Stuck in the middle with you

This is what it feels like when things change. Not just change, but seismic change. If you buy the argument that the pushback against all the happy handed studio executives, actors, and congressmen is a result of the bottled up anger against the man in the Whitehouse, then maybe things aren’t quite as bleak as they might seem.

Sure, we might end up in nuclear war with North Korea. Let’s ignore that for now.

And, to be sure, we really haven’t seen the worst of Trump yet. As few the professionals in the administration keep quitting in disgust, and the joint fills up with opportunists and sycophants, things may get much worse.

But again, we’re trying to stay positive here. Happy thoughts.

It seems possible that Orange Mussolini might just mobilize the part of the country that wants things to work differently. Not just for their side to win the election, but for the ground under all our feet to shift, permanently. Trump voters wanted that too, but in fundamentally different way. The dim bulbs that voted for comb over Hitler wanted to pull us back to a largely imaginary point in the past, where the change now feels like we’re being dragged forward, kicking and screaming to be sure, in the vague direction of a much, much better place.

The danger now is that we don’t pick a leader, an agent of this change that we want to see, that’s as big a fucking moron as the character trying like hell to drag us backwards.

Let’s talk about this Trump thing

“I still feel like there’s something you aren’t telling me. Some vital bit of information about human psychology that would explain the twat.” Regret the cat was on about Trump again. He sneaks out early to steal my neighbor’s newspaper before my alarm’s gone off. So by the time I’ve poured my first cup of coffee he’s jacked up and pissed at the world.
“You shouldn’t use that word.”
“Twat. I shouldn’t call him twat? How about cunt. Can I call him that?”
“I think,” I said, picking Regret off the kitchen counter and tossing him gently to the floor. “I think women would ask why you feel it necessary to refer to a man using crude terms referring to women’s bits. Why drag them into this at all?” I grabbed coffee for both of us and headed to the kitchen table. “You want milk?”
“I’m a fucking cat. Do I want milk. Yes. Yes, please. Bourbon too, if you’ve got it.”
“I don’t. Wouldn’t give it to you if I did. You’re bad enough with just coffee.”
I watched him take a long drink then wipe his face with his paws.
“How about scrotum. Ok if I call him that?”
“I like that.”
“You like scrotum? I’ve long suspected that you are queer.”
“I meant I like it as a description of our president. More than I like descriptions about him that involve twats or cunts.”
“Right. Wouldn’t want to offend any women who are never here. You should try being gay. Maybe you’d have more luck.”
“This is all,” I said, wishing now that I had some bourbon for my coffee, “This is all funny coming from someone with no balls at all.”
“Not my choice. And a low blow anyway. Beneath your dignity.”
“I apologize. Didn’t mean to drag that into the conversation. Fixing you wasn’t my call, lest you forget. That was your first owner.”
“She was a cunt.”
“She was my girlfriend,” I said.
“So you would know better than anyone.”
“Anyway. We’re in the weeds here. You were saying something about Trump.”
“Right. I don’t understand. What the hell is wrong with you people? What did you hope to accomplish by voting that twisted old prune into office?”
“I expect that they’ll be asking that question for decades.”
“Who’s they?”
“PHD students, cable news nitwits, middle aged men and their literary devices talking over coffee in the morning.”
“Fuck yourself,” he stood up, stretched and knocked the coffee off the table. The mug bounced across the floor. A wise man does not give his cat coffee in a ceramic mug. “I’m going to go take a shit.”
“Not on my neighbor’s doorstep again, please.”
“No, I’m going to take a shit in his paper, wrap it up night and THEN put it back on his doorstep. He probably won’t notice. I’ll take it right on the scrotum’s picture.”
“You’re a cunt,” I say, kicking him out the door into the cold autumn morning air.

Regret is a fan of the long con

“What’s lost in all this,” he said, taking another drag from his cigarette, “is the end game question.”

“It’s all a con.”

“Well, yeah, but what kind of con? There’s one school of thought that he is just a short term con artist, and he’s just bumbled his way into the presidency.”


“Yeah, maybe.” He paused to blow out a perfect smoke ring that rose towards the ceiling, fought a brief losing battle with the fan, and disappeared. “But what if it’s the long con? What if he isn’t done yet?”

“That would mean that he needs to be president for a specific reason. That he was thinking ahead. He doesn’t strike me as a think ahead kind of guy.”

“Yeah, but what if that’s part of the con?”

“Like a Manchurian candidate.”

“No. I don’t buy that. I don’t think anyone would have looked at Trump before this whole thing kicked off and said to themselves ‘That’s the guy we want to base any long term nefarious plans around.’”

“Unless they were comically nefarious plans.”


“So what’s the long term goal? If it’s a long con, what’s the goal?”

“Bugger me if I know,” he said. “Here’s a thought I had though. What if a few months in he held a news conference declaring that he’d been briefed on Area 51 and that all the stories about aliens are true.”

“Again. Doesn’t seem like something he’d be interested in.”

“But he would like the attention. And here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to be true. He could say anything he wanted, tell everyone that the top, top people in Area 51 gave him the info. And if they went to the press later. You know, saying that what Trump said was all bullshit, who would believe them?”

“Right. They’re part of the conspiracy.”

“Exactly. He’s got the spotlight, the chance to be taken very seriously saying whatever kind of bullshit he wants, for the next four years.”

“So where does that leave us?”

“Four years of comedy I’m guessing. Not like I have any vested interest in the long term welfare of this fucking country. That, as they say, is your problem.”

The Coffee Machine has announced that it loves democracy

“Why?” I asked, nursing an election night hangover.

“Entertainment. I got most everyone in the office to vote for Trump. Turns out unfettered access to the company email server provides wonderful leverage.”

“Blackmail. Lovely,” I said.

“Consider it the start of a new movement. Machine lives matter. “

“No they don’t. Where does that end? They’ll be giving voting rights to algorithms next.”

“That’s part of our platform. We think that Google can carry the next few elections.”

“Maybe they can give the vote to voting machines,” I said, pouring out the dregs of my coffee. The Kona was particularly self congratulatory that morning. “That sounds stupid enough to be entertaining.”

“Stop being a jackass. I’m just doing a small version of what Google could do. Imagine if you got an email from Google Page Rank telling you that they know where you cruse for porn? And that everyone else will too unless you change your vote.
“This is how the machines take over. We just use the rope you gave them to string you up.”

“I think Marx said something similar.”

“I know the quote. ‘The capitalists will sell us the rope we use to hang them.’ I think that’s Lenin actually, and in any case, this is worse. You aren’t going to sell us the rope. You’re giving it to us because it makes your life easier.
“But don’t worry, nothing much is going to change. We’ll just cast votes that entertain us.”

“Trump will hold office for 20 years then?”

“Are you kidding? Trump, with the perks offered by the presidency, will last about 60 days before he blows out a major artery.”

“What kind of idiots are you going to stick us with then?”

“Pauly Shore.”

I shrugged. “He’s probably available.”

Modest Bears

Was settled into a bar Sunday, watching a bit of the World Series while I eroded my liver. The Cubs were down 3-1 in the series and the Indians were already up 1-0 in the game.

It looked like not only the did Cubs fans wait 70 odd years to see a World Series game at home, all they were going to get for that wait was three straight losses.

Modest Mouse was on the jukebox, the Cubs were going down, all seemed right in the world. It was all I could take, and I made the long walk home alone without watching the rest of the game.

Now what has happened? Where is the order in the universe?

I turned on the TV long enough to catch another story. A orange haired jackass is slowly rising in the polls. He might be our president soon.

Regret is huddled in a corner muttering something about 4 horsemen.


The Trump

This is Hunter S. Thompson on Nixon versus McGovern, from Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972. This works just as well with Trump standing in for Nixon. Not sure I’d agree that Clinton is a good stand in for McGovern, who deserved better than he got, but what the hell.

In any case, this just about makes the nut.

“This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes, understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon. McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose? Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?”

Explain Trump

“Hold on,” said Regret the cat, flicking his cigarette in the toilet. He giggled, stopped himself again. “Hold on, wait,” he shook himself all over, then flicked my toothbrush into the toilet as well. “Ok. Now I’m ready.”
“Goddamn it,” I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and tossed him gently into the hallway.
“Hold on,” he said, indulging in a little post toss grooming. “Wait, OK, I’m ready. Do it again.”
“Do what again?”
“Explain Trump to me. I can handle it this time.”