Thursday, September 21, 2017

Reprint Heaven Forever (1934 - 2016)

Closing Time

Over at The Soul Of America, a reminder that today is Cohen's birthday. Originally posted last Armistice Veteran's Day in 2016, when he went off to the Bardo, or wherever the hell we go, if anywhere (and in that spirit, I'll add a link to this).

November 11 is one Day I use to consciously remember specific people, from a specific time, whom I miss. It was right after the election, and everyone still numb; the fat, raving Parasite-Elect had barely begun to push his tiny manhood into America's collective face, and everyone I knew were looking around for anyone wearing the same uniform. Cohen's bowing out just then (to take the metaphor a little further), seemed like one more Loss in the Unit. We were going single file; I turned around, and he wasn't back there there any more: Ah, fuck; aber natürlich, it would have to be now.

Goddamn it. Knew the news was coming, but wasn't ready for it just now.

Ah we're lonely, we're romantic
And the cider's laced with acid
And the holy spirit's crying, where's the beef?
And the moon is swimming naked
And the summer night is fragrant
With a mighty expectation of relief

So we struggle and we stagger
Down the snakes and up the ladder
To the tower where the blessed hours chime
And I swear it happened just like this
A sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss
The gates of love they budged an inch
I can't say much has happened since
But closing time
Closing time
Closing time
Closing time 

 Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
When people talk about Leonard, they fail to mention his melodies, which to me, along with his lyrics, are his greatest genius. Even the counterpoint lines—they give a celestial character and melodic lift to every one of his songs. As far as I know, no one else comes close to this in modern music. Even the simplest song, like ‘The Law,’ which is structured on two fundamental chords, has counterpoint lines that are essential, and anybody who even thinks about doing this song and loves the lyrics would have to build around the counterpoint lines.

His gift or genius is in his connection to the music of the spheres. In the song ‘Sisters of Mercy,’ for instance, the verses are four elemental lines which change and move at predictable intervals . . . The song just comes in and states a fact. And after that anything can happen and it does, and Leonard allows it to happen...

‘Sisters of Mercy’ is verse after verse of four distinctive lines, in perfect meter, with no chorus, quivering with drama. ... This is a deceptively unusual musical theme, with or without lyrics. But it’s so subtle a listener doesn’t realize he’s been taken on a musical journey and dropped off somewhere, with or without lyrics.
I see no disenchantment in Leonard’s lyrics at all. There’s always a direct sentiment, as if he’s holding a conversation and telling you something, him doing all the talking, but the listener keeps listening. He’s very much a descendant of Irving Berlin... [whose] songs did the same thing. Berlin was also connected to some kind of celestial sphere.
And, like Leonard, he probably had no classical music training, either. Both of them just hear melodies that most of us can only strive for. Berlin’s lyrics also fell into place and consisted of half lines, full lines at surprising intervals, using simple elongated words. Both Leonard and Berlin are incredibly crafty. Leonard particularly uses chord progressions that seem classical in shape. He is a much more savvy musician than you’d think.
-- Bob Dylan 
I loved you for your beauty
But that doesn't make a fool of me
You were in it for your beauty too
And I loved you for your body
There's a voice that sounds like god to me
Declaring, (declaring) declaring, declaring that your body's really you
And I loved you when our love was blessed
And I love you now there's nothing left
But sorrow and a sense of overtime

I know there’s a spiritual aspect to everybody’s life, whether they want to cop to it or not. It’s there, you can feel it in people—there’s some recognition that there is a reality that they cannot penetrate but which influences their mood and activity. So that’s operating. That activity at certain points of your day or night insists on a certain kind of response. Sometimes it’s just like: ‘You are losing too much weight, Leonard. You’re dying, but you don’t have to cooperate enthusiastically with the process.’ Force yourself to have a sandwich.

What I mean to say is that you hear the Bat Kol (divine voice). You hear this other deep reality singing to you all the time, and much of the time you can’t decipher it... At this stage of the game, I hear it saying, ‘Leonard, just get on with the things you have to do.’ It’s very compassionate at this stage. More than at any time of my life, I no longer have that voice that says, ‘You’re fucking up.’ That’s a tremendous blessing, really.

-- Leonard Cohen / September, 2016
And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what you've been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows
And I missed you since the place got wrecked
And I just don't care what happens next
Looks like freedom but it feels like death
It's something in between, I guess
It's closing time
closing time
closing time
closing time


MEHR, Several Hours Later:  The last thing I wanted to do was write a post about this man that had even a hint of self-reference, but remembered a thirty-year-old conversation. 

A long time ago: someone said in a discussion of Sufis and 'The Work' that "There are a lot of people around who say they're looking for answers, want self-enlightenment, and they present a posture -- removed, serious, aesthetic. Like a parody of the Holy Man. Another is the smartass, the 'Mister Natural' who just enjoys fucking with people. And my feeling is, neither of them are 'authentic'. 

"The Sufis I've met have been raw and real, man; There's grit in their voices -- they're like Blues singers. Tom Waits, minus the alcohol. They've been around the fucking block, they've done some things, and they know what really matters. They're not saints -- 'rogue sage'; you know? -- but about the Big Things, you can trust them."

Cohen loved the Blues. He sang them, no matter what style his songs were.  He spoke simply, straight from the heart, about The Big Questions.  His music, the way he lived his life, was grappling with those questions and his human condition, and ours, unashamedly. He was no saint, but an honest and sincere seeker of Truth -- and his music was a commentary on that stumbling around in the dark. His work was illuminated by a long Rabbinical tradition; he was born with a Heart On Fire.

His songs were in the language of missed chances, relationships spoiled by ego or greed or a simple misunderstanding; ecstatic revelry and bone-crushing disappointment. When he sang politics, it was about choice and betrayal from the level of someone in the street. He told you: This is what happened to me. I don't know what all this is. I don't know what I'm doing, either; you're not alone out here. It was like the end of Moby Dick: A thing happened; buoyed up by a coffin, I came back to tell thee.

And what he sang about was a reminder that everything in this world was part of something else  -- The Big Questions, maybe. And he sang about that all the way to the end -- "You Want It Darker", his album released in October.

People sense how much truth they're being told by others, moment to moment, moving through the world. The number of people who speak in an authentic voice that we recognize, instinctively, as being true are very few. Poets can do this; Cohen was a poet, first, which is how I met him (only discovered later that the guy had albums of music, too, which made sense). From his work, he was recognizable as being as egotistical, confused, scheming, greedy; fucked up; kind, generous; lonely and longing -- as human, as I am. He had the energy and talent to share his particular vision, and it resonated with a wide audience.

When someone like that leaves the room, I grieve, because they're so few. And I'm pretty damned sad (The Best Friend texted back "Goddamned shit storm November" when I told them Cohen had died). I understand: never knew the man personally; it's the connections on so many levels to memory and hope and experience that add to the emotions. And there was Fucking Tuesday; and, today.  We're all going to have to leave the room -- if I can bow out in the same frame of mind, with the same intent as he was reported to have, that would be an act of grace.

Another Mensch leaves us. Now he knows what we do not -- but he was frankly curious, without much fear, as to whatever that is.

Also, remembering the day, and Absent Friends. "We Have Done So Much With So Little For So Long That We Could Do Everything With Nothing Forever" (1969 - 1971)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Annual Reprint: Sixteen Years On

(Originally posted September 11, 2010)


On November 22, 1963, I was on the playground for 10:00AM recess at my elementary school when teachers called classes back inside prematurely. After a few minutes, the school's public address system was broadcasting the carrier for CBS' radio network, announcing the shooting of JFK in Dallas and, ultimately, the audio portion of Walter Cronkite on CBS television announcing the President's death.

Where were you when John F. Kennedy was shot? was a fixture in the cultural landscape for a large number of people (now referred to by the younger set as 'Bloodsucking Useless Boomers') for a long time, due to the magnitude of the event and because it was shared in real-time by the cutting-edge media of the early 1960's.

So, September 11th, 2001: Where were you on 9-11? I had gotten up to go to work around 5:30AM PDST, and as usual turned on KQED-FM's NPR news. After stepping out of the shower, I heard a report that a plane appeared to have crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York -- I've been in Manhattan and had seen how huge those buildings were. To me, "A plane" meant a Cessna, or similar light aircraft.

I remembered seeing a 1945 film newsreel about a B-25, flying through dense fog, directly into the Empire State Building. A similar incident at the WTC would be tragic, I thought; but it was an accident, for crying out loud, on the other side of the continent, distant. No one in their right mind would deliberately kill themselves, I sighed, and I shaved.

At some point the report was updated; I heard the words "jet airliner", which moved the entire event in my mind from 'Cessna-going-off-course' to the category of Did-You-Call-The-Coast-Guard-About-This?-It-Was-No-Boating-Accident.

Turning on CNN, I sat on the edge of an armchair, watching an image of the WTC towers from CNN's Manhattan headquarters, and other shots from a helicopter hovering over the Hudson. A few minutes after I sat down, I watched as the second airliner slammed into the second WTC tower.

Images Like This, and Worse, Were Broadcast And Published
In Europe, But Not In America (Photo: UK Guardian, 2001)

No joke: Aside from Holy Fuck, the only thing I recall thinking was, This is what standing at the curb in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, watching the Archduke Franz Ferdinand being shot, must have been like. I knew immediately that what I was seeing was another line in the sand being crossed, an event with consequences that would be immense. The dice were in motion in the Crapshoot that is our Universe, and what I was watching was the proof.

It also seemed unreal, a Hollywood special effect -- as if CNN would break for a commercial at any moment;  it would turn out to be this generation's War Of The Worlds broadcast.

I sat watching as the South and North towers collapsed (Wikipedia's timeline of the events puts that at 6:59 and 7:28 AM PDST, respectively), flipping back and forth between networks for coverage of the airliner plowing into a wing of the Pentagon. Finally I left to make my way to work on mass transit.

On a BART train, I was amazed at the languid attitudes of the crowd of commuters -- reading books and newspapers, a few tapping on laptops -- as if it were just another Tuesday morning. No one appeared stunned; there was no conversation about what had just occurred.

Finally, I turned to a woman sitting opposite me, reading a folded copy of the (pre-Little Rupert) Wall Street Journal, and asked if she was aware of what had happened that morning. "Yes," she replied, adding in a please-pass-the-salt voice, "There are supposed to be more of them [i.e., airliners] in the air to hit other targets."

Had anyone estimated how many? "No," the woman shrugged, and went back to her WSJ. I don't know what surprised me more, her matter-of-fact attitude, or her piece of news.

That was September 11th -- a red line on the American calendar in so many ways, the culmination of a large number of threads in our history, and the pacts and choices successive administrations have made since America decided to follow an Imperial course.

The attack on the Trade Center towers could have been another kind of defining moment for America. Our government and institutions could have taken it as an opportunity to press for a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian tragedy; we could have opened a dialog with others, rather than dictate to them.

Lil' Boots, 2004 Republican Convention:
Feared And Bigger Than His Daddy, At Last

I'm not suggesting it coulda been a Kumbyah moment; I am saying that it was a crossroads moment, and that our choices mattered. But, the government was run by men who had no interest in anything except power (personal, partisan, and financial) and policies that meant the use of force in furthering that power. What else could we have expected from the likes of Lil' Boots, President Cheney, Rice, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld? From the PNAC crowd, Fat Karl Rove, Little Tommy DeLay, and Lard Boy?

(And remember, these geniuses had been discussing how to invade Iraq just days after Lil' Boots first inauguration. September 11th was simply an excuse.

And, they believed it would be simple, 'Roses All The Way', 'Greeted As Liberators' ... so no one planned for occupation, or fighting an insurgency for seven years; or for the effect on the U.S. military of multiple redeployments and 'stop-loss' denials of separation. They never conceived of failure; therefore, it wouldn't happen.)

So what followed from 9/11 shouldn't have been a surprise: An utterly unnecessary, even illegal invasion of Iraq, supported by intelligence about WMD's invented by right-wing operatives to create a causis beli, and pushed in the national media by sociopathic egos 'journalists' like Little Judy Miller, and pundits like David Brooks and William Kristol, and Little Tommy Friedman, to name but a few.

Palettes Of $100 Bills, Baghdad, 2003 (Photo: UK Guardian)

And let's not forget the $12 Billion in cash (at least; no one really knows), piles of U.S. currency shrink-wrapped and paletted and airlifted to Iraq. Some $12 Billion in cash cannot be accounted for. And all the cool new powers used by that dry-drunk, Frat-Boy younger son of an American ruling-class family; or all the power available to President Cheney.

There was plenty of money to put in C530's and airlift it: 363 Tons of it. There was plenty of money being made from the war, and tax breaks to the wealthy, which reduced tax income to the government; but there was no money  and Lil' Boots wanted to cut health care, cut social programs that continue the ideas of the New Deal, and privatize Social Security... because there's just no money to pay for it.

And there's Guantanamo, 'black airlines' flying suspected terrorists to secret CIA prisons, and the extra-legal, secret program of 'renditions'. Let's not forget Abu Ghirab. Let's not forget people like John Woo, whose written suggestions created what he still claims is a "legal" basis for torture as national policy.

Civilian Casualty Of Baghdad Suicide Car Bomb, 2007

And what followed wasn't just prisons and a lack of due process for terrorist suspects, but developing a matrix of information [Note: This was posted before Edward Snowden's revelations about the extent of surveillance performed by America domestic and foreign intelligence agencies] -- based on the unprecedented data-mining of domestic email and cellular and telephone traffic, of banking records and public record databases; the rise of a government/corporate State surveillance and intelligence apparatus that outstrips the wildest dreams of the Gestapo and the KGB.

Obligatory Cute Small Animal Being Interrogated At
Undisclosed Location By CIA In Middle Of Blog Rant

And, very little seemed to be about defeating Al-Qaeda, capturing or killing Bin Laden and Al-Zwahiri -- otherwise, we would have finished the job in the mountains of Tora Bora in October of 2002, and Iraq would never have mattered. We would have kept Lil' Boots' promises to the Afghans about rebuilding their country, instead of ignoring it -- at least half the reason the Afghan Taliban were able to come roaring back, and are now as strong as they were in 2001, if not stronger.

The 'Go-Go', Lil' Boots Bush years were about a larger Rightist agenda; it was about deregulation, defense contractors, and higher profits; and it was about Fat Karl's dream of rigging elections for permanent Republican rule of the United States.

Victory, to these assclowns, had a very different meaning -- and little of it was military.

But let's not forget, too, how dissent or criticism of what would become that unnecessary war; of even more power given to people with poor impulse control, was looked upon in the immediate aftermath of September 11th.
  • Andrew Sullivan (9/16/01) -- The middle part of the country--the great red zone that voted for Bush--is clearly ready for war. The decadent left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead--and may well mount a fifth column.
  • Robert Stacy McCain (9/27/01), columnist for the All Perfect Great Father Moon Washington Times -- Why are we sending aircraft carriers halfway around the world to look for enemies, when our nation's worst enemies--communists proclaiming an anti-American jihad--will be right there in front of the Washington Monument on Saturday?
  • Robert Horowitz (9/28/01), Los Angeles Times -- The blood of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese and tens of thousands of Americans is on the hands of the antiwar activists who prolonged [the Vietnam War] and gave victory to the communists... this country was too tolerant toward the treason of its enemies within.
Those who dissented, who believed the country was manifestly on a wrong track, were smeared as 'helping the enemy', a 'fifth column' for Islamic fundamentalism. "You are either with us, or with the terraists", as Lil' Boots so bravely told other governments of the world after the World Trade Center attack.

The chittering hatred all sounds like standard Tea Party rhetoric, now. From their point of view, to dissent and criticize is only permissible when you're attacking the Left -- and that socialist, illegitimate ruler in the White House; the dirty hippies; all those "in rebellion against god".

Our economy continues to implode, and it has never been clearer who is benefiting from the policies of the Right; but, then, it's been a long, strange trip from September 11th, 2001. Few things should surprise us any longer.

Another Lil' Boots quote:
We are not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions -- by abandoning every value except the will to power -- they follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way, to where it ends: In history's unmarked grave of discarded lies. (Applause)

-- George W. Bush, Address To Joint Session Of Congress
Is that appropriate as an epitaph for those who wish to do America harm?

Or, does it speak to how we have allowed ourselves to be lied to, and led; will it end up being our epitaph, a closing quote for the United States Of America?
There is no ‘populist’ version of a world where some few are born booted and spurred, and the many are born saddled, and ready to ride, and that's precisely the world which conservatism is trying to preserve.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Random Barking Friday

Talk Amongst Yourselves

Fundimentalists Touch The Leader To Invoke His Power (Original: Bloomberg)
The idea of the military as an enforcer of order in a world filled with corrupt and even crazy political leaders has long been a theme in emerging markets from Turkey to Argentina. But as those countries also show, it usually doesn’t end well. This should give pause at a time when a June Gallup poll shows that while only 12 per cent of Americans have confidence in Congress, and only 32 per cent in the president, a whopping 72 per cent have “a great deal” of faith in the military. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when a long-time source of mine, behavioural economist Peter Atwater, released an investor note in mid-August pointing out these numbers, and suggesting that markets and experts were naive to dismiss entirely the possibility of an American coup d’état.

Extreme, to be sure, but coups need not be of the bloody emerging-market variety to be effective. One could imagine a 25th amendment process organised by the generals in the president’s cabinet, or a forced resignation with details revealed only after the fact. In any case, Atwater isn’t alone in feeling that the political situation in the US is nearing a dangerous breaking point. In a public post on LinkedIn, Ray Dalio, Bridgewater founder and America's most famous hedge-funder, recently announced that he was rejigging his portfolio in reaction to political risk in the US. “It seems to me that we are now economically and socially divided and burdened in ways that are broadly analogous to 1937,” he wrote. “During such times conflicts (both internal and external) increase, populism emerges, democracies are threatened and wars can occur. I can’t say how bad this time around will get. I’m watching how conflict is being handled as a guide, and I’m not encouraged.”

-- Rana Foroohar, "Dystopian America -- how far are we from Gilead?"
Financial Times Magazine, September 8, 2017 (Article here, but beware the paywall)


It goes without saying that Foroohar, and Dialo, are part of the business sector. The Business Sector cares whether things go south, because it can affect their portfolios. Beyond that, not so much. 

If you want proof, look at the three Equifax senior managers who sold their stock in the company about thirty seconds after they learned about the size of the data breach, which Equifax finally reported last week. These weasels didn't give a damn about anything but their personal exposure. Nothing like a little insider trading.

Dialo was, according to Foroohar, "rejigging" his fund's holdings (that is, his clients') to bet Short -- profiting from disaster, again, something which made him famous and rich before 2008

It's interesting that one of the planet's top hedge fund managers would say something that, on its face, appears critical of Things As They Are, which some might take to mean Trump (See, even among the Coporatocenti he is unpopular). But Dialo is only broadcasting a message that's been circulating among his client base for some time. 

Read this (and don't miss the comments, either). Social collapse has been an unspoken assumption by major financial institutions for a long time, and have influenced their reports on strategic planning for investors.  More recently those same reports more openly admit climate breakdown will produce the kind of scenarios that trigger social disintegration. It's why (in particular since 2008) so many of of the Rich have been bunker-building here at home, and home-buying in New Zealand.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Everyone Sing Along

Eine Kleine Rhumba Tanzen

It's all too much Mehr.  So; Fuck it.  Let's all do the Rhumba -- yeah; you. You all know who you are.

... Navigate this YouTub to start at 37:25 (Est ist wo wohnen die Rhumbazeit, Kinder!) and the Little Rhumba is over all too soon -- though if you wish to watch the whole video, it runs approximately two hours, and will be good for you.

P.S. :  That is not George "Lil' Boots" Bush at right with the violin.  This is a family Blog, for god's sake.

Random Barking: Burning Down The House

After Harvey

 Previously Flooded Houston Neighborhood; September 1, 2017

It is hot in Kiddietown. Baking hot. Pipin' hot. The kind of Hot where Dogs get under things, in the shade, and just watch stuff happen. And smell things. We bark randomly at what appears to be nothing.

The media coverage of Harvey's hitting Texas seemed to fall into neat categories, from the relative safety of Kiddietown: pre-game warnings and warmup as the storm approached land; cellphone video of the effects of high winds, before-and-after photos showing effects of unbelievably torrential rain; and, in Harvey's wake, the brave pluck with which those affected, and the rescuers, soldier on. Cut to commercial.

A good example of this last -- Thursday's ABC World News Tonight (A Walt Disney Production) aired a segment  showing one ABC reporter on-scene in Houston, 'embedded' with a helicopter unit. They lift off -- and suddenly, are diverted to evacuate people sheltering in a Middle School -- dry at that moment, but threatened by rising flood levels. The people had to be airlifted out -- quickly!

The helicopter lands near the school. The ABC reporter was filmed assisting in the evacuation, even at one point appearing to give orders to someone off-camera; okay, let's go! Rapid cuts between shots makes for rising tension; will they make it? Will they have enough time?

All those at the school (including Dogs; film crews love photographing Dogs in emergency situations) were airlifted to another shelter. We watch them, dazed, walking into another building -- brave evacuees! -- and presumably all was a happy ending.

I'm bothered by this, as I am about the sensationalism of news reporting generally, the demand for a happy ending before the last commercial break. And, what's being reported has to conform to that story arc. Real conditions on the ground can't be controlled --  they're messy, and prompt some to ask uncomfortable questions. Can't have that.

A friend has family in Texas; the texts fly back and forth. Both have their own families; all live in / around Houston. One has lost their home and very probably everything in it -- and, because they relied on the information from the City of Houston, didn't purchase flood insurance. The chance of that would be a "once-in-500-year" event in their part of the city.

The other family member and their people are dry so far but surrounded by flood zones. They've spoken with others in their area, who watched armed men commandeering boats from their Coast Guard crews at gunpoint. and those same people and boats were seen systematically looting neighborhood homes. They've heard sporadic gunfire.

They live in Katy, near a reservoir which may breach, and have to be ready to evacuate within 30 minutes of notice -- but, have been given no instructions on how they are to leave an area surrounded by flood waters, or where they are to go.

Over at The Soul Of America, there was a link to a similar take on what Harvey means, in spite of the media coverage: air of unreality hangs about the flooding of Houston. Those of you with memories of the 00s will remember how Gore was mocked for his animations of oceans flooding cities. ...

The press so far has -- understandably -- concentrated on happy rescues, people doing things for people. Underneath this news is a sort of failure to express the probable extent of the casualties and what this means economically.

...We gotta change our infrastructure. We gotta severely reshape our economy. Capitalism isn't built to solve this problem. That isn't even to say we abolish capitalism, it is simply a call for recognizing its limits and acting accordingly.

And in the midst of it all, Our Leader's appearance in Texas. He never spoke about the People with any empathy, never said how he recognized their fear and loss; he only spoke about them in relation to himself. The focus must be on Him, the magnificent one -- the vengeful one (reminding FEMA in a Tweet, "The world is watching!" Don't fuck this up or you'll deal with me). At his side, the Faithful Melania, in six-inch [redacted]-me high-heeled pumps, off to see how the peasantry is faring in this icky weather -- like her husband, tasteful; classy.

Bad things are happening. Nearly every sentient human senses that hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning and other storms are becoming more and more powerful, destructive, and that climate change (I heard the term, "climate breakdown," yesterday) is a principal factor.

But, we know what our Leader's feelings are about that. Fake news; fake science. USA. USA. Climate breakdown isn't real to the Leader. Perhaps it will be when Mor-e-Lego is submerged by another hurricane hitting Florida, but I doubt it. He'll find a way to make the country pick up the tab for it. We already pay for his many jaunts. And his golf.

The mainstream media's presentation of Harvey's landfall and aftermath is a reminder of how much more of things, iceberg-like, are out of our sight below the waterline. Not only things which we don't see, but which by some collective, unspoken agreement we aren't allowed to see.

It is, if we look, a way of judging how much difference there is between comfortable assumptions of how life In These Times is, and the real. If you look closely enough, you might see a nation fracturing along lines of race and class, net worth and age; and it seems God's away on business.

Heading off to work early each morning, I see more homeless, broken, addicted and profoundly, heartbreakingly disturbed human beings on the streets than ever before. A friend, working in Tech in Kiddietown, had his first-ever anxiety attack and ended up in an Urgent Care ER in the Tenderloin; being there for several hours was a cultural eye-opener.

And around the corner from where network news is filming a man carrying a Dog to safety, our national politics is teetering between two different visions.  One, identified as liberal, believes a strong Federal government is essential to ensuring all of The People are served, and protected from the excesses of Capital. It's a compact between a government and its people: You are our highest priority. We are here for you. The spirit of the New Deal.

(It's worth noting: there is a body of opinion that [no matter what laws have been passed making some provisions for our citizens] the New Deal was window-dressing, a band-aid -- in the early 1930's, it saved and perpetuated systematized inequality, that same structure of power and class that has existed in America for generations.)

But there's another group in our national politics which sees that same power and class structure as being too unbalanced  -- towards the poor. That in true Randian spirit, the poor are responsible for their own poverty. That the 'business of America is business', not foreign nonsense. That the country is only a loose confederation of fifty regions and doesn't need a Federal government messing in the business of the States: America, circa 1860. And, if some wealthy person believes we should change the number of states, why not?

And if some States want to declare that -- slavery, say; or 'separate but equal' clauses, are legal -- along with lower wages for women; healthcare determined by "market forces"; relying on corporations to determine 'safe' levels of chemicals in air and water -- well, the States should be able to do that.

The High School Civics Class Version of America is what the media and networks assume is the surveyor's mark, the fixed assumption we share about the world we live in. But that vision doesn't allow for boats taken at gunpoint, looting, nazis marching in the the Old South, robotics, and poverty. It doesn't allow for a Tech industry poised for a great leap forward, which will enrich some, and leave others unable to afford the pretty toys and wonderful services yet to come.

The High School Civics Class Version doesn't allow for the rise of an unstable, corrupt leader, with both major political parties explaining that their continual Fluffing of Corporations and The Rich is just a necessary pragmatism. It doesn't allow for Ferguson, or Charlottesville, or the picture of Hillary Clinton as she warmly embraces Henry Kissinger.

And The High School Civics Class Version doesn't allow for that unstable leader to be a potential target in an investigation for corruption and potential treason. It also doesn't allow for that same Leader to be at the helm of the Joint Chiefs, his principal advisors all four-star generals, as he decides how to deal with a nuclear North Korea backed up by the People's Republic of China.
None of this is any great surprise, and my observations are not unique. Just more tears in the rain.

Hurricane Irma is developing in the Atlantic. It was just declared a category 3 storm (Harvey was a 4 when it slammed into Texas), and, all things being equal, NASA has predicted it could make landfall in Maryland -- that the District of Columbia will be right in its path.

Other meteorologists predict a track to send it slicing across Florida, not too far from Mor-e-Lego, and some have it sliding across the Caribbean to strike Texas. Again. We'll see -- because we're not going anywhere. The hurricanes will come to us.

 2 hurricanes in ten days and the mother fucker in the White House still says climate change is a hoax   #Irma  #Harvey
--  Tweet, via Red painter @Redpainter1; 31 August 2017
(From TomClarkBlog)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Dick Gregory (1932 - 2017)
Jerry Lewis (1929 - 2017)

Dick Gregory and Jerry Lewis, 1960's

A long time ago, I found myself at a screening of a 16mm film, "Dog Of Nazareth", which portrayed the life of The Jesus and his faithful canine companion. The trailer to the film was actually more interesting -- because whichever moment in His life was being portrayed, the camera was always focused on the Dog. It was hilarious (in that long-ago time before Life Of Brian), and there was much sacrilegious laughter withal.

A notable alternative comics artist was in attendance. We ended up smoking out on the street, talking about the film we'd just watched, and mused about what was humor, anyway? And the fellow said: Humor was a juxtaposition, a collision of opposites which for a split second forced an observer to temporarily abandon their routine assumptions about reality. "Some find that threatening," he went on, "and they respond by getting angry -- but for the other ninety-nine out of a hundred people, they're going to laugh."

This is late in getting posted, but, still: Dick Gregory passed away last week; Jerry Lewis died Sunday. Both were fixtures in my 1950's, Sixties, and early Seventies, for different reasons, and both were Funny Men from completely different perspectives.

Gregory was funny because his juxtaposition of opposites was in his very presence on a New York stage -- a black man, reminding white audiences about race and class, who was allowed to do what, and where; on what basis, and why.
Wearing a white shirt and three-button Brooks Brothers suit, he balanced himself on a stool and talked in rolling sentences, punctuating his routine with long pauses as he slowly dragged on his cigarette.

“He would find a white waiter and say, ‘Bring me a Scotch and water,’ and there would be this palpable gasp from the crowd,” said Robert Lipsyte, a former New York Times reporter who helped write Mr. Gregory’s 1964 autobiography...

“They’d watch as the waiter brought him the drink. He’d take a sip and then say, ‘Governor Faubus should see me now’ ” — a reference to the Arkansas governor who in 1957 opposed the integration of the Little Rock schools. “He won over the whole audience. They were suddenly liberal again."
It can be argued that Gregory was acting as a band-aid, something to soothe the guilt of his audiences so that they could convince themselves that they weren't really racist, weren't really supporting and perpetuating a class structure that (also) excluded people of color. But Gregory did something revolutionary, in a soft way. At a time when it really was stepping over the color line to do so, he delivered -- a measured voice, slow, even in tone -- reminders of how things actually were.

His voice was like taking your chin, not unkindly, and turning your head to see something that was bound to make you uncomfortable. What you did with it after that was your business -- but for some people it would be one more step up, out of ignorance.

He juxtaposed sardonic observations of life against the privileged assumptions of middle-class, white America ("... a restaurant waitress in the segregated South who told him, 'We don’t serve colored people here,' to which Mr. Gregory replied, 'That’s all right, I don’t eat colored people. Just bring me a whole fried chicken.' ”), and made humor. His audiences laughed, but on some level understood the joke came at a cost. And, he made it possible for other black comics and entertainers to make their way to the stage.

I recall (as old Dogs do) his running for President on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket in 1968 -- the same year that saw Martin Luther King, Jr. and RFK gunned down; that saw Hubert Humphrey the Democratic Party's candidate against Richard Nixon, The One. And a little more than a year later, in Southeast Asia, I found a good number of my black room- and team-mates knew exactly who Dick Gregory was.

A monologist, a comic, a teacher; Gregory didn't quit. He saw comedy as a vehicle for instruction, for consciousness-raising, and even as he passed away was still involved doing what he did best. Losing his voice, now, seems one more cruelty of fate, time, and tides.

By comparison, Jerry Lewis was someone who didn't ruffle many feathers.  He was as mainstream a comedian as any in postwar America, and while his humor wasn't as socially-focused as Gregory's, his family had been among the waves of Jewish immigrants coming to America -- each of whom could be part of a community, but who had to navigate a world run by Gentiles and the anti-Semitism which, like racism and sexism and homophobia, persists.

Jerome Levitch had parents who were small-time entertainers, "his father [Danny] a song-and-dance man, his mother [Rae,] a pianist — who used the name Lewis when they appeared in ... vaudeville and at Catskills resort hotels. The Levitches were frequently on the road and often left Joey, as he was called, in the care of Rae’s mother and her sisters. The experience of being passed from home to home left Mr. Lewis with an enduring sense of insecurity and, as he observed, a desperate need for attention and affection."

Lewis followed his parents into performing as a comedy 'sketch artist'. His idea of humor was personal, idiosyncratic, a nebbish with slapstick. The story of his paring with the lounge-singer-smooth Dean Martin was one of those near-magic, serendipitous connections: In mid-1946, Lewis was doing a routine at the Havana-Madrid club in Manhattan, lip-syncing popular songs while performing some of what would become his signature slapstick; Martin was singing.

One night, they started riffing off each other in impromptu comedy sessions after the last show. Their antics were noticed by a Billboard magazine, reviewer, who wrote, “Martin and Lewis [have] all the makings of a sock act,” meaning a successful show.  And they were -- very successful, personally and financially.

When they parted, it wasn't pretty. Dean went on as part of the Rat Pack. Jerry learned filmmaking and began directing his own movies, which showed him as a talented comedian -- and became an almost perennial fixture with his annual telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy foundation.

I remember bits and pieces of them as schmaltzy, almost embarrassing (my parents would let the show run as teevee background noise) -- but I also remember having the sense that 'Jerry's Kids', in wheelchairs, or with braces and crutches, were not objects of pity. I didn't learn compassion from a Jerry Lewis telethon, but prosaic as it sounds, it wouldn't be far wrong to say it helped move me towards an understanding.

The comedian Jerry Lewis stayed out of politics, but Lewis the man was a conservative (per Wikipedia, he remarked that Donald Trump "would make a good president because he was a good 'showman' ") -- his obituary in Variety effectively claimed him to be racist, homophobic, a hack who had long outlived any usefulness as a cultural reference.

It's undeniable: his movies didn't question the established order; his characters were full of inventive slapstick and terrific comic timing -- but they weren't like Chaplin's Tramp. They were inoffensive, wacky, fumbling, based around shtick that began seventy years earlier in Vaudeville; they didn't reference the world of Selma and Saigon, JFK and Johnson, Goldwater and the Cold War. They were mainstream, part of American entertainment's cultural noise. Even so, it's also undeniable: Lewis did raise a great deal of money, ostensibly to benefit young humans just starting life, having been dealt a different hand than the rest of us.  

Lewis was a 'showman' -- for him, comedy was a craft, an art form, more than a method of showing some deeper truth about ourselves or the present. It was part skill, part competition, and he was a success -- not only by the yardstick of the entertainment industry. And, he did make people laugh. That's worth something, just on it's own.

Now they know what we do not. Two more Mensches leave us. I'm sure they had their moments of egoism and assholery, of weakness and excess, like the rest of us. But, they made us laugh -- reminded us to laugh, for different reasons, even if our laughter was in spite of And for that alone, I'll miss their being fixtures in the cultural landscape.  And, we live in a world with a limited supply of Mensches.

Gregory, 2009;  Lewis In 2016

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ich Bin Noch Immer Verrückt, Nach Alle Diesen Jahren

Still Crazy After All These Years: A Before Nine Birthday

To use someone else's turn of phrase, This Shitty Blog is nine years old.

Over at The Soul Of America, there was this reference to another blog -- this one is produced by an intelligent person about economics, rather than by a Dog with a bizarre sense of humor who barks repeatedly about whatever comes into his tiny head.

And (as any good numbers wonk would -- that's not a criticism; it's a compliment) the other blogger performed a full traffic analysis of the previous five years, including observations such as, "I now have 11,271 followers",  and, "3,227,472 hits over the last five years ... I’ve written somewhere between 737,000 and 1,474,000 words on the blog. For comparison, the entire Harry Potter series is 1,084,000 words long."

Dude: My congratulations -- all proofs that the content has value and speaks to a need people have in getting factual information about the world we live in. BeforeNine's content tries to be fact-based -- really, it does -- but frequently takes a dive for cheap humor that's one step above the "arm and leg routine" that the Hologram mentions in THX1138 (whatever that routine is).

My running joke about writing for three (now, two) people and a Superintelligent Parakeet is very close to the truth. On a really good day, perhaps 50 people will stop in, look around, and then are off to god alone knows where -- and that, only when another blogger does a Kind and adds a link.

I don't complain. It's actually a wonder (и маскарад, как собака!*) I haven't been sued into poverty by now. 11,000 followers? Wouldn't know what to do with that, even if were so. But, plainly, I don't Bark here to be popular, or even lay claim to being right.

For better or worse, this is the place in life where I come to Do My Dog Thing. Hopefully -- occasionally -- it makes someone laugh, right out loud, hard enough to wet themselves.

Please continue to enjoy.  Be nice to your neighbors.  Don't piss off Ed209. Thank You. You're welcome.


*  And masquerading as a Dog!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Idiot Wind

Clown-Car Government

General John Kelly, White House Chief Of Staff,
Watches Political Sepuku News Conference At Trump Tower (Business Insider)

.. And after things in downtown Charlottesville looked like Weimar Berlin in the Twenties and Thirties, Wonderboy marched down from Cloud Koo-koo Land in Trump Tower to vomit on the national teevee, and to prove that America is not Weimar. It's a Monty Python sketch.

Question to consider: After his performance around issues of race and white supremacy and lovin' him some o' that Hitler -- has Trump increased the process of de-legitimizing himself as a figurehead leader for those who hold the true balance of power and authority in America?

REPORTER: Why are the CEOs leaving your manufacturing council?

TRUMP: Because they are not taking their job seriously as it pertains to this country. ...

REPORTER: Why did you wait so long to denounce neo-Nazis?

TRUMP: I didn't wait long. I didn’t wait long. I didn’t wait long. I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement. But you don't make statements that direct, unless you know the facts. It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don't know the facts. And it is a very, very important process to me. It is a very important statement... If you go back to my statement -- in fact, I brought it. I brought it [Takes folded paper out of inside coat pocket].

As I said on -- remember this, Saturday -- "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. It has no place in America," and then I went on from there; now -- here is the thing -- Excuse me! Excuse me! Take it nice and easy.

Here is the thing: when I make a statement, I like to be correct. I want the facts. This event just happened. A lot of the event didn't happen yet as we were speaking. This event just happened. Before I make a statement, I need the facts, so I don't want to rush into a statement. So making the statement when I made it was excellent.

... Honestly, if the press were not fake and if it was honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice -- Excuse me! -- Unlike you, and unlike the media, before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.

 (L to R) Secretary Of Health & Inhuman Services Burwell; Secretary Of Oil State Tillerson;
Secretary of Goldman-Saks Treasure Mnuchin, and Educated Secretary DeVos
Prepare To Attend Impromptu News Conference At Trump Tower

REPORTER: The CEO of Walmart said you missed a critical opportunity to help bring the country together. Did you?

TRUMP: Not at all. I think the country -- look; you take a look. I've created over a million jobs since I have been president. The country is booming, the stock market is setting records; we have the highest employment numbers we’ve ever had in the history of our country. We are doing record business. We have the highest levels of enthusiasm, so the head of Walmart, who I know, who’s a very nice guy, was making a political statement. I mean, I would do it the same way.

You know why? Because I want to make sure when I make a statement that the statement is correct. And there was no way – no way – of making a correct statement that early. I had to see the facts, unlike a lot of reporters; unlike a lot of reporters.

I didn't know David Duke was there. I wanted to see the facts. And the facts, as they started coming out, were very well-stated. In fact, everybody said his statement was beautiful. If he would have made it sooner, that would have been good. I couldn't have made it sooner, because I didn't know all of the facts.

Frankly, people still don't know all of the facts. It was very important – Excuse me! Excuse me! -- it was very important to me to get the facts out and correctly. Because if I would have made a fast statement and the first statement was made without knowing much other than what we were seeing. 

The second statement was made after it with knowledge, with great knowledge. There are still things – Excuse me! -- There are still things that people don't know. I want to make a statement with knowledge, I wanted to know the facts, okay.

General John Kelly, Former White House Chief Of Staff, 
Not Watching News Conference At Trump Tower (Al Dragen / New York Times)

REPORTER: Senator McCain said that the alt-right is behind these attacks, and he linked that same group to those that perpetrated the attack in Charlottesville.

TRUMP: Well, I don't know. I can't tell you. I'm sure Senator McCain must know what he's talking about, but when you say the 'alt-right' -- define alt-right to me. You define it. Go ahead. Define it for me, come on, let's go.

REPORTER: Senator McCain defined them as the same group.

TRUMP: Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at [garbled] – Excuse me! – what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?

What about this? What about the fact that they came charging – they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.

As far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day -- wait a minute, I'm not finished. I'm not finished, fake news. That was a horrible day.

I will tell you something. I watched those very closely, much more closely than you people watched it. And you had, you had a group on one side that was bad. And you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I'll say it right now. You had a group – you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent.

REPORTER: Do you think what you call the alt left is the same as neo-Nazis?

TRUMP: Those people, all of those people -- excuse me! I've condemned neo-Nazis. I've condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.

REPORTER: Well, white nationalists –

TRUMP: Those people were also there, because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue Robert E. Lee. So -– Excuse me! –- and you take a look at some of the groups and you see, and you’d know it if you were honest reporters, which in many cases you’re not; many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So this week, it’s Robert E. Lee; I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?

REPORTER: On race relations in America, do you think things have gotten worse or better since you took office with regard to race relationships?

TRUMP: I think they’ve gotten better or the same – look – they have been frayed for a long time, and you can ask President Obama about that, because he’d make speeches about it. I believe that the fact that I brought in, it will be soon, millions of jobs, you see where companies are moving back into our country. I think that's going to have a tremendous positive impact on race relations ... 

I think that's going to have a huge, positive impact on race relations. You know why? It's jobs. What people want now, they want jobs. They want great jobs with good pay. And when they have that, you watch how race relations will be. And I’ll tell you, we’re spending a lot of money on the inner cities – we are fixing the inner cities – we are doing far more than anybody has done with respect to the inner cities. It is a priority for me, and it’s very important.

REPORTER: Mr. President, are you putting what you’re calling the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane?

TRUMP: I am not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is this: you had a group on one side and a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and horrible, and it was a horrible thing to watch, but there is another side. There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You’ve just called them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that's the way it is.

REPORTER: You said there was hatred and violence on both sides?

TRUMP: I do think there is blame – yes, I think there is blame on both sides. You look at, you look at both sides. I think there’s blame on both sides -- and I have no doubt about it, and you don't have any doubt about it either. And -- and -- and -- and, if you reported it accurately, you would say [that].

REPORTER: The neo-Nazis started this thing. They showed up in Charlottesville.

TRUMP: Excuse me, they didn't put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – Excuse me! Excuse me! -- I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.

REPORTER: George Washington and Robert E. Lee are not the same.

TRUMP: Oh no, George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down – Excuse me! -- Are we going to take down -- are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him? Okay, good. Are we going to take down his statue? He was a major slave owner. Are we going to take down his statue? 

You know what? It’s fine; you’re changing history, you’re changing culture, and you had people – and I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally – but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats – you had a lot of bad people in the other group too.

REPORTER: I just didn’t understand what you were saying. You were saying the press has treated white nationalists unfairly?

TRUMP: No, no. There were people in that rally, and I looked the night before. If you look, they were people protesting very quietly, the taking down the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day, it looked like they had some rough, bad people, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call ‘em. But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because you know, I don't know if you know, but they had a permit. The other group didn't have a permit. 

So I only tell you this: there are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country, a horrible moment. But there are two sides to the country.

REPORTER: What do you think needs to overcome the racial divide?

TRUMP: Well, I really think jobs are going to have a big impact. If we continue to create jobs ... at levels that I'm creating jobs, I think that's going to have a tremendous impact – positive impact – on race relations...

Because the people are going to be working and making a lot of money, much more than they ever thought possible. That's going to happen. And the other thing, very important, I believe wages will start going up. They haven't gone up for a long time. I believe wages now, because the economy is doing so well, with respect to employment and unemployment, I believe wages will start to go up. I think that’ll have a tremendously positive impact on race relations. Thank you. 

Slow-Motion Train Wreck

The Barbecue Next Time

[NYT] WASHINGTON -- President Trump shared on Twitter a cartoon on Tuesday morning of a train running over a person with a CNN logo covering the person’s head, three days after a fatal collision in Charlottesville, Va.  Mr. Trump deleted his retweet minutes later.

His Tweet later ("Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the #Fake News Media will never be truly satisfied ... truly bad people! ") confirmed it -- See? Whatever I say will never be good enough -- intolerant! Sad!
Late Monday, Mr. Trump also shared a post from the account of a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist suggesting that the news media is ignoring violence in Chicago. The account owner, Jack Posobiec, is known for promoting false narratives such as the “Pizzagate” hoax and a conspiracy theory about the murder of a Democratic aide.
And then, we had Tuesday afternoon at Trump Tower. Ha ha ha.

For some reason, I'm reminded of a poem which a friend once told me about (which I've labored to find since): a circus tent, filled with people enraptured by watching a clown light matches with his toes -- so enraptured, that they are surprised when the roof of the tent is blown away, and they find the world has come to an end.

The only legitimate Brennenen Zeitfragenen these days are, How long does this particular sideshow go on? How many people will (to use a Watership Down reference) have to Go Tharn before we move to The Next Stage?  And, What Will that Next Stage be?

One possible answer: Over at The Soul Of America, there was a shared post which neatly summed up the Past-Is-Prologue we've been witnessing over the past seven-plus months.
A discredited ruling ideology, declining standards of living, the memory of lived prosperity and absolute despair for the future: this is as toxic a society as you can imagine. Now add to that waves of immigrants fleeing the storms and heat waves of South and Central America. An increasingly violent, increasingly militarized border, and an increasingly aggressive ICE. The continued decline of white Americans into a national minority. And a wealthy elite, controlling the most powerful propaganda apparatus in history, desperate to find a scapegoat for the country's ongoing deterioration.
Any questions? See you at The Barbecue Next Time !

Monday, August 14, 2017

Reprint Heaven Forever: All Hail The Medium Lobster

Because You Appear To Love It So: And Fafnir And Giblets, Too
Weil so es Muss sein. *

Miss them all.

Medium Lobster! There is no Lobster but He - the Living, The Self-subsisting, the Eternal. No slumber can seize Him Nor Sleep. His are all things In the heavens and on earth and under the oceans. Who is there that can intercede In His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth What (appeareth to All as) Before or After or Behind them.  Nor shall they compass Aught of His knowledge Except as He willeth. His throne doth extend Over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth No fatigue in guarding and preserving them, For He is the Most High, The Supreme (in glory). He is Medium Lobster, the One and Only.
     -- by Anonymous, at April 02, 2008 10:03 AM 

I dreamed he was iridescent red an green an he had frickin' laser beams comin' outta his head. And he smelled like a fish tank. 
     -- by Laptop Battery, at August 08, 2011 4:12 AM 

 You better get with the goddamn program. 
     -- My Father, While Pointing At A Picture Of The Medium Lobster

DRILL SERGEANT:  What's your purpose in this Army, Gump?
GUMP: To do the will of the Medium Lobster, Drill Sar-gent !

WOODWARD:  ... I need to know what you know !
DEEP THROAT:  You don't understand what you've stumbled into, do you?  You think this was all something out of the mind of little Donald Segretti?? This involves the entire United States intelligence community -- it involves The Medium Lobster.
* Because it must be.