Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Reprint Heaven: Great Postmodern Hedgehog


(Originally drained from the swamp on January 20, 2018, in celebration of The Leader attending the World Echo Nomik Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Leader neglected to attend this year.) 

Obigatory Cute Small Animal Photo At Beginning Of Surrealistic Blog Thing

Moved by the posts of others, recently, I decided to take a stab at (what might be charitably called) stream of consciousness writing, sparked by the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, attended this year by Wonderboy, Murrikan Leader.

I don't normally play with this style of fiction; so, apologies in advance. As Wonderboy's own parents once said, "Let's do this, get it over with, and never speak of it again" -- point being, this is supposed to be topical, and funny.

(For those with no knowledge of Cricket, a "Diamond Duck" is the term for a situation where [per Wikipedia] "a batsman who is dismissed without facing a ball -- most usually run out from the non-striker's end, but alternatively stumped or run out off a wide delivery -- is said to be out by a 'diamond duck'.")

Diamond Duck In Davos

1.  Greasing The Grenze

Coming into Davos, surrounded by winds whipping the confectioner's sugar of Swiss hospitality between the crisp billboards, Halt! Grenze! (Stop! Pemmican!) and Kämpfe Für Das Karussell Des Fortschritts! (We  Struggle For Kurt Russell's Foreskins!) The searchlights are blinding, guard dogs bark with an accent (Wüf!), and sudden efficient women are opening doors of perception in your car, murmuring, "Good evening. Anything to declare?"

But you're not surprised. No, not you; never you. All this was in the briefing. They are efficient, here in Davos. The Mark O' Mammon is barcoded on their hind parts -- you've been shown photos -- and at home, skis are racked demurely beside priceless paintings bought at bargain-basement rates, in auctions at Zürich and Geneva, between 1936 and 39.

And of those pouring into the valley, no one ever says to the women, "Ah DO -- Ah say, Ah say, Well AH DO DECLARE," in a voice borrowed from Foghorn Leghorn -- although you have a secret urge to do that. The women smirk at you, without envy, because Ach, Ja; we know this about you. You wish to do That Cartoon Rooster; such a typical male. We here in Davos know -- otherwise, you would not be allowed here. A brief blonde hand mumbles through your luggage, brushing socks and briefs, lingering for a moment with the rough play of starch in a shirt -- then, waving your car on: Alles Gut; los geh'n. 

And then, you glimpse the last billboard: Im Diesen Friedenskrieg Gibt Es Keine Gefangenen! -- No Prisoners In This Peace War. The Great Carousel Of Progress gives only to take. It really is shitty, what a Town Without Pity Can Do. Ha, ha, ha; that's our Davos!

Even if you have a Safe Conduct Leaflet, dropped like pet leavings on sidewalks by the IMF and WTO (Be a DO RAG, it proclaims, Not a DON'T RAG), after surrendering, the best one can hope for in coming to Davos is a cot in that hut on the mountain. They'll be jammed in with municipal workers and novelists. There will be a crucifix hung on the damp concrete wall, and a 1970's postcard showing light at the end of a tunnel. In the dark, farting and snoring settle around you, diaphanous, studded, anxious. You dream of gristle.

The others will receive a coupon for a discount-price small soda, and a trip to observe George Soros' hair colorist, reading a copy of Forbes, through a bulletproof window. But the Surrendered had denied the primacy of the Great Carousel, so their Davos will be a short sniff of the leather seats in an otherwise unoccupied Daimler. Then, to be sent home at their own expense for long retraining in a job that will take months to find, and which is discontinued the day after they are hired.  Ho, ho,ho, ho, Cisco! Ho, ho, ho, ho, Pancho! That's our Davos!

But this is not your Davos. You are not on file, under the name you were given to use, as having denied The Carousel Of Progress. [Your Name] has been Cleared, umbrage squeezed dry and ready for productive action in service to Man's Betterment. If L.Ron were ever alive, he would be. If Tony Robbins were real, he would guide you personally across the hot coals. Parma-shahanda Yoga-nanda, Parley-voo. In your mind, a Crackerjack prize, and in your gloved hand, the feel of a bag strap made from an endangered petrochemical, all telling you this is real.

(But: The whole squeezing Man's Betterment is just fake bullshit, a double-blind ruse. You're here in Davos in a big quilt, so far under the covers that your latitude and longitude come up Zeroes. You're not who you say you are, and never were. The hopes of all humankind stain your carpeting in expectation that you would complete this mission and get an oil change. God is with you, but he steals your stuff and sells it downtown.)

You stride up to the 4-star hotel desk repeatedly, just trying it out. The clerks -- parthenogenic, muted -- take no notice. They are busy timing each other's movements and their interactions with guests. The clerk with the lowest total time receives a coupon for a discount-price small soda. The rest are allowed to live, but forced to wear old animal costumes outside the hotel, in public, so that all will know of their shame and inexactitude.

Your electronic room key is imprinted with the likeness of Klaus Schaub, wearing a bib, and pictured eating in a 'Communist Lobster' franchise restaurant. The room, fragrant with violets; your phone, seeking you; and promises of delights of the eye, tongue and intellect are hung around the wallpapered box of your room like laundry washed in the sink. It is cheesy and expensive: the highest expression of the Free Market. You have made it.

Pencils down. You evacuate your bowels. The toilet has a shelf for you, the curious, to view leavings before flushing, and it would be churlish to refuse anything offered for free. This act of introspection will be your best moment at Davos. They told you this would happen -- but nothing, nothing could prepare you for that moment of contact, of spurning. You wash your hand.

2.   Where You Were, Gentlemen

It's the day. There are WEF conferences and hubub scheduled, rooms, many rooms, of people murmuring peasancarrots, peasandcarrots repeatedly. But you were instructed to feign shyness until The Moment. You hang. You chill. In The Packed Elevator, you do your Robin Williams laugh -- and everyone in the Car suddenly does the same thing.

You almost flinch. It's endless, permeable, like having a colonoscopy on a train -- but you remember: Keep control. Deep breaths. Be Coolidge: You Lose. Then, the Car stops; its doors slide open and a man moves past you, still making his seal-bark laugh, pausing to wipe his eyes on a woman's hair, and pat you on the shoulder as if to say, Dude -- good one.

Here, finally; the white placard outside a door to an auditorium, a single word in red: Stumpfegger. This is where you are to meet your contact. You accept a glance from the woman beside the door -- an intense simulacrum of Donna Reed -- who hands you a brochure entitled Complete Release. Blushing, she says this conference covers "the plot for forgiveness of all First-World debt." You smile, nodding, earnest, but keep moving. Your mission is more important than what you suspect about her thong underwear -- and will never know. You'll have to live with that.

They said, Your contact will know you. All you had to do was to find "Stumpfegger" and show up. You stand near the tasteful refreshment table and realize the man serving drinks is a frenzied doppelgänger for Joe Turkel, eternal bartender in The Shining, and decline a tequila shooter. You wave the Complete Release brochure back and forth, as instructed -- a signal, an urgent, full-bladder motion, and think about thong underwear. Really hard.

Then, you see The Contact. You see them seeing you see them, actually. Everything that happens after this is a blur; you'll be debriefed about it for weeks in extra crispy detail, a swimming up from sewage depth to where sheep graze, safely. And, fortunately for you, the story will not change. You will be allowed to go back to wherever it is you come from. You will be allowed to toil in many jobs, but not remain for long -- because Lt. Gerard will always show up, looking for money.

What catches your attention about The Contact first is his hair, its architectural blondness -- now whitish, now caution orange, and shiny, like preternatural two-tone ice cream or a small child's flotation device. The Contact is a suet, puffed inside his black suit, behind the signature doublewide red tie. His face is a carnivore drunkard's bloat, too-small eyes, piggish; his mien oblate and spiky. His lips are a crayon line drawn by an angry pensioner across the lower third of that orange face. The French Cuffs of his whitish shirt have little numbers embroidered on them: "45",  and he is nodding, nodding, at you as he walks forward. This is your contact.

3.   Historical Briefs With A Brown Streak Of Genius

A Stonehenge of men and women in sunglasses surround The Contact. They move in formation, maintaining a Raggedly Ann circle around him, continually bumping into other guests, chairs, tables, each other, headed right towards you in a chorus of s'cuse me; par-done, pal; hey lookout; aw christ you could see me comin', right? and who keep reaching inside their jackets as if checking to ensure they still have their wallets.

You clench. The deer flips on its headlights and there you are, about to get a mouthful of antler (Hi! Remember me? You hit me with the Volkswagen! Payback's a bitch, pal!). You think of the face of your mother -- or Lady Gaga, or another suitable female substitute, just as The Contact stops directly in front of you. You are standing in his Circle Of Trust, surrounded by partially blind people who have weapons.

"Hey, you know," The Contact says, lifting his chin and tilting his head back to look down at you, Mussolini squinting at a small boat far out at sea, "You know, I was out there, goin' by, and thought, 'You know, I should stop in there'. How's it goin'?" You open your mouth to answer but the contact, like the voiceover for an industrial safety film, keeps on talking.

"There's so many things goin' on here! It's like the world's fair of banking and whatever, right? You know, they never -- never -- wanted to invite me to Davos. I mean, I'm the most sympathetic person to what they want to do, in this whole place, the whole thing, me -- and they never invited me before! Not once!"

The Contact sees a blur moving outside his Circle Of Trust and raises a hand, perfect white teeth in the ocher pudding of his face, saying, "Hey, thank you. How ya doin', yeah; thank you," before turning the oily tumblers in his eyes back on you.

The Contact's eyes widen to the size of dimes. He throws his hands out, experimentally, the breadth of a large fish. "But, n-ow -- now, they had to invite me! I'm the leader of the free world, right? Over 300 on the electoral; nobody ever mentions that, by the way. But, hey -- Swiss've been great, they really have, very gracious -- they've been very, very good to me, very respectful. Not saying they're not. I'm very much thinking I hope they stay like that."

You nod. You lean towards him slightly, and enunciate the code phrase: Hobo Oboe.  The Contact stops, squints, pushes on his chin. "Din' getcha," he says; you rinse and repeat. The Contact thinks about what an impression of remembering something might look like, then leans towards you, and speaks a countersign: "Ah, Yeah, yeah.  'My Penile Prosthesis'." He steps a little closer and, with a quick glance around the room, squeezes out a shruglet, raising his brows while the eyes remain inscrutable, swinish.

This was the moment. This was why you came to Davos: to observe your leavings, and tell this person what you were instructed to say -- a single phrase, "Stormy Weather". You ignore the sure impression you have gained that The Contact is wearing thong underwear, stand on your feet's balls, and draw a deep breath -- but before you can speak, The Contact interrupts you.

"Hey, I have a lot to do; so much to do, I've got -- you wouldn't believe how much I have to do in this job. I tell you, if I could go on strike, I'd do that. Leftists would love it. Chuck Schumer'd love it -- but I am the most involved president, hands-on involved, of any president. Not since Lincoln, or anyone, has there been a harder-working president than I am. So that's one.

"Two, nobody is listening to me. I mean, the people, some of the people, they listen, sure. But there's a fucking conspiracy with the New York Times and fucking PBS. Jesus; fucking Frontline. The Washington Post -- that Bezos, he's just trying to mindfuck me. But, I'll be fair, some of my own people -- don't want to name anybody, but some of them are very close to me -- use the media to talk themselves up. Take credit, make me look like some crazy, stupid person. Happened just last week."

Everyone in the Stumpfegger Room is looking at something else while they look at The Contact, and you. He has drawn himself up on a cocktail napkin, his gut pendulous within a tent of jacket; he pushes a stubby finger into the inches before your face, shouting, "I'm tellin' you: I am not stupid, like everyone says! I'm Smart!! I am fucking in charge!"

"I was elected with the largest electoral numbers in modern history -- I was, me! Not the goddamn Daily News! And I'm about ready to say to the Post, 'Hey, Jeff; you want to get shut down? You want a military censor sitting in your office with a magnifying glass up your ass? You want the IRS looking at your offshore LLCs?' And those terrible conditions in his shipping places; just terrible. We're gonna look into that. He's outta control, that guy; it's very sad how outta control.

"I'm not even getting into the Russia thing. Yeah, we're lining up for ol' Bobby; and oh, everyone's gonna be surprised when we let go, my friend!" His face is an alarmed bell of crimson. "see, it takes just one thing, just one thing, and the whole ball game can change. That's what I'm saying; I'm saying that. All right." His face relaxes like a sphincter, and he nods, lifting a hand with two fingers, faintly Benedictine. "All right. Thanks very much. Great to see you."

The theme to "Heroes Of Telemark" begins to play in the background and he's off walking, his perimeter of flesh shifting with him back through the room and out the door.  A tendril in your head saying hey man that tequila shooter be lookin' good right now. From here to eternity, everyone is turning, turning, and have come round, Right wing, at last, to be looking at you. If curious glances had their own mucus, you would be coated in slime.

You order a tequila; the Joe Turkel bartender says Your Money's No Good There, and it's all on the House. Somewhere, you realize that you did not give The Contact that message. On the way back to the hotel, your Uber driver talks about a company which has made an app -- an interactive photo-calendar of shaved animals, for other animals. It has had two billion downloads at $2.99 each.

Obligatory Dog-Faced Fruit Bat Photo: Pooch Of The Sky

At the hotel, you receive a message: Mother says the cow is sick. You must come home immediately. Tickets will be delivered today. There is also a huge, Dog-Faced Fruit Bat, in a basket, from the Davos Chamber Of Commerce. One of these messages is benign, the other ominous, and you do not know which is which.

The Fruit Bat turns on the room's television;  you both watch situation comedies in German until the Fruit Bat turns to you and says, "Are you understanding any of this?"

The Fruit Bat dials Room Service and orders a Martini. After a time, the Room Service waiter, a man in his mid-twenties, appears. He places the Martini, and the bill, on a side table.  The Fruit Bat sips at the Martini in silence. The waiter stands to one side, observing. The world wonders.

After a few minutes, the waiter politely clears his throat and says, "You know -- we don't get many Fruit Bats ordering Martinis here." The Fruit Bat, glancing at the bill, replies, "Yes; and at these prices, you won't see many more of us, either."

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Same Subjects Appear, Revealed As A Massive Protrusion

No Surprises Here
ED:  Big Al says dogs can't look up.
SHAUN:  That's just stupid. 'Course they can look up.
-- Nick Frost, Simon Pegg;
    Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
Mongo Vs. Earth: You Can't See The Stars In This Position

Part of me is grateful I will not live to see just how bad it will be. I understand: this feeling is stupid, like picking up a burning coal to throw it at Something I Dislike, succeeding only in searing my hand.  I am a Dog that rushes frantically in a circle, round and around, ears laid back and wildly barking at something unseen, when it really wants the food bowl the rug the warm the dream of running, being sensate, in the World.

The carnival is enough to drive a saint mad, but we love the Lesser Lights and popcorn so. Even as we are urged toward the Exit, we will dawdle. Part of me spiteful, part of me grateful, I get up in the dark to go to The Place O' Witless Labor (they do not recognize This Holiday) and look up, to see the Big Moon.

For Food And Medicine, Detained Children Should Politely Beg For Annie's Mercy

As the Balloon Moon goes down, CNN suggests that Nancy Pelosi bypass The Leader and negotiate directly with the persons who provide the Leader with direction: ... when it comes to Trump's immigration policy, [Ann Coulter] and radio show host Rush Limbaugh might be the most influential voices. That's why if Pelosi wants to end this shutdown, she should start by speaking with Coulter and Limbaugh, not the President.
Ass Holes

The Leader, and Leader-In-Waiting Pence, made a surprise visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C. this morning (video at the link below).

According to the press pool report, The Leader and Pence appeared; Leader set a wreath against the wall of the King memorial, then turned and said, “Good morning, everybody; great day. Beautiful day. Thank you for being here. Appreciate it.”

This was the extent of his remarks. The Leader made no mention of Dr. King, the significance of King's life's work or his sacrifice, and the relevance and meaning of this to Americans today.

The Leader was present at the memorial site for approximately two minutes. Immediately after his, uh, remarks, he walked away. His full trip -- including transportation from the White House, and back -- lasted a total of 15 minutes.

Pence said nothing, as usual silent in the presence of The Leader. Yesterday, on the pundit program, Sit On The Face Of The Nation, he lifted a quote from Dr. King's 'I Have A Dream' speech ("Now is the time to make real the promises of Democracy"), to support demands that the bad Democrats give The Leader his $5.7 billion to build a border wall with Mexico (HuffPo).

The Unseen Powerbars That Be Are Cheered By The Predictable Banality

Another one smites the trust: Kamala Harris does seem to have many precious things which the Democratic National Committee is looking for in A Dream Candidate -- but the bestest one is that she's well and truly wired into the System through the big, heavy fiber optic cables that connect California's Democratic party network into the DNC and beyond, into fabled spaces where the Big Donors and Celebrated Elders live.

It feels correct to say the DNC's chosen candidate will be one they believe can sail right down the middle, a non-revolutionary revolutionary. One who still can say, convincingly, things in Caucasianspeak, and also say Po-wer To The Peep-ul; Right On! A younger, nonwhite Hillary Clinton would give the appearance of being A Centrist Savior and an antidote to four years of The Leader.

But if poling data shows America wants a feisty Older Bro, they might favor O'Rourke (Clinton Third Way likee him). But if it seems America wants a Healing Papa, a Suit to look Presidential who won't ask who's giving him his orders, the DNC may have Joe Bison.
Obligatory Cute Animal Blog Photo In Middle Of Political Opinionizing
(Note: Bison Cannot Look Up)

A Bison presidency could be eight years of great photo ops. Getting America back "for all the people", getting in step with the New World Ordure, and cleaning all the crayon scribbles off the walls of the White House. America would be allowed once again to feel good about appearing to be a sovereign nation -- and, oh yes; a democracy. Right!

Ocasio-Cortez = Person Of Color, but too Boatrocker.   Gillibrand, Warren = too white.  Gabbard = Person Of Color, check; but Who? and, she has that little scandal.   Bernie = too old, and (like Ojedia, Delaney, Yang, Castro) too male.   O'Rourke is too also male, but also too What?  Kamala is POC, decisively not Bro, not too Boatrocker, and already looks good in a suit.

Obscenities Of Which We Have Not Yet Been Informed

Oxfam International reports that the combined personal wealth of the 26 richest individuals on the planet is $1.4 Trillion -- equal to the net wealth of the 3.8 Billion poorest people on Earth (CNN).

There are ~ 2,200 Billionaires world-wide, with a combined personal net worth of $9.1 Trillion.


Monday, January 14, 2019

A Random Bark

The Leader Is A Liar

In the mainstream media, reports continually say that The Leader makes "misstatements," or that his speeches and social media comments contain "inaccuracies" or "misleading" information -- but (with few exceptions) the media does not often say, simply and clearly, Donald Trump is a liar.

That sentence is accurate. It is not a distortion. The evidence that Trump lies is plentiful. It is not a politically-motivated attack, or invented -- he says things that are not true, every single day. It is a statement of fact, as real as gravity and 2+2 = 4: Donald Trump is a liar.

So -- whenever the subject of The Leader comes up -- everyone in America should begin their side of the conversation by saying, Donald Trump is a liar. Then pause, then continue.

Members of Congress, when asked by reporters about The Leader's latest antics; Left talking heads, discussing Important Topics on Washington Week or 'Meet The Press'; or opinion writers composing their latest columns; all should begin with the same first sentence: Donald Trump is a liar.

It needs to be repeated, over and over and over -- because The Leader is a liar.  Donald Trump is a liar.  It should be said straight, and clear.

MEHR, MIT HUHN INS FOTO:  I just really like this graphic.

Big Fat Liar: Missy Sara, Shamed By The Chicken

Friday, January 4, 2019

Glad To Be Unhappy

Cool And Blue

While on the bus down to the Embarcadero, heading for the Place 'O Witless Labor, I remembered how easy it once was to find a sense of San Francisco in the Fifties, a feeling in the air or something found around a corner.

I had come here on and off for years before making The City home, and that 50's feeling had always been here. It was a button-down, 'Mad Men' kind of vibe -- as if a redhead in a pearl-grey Coco Chanel suit and expensive perfume had walked through a room, leaving that fragrance behind, lingering. It was Herb Caen and Charles McCabe's columns in the Chronicle; it was summers at Lake Tahoe; 'Gold Coast' old money (San Francisco was the only city west of Denver with a Social Register).

It was women wearing white gloves to Sunday services at Saints Peter and Paul, or Grace Cathedral; it was Democratic machine politics and Longshoremen. The navy had a shipyard in The City, bases around the Bay; there was a famous prison just offshore and one of the world's greatest suspension bridges across the Golden Gate.

Even into the 1970's, you could find echoes of all that -- the whole Tony Bennett, terribly-alone-and-forgotten-in-Manhattan thing; cable cars rumbling along foggy night streets; Caucasian men with Sta-Pressed hair who wore suits by Botany 500 with a handkerchief in their breast pocket, leaving their offices in the Financial District for drinks at House Of Shields, the St. Francis or Mark Hopkins' lower bar, the Starlight Room at the Sir Francis Drake -- or, if they were a little adventurous, the Black Hawk Night Club down in the Tenderloin.

I'm not forgetting that this was the Leave It To Beaver 50's and 60's. The repressed psyches, institutionalized racism, sexism and homophobia; Might Makes Right against a monolithic Commie enemy, and Capitalism Consumerism was fully in control. We had faced off against those Commies in Korea less than a decade before, and were revving up for A Land War In Southeast Asia. Believe me: Television and film haven't managed to capture how good, and how bad, we had it back in the Day.

There were foghorns on the Bay (the original ones, replaced in the mid-eighties, had been there for fifty years; I lived in North Beach and went to sleep by them), and late-night dinners in Chinatown. And you could find more poignant reverberations of the 50's in jazz being played in small clubs across the City; a few of them lasted into the early Eighties. They were intense, smoky dives, often loud -- and while there are more jazz clubs in the Bay Area now than ever before, they're polite showcases by comparison.

When I do hear any jazz, I immediately think of a saxophone -- specifically, an Alto sax, whether one is present or not (I played Reeds, back in The Day, and this may be the reason why). I do listen to the Sax action of Mr. Charles Parker, and Mssrs. Coltraine, Getz, Lateef ,and others (here's a list of over 50 jazz saxophonists, with clips of their styles for comparison; check them out).

But, for me, only one Sax player truly does it: Paul Desmond. The cool, grey-blue images he painted are part of the soundtrack of a San Francisco that I still see, hiding in memory most of my adult life.

Some recent critics have noted that the 'Blue' jazz played by musicians like Desmond (as opposed to the hotter, 'Red' jazz interpretations by Parker, or Coltraine) in the early 50's to mid-60's reflected that America's look-the-other-way, don't-spoil-the-party Bourgeois culture. It was cool, intellectual, detached music -- playing as issues and passions were slowly coming to a boil, demanding change, involvement, commitment. I think there's truth in that -- interpretation in art doesn't grow out of a vacuum, and Desmond had said he was trying to create the equivalent in sound of "a dry Martini" -- but his music is also just damn good. 

Obligatory Cute Small Animal Photo In Middle Of Blog Culture Thing
(Sasha Arutyunova / New York Times)

Desmond was a local boy; after forty years in The City, I've occasionally met people who Knew Him When. San Francisco is where Dave Brubeck, another local kid and a pianist acquaintance of Desmond's in the music scene, had already been playing around the Bay Area since the late 1940's. He had even hired Brubeck at one point to play backup piano for him at various gigs, then replaced him.

Brubeck eventually developed an eight-person band, then a trio. He had brought Desmond into the Octet, but in forming the Trio, Brubeck didn't bring him along. Desmond was not happy about it, not shy about telling Brubeck off, and left the Bay Area for New York. For roughly a year, he played his alto sax as part of a 'big band' orchestra led by Jack Fina (whose most famous composition was "Bumble Boogie" [1946]).

Desmond did make some connections with other jazz artists in New York, but wasn't the City By The Bay where he had most of his contacts. Meanwhile, back in Frisco, Brubeck and his Trio had signed a contract with a local label, and were selling thousands of records. Out in The Big Apple, Desmond heard their music played on a local radio station and was impressed; it may have reminded him of a lost opportunity, back in his home town.

In 1951, Brubeck suffered a serious spinal injury while diving in Hawaii. He recovered, but performing intricate fingering on the piano that required more dexterity caused him physical pain. From that point forward, he began writing songs based around chords, played with the whole hand, with individual notes kept to a minimum. This became a recognizable signature in Brubeck's music (at least, it's always seemed that way to me; I'm not a music historian or critic).

Meanwhile, Desmond decided to return to the Bay Area specifically to ask Brubeck to join his group -- which took some doing, given how they'd parted a year before. Brubeck was skeptical, but relented, and Desmond joined a new Dave Brubeck Quartet, along with Bob Bates (Double Bass) and Joe Dodge (Drums). A piano player I was acquainted with once told me he had seen their first public performance at the old Black Hawk in the fall of 1951 -- the nightclub became home base for the group when not on tour.

Through the 1950s and 60s, Desmond (per notes on the Fresh Sounds Records website) "had one of the sweetest gigs in jazz history". For at least a quarter-century, Brubeck's Quartet was one of the most commercially successful, marketed and widely known jazz ensembles in America. And as its single horn player, Desmond's "supremely lyrical, sublimely melodic playing... [became] a defining sound of the era."

The actual Quartet only remained as a regular group for roughly fifteen years, until 1967. By then, Brubeck and Desmond, individually, were well-established and in-demand musicians. The Quartet resurfaced periodically from the mid-70's on, performing in reunion tours and spot appearances -- in part, I think, just to give Brubeck and himself the opportunity to play together. Desmond's involvement with the Quartet lasted until his death in 1977.

Desmond's work with Brubeck (specifically the iconic track they co-wrote, Take Five) is how most people recognize him, but Desmond's Wikipedia page lists over 70 albums issued between 1950 and 1976 on which he either contributed, or was the featured performer.

His music seems a good way to find a path into the New Year: Try these.


(1962; Includes an orchestral string section as backup on most tracks)


(1956; This is a 1975 live recording in Toronto. Composer: Gerry Mulligan)


MEHR, MIT HUNDE:  And then there is this:  Ah, San Francisco -- One Big Campus, One Big Dorm; Land of Rich Kiddies.

Mentioning this to a friend in my Curmudgeonly Dog way, I barked that Come The Recession the Trust-Fund-Tech-Bros-and-Broettes will all have to go home to live with Mommy and Daddy. My friend replied, "Look up there -- see that, the 'Salesforce Tower'? It means 'They' are here to stay, man; and the City wants them. Screw the homeless and you 'n me; bring on the rich, rich, rich." 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Reprint Heaven Forever: Is It Wonderful This Life

Is It Wonderful This Life?
By I. Rabschinsky

George Bailey Guy Understanding How We Are To Being Completely Screwed

This is now usual standard hoo boy holiday good for you Internets Tradition. You should enjoy, since next time it may be costing you -- because in our Big Huge Nation there is becoming no room for little opinions such as these. They can make very hard to find you on the Googling. And when Internets are very expensive, Peoples will choose sites which load quickly. Like ZuckCo., Good News Tower Of Power, and Wholesome Musik For Children. You understand.

Ha ha ha. But, of course; if you have the money, you can see. If you are with the huge money, you can have opinions. How fast the Freedom goes, because Freedom. Ha ha ha!

Great-Uncle Yehudi, who is older, still, but strong enough to want to be hit by telephone book until falling down, refuses to be watching the television news. Little Rupert Fox, he never watched, but now he will not watch See Enn Enn, Big Mouse News, or Amazon News, or even BBC or the PBS Very Balanced. "I am angry, Isidore," he says from the big chair which reclines. "I would spit, if I was not in my own house, sitting."

But what if you are not watching, I say; you will be not the informed! Great-Uncle Yehudi says, "You are watching what somebodys are wanting to teach you. And their lesson is always, 'You have no power! You are betrayed! Love the Tsar! You cannot be fighting the Bosses! Obey the Cossacks! Shut your mouth and convert to be Christian kind of Gentile!' "

So what do we do? Yehudi makes a sour face. "I will be watching watch The Mister Ed." But what do we do if the Cossacks come? I ask, and Great-Uncle Yehudi laughs.

"Izzi, you are my favorite Great-Nephew (I am only great-nephew, I remind), but Cossacks are here. You have to choose between learning the lesson They are teaching now, or not learning. And if you decide not to learn, then you must be waiting, and when time comes, being ready to fight."  

Ah; Great-Uncle Yehudi: still, we love him. So we make this the annual offering of the Funny for you, hoping that it can remind of the Time Before and make a smile.

I, Rabschinsky, say this say this -- to Moldavish Guy; you also.

So always in the America there is at this time the fooding, and also the Sports Produkt on the television. Many people filling themselves with Holiday as if they about to be told, "Next year, you cannot eat!". I am thinking they are the hostage of their Hindbrain, which is still Neanderthal and wishes to fight with Mastodon. But, still.

And, I am noticing specific films which is only appearing on Amerikanyets television at these months between like maybe September and the time of your New Year.

My examples: At Passover, some of the television is showing The Ten Super Big Mitzvah Rules, with Charlton Heston Guy -- you know, movie where Moses stop making fooling around to pretend he is Big Guy of the Egypt, and decides to get real job saving People Of Israel.

This requires lots of people walking around, always saying "Oh, Moses, Moses, Moses" -- like, if they say this three times, they will be teleported by magik into better movie. Navarone Kind Of Big Guns, maybe, or Socialist-Colored Panther.

Place Which Is Gone Forever: Amerikanyets Driving To Movies:
"Moses, Moses, Moses -- What is happening with our Drive-Ins?"

At another time in year, they are showing same Heston Guy what is Moses in Big Mitzvah Rules in another movie, Ben Of Her. However this is basically film of Jewish guy who becomes like early Jesus guy, but by accident.

Movie is good; he is Number Forty-One guy in slave ship, rowing like animator for the Disney; there are becoming big boat battle, and he gets to be some kind of honorary Goyim. Later, there is an exciting thing with horses and carts -- but it is not the porn film, so too bad for you. Go to web sites where they have not blocked you.

Charlton Ben Heston Making The Ramming Speed, 1959

At finally, with the Christmas, every year since somebody discover the Secret Of Fire there is this broadcasting this movie, It Is Wonderful This Life, made by Frank Capra Guy in 1947, showing the kind of place which everybody wanted to believe was the Amerika. Small town, everybody knows everybody; values is good and everybody work hard and knows their places.

Just like village in the Moldova, except animals do not leave defecation in the street, everyone is speaking English, and most people have job. Plus concrete used in apartment buildings is better quality.

Every single year they are showing this film. It is now a classic also, like Wizard Of Odd and Potemkin Kind Of Battleship and Mister Hulot Goes To Beach Place. It is as big movie as The Tanks Know The Truth (Very popular Great Patriotic War movie made in the Russia. My Great-Uncle Yehudi claims he is in this film as Extra, but still we love him).

Big Scene From Tanks Knowing The Truth: Are They Knowing?
Well, They Are Tank; You Are Person. You Want To Be That Sure?

It Is Wonderful This Life story is maybe simple: Guy, George Bailey Guy, living in small town wants to die, because he thinks his life is shit. And there are the angels, who show us life of this Guy in the little town, and how he is The Good, and there is the Rich Guy who is The Bad. And George Bailey Guy never gets to do things in the Life because the Fate is not for him.

Then there is mistake with money (a problem made from the Rich Bad Guy), for which he is blamed, and he runs from family and goes to place of Publik Alkohol; finally he goes to bridge to jump in freezing water so his family will get small piece of Insurance money. Very Sad (There is also squirrel in another scene which is sad, but never mind). Also very Petit-Bourgeois.

So, Angel Guy comes to the Earth and shows this George Bailey Guy his life is maybe kind of okay, not so much the shit; and boom boom boom, problem with the money goes away in big scene at end when everyone gives him their money, and everyone sings. So happy, little bells on tree and big bells of church ring; America wins the World War Two and future is filled with television and freeway. The End.

But this is too simple, my friend. No way is actual life like this. So, maybe some of me thinks this is kind of the Propaganda about America, to keep us from seeing the Truth of the Things.

And, there is forbidden version of this film, which is other kind of the Propaganda. Please -- allow me to introduce.

борьбе за построение социализма во время Угнетение
(также называется "Любовь и революция" после 1991)

("Love And Revolution", Directed By Frank Kapronovich [1949]; Starring Pytor Chost, Gravnik Bolodorin, Irina Valutin. Special appearances by the Spirit Of Revolution, also Che Guevara, Samuel Beckett, and entire 12th Guards Motorized Infantry Regiment)

SO, movie opens with Guy, Georgi Edwardovich Bailey Guy, at the Bridge. He is unhappy, this Guy; boy oh boy he is like making the panic. He goes to public alkohol place and tries to think, but he only finds himself between the forces of dissent and confusion!

TROTSKYITE GUY: River not so bad, after five minutes.
EXISTENTIAL GUY: Wait, but no one comes. No one cares.

Hoo boy; Georgi is in big fix. This guy has family with SmallChilds, and tiny Policy Insuring The Life -- and he is believing everybody would be better off if he would jump and get it over with, already.

GEORGI: My life is steaming pile of animal things,
because the Rich Guy will always win. Now I am jumping.

But, Georgi is being watched at Bridge. Not by some angel Guy (none of this reliance on things which cannot be proven by good Socialist science!) -- but even better -- is Spirit Of Revolutsya!

(Spirit Of The Revolution Watches Georgi)

And, The Spirit saves Georgi! He takes him to place where they can speak of things, of the Truth -- and slowly, Georgi's eyes are opened to not only the forces of historical determinism, but the inevitability of struggle against the oppressor classes!

GEORGI: So you are saying that when the consciousness
of the People is raised sufficiently, that armed struggle
is not only necessary but inevitable?
SPIRIT: You got it, Comrade.

So, Georgi, now with eyes opened thanks to the words of the kindly Spirit, is seeing that the world is filled with inequality and criminal things so big your head feels like kicked soccer ball. It is like understanding that, not only are you living as Dog, lapping up the vomit of the Rich Guy, but you work in factory to make guns to force others to live like this (Also, the Rich Guy pays you in fake dog vomit and those X-Ray glasses which do not work).

For Georgi, this is whole bunch of dried fish to eat in one night (Like story by that Guy, Dickens Guy, Carol Burnett Christmas, or something). This is the Life? He is asking himself.

A World Of Things For Them, But Not Food For Children

Economy And Bad Fate For Peoples Means Nothing To Them

For Them, The World Is Something To Carve Up, Like Beef

While The Many People Lose Everything To The Illegal Foreclosure

So now Georgi is filled with indignant and bad feeling for The State Of These Things. He feels the pain of the oppressed, working masses, and is being filled with Revolutionary Fervor -- and he goes to talk with the People in his little village, to tell them what the Spirit had revealed to him -- and the Spirit sends along friend, Che Guevara Guy, to help.

GEORGI: We don't have to live under the heel of Potter's boot!
He's just some, bloodsucking animal! Feeding on all of us -- and I'm
tired of living on fake dog vomit! We have to run things!
CHE GUEVARA SPIRIT GUY: Ay, Yi Yi! You listen to this guy.

The People, moved by Georgi's words, march with him to the place of the Bad Rich Guy, to demand Justice, the chance to make something other than guns, and to be paid in actual money instead of rubber dog vomit and X-Ray glasses which do not work.

BAD RICH GUY: You realize that the manufacture and sale of
weapons around the globe is the backbone of our nation's industry?
GEORGI: You don't understand -- the days of taking your rubber
dog barf are over, Potter! We're going to run things!
MOB: No fake dog barf!! No fake dog barf!!

BAD RICH GUY: My family has run this town for fifty generations.
All I have to do is close the factories. How long will it be before
your little rag-tag mob starts to starve? They'll come crawling back
to work -- and for half the rubber dog barf I gave you before!

Then, Georgi takes the Big Step -- the one which all oppressed people are taking in these movies when faced with Oppressors who pay them with rubber dog vomit: He crosses line from intellectualizing his oppression to active revolutionary.

Otherwise, we would have no resolution of all this rising action; and only ending for this film possible is that everyone would go for Pizza. This is unsatisfying from view of the Socialist imperative.

GEORGI: You're wrong, Potter -- you, and people of your
class are finished. Now you're going to face Justice for your
crimes -- because the People own the means of production!

And so The Bad Rich Guy is taken away by the People; his house later becomes hospital, day-care center, and place where revolutionary theater troupes practice before going into the streets.

And, of course, there is a proper celebration at the Georgi Bailey house, with the Revolutsia Spirit and the SmallChilds.

GEORGI: Gosh, Spirit, I don't know how we can thank you.
SMALLCHILD 01: Spirit, can't you stay and have some Fair
Trade™ coffee with homemade whiskey with us?
SPIRIT: No, SmallChild; I must go. There are so many oppressed
peoples in a world beset by unspeakable monsters of Capital.
But I will take a shot of that whiskey -- neat, please.

Finally, after long discussion between Rich Bad Guy and the Organs Of State Security, he faces Revolutionary Justice and the verdict of The People.

RICH BAD GUY: Long live International Capitalism!

And, of course, Georgi and his lovely wife are pausing in their labor to build a New Socialist Future to share a moment's reflection on the plight of The Peoples, and also to suggest some hygienic sexual activity between them which may occur later.

...and in the background, The Internationale swells on the soundtrack, sung by the Sad Vlad Orphans Choir Of Greater Moscow! Please to show the credits!

This film has not been shown since its original release; big shame, also, because it is at least as good as movie with Bert Landcaster in it but of the name, just now, is escaping me.

Great-Uncle Yehudi likes Revolutionary Love. He thinks it is wonderful comedy, but still we love him. If you can find this film on DVD, then okay. If not, well then it is big world out there! Be That Guy -- go find!

I, Rabschinsky, say this -- to Moldavish Guy; you also.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Random Barking Friday: Euro-Girls

Eee-Urrp u. Deutschland

All kinds of stuff is happening with Euro-Girls. This just another way of saying that it's year-end, and things at the Place O' Witless Labor are heating up so budget dollars can be spent. The Ghost Of Exmass Past has arrived, and that Guy With The Salmon Mousse is just outside. And the time and energy for Das Blog is slim.

So we offer The New and Improved Theresa May, struggling for relevance in a World That Doesn't Care.

But, let's skip To Hell With the politiki.  Woof ! Muss Sein. Es ist so:  Enjoy.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Reprint Heaven Forever: Still Missed

Thirty-Eight Years

I am reminded to remember, remember, the 8th of December.

Something About Him Was Always A Kick-Out-The-Jambs Liverpudlian Rebel
Speak, Memory: One of the two arrests we made that day hadn't gone well. After putting the car in the basement garage at the Federal Building, I'd walked up the underground ramp to the street, intending to buy my second pack of Marlboros of the day from the liquor store up the next block. Stepping inside, I looked down at a stack of the early edition of a paper which isn't even around any longer, lying on the counter below the cash register with a banner headline in 48-point type: JOHN LENNON SLAIN.  Fuck; I thought, and then said it out loud.  


Wednesday, December 5, 2018


Death; Food, Pooch

(Screenshot: New York Times)

Yeah Yeah: I understand, this is a national Day 'O Mourning. While I can't go as far as some in their criticism of Ol' Poppy -- he was a blueblood patrician, an Owner; a Bonesman; an influential advisor with The Carlyle Group; DCI at CIA; and President. He was as wired-in as it was possible to be. His wife's comments about survivors of Hurricane Katrina reflected perfectly how Poppy's class views persons such as you, and me -- servants, encumbrances, chattel, inconveniences.

Somewhere, John Calvin is smiling on the man who was born to rule by a just god: George Herbert Walker Bush -- a human being; a husband and parent; a man, and he's dead -- but, given everything, beyond the recognition that we were of the same species I just can't bring myself to give a shit.

Anyhow: on the bright side of life, I sniffed out this bit from the Paper Of Record. The author is both fond of cooking, and a Corgi named Max (hoo hoo hoo cute Pooch; just look at that face. How could you not love that face?), and decided to turn Max into a Star on social media -- and at the same time prompting a discussion about Food and living and, you know, stuff. But there was a catch.
Yet about four months and 70 Instagram posts later [the author's social media platform display] is far from stardom. Despite how cute Max looked or how plump my steamed pork buns appeared, the account stagnated at roughly 300 followers. Max’s “likes” plateaued at an average of about 60. No sponsorship offers appeared in my inbox.
What the author did next to try and boost Max's (and his) popularity into the stratosphere is an interesting tale on popularity and the place social media -- such as this blog, for example -- has in global culture at this high point in our species' development. It's got everything: intrigue, technology and bots; a social media strategy; a desire for love and adulation and stardom and corporate sponsorship; apparently tasty things to eat, and a cute Pooch. What the hell else do you need?

(Screenshot: New York Times)

Yeah Yeah: all this is a First-world Problem. It does not involve horrific air strikes or the death of major land mammals or anything whatsoever about The Leader. However, it's way better than spending any time watching Poppy Bush's send-off, 'John Calvin Now Praises Famous Men'. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

Random Barking Friday

Pardonne Moi 
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will tentatively face sentencing on March 5, a federal judge ruled on Friday, after the U.S. special counsel investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia said the former top aide had breached his plea deal.
Common Wisdom: Lying to a Federal agent, United States' Attorney, or Assistant U.S. Attorney after having negotiated a plea bargain with the selfsame Feds guarantees they will (metaphorically speaking) double-team rubber-hose you and then piss on your head from a great height. They will do this to make an example of you, and impress upon everyone that you are a lowlife  loser scumbag who tried to hustle the System. They will do it to prove that you aren't the smart, special human you believe yourself to be, but an idiot primate, not wearing pants.

At sentencing, a judge will take interest in the Feds' recommendations -- and, something to keep in mind: when making arguments for sentencing, prosecutors can literally throw everything against the wall at you which is legally supportable and which will stick. They are not limited solely to physical evidence or testimony presented at trial. They will attempt to paint you as the guy who, if presented with an opportunity to make serious money selling Opioids to fifth-graders, would take a whole thirty seconds before saying yes.

And, because you violated your plea bargain and wasted the court's time, chances are good a Federal judge will hand down a sentence closer to whatever maximum term the U.S. Attorney has requested -- and where you do that time may be in a Medium-security facility, not a white-collar country club, you stupid, bare-assed monkey.

But, that may only pertain to idiot primates, Little People like you or me, and not World-Class Playahs with the chance for a Get Outta Jail Free card provided by The Leader.

Manfort is currently segregated in population at a local jail facility. He had been under house arrest on a $10M bond, awaiting trial on tax evasion and money laundering charges, but attempted to suborn perjury from potential witnesses while at home. The Federal judge in his case Had a Sad, revoked Manafort's bail and ordered him jailed. Initially, Paulie received 'VIP treatment' in custody, until the Feds complained he was continuing to conduct business and do who knows what in jail (hint: they probably did know).

Then, on August 21, Manafort was convicted, and by September, struck a plea bargain with the U.S. Attorney's office promising to cooperate fully with the Special Counsel and his team's investigation.

Having negotiated that plea bargain through his own Counsel, Paulie  a) Had to know anything he said would be analyzed with an electron microscope, but also  b) He had no idea what Mueller's team already knew. So what Manafort did initially appears stupid in the extreme.

Some have suggested he may have lied to the Special Counsel's team, or was not completely forthcoming, because he was trying to conceal something which made the risk of lying to the Feds worth it. Others have suggested that, if Paulie did cooperate with Mueller and roll over on The Leader, he might also give up a bunch of Russians; after that, his life wouldn't be worth a thimble of cold spit.

A third possibility is, Paulie is acting like a mob Bag Man, flipping off Bob Mueller and pissing on the criminal justice system, because that's his personal style -- he wants to show these button-down losers what a livin' large Playah, what an important primate, he is. Remember, this is a guy who, at a home purchased with laundered money, had a garden planted with flowers in the shape of a giant 'M'.

But Paulie's hijinks are all about impressing The Leader to obtain a Pardon. Before he was convicted, Manafort's attorneys and the legal team of The Leader had a 'joint defense agreement', which remained in place even after Manafort's conviction and the announcement that he had signed a plea bargain.

While allegedly 'cooperating' with the Special Prosecutor, Paulie was a double agent. The groundwork for such a move may have been planned early on; there's no way to know. The Leader's legal team have been putting together a mosaic of the questions asked of other Trump witnesses before Grand Juries, or by federal agents, and what Manafort was asked would be a key piece in reverse-engineering the case Mueller was building -- and help shape the strategy of protecting The Capo Di Tutti Frutti.

You can imagine how Mueller -- a blue-blood elite; button-down straight arrow, and a Marine -- reacted when he learned what Paulie was doing.  My money's on Manafort, having been convicted and facing ten years (a probable 48 months, then a probable parole) in prison, deciding to be a mole because he knew that would be discovered.

Like Bret Kavanaugh's manufactured outrage in front of the cameras, Manafort's behavior was strictly for an audience of one: The Leader. A Commedia del arte piece, honoring The Leader with a simple soldato's loyalty -- and at the same time putting Trump on notice: I been loyal to you, boss; now you gotta come through for me. Remember the things what I know, boss. So you get that Pardon Pen ready.... 

Plus, if Manafort had cooperated with the Special Counsel, in the not-too distant future someone might send a couple of GRU 'tourists' to drop by his house with a perfume bottle. Or that, struck with remorse or [fill in blank], he "jumps" from a window. A Russian saying has it that anyone can commit a murder, but it takes an artist to arrange a suicide.

In screwing Mueller, Paulie may think he's smart, leveraging silence about what he knows to obtain a Pardon. But The Leader's business involved others, and perhaps Paulie believes that having dealt with them for decades, he knows how they think and behave -- or that he has protectors among them who will make him untouchable. If there honestly is any reason he should be concerned in this way, then I hope for his sake that he's right.

There is one other possibility:  What if The Leader suddenly wasn't leader no more? And can't Pardone lil' Paulie, or any other resource of the familia?

And the sideshow continues: The UK Guardian reported that Manafort apparently met several times at the Ecuadorian embassy in London with Julian Assange between 2014 and 2016 (WikiLeaks figuring prominently in the story of the 2016 elections), and travelling to Ecuador during the same period to talk with the country's President about... business.

This is an interesting sideshow. It's already been reported that there was a Russian effort to arrange for Assange 's escape from the Ecuadorian embassy, and from the UK. Was Manafort involved? Were connections with state-sponsored Russian hacking part of some odd quid pro quo with Assange's WikiLeaks? Was Elvis the real gunman who killed JFK?

"A Little Travelling Music, Sammy"

MEHR, Mit Das Prelude Aus Götterdämmerung:

From Daily Kos:  
... here’s an interesting thing to ponder: Why hasn’t Mueller indicted Donald Trump Jr at this point? Trump Jr not only had communication with Russian operatives in scheduling the Trump Tower meeting, he was also communicating with Michael Cohen concerning the Moscow real estate deal...  why hasn’t he been visited by the jolly 4AM raid squad?
Well here’s a funny thing — Robert Mueller doesn’t know that Donald Trump Jr lied in his congressional testimony. That is, he knows... but [he] does not officially know.. because Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Trump’s nether regions) has so far refused to hand over copies of Junior’s testimony [closed-door, before the House Intelligence Committee] to the special counsel’s office.
But as soon as the new Congress is seated in January, Adam Schiff has already stated that he will turn over Junior’s testimony to the special counsel. If you were wondering why Trump chose to direct his excellent third grade potty talk toward the incoming head of the House Intelligence Committee … that’s a pretty good candidate for the primary reason. And once Schiff hands him the paperwork, then Mueller will officially know, what he already knows. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

God's Business

You Never Know
(New York Times) “It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Mr. Trump said in a remarkable, eight-paragraph, exclamation-point laden statement ... “We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi,” Mr. Trump said ... “In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
(UK Guardian) Trump has repeatedly cited the importance of Saudi arms sales to the US economy as a reason not to cut the supply of weapons in response to the murder of the Saudi writer and Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi. [Trump]  has frequently estimated the total extent of defense sales to the Saudi regime at $110 B, and variously said they would generate 450,000, 500,000 or 600,000 jobs. 
According to a report by the Center for International Policy thinktank in Washington, those figures are hugely inflated.