One Very Peculiar Weekend.

Amazon was peculiar. I finally got around to ordering a Kindle Paperwhite and it arrived Friday. Well, more accurately, a Kindle Paperwhite arrived Friday. I purchased the one with out “special offers;” this one had them, a major annoyance. I went to the Amazon website and there were two, count ’em, two Paperwhites showing on my account. The one I had registered to download books, the one in my hand, had the offers, the other did not. I could register the other one and download books to it but, you know, it didn’t really exist. It took great deal of time convincing an Amazon person all this was true but eventually I did and they went through the (apparently) arduous task of getting rid of the offers on my Kindle, that mystery paperwhite remains on my list of options for downloads. I am tempted to download one of the daily freebies to it but afraid of screwing things up again.

My new neighbor was peculiar. So yesterday, I was out on the back lawn when I heard a voice yelling. I looked up at the balcony of the apartment on the second floor to the right of the on over my apartment and there is a guy standing there waving his arms. Indian, I would guess by his accent and appearance. How or when he moved in was a mystery given how rarely I had been away from home the week passed, but there he was, and he had locked himself out of his place and had no phone. I called the office for him but it is closed on Sundays; the emergency number given took me to a dentist’s office. Really. I was on the verge of trying the police when, lo and behold, here came the official golf cart used to show prospective tenants around, driven by one of the sales ladies. Problem over as she went up and set him free.

My dog was peculiar. Okay, he is always peculiar but yesterday wad very weird, After he got me out of bed at 6am for his usual quick trip outside followed by breakfast, I poured some food into his bowl. He took two bites and yelped with pain times. I took the bowl away and gave him one of his favorite treats, a soft chewy thing. He gulps one of these down in a microsecond normally, but this one he slowly chewed before finally finishing it. He wanted something more so I took a chewy Greenie he liked and he rose up on hind legs to take in from my hand and yelped ever louder than before as he started in on it. At dinner, I had to cut the small chucks of salmon in his wet food into tiny bits for him to eat comfortably. He was reserved and well-behaved throughout the day and when I was ready to him the sack and he was obviously still hungry, I put a handful of the same dry food from the morning into his bowl and he gobbled it down readily and quietly. Got up this morning and fed him as usual and he ate like he normally does, was jumping around and being crazy per usual and acting like nothing ever happened. I even tested him with hard biscuit thing he like and he had no issues. Went to the vet’s anyway and all that achieved was relieving me of $55.


Let’s dig up Vince Foster’s body and really get this show on the road.

Hillary Haters.

They know who they are and you know who they are.

The vocal, angry sorts who started out as hopeful supporters of the Sanders campaign and showed that support by singing the praises of their candidate and his policies. Good stuff. But, as reality has set in, they no longer “support” much of anything, instead providing a constant stream of over-wrought, questionable, sometimes downright false attacks on his opponent. Inchoate anger has become their default position and its not very pretty. It is, in fact, damned dangerous: they even offer up such nonsense as “sometimes you have to lose to win”* to defend against charges that their blind vitriol might lead to the election of Mr. Tiny Hands.

*That’s the kissing cousin of “we had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

Well, good news for them. Tiny Hands is on the case with another Golden Oldie

Foster was diagnosed with depression and multiple investigations have ruled his 1993 death a suicide, but Trump called the circumstances surrounding his death “very fishy” and the lasting allegations of foul play in some circles “very serious” in a Washington Post story published Monday night.

“He had intimate knowledge of what was going on,” Trump told the Post about Foster’s relationship with the Clintons before his death. “He knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide.”

Trump also said about Hillary Clinton: “It’s the one thing with her, whether it’s Whitewater or whether it’s Vince or whether it’s Benghazi. It’s always a mess with Hillary.”

But in his typical fashion, the billionaire mogul claimed he didn’t know enough about Foster’s death to bring it up in the first place.

“I don’t bring [Foster’s death] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it,” Trump said. “I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.”

No More Mr. Nice Blog has a good take on this today:

A great new book has been written about Crooked Hillary. Read it & you will never be able to vote for her. @Ed_Klein 

Photo published for Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary

Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary

A New York Times Bestseller!From the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Amateur and Blood Feud . . .Unlikeable is the stunning, powerful exposé of Hillary Clinton and her floundering…

So when Trump starts peddling stories cooked up by the guy who tells us that Hillary Clinton is an angry radical lesbian whose only child was conceived via marital rape, I suppose everyone in the media will take the allegations seriously and spread them around by asking other Republicans what they think about them, even though Klein’s work has been justifiably dismissed as garbage by the media in recent years.

So is Donald Trump becoming the new “puke funnel” — a one-man conduit directing (or redirecting) sleazy stories from the fringe to the legitimate press? “Puke funnel” was James Carville’s term for a process that was described this way in a memo from Clinton World in the days of Bill’s administration:

The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce refers to the mode of communication employed by the right wing to convey their fringe stories into legitimate subjects of coverage by the mainstream media. This is how the stream works. First, well funded right wing think tanks and individuals underwrite conservative newsletters and newspapers such as the Western Journalism Center, theAmerican Spectator and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Next, the stories are reprinted on the internet where they are bounced all over the world. From the internet, the stories are bounced into the mainstream media through one of two ways: 1) The story will be picked up by the British tabloids and covered as a major story, from which the American right-of-center mainstream media, (i.e. the Wall Street Journal, Washington Times and New York Post) will then pick the story up; or 2) The story will be bounced directly from the internet to the right-of-center mainstream American media. After the mainstream right-of-center media covers the story, Congressional committees will look into the story. After Congress looks into the story, the story now has the legitimacy to be covered by the remainder of the American mainstream press as a “real” story.

Look for “murderer”  to join “war criminal,” “Wall Street tool” and similar epithets in your emails and Facebook exchanges and expect Chris Matthews to have Ann Coulter on to to discuss it very, very seriously.

Originally published 20 January 2001

It helps to be reminded now and then how bad some of our national choices have been, even if it took a purely political decision by the Supreme Court to make this one official…

History lesson.

On this date in 2001, The. Worst. President. Ever. took office in Washington and The Dubya Chronicles was born to mark that low point in U.S. history.


Both George W. Bush and The Dubya Chronicles left the scene on this date in 2009.

That story I wrote about comic books over 40 years ago…

I am really enjoying finding stories and articles that I wrote in my callow youth which I had forgotten I’d even archived until my recent computer crash let me to exploring all the dark corners. This one, as you can see from the date, was written in the middle of the so-called Silver Age of Comics (some argue that stretch ended in the early ’70s, but what do they know) and that’s why I do lots of ‘splainin’ for an audience I figured needed same. lots of the things I’ve been reposting have drawn comments to me via email from folks who remember the original publication. I doubt that’s gonna happen with this one.

A Bird! A Plane! A Morlock?
Will the forthcoming Atlas line herald a third Golden Age?

© 1974 Jack Curtin. All rights reserved.\ This article originally appeared in The Philadelphia Daily News – November 8, 1974

Remember comic book superheroes? Tall, steely-eyed, granite-chinned, muscular types in skintight costumes (along with a kid assistant or an occasional scantily clad female counterpart) who saved the world in 12 pages or thereabouts? Well, if you haven’t looked lately, you’re not going to believe what’s happened.
Picture003The pretty boys in the capes and masks and all are still around, understand, but the contemporary comic book star is just as likely to be a neurotic misfit, a semi-civilized barbarian, a vampire, a slime creature out of the swamp or, as in the example to the left, a – er – vegetable.
That’s right – What you see here is not a “monster”, it’s a “hero”. The name is Morlock 2001 and, from what I’m told, he was cultivated from a large seedpod. Normally, he looks much like an everyday human being, but when he gets into action – zowie!
And to think that all Clark Kent had to do was strip off his clothes and glasses…
Now, Morlock may not be your garden variety superhero, but he’s certainly representative of the contemporary scene as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman or those other idols of our lost youth. And he’s also proof that the comic book industry, which has already gone through two “golden ages”, may just be on the verge of a third.
Morlock, you see, is the star of one of nearly 30 new comic magazines to be introduced this month and next as the Atlas Comics line. Atlas is the brainchild of Martin Goodman, one of the industry pioneers, and it could eventually pose a significant threat to the Marvel Comics Group and National Periodical Publications, the two giants of the industry.
Marvel was also a Goodman creation (ironically, under the name “Atlas”) back in the 1940’s. He sold the company to the Magazine Management subsidiary of Cadence Industries in 1970 for several million dollars and stayed with the company as a consultant until early this year. Then, according to Jim Steranko, a Reading, Pa., comic’s historian and illustrator, writing in his bi-monthly “Mediascene” newspaper, Cadence summarily fired Goodman’s son, Chip, as editorial director. Goodman, who had promised not to engage in the publication of comics when he retired, thereupon came back into the field with a vengeneance.
With sales of comics averaging in the millions each month – at prices of twenty-five cents or better – the economic impact of another major company could be considerable. As could the creative impact, because comics have reached new levels of maturity and acceptance in recent years with some surprisingly good writing and illustration being produced.
But let’s start at the beginning and try to put all this into some sort of perspective.
The comic book is an American invention, some 40 years old. Comics began as collections of newspaper strips, and then began to come into their own as independent publications with the June 1938 issue of Action Comics, which introduced Superman to the world. That was the beginning of the Golden Age, a period which stretched into the late 1940’s.
Today, comics from the 30’s and 40’s are collector’s items, often commanding incredible prices from fans. A copy of that first issue of Action was sold for in the excess of $1,500 last year, and the present owner, Bob Crestohl of Montreal, says he has since been offered $4,000 for it.
There is a real market today for old comics. In fact, a small store called Comics for Collectors opened here just last month.
Comics for Collectors is owned by Bob Rose, a former insurance salesman, and Ronnie Oser, who worked in a shoe store. They rented two rooms at 1732 Spruce St., filled it with goodies (a framed Mickey Mouse British weekly from 1939, a Terry and the Pirate collection from the 30’s, pieces of original comic art) and opened for business.
“There are stores like ours all over the country,” says Rose, “and when we realized that there was no direct source for original art and hard-to-get older comics in this area, we decided to go into business”. And business, he says, has been booming.
But, back to our chronology. The 1950’s, primarily, as a result of excesses within the industry which resulted in attacks on the comics from all sides, were a vast wasteland of weak art and horrid stories. Then, early in the 60’s, Marvel’s Stan Lee ushered in what he calls the Marvel Age of Comics and we shall call the second Golden Age.
National Periodicals was then the dominant force in the industry and had just begun reviving some of its superhero characters like the Flash and Green Lantern. Lee, together with artist Jack Kirby, decided to go the superhero route too, but to aim a little higher and to do something different.
They came up with the Fantastic Four, a superhero team that seemed to spend most of their time fighting among themselves. And they created Spider-Man, a teen-ager with extraordinary powers (from the bite of a radioactive spider) and very ordinary problems (a sick aunt, lack of money, social pressures, torn costumes, poor health, etc. etc. etc.)
Other characters followed of the same ilk, and Marvel was on its way. The line became an “in” thing on college campuses. Lee and Roy Thomas, an ex-school teacher from Missouri who just might be the most creative writer/editor the field has ever seen, brought the company all the way to the top: Marvel passed National last year to become the top-selling line on the market.
Marvel’s dominance of the current market is well documented locally by figures from the United News Company, the area’s largest distributor of magazines and periodicals. According to spokesman Hugh Olbrick, the top 10 selling comics in Philadelphia are, in order, “Amazing Spider-Man,” “Thor,” “Archie,” Captain Marvel,” “Iron Man,” “Fantastic Four,” Marvel Team-Up,” “Daredevil,” “The Incredible Hulk,” and “Captain America”. With the obvious exception of “Archie” (which is far and away the leader of the “funny” comics), all of those titles come from Marvel.
Marvel now publishes over 100 titles, ranging from a Spider-Man edition done in cooperation with television’s “The Electric Company” aimed at younger readers to fantasy and horror stories in black-and-white aimed at (supposedly) a more adult audience.
And the woes of the companies problem-ridden heroes continue: two members of the Fantastic Four almost-but-not-quite got a divorce, Spider-Man’s girl friend died in his arms, Captain America (revived from the nationalistic 40’s) has given up his red, white and blue costume in protest against what is happening in this country.
Still, things have been at something of a standstill in the industry. With the proliferation of titles, quality at Marvel has dropped off lately. Worse yet, editor Roy Thomas resigned in August to escape the hassle of business and money decisions. National, part of a much larger conglomerate and historically a more cautious and conservative publisher, seems unlikely to spark the industry toward the next step in its evolution.
That’s why the forthcoming Atlas line could herald a third Golden Age. Other, smaller comics publishers have tried to challenge the Big Two (notably the Charlton line), but they never had the expertise (and incentive) represented by Atlas. The new company might well be the Marvel of the 1970’s.
Whatever happens, the comics will hopefully begin to receive some of the recognition due them. Roy Thomas’ fantastic adaptations of the old Conan the Barbarian pulp magazine tales to comics format… Joe Kubert’s powerful treatment of Tarzan of the Apes… Marvel’s “Man-Thing” and National’s “Swamp Thing”, each a former human being forever transformed into a shambling, ugly monster… these, and a handful of other contemporary heroes, are, within the limits of the form, masterpieces.
The comic book has long been considered a genuine art form in other countries. The third Golden Age may ring with it that same sense of legitimacy in the U.S.

There was this time when I took this job…

Been a bit under the weather this past week, but I want to keep this site keepin’ on, so here’s another Golden Oldie for you, from the pages of Philadelphia Weekly circa 1996-97 when I was, for a while, the World’s Oldest Paperboy (or close enough for our purposes here). Enjoy.


By Jack Curtin

The thing I’ll remember most is chasing my runaway car down Germantown Avenue at 5 a.m.

Or racing down the same stretch of road in the opposite direction a few months earlier (inside the car this time), with a police car in hot pursuit.

Come to think of it, I’ll never forget the nice lady who chased me down a dark street on a cold December morning to press money into my eager hand.

Ah, the unsurpassed thrills of the newspaper business.

Journalist, you ask?

Nah. Been there, done that. This time I went respectable.

I was a paperboy.

I started delivering the Philadelphia Inquirer on May 7, 1998. The paper route was
to be a stopgap measure, a few months earning much needed extra money and clearing my mind. Well on the far side of 50, recently divorced and not exactly thriving after three decades as a freelance writer, I’d also just learned that I’d have to leave my current digs because my landlady was returning from a two-year sojourn abroad.

Given the obvious potential for deep depression, I figured getting up at 3 in the morning and doing something productive had to be better than lying awake with those dangerous “dark night of the soul” thoughts Scott Fitzgerald talked about.

Only for a couple of months, though.

Turns out I delivered my last Inquirer 453 days later, this past October 31. My
“few months” turned into a year and a half due to a combination of inertia and my easily developed addiction to the luxury of a regular cash flow. It was easier to keep on keepin’ on than to quit.

Actually, the job wasn’t all that bad. My route of about 350 subscribers in Lafayette Hill was compact enough that it could be served in 45 minutes to an hour. As long as I didn’t hit a deer (I saw an average of 20 to 25 each day) or the occasional jogger, I could zip along, swinging from one side of the street to the other to distribute my wares, radio tuned to either NPR for intellectual stimulation or WIP’s Big Daddy Graham for its opposite. I enjoyed the totally illogical feeling of superiority that came from doing honest work while the world was sleeping. Best of all, I got to see the sun rise daily and relish the implied promise of a new day as an antidote to those 3 a.m. blues.

The Inquirer promises subscribers papers by 6:30 a.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. Sundays. Most mornings, the papers are printed in two or more segments, which have to be folded together and inserted into plastic bags. That’s the worst part of the whole job, done first thing at long work tables arrayed around the warehouse, although some old pros do it on the fly, folding and inserting in their cars or vans as they speed through the dark night, steering with their knees. I picked the papers at the East Norriton distributing warehouse where, like everyone else, I received a daily update with each morning’s bundles, listing who was going on or coming off vacation, who was adding or dropping the paper and, all too frequently, who had weighed in with some real or imagined delivery complaint.

Carriers are paid 25 percent of the full price of each daily or Sunday paper
delivered. A complaint about a missing or wet paper results in a $2 charge ($4 for a Sunday) against a carrier and mitigates against incentives for perfect or near-perfect delivery that can reach as high as $200 some months. A $140 monthly stipend for collecting from customers not billed directly by the Inquirer was part of my contract as well. Billing and collecting is a frustrating and time-consuming task for carriers and is being phased out of most routes, but it did provide that regular cash flow I relished.

My monthly share of that flow usually ranged between $1,750 and $1,900, which
worked out to about $15 an hour. Not bad for a part-time job, which is what a route is for most carriers (usually for less than a year). But there are some guys who’ve been at it for 10 years or longer, and a few who make their entire living delivering papers, usually combining an Inquirer route with ones for the Wall Street Journal and/or Norristown Times Herald.

As the weeks wore on, I found different ways to make it through the night. One
trick was to make game of how the papers would be thrown. A quick wrist flip out the driver’s window? A cross-body toss across the passenger seat? The overhead fling across the roof of the car? I mastered three distinct pitches but also tossed in a clinker every now and then.

There’s nothing quite as startling as the thud of a hurled paper against a closed passenger side window, nor as likely to incite profane screams as realizing that you have inadvertently grabbed the closed rather than the open end of a bag as you watch a paper fly out the open end and distribute itself across a lawn. Even more exasperating is a bag bursting apart as it hit the ground, almost standard procedure mornings we had to use those godawful promotional bags with cereal or shampoo or whatever in a small pocket at the bottom.

Weather became an issue in my life. I discovered how surprisingly chilly it can
be at 4 a.m. in August even though daytime temperatures might hit the 90s. I rediscovered the joys of driving down unfamiliar roads in impenetrable fog, or hydroplaning across the highway on an invisible slick surface. I started avidly listening to weather reports to see if rain was in the forecast.

I am told that snow, a legendary phenomenon no longer common in these parts, really used to screw things up in the winter, but plain old rain was trouble enough. Not so much during the warmer months, barring a torrential outburst, but picture driving in a steady downpour on a bitter January morning, cold rain soaking you through the open driver’s window while you try to peer through fog and mist, all the while struggling to throw each paper carefully onto a safe spot on the lawn rather than in the driveway where it would get soaked by the flowing streams of surface water (wet papers are probably the most common complaint any carrier has to deal with).

You can battle through the weather, though. What I feared most was the car
breaking down. Given the stop-and-go nature of the driving and the loads they carry, carriers’ vehicles take a terrible pounding day in and day out, and my ’88 Honda Accord, in addition to being old and small, had a stick shift, which meant I was all too often driving in the wrong gear.

Happily, although I did spend a lot of money on maintenance, I only had one really significant automobile problem. That was the night a police car chased me down Germantown Avenue.

My Honda’s electrical system started to fail just as I was about to turn off the
main drag at Chestnut Hill College. That section of the route is purely residential, a series of cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets where breaking down would be a true disaster, especially since my car phone would be useless once the car shut down. So I turned off everything but the lights and did a U-turn to head for a shopping complex and service station about two miles back up the road.

The headlights failed almost immediately and I was running blind. Within a
quarter mile a police car was on my tail, lights flashing and an increasingly angry voice broadcasting strong suggestions that I pull over. Once I stopped, though, the car wasn’t going to move again without a tow truck. Hunching down and assuring myself that it was unlikely my pursuer would shoot, I pressed on. Luck, and an understanding cop, turned out to be on my side.

But where was a cop when I really needed him, the night my errant Honda took
off down the highway?

That morning, I’d been alerted by the sound of tires on gravel after I’d gotten out of the car to put a paper into a mailbox (it was regularly stolen if I left it in the drive). I turned to see my car, motor still running, moving off into the darkness. Some dummy had forgotten to use his emergency brake. I set off in pursuit, thankful that there were no cars coming toward us.

My plan was to reach in the open window and pull the brake on. But this was
a Saturday morning, which meant that the car was crammed top to bottom with both Saturday papers and the bulky bundle of advertising and feature sections that Sunday subscribers get a day early. The Honda’s erratic meandering had disturbed my unstable piles and newspapers had tumbled from the passenger side and backseat to completely bury the driver’s seat and the brake handle.

Seeing this as I came alongside, I also realized the Honda was now moving
diagonally across the road directly into a steeply descending driveway. Once it hit that point, it would surely end up halfway through the front door of the house at the bottom. The folks there weren’t subscribers and probably wouldn’t take well to that. So I grabbed the steering wheel and turned it desperately to the right until we were again heading down the road.

My next solution was to try and get inside and take control. I pulled the door
halfway open and threw my body against it. Bad move. The door pushed back, knocked me onto my knees. Now I was being dragged down the pike, unable to let go of the door lest I be tossed under the rear wheels. I somehow scrambled and stumbled back to my feet, lurching along as the door slammed closed.

Unable to maintain the pace, I finally aimed the car toward an uphill driveway on
the far side of the pike and let go. Standing in the middle of the road, bathed in the headlights of two vehicles which had followed along behind observing this comedy of errors, I felt about as good as a guy with bleeding knees, pounding heart and not much oxygen left in his system could. Then I saw that was going to miss the driveway and instead roll to go onto a grassy hillside to its left on a diagonal trajectory. That meant that it might still slow down and drift back to the road, but its momentum could also carry it far enough up the incline to where the angle and shifting weight of the papers would cause it to topple over.

The car bounced twice in a roadside rut and started up the hillside. Slower.
Slower. Finally it stopped, teetered momentarily as if it were going to go over, then settled and rolled backwards. As if I’d planned it that way all along, it came to a dead stop right in front of me as I reached the foot of the driveway. A horn beeped. One of the drivers who’d been following along behind pulled up in his pickup truck. “Here, you may need this,” he said, flipping me the paper I’d dropped in the middle of the road when the whole fiasco began. Nice guy. Very helpful. I’m almost sorry I flipped him the finger as he drove off, laughing.

As with any job, my customers proved a mixed bag. Given the hours I worked,
I never saw or met most of them, but I surely got to “know” a few, such as those households in which someone was standing at the front window, stopwatch in hand (at least figuratively), waiting to call and report that the paper was late at exactly 6:31 a.m.
I was definitely impressed with the effort of the couple who posted a large hand-lettered sign on the lawn imploring me not to toss their paper into their flowerbeds. And I even felt bad (sorta) about not seeing and therefore whacking in the chest with a nicely thrown Inquirer the poor soul standing in the dark by his mailbox in robe and slippers sipping coffee and waiting for me.

Then there was the woman who chased my car to hand me a Christmas card and
$20. Her, I liked. That happened last year when, while they varied from carrier to carrier, reports of customer largesse during the holidays had me optimistic. I figured that if just half of my subscribers dropped a not unreasonable $10 on me for the holidays, I’d have the equivalent of a thirteenth month’s income. That illusion was painfully shattered when my oh-so-clever holiday card garnered a mere $300. Bah, humbug.

But I didn’t quit because the tips were lousy. Nor did I quit because delivering papers, while not exactly hard labor, is no powder puff job either. It might not seem so on first glance, but there’s a significant physical effort involved. Consider: the average Sunday Inquirer weighs in at close to five pounds. I’d handle each copy a minimum of three times: once when I bagged it, once when I loaded it into the car, once when I threw it into somebody’s driveway. Maybe 100 of those papers went into my trunk first and were handled a fourth time when I moved them up to where I could serve them. Conservatively, that’s two and a half tons of weight being tossed about every weekend, never mind the rest of the week.

I quit because the job is so damned unrelenting. Seven days a week, no exceptions. Christmas? New Year’s? Carriers will be out there, same as always. That’s a killer. Any second job is hard enough; one that makes it virtually impossible to get more than six hours sleep a night without giving up all pretensions of a normal life is significantly worse; one from which there is no relief, not a single day off, eventually became, for me, unsustainable.

I sure do miss those sunrises, though.

More on this to come…

If Bernie Sanders wants to turn what has been a very impressive campaign into a power base in the US Senate during the next administration and maintain his career and reputation going forward, he damned well better start negotiating with the Democratic Establishment now. That’s not his preference and will appall the True Believers but it is his last road to having an impact on the future of this country.
He could start with asking his wife, one of the most annoying surrogates ever, to go home and file their damned income tax return. He says the delay is that she does the return and has been busy on the campaign trail. If their entire income is his Senatorial salary as he says, how long could that take? One source of income is pretty damned basic so, what, she is gone for a day, maybe two? Give me a break. Right now his excuse on that very simple, and really not very important issue, puts him in the same room with the Trumpster. He should have fled those premises long ago and for every day he stays there, some informed observers, and I include me in that group, wonder what is going on.

Quite honestly, all the Bernie Bros. aside, his ultimate place in history is on the line and the causes he supports will be seriously wounded if he does not make wise choices. He could start tomorrow by saying clearly and definitively to his followers that, no, he cannot possibly win the the nomination outright and the whole idea of talking the Super Delegates into changing over to support him is silly and attempting to win that way goes against the fundamental beliefs that supposedly drive his campaign. Time to stop shouting and man up.

Windows 10 crept up on little cat feet…

Damned if Windows 10 didn’t make guerilla attack on my computer just now. I turned on the system earlier, read my mail and then puttered around the apartment. Eli and I went out for a walk (I am finally winning that battle of wills and become the leader of the pack) and when we came back in, I made a cup of coffee before I came over to the desks to see a screen that read WINDOWS IS UPDATING YOUR COMPUTER. Ack! A quick unplugging nipped it in the bud and a reboot restored Windows 7. That damned little 4-square update button (“Get Windows 10” is impossible to get rid of (I think, dare I right click on it and try?) and I guess it’s possible i did click on it inadvertently, but very, very unlikely. Anything like this ever happen to someone reading this?

including ways you can prevent this happening to you

Michael Moorcock saw the roots of contemporary America twenty years ago.

“We are living in times when people cling to the wreckage of their sinking orthodoxies as if to salvation and aggressively continue to promote the very ideas which have led to their predicament. All we can hope, I suppose, is that, in their enthusiasm for self-destruction, they don’t drag the rest of us down with them. Violent grinning, canned orchestral music, empathic neighbourliness, vigorous hand-clapping, enthusiastic show-business presentation, and simplified hymn-singing is now substitute for real spiritual substance and that, it seems to me, demonstrates the crisis of many Christian churches at present…”

That was written twenty years ago (1996) by British writer Michael Moorcock for the 30th anniversary edition of his brilliant novel, Behold the Man. It is the story of Karl Glogauer, a man who travels from the year 1970 in a time machine to 28 AD, where he hopes to meet the historical Jesus of Nazareth. Behold the Man, firmly planted on my list of the ten best SF novels ever, won the 1967 Nebula Award a year after its initial publication.

The comment above was written in context of how the original had been received when first published, which included strong, positive reviews in the religious press in his home country. It was only when the book made its way to these shores that he began to receive death threats, “mostly from the Bible Belt, almost all from Texas.”

The strain of madness in our culture is nothing new. What is new is that it has bubbled to the surface and no one can pretend it doesn’t exist any longer. Some will try, of course, as we are not seeing from the liberal media elite (that great, non-existent bogyman of the Right) and the scared-to-death, chickens-with-their-heads-cut-off crowd that is residue of the GOP Establishment. The latter are getting what they deserve. Sadly, though, what they sowed we all are reaping.

The ersatz Speaker and “Little Donnie.” Was it really a rout?

Charles Pierce has covered this topic a zillion times or more (“the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin and first runner-up in our most recent vice presidential pageant”), so I am treading on somewhat familiar ground here, but how the hell did Paul Ryan suddenly become this brilliant political genius who is working the system five levels above everybody else in the minds of the media? Seriously, how did this happen?

Last night’s Lawrence O’Donnell show, which I watched just because I had a beer to finish before hitting the sack, was a perfect example. O’Donnell spent 15, maybe 20 minutes picturing the days’ GOP Summit of All Summits as an event where Ryan brilliantly schooled “Little Donnie” (okay, that as worth the time I spent and is so far the one Trump-like insult that I think is likely to get the insult master’s goat) in every aspect of governing.


Paul Ryan is trying to hang onto his political future. It was seriously damaged when, as Mitt Romney’s running mate, he did not ever carry his own state or even his district and is in serious trouble right now (though the media never mentions it) because he can barely control the House of which he is the putative leader. As Speaker, he’s become  John Boehner without the tears and bourbon. O’Donnell’s smirking proclamations of his brilliance were just plain awful…and he’s one of the few people at MSNBC it’s even tolerable to watch these days (if it had been the Chris Matthews interviews Chris Matthews show, guests be damned, I would have dumped the beer and turn off the set.

Then again, it is very likely that the Liberal Media Elite (that’s a joke, son) will work very hard this summer and fall to build up any and all GOP-ers that it can, not only because said media desperately needs a contested election to make it all relevant, but also because it’s what they do. Check out this guy’s blog for ongoing examples of that tendency, because he’s all over it. Here’s an example:

WARNING: A Trump/Gingrich ticket might seem like comedy gold, but I worry about the baffling level of respect for Newt in the mainstream media. Yes, Trump gets a lot of uncritical coverage, but there are also quite very negative stories about him. By contrast, Gingrich’s World’s Foremost Authority act always seems to bamboozle journalists and pundits, at least on broadcast and cable TV. Maybe this time around he won’t be deferred to as the all-knowing Doctor of Thinkology. But if he gets that kind of deference again, even as a surrogate for someone who’s even more of a snake-oil salesman than he is, I won’t be surprised.


Imagine quoting George W. Bush as an admonition to Bernie dead-enders.

I did not mean to imply in my “return to the scene of the crime” post on

More wisdom from Booman….

> The idea that a “true” progressive wouldn’t sully themselves by association with a Clinton presidency is a rejection of the advances progressives have made, and it’s a recipe for continued marginalization and irrelevancy. What I object to is not the rational assessment that a particular progressive (whether Sanders, Warren or someone else) might be more influential in a role other than the vice-presidency. What I find galling is the idea that no good progressive should be willing to serve “in the vice president’s office or in the Cabinet” of a Clinton administration because it would involve making compromises.

As George W. Bush said, the president is the decider, and anyone who serves the president must accept that they sometimes have to salute decisions they didn’t recommend.

This all-power-or-no-power no compromise attitude is Tea Party stuff.

It’s laughable. <

I have already made what I consider a reasonable progressive case against a Clinton-Warren ticket, but there are some unreasonable progressives cases…