August 31, 2009

O is a Concept...

Justice is a gallows, built with contemplation and remorse.

Retribution is a lamp post, with spittle and curses, and dogs nipping at your heels.

Our Messiah has shown himself, in nine short months, to be a callow soul no one will ever believe again, his lies inveighing too heavily against him. His minions will continue, having invested their soul in him, but their days, too, are numbered, hence the ferocity of their bark, if not their bite.

And so we are left with three and a half years of a stupefyingly demented creep in the palace of the people, whose pimps and harridans will ever still attempt to foist their binocularized utopia upon us, like zombified Fuller Brushmen, impervious to our cries of No Sale.

I for one intend to enjoy these times, these unseemly times, when the dollar is a shadow of a ruble, and the rights of man are the rights of The Man.

I might be well and truly fucked, but I'm not as fucked as the mendacious frauds that presumed to coerce me into their little schemes.

The Dream is Over.

Posted by Velociman at 9:09 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Clippers and Stampers

Phil Bowermaster at The Speculist has an article on the similarities and differences between coupon clippers and food stamp users. It's well written, and I don't argue with his ultimate premise: there could be other, more scalable models similar to coupon-clipping that consumers could take advantage of. I'm a bit puzzled that he claims this resource-hoarding is necessary because we are moving from a scarcity-driven society to an abundance-driven society, because scarcity tends to drive resourcefulness where I come from.

Where I'm really puzzled is in his recap of the differences and similarities between the Coupon Queen and the food stamp user (and I will be magnanimous and overlook the fact that he is using the term Coupon Queen as a pejorative, but doesn't refer to the food stamp user as a "Welfare Queen", although that case could be made, and certainly just as pejoratively as the coupon clipper. First, the differences:

1) There is no government involvement in being a Coupon Queen.

2) Being on Food Stamps is relatively passive compared to living the Coupon lifestyle. Once you're approved for the Food Stamps program, the government starts charging up your card. All you have to do is go spend the money. Whereas it looks like the Coupon Queen has to put in something approaching a 40-hour work week to maximize the benefits of her homemade program.

Well, certainly true as far as it goes. But there are other, more obvious, and more fundamental differences: motive for one, and sense of entitlement for another. The coupon clipper is observed, as far as the layman can tell sans studies I haven't undertaken, to be a person attempting to live within their means, no matter how desperate. There is an overarching sense of frugality to the clipper. This may strike some as good common sense behavior, others as the cheap, miserly ways of the irretrievably stingy. (This also probably depends on whether you are in line behind the clipper, and how many coupons he or she pulls from that ubiquitous zippered pouch).

The stamper, if we may call him that, is, unfairly or not, not associated with frugality. There really is no urgency creating that frugality, so long as the EBT card keeps processing. The stamper is far more different than merely being passive. In fact, I would stipulate that the application for stamps is a very aggressive posture. The stamper is living within a moment that says "I cannot live within my means. For whatever reason, be it lack of education, a recession, sloth, substance abuse, stupidity, or entitlement I have removed myself to the first rung of failure as a citizen." One hopes, indeed prays, that the stamper is in temporary straits, soon to rejoin the productive classes, although this is not always the case. Suffice it to say I merely lament the fact the author did not address the fact the clipper and the stamper far too often approach the provision of sustenance from fundamentally different motivations. The clipper is resourceful, not parasitic. This is obvious, but bears repeating: the clipper is not parasitic.

Now to the similarities, and forgive me the whirring of my whetstone as I sharpen my blade. The wheel's axle is wobbly, you see, like most of my arguments. Nonetheless, let us joust with this particular windmill for a moment:

1) A family on Food Stamps can get up to 100% of its grocery bill covered by the program. Most probably don't get everything covered, though. Let's just say that for most families on the program, Food Stamps account for about 75% of their grocery bill. In the stories we see, the Coupon Queen generally gets somewhere north of 90% of her family's groceries covered. However, that might not take into account all the extraneous expenses such as buying multiple newspapers, fuel costs, postage used to write manufacturers for additional coupons, etc. So let's say the typical Coupon Queen also gets about 75% of her family's grocery bill covered.

2) Both Food Stamps participants and the Coupon Queen are subsidized by the rest of us. Every time we pay full price (or even a lesser discount) for the products that the Coupon Queen is getting at 90% off, we help fund her lifestyle.

The author's first point is that both clipper and stamper procure approximately 75% of their nourishment from their respective approaches. Fair enough, although we must remain within the realm of the true Coupon Queen, as almost everyone uses coupons, redemptions, and rebates to some extent. No one uses just a li'l bit o' food stamps. Stamps are like heroin or pregnancy: you're either all in or all out. So our comparison shall remain Clipper versus Stamper.

The second similarity is the one that has me a bit riled: that we subsidize both the clipper and the stamper. Well, again, as far as that goes. But then you run headlong into

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

First, the small percentage of the product producer's or supermarket's corporate taxes that fund food stamps are a cost of doing business just like the discounts of the coupons and rebates, sure. But the taxes are involuntary: they are an involuntary expense the business must pay, regardless. The coupons, on the other hand, are voluntary market decisions designed to coax the consumer into buying one's brand, or patronizing one's store. The author cannot credibly address the issue of subsidy without mentioning this. It is altogether dishonest. After all, a tick found on one's body may be sucking the blood out of one in disgusting manner; a leech voluntarily placed may be doing the same thing, but for a beneficial reason. And here endeth my usage of invertebrate bloodsuckers as metaphor: even I got a bit queasy with that.

Here's another thing: coupons are enticements, not tax burdens. The brand manager and the greengrocer are attempting to market themselves to the consumer, a noble enterprise in any capitalist society. It is well established that supermarkets exist on razor thin margins, a penny or two on the dollar: they have fresh produce spoilage, breakage, pilferage, theft, and very high personnel costs for a business model that is essentially self service. Therefore rest assured that the percentage of losses attributable to coupons, redemptions, and rebates is almost infinitesimal to a supermarket's bottom line. Shall we pick a number? 2% sounds good. Anything more than that is going to have a cataclysmic impact on the grocer's profit.

The clipper is merely someone who has found a seam in the profitability model, and exploited it. The grocer and brand manager depend on loss leaders to get the consumer to buy their goods and services and spend more on other products that do render a profit.

Here's the thing: the redemption/coupon model is voluntary, and good business sense. If the environment changes, and of a sudden everyone is a clipper, why, that is unsustainable, and the coupons and rebates will disappear. Softly at first (no double-coupon days, coupons only good on Mondays, two-for-one instead of a coupon, that sort of thing). That's how free markets work. It's called a demand curve.

The yield management geeks (yes, I was one, once upon a time) are constantly looking at those razor thin profits, and consumer behavior. As clippers expand, clippings contract. It's almost like an invisible hand, or something. So no: I do not think the rest of us subsidize clippers: in fact, I think the clippers probably keep us all happily dodging the satanic, gigantic child-toting buggies the size of VW's at the grocer of our liking.

One last point: the stampers are not so frugal as the clippers, because their circumstances do not require it. I'm not saying they buy filets, I'm merely saying they are not as wont to pull out the ubiquitous zippered pouch of coupons, either. So, lacking any firm evidence to the contrary, I'm suggesting the stampers more often than not pay retail, with a check that doesn't bounce. That's a grocer's freaking heaven. If I'm running a Publix or a Pig I want these folks all day long. Because, at the end of the day, people buying retail are far, far more profitable to me than the tiny fraction of my taxes that pay for that stamp program. At the very least, I think the producers and purveyors net out with regards to stampers. So that's a twisted thought.

In sum, I enjoyed the article, and I hope Mr. Bowermaster finds time to expound on some interesting points he raised. I for one have now developed a lust for some finely-grained red meat. I'll be on the lookout for clippers and stampers. Perhaps I can begin sampling some comparative shopping lists, or snooping in purses, or something. Data!

h/t Instapundit

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August 28, 2009

Teddy Boy

I was going to take a pass on visiting the Ted Kennedy Death Dervish Extravaganza, but, as Oscar Wilde said, I can resist everything but temptation.

I saw what Ted Kennedy did to Robert Bork. I saw what he did to Kopechne. There was not a noble bone in that savage's body. Any political position he took was calculated to garner him power. No more, no less. Which I suppose one could say about most politicians, absent the body in the Olds and scalps in the closet. Kennedy did not inspire: he merely counted coup.

The closest I ever came to the creature was existential: In July of 1976 I sailed into Edgartown harbor aboard a 44-foot Luder-class sailboat with three fellow Coast Guard Academy cadets. We were closely followed by three other boats likewise manned by our classmates. We were spending two summer weeks sailing the Newport-New Bedford-Nantucket-Martha's Vineyard boneyards, honing our skills.

As we were racing the other boats we of course did not fraternize with our other classmates. They were the enemy. My two black boatmates decided to try their luck at the discoteques, while Bruce and I determined to explore the island on foot with what little light we had remaining. (Aside: there was no luck involved with Congress and Darryl: two handsome black men with military ID's could score at will on Martha's Vineyard, especially if not accompanied by their two pimply white buddies. We took the hint, and bade them fair hunting).

Bruce and I wended our way toward Chappaquiddick, mostly on my macabre insistence. We encountered two nice girls, locals of course, who led us directly to the old wooden bridge. I was a closet weed smoker in those days, and was able to produce a reasonable facsimile of a joint, and we sat on the edge of that bridge and looked into the murky but shallow water that was so infamous.

The girls treated it as a local notorious thing they just had to deal with, like having people trample your backyard because your neighbor had claimed to see the Bigfoot in the woods behind your house. My friend Bruce was studiously apolitical, and found nothing but trouble in my persistent queries. Never fucking get laid with this cracker pothead around, he was no doubt thinking.

I just remember being quite stoned, and staring into that little pissant pond of water, and thinking: how do you get out of a car, and shut the fucking door, and swim away, when there's somebody else in the car? That's all I kept thinking: he had to have shut the door on her, because she asphyxiated. At any rate, I never explored the details. I suppose he could have enticed her to roll a window up behind him. In an upside down car.

Ted is how I'll always look at liberals: you can walk down the halls of the Senate with a goddamned severed head in hand, but if your politics are correct the entire fucking universe of the left will surround you, and protect you, and nurture you. Because only the game matters. No rules, no decency, no pride, no law. Just the fucking game. And winning.

Here's a little remembrance of the ultimate shitfuck loser coddled frat boy:

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August 27, 2009

Caveat Emptor

It is the writer's lot to suffer the slings and arrows of criticism with a certain degree of detachment, if not amusement. After all, we learn from criticism, especially of the constructive variety, therefore it is an invaluable commodity in the writer's arsenal. The japes and burbles of the dissatisfied, the affronted, and the disappointed also keep the writer humble, a necessary ingredient in his future concoctions. I like to think of criticism as the roux in a creative writer's gumbo of mumbo-jumbo: positively stank to gaze upon by itself, absolutely essential in binding the final product together.

And so it was when I read my friend Dax Montana's review of A Trip of Goats. While not precisely what I would term constructive criticism, he certainly evoked a sense of having been had, leavened by the backhanded compliment of having expected far greater things given my regular offerings of total fucking awesomeness for free. In this aspect I suppose Dax is like most folks on the bitter end of the American Dream: after so many delicious repasts of free government cheese, one is prone to fits of outrage and tears of bewailment when one discovers the bilious yellow spackle adorning one's Quarter Pounder actually cost real money.

Fortunately, Dax gives us a more visual précis of his disillusionment, that we may imprint upon our collective retinae what he was unable to describe in more florid terms:


Never one to tolerate passive-aggressive behavior in another, considering that character flaw my sole entitlement by virtue of my cocoon-like worldview, I salute this single-minded (dare I say myopic?) exemplar of Dax's reaction. It is evocative of Foreigner's Dirty White Boy, a one-chord song, sure, but one chord furiously, relentlessly, and passionately power-slammed. Play on playa, as Nasty Nas encouraged us.

Ultimately, of course, I feel absolutely rotten that I've let Dax down. Like the Bull-besotted gentlemen of leisure at my local convenience store scratch-off counter, he bought a pig in a poke, and was aggrieved with the payoff. I feel the same pain with my miniscule hoard of Coca-Cola stock: sure, it's technically a blue chip, but with a price-to-earnings ratio of 42, I don't feel like the Monopoly bugger when the penny stock dividends pay out.

One lesson to be learned from this is that life ain't fair. A far better lesson to be learned is that I skimmed eight dollars and ninety cents off of Dax Montana, which is more than my Coke stock has paid out the last few distributions. But as an artist I am more sensitive to others' pain than the average mere mortal. It's a gift, and a curse. Therefore to alleviate Dax's umbrage, and suffering, I'm dedicating my next ten blog posts to him. Gratis. He can do with them as he wishes. They're probably fungible in the way that cow flatulence in an automobile gas tank is fungible, so he may find pecuniary value in them in the whirlpooling waters at the end of the revenue stream.

Consider this post the first installment of my magnanimous gesture, my friend. And rest assured you'll be far more pleased with my next novel. Even if you don't see yourself in a certain character I've inserted therein, I'm sure everyone else will.

As an aside, I sincerely hope Dax purchases my next novel in electronic format, for not only will it be less expensive for him, he may then cut out the middleman, and shit directly upon his keyboard.

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August 26, 2009

The One-Eyed Car

I have a rather simple commute to work: seven miles of lonely country road, heavily wooded on either side, with nary a streetlamp along the way. It's a lonely stretch of highway at 5:15 in the morning, but the only thing to fear is fear itself the misanthropic deer who dart across the road in ones, twos, fours, or fives, like the flipside of a Krugerrand. Summer's not bad; it's like a fucking bush ride through the Serengeti in winter.

Every morning I pass the same car: about the same spot in the road, somewhere between 5:17 and 5:22. He's as punctual as me. He going to work in my county, me in his. This car only has one headlamp. The driver's side is not only out: the entire corner of the car is crumpled. Probably from poor driving, although I applaud his punctuality in the early hours. I've passed this car every morning for nine months. He is forever tempting fate by driving in horrible deer- and possum-infested woods with one sad headlight.

I've never been able to ascertain the model of the car, what with the stygian gloom, other than it's American. Male? Female? I am at a loss. But I have become absorbed as to why the car never gets repaired. Most likely penury. It could be a poor soul rending his garments in fear every morning, afeered of deer and sheriff's deputies. It could be a person who filed the insurance claim and blew the money. Ultimately, it could just be a no-good cracker who doesn't give a fig, a lowlife who has scudded sidewise along the edge of conformity his entire life like a dangerous crab, just getting by. Just getting by.

I pulled an old evil trick this morning, and hit him with the high beams from 30 feet: maximum distance without giving him time to respond before I passed. Not that he could: he's a one-eyed car. It wasn't with malice, of course. It was just to let him know I know him, he knows me assuredly, and I got him. All my erstwhile pathos for the squib had been exfoliated in a brilliant moment. Tomorrow morning when I pass him I expect either a feeble high beam from his one good eye, or a whiskey bottle at my window. It's a county car: either outcome will be fine.

I hope he's not a churchgoer. I did a stint in the country from the age of 9 to 15. I didn't care for it, to be perfectly honest. I've tried to be more accepting this time around. I'll tell you this, though: to me there is a direct correlation between the amount of time a person spends in church and my level of distrust of said mountebank. Nothing personal, it's just a defense mechanism, a turtle's shellac formed from years of experience. Call it Crawford's Law. It works like this: if you go to church once a week, I'm not leaving my wallet in the room with you; if you go twice a week, I'm counting the silver when you leave. If you attend church thrice a week you aren't getting near my girlfriend, because you are a full blown sociopath, who probably has my silverware up your keister. It could be worse for you: mere dalliance with Islam will get you an annotation in my Charlie Manson Moleskine.

But, having said that, I'm trying to do better, and be a more accepting and tolerant person. Just like that electrical salute I gave the one-eyed car today. It's all about the contact. People appreciate it when you reach across the cultural divide like that.

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August 22, 2009

A Run on the Convenience Store

My elder daughter is one of only 15 NFL cheerleaders to have her own Topps trading card:


Now I'll have to go to the store and buy out the stock in search of it. It might take ten stores. I could just buy the 15 card set on eBay, but that wouldn't be nearly as fun.

I asked her how she was selected, and she said she wasn't sure: she was called into her boss's office, and her boss had a contract prepared for her. When I get called into the boss' office things never go that swimmingly. My naturally sweet disposition is the only thing that keeps these encounters at the level of shouted obscenity as opposed to actual fisticuffs.

Oh. Which one is she? Top row, third from the right.

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August 21, 2009

Shinny, Wakes, and Gravediggers

I have approximately 140 direct reports. Never toted them up precisely, but that's a good round number. And as hillbillies country folk are wont, they have a lot of relatives.

They also have a lot of dying relatives, it seems, which has perforce sent me to that particular gristmill of the soul known as the visitation with recurring frequency. Mom, dad, aunt, uncle, cousin, in-law, out-law, play-aunt, child, they drop like the proverbial fly, and I find myself spending a goodly portion of my time exchanging forced pleasantries with people in the parlous parlors of the bloodletters lately.

My sales and marketing background stands me in good stead here, because I normally have never met the deceased, and yet I must do the right thing. So, as I said, my background as a professional prevaricator and softsoaper allows me to provide the appearance of utter and earnest engagement, while I let my mind drift off to more pleasant climes. Never let anyone tell you being a bullshit artist is a character flaw, unless they've hit six visitations in the last month.

When my mind does drift on these occasions, I'm reminded of the old gravedigger Shinny, of Montgomery. Montgomery was the remote outpost on the Vernon River where we lived in the latter years of my days at the prep school, the Senator having decided trial law was hard and lamentable business, whereas the proprietorship of a liquor store would be a far more satisfying enterprise, and one rife with wholesale cost booze.

Montgomery consisted of a handful of nice properties on deep salt water, owned by white people, of course, surrounded by poor blacks who'd been there four generations before the whites. And once the blacks decided in the 1960's they would no longer work for the white people as maids and fetch monkeys (and who could blame them?) they turned to welfare and the bottle, the only other available outlets. This community was the Senator's target market for his liquor store, and business was very good.

An aside: a mile down the road from Montgomery was Pinpoint, where Clarence Thomas grew up. Montgomery was poor, but Pinpoint was fucking poverty-striken. Where the Montgomery folk at least had yard work for a living, and helping the Senator keep the more egregious examples of alcoholism off the sidewalk in front of the store, and running his errands, in Pinpoint they had nothing but a few goats, and some oyster beds that had been played out and polluted since the '50's. The poor blacks in Montgomery thought that Pinpoint blacks were sad, sad niggers. That is the wellspring of Clarence Thomas, and why I admire him and love him so. That man is the greatest manifestation of the American Dream extant in our society today. Hard work. Diligence. Faith in God. Amen.

But to Shinny: I suspect his name was actually Cheney, but it was pronounced Shinny. He was the gravedigger of Montgomery. When anyone died Shinny dug that grave. He looked Chinese, or perhaps like a mulatto Lee Van Cleef. He was so sinewy he looked like one of those body exhibits, where they have flensed the skin off a poor stiff, and injected his body with Lucite or epoxy, whilst posing him holding a fucking tennis racket or somesuch bullshit.

The problem was Shinny had a girlfriend in Pembroke, or some country town 30 or 40 miles outside of Savannah. He would on occasion abandon his wife and set out for Pembroke, where he would stay in sin until he felt like returning. In the meantime, if someone in Montgomery died, they would merely fret, and whine, and try to get one of the other men to dig a grave behind the church. But this community was Geechee, with its attendant voodoo fears. These people painted their window trim haint blue to keep out the spirits. To dig a grave, alone, was a fearsome proposition. And so the body would go on ice until Shinny returned. Whenever that might be. You could call that society Balkanized, but I prefer to think they just had a rigid hierarchical structure.

This was the Senator's target market. And business was good.

I was thinking of Shinny at one of those interminable and incessant wakes the other night, and a thought occurred to me: digging a grave is fucking hard work, with little or no reward. And the only reasons to dig a grave are Fear, Love, and Money.

Fear digs a pitiful, shallow grave. Because there is a body in the trunk, lighting is poor to escape detection, there is no respect for the dead. If you are unfortunate enough to be buried in a grave dug by Fear, your soul will probably haunt the earth for eternity. After raccoons have nibbled your toes off.

Love digs a decent utilitarian grave. Deep enough to keep the critters from violating the remains of a beloved, but grief dictates the job is fast and functional, nothing more. The pioneers dug Love graves. Sometimes heavy rains will uncork a respectfully dug, but somewhat too shallow Love grave. As a society, we lament this when it occurs, and gnash our teeth until the dead are unquickened.

Money digs a beautiful grave. Time is not really a quotient here; the gravedigger digs deep, carefully piling the dirt for reinterment. Then he skillfully trowels the sides, forms his right angles, flattens the bottom, and climbs out with a minor work of art resting at his feet. A Money grave has pride in it. Never mind the backhoes and fancy rigs: those are splendid graves, too, and for money. But if I were going to be buried, which I hasn't decided yet, I'd want a Shinny to dig my grave. With a bottle of Kessler liquor waiting for him, and possibly a girl in Pembroke, to soak the holy soil from his spent body. Then, I think, I could rest in peace.

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August 19, 2009

Are You Fucking Kidding Me?

Is she really a HE? Women's 800m runner shrugs off gender storm to take gold

A female runner accused of being a man tonight took gold in the 800m World Athletics Championship.
South African Caster Semenya, 18, had to take a gender test after doubts were raised about her sex.
But despite the furore, she easily took gold in the final in Berlin.

The teenage sensation has sparked controversy over her strikingly muscular physique.
Today officials at the world athletics body, the IAAF, revealed that it ordered her to take a gender test three weeks ago.

IAAF spokesman Nick Davies confirmed the tests were taking place, though he said the results would not be confirmed for several weeks.


Read the rest.

Now, I still have a few asphalt burns from that recent tumble from the turnip truck, but even where I come from I could generally tell the sex of a person by the time I got to second base. Third base at least. Home plate once or twice. It don't take more than one Madame Butterfly to cure a man of that little moment of chagrin.

But weeks? Three weeks, and several more weeks? I presume there is some reason they cannot simple pull its shorts down and see if it has a fucking penis. That was always a dead giveaway to me. And the point where I said "I guess you'll be picking up this tab, then, Miss Divine!"

I'll say this: whatever it is, it's certainly more masculine than Carl Lewis.

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August 16, 2009

If I Wasn't Crying So Hard...

I'd be laughing. I suppose. Either way I've soiled myself. So there's that to contend with:

H/T American Digest, via Pennylegion.

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The Top of the Slide

The presence of canes, limps, and the occasional walker ambulating down 10th Street toward Piedmont Park on a sweltering Atlanta evening told the tale: a rock concert was in the offing. And not just any rock concert: it was a baby boomer concert. In this case Paul McCartney, which I attended with Key and my sister and brother-in-law.

Now I love concerts like this, because even though P Mac is the Lesser Beatle, he's a consummate showman who loves to put on a great fucking two and a half hour rock and roll show. And he thankfully did not play The Girl is Mine in tribute to that recently deceased white woman.

Paul did mention, however, that the evening was the 45th anniversary of the legendary Beatles concert at Shea Stadium (it was actually the 44th anniversary, but Paul's an old fart now, so he can be forgiven a lapse or two). He also mentioned it was the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. He did not mention it was also the 40th anniversary (plus a few days) of the Manson Family murders. But he did play Helter Skelter as an encore, so I would like to think he was just pointing it out with a wink and a nod.

As there was a competing Poison/Def Leppard/Cheap Trick concert at Lakewood Amphitheater the average age at P Mac's was pretty ancient. A lot of parents taking their teen and even twenty-something kids. I, too, enjoy that kind of living in the past, but it was certainly a sad thing to see the current state of my generation, all flabby and gray and buttfucking ugly. Especially so when I would remember from time to time I was older than a few of them, even as I would think to myself how's that narcissism working out for you now? Nice your kid's wearing a tee shirt from a twenty thousand dollar a year Atlanta prep school, but he doesn't look very happy. Probably the same expression I would have had if my parents had taken me to see Hoagy Carmichael in 1974.

Here's a picture Key took of a corpulent homosexual roaming the concert as a blue Hawaiian fairy, or something. I didn't get it, but then I'm always just ahead of gay culture, or slightly behind. I'm never sure.


I tihnk the only thing better than being at the top of the slide is being at the bottom, and being able to go back to the top of the slide, and doing it again.

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August 12, 2009

Brown Diaper Babies

If you're Barnum bait like me, when you see a headline like the following you know, absolutely, positively, 100 percent, you're going there:

Woman Tricked Into Changing Man's Diaper For Three Months

I'd recap, but I cannot improve upon the narrative as it is.

Tell me: did this woman not slay the goose that shit the golden-brown egg? Six hundred dollars a week is good money for a babysitter. Certainly nothing to scoff at in these root-gnawing times. I'm thinking she comes to regret this, or at least wishing she'd sold it to the Star or Enquirer.

Easy money. Just blowed it away.

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Dead Man Walking Back

And so it begins:

Incidentally, I really don't think people got what I was saying yesterday and read all the nuance out of it to reduce it to "we have to be nicer," which I never said at all.

I do worry that some angry lunkheads will camera-hog and take the spotlight off of more persuasive, better-informed questioners. But I'm a fan of the jeering and hooting of evasive answers and lies.

(Emphasis may have been added.)

Fuck poker, I am now Madame Velo, the Gyspy pyschic, medium, seer, visionary, palm-reader, spiritualist, transcendentalist, Ram Dassian, Raelian, seancer, necromancer, Wiccan, animist, humanist, crystal pimp, New Ager, tea leaf reader, entrail extrapolator, diviner, ball gazer, toad-boiler, newt-blinder, and ensorcelor.

I can see them walk backs from the nose bleed section. Or the security spook room at the Bellagio.

Sorry, Ace. You just happen to be in the ironsights this week. I love you, man, I really do. Next week I'll probably be back to chinchilla farming, or seated urination for men. Noble causes, both.

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August 11, 2009

The Uncivil War

As much as I admire Ace, and I really do, I truly hate it when he attempts to straddle the fence, and accuses conservatives of being too, I don't know, boisterous. I believe he thinks it's just a bit too unseemly.

His contention is that Krauthammer is right in saying the raw emotions people are showing at the congressional town halls are counterproductive, because they scare the undecideds, namely uncommitted Democrats. I really hate it when Ace walks it back like this, into Brooks/Frum territory, because it reeks of a need for acceptance, and I think it goes against his innate beliefs. Which is why he'll then spend two weeks walking back the walk back in an attempt to prove his conservative bona fides. But only after taking an ass whooping in his comments.

It doesn't matter if people are frightened by angry "mobs" screaming at congressmen at town halls. Those people aren't voting on healthcare reform. What matters is if congressmen are frightened by angry "mobs" screaming at congressmen at town halls. People aren't the fucking dependent variable here. The assholes voting for the bill are. And scaring the living shit out of them is the only hope we have of defeating this colossus of a buttfucking called Obamacare.

Ace acts as if he's having a friendly game of gin rummy in the garage, when he knows we are at the high stakes table in Vegas with the Bader-Meinhof Gang on the other side of the felt, and they're dealing off the bottom of the deck, slipping cards from their sleeves, and peeking at his cards while he's taking a piss. The time for civil discourse is past. That will get you a free well drink on the rubber and a single payer plan lying next to your fucking Godiva chocolate on your well-fluffed pillow.

These town halls are the most incredible wellspring of public opinion since the draft riots in New York in 1863. You can't buy that kind of electricity with a trillion dollar stimulus check. Therefore Ace thinks we must tone it down, lest we scare off a mythical Democrat, who, come election day in 2010 is going to pull the lever exactly as his yellow dog platelets compel him to anyway.

We lost those fuckers a long time ago, Ace. We need the ambient Democrat-leaners, the vote-as-the-wind-blows fools that elected the Cretinous One in the first place. But moreso the selfsame RINOs and moderate Republicans that are swilling the compromise kool-aid. And what excites them? Not civil discourse in a town hall where the side doors are opened for the union thugs, while the angry and upset are mostly denied entrance. Who sees them? Not civil discourse when the questions are as planted as the attendees, and the media crafted the questions in the first place as a favor. No, what excites them is seeing someone just like themselves standing up to a self-aggrandizing fool of a politician, and taking the fucking switch to his ass in public.

It's hardball time, Ace. No amount of faux hobo-killing or fake rotgut vodka drinking tales will save you when the gangsters take over your blackjack table. One can either man up and fight back when the gangster toadie slaps one's face, or turn around and look at the crowd watching one get screwed at the table and say We really need to find a more civil game. Too bad this is the only table in the house.

Sometimes you can't fold. Sometimes you have to play the fucking hand out. And then you have to play with the knowledge that there will be a winner and a loser, and I for one don't want to be the guy sitting there nodding while Krauthammer tells me that Given the odds against us, this compromise is probably the best we could have hoped for.

Because that is also know as the Losing Side.

That Indian at the edge of the woods with the extra horse? He isn't beckoning you to the Foxwoods Resort, Ace. Come back to the fold, man.

P.S. I'd love to play poker with you sometime, broheim. I generally carry my own deck, so that'll make it easier.

Posted by Velociman at 8:17 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

August 9, 2009

"If Only Stalin Knew!"

Neo-neocon nails it:

But Noonan (and certain others) who fell for Obama hard during the campaign now find themselves suffering the pangs that disappointed lovers often feel, and a similar reluctance to face the truth that they were hoodwinked and used by a con artist.

Happens all the time, I’m afraid. It happened during the Stalin years, as several commenters on the Noonan thread have pointed out (see this, for example). The phenomenon then was called “if only Stalin knew,” and was predicated on the belief that the bad stuff was happening outside of Stalin’s awareness and orchestrated by his underlings, and that if only Good Old Joe knew about it he’d stop it.

It seems laughable now. But as I said, hope dies hard. Very hard indeed. And this is especially true of many of those who voted for and supported Obama in the hope that he’d be the uniting and reasonable centrist he promised.

Heh. A great many people (and not all of them liberals, of course) bet the farm on Obama. That one vote for that one man was supposed to deliver the conceit that we were past the politics of race, and that one pull of the lever, or porking of the chad, would act as the communion wafer and wine: to absolve the voter of any vestiges of racism. It was like a baptism: that one vote was the immersion that would wash away everything, all original sin, and we'd all live happily ever after in our post-racial Eden.

One bit of nastiness happened, however: that leap of faith, that fingers-crossed fervent belief that he can't be that bad was proven an illusion. Of course he's that bad. In fact, he's worse. The facts were as the plain as the nose on your face that this guy was a committed leftist radical. He's governing from his core principles; what you see really is what you get. He's not lying to you anymore; you're lying to yourselves.

In the parable of the blind men and the elephant one of the blind men really should have stuck his arm up the elephant's ass, and said "I don't know what it is, but I'm getting the hell out of here!" Many may have been deluded about what Obama really is, but it's their own fault for willfully refusing to look in the right places. So now we are treated to the grim spectacle of all of the lotus eaters spinning, backpedaling, excusing, lying, and sticking their fingers in their ears, crying "It can't be true! If only Obama knew!"

As if a professional, highly trained rabble rouser from the south side of Chicago would not look at union thugs whomping on citizens, and congressmen frantically shouting down these citizens in rage, and all of his machinations coming together, and say: Just as I planned. Now what's your fucking problem?

An aside: if I turn myself into can I get some kind of matching funds, or at least some carbon credits? I wouldn't want to be perceived as a speedbump on the Barack's Autobahn to Utopia. Heaven forfend, and pass the compresses.

Posted by Velociman at 8:57 PM | Comments (27) | TrackBack

August 8, 2009

Seeking the Least Common Denominator

All of us salarymen were blessed with a 3% haircut on the pay last week. Troubling times. It should not affect me, other than the fact I'll have to find a brand of John Barelycorn even lower on the quality scale than Ten High, if such is possible.

Can anyone speak to the macular degeneration prospects of Heaven Hill? I don't want to go blind. Just cross-eyed.

Posted by Velociman at 1:58 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

The Fourth Horseman


A Death's Head moth, complete with Obama Ears.

Okay, that's not actually a Death's Head moth, but it's close enough for me. And it is surely an augury of things to come. I've named him Keynes.

Posted by Velociman at 9:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 7, 2009

Here's a Creepy Story, Plus: Buy my Book!

I meant to comment on this the other day, but I forgot to because I was busy giddily hammering the refresh button on my Lulu page watching sales of my bestseller climb from 7, to 8, to 9! It merits mentioning, however:


"I had just put the casket in the hearse and was watching it drive away," O'Neal, 68, said, "when a beautiful blond woman comes up and embraces me. I said to her, 'You have a drink on you? You have a car?' She said, 'Daddy, it's me -- Tatum!

There's creepy, and then there's fucking creepy. And then there's Ryan O'Neal. Obviously, he claims he didn't recognize his own daughter, and I believe him:

"I don't think I was supposed to be a father," said the actor, who had Tatum, 45, and Griffin, 44, with first wife Joanna Moore; son Patrick, 42, with actress Leigh Taylor-Young; and son Redmond, 24, with Fawcett.
"Just look around at my work -- they're either in jail or they should be," O'Neal said.
He said Redmond, who is in jail for violating probation on drug charges, is the only child he still sees.
"I'm not in touch with them now," O'Neal said of his other kids. "And I've never been happier."

Classy guy. But I have to tell you: I could go ten years without seeing either of my daughters and I damn well guarantee you I'd recognize them. And I sure as hell wouldn't hit on anyone, much less a girl young enough to be my daughter at the funeral of my decades-long on-again off-again lover. But then, I'm not Ryan O'Neal. Hey, remember Love Story? Fucker sure seems to hang around a lot of dying women. I think he might be some exotic unnamed disease.

To the book: thanks to all who have purchased, all who have graciously pimped me without ever once threatening me with a mouthful of Drano for being a "hold out bitch", and all who intend to purchase, once I've worn them down. Perhaps I should hire ShamWow Vince to plug this for me. He can't do any worse than that excrutiatingly putrid Dell "Lollipop" commercial. To paraphrase Henry II: Will no one rid me of this meddlesome pitch?

And I truly wish the price was lower, but I of course had no control over that. No economies of scale in publish on demand. And they won't allow one to reduce the royalty because, with a minimum thirty day payout window, they're enjoying the interest float on that money. Still, A Trip of Goats is cheaper than:

1. The squirts!

2. That date night to see Waiting to Exhale at the theater. How'd that work out for you, by the way? Lookit, boys: If you're going to invest time and money on a chick flick for date night in the hopes of breaching the parapets of Pooder Palace, at least go see a harmless Nora Ephron movie with a cute meet, and a happy ending (not that kind). Don't waste it on a film denizened by bitter, bitchy women constantly complaining about how their old man done them wrong (and, eerily, by doing many of the things you yourself have done). Therein lies not Pooder Pleasure.

3. A month of endless reruns of Bee Movie on HBO.

4. That nightstand drawer full of Extenze and Enzyte you sprung for in the hopes of magically altering your manhood into Elston Howard's Louisville Slugger. That "pipe" dream that always ended in mutual frustration and acrimony, with her sulking in the guest bedroom, and you alone in the bathroom chanting It's a boy. That's a boy. Be a man. Stand up for daddy in some forlorn and godforsaken Nichiren Shoshu chant.

And don't forget the e-book option. It's cheaper than a six-pack of Moosehead, and I make a penny off those. Although I'm not sure if it's legal tender, because Lulu runs it through one of those coin flatteners that embosses something like "Ride the Tweetsie Railroad!" on it.

Actually, all things considered, I think this book is a damned good bargain in these uncertain economic times. I just might go see if they'll let me raise the price. That way the early adopters will feel vindicated. And I'll be able to get my drink on with higher quality skullpop.

To recap:

1) Ryan O'Neal is a fucking pig, and

2) Buy my book, dammit!

Posted by Velociman at 5:34 PM | Comments (13)

August 5, 2009

Buy My Book!

And help support my depraved lifestyle. Think of it as my boutique version of Cash for a Clunker.

What's it about? I suppose it could be classified as Southern Gothic, if by "Southern" you mean Cracker, and if by "Gothic" you mean Sexual behavior of a deviant nature. As in what if Erskine Caldwell had written Huckleberry Finn? I think it's a pretty good read, and cheaper than a case of beer, which, frankly, will only give you the squirts to go with that throbbing headache. And if I must play upon your conscience, you've had enough free content from me over the last six years, fuckers. So buy the book.

Why did I self-publish? Easy: I couldn't find a publisher and wanted to get this off my plate because I'm working on another novel. I'll admit my search wasn't the most intense in the world, however I am aware that publishers are only interested in genre fiction now: sci-fi, romance, thrillers, and young adult (specifically with vampires and/or child wizards in them). There's no real market for my brand of fiction. And as for agents, they couldn't be bothered. Which is fine, because I consider them lazy bastards who want 20% of your blood, sweat, and tears for the privilege of pimping your product to the one or two publishers who won't actually slam the door in their faces. Actually, I have more respect for pimps, because at least at the end of the conversation you know there will be a transaction, and order fulfillment.

And this way I get to control the content, cover art, everything. Although I could of course use a good editor. Any writer who says he doesn't is a damned liar or a fool. But Key, God bless her, was wonderful in this regard. Not only is she brilliant, she was able to turn the cynical eye upon my prose and flog me where necessary.

About Lulu: I cannot speak highly enough about this self publisher. If you need hand holding, or editorial services, I can't speak to that. Don't expect to get someone on the phone, or a prompt reply to picayune emails. But if you're confident in your work product, and can produce your own copy and cover art, etc., they're great. I stubbed my toe a couple of times on formatting issues, PDF conversions, and the like, and their website isn't the most user-friendly, but all the tools are there. You just have to persevere, experiment a little, and it will all come together. Plus, I got the ISBN, upgraded publishing service, and Amazon, all for free. Try that at Book Surge. Also: I made changes twice before approving the final version. Both times, from ordering to publishing to having the proof in my mailbox was 3 or 4 days. Fucking exceptional.

Okay, a teaser:

The drive back to Savannah was quiet, which was not unusual, the Senator being short on small talk, but it was also highly strained, as though a stunned boar lay on the back seat, and both of them felt silence was the best policy, lest they awaken that boar. The Senator was strange like that. Deafening silence suited him, conversation by osmosis the norm, but Jule, or any of his siblings for that matter, could mention a topic that engaged the old man, and he would wax eloquent for eternity.
In desperation Jule tried this engagement tactic, because the silence was maddening, and he wanted to distract his father, or at least see if his initial reaction would mention the eye lock.
“Who was greater, Dad? Genghis Khan or Kublai Khan?” The Senator was quiet, still, but his lips were pursed, and Jule knew he was formulating an answer.
“Why, Genghis Khan, of course, boy. Don’t you see? Genghis was the conqueror. Amassed the largest empire in history. All of Asia save parts of the Indian subcontinent, and was beating on the doors of Europe, right into their fucking privies, ah, pardon me boy, right into their privies when he inexplicably fell back. All accomplished on tiny little furry ponies.” The Senator was silent for a moment.
“That’s skill, son,” he continued. “That’s what we call a warlord. Kublai, on the other hand, inherited this empire, and forced the civilization of the Chinese upon his mongrel peoples. Mongrel, boy, is a word that derives from Mongolian, which is what they were. Savages. But they conquered the Chinee, Jule, and adopted their fancy ways. Kublai is what we call a dilettante, son. Inherits from the fierce ancestors, and then sets himself up as potentate, and the next thing you know he’s sporting long polished fingernails, and concubines he don’t even bother to whip. Then the next thing you know they’re fucking small boys… ah, excuse me, son, they’re engaging in depraved homosexual conduct. Do you know what homosexuality is, son? Sure, no you don’t. Forget I even mentioned it. I’ll explain it to you another day.
“So to this day you’ll see the vestiges of the Mongols all over Russia, son. For instance, did you know that cocksucker, excuse me boy, that rascal Lenin was a damned Mongolian? Sure he was. His eyes were slitted, he had a little hairless goatee like Fu Manchu. What made him so cruel,” the Senator added with a flourish, shaking a balled fist in the air.

You want this book now, don't you? Sure you do. Cheaper than the squirts. And NO, the Senator in the novel is NOT my father the Senator of my posts. But I've had so much fun over the last six years, reminescing about my old man, that I created a character evocative of him, but certainly not him. Everyone needs catharsis at times. For some it's an enema. For me it was this character.

Click on that link above the picture. Buy this book. I never ask for anything. This I want you to do.

Update: Thanks, Jeff!

Posted by Velociman at 6:58 PM | Comments (90)

August 4, 2009

A Dwarf, A Rapist, A Transvestite...

...and five fluffers walk into a bar:


Seriously, these jokes write themselves. So the dwarf says, "The dinks are on me!"

Actually, that's not the punch line. The punch line is targeted at Honolulu. And the rapist is only there to see how that missile technology he let Loral sell the Chicoms is working out.

"Splendidly!" the dwarf says.

Somewhere there's a Henny Youngman joke about giving a megaphone to an ass.

Posted by Velociman at 8:57 PM | Comments (74)

August 3, 2009

Good For What Ails Ya

I didn't realize they were already selling Obamacare at CVS. I believe the next aisle over was "Snake Oils and Invigorating Tonics."


Actually, when one's hot young girlfriend sends that pic to one's phone from the drugstore, a man can do one of two things:

1) have an indelicate inquisition as to the nature of her 'down time' when she gets home, or

2) climb up onto the bathroom vanity counter, stick his head between his legs, and take a thorough survey of all those thousand and one parts he has neglected to examine in minute detail for the past year.

Alternatively, I suspect she just knew that because of my prior life as a marketing geek I would appreciate what has to be the mother of all multitasking pharmacy aisles. Personally, I would have lumped the wart creams with the Boil Ease, and the lice shampoos with the scabies killers. But what do I know?

Posted by Velociman at 6:31 PM | Comments (26)

August 2, 2009

The Madness of King Barack I

I turned a jaundiced eye toward the Cash For Clunkers program when I first heard of it. It seemed like just another bit of progressive feel-good theater designed to make the ecomaniacs feel splendid about themselves. That being, of course, the entire raison d'etre of a progressive in the first place. I assumed the barriers to entry for this enterprise, the red tape and myriad of if/thens, would make the program just another liberal circle jerk. Cheap vaudeville for the True Believers.

Therefore I was surprised when I read that no only was the program hugely successful in enticing folks to buy new fuel efficient cars, but it was so goddamn successful they'd run out of the first billion dollars of taxpayer money and needed an infusion of another 2 billion. All the while killing/unkilling the program as "too fucking successful," to quote the administration's Demolition Derby Czar.

Two things about this program drive me absolutely insane: first, anyone who can afford payments on a new vehicle doesn't need my fucking tax dollars to make that happen. $4500 rebate for your clunker? Better be prepared to pay sticker price less $4500 for that new vehicle, sucker. And anyone who can't beat a salesman down $4500 on a new car without a trade in is a fucking moron.

Second, and most egregious, is the fact that these "clunkers" are being willfully destroyed to prevent their use forevermore. Here is the infamous video you've all seen of a Volvo(!) being destroyed with a lethal dose of sodium silicate:

You poor people who voted for Obama? He just fucked you again. Poor people can't afford $500 car payments even with a $4500 taxpayer bailout. All those "clunkers"? They were traditionally immediately auctioned into the bottom rungs of the used car market. High school and college kids looking for a first car? Poor folk who can only afford a $500 to $1500 car, where the dealer carries the paper and you pay him weekly because your credit resembles that of the Weimar Republic circa 1922? You're boned, Patsy.

It's just like the old trope of burning a village to save it. (I really despise the assholes who perpetrated My Lai. Not only for what they did, but for giving the Left 40 years worth of ammunition, during which they endlessly and breathlessly proclaimed that that was all we ever did in Vietnam. Besides bayoneting babies and raping women, of course).

A government that purposefully destroys perfectly serviceable consumer goods, inexpensive goods that most benefit the poorest and most desperate members of society, is a government gone so fucking mad it makes the ravings of tertiary syphilis look wholesome in comparison.

This singular act belies any affectation of good faith, compassion, or humanity this craven and diabolical regime presumes. Barack Obama would rather have poor people beggar a damn ride to work, or walk holes in their shoes, than drive an affordable vehicle that does not meet his arbitrary and capricious definition of environmental friendliness.

I work in a county full of poor country sods, black and white. Almost to a person they drive "clunkers". And there is a reason they drive pickup trucks from the sixties, seventies, eighties. And it's not for ironic reasons, or because they enjoy driving a "classic". It's because they bought that truck when they were 25 years old, and have babied it their entire lives and they never want to buy another vehicle, unless it's to buy mama a Buick when she's 65 to drive to the Publix and the hairdresser once a week. These poor bastards just had a goodly amount of the affordable vehicle market yanked out from under their feet by a megalomaniacal prick.

I suppose King Barack I wants them to ride public transportation. Well, they don't have fucking buses in the country, or the small towns. That's an urban construct designed to help enslave the city proles. Hamlet proles need a cheap car, you miserable wretches.

My indifference to this contemptible bastard has grown to concern, to disgust, to loathing. He isn't fit to carry a house framer's tool belt. He is a fraud, a despicable fraud, who would build his empire upon the bones of the weakest, most vulnerable segment of society as he engineers us into the ditch.

I cannot wait to vote againt this son of a bitch again.

Update: Welcome, Salon readers! If you think that post was vituperative, well, you haven't been scrolling my archives. I'm just sorry I wasn't sharp enough to compare Sarah Palin to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Now that was inspired. In a Tourette's Syndrome barking, I just ate my own feces kind of way.

Posted by Velociman at 6:00 PM | Comments (40)

Of Mice and Men...

Today was the day I was going to start getting back into shape. So I pulled out the titanium 20 speed with the Campagnolo gruppo, dusted it off, cleaned the components with Tri Flo, and put 110 psi in the Michelins. Then I checked my gear:

Four panel shorts? Check.
Jersey? Check.
Helmet and sweat bandana? Check.
Gloves and impact resistant shades? Check.
Fresh water bottle? Check.
New Shimano shoes with Campy cleats? Check.
Computer working? Check.
Heart monitor? Check.

Now I was ready. But to tell the truth, all that exertion rather wore me out. So I poured myself a large glass of red wine, and proceeded to drink voraciously. Sure looks good though, don't it?


Nice bike like that, you don't want to get it all dirty. Wouldn't be seemly. And like Scarlett, there's always tomorrow.

Posted by Velociman at 6:00 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack