Saturday, October 17, 2020

The dog ate somebody’s hard drive. Just ask Rudy Giuliani.

 So, uh, let me get this straight. The thusfar unnamed owner of an unnamed computer repair shop somewhere in Delaware says that a guy who kinda, sorta, maybe looked like Hunter Biden dropped off a water-damaged Mac laptop in his shop in 2019.

The computer repair guy evidently didn’t get a record of the name and address of the owner, or the owner’s other contact information. Or he did get a record of the contact information, but evidently that doesn't include the owner's name. Huh?


Anyway, without a reliable way to reach the owner, the repair guy could spend hours and hours fixing the computer, and maybe lay out some money for parts as well, and not be able to collect if the customer never comes back. Or he could give it to the wrong customer — me for example, if I walk into the shop and ask, “Is my laptop fixed yet? Umm, that nice-looking Mac laptop over there. That one's mine."  But that's the way most computer repair shops work. Right, computer repair guys?


Vadym and me

 

And of course, instead of just fixing the computer, the computer repair guy spends hours and hours reading the voluminous contents of the hard drive. It allegedly contains, among other things, e-mail correspondence between a character named Vadym Pozharskyi and Hunter Biden, along with some racy photographs that may or may not be of Hunter having sex.

 

Like any typical computer repair guy, he instantly knows that Vadym Pozharskyi must clearly be a person of interest to the national security community. So, after desperately trying to reach the computer owner whose identity he doesn't know, he turns the computer over to the FBI. But first he makes a copy of everything on the hard drive for himself because, hey, that’s what computer repair guys always do. Right, computer repair guys?


And of course, the FBI never thinks to ask, "Is this all you've got? Do you have any electronic or paper copies of any of the data on this computer?" I mean, you wouldn't ask a question like that if you were the FBI, because if the laptop contains information critical to the national security, why would you not want copies of that information floating around everywhere on the planet?

 

Meanwhile, despite the presence of all this “sensitive” info on the hard drive, the owner of the laptop never comes back for his machine after all. Maybe he simply forgot he had a computer, allegedly with all that sensitive info on its hard drive. Maybe, if I may make a suggestion, he never even existed.


"Hello, Rudy? You don't know me

but have I got something cool for you!"


But the computer repair guy knows that Rudy Giuliani, has been rooting around in the Ukraine for dirt on Hunter Biden. So he gives Rudy a call. Do you know Rudy’s phone number? Me neither. But this computer repair guy evidently has Rudy on his speed dial. 


Okay, that's a cheap shot. The computer repair guy could eventually find Rudy's office phone number on the Internet. Sheesh! Business must be really, really slow in the computer repair business if he's got time for all that.

 

And then the repair guy takes the texts of the allegedly real correspondence between Biden and Pozharskyi to Giuliani, who in turn turns them over to that great newspaper of record, The New York Post.  

 

Please somebody help me get off the floor! I’ve fallen down laughing and I can’t get up.


Late breaking news! The Florida Sun Sentinel is reporting that at least one New York Post reporter refused to have his byline on the story, evidently despite pressure from the Post's editors.


And furthermore: "Many Post staff members questioned whether the paper had done enough to verify the authenticity of the hard drive’s contents, said five people with knowledge of the tabloid’s inner workings. Staff members also had concerns about the reliability of its sources and its timing, the people said."


Reliability of its sources? Y'mean Rudy Giuliani? I am shocked! Shocked!!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Lindsey Graham and the kindness of strangers

                    A gentleman helps Miss Lindsey with her robe

 It’s not hard to get on a Republican mailing list. All you have to do is answer one of those phony surveys that pop up on Facebook and other social media. You know the kind I mean. They lure you in with headlines like, “Tell the Democrats what you really think.” Then they ask questions like “Should the Democrats support a tool of diabolical conspiracies and Satanic forces like Joe Biden, or is Donald Trump the savior of America?” 

I often answer them just to see what will happen. And that’s how some time during the summer I started getting e-mails from Lindsey Graham. Most of the time I got an e-mail every day. Sometimes, two or three times a day, if you count messages from Lindsey’s campaign, Donald Trump, and other supporters who wanted me to contribute to Lindsey. In all I've received forty-one desperate letters from Lindsey and his, um — well, call it a support group —since early September.

 

O, the awful injustice

poor Lindsey must suffer!


At first I zapped Graham's e-mails. They were all, each and every cloying one, nothing but craven pleas for money, designed to loosen my wallet by horrifying me — horrifying me!  — with news of the awful injustices that poor Lindsey must suffer.

 

The gist of most of them was that Lindsey Graham is beset by “Democrat” ruffians. 


Miss Lindsey whined about the horrible mistreatment she was suffering at their hands— mainly consisting of Democrats doing a better job than the Graham campaign in raising campaign funds. Then she fell back on her fainting couch, called for the smelling salts, and reminded me to click on a donate button because she evidently has always relied on the kindness of strangers. Quick — somebody give that senator some pearls to clutch!

 

I can’t quote all off Graham's e-mails at length here. It would be like attending a sixteen hours-long play without an intermission, during which Chekhov attempts to do Tennessee Williams impressions. But here, for your delectation, are a few samples, starting with what that hussy, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez actually had the brazen nerve to say:  

 

Sept. 25th:

 

Crank , 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called me "spineless" to her millions of follows on social media. 

Why? I intend to do my part as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to fill the open seat on the Supreme Court. 


Crank, my opponent is already raising money hand over fist, but with an endorsement from the leader of the Squad, more liberal dollars are now flooding into South Carolina. 

 

Will you help us beat back the incursion of far-Left money?

By the way, if you give Graham so much as a nickel, and fill out a form that includes your phone number, you are consenting to receive calls and texts, including autodialed and automated calls and texts, to that number from Team Graham.” I just thought you might want to know in advance why all those dinnertime phone calls will be besieging you.

Hardly had I recovered from the shock of AOC and the Yankee Democrat “incursion” than I received this scarifying news: 

Crank , 

Failed Democrat presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, wants Jaime Harrison to win in South Carolina. 

She knows that he'll be a reliable supporter of her far-Left policies. That's why she's encouraging her donors to give to Harrison and help "flip the Senate." 

She's hoping that Democrat candidates like Jaime Harrison will win in November, work with her to add new seats to the Supreme Court, and fill them with liberal judges. 

 

Will you please chip in $10 or more to help counteract the money Elizabeth Warren raised for Jaime Harrison….?

-Team Graham 

 

No I won’t, Miss Lindsey, because I want you to be a failed Republican senatorial candidate. You’ve already failed as a human being. And for the love of heaven, stop whining!

 

On Oct. 1, Lindsey wrote to tell me about the terrible — simply terrible, terrible, terrible — thing the Democrats did with an airplane. So uncouth: 

This is the same liberal Super PAC that flew a plane up and down the South Carolina coast on Labor Day towing a banner attacking Senator Graham. 

O, the horror!

The "Lindsey Must Go" PAC pledged to raise millions, and they're adding their own negative attack spending to the millions being spent by our liberal opponent Jaime Harrison. 

We know there's no one the radical Left hates more than Lindsey Graham. That's how his opponent is raising millions in DAYS. 

 

Your contribution of …..

 Oh, you know the rest.


On October 7, Miss Lindsey wrote to tell me about the uncouth mobs:

Crank , 

Senator Tillis and I will play crucial roles in confirming President Trump's highly qualified Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett. 

That's why protesters mobbed both of our houses and shouted at us to try and intimidate us out of fulfilling our constitutional duty. 

Yes, that's what he wrote. They shouted at him and poor Tom Tillis. Actually shouted. 

But Senator Tillis and I don't surrender to mobs – we WILL fill this seat! 

Democrats are raising millions of dollars to go after Senator Tillis because his seat has been named the tipping point race that will decide our Senate majority. We must show them that this Senate seat is not for sale….

 

 Democrats are leading our country down a path of mob rule, and this election is our chance to put an end to it before it's too late. 

We cannot let the Democrats win this Senate seat – and claim a Senate majority – by inciting a radical left-wing mob and spending hundreds of millions of dollars. 

This November, I want to know that we did everything we could to prevent a catastrophic 2020 election outcome. That's why I'm asking for your urgent help. 

 

Please make a contribution to help keep North and South Carolina red and maintain our conservative Senate majority!

Thank you, 

Lindsey Graham 

No matter what the topic. Lindsey always asks for money. Ah well, I guess Miss Lindsey has taken the advice of Tennessee Williams to heart: “You can be young without money. But you can’t be old without it.”

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Sorry, I just can’t today. I simply can’t. It’s Trump overload.

                                                Another hapless American, fed to the Trump
                                                Monster. Thanks for the nightmare, Hieronymous!

I have to hand it to the Toddler in Chief. He’s no ordinary failure. He's  a bottomless well of failure. He’s a black hole who keeps sucking everything into himself until there’s nothing left outside. He's a failure that won't stop failing.

 

He  reminds me of the first Terminator movie.

 

Just when you think he’s done in, he’s not done in. But then they blast all kinds of weaponry at him and you think he’s done in. But he’s not done in. But then they blow off his legs and you’re positive he’s done in. But he’s not done in. Then his skin is burned off and you gotta know he’s done in. But he’s not done in. His mission is to destroy, to ruin, to wreck everything. He cannot be deterred.

 

Or to look at it another way, he’s the Energizer Bunny of chaos, and failure, and misery. He keeps going, and going, and going, and each time he goes a little further, he digs the hole in which the U.S.A. is getting buried a little deeper.

 

So I simply can’t today. This Presidential Super-Spreader, this Typhoid Mary of COVID-19, this pathetic lump of arrogant failure, this vulgar economy-killer, this job-destroyer, this unity wrecker, this assassin of American prestige, this NATO-crasher, this comity crusher, this health insurance killer, this potential Medicare and Social Security assassin,  this self-centered, inhumane, indecent representation of a real man, this shambolic mockery of a leader, standing there on a White House Balcony, all alone, saluting nothing in particular, striking poses like a fool while trying to look important...all this is is only part of the terrible malediction he has inflicted on the United States.

 

We, too, are now pretty much all alone in the world. Just like Trump on a balcony.

 

We, too, are seen, as a nation, as standing for nothing at all any more. Just like Trump on a balcony.

 

We, too, are an insane ruin. Just like...but you know by now.

 

He is a shambles. And thanks to him, so is the U.S.A.

 

Friday, October 02, 2020

COVID-19, Prescience, Trump, Debates, the Election, and Crackpot Theories Galore

                                             An 18th Century English madhouse. Or is it 
                                             the 21st Century White House? (Thank you,
                                             Mr. Hogarth.)

It’s easy to get an inflated ego and nutty ideas about your own prescience. I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about me. 

 In my last blog post, put up two days prior to the first presidential debate, I wrote:

 “Unfortunately, Trump has a habit of shouting loudly while other people are talking, so that nobody will hear them.” 

As a cure for this I suggested

"The debate moderator should have two kill switches in front of him, each attached to one of the debaters’ microphones. The debaters should be told how much time is allotted to each answer they give, or to rebuttal they make. They should also get a 30-second warning signal. The second their time is up, the announcer should hit their microphone kill switches. No ifs, ands, or buts. That way, the debates could really be debates and not shouting matches."

 So, when milliseconds out of the gate Trump began interrupting not only Biden but also poor Chris Wallace, the moderator during the first debate, I nearly broke my own arm patting myself on the back to congratulate myself on my foresight. I felt even more self-congratulatory when several commentators belatedly made the same suggestion I made about kill switches. 

Cattle prods, viruses, Zoom, and pundits

 With all of the foregoing in mind, I had planned to make this post about alternate ways of controlling Trump during the next debate, such as duct-taping a radio-controlled cattle prod to some private part of his, and switching it on every time Trump intruded into Biden’s or the moderator’s speaking time. Of course, Biden would have to be similarly wired up, although I doubt he would do anything that would warrant a  4,000-volt shot of pain. 

 Then, in a flash, Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 and everything changed. 

If there is a next Presidential debate, it might occur during a presidential quarantine, and therefore might best be conducted via Zoom. This would automatically hand the moderator a kill switch, enabling some semblance of a real debate to take place. It’s an ill virus that blows no television audience some good. When people can’t or won't solve a problem, trust Mother Nature to step in. Wildfires, anybody? 

Meanwhile, when a crazy virus strikes a crazy president, all of us begin thinking crazy thoughts. Here come some of mine. I should warn you that they may not be mine exclusively. Insane ideas, like insane viruses, replicate themselves in legions of human beings. All the same, I offer some whacko scenarios for you. Let’s see, in time, which of them turn out to be not-so-whacko after all: 

Six thoughts that may be 
as nutty or nuttier than your own 

1. He doesn’t really have Covid-19. He realizes his last debate was a disaster, and this gives him an out to avoid a repeat disaster. He’ll be "too sick to debate" until several days after the final debate was scheduled. Then, miraculously, he’ll feel better, begin holding rallies, and start challenging election results as they come in. 

2.  He does really have Covid-19 and he’s very sick, far sicker than anybody is letting on. Cabinet and other Republican strategists are convening as you read this, trying to decide how best to keep covering up the news, while Mike Pence bones up on presidential matters in the back room. 

3.  There are also discussions underway in the White House to decide whether, if Mike Pence becomes sick, too, the blame can somehow be placed on Nancy Pelosi, who is next in line for the presidency after Pence. 

4.  Whether Trump has Covid-19 or not, Republican Party strategists, after consultation with pollsters, have determined that Trump can’t win and are now huddling with Bill Barr to see if there are legal grounds to postpone the election because one candidate is too ill to participate. They have also checked with Amy Coney Barrett to see whether she will go along with a ruling that the election must be postponed, if her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court is hurried along to get her seated prior to Election Day. 

5.  Postponement of the election, of course, will be followed by cancellation of the election “until such time as there is no further risk that Covid-19 can again intrude on the election process.” A day after this announcement is made, the corpses of every pharmaceutical and bio research company executive and scientist involved in developing a vaccine will be found floating in the Potomac. The official pronouncement will be “Mass suicide.” 

6.  As I've pretty much already said, it’s an ill virus that blows nobody any good. In the Kremlin, the corpse of Vladimir Putin is found, bent in half, a ghastly grin rigor mortising on his face. An autopsy reveals numerous internal hemorrhages, a torn intestine, and other signs that he busted a gut and died laughing.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Please don’t try to sock* me. I’m only making a couple of suggestions.


1. How to make the Presidential debate more civilized: I know I should have mentioned this earlier, but it only just occurred to me. On Tuesday night. Sept. 29th, Biden and Trump will debate. I want to hear what each of them has to say, with the emphasis on each. Unfortunately, Trump has a habit of shouting loudly while other people are talking, so that nobody will hear them. So, here’s what I propose:

The debate moderator should have two kill switches in front of him, each attached to one of the debaters’ microphones. The debaters should be told how much time is allotted to each answer they give, or rebuttal they make. They should also get a 30-second warning signal.

 

The second their time is up, the announcer should hit their microphone kill switches. No ifs, ands, or buts. That way, the debates could really be debates and not shouting matches.

 

2. How to solve the homeless problem: I read that huge amounts of office space are empty in our big cities, and some of that space may never fill up again. Home is the new office. People who used to be office workers like it, because they don’t have to commute, can stay home with their kids, work in their underwear, and unselfconsciously scratch their you-know-what. What the boss doesn’t see, the boss can’t punish you for.

Here in New York for example, according to the New York Times:

Fewer than 10 percent of New York’s office workers had returned as of last month and just a quarter of major employers expect to bring their people back by the end of the year, according to a new survey. Only 54 percent of these companies say they will return by July 2021."

And furthermore, the Times says:

Demand for office space has slumped. Lease signings in the first eight months of the year were about half of what they were a year earlier. That is putting the office market on track for a 20-year low for the full year. When companies do sign, many are opting for short-term contracts that most landlords would have rejected in February.

Meanwhile, New York, like San Francisco, Santa Monica, San Diego, and every other damn place has a homeless problem. Here in New York, Mayor Bill De Blah-sio has been shuttling homeless people in and out of hotels like a third rate tour operator on a bus trip through Belgium. 

One of the reasons is New Yorkers suffer from a terrible NIMBY complex. They adore the idea of housing the homeless, but Not In My Back Yard! NIMBY!

So why not take all those empty and near-empty office buildings, particularly in midtown and in the financial district, where the skyscrapers are blocks and blocks from where most people live, and convert them into apartments — efficiencies for the single homeless folks, one two and three-bedroom apartments for the homeless families? 

I even have some good ideas about where the city could start. For openers, there’s 666 Fifth Avenue, for which Jared Kushner paid $1.8 billion when it wasn’t worth nearly that price. To complete the transaction he borrowed $1.75 billion, far below what the rentals in the building’s office space generated, thus demonstrating his IQ was low enough, and his lemming instinct for bankruptcy strong enough, to be a member of the Trump family. Wikipedia has a wonderful piece on the fiasco. 

Then of course, there’s the Fifth Avenue Trump Tower. While Donald lives there, and some of the floors are condo, I believe that most of them are commercial. I’m certain Donald, populist that he is, wouldn’t mind having some earthy “real people” for neighbors. He could make small talk with them in the elevator.

Just sayin’.

*Footnote: That asterisk in the headline is no typo. It's there to call your attention to the fact that while I used to be able to caption my photographs, the new, improved version of this program, that nearly every blogger on this planet hates, doesn't seem to allow for the insertion of captions. Maybe it never occurred to those yo-yos that somebody might want to caption photograph, for some odd reason. Hah! If they were smart enough to be rocket scientists, they'd be working at NASA, not screwing up what was once a perfectly wonderful blogging system.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Seven Nursery Rhymes for Grownups in the Terrible Times of Trump


There was a crooked man

And he dug a crooked well

And he took a crooked farthing

When they stayed at his hotel

And he screwed a crooked hooker

Before she could take off her blouse

And it all happened inside

The crooked White House


Putin, Putin

Mean and crass

Had his hand and forearm

Up Moscow Mitch’s ass

When Putin pulled the strings

Moscow Mitch did awful things

And the nation fell apart

In a political morass.


He was not a little girl

But he had a little curl

Right in the middle of his forehead

And when it was good 

He felt very very good

But when it got rained on he was horrid.


Mistress Melania

I don’t wanna rag onya

But how does your

Rose Garden Grow?

You pulled out the trees

And replaced it with sleaze

And you did it all just for show.


Lewis deJoy, was an odious boy

Who destroyed the mail boxes and sorters

He put in his thumb

And pulled out the plug

Thusly pleasing the postal aborters.


Donald Trump said he’d put up a wall

Turns out he was lying and that was all

All of Trump’s ramblings

And all his henchmen

Could not get that wall built 

Ever again.


Hi diddle diddle 

There are voters to diddle!

Miss Lindsey jumped over the moon

Swearing she’d never

Go back on her word — oh sure,

And the dish ran away with the spoon.


Feel free to contribute your own. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Blatant Republican corruption, the rodent that ate the Internet, Tom Friedman gets tangled in his plot line, and nude cycling in the time of the plague

 

Je m'appelle Big Trouble

How corrupt is Republican politics? Well, let’s just say that how far you get in Congress all depends on what you pay. Or what you can get others to pay on your behalf. The following is  verbatim from Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, a proudly corrupt Trumpista from Florida:

“Donations to the party do not officially determine which committees you’ll sit on or how prestigious your spot will be, but unofficially money sure seems to make a difference. I won’t pretend I walked away from the game. On the contrary, I was playing to win, and I did. I was eager to meet with Leader McCarthy in hopes of getting a spot on the Armed Services Committee, which is very important to decisions that affect the lives of many military personnel and veterans in Florida’s First District. I expected that when I did meet with him, I’d have to explain the potential impact on my constituents, my relevant experience with military issues, and the ways in which I was (or was not) in sync with the rest of the party on military and foreign policy issues,” Gaetz writes of an exchange he had with McCarthy as a freshman congressman. “To my shock, he looked me straight in the eye and said it would be helpful if in the next ten days I could direct $75,000 ‘across the street,’ which meant into the coffers of the National Republican Congressional Committee. I frankly told my supporters back home about how things apparently work in D.C., and they agreed I should try rolling the dice. I quickly ponied up $150,000, twice the ask, and ended up not only on Armed Services but the Judiciary Committee as well.” 

And if all that sounds either unbearably depressing or so infuriating you fear your head may explode, let me soothe your nerves with a mischievous rodent.

 

“Je m’appelle Coypu and what I do is chew.” A coypu is a rather large, impossibly cute rodent that looks like a cross between a beaver and Punxsutawney Phil, the woodchuck who brings you six more weeks of winter if he sees his shadow on Groundhog Day. A coypu recently had some uncounted number of citoyens tearing their hair out in and around Marsan in southwestern France.

 

They lost their e-mail. They lost their Google. They lost their entire Internet. Complaints from disgruntled customers of Orange, which is sort of the French G-mail, were flooding the switchboards. 

 

Connexion France, my go-to source for silly stuff about France reports:

Telephone engineers turned detective to track down the culprit who cut the internet to several communes in southwest France for several days last week.


[snip]

 

Two days searching along a remote and hard-to-access 14km stretch of cable, uncovered the scene of the 'crime' - and revealed that service had been cut in nine communes around the small town of Nogaro by a coypu chewing through underground cables.

The article goes on to say that the coypu is native to South America, but was, umm, “introduced” to France. Evidently, it not only chews up the Internet, but also “Its tunnelling can cause riverbanks to collapse.”


Coypus are now classified as pests.

 

Ya think?

 

How’s that again, Tom Friedman

of the NY Times? Oh, nevermind!

 

Tom Friedman, the New York Times columnist who for a very long time promoted his book “The World is Flat” by using that phrase in column after self-serving column, has now taken to explaining the results of Jared Kushner’s “peace initiative” in what Friedman calls “a soap opera analogy.”

It is as if Jared Kushner was a lawyer who set out to arrange a divorce between a couple, “Mrs. Israel” and “Mr. Palestine.” In the process, though, Mr. Kushner discovered that Mrs. Israel and Mr. Palestine were so incompatible that they couldn’t even sit in a room together, let alone agree on his plan for separation. 

But along the way, Mr. Kushner discovered something intriguing: Mrs. Israel was having an affair with Mr. Emirates, who was fleeing an abusive relationship with Ms. Iran. 

So, Mr. Kushner stopped trying to arrange a divorce between Mr. Palestine and Mrs. Israel and seized instead on the mutual interest of Mrs. Israel and Mr. Emirates to marry — not to mention the self-interest of President Trump to serve as the “justice of the peace” who would officiate on the White House lawn in the midst of a presidential campaign  

Cut to commercial. 

I’ve got a better cut. Cut out reading Tom Friedman.

 

Virus shmirus! I’m wearing a mask, right?

 

What, you weren’t in Rennes, France, last weekend? Too bad! You missed “the first cycling and nudist gathering in France.” 

 

This raised some concerns, because of the very recent growth of Covid-19 cases in town. So the city center was off-limits to the cyclists, there in the nude “to raise awareness for the vulnerability of cyclists in urban areas, and also to promote naturism.”

 

Faceless naturism, as it turns out, because the riders were required to wear face masks, whatever other parts of them were uncovered. 

 

Meanwhile, the number of cyclists in the city has increased by “around 15 – 20% according to Connexion, France.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Miscellany from all over (guaranteed almost Trump-free — at least until close to the end)

The cause of la grande explosion in France. Yicch! (Photo swiped from Wikipedia.)
There’s just so much Donald Trump I can stand before I stick my fingers in my ears, close my eyes, and run screaming from the room.

So today, a few random departures from the subject. Consider these the equivalent of sitting at the computer watching cute cat videos while a forest fire rages outside your window. (If you’re in California or Oregon there probably is one, come to think of it.) You want to get in a couple of smiles before the Internet goes down and the house burns to the ground. So there’s the following.

There once was an old man who zapped a fly
I wouldn’t know why he zapped that fly… 

In France, an 82-year-old pensioner blew up his house while trying to kill a fly. The old guy was sitting down to dinner. The fly was buzzing his….I dunno what he was eating, and it really doesn’t matter. But since this happened in the Dordogne, let’s just suppose it was a plate with some of the local cheeses, like a nice, soft Margotin, and a semi-soft mild Trappe d'Echourgnac. Mmm! No wonder the fly wouldn’t leave!

At any rate, La Technologie’s ubiquitous fingers have reached all the way to the Dordogne village of Parcoul-Chaud, where the irritated old guy reached for his fly swatter — an electronic fly swatter. 

“Unfortunately,” reports ConnexionFrance.com “there was a gas canister leaking in his home and this reacted with the device, causing an explosion that destroyed the kitchen and a part of the roof. 

“The man sustained only minor injuries.” 

I could not find any reports on the condition of the fly.


To pimp out a course, pump up the pomp

More than fifty years ago, the great advertising genius David Ogilvy advised his then-young copywriters, me among them, that if they wanted to write ads that sell, they should avoid using pompous language and onerous jargon.

Tell that to the folks who run “Brand United University,” which, as you might have guessed even as you read its name, is not a university at all. It’s an activity of a marketing and advertising trade magazine called Brand United. You’d think that after the debacle that was “Trump University,” people would stop adding the descriptor University to the names of things that aren’t universities. (In this case it’s a two-hour “webinar.”) But no.

Not satisfied with the grandiosity of equating a two hour course on the Internet about print ad marketing techniques with an institution of higher learning, the people behind all this added the following descriptor, which I think is supposed to impress you:
Print marketing offers a blend of many offline marketing touchpoints in the customer journey that multiplies marketing performance when incorporated into a comprehensive optichannel strategy.
Got that? Me neither. But I think it means something like, “There are lots of things you can do with different kinds of print advertising at different times to sell stuff.”

That I get. But it doesn’t sound nearly as important. Or perhaps as self-important. 

Somebody please drop these clowns in the dumpster with full military honors while the band plays Pomp and Circumstance.

It all depends on what you squat

Back to France, where there was a retiree in a “care home.” (Is that something like a nursing home? I dunno.) Anyway, the retiree discovered that squatters had invaded and taken over a property he owned. 

A report, again in ConnexionFrance.com, my go-to source for all things that are both French and frivolous, tells me:
[The squatters] claimed, wrongly, that because it was an empty second home they had the right to take it on to house homeless people. 
In cases of squatters moving into a main home, the owners can have them evicted by police at any time if they can prove the occupiers broke in to the property and are thus using it as a residence illegally. 
But owners must go through the legal channels and not try to evict the squatters themselves – they risk a €30,000 fine and up to three years in jail if they do so. 
In the case of second homes, the law is stricter.Police can arrest squatters within 48 hours of them occupying the property if they have caused serious damage during or after the break-in. 
After this initial 48-hour period, the legal owners must obtain an eviction order from a court before bailiffs can move in. The process can take weeks. 
And if the application is ruled on during France’s winter truce – the period between November 1 and March 31 when evictions are banned – a judge may rule that the squatters cannot be evicted until the spring.”
And that was where a gear tooth snapped, a cog slipped, and my blogging machinery started spitting out Donald Trump again.

I mean, speaking of squatters, what are we to do if he loses the election but refuses to leave the White House?

Who can issue a legal eviction notice? Must the process move through the Federal courts, with Bill Barr again acting as Trump’s personal attorney at taxpayer expense (because of course if Trump refuses to move out of the White House, why should Barr move out of the Department of Justice?) 

Will a Court of Appeals rule that Trump cannot be evicted until Spring? Will the White House eventually be referred to as “The Executive Squat?” If Trump finally does leave, will he begin referring to himself as "homeless?"

Stay tuned.

Friday, September 04, 2020

Heading for a violent street demonstration? Don’t leave home without your bag of soup. Here’s a surefire recipe for The Crank’s Not-Quite-Beef-Bourguignon Soup + Yummy Stew dinner.

A soldier gravely wounded by cream of asparagus soup 
during WWI gets treated by medics.
By now probably everybody is aware of this, because Donald Trump has told us about it. Large groups of Antifa troublemakers, clad completely in black uniforms so that nobody will notice them, at least not in the dark shadows, are boarding airplanes and heading for big cities to burn them down and riot.

Not only that, but they’re hurling soup! The bastards! So you know what comes next. Pretty soon  Homeland Security agents will be searching your baggage at the airport not for weapons, not for explosives, but for soup cans. Or maybe, as Trump tells us, even bags of soup.

Fortunately, you can make your own soup, without ever coming near a can. Here’s a recipe for my very own Not-Quite-Beef-Bourguignon Soup. And as an added bonus, a useful and very tasty byproduct of this weapon of street warfare is my cranky Not-Quite-Beef-Bourguignon beef stew for six.

What you’ll need to perpetrate
Beef Bourguignon-based violence:

1 teabag (any flavor tea)
1 nail file
1 12-to-25-inch length of unwaxed, unflavored dental floss
1 heavy steel-headed hammer with at least one flat side on its head
1 small plastic bag
1 large covered pot or Dutch Oven
Thyme
Parsley flakes
Bay leaves
2-4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 large white onions
1 bag (roughly the size of the two onions or slightly larger) of peeled baby carrots
1 ½ to 2 lbs. of beef chuck, stewing beef or brisket, cut into roughly 1-inch squares
8 ounces or so of tomato basil sauce
2 cloves of garlic
6 beef bullion cubes
3 cups of water
2/3rds bottle of red table wine, preferably Burgundy

Instructions

1.  Using the nail file, very, very carefully pry open the staple that holds the tea bag closed. Discard the staple before the cat or some human idiot accidently swallows it. Also discard the tea leaves. All you want is the bag.

2. Very gently, being careful not to tear the bag, fill it with ¼ teaspoonful of thyme, ¼ teaspoonful of parsley flakes and two  bay leaves. If the bay leaves are too big to fit, it’s okay to break them into smaller pieces. 

3. Tie the tea bag tightly closed with the dental floss and set aside.

4. Slice the garlic cloves and set the slices aside.

5. Slice onions into quarters or eighths and set aside.

6. Put the  bullion cubes into the plastic bag. Seal the bag. Then whack the cubes with the hammer until they’re pulverized into small pieces or into a powder. If it’ll make you feel better, you can imagine you’re whacking Boogaloo Boyz heads. You can’t go to jail for what you’re thinking in this country. Not yet, anyway.

7. Put the olive oil at the bottom of the pot, set pot on a medium flame, and brown the beef on all sides. Remove the browned beef from the pot and discard the olive oil and the fat rendered from the beef.

8. Add to the pot: The water. The wine. The pulverized bullion cubes. The sliced garlic cloves. The tomato basil sauce. The browned beef. The onions. The baby carrots. Finally, add the spice-filled tea bag, but leave a good length of dental floss hanging outside the pot. 

9. Cover the pot and bring  to a boil over a high flame, then lower the flame and allow the contents of the pot to simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. After the first 40 minutes, yank out the teabag (that’s why you left the string hanging over the side) and discard before the beef bougignon gets too spicy or bitter.

This makes a Not-Quite-Beef-Bourguignon stew that serves four to six violent Antifa revolutionaries, with approximately a pint of soup left over.  (When it’s served on the meat it’s sauce. When it’s served separately, it’s soup.) 

Serve the stew over flat noodles or boiled potatoes with a little bit of sauce. You can freeze the remaining soup into bricks and bring them to your next demonstration. Or just leave them unfrozen to fling at Q-Anons and Boogaloo Boyz and see if they’ll start licking each others' faces.

See you at the revolution. Or as Julia Child used to say, Bon Ap├ętit! And be sure to wear your black uniform.