Category Archives: Humor

Friday Follies: the Culture War & The Tostitos Hint of Lime Chip Conflict

Jamelle Bouie, one of the best new columnists for the New York Times, today highlights a recent book, The Second Red Scare and the Unmaking of the New Deal Left.

Jamelle Bouie

[In it, he writes], “the historian Landon R.Y. Storrs shows how conservatives used loyalty pledges to purge the federal bureaucracy of government officials ‘who hoped to advance economic and political democracy by empowering subordinated groups and setting limits on the pursuit of private profit.’

Left-leaning New Dealers in the federal government, she explains, ‘believed that race and gender inequality served employers by creating lower-status groups of workers who supposedly needed or deserved less, thereby applying downward pressure on all labor standards, including those of white men. They saw their mission as sweeping away beliefs and practices that were based on obsolete conditions but defended by those whose interests they continued to serve.’

The Red Scare is, in this view, less a sudden outburst of reactionary hysteria than a political project aimed directly at dismantling the New Deal order and ousting those who helped bring it into being, both inside and outside the federal government.

Without making a direct analogy between then and now, [NOTE: But the parallels are pretty darn close!] I think that this perspective is a useful one to have in mind as conservatives pursue yet another witch hunt against those they perceive as enemies of American society, using whatever state power they happen to have at their disposal. Continue reading Friday Follies: the Culture War & The Tostitos Hint of Lime Chip Conflict

Twofer Thursday: Garrison Keillor at (almost) 80; and the Decline of Religion in the U.S.

There’s not a direct connection between the two items excerpted here. Garrison Keillor is definitely religious, in his low-key, often self-mocking way.
But like others of his (& my) generation, he’s watched in bemusement as the generations behind him have been mostly quietly, but steadily dumping religion.  Following Keillor, pastor-researcher Ryan Burge takes a look at this undeniable, but still puzzling slide: contributing factors are easy to name; but clarity and implications are elusive.

#1 – Excerpted from The Saturday Evening Post:

[Garrison Keillor’s new book] Serenity at 70, Gaiety at 80, is a playful yet deeply felt meditation that ought to be a standard in the literature of human aging. I asked Kate Gustafson, president of

Keillor’s production company, how she’d characterize the work. “It’s a novelty book, a gift book,” she ventured after a long pause. Keillor chortled when I told him that. No, no, he corrected, it’s actually “a memoir with an essay wrapped around it.” . . .

About his “canceling/MeToo” ordeal, Keillor himself was plenty angry. He has written that he was unable to defuse what boiled within him until one day, in New York City, a priest prayed into his ear that the “injustice done to me” could be put aside. And that was it, Keillor wrote in his memoir. He was suddenly unburdened, and could return to the “quiet domestic life with the woman I love,” his third and current wife. But as the Washington Post reported in a lengthy piece last year, the scandal represented a “downfall” from which Keillor never fully recovered. Continue reading Twofer Thursday: Garrison Keillor at (almost) 80; and the Decline of Religion in the U.S.

A study in Contrasts: DJT & Biden coming to North Carolina

This is strange. Weird, actually:

DJT is coming to North Carolina today, for a rally in Selma, about 90 minutes east of me here in Durham.

Nothing strange about that. DJT carried the state twice, and would be a strong contender in 2024, if Jesus doesn’t return & Merrick Garland still tarries. DJT’s endorsed some far-out candidates in our 2022 races.

What’s odd is that, at the same time his “team” has been promoting the hell out of the rally’s date (April 9) and time (7PM), its location remained a secret until yesterday.

It makes a difference. NC is not a postage stamp state like Rhode Island or Delaware: Continue reading A study in Contrasts: DJT & Biden coming to North Carolina

Behold: the USA Truckers Caravan Cometh

I wonder how many temporarily “Canadian” truckers, recently evicted from the bridge at Windsor/Detroit, are now chugging their way west across the windswept snowy plains, aiming for the desert around Coachella, near Palm Springs California?

Arrests, begin in Ottawa. About time, eh?

It’s not just the weather (weekend forecast sunny, dry & high 70s) that’s drawing them. Or the three local Indian casinos. Coachella is the announced starting point for a trucker insurgency which reportedly means to barnstorm its way across the continent, converge on Washington DC, and paralyze it a la Ottawa, for
— Well, for something.

The Gone-viral Facebook announcement of the U.S. convoy.

I’ve been watching the mess in Canada for weeks, and I’m not yet sure what they want, except maybe for the pandemic to go away without vaccines, masks, or anything else, and to take Justin Trudeau with them. Oh, and free gas.

Yesterday I read that one “occupier” repurposed a red MAGA cap to say, “Make CANADA Great Again.”

Poutine, classic: fries, cheese buds, brown gravy. Lots of other stuff can be added, but this is the basic patriotic Canadian staple. I like it.

Really? From my vantage point, Canada never stopped being great; but I’m an outsider, though I still like poutine.

And Coachella is certified as a great spot for a music festival (it now hosts several per year), so there’s plenty of parking, so why not borrow it to kick off an 18-wheeler apocalypse?

Coachella, at work.

Of course, gas prices are a bother (pushing $4.40 for regular). But heck, sounds like there’s plenty of rightwing dark money pouring in to fuel it.

There better be: those rigs average 6 [= six] mpg, or about 400 gallons, which is close to $1600, for the 2545 mile hike to DC, one-way, not including, food, tolls, bail and lawyer’s fees.

The gas & mileage is likely a low estimate: after all, how can the convoy resist taking the long way east, with stops for rallies in places like Phoenix, Houston, New Orleans, Memphis or Atlanta?

Almost holy water . . .

The free media would be worth a fortune, and they can almost be guaranteed at some point to get a slow drive-by baptism from the Orange Pope of Mar-a-Lago Himself, sprinkling Diet Coke from the owner’s box and sanctifying them, “In the Name of Let’s Go Brandon, the Junior & the Javanka.”

For that matter, the route almost has to join eventually with that main eastern artery of flyover country, Interstate 40, across North Carolina towards its Rendezvous With Destiny, at Interstate 95, where one left turn will aim them straight at the nation’s capitol.

I-40 meets I-95: Left past Rocky Mount, Washington is straight ahead. Right, I-40 to Raleigh for work, or Wilmington NC, to the Atlantic beaches.

Among the many benefits of that leg, besides the best barbecue, cheese grits and hot Krispy Kremes, I-40 takes them past a crucial pit stop in the historic town of Mebane, where they can refresh their most treasured supplies.

I speak, of course, of guns, and that central Carolina landmark, Mace Sports.

Even the rankest newcomer can’t miss it, with its huge electrified billboard of solidarity flashing Big Go Brandon love day and night right next to one of the busiest roadways in the region, showing its political vision for 2024 every minute, and highlighting the basics of tactical support, such as:

This Taurus snub-nosed pistol is made to be easily and fully hidden inside the waistband. It is not for hunting deer.

— this pistol, which is made for concealment. They also sell a mini-holster for keeping them at one’s side and out of the sight of snooping cops and troops, not to mention all kinds of ammo).

The .223 REM and 300BLK bullets are specially designed for use in such guns as AR-15s, AK-47s, and other rapid fire weapons used bu U.S. Special Forces in secret missions. (Not for deer hunting.)

Of course, this is America, not lily-livered socialistic Canada, so many (most?) of the convoy truckers will likely be packing their own heat. And who knows, maybe this time they’ll get to use it.

I’m trying to imagine the triumphal arrival scene:

The lead truck will be hauling a float, carrying MTG, firing her AR-15 into the air (or at liberals), flanked by Cawthorn, Hawley, & Boebert, who will each get a turn with a trigger, while behind them Paul Gosar slashes the throats of a pile of AOC dolls, and tosses them to the gleeful crowd.

And what will be the official response? Does anyone recall how many National Guard troops were surrounding the inauguration last year?

I didn’t notice them, myself. I figured they were all hidden somewhere behind Bernie Sanders and his mittens. And were they packing?

But now, how can any regular Fox news viewer believe that Sleepy Joe Biden would put up any kind of serious cordon like that?

More likely he’ll resign first, take Kamala Harris with him, both wearing masks, and leave Nancy Pelosi to deal with the convoy, armed only with her ceremonial gavel. Right?

I’m sure a second truck will showcase an electrified cross, and a gallows — but hey, that will just be for old times sake. I mean, like the RNC says, “legitimate political discourse,” and Mace Sports underlines that It’s all in  good fun.

From the Mace Sports website.

Yeah, the convoy is coming. Watch for the Signs of the Times gathering in Coachella, and then follow them rolling east like an inland Tsunami.

Unless your name is Mike Pence. Then I’d suggest checking into Dick Cheney’s old “undisclosed  location,” right quick.

As for me, if I had my druthers, about that time I’d be ordering an extra-sized serving of poutine.

Oh, but Don’t call DoorDash, eh?

I’ll come pick it up.

 

Santa Went to Lunch in Durham . . .Not Making This Up

The other day I went to lunch with my buddy Micah at my favorite diner, Elmo’s. It was busy & we talked & ate for a couple hours.

At a nearby table, several
Middle-aged folks were sitting with a much older woman.

I didn’t “pay them any mind” until a shadow loomed over me unexpectedly. Looking up from my bacon, I saw it was the very old woman, who was quite tall, and of a stately bearing. I didn’t know her from Adam. Or Eve.

She leaned down toward me, and behind her I noticed the other people at their table, also strangers, watching closely, wondering what might happen.

The woman looked right into my eyes and then said, dead-serious, “I’m on your list . . . .” Continue reading Santa Went to Lunch in Durham . . .Not Making This Up

Much to Be Modest About, Friends . . .

From the book, Without Apology:

A Friends meeting hosted an interfaith conference. During a break, the meeting’s Clerk fell to talking with a priest, a rabbi and an imam about the nature of God.

Despite everyone’s good intentions, they soon began to argue: God was a trinity, contended the priest; oh no, the imam retorted, Allah is One; the rabbi nodded at this, but insisted the Most High was truly revealed only in the Torah, not the Quran. And so it went, growing more heated with every exchange.

The Clerk sat mostly silent, wringing her hands and trying to remember the main points of the Alternatives to Violence workshop she’d attended the previous month.

The argument was interrupted by a sudden thunderclap that shook the building and rattled an open window. As the four believers trembled in awe, a piece of paper blew through the window and floated to the table in front of them.

The Clerk cautiously picked it up and looked it over. “It’s a message,” she said, and began to read:

“‘My children,”’ it said, “‘why do you wrangle over words? My glory and mystery surpass all your human imaginings, and I love each of you equally. Now cease your senseless quarrels, and get on about my work in your wonderful, needful world.”’

The abashed clerics bowed their heads in prayer.

After a moment, the Clerk cleared her throat.

“Um,” she added quietly, “It’s signed, “‘Thy Friend, God.”’

Garrison Keillor Goes Contemporary

My buddy Garrison — well, I did meet him once, and he even told me a couple of his secrets, which I blabbed here in 2016.

And we’re the same age; we always are, except for the sad months of September until early December. He gets older first.

And now he’s charging into the post-pandemic, and I’m glad to see it, and will let him tell much of his new story right here, as a guest post. Not least, because he starts out with a truth that applies to us both:

GK: I don’t need another career, but once a writer, always a writer–

Continue reading Garrison Keillor Goes Contemporary

Transitional Quaker humor: Some New Queries

One of the advantages of age is finding old jokes one has forgotten about, so they’re new again. Like these Quaker gems that just turned up:

The Clerk had just worked through an extended monthly business meeting, where unified decisions were hard to come by.
After a long silent pause, she glanced down at the agenda.
“I believe we have one more item,” she said, “a report on the new Queries. Is the committee ready with a final draft?”

A Male Friend of a certain age stood up. His expression was a bit sheepish. “Clerk, please,” he said, “I don’t think we’re quite finished, but we did come to unity on sharing some newly-proposed ones.”
“Very well,” Abraham,” the Clerk said, as he unfolded a sheet of paper. “Proceed.”

Continue reading Transitional Quaker humor: Some New Queries

Breaking: Kellyanne Conway & the “Bowling Green Massacre” are Back

Well-earned.

[Update, May 2022: So, the book we’ve all (not) been waiting for is about to arrive: Here’s the Deal  by former top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, will go on sale May 24.
The Washington Post has an advance copy and says it’s semi-packed with such (non) blockbuster revelations as— well, she thought Jared was rather egotistical, and . . . and she didn’t much like the press. (Who knew??)
The Post, however, didn’t say whether the book would take us back to the media episode that guaranteed Conway a permanent niche in the Annals of B. S. History.

I refer, of course, to the unforgettably legendary “Bowling Green Massacre.”

It still stands alongside her other Polished Poop emoji for her initial classic pronouncement, within hours of her boss’s inauguration, that the USA had now entered the Age of “Alternative Facts.” (Which was, we can now see, one of the truest public statements she ever made.)

To do justice, of a sort, to Conway’s publishing landmark, we’re re-posting our own tribute to the victims of that event, from February 4, 2017, complete with the original headline . . . .]

But first, a reminder for those who went blank after Cofveve, from the ever-faithful Wikipedia:

The “Bowling Green massacre” is a fictitious incident of Islamist terrorism mentioned by Kellyanne Conway, then–Counselor to the President of Donald Trump, in interviews with Cosmopolitan and TMZ on January 29, 2017, and in an interview on the MSNBC news program Hardball with Chris Matthews on February 2, 2017. Conway cited it as justification for a travel and immigration ban from seven Muslim-majority countries enacted by United States President Donald Trump. However, no such massacre occurred.”]

From A Friendly Letter, Feb. 4, 2017:

Quit Piling On About the “Bowling Green Massacre.”

That’s very good advice. After all, everybody makes mistakes, and this time, mirabile dictu, it was even admitted, eventually.

So shouldn’t we forgive and forget, show compassion, and move on?? I mean, it’s become an indelible part of our history now.

Yes, this is all excellent advice, which I fully intend to follow.

Starting tomorrow; or thereabouts.

But today, I can resist anything but temptation. Even this tender admonition failed to  move me:

I mean, after all: if they had a candlelight memorial right there at the site Thursday night, can we do any less, in our own feeble way?

And offer tribute to the way the heart-stopping live coverage brought out the very best in our finest media veterans . . .

Including the incredible coverage of the work of the first responders . . .

How could we not join with the others in their tributes?

And the selfless rush to bring aid to survivors and families:

Let’s join the chorus that demands swift and determined justice for those responsible:

And cheer on the local historians who have important tragic details to add:

So, sure. Tomorrow all this goes down the Memory Hole. But fear not — another week also starts tomorrow. And I’m sure they’re ready for us.