There is no doubt the Age of Dying Newspapers is upon us. In fact, that critical mass wherein ad revenues finally crater completely and the newspapers go the way of the bugger whip seems to be mere weeks or months away. Barring, of course, the inevitable federal government bailouts of the properly nuanced few.
It is therefore with some surprise that I've noticed a distinct marketing trend in the local papers, said trend consisting of the unsolicited slathering of my lawn with free copies of the provincial area rags.
There are several such broadsheets cropping up on my miscegenized bermuda/weed lawn, each servicing their territorial niches: The Gainesville Daily Post. The Jackson Herald. The Braselton News. The Barrow Journal. Although one may spend parts of a singular day in each of these townships and hamlets, none of the aforementioned feels compelled to actually provide any regional coverage for the others.
At any rate, they have all, within days of each other, decided to toss free copies on every lawn, during the rainy season, forcing one to scoop them up to forgo the appearance of sloth or abandoned property every day. It is an inconvenience at best, and a breach of etiquette at worst. If I wish to know the price of pig's knuckles at Quality Foods, or the latest tripe sale at Ingle's, I'll either go there, or pick up a paper in the convenience store. There is no need to engage in assault marketing tactics.
The newspaper industry is dying, yet there remains a small handful, a retrograde breed, of local ink-stained wretches who insist on defying the inevitable. All politics may be local, as they say, but all news isn't. Therefore these horrible little papers with their high school sports recaps, city council minutes, sewage authority hysterics, and evangelical editorials are pretty thin gruel. Thank God for the tripe ads.
I tossed a few editorials and letters to the editor their way, such as Diverting North Carolina's Water Supply: A Modest Proposal, We Should Have a Tramp Stamp Festival!, and If Knoxville Can Have a World's Fair, Why not Pendergrass? but my attempts at community interaction have fallen upon deaf ears. They want to hear about the latest brush arbor revival, or the county clerk who embezzled $3,641.13.
Well, I'll give them this: they have a plan. Unwanted surge-delivery of ten-penny adverts. With the added bonus of informing me that Fall is an excellent time for planting your landscape, and Alcohol factor in fatal one-car crash. So despite my remonstrations, the suspendered old men in the smoked-filled copyroom have put me some knowledge, at any rate.
Mark Steyn resurrected a Benjamin Disraeli quote about the media I found timely and amusing:
“Today they blacken your character, tomorrow they blacken your boots.”
Indeed. Prior to January 20 they were the proud Fourth Estate, hellbent on delegitimizing the previous administration, and tarnishing whatever it attempted to salvage of its record. Today they are craven bootlicks and shine boys. I expect that sort of sycophancy and groveling from court jesters and eunuchs, but not from people who formerly prided themselves on their fierce independence in such ostentatious manner.
Even Dude in Rio Bravo managed to salvage his dignity at some point, rising above his wretched station as a humiliated, buffoonish drunkard. Is there any hope for the Shoeshine Media? Possibly, but like a crackwhore or pederast gone too far, sometimes there is no rising from the ashes, once the spirit has been sufficiently corrupted.
One year ago today I posted The Man in the Lavender Automobile, a rather searing indictment of Barack Obama. James Wolcott dismissed it as "pessimist porn." Andrew Sullivan contracted a case of the vapors, and dictated a Hewitt Award nomination from his fainting sofa. I won that "award" in January in heavy voting from his demented lunatic cult following; voting that was far heavier than for any of his other "awards."
I thought I would take a moment and revisit the post, in order that I might see if I was indeed over the top, or if my fears and observations were well-founded. Let's see:
Gee. In retrospect, I believe I should rename myself The Amazing Fucking Nostradamus Q. Kreskin. The first class temperament? Here's the most powerful man in the world running smear campaigns against Rush Limbaugh, the Chamber of Commerce, the health care industry, Fox News, Glenn Beck, "the other side" for merely fact-checking him. Punching below his weight class, as they say.
The Man in the Lavender Automobile
There is a scene in Flannery O'Connor's 1960 novel The Violent Bear It Away, wherein the protagonist, a 14-year-old boy, is picked up hitchhiking by a man in a lavender automobile. The man plies the boy, Francis Tarwater, with whiskey and reefer. When the boy wakes up he's lying in a field with his pants around his ankles, and his asshole burning. I won't get into the Catholic allegory in that story, or the implication that the man in the lavender automobile is Satan, or Tarwater's own inexorable slide into fundamentalist prophecy. I will aver, however, that I find the story relevant. Hold that thought.
There have been any variety of temperaments and personalities to hold the office of President. They range from heroes to rapscallions. I fervently believe, however, that not one person to hold that office has ever hated his opposition. There have been the churlish and disdainful, for sure. Carter presumed a moral vanity against his foes, which grievance he nurtures to this day. Nixon was consumed by paranoia and fear, to the point of ridiculous capers in the cause of an aforetold landslide victory.
I mention this because I firmly believe Barack Obama absolutely loathes my kind. This man will not be content to win the presidency. He will spend his waking hours thereafter not pursuing the legitimate goals of state, but punishing those who would dare to oppose him. The man is devoid of humility, or any sense of humor. He cannot humbly accept his incredibly lucky break in the crapshoot of American politics. The absolute lack of any pushback or intercessions on the part of the journalist class has rendered him peckish and intolerant of any dissention, if indeed he was not born that way.
This man truly hates. As only someone who is quite aware of his great shortcomings can hate. And like the second monkey he can hear, or tolerate, no evil.
The inevitability of Barack Obama has rendered the sane lycanthropic, the skeptical bemused, the disputatious fearful. It is no coincidence that formerly reliable conservative pundits are jumping the McCain ship like bilge rats in a galley fire. Most people attribute this craven capitulation to elitism. Noonan, Frum, Chris Buckley, that dithering Converse finishing school twit Kathleen Parker, they're elitists! No, they're not. Or that's not what is compelling them. They are fucking afraid. Afraid to be the last dissenting voice in the face of the Hope and Change juggernaut. The Chinese kid versus the tanks in Tiannamen they are not. They are elitists, but they are cowards first and foremost. We don't need them. And, unfortunately for them, Obama doesn't need them. Therefore I will speak their names no more.
An aside, for which I invoke the demigod of artistic license:
I had a dream, a goal, by the way: After living on some nice wooded property in the North Georgia foothills I've abrogated my lifelong desire to retire on a yawl or passagemaker in Florida. (Actually living in Florida for ten years helped me here. I became claustrophobic on the tiny footprint I could afford in Florida and still be within a bike ride of the ocean. And if you are not within a bike ride of the ocean in Florida you're basically in a scrub oak hell zone of sinkholes, funky water, and low rent Yankee pensioners). Thus my dream: to retire on a barking loud stream in the North Georgia mountains, there to develop a sustainable existence.
I still have this dream, I merely mention it because I do not have the luxury of a five year timeline anymore. I am not a reactionary person by nature, but trust me when I say the first 100 days of a Barack Obama presidency will bring holy hell upon those who adhere to a classical liberal philosophy. This man is a radical of the first stripe, and he has left no stone unturned in his quest. He has not committed voter fraud in the good old fashioned way. He has a vast network of ACORN operatives stealing votes through fraudulent means by the hundreds of thousands. This man has not committed campaign finance fraud in the good old fashioned way, squirrelling away Chinese monies like Bill Clinton. This cocksucker actually disabled his credit card verification system to allow tens of millions of illegal dollars to flow into his coffers from any number of enemies of the state. The droid army of the legacy press is aware of this, of course, but who wants to be the whistleblower once this man assumes power? No one. No fucking body. Wouldn't be prudent at this fucking juncture, as 41 might say.
Did I mention this man hates me? You and me? Yes he does. Why? Because he can. Yes He Can. Beneath that cool persona is a megalomaniac. Cool? Like Stalin after a purge, emotionally and sexually spent. Like Saddam after a torture session, dozing in his chair with someone's genitals curled in his fist. Like Pol Pot after a petit mal seizure, mumbling a litany of the dead. Cool that way.
So I will cast my pathetic vote, and ramp up my relocation to the mountains. Reduce my footprint. Carbon? That will be a nice byproduct, but I mean my personal footprint. My credit footprint. My interface with authority footprint. I'm researching micro-hydro water turbines for that stream, windmills for water, a half-acre patch for vegetables, a few goats, and a bison. Just because I want a fucking bison. My address? Fifty rounds up that gravel road.
I do hate to sound Randy Weaverish. But this is the fundament of my world view right now.
Speaking of fundaments, remember that guy in the lavender automobile?
Precisely. The whiskey of Hope. The jokesmoke of Change. I am Tarwater. We are all Tarwater.
What a punk bitch. And what a waste of power that could be wrought for good. Obama is like Zeus transforming himself into a barnyard animal in order to seduce and fuck a mortal. Like that brat kid in the Twilight Zone episode everyone fears because he'll destroy you if you don't appease his every whim. Like George Lucas and his prequels. A cheap, common squanderer of mighty talents.
This "first class temperament" is actually a fussy little crybaby, a coward who sends others out to bully for him, an effeminate sissy who throws tantrums when he doesn't get his way.
This little fucker needs to man up. He wanted the loneliest job in the world, and he has it. The campaign is over, and this pussy needs to put away Dick Tuck's dirty tricks bag and resolve to represent all of us. And that includes the fifty-plus percent that want him to cram his socialized medicine up his mom-jeaned ass.
No, I think I pulled my punches in the lavender automobile post. If I had to do it over again, it would be with 16 ounce Everlasts, not them kid gloves I used the last time. But how could I have known? Even I still had a vestige of hope at that precipitous moment.
I believe Living Colour said it best: Only you can set you free. I especially like the reference to the Nobel Peace Prize:
As a Georgian (especially one of Savannah provenance) I am obliged to hate all things Tennessean as a matter of form. At least on crisp fall Saturday afternoons. It is an Original Thirteen versus Split Rail Interloper sort of thing. Having lived and worked in Memphis for three years also lends a certain gravitas to my presumptions. Nonetheless Key and I ventured forth Friday past unto the land of pulled pork, session men, and
ersatz bourbon sour mash for a long weekend of respite from the tribulations of gainful employ. It was splendid.
In the first instant, I had made a grievous error in calculation, in that I thought Eric's annual autumnal bacchanal was that weekend. Silly me. Like a cracker Uri Geller I am often guilty of attempting to bend time and situation to my immediate circumstance, the end result being I far too often bestow Fact upon my miscalculations. This time the result was fortuitous, and Key and I had a wonderful interlude at the Straight White
Saw Hostel Homestead. We'll certainly rue the missed opportunity to interact with the rest of the Jawja Blodgers this weekend, however Key has prior commitments, so this was our only weekend available to visit. I could not make it this weekend either, being obligated to attend a conference in Louisville, home of Muhammad Ali Hunter S. Thompson famed porn star Audrey Hollander, and some fucking horse race. And this Tribe has been meeting every year since 2003 so, like porno, it is something of a tradition for me.
To the chase: yea, verily, Intrepids, the pulse quickens at the thought of denigrating the Volunteer State, however in all my perambulations throughout the state, up I-75 to Knoxville, up I-24 to Nashville, that horrible, soul-draining drive along I-40 to Memphis, I had never actually set foot in that triangle, that sweet spot, that is the Cumberland Plateau.
The entire plateau runs southwesterly from Pennsylvania to Alabama, parallelling the Appalachian Mountains. But the Cumberland Plateau is opened all the way down its abdomen, like a 1950's caesarian, by the Sequatchie River, and the Sequatchie Valley. The views of the valley from the high perches of Walden Ridge to the east and the Plateau to the west are some of the most exquisite I have ever seen east of the Missipp. It shames me to say it, but Georgia's Blue Ridges have nothing to compare to it. It is as if one had ploughed across the Himalayas and crested a peak, only to see the verdant, moist honey hole of Shangri-La at one's feet, a thousand feet below.
The picture doesn't do it justice, of course, but I believe a fellow could find his soul down there.
As an added bonus from a jealous but often whimsical God, we partook of the lodgings at Fall Creek Falls State Park, home of the tallest waterfall east of the Rockies, and 20,000 acres of unabashed splendor. Lookit again:
258 feet tall, that, but the usual disclaimers apply. Yes, you had to be there.
As almost an afterthought I bade Key visit Chickamauga National Military Park on the voyage home, so that I might indulge my inner Florence King with a few moments of
"Here stood Thomas, the Rock of Chickamauga" and
"It was here that Longstreet breached the line, 11,000 men strong"
...all the while swaying imperceptibly from a surreptitious shot of Old Skullpop from the hip flask.
Women hate that sort of thing, which makes one all the more appealing when one stops afterwards for fudge. Chocolate being all females' true first love. For if I must be a surrogate, friends, I shall always endeavor to be an enabling one.
And so: to my fellow Tribe members, who I shall miss this weekend at the "shindig," or as I fondly refer to them, "hootenannies": I'll probably drunk dial. Just like I always do, with the usual caveat that my bedtime is 9 PM.
A little background on this story: I gave Key a digital SLR for Christmas in 2007. As an avid documenter of every nanosecond of her child's life, as we all would love to be, but just never execute well, she was quite excited. She finally no longer had to make the choice between point-and-shoot digital, and her higher quality film camera. Good so far.
Fast forward to about nine months ago. I'd taken some pictures of our splendid snowfall (with Key's camera) and in my earnest desire to commit it to hard drive I did not follow Key's protocol of simply plugging the mouse USB into the camera, and downloading the card that way.
Nay, I did what I usually do with the point-and-shoot Coolpix, and popped the card to insert it into the laptop. This would not normally be a problem, as I was well within the parameters of normal activity, despite rumors circulating that I was slightly sloshed on red wine.
Well, crackers, when I reinserted the card back in to the Rebel (I don't buy SLRs based on Consumer Union, I buy them based on neo-Confederate code words) the damned thing misfed, and dented one of the prongs on the what-u-ma-fuckit, also known as a pin assembly, or something. It wouldn't read the card, it wouldn't accept a card.
I dutifully took the camera to a brick-and-mortar, who sniffed it much like Peter O'Toole sniffed under that hoor's rag of a dress in Becket, determined it to be of online provenance, and declared repair to be $235 to crack it open, with an hourly escalating scale of Don't Fuck With Us.
Hmmm, says I. As Canon had just come out with a 347 megapixel offering that allowed the user to count the exact number of carbon atoms in a pubic hair, I weighed the option of repair versus the new 347 megapixel pubic hair option, that also uplinked to the Hubble telescope. Ultimately, and by ultimately I mean within five minutes, I determined to go with option 3: shrugging my shoulders and doing nothing.
Key was very gracious about this, and I mean gracious in the feminine way, which is to say she never faulted me for breaking her camera, I just kept imagining her reminding me that had I downloaded the picture her way, with the USB cord, this would not have happened. My feeble remonstrances that I was well within normal use by actually removing the card would be met with imaginary responses: casual snorts, backhanded derision, and occasional whatevers. Oh: and Don't Worry About Its. All men realize that receiving a Don't Worry About It is tantamount to loss of consortial privilege, and months of a vegan diet. Therefore, while hiding in my closet in the Velociroom, expurgating desires no longer expurgated in the boudoir, I resolved to fix the situation, one way or another.
I didn't mind buying Key a new camera for this Christmas, especially one with the focal power of an electron microscope, but the fact remained: no matter how nice the upgrade, it was still merely resolving a situation I had broken; one cannot Christmas gift merely to Good a Bad.
And so I took that camera outside today, and polished my cheap plastic CVS bespectacle lenses, and attempted for the tenth time what I could not fix before: the minute, microscopic bending of that tiny pin, one of fifty or so, that was bented out of shape. This time, besweatted as I was, I did not use a metal instrument: my previous efforts had proven that the tiny brass piece in question was far too fragile, and the working space far too narrow, for conventional toolage. I opted, instead, for a sliver of bamboo skewer: a brochette, if you will. And this forgiving tool was finally able to nudge the recalcitrant piece back into proper position, at least so that the camera pin assembly would once again accept the card, which is all that I required.
For I will never, ever, remove that card again. Just to test the camera I took a very personal picture. I can now attest that this camera model does not in fact capture individual carbon atoms. But it does take a fairly scary image.
And so: I fixed what I broke, and received no prize for it, Nobel or connubial. But it's not the prize, is it? It's the satisfaction of a job well done. Or in the case of the Nobel, of a job anticipated to be well done. And that's all one needs in the world, eh? I mean, other than global adulation.
...that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
Image shamelessly stolded from Rob Sama.
That appears to be the butcher's bill for Key's aortic aneurysm, all in. Thankfully virtually everyone involved was within the network, so her maximum out-of-pocket on this thaumaturgy of American health care will be a thousand dollars. Incredible. I would have to say that, at least in our instance, private health insurance works.
Some interesting items, though: the miracle surgery? The doctor charged $18,152. That seems like a bargain, when you consider the hospital charged $24,621 for "supplies". That's a lot of fucking gauze. Another thing: the vascular surgeon in Gainesville who merely pumped her with painkillers and blood pressure medicine while he wrung his hands and mopped his sweaty upper lip in desperation while I insisted she be removed to St. Joseph's or Emory charged $6,681. For essentially doing nothing until he finally got a consulting cardiologist on the phone who said Get her to Emory, you limp dick.
Certainly, some of the charges are a wee bit suspect, but the point is the wheels went into motion immediately, by and large. The system worked. I don't doubt in our instance the insurance company will ever recoup that $97 thousand in premiums, but it's a numbers game, and they hold the actuarial cards, not us. Plus, I've paid health insurance premiums for 30 years, with no claims other than the occasional annual check up or back pain visit. If I'd put my premiums in a nice growth fund I'd have considerably more than the $97 thousand to offset Key's expenses. That's how the game works.
Here's the thing: how can we permit public servants to ram third world health care down our throats while they simultaneously innoculate themselves with a premium health care plan? That is my greatest bitch. I don't give a damn fuck all about term limits. We have the remedy for incumbency at the ballot box. What we do not have is a mandate that our public servants abide by the same laws they force the rest of us to abide by. And there isn't a single member of Congress who would vote for such a law, much less sponsor it.
They fancy themselves the elite, the Shit Don't Stinkers. Well, fuck that. The only constitutional amendment I want to see is the one that feeds congressmen into the same maw of social engineering that the rest of us are fed into. From public education to medical treatment to retirement plans to tax laws, these criminals should be subject to the same laws they foist upon the hoi polloi.
Better yet, let's put Congress on Medicaid, so they can wait in the emergency rooms and clinics with the cholerics, dyphtherioids, consumptives, pellagratives, measlers/mumpers/rubellics, pertussulites, Ebolaslags, and bacon double Marburgers. Or subject them to a reverse Tuskegee experiment, wherein instead of taking syphilitics and studying them while doing nothing for the symptoms, we actually infect them with syphilis, and perform experimental treatments gleaned from the annals of the rejected grant applications from the NEA. Got yer Piss Christ enema right here, Senator.
Now, I think, we're getting somewhere.
Sweet Mother of God:
“I recall one marathon twelve-hour session of passion many years ago now. It was only afterwards that I realized I had barely had a single trace of an analytic thought for the longest period I could then remember. I was never happier. As I finally collapsed into my lover’s arms with the final orgasm that drained every last drop of desire or need from my body and soul, I understood for the first time why the French call coming ‘le petit mort.’”
Bonus video below the fold!
But I highly recommend you do not go there.
"On October 5, 2009 Condé Nast announced that Gourmet will cease monthly publication by the end of 2009, due to the total lack of taste and refinement of the Conde Nast Management."
At least we know how the folks at Gourmet feel about their soon to be erstwhile paymasters.
I see our Great Condescendicator rustled up 150 doctors in another gambit to pass his health care abortion via yet another photo op. The doctors were told to wear white lab coats, lest we window lickers fail to notice they were, indeed, doctors of medicine: buy-in from the experts, so to speak. Those that forgot or neglected to wear one were summarily issued one in a rare example of logistical success for the Administration.
I haven't seen that many fools dressed in white since O Brother Where Art Thou? And they must be fools for they are certainly acting against their best interests, as Bill Whittle would say. Unless, of course, they consider this thing a done deal, and they're jockeying for position on one of those righteous death panels. We've seen death panels before in this country, and it was a very fucking bad idea that time, too:
I'm not sure if that's egg on Barack Obama's face, or International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge's spoot. Either way, I continue to be unswayed by the conventional wisdom that Obama is an awesome earth-shaker, or anything more than a self-congratulating swell.
It is obvious why the rest of the world "adores" this man, and it is not because he's a liberal black fellow: it is because he glibly neuters American exceptionalism, while prostituting and cheapening the presidency itself with blindered and self-serving escapades like this Olympics fiasco. To a marginalized, afterthought, unimportant Euro, what's not to like about that?
It's like having your superior chess opponent forego checkmate on you in order to dig in his britches and eat some of his own feces. You're shocked at first, then, when you realize you are winning by forfeiture, you grin at the crowd and say "Fuckin', yeah!"
That is the truth in the ascendancy of the second and third worlds in the Age of Obama: they didn't win. We, via our adolescent and retarded proxy president, have simply decided the game isn't worth playing. Because winning means being unloved. And being unloved is a fate worse than death.
As a child I marveled at the legend of the Boethian Narcissus. How could a person pine away after becoming enraptured with his own reflection? Because even at the age of 11 or 12 we are all unsure enough of ourselves, and cognizant of the world around us, to understand the dead end of self-absorption. But not our boy. I truly believe he was shocked that his personal whim was not immediately acquiesced to in Copenhagen, despite his ignorance of the protocols, the game. These are, after all, very crooked and indolent potentates themselves: they expect just as much obsequiousness and fawning as Obama himself, and the man wasn't sharing a whit of it.
I do believe that, like our Narcissus, Obama will become frozen in thrall of himself, a limp fool staring at his reflection in the pool at the National Mall, so enthralled with his own awesomeness that he will not notice his country engulfed in flames around him. And I am quite sure that as he looks back upon this week of his presidency this Saturday, what will dismay him most is not the 9.8 percent unemployment, his stalled health care legislation, his rapidly imploding situation in Afghanistan, or the continuing meltdown of the economy. No, he will be pissed off beyond fury that he didn't get his fucking home boys some sweet-assed grift with those goddamn Olympics. Because it made him look bad. And we can't have that.