benches for three hours watching a game played in a blizzard. It takes a special level of dedication to endure frostbite while wearing cheese. They’ll donate a kidney to the Ghost of Vince Lombardi. They love their sport in a way that spans dimensions of time and space and beer beyond my mere mortal perception. If the NFL can make a Cheesehead paint “no NFL here” on placards IN WISCONSIN they have fucked up.

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Zombie Pirates In Cheesehead Land: Part 2: This Is Weird, Lets Roll

[I posted part 1 just so I could tell today’s story; which is actually true (though I’m leaving out some details).]

Y’all know I regularly go “off grid”, spend time talking to trees, and otherwise avoid the normal zeitgeist everyone takes for granted. I don’t watch TV and ignore most of what passes for “news”. I talk to my dog instead. I find a higher level of intellectual discourse that way. Sometimes I take this feeling of “distance” to extremes. One particular situation had me arriving in America after many months abroad. I was a fish out of water.

I barely had time to shake off jet lag and ponder the novelty of a place where money was dollars and everyone spoke English (obviously I returned to America and not California) when I wound up in a semi rolling down the highway. Good thing I wasn’t driving because I hadn’t seen a real interstate for a goodly time. I spent most of the time beaming with joy at the quality of our roads. American highways are huge!

After a couple of days delivering barrels of industrial lubricants (and making every kind of disgusting joke you can imagine) we wound up in Wisconsin. We’d swapped trailers and were laden with a payload of something like 15 tons of ketchup.

Yep, ketchup. If it goes on your fries, it came in a truck.

Finally, we pulled into a truck stop. I love truck stops! Nothing like a greasy burger and 100 gallons of diesel to shake off the residue of “expatriate” and ease back into my true “Merican” heart and soul. I tanked the truck while the driver went inside to eat. Then I joined him.

. . .

Something was terribly wrong. I mean super wrong. We sat down to get dinner but everyone was screaming with ecstatic joy. There was shouting. There were high fives. Things were being playfully tossed about. Everyone was drunk. It was like Denny’s at 2:00 am but if you served crystal meth on the pancakes.

People were running up and down the aisles; arms in the air, whooping and shouting. Only the driver and I were unaffected.

I collared one of the revelers. “What. The. Fuck. Are. You. Doing?”

“Whooooooo!!!! YEAAAAAAAHHHHH!” He explained. Then he pivoted away, crashed into the pie display, and charged out of the restaurant. Several equally incoherent peers followed. One fell into a snowdrift and his friends joyously dragged him out. Then they threw him back in. Or maybe fell in after him. It was hard to say. Someone in a Chevy was doing donuts in the parking lot. The waitress was bouncing around and could barely focus to take our order. It was New Years eve, a Bacchanalia, and last call… all at once. But less nattily attired.

My driver wasn’t the sort of fellow to get out much either. Nice guy but of the two of us I was supposedly the one who was worldly wise. For example I’d been the navigator the whole trip. I nodded at the mayhem. He shrugged his shoulders. We were clueless.

I noticed a few of the maniacs had tri-cornered hats. Something like the fashion of a colonial American in 1780, or the label of a Samuel Adams beer bottle. It wasn’t Independence day. Also the color was all wrong. Sort of a hybrid of Paul Revere and Spongebob Squarepants.

I cornered another one. “What’s with the hat?”

“WWWWAAAAAAAHHHHHH! CHEESE HEADS!” He screamed.

Uh huh.

I leaned over to the driver. “This is weird. Let’s roll.”

He agreed and five minutes later we were on the highway hoping to find a state where the water wasn’t laced with LSD.


That was my introduction to Green Bay Packers Fans. They proudly call themselves Cheeseheads; which should tell you what you’re getting into when you meet them.

It was the winter of ’97 and the Packers had won the Superbowl just hours before my arrival. I had no idea. As far as I could tell, everyone in Wisconsin inexplicably decided to drink a keg of beer, put a foam triangle in their head, and run around in the snow like lemurs on crack. I presumed it had something to do with cabin fever or maybe ice fishing. Lacking context, I was denied critical, need-to-know information.  I was unexpectedly thrust into Wisconsin just as the entire state had a synchronized sports related orgasm.

Packers fans are not “fans”. They are a highly evolved species of beer and cheese consuming super-beings. I love ’em for that!

Since that strange (and mildly terrifying) introduction, I cannot help but hold up Packers fans as the ultimate distillation of sweet and harmless American football fandom. They are just as crazy as the most devoted soccer hooligans or rugby fans or any other cult-like team supporters but they’re nice. And drunk. But they’re nice drunks. And there’s cheese. For some reason the cheese matters. I don’t know, you’ll have to ask them.

I salute Cheeseheads because they’re sweet, loud, and planet level loopy. My only caveat is they should put up a warning sign on the Wisconsin line. Folks who haven’t yet met one need to be warned.

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Zombie Pirates In Cheesehead Land: Part 1: Never Turn Your Back On A Community Organizer

I avoided commenting on the NFL brouhaha until the early stages had passed. Now, because of an amusing link I’ll provide a few posts hence, I’ll offer my unsolicited opinion:

The current NFL shitstorm is proof that too many Americans embrace the concept of “all within the state, nothing outside the state”. Games should have nothing to do with politics. We MUST leave some parts of life politics free. It’s equal parts cruel and unwise to antagonize sports fans just to stroke the egos of yammering sycophants who take advice from Mussolini and don’t like the game anyway.

Football is just a game. For a few hours a week highly trained dancing monkeys drag a prolate spheroid across a playground while an opposing group of beefy meatwalls try to stop them. Fans get to watch, drink watery beer, and explain how they’d do better if they were on the field. They have fun and kindly leave non-sports fans (people like me) alone. It’s perfect!

None of it has squat to do with governance. Which is as it should be.

The only time I think negatively about football is when it drifts near politics. As soon as some jackass tells me it’s a pressing governmental need to tax my ass to fund a stadium I get testy. No! It’s fucking well NOT the government’s purview to provide a goddamn happy funtime playspace for your favorite team. You want a stadium? Pay for it. If ticket sales can’t fund a stadium then you’ll have to play outdoors like the other kids. End of story.

Conversely, if some NFL investor gets filthy stinking rich from ticket sales in a way that doesn’t affect my tax bill, I’m all for it. Also I like that a star quarterback out-earns fifty elementary school teachers. If Schoolfan McWimpypants wants the big bucks he can put down the Common Core drill manual, start lifting weights, and take his turn getting pummeled on the field.

Whenever it stays away from tax money, I have a positive view of the sport. I like the idea of behemoths in neon suits beating the hell out of each other. It’s not Thuderdome (which would be awesome!) but it’s a step in the right direction. Also, football rules are obscure and weird to a planet that usually plays soccer. Compared to soccer, American football is something Klingons would invent… while drunk. Most importantly, football fans mostly leave me alone. Thanks guys! I repay their kindness by leaving them alone. I don’t expect football to change and match my irrelevant desires (which is why they don’t allow chainsaws on the field).

Sadly, political hobbyists leave no stone unturned. They don’t like football because they neither play it nor watch it. They can’t stand things that don’t involve them. Like the suggestible killbots they are, they sought to trash it.

They’ve been bitching about names and mascots for as long as I remember. I don’t know if it’s working. I personally don’t care if the “fighting libtards” with their mascot (a horned Prius) play against the “raving rednecks” and their mascot (a can of Budweiser duct taped to a shotgun) in the Starbucks Bowl at Walmart field so I easily ignore it. 2014 saw a new front that wormed its way into my truck via America’s Pravda. NPR, an organization that is allergic to both fun and testosterone but has a massive repeater network, went on a multi week exploratory journey of their own navel in the name of “stopping sports concussions in football”. I call bullshit. Nobody in NPR gives a flying fuck about the physical health of any player. Have you ever heard NPR hint they care about a millionaire Neanderthal who can bench press Terry Gross while taking a direct hit from a runaway truck? I haven’t. NPR only cares about football players as a gambit for controlling football itself.  They’re just busybodies who would shut down any group that doesn’t involve them.

As for myself, I don’t care if a football player gets a concussion any more than a football player cares if I hit a moose with my motorcycle. We all make choices in personal risk (or, in the case of NPR staff, the complete lack thereof). Anyone older than six knows running your skull into solid objects (like a linebacker or a moose) entails risk and a helmet is not a magic shield. You pays your money and you takes your chances.

2014 seemed to be when the great random wheel of “who shall we fuck with today” pointed to the NFL. They spin that wheel every few weeks lately. Signifying ever shorter attention spans. Remember what the whiners were upset about before they suddenly cared about the cranium of quarterbacks? Take a guess. Give up? They were bitching about the fashion choices of astrophysicists. What a super relevant way to interface with braniacs who run space probes. I know I go to astrophysicists whenever I’m picking out clothes. Don’t you? A few months later they’d forget the concussion thing and start suing Oregon bakers about wedding cakes. Someone should put out a calendar. Political nitwits pick victims so quickly and randomly that it’s a reverse shitstorm lottery.

The seed was planted though. “Sports safety” thing started to erode the game by reducing the number of youths entering the sport. Being a non sport person that doesn’t bother me. Given time, the assault may have borne fruit. Football might slowly become a shadow of its former self; like boxing. I’m not sure what the NFL could do to change their fate. Everything from light bulbs to Boy Scouts have fallen to the reaper.

The NFL quietly soldiered on; which is less interesting than my solution. I’d like to see fans explain their differing world views by stampeding the Raider’s offensive line up through NPR studios. (I’m imagining something like the running of the bulls.) Duck tape a football to Steve Inskeep or Melissa Block and give them a ten yard head start. Who wouldn’t like to see the talking heads who bitched about a sport they don’t play running like hamsters in front of a bunch of Gatorade fueled human bulldozers? Hellooooo pay per view! I’d pay good money to see it!)

The wheel of “who shall we fuck with” came around again last year when a pussywhipped yoyo decided to “send a message” from within the NFL. To be honest, it worked… for him. I know the name Kaepernick when I shouldn’t. I don’t know any other names. I know Kaepernick only because he got political and the press rolled in it. But he got that notoriety at what cost? He sold out his profession so he could get name recognition with people like me? I don’t give a fuck about his little game so why would he want my recognition? The right path to seek fame in football is by being awesome at football.

Predictably, the contagion spread. The other dancing monkeys started “sending messages”. They stand up, kneel, lock arms, and hop on one foot to protest… Actually nobody can precisely define what they’re protesting. Presumably something about how America is less than the perfect Utopia in each person’s imagination? ESPN was apparently infiltrated too as it donned the hairshirt some cat lady knitted for them until (as predictably as night follows day) their ratings tanked. Owners inexplicably forgot why you posses for profit enterprises. Thus they’re earning less profit.

All for what? So balless dweebs who don’t even like the game got to signal their “awareness” by joining a “debate”? To what end? By entertaining ideas extraneous to their core purpose, the NFL has sown the wind.

Astoundingly, one of the sane ones was Cheeto Jesus. Lord help me, it’s true! When everyone was hemming and hawing about “freedom of speech while on the boss’ clock” he said “if they don’t play by the rules, fire their sorry asses…duh!” Like many Americans,  I was nodding in agreement.

It seems straightforward to me. If I hire a guy to shingle the roof I want the fucking roof shingled and nothing more. If the shingle guy gets on my roof and starts a bible study or a Marxist poetry slam I’ll fire his ass toot sweet. I’ll look up there and say, “Hey, is that a hammer in your hand?” They’ll say “No, it’s a bible/The Communist Manifesto, I’m expressing myself.” And I’ll say “Congratulations on fully realizing your true nature. You’re fired. Get the hell off my roof. Realize your inner truths somewhere else. If I see you again on my property I’ll feed you to my dog. Have a nice day.” That’s how life works.

Players have the same first amendment rights we all do. Like the rest of us, they can use them every millisecond of their life provided they’re not on some dude’s clock. Or they can quit their job and spent 24/7 not standing, or chanting, or whatever floats their boat… while forgoing the salary they didn’t choose. Everyone has at one time or another had to shut his yap and do his job. It’s what separates adults from children.

Trump, lunatic that he may be, understands the whole “do your job and shut the fuck up until closing time” world of normalcy. It’s not rocket science. If the players are turning their workspace into “celebrity virtue signaling anti-patriot demonstration time” it’s a sound managerial decision to fire their asses. Replace them with a new crop of farm equipment that will do the job without so much fucking drama.

Does anyone realize what those assholes on their knees did? They made Donald Trump into the voice of common sense! The mind boggles.

How bad are your ideas if the adult in the room is Trump? Only a football player thinks their non-sports related opinions matter. They don’t. When they’re on the field they aren’t paid to have an opinion. When they’re off the field they don’t have a track record of civic virtue and wise life choices. The NFL was so clueless that a gold plated asshole became the speaker of common sense! Bad call.

But that’s enough of today’s rant. Like I’ve said, I’m not a fan so I don’t matter. The fans do matter and they’ve made their opinions very clear. Players, the NFL management, ESPN, and any other person who wants to make a living at what was originally a kid’s game, should be terrified of how badly they misjudged things.

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Gremlins!

Kim Du Toit is guilt of…. something. Look below if you dare:

That’s a ’74 AMC Gremlin. Or as I like to say; “a total &*@(^^ piece of &^(^@^$!”

I have an inexhaustible well of hate for the AMC Gremlin. It’s not a car, it’s a freak of bad design dredged from unfathomable depths of suck. That fact that people voluntarily bought those things proves we are all doomed. They’re America’s Trabant with a side chaser of rust and weeping engineers. It’s almost worse than the Trabant because at least the Trabant was created by oppressed minions who had no choice while presumably free men created the AMC’s disaster. What you’re looking at is Detroit’s ball sack shoved into the forehead of innocent American drivers.

Lets face it, the 1970’s were not a great time. The AMC arrived the same time as the 55 MPH speed limit. The law ripped the heart out of America and Detroit’s failures took a dump in the chest wound.

I don’t care who is draped across it or what she looks like… if there’s an AMC Gremlin in the photo it’s gross.

I do feel sympathy for the girl. Unless she’s a serial killer she deserves better. Some asshole made her pose next to an abomination. Probably she’s at the rear wheel well trying to hide the rust that sprang forth at that very spot. Those monstrosities began to rust the day they were misted with their first light rain.

THE AMC GREMLIN!!! AAAAAAAH!

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