31 May 2017

Two Kings

Two Kings

The King of Madagao, being engaged in a dispute with the King of Bornegascar, wrote him as follows:

“Before proceeding further in this matter I demand the recall of your Minister from my capital.”

Greatly enraged by this impossible demand, the King of Bornegascar replied:

“I shall not recall my Minister.  Moreover, if you do not immediately retract your demand I shall withdraw him!”

This threat so terrified the King of Madagao that in hastening to comply he fell over his own feet, breaking the Third Commandment.

- 30 -

This sounds a lot like the reporting revolving around whether Trump is going to stay in the Paris accords. It certainly sounds like there is some covfefe involved. Political kabuki at its best, except when it's not, which is sometimes always and sometimes never which is exactly how the current administration's foreign policy works. Genius!

30 May 2017

The Ingenious Patriot

The Ingenious Patriot

Having obtained an audience of the King an Ingenious Patriot pulled a paper from his pocket, saying:

“May it please your Majesty, I have here a formula for constructing armour-plating which no gun can pierce.  If these plates are adopted in the Royal Navy our warships will be invulnerable, and therefore invincible.  Here, also, are reports of your Majesty’s Ministers, attesting the value of the invention.  I will part with my right in it for a million tumtums.”

After examining the papers, the King put them away and promised him an order on the Lord High Treasurer of the Extortion Department for a million tumtums.

“And here,” said the Ingenious Patriot, pulling another paper from another pocket, “are the working plans of a gun that I have invented, which will pierce that armour.  Your Majesty’s Royal Brother, the Emperor of Bang, is anxious to purchase it, but loyalty to your Majesty’s throne and person constrains me to offer it first to your Majesty.  The price is one million tumtums.”

Having received the promise of another check, he thrust his hand into still another pocket, remarking:

“The price of the irresistible gun would have been much greater, your Majesty, but for the fact that its missiles can be so effectively averted by my peculiar method of treating the armour plates with a new—”

The King signed to the Great Head Factotum to approach.

“Search this man,” he said, “and report how many pockets he has.”

“Forty-three, Sire,” said the Great Head Factotum, completing the scrutiny.

“May it please your Majesty,” cried the Ingenious Patriot, in terror, “one of them contains tobacco.”

“Hold him up by the ankles and shake him,” said the King; “then give him a check for forty-two million tumtums and put him to death.  Let a decree issue declaring ingenuity a capital offence.”

- 30 -

A significant difference between this story is that our Ingenious Patriots of the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex get the tumtums, but not the death.

29 May 2017

On the question of mustaches

I must admit I have been mistaken, as I thought the question of mustaches had been long settled in the minds of men. It seems this is not true. I used to think that certain things were self-evident, but some people remain impervious to things as persistent as facts. This is not hard. If you have and enjoy your mustache, then keep it. If you wonder if you should have a mustache, you certainly don't, because if you did, you would have it. It's one of the beauties of the wisdom of the mustache. No one who doesn't have one will ever need one and should never even contemplate its existence.

It really is that simple.

Is Vladimir Putin the next Fidel Castro?

... or is he the next Prince or David Bowie? How does that guy lose office? They have secret police to keep Putin from killing bystanders or heads of state, not the other way around. Chuck Norris told the honey badger "whatever you do, don't fuck with that guy". That's a true fact. The more Macron talked and the less Putin said, the more Macron was apt to shit his pants. "Oh, hey, this is a building, and it has walls and shit!" (please God let him say something...) "Versailles, nice, I'm glad we could save it for you from those goddamn Germans. Did I tell you that to say you have a handshake like a girl would insult Angela Merkel, who could crush you like the little turnip that you are, "Mister" Macron?" "Please don't eat my liver, Mister Putin, it's not quite fattened enough..." France, occasionally, is the greatest nation on the planet. I would take your average Frenchman or Frenchwoman before any just random who the fuck ever on the planet. After New Zealand, there is only France. France is, to use a technical term, fan-fuckin'-tastic. Anything that actually worth doing, there is some French fucker who knows how to to it better than you do. I promise you this. Sail a boat? No, some French fucker is sailing at 40 plus knots on the edge of disaster in his composite what-the-fuck-is-that-maran. Cook some food? No, Jacques Pepin has personally collected the ballsweat off of 100 really pissed off cape buffalo, but befriending them in the process (go and motherfucking try *that*) to make this amazing meal, which oh, by the way, he flew back in time in a TARDIS to plant the vines form the backbone of this Chateau Margeaux which is the perfect accompaniment to the dish. The French don't give a flying fuck about cars (that's why they invented the Germans, and they have TARDISs and Brigitte Bardot, who was voted "maybe in the top one bazillion of hot French women" by the Hot French Women's Appreciation Society (my dues are paid up through 2020)) but if you want to smoke a cigarette in a really fucking comfortable chair and maybe get laid, you could do worse than an overstuffed seat in a Renault. France rules! But when it comes to "I've come here to kill people for fun, and maybe the profits, but who cares, lolz" who the fuck beats fucking Vladimir Putin? At some point, I wish he'd just rip some random leader's leg of and throw it on the fire, Iliad style, cutting the parts to their proper proportions and putting them on the spits, turning them just so, seeing through all of the formalities so the big boys could get to business. 10 gets you 100 if Putin doesn't eat a whole goddamn bag of Cheetos in the White House. When Toshiro Mifune died, the free world lost its defense against Vladimir Putin. Clint Eastwood can squint all he wants, but Vladimir will rip your ballsack off and make Macron fry it up with some garlic and sherry. And you'll like it. And it will probably taste pretty good.

I see the title of this post and I do need to give props where they are due. Fidel Castro was a long lived motherfucker. But he was fish that looked big in his small pond. Cuba is a foreign policy shame that the US will need a long time to live down. Kitty litter is a bigger industry than all of what is Cuba. Russia is a powerful contender that punches way above its weight. Italy, according to all the metrics, should be as, or more, important than Russia, but who gives a flying fuck about Italy? No serious person. If Russia ponders, the world frets. The realpolitik of Russia is actually pretty simple and, unfortunately for the military industrial congressional complex, is not at all misaligned with that of Europe or the United States. Secure borders. Access to warm water ports. Access to petroleum and other markets for their raw materials and some value-add products like weapons. Don't poke the bear. Buy its oil, gas, and guns. Or let it alone. Don't we have some sex, drugs, and rock and roll to tend to?

Who's that you say?

Who is that scary looking cackling nut-job? I don't know, but it's apparently running for office.

Republicans who can't avoid stepping in the dog shit are still beating Dems, body slams of journalists notwithstanding. I have never seen a group of people more devoid of curiosity and and more resistant to learning than the Dems at the national level. What the fuck happened to Howard Dean? Is there some sort of "loser borg" that you get assimilated into, lose your mind, soul, and any shred of good sense and decency? One where your arguments get reduced to "nuh uh"? Gravity. Nuh uh. Momentum. Nuh uh. Take one add one get two. Nuh uh. Keep running election campaigns the way you do, and you may lose some more seats. Nuh uh. OK. Right. Good luck with that.

Oh right. Intersectionality. Forgot about that.

The Dems have a tactical advantage on their side in that they can give away other people's money as a matter of principle. Republicans have to lie about their willingness to do so. I don't know if Democratic delusion is worse than Republican hypocrisy. It's all part of the same shit show. But, ultimately, people will take the cash, and both sides are willing to sling it.

The race in the 6th here in Georgia will be telling. The Dems are running John Ossoff, who looks like Emmanuel Macron and Jared Kushner's love chile against Karen Handel, who looks like Angela Merkel and Hillary Clinton's love chile. And Handel is going to win. Fucking Dems can't shoot fish in barrels with shotguns aimed for them by DEVGRU. And they have no curiosity, not a scratch, to ask why. Oh, I never thought to look both ways before crossing a street, only dumber.

What might be of pants-shitting terror to Democrats, if they can conjure a moment of self-awareness, is Donald Trump in his clown car way has actually introduced a spectrum of people of compatible, conservative values to one another, even if he has nothing to do with it directly. If the women who attend the Baptist churches meet the women who attend the Catholic churches meet the women who attend the Presbyterian churches and find common cause is that going to be more sex, drugs, and rock and roll or more sit down together as a family for supper? The world would be a different place if women became self-aware and found common cause. And lest you think I'm a sexist jackass, a jackass I may be, but I have no problem in thinking that women with their unique perspectives as the actual whelper of children and moms and grandmoms and great-grandmoms might have something unique and positive to contribute. Let them have a crack. I am willing to bet if you killed every man in the Venezuelan government and replaced him with a Venezuelan woman, Venezuela would be a better place tomorrow. Saudi Arabia? Um. Yeah. But...

Hillary in 2020! That's the answer? New slogan: "I owe her!"

Maybe President Pence and our drooling poltroons we call Congress will address tax reform, but I somehow doubt it.


Every member of Congress should be required to carry a gun. Preferably a model 1911 Colt 45 loaded and cocked, and swill at least a pint of Mount Gay rum or some equivalent before deliberating. If any bill exceeds a hundred words, they should yell "shoot the jackass" and fire at least three rounds at someone they don't like. Two things would happen. More people would watch CSPAN and fewer bills would be comprised of more than one hundred words. Like losing weight, the principles are not hard. Eat less. Exercise more. Legislate less. Shoot jackasses more. It's hard to pull off in practice, alas.

The Blotted Escutcheon and the Soiled Ermine

The Blotted Escutcheon and the Soiled Ermine

A Blotted Escutcheon, rising to a question of privilege, said:

“Mr. Speaker, I wish to hurl back an allegation and explain that the spots upon me are the natural markings of one who is a direct descendant of the sun and a spotted fawn.  They come of no accident of character, but inhere in the divine order and constitution of things.”

When the Blotted Escutcheon had resumed his seat a Soiled Ermine rose and said:

“Mr. Speaker, I have heard with profound attention and entire approval the explanation of the honourable member, and wish to offer a few remarks on my own behalf.  I, too, have been foully calumniated by our ancient enemy, the Infamous Falsehood, and I wish to point out that I am made of the fur of the Mustela maculata, which is dirty from birth.”

- 30 -

They don't have a "Punch a Representative Day" but if they did, I'd wager it would be popular. My dear Ambrose Bierce narrowly avoids the shooting fish in a barrel diminution of this piece with his brilliant timing and lyricism. I would seriously consider following the paths of the Dark Arts to resurrect Ambrose Bierce that we may have access to his genius in these modern times. And lest you think it's only the House occupied by numbskulls, we should have a separate day for "Scrotalize a Senator Day". I will leave it to your imagination as to what scrotalize might entail. If you can't figure out how to defend the borders of the United States with, say, 500 billion dollars (probably twice as many dollars as you need or more) then you should be run over with a lawn mower and left to be devoured by fire ants. But, no, they need a trillion, and heap up a body count on both sides of the seas with no end in sight nor any strategic objective reached, except keeping real estate values in Fairfax county astronomical and the money coming to the defense contractors and think tanks. Trump folded like a single-ply knock-off brand toilet paper sheet for all his bold talk of getting us out of these foreign entanglements, and the generals that are running things are looking increasingly like cast offs from the Three Stooges than any kind of warrior-monks one might contemplate. They think strategy is some hillbilly twang grass tribute band but still can't even use it in a sentence. Thought experiment:  ISIL is more likely derived from Saudi-backed Wahhabism or nefarious Iranian plotting? Fuck, let's bomb Iran and give the Saudi's an all you can eat hundred billion dollar bomb package so they can kill the fuck out of those dangerous Houthis before they starve to death (who-thi you ask? Exactly.) and ply them with some Vegas dancers or goats or whatever (but no chickens, because that would just be wrong) they want on the down low. What, exactly, are we doing in Afghanistan? It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken, bitches. At what point does this not become a firing offense, but a firing squad offense? At what point do we just say fuck it and turn the government over to Jeff Bezos who can actually give us what we want at the lowest price possible and oh, by the way, it's actually easy and convenient through the entire process? Look at that! I can have a copy of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations delivered to my door in 22 hours 21 minutes for less than five bucks.

Scrotalization is looking like a better idea all the time.

You might not have read that rant in this Fantastic Fable, but, it is, as they say, up in there.

28 May 2017

The Crimson Candle

The Crimson Candle

A man lying at the point of death called his wife to his bedside and said:

“I am about to leave you forever; give me, therefore, one last proof of your affection and fidelity, for, according to our holy religion, a married man seeking admittance at the gate of Heaven is required to swear that he has never defiled himself with an unworthy woman.  In my desk you will find a crimson candle, which has been blessed by the High Priest and has a peculiar mystical significance.  Swear to me that while it is in existence you will not remarry.”

The Woman swore and the Man died.  At the funeral the Woman stood at the head of the bier, holding a lighted crimson candle till it was wasted entirely away.

- 30 -

If a person managed to write just this, they would have to be gauged accomplished, yet Ambrose Bierce reeled these off at any clip he chose. I don't care to connect this one with current events, but I believe that it's connection to these modern times remains self evident.

27 May 2017

The Moral Principle and the Material Interest . . .

With this post I begin a series of posts to commemorate the immortal memory of Ambrose Bierce, one of America's great gifts to the world. People like to resolve themselves into gross sides, one or the other. Authors like Bierce slew members on either side, and established an uniquely American skepticism that while may be asphyxiating, is none-the-less alive today.

 The Moral Principle and the Material Interest . . .

A Moral Principle met a Material Interest on a bridge wide enough for but one.

“Down, you base thing!” thundered the Moral Principle, “and let me pass over you!”

The Material Interest merely looked in the other’s eyes without saying anything.

“Ah,” said the Moral Principle, hesitatingly, “let us draw lots to see which shall retire till the other has crossed.”

The Material Interest maintained an unbroken silence and an unwavering stare.

“In order to avoid a conflict,” the Moral Principle resumed, somewhat uneasily, “I shall myself lie down and let you walk over me.”

Then the Material Interest found a tongue, and by a strange coincidence it was its own tongue.  “I don’t think you are very good walking,” it said.  “I am a little particular about what I have underfoot.  Suppose you get off into the water.”

It occurred that way.

- 30 -

So, with the first verse in a much better bible than written by others, Ambrose Bierce wrote that magnificence. Plato had his shot. Shakespeare, too. God, I suppose, but if he/she/kgr (whatever the gender-ambiguous word is) I don't think this is understandable in some languages, but it's perfectly clear in English.

Pretty much all of Washington DC has revealed itself to be mindless knee-jerk unprincipled jackasses less worthy of consideration that Bevis and Butthead because they are uniformly less funny. Thing is, they won't care, because you will pay for their pensions that will pad their multi-million dollar savings ripped off of the public teat. National security? Hah! They're all administrators, going to conferences, playing the DC game with little (but some) regard for the pubic interest. Let's redirect more earnings to meaningless spending. 

It occurred that way.