Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Crass Menagerie

Yesterday the RNC offered me the chance to express my longing for George W. Bush through the eloquent medium of the Beefy-T; and yet, apparently because I'm a jerk, I ignored Chief Operating Officer Sara Armstrong's entreaty and instead spent the money on one of those shirts with airbrushed boobs on it, since it basically sends the same message.

But the Republican National Committee is turning up the tough love, and today they brought in Co-Chair Sharon Day:
30 years ago, President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush were re-elected to the White House. 
Some of our country’s best years followed that moment.
I have to agree, mostly because I got laid a lot in the mid-Eighties, although at the time I attributed that less to Reagan and Bush and more to Bartles & Jaymes.
 I remember watching with optimism as Reagan and Bush honorably protected my freedoms and defended my conservative values.
While I remember watching a lot of Airwolf. Frankly, I don't think either one of us has much to be proud about.
Together, President Reagan and Vice President Bush exemplified leadership.
They left a legacy of prosperity, opportunity and perseverance for Americans.
Oh, so that's what I stepped in. This all apparently predates the law that now requires political parties to carry plastic bags around to scoop up their Presidents' legacies.
So I am thrilled the RNC is taking the time this year to honor the legacy of Reagan and Bush by offering you a limited-edition vintage Reagan-Bush ’84 t-shirt.

Some say that an appeal to the senses  -- such as the taste of a little piece of madeleine -- is the key to recollection, while others maintain that memory is best unlocked by novelty undershirts. Regardless, the remembrance of things past remains a profound experience, whether the author is Proust or Zazzle.
But while Sharon's lyrical nostalgia is charming, it's only the Good Cop warm-up for RNC Treasurer Tony Parker's Bad Cop act.
Did you abandon the Republican Party?
"I've abandoned my party! I've abandoned my party!  I've abandoned my national committee!"
Chairman Priebus has written to you already this year asking you to contribute to the RNC and renew your membership. But we haven’t received your financial support yet this year.
I'm sorry, I've just been distracted by how much "Chairman Priebus" sounds like one of those fake, science fictiony titles, like "Commando Cody" or "Padishah Emperor Shaddam" or "Judge Wapner".
Your past support has shown us that you believe in the Republican Party and the conservative principles we stand for. 
Given that my past support has consisted entirely of stealing the content of your emails and using it for my own nefarious purposes while giving you nothing in return, I believe that I've not only studied the principles you stand for, I've mastered them, and am now ready to leave the monastery and walk the earth like Kung Fu.
 So we are giving you one more chance to renew your membership with the Republican National Committee.
I completely believe that this is my last chance to give you money, just as you should totally believe that I've already mailed you a huge check.
Right now you are handing the advantage over to Democrats. That’s exactly what President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid want you to do. With committed Republicans like you sitting out in 2014, the Democrats are able to continue their liberal rampage on conservative principles.
I'm not sitting it out, I just don't want to shoot my wad too early, so I'm waiting until the "liberal rampage" is upgraded to a "socialist stampede." But don't worry -- I've set up a Google alert.
2014 is our last chance to step in, step up
and shake it all about.
Don’t turn your back on the Republican Party
Relax, Tony. That's a lesson I learned a looong time ago.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Really Need to File a Restraining Order Against Reince Preibus

We tend to mention a lot of right wing luminaries here on the blog, which is an unpleasant but unavoidable byproduct of our charter, and I long ago made my peace with it. Unfortunately, the ever-more cephalopodic nature of internet algorithms has led to a situation I did not foresee, and I now find myself faced with the necessity of committing civil disobedience to the Law of Unintended Consequences.

In a nutshell, I'm being stalked by the RNC.  Here's a look at my email inbox:

Sure, I could just flag all these as spam and be done with it, but most of the letters achieve such a desperate tone that I'm afraid any rejection might drive their authors to do something desperate. For instance, Sara Armstrong, Chief Operating Officer of the RNC is suffering from the delusion that George W. Bush was real, and not a ghost story told around campfires to frighten Cub Scouts. Fortunately, there's a cure for her condition -- robust T-shirt sales -- but thanks to Obamacare it doesn't come cheap.
Resolute and decisive.
I'll take "British Warship Names" for 200, Alex.
 That’s what I remember when I think of the leadership of President George W. Bush. He led our nation through some of the most challenging moments of our nation’s history.
I'll go even further. His leadership made even some of our nation's most mundane moments seem challenging.
He led.
Add an "i" to that sentence and I'll agree.
The President we have today thinks our country should “lead from behind” and has significantly diminished the United States’ standing in the world — and worse, he has made us less safe.
Worst of all, this President doesn't agree that quotation marks should no longer be used to indicate actual quotes, but instead be sprinkled randomly through a paragraph as decorative "Freedom Dimples."
I miss the leadership of President George W. Bush. And I miss him.
I'll say what I always do whenever someone starts mooning over their ex: "You're better off without him."
I had the privilege of serving in his White House, and I saw the character that he and his family provided our nation. I will be forever grateful for their service.
Hm, let's check Sara's bio, and see from what lofty perch she observed Bush momentously lead our nation through some of our nation's most challenging moments:
Deputy Chief of Staff Sara Armstrong Director of membership services at the RNC
Her duties including calling anyone who wants to cancel their membership and demanding, "Why is it that you're not wanting to have the No. 1-rated political party with 34% approval rating available?"
Worked at the White House from June 2002 to Jan. 2009. Special Assistant to the President
"Thanks honey, but next time make it two sugars."
 and Deputy Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush
"Thanks hon, but next time skip the sugar and add two fingers of Old Crow."
Director of the Visitors Office;
She lovingly made out Jeff Gannon's press pass each day.
 Deputy Director of Correspondence for the First Lady
i.e., "Wrote Mrs. Bush's Thank You cards"
Correspondence Analyst
i.e., "Read the Thank You cards other people sent to Mrs. Bush." Presumably with the First Lady's permission, but judging by the six emails I've gotten from Sara over the last five days, asking if I've read the previous half dozen emails, she is a trifle nosy.  Anyway, bona fides established! On with today's pitch:
Tomorrow is President George W. Bush’s Birthday. It’s a moment that has reminded us of what leadership in the White House really looks like.
Because real leadership looks like a birthday party?  Whenever I feel uncertain about the direction our country is taking, I like to imagine President Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Condoleeza Rice sitting around a conference table in the Situation Room, wearing festive party hats and looking resolute.

Fortunately, Sara's wistful mood of regret can be assuaged by ordering this "I Miss W" tee:

The perfect compliment to a friend or loved one wearing an "I'm With Stupid" shirt.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Remembrance of Doghouse Rileys Past

One year ago today the blogosphere lost a unique voice, and World O' Crap lost a friend of many years standing -- Douglas Case, the Hoosier Sage, better known around the intertubz by his nom de net, Doghouse Riley.  In memorium, I went through the Wo'C archives --- at least, those that survived the Great Hack Attack of 2010 -- and collected just a few of the pearls he so generously strewed through our comment threads over the past decade...
Okay, I hate to take away from larger issues, such as “what sort of shenanigans are involved in someone hiring Meghan Cox Gurdon as a writer?” or “who is it imagines there’s an endless market for the sort of self-absorbed blatherings you can’t escape at a family gathering?”, and I’m not even going to mention that May 1 column where she asks why, if black people are flocking to Obama it isn’t the most natural thing in the world for white people to hope one of their own finally makes it to the Oval Office, except she frames it as the sort of question no obviously well-mannered white suburban columnist would dare ask, since, y’know, they all have the good sense to pretend not to be racist anymore. I’d just like to know how one “assembles” loaves of bread in the morning for baking in the evening, and who it is thinks a baguette should be soft. But I’m easily distracted.
What is the deal with Ben Stein? 
Stein’s the Wayne Newton of American letters. He was resurrected during the brief, then-campy fashion for the hopelessly unfashionable about the time Disco died, and, like Newton, he somehow managed to overstay his welcome by a good half-century, becoming convinced of his own popularity into the bargain. He’s a cautionary tale about American culture–embraced for his role in a movie by its fans, who were to young to know, or care, what being a Nixon apologist actually entailed–as well as a living example of how people actually believed at one time that Ronald Reagan was just a gag we were pulling on ourselves, that we’d all have a good chuckle, then go home and forget all about it.
O god I hate bar culture. 
And I apologize, sincerely, to those of you who don’t, because what you enjoy is the bonhomie, or the skills of a good mixologist, or maybe just the rank smell of desperation and the shedding of IQ points by those with few to spare, and that’s not what I hate. 
I hate the debasement of taste, the TGIFridayfication of perfectly decent spirits that came about when adults stopped drinking and marketers swooped in to secretly turn everyone into a 19-year-old in the guise of turning everyone into a 22-year-old. Flavored martinis! Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican St. Patrick’s Day! Mixed drinks named by a panel of morning zoo personalities! Gimme a Blow Job! Har har har. 
Oooh, and great news–Bacardi has managed to take the Mint Julep, a drink which once desecrated honest bourbon, and not just transpose it for their execrable product, but produce a special “rum” for the purpose, so pre-Korsakoff’s alcoholics can feel like connoisseurs! I swear to god, if we just put Bacardi’s marketers in charge of Iraq there’d be lines around the block at every recruiting station.
Same thing happened to decent pot smoking in the 70s, when the Thai stick and Primo Bud morons moved in. 
Ironically, a provocateur is someone who "provokes trouble, causes dissension or the like; an agitator." 

Ironically, that's not what "agent provocateur" means.

Ironically, someone at something called "American Thinker" wrote that. 
Well, I thought I said this yesterday, but Lileks’ material is no funnier than it should be, and since I’m five years older I can attest that by the time he turned up, the “Look, humorously anachronistic kitchen design!” bit had already died of old age, despite being cared for by people who did it much better. 
To me the problem is his borrowing on the other side of the equation: he adopted the “I’m a slightly goofy Everyman, which makes my tiniest notion a lot more sensible than those eggheads who thought up the metric system” newspaper columnist tone that others had already stolen and done better, and he applied it to material that requires a certain amount of real, not mock, self-deprecation. Your own kitchen is going to look like it’s wearing sleeve garters and a handlebar mustache before long. 
Kitsch is funny because of the uncritical acceptance of bad or indifferent commercial “aesthetic”. It’s really not possible to make fun of shag carpeting or June Cleaver’s green bean casserole and simultaneously celebrate the Clorox Rotating Toilet Wand, on sale this week at You Know Where.
Humor, oh yeah. Why, just today Jonah uncorked “Disgruntled? Is anyone ever just ‘gruntled’?” I mean, how’s the Left supposed to compete with that? 
Of course the real difficulty in dealing with the Pantloadian wit (I have to admit that before this hour I was innocent of anyone ever referring to Steyn as “funny” in the comedy sense) is that it only becomes humor after its delusions of seriousness have been utterly demolished. It’s like telling the waiter that was the worst onion soup you’d ever tasted, and having him reply, “It was zabligione! It was zabligione!” and run sobbing into the kitchen. 
Anyway, I’m sure gonna miss these guys when they’re gone, and like Mark Twain, I think I’ll ask for a piece of the rope as a souvenir.
Roll call of Republican Presidential speechwriters since 1968: Bill Safir(e), Pat Buchanan, John McLaughlin, Ben Stein, Peggy Noonan, Tony Snow, David Frum, Marc Thiessen, Gerson.

I b'lieve that's all I have to say.
Another prime example of the results of spending all your time seeking the approval (and donations) of people who already agree with you, as Tabor appears to imagine he’s constructed a trap out of a couple of willful misapprehensions of Darwin, like it doesn’t occur to him that if it hasn’t worked in 150 years it’s unlikely one more column will do the trick. Hail to thee, rapidly aging Young Jessie Helms! Nobody you talk to knows any better, and anybody who knows any better takes one look and laughs. 
a radical piece of legislation which would go beyond Roe versus Wade in declaring abortion to be a fundamental right, such as the right to free speech. 
But that’s exactly what it is. Precedent is law; Court decisions are Constitutional law. Your right to be read a Miranda warning, say, or your right not to be forced to pray in public school, are as “fundamental” as any in the Bill of Rights. (I happen to think this is partly a shortcoming of rights advocates continuing the argument over abortion as it was pre-Roe, and partly, maybe mostly, the result of how the argument has been scripted in the Press for thirty-five years, as though these “moral” arguments are somehow the crux of the matter.) 
My own hope this holiday season is that some day acts of love will become so common that the world will take little notice. 
 Y’know, I hear the chicks really dig a guy in uniform.
Here’s the thing: I’ve made my peace, in a manner of speaking, with the anti-fluoridationists and the unrepentant racists and the penis substitutionists and the simpering jackboot lickers in the years since I first saw an Impeach Earl Warren billboard; such people are actually out there, despite everything common sense would tell us. But I’m goddamned if I can figure out the “damned feminists keep me from getting laid” routine, especially when coupled with “and the threat of child support” since a) the Right keeps insisting we’re a “center-right” country, which would at least raise the question of mathematical probability, not to mention the fact that I can walk through any mall in town and see dozens of women obviously unspoiled by political philosophy, not to mention that on certain sides of town I’d be hard-pressed to see anything but; and b) I thought these guys were the Personal Responsibility crowd. I guess that only goes for the responsibility to make sure the gummint keeps queers from marryin’. 
I mean, all else aside, who exactly do you think you’re kiddin’,dude? 
Aragon: What’s here? the portrait of a blinking idiot. 
Good Lord, is Ross even aware that several of his sentences have broken loose and are beating the shit out of his helpless premise? “Bush was right about Social Security”? Tell me, which was he more right about: that letting people stake their entire Social Security claim in the stock market, circa 2006, was a foolproof small-government ticket to a worry-free retirement, or that we couldn’t possibly wait to solve a theoretical problem which was yet thirty-forty years away, because waiting would force the government to inject massive amounts of cash into the system on short notice, which we all know would violate the sound fiscal principles Republicans stand for?
 On Ann Coulter modeling mink:
Yeah, there’s nothing like evoking a more glamorous, genteel era by being as patently offensive as you possibly can. 
And really, what else screams “I’m feminine, dammit!” like a couple pounds of makeup and the pelts of a few wily minks you outsmarted? 
Attach a few live ones to her. That’s a calendar I’ll buy.
On Jonah Goldberg:
See, this is why, when I’m in the mood for scrambled history I turn to David Brooks: the calories are just as empty, but there’s less lard and he rarely tries to garnish it with hacked-up bits of FDR.For chrissakes, “Wilson was the first progressive president?” What, TR and Taft don’t count because they were Republicans? Does he imagine his audience didn’t finish junior high? Okay, so that’s justified. But, sheesh, “pathetic” is something for him to aspire to. 
Honestly, the Times owes that Gelernter hack an apology.
On Ben Shapiro:
Y’know, now I stop to think about it, it’s been a joy to watch Benji grow from ersatz teen brainiac to college witling right through to premature senility and rumored joblessness. And to realize, in the bargain, that he had six or seven years there to simply come to his senses and figure out how to behave like a normal person, and chose, instead, to be the only person in America, probably apart from his parents, who believed the Ben Shapiro Myth. Or cared. 
Look at that drivel. It’s the product of about as fine an education one’s parents can buy in this country. “Knowing who Jimmie Johnson is” is the best he can do?
I’m from the motorsports capital of the universe. I like motorsports. I even watch NASCAR on occasion, not that it really qualifies; if you start talkin’ that Authentic NASCAR shit around here it won’t be long before somebody offers to help you pull your head out of your ass. 
And Benji’s from California, birthplace of drag racing, and a state with its own stock car and open wheel traditions. You’d think if he was so all-fuckin’ real folks an’ all he might reference his own traditions instead of that Counterfeit Confederacy crap. 
I’m mad about the Em Ess Em inquisition of “Joe” “the” “Plumber” (I don’t even trust Republican articles or conjunctions anymore) m’self: they pillory the man just because he was so convinced of the correctness of his own view, which, needless to add, was the wrong one, that he felt required to make shit up to prove its superiority. That clearly amounts to punishing him just for being a Republican (see Palin, S.; Goldberg, J.).
Sheesh, does this stuff go through some central lab where they test for accuracy and excise anything that qualifies? How difficult is it, really, to understand the concept of treason? It’s the only crime defined in the Constitution, fer chrissakes. There’s a famous precedent that no one could be tried for treason after the Civil War because the United States never recognized the CSA. The Rosenbergs were executed for espionage. 
And, in Ethel’s case at least, wrongly, on ginned-up evidence which still could not rise above “paltry”, and while withholding evidence that would have exonerated her (as well as exposing our spying on our ally in WWII, and without Presidential approval). 
Of course it’s long been recognized by anyone paying attention that these most American of Americans turn out to have little knowledge of, and zero respect for, her actual laws, or, for that matter, her actual citizens. But their salient feature–aside from their numbers and political clout having thus far prevented them from becoming a subcategory in the clinical diagnosis of psychopathy–is their willingness, even preference, for lying even when the facts might make their case.
If Jesus hadn't wanted you to be scorned he'd'a given you better arguments.
Malkinses is the rock-thrower from the tenth row of the mob, the eighth person to attack the prostrate victim, so she kicks a little harder to make up for being a physical coward. 
That’s merely commonplace. What’s remarkable is that she, like Goldberg, rapidly approaches forty years of age with no sign of having ever progressed beyond her high-school Reaganism, of having ever learned to construct an argument or evaluate one; in fact, it’s what both have been rewarded for all their adult lives. And it shows. If the Malkinses’ vileness or Goldberg’s stupidity ever required rebuttal that day is past. Today it is sufficient to simply point at them. And warn the children.
On trolls:
I knew there was something I missed about junior high school. And this isn’t it.
On Kyle-Anne Shiver:
This very positive force [fear] that innately urges all human beings to guard themselves from disasters, big and small, is one of the strongest protections we all have 
So, yours wasn’t working throughout the Bush administration, or did you just switch it off? 
There are probably not too many Americans over the age of 50, who do not remember the black power moment at the Olympics of 1968 and the fear those raised fists could evoke in the shadow of American cities inflamed by riots and uncontrolled violence. 
Yes, because who among us is not a cosseted white suburbanite who’s been nursing racial fears for five decades? 
(I have to give Kyle-Anne some props for using “inflame” to mean “set fire to”, but then I’m a big fan of Late Middle English, and anything that speeds its return I deme quemeful.) 
(Of course the violence which actually inflamed inner cities in 1968, as we use the term nowadays, was the violence that separated Martin Luther King from his previous ability to use oxygen.)I also remember that those fists were attached to names–Tommie Smith and John Carlos–and that non-scary white Australian silver medalist Peter Norman (whose name I had to look up) wore a patch signifying his support. And I remember the real reaction–beyond people like Kyle-Anne, whose boot-shaking had, no doubt, been a more or less permanent condition since the mid-50s–was, in fact, what we seem to do best: an easy suburban outrage unburdened by fact or understanding. And I remember that Avery Brundage, the IOC president and one of the slimiest bastards ever to not rule an Axis power in WWII, threatened to throw the entire US Olympic team out if the two weren’t expelled. 
And, of course, it turned out that America need not have worried; Ronald Reagan would soon make People’s Park safe again, and in four years George Foreman would begin the conversion of the Olympics to a quadrennial flagasm. 
And Tommie Smith and John Carlos, like Jim Hines (100m) and Lee Evans (400) would spend a good portion of their lives giving back to their communities.
And Andy McCarthy–a former Assistant US Attorney–wants to get to the bottom of a story which does not just include, but hinges on the idea that one’s parent, even if a natural-born citizen, must also be at least 21 years old if the other parent is a foreign national? 
I’ve said it before: if you really expect me to jump on the Obama bandwagon the first thing you have to do is convince me this country is worth saving.
On Orson Scott Card:
Oh well, thought I. I’ve already seen Prince Caspian and there’s nothing else remotely interesting in the theaters. 
Th’ fuck? The man’s sixty years old. Does he not have air conditioning or something? 
I mean, I can’t remember saying that any time after my 21st birthday, and that was before videocassettes and cable television.
Jesus, you should pardon the expression, Rod Dreher’s religiosity is somehow more transparently pathetic than Doug Giles’ carnival hucksterism. Though it is nice to see that whack-job Protestant fascism and Mainstream Methodism Roman Catholicism“Orthodoxy”, or whatever Rod’s cult du jour is at present, can find common ground in their deep, dark longings.
I like to spend at least half of any Andy Garcia movie trying to figure out what movie he thought he was making.
Those that trumpet immigration, diversity and change are the last ones to judge such matters, however, because they tend to be cultural relativists whose moral foundation is even vaguer than the slogans they disgorge. 
Before I came to this I was afraid Selwyn had lost his Thesaurus. Or just worn it out. 
It is sobering to consider how great the odds that Young Selwyn Duke, at some point or other, received passing grades in both American History and English Composition.
feeling the vice grip of a gasping economy. 
And like the man said, extremism in defense of economy is no vise.
But isn’t homosexuality like race? No. Race has nothing to do with behavior
Y'know, Doc, I realize that we eradicated racism in this country too long ago for you to remember it (and many thanks, again, to all you white Southern evangelicals who made it possible), but the fact is that institutionalized racism was never about skin color, either, to hear the racists tell it, but the collection of behaviors--shiftlessness, promiscuity, lack of mental agility, inability to tell one's place, the tendency to ogle white women--which skin color just happened to predict with near 100% accuracy.
1) No one has ever topped the two James Whale Frankensteins.  
2) Nothing to do with Halloween, but the most chilling moment in the whole genre is in the ice goddess segment of Kobayashi's Kwaidan, when the woodsman decides to tell his wife the story he swore never to tell, and her sewing stitch freezes in mid-air. 
3) Who ever sat through the first Halloween let alone the tenth? Talk about playing tennis with the net down. For a long time my life's goal was to yank the key out of that Casiotone and make John Carpenter swallow it sideways.
1) If that's John Carradine at sixty I'm in much better shape than I realized. 
2) What I remember about Billy the Kid vs. Dracula was that it was one of the few bad movies I couldn't sit through, no matter what I had on board, and that it co-starred caffein pitchlady and marriage counsellor Mrs. Olson, before she lost her American accent.

most days he is able to conquer the puzzles in The New York Times in ink. 
Big deal. I'm pretty sure I could beat the snot out of Will Shortz with my bare hands. 
As for the rest of this warmed-over claptrap--I'm pretty sure that bit about "more Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act" was stuck into the mythos at some point the way Rand McNally invents bogus cities to catch anyone plagiarizing its maps--I guess "growing up in Waco in the 50s and 60s" exempts one from knowing anything about the 1948 election, or Truman desegregating the armed forces, but what's the excuse for missing the fact that the minuscule Republican party in the South until 1964 consisted mostly of blacks who could vote? The fight over seating its delegates happened right there on th' teevee an' ever'thing.

there is no legal reason why a nation at war must try to apprehend an enemy instead of shooting at him first. 
Sure there is, as everyone knows, including Yoo; shooting an incapacitated enemy combatant, or an unarmed and unresisting one, or one who has already surrendered, is murder. The man's as blithely unconcerned with black letter law as he is with human life. (The former may sound trivial compared to the latter, but consider that he earns his living at the law, whereas his status as human is subject to considerable doubt.) I wonder if he speeds up to run over jaywalkers. Just kiddin'. I'm convinced he does.
The killing of Yamamoto--which Yoo turns into one of those Bill Bennett Moral Tales for Children as Told By the Personally Depraved--is, in fact, proof that the matter used to be taken seriously; the intention was considered so borderline, so questionable, that the operation was undertaken only after it was submitted to the President for approval. And that's the killing of the commander of the Japanese naval forces during what was essentially a naval war (and, as you point out, a declared one at that), not the designated Second in Command of the Week whose threat to the United States consisted of mouthing off. 
And as long as we're on the subject we'll just note that the operation--a remarkable, split-second action in the face of severe risks--was carried out by uniformed members of the United States military at the direction of one of our greatest Presidents. Compare the near-random act of some CIA spook playing a video game and defended by a psychopath publicly masturbating to torture porn.
Casting his vote in the 2011 Miss Wingnut Pageant:
First, like most of the above I miss the imaginary Golden Age of America, though unlike them it's not a fictional amalgam of Parson Weems, Ozzie and Harriet, and 19th century labor practices I pine for, but the very real, if artificially rosy, days of my own youth. Back then you couldn't have come up with this many identifiable wingnuts in toto, let alone after winnowing the likes of Jonah Goldberg, Kathryn Jean Lopez, John Derbyshire, and Victor Davis Drusus Saigonius Hanson. Hell, in those days we had to scramble come up with more than three categories (Lyin' Red Baiter: Barry Goldwater vs. Dick Nixon; Angry Nun: Carl McIntire vs. Billy James Hargis; and Miss Anti-Fluoridation, which was the exclusive province of William Fuhbuckley after he threw all the other contestants out). Same thing every year, and, frankly, better times.
I guess I just wasn't meant for a time when wingnuts like Lileks and Genn would come up through a sort of farm system, like Texas' Miss America Corporation, and employ high-priced hair stylists and fashion consultants. It's like watching a bike race where everybody's coked to the gills on human growth hormone, except in this case it doesn't make anyone faster, or stronger, or, god knows, better looking, just tone deaf enough to continue.
So, Cal Thomas, the last surviving artifact of an optimistic time when we could say, "If we can just hold out until Cal Thomas dies of ugliness and impacted mucus this shit'll be over."
Fascism: it’s not as much fun as it sounds.
R.I.P., Doghouse.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Happy Birthday Heydave! I Got You Jesus, The First Avenger!

Today is the natal anniversary of our good friend Heydave, who in the past I have affectionately, if unfairly depicted as a bit of a hick: wheat-straw betwixt his tobacco-stained teeth and thumbs hooked in the shoulder straps of his bib overalls as he surveys the vast, corn-smothered, scarecrow-haunted plains of Iowa.  In reality, Dave was born in Chicago, in the shadow of its mighty steel mills, and grew up astride the railroad tracks that were the lifeblood of that brawny, breezy town. Which makes selecting an appropriate cheesecake photo difficult, since most of our birthday boys and girls like, well, boys and/or girls, but Dave has an oft-expressed fondness for choo-choos, so I guess I'll go with Raymond Loewy's S-1 locomotive for the Pennsylvania Railroad:

But what about the gift?  I have a hard time knowing what to give a boy for his special day, but I guess toys are usually a safe choice, especially toys that tie-in to a major movie franchise -- at least if the robust sales of Happy Meals are any indication. Still, the options, while extensive, are fraught with disadvantages, and when shopping for Heydave's birthday I considered and rejected a multitude of superhero-related amusements: Iron Man action figures (too many accessories sold separately), X-Men video games (wasn't sure which console platform he preferred) and Spider-Man™brand insect foggers (I don't like to enable Peter Parker's self-hating of own his homo-hexapodism).  Fortunately, Dr. Ted Baehr has stepped in to offer us some expert advice.

Dr. Baehr is "Founder and Publisher of MOVIEGUIDE®: The Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment," which is kind of the upscale version of the ChildCare Action Project or CAPAlert (see here and here for previous appearances on Wo'C). We've dropped in on Movieguide® in the past, but for those who may not be familiar with Dr. Baehr himself, "His life’s purpose is to be used of God to redeem the values of the media while educating audiences on how to use discernment in selecting their entertainment." Also, his motto is “He who controls the media controls the culture” -- and while certain liberal wags may claim the doctor's credo sounds like something Joseph Goebbels might have said, I say Pshaw! Goebbels only wishes he'd thought of that!

So with his bona fides established, I'm taking Movieguide®'s guidance and getting Dave an X-(Son of) Man action figure!

In the 1970s, the people of the United States went into a grand funk of stupendous proportions.
In Dave's case, it was a Grand Funk Railroad.
Hollywood and the news media kept telling us that the government was thoroughly corrupt, that society’s religious and cultural traditions were simple-minded and destructive, and that we were on the wrong side of the war against the evil communist tyrannies of North Vietnam, China, and the Soviet Union.
To be fair, around this same time Hollywood was also telling us that the Bugaloos were "in the air and everywhere," and if George W. Bush had been in office they would have rightly been declared an imminent threat, and we would have shocked and awed the shit out of Tranquility Forest.
Then, in 1976 and 1977, something extraordinary happened. 
Two men, Sylvester Stallone and George Lucas, released two movies about underdog heroes who battle incredible odds, ROCKY and a “little” $11 million movie called STAR WARS. 
Hollywood hasn’t been the same since. 
ROCKY and STAR WARS showed the Hollywood establishment that people love heartwarming, heroic stories about courage and righteousness overcoming fear and evil.
I would go even farther. In 1975, Jaws opened, showing the Hollywood establishment that people love to see drunken men comparing skin blemishes, and heartwarming, heroic stories about sharks getting their heads blown off by tanks of compressed air.

But let's examine Dr. Baehr's thesis that box office receipts correlate to a society's spiritual health. The top five grossing movies in 1976 were, in order:

1. Rocky (courage and righteousness! Also loan-sharking and premarital sex!)

2. To Fly! (documentary about the history of manned flight, clearly a sign that people love to slip the surly bonds of earth and touch the face of God, although would it kill the stewardess to hurry up with that drinks cart?)

3. A Star is Born (showing that people love to see Kris Kristofferson get high and ambiguously commit suicide)

4. All the President's Men (Hollywood's message that "the government was thoroughly corrupt," while phony, was clearly a crowd-pleaser)

5.  The Omen (People love heartwarming, heroic stories about the Anti-Christ)

1977's top five box office winners:

1. Star Wars (Courage! Righteousness! Not quite as incesty as it later got!)

2.  Smokey and the Bandit (showing that people love to see shitty beer smuggled across state lines for immoral purposes)

3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (This one might be a little dicy for Dr. Baehr, because it suggests that people -- who really aren't all that different from us -- live on other planets, so if any Christian denomination is actually correct, it's probably the Mormons. Interestingly, while our Bible doesn't mention aliens, their Bible does mention us; unfortunately -- it's a cookbook!

4.  The Goodbye Girl (Single mother serially cohabitates with strange men without benefit of clergy)

5.  Saturday Night Fever (People love falsetto, synthetic fibers, abortion, and disco)
In recent years, the popular culture’s focus on heroes has led to a huge interest in bringing the renowned superheroes of the comic book world to the big screen. [...] This notion of sacrifice has become a frequent theme in many recent superhero stories, from SPIDER-MAN 2 to CAPTAIN AMERICA and THE GREEN LANTERN. In fact, one might say that sacrifice is in the very DNA of nearly all stories about superheroes and heroes.
Well, I sacrificed two hours of my life to Green Lantern, and it neither improved my harvest nor slew a tenth of my enemy's kine, so I was thinking about switching gods anyway.
As such, the theme of sacrifice is part of a narrative structure that reflects the “greatest story ever told” – the story of Jesus Christ’s birth, teaching, suffering, sacrifice, death, and resurrection. The whole structure may be outlined as follows: 
Promise, Birth, Suffering, Sacrifice, and Resurrection/Redemption.
Merchandising tie-in.
In this way, therefore, Jesus Christ is the “Greatest Superhero of Them All,” ... So, while you’re enjoying THE AVENGERS this weekend with your family or friends (or anytime in the future, for that matter) please remember your “great God and Savior, Jesus Christ

And that Dazzler died for your sins*

*Your sin being Disco, which you gave a papal dispensation to by seeing Saturday Night Fever instead of Star Wars for the seventh time. Now say three Hail Mary Marvels, and sin no more.

And please join me in wishing Heydave a very happy birthday!

UPDATE: I didn't want to overload this post with images, but since we're getting some bad Yelp reviews from South Africa, I guess I'd better stick with tradition and add a...
Sexy Birthday Lizard (Railroadus Hoboensus)!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Happy Birthday, Preznit!

I'm sorry this is a bit late in the day, but my keyboard died over the weekend, and I only just now got a replacement -- a cheap, plastic model with a weird clackety action that feels a bit like I'm trapped in Fort Zinderneuf as hostile Berbers close in, desperately tapping out messages on a PlaySkool My First Telegraph Key. Be that as it may, it's an auspicious occasion, the birthdate of one of our nation's most believed chief executives, and since Congress has not seen fit to make this a Federal Holiday (thanks, no doubt, to systematic gridlock and the kind of political posturing and obstructionism of which both parties are equally guilty!), it falls once again to us, his friends at World O' Crap, to thank him for his service -- either here, with words, or in the gift shop of his Presidential Library, where you can declare your support by purchasing a lovely foam rubber keychain float for your bass boat, tastefully embossed with the Presidential Seal on one side, and the Articles of Impeachment on the other.

The man of whom I speak is, of course, preznit giv me turkee, perhaps America's finest Post-War preznit. In addition to his bold and decisive actions while in office, he's also had a distinguished post-preznidential career, and like Jimmy Carter, has dedicated himself to a life of service. Specifically, he started the revolt against the posting of Ann Coulter pictures on birthdays by disabling images on the blog. Only history can judge whether this gesture, or Carter's Habitat for Humanity, ultimately proved more beneficial for mankind.

Instead, this year we're going with two sexy, sexy people who share preznit's birthday. First up, Selena Gomez:
Who despite her apparent lack of clothes seems to be a nice, polite, well-behaved young lady who is simply trying to remind us to use sunscreen in order to avoid the heartbreak of shoulder freckles and late-life melanomas.

Next, Bobby Sherman:
Who despite his apparent lack of clothes also appears to be a nice young man with that Dry Look the kids are so keen on, and who seems to share Selena's concern for the long term health of our shoulder skin.

Anyway, as those who know him know, Preznit is a wise and witty commenter, a sincerely nice person, and a Crapper of long standing, so please join me in wishing him the very Happiest of Birthdays.

Now everyone join hands as we close with the traditional...
Sexy Birthday Lizard!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Post-Friday Beast Blogging: The Idle Tongue is the Devil's Plaything Edition

RILEY:  Man, I have never

RILEY:  Borrrrrrrrr--



RILEY:  Hm.  I wonder what my nose tastes like...?

RILEY:  Yeah...This was a mistake...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

C.S.I.: Wingnut

To everything there is a season (turn, turn, turn), and a time to every purpose under heaven. For instance, in the early days of the Obama Administration, shrinks of varying authority and repute emerged from the nation's Strategic Analrapist Reserve to remotely diagnose the President with everything from narcissism to homosexuality to closed-head trauma. But as Ecclesiastes tells us, there is "A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together," so you can cast them again, and this time put your damn shoulder into it and try not to throw like a girl, ya big pansy!

In other words, times change, but it's always a good idea to have rocks on hand. Still, it's not enough for a possibly defrocked family therapist like Robin of Berkeley to question Obama's mental health -- and thus his fitness to discharge the office of President -- because now, with impeachment in the air, you don't want to inadvertently corroborate his insanity defense. So farewell to psychiatrist-life coach Dr. Keith Ablow and diploma mill-certified "Policologist" Dr. Gina Loudon, and hello to self-appointed FBI profiler Andrew G. Hodges, M.D.
Before we begin, let's check out Dr. Hodges' bona fides. On the site HealthGrades, which is a kind of Rate My Professor for health care providers, Dr. Hodges scores 1½ out of 5 stars, which suggests that his psychiatric patients are deeply unhappy with him, and may help to explain why he's turned to diagnosing strangers from a distance.

Dr. Hodges is also a prolific author (the article above is basically an extended ad for his book, The Obama Confession: Secret Fear. Secret Fury) and according to his bio on Amazon:
ANDREW G. HODGES, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice. Previously he was assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Alabama School of Medicine. Dr. Hodges has helped pioneer a breakthrough to the brilliant unconscious mind, which he explained in his 1994 groundbreaking book The Deeper Intelligence (which he now calls the "super intelligence").
Previous names for Dr. Hodges' concept of the "super intelligence" include "supra-cranial mega cognition," "power-top dom brain," "penumbral percipience," and "J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs."
A noted forensic profiler
Noted primarily for his devotion to the art of hardcore "punk" profiling, that is, because unlike his colleagues who sold out to The Man and now profile for police departments or the FBI, Dr. Hodges rejects the lucrative but soulless pap of corporate profiling, and will only forensically profile on spec.
...he developed his technique, "ThoughtPrint Decoding,"
In addition to reading the minds of serial killers and U.S. Presidents, "ThoughtPrint Decoding" can also be used to produce lovely saddle-stitched photobooks for your grandma if she's not on Instagram.
by accessing the unconscious super intelligence of suspects during criminal investigations, basing his analysis on verbatim testimony, transcripts of police interviews, letters and emails created by the suspects.
You'll notice that Dr. Hodges' technique doesn't involve the tedium of actual investigation, like examining evidence or crime scenes, working with police, or interviewing suspects. Just Google up some news stories and solve a crime! It's what Nero Wolfe would have done if he'd had a better Internet connection.
He discovered a deeper moral compass which prompts people to always tell the truth--between the lines--in the special symbolic language of the subconscious.
It's like Wonder Woman's lasso of truth, except without the kinky bondage undertones.
 His work added a whole new dimension to the forensic science of psycholinguistics.
(Specifically, the Fifth Dimension, but the version after they replaced Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.)
 Law enforcement authorities nationwide, including the FBI, have requested his expertise in cases ranging from the high-profile disappearance of Natalee Holloway in 2005 to the murder of JonBenĂ©t Ramsey in 1996.
So his claim to fame as a profiler are two unsolved murders. Shawn on Psych has a much better record than that and he admits he's a fake.
In addition to assisting criminal investigators, Dr. Hodges also applies his super-intelligence technique in the analysis of leaders who confess unconsciously when they are violating their deeper moral compass.
What with the lame power set and the feeble villains,  I'm pretty sure the adventures of Dr. Hodges would make for a really shitty comic book.

Okay, enough with the vetting -- let's get to the WorldNetDaily report by Bob Unruh (I don't know much about Mr. Unruh or his work, only that his name sounds like something that might be uttered by an uneasy Scooby-Doo).
A forensic profiler whose career has included work on the double-murder case against O.J. Simpson and the Natalie Holloway disappearance says Barack Obama is confessing he’s under enormous pressure and is “slipping mentally.”
Oh, he "worked" on the O.J. Simpson case, too! So let's amend his career stats: that's two unsolved murders, and one double homicide where everyone knew who the killer was except the jury.
Hodges, an expert who previously suggested Obama was revealing alarming ideas about martial law and described how the president wants “total gun control,” provided to WND an analysis of some of Obama’s recent comments, specifically those from speeches in Minneapolis in late June. 
“On June 27, he said that Republican inaction ‘drives you nuts … and it drives me nuts.’ He reveals his enormous internal pressure – far greater than his conscious mind knows.
Later, after a long day, Obama tripped himself up again when he rubbed his eyes and said, "Man, I'm dead," prompting Secret Service agents to immediately tackle him and apply defibrillator paddles.
“Appreciate his casual psycholinguistic reference to ‘madness’ in a deeper scarier way. Obama is warning us that he’s slipping mentally,” Hodges wrote.
Also, take extra precautions if you own horses, because just last week, while sitting down to dinner, the President threatened to eat one.
As he explains, “As a forensic profiler, I serve as a translator who decodes unique linguistic expressions that derive from a person’s deep unconscious, his super intelligence.”
Reminds me a bit of this fellow:
He said at the recent Minnesota speeches, Obama was under pressure from various groups over the “the IRS lying about ‘lost’ emails about persecuting conservative non-profits, the NSA spying on everyday Americans, Benghazi cover-ups, setting free five brutal terrorists from Club Gitmo to gain back a deserter” and “fostering the onslaught of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children on the southern border.”
Most people foster children, but Obama just fosters onslaughts. Probably a fear of commitment. Anyhow, now that I know the collective noun for groups of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children on the southern border, I'm gonna win sooo many bar bets...!
“Obama declared, ‘I’m not sure which of the things I’ve done they [Republicans] find most offensive,’” Hodges said. “Denial represents a classic way of telling the truth. A person rationalizes his behavior consciously – yet unconsciously he admits his actual actions. When we read through his denial confession, we can see that he really means ‘Deep down I’m sure of the many offensive things I’ve done to Americans.’ Note his word, ‘offensive.’ Secretly Obama confesses, ‘I’ve been on offense – to the extreme.’ It fits with reality – his behavior has been shocking, far beyond mere political fuss.”
Dr. Hodges: Verbally, I'm telling you that I'm a noted forensic profiler and an expert in psycholinguistics who's in touch with his deeper moral compass, but actually my super intelligence just really wants to grab your boobs!
On Hodges’ website, Steven A. Egger, associate professor of criminology at the University of Houston, Clear Lake, has written that Hodges’ technique is “becoming the cutting edge of forensic science.”
Say, that's awfully nice of Dr. Hodges to allow his own blog to be used by this Mr. Egger fellow to advance his "arguments" (which we now call "tongue baths"). His example is making me feel ashamed of my selfish unwillingness to be praised, so if any of you feel like writing something such as "World O' Crap is fast becoming the state-of-the-art in psychiatrist-related ribaldry, and your One Stop Shopping Location for invective, obloquy, epithets and unguents," I will graciously give you space on the front page.
Hodges also found that Obama was projecting. 
Well, I'm close to projecting vomit, so I've got to respect the Doctor's insights.
“First he denies what he’s doing – and then he attributes failure to others, not himself. His description of ‘others’ unconsciously fits his own behavior. Here is the proverbial log in his own eye, sins that he so glibly sees in those who oppose him,” he said. 
“First, we observe two repeated messages on June 27, ‘They don’t do anything…..They’re not doing anything.’ In reality he’s describing himself. Numerous Americans, on both sides of the aisle, have been alarmed by his habitual lack of assertiveness, his passivity, his leading from behind after events are well down the road, by his incessant golfing, fundraising and vacationing instead of doing his job. Understand passivity is his secret plan,” he wrote.
Now that's the kind of cryptanalysis Alan Turing could have pulled off, if only he'd had access to the modern miracle of ThoughtPrint Decoding. Alas, use of Dr. Hodges' techniques reveals that Turing was too much of a skirt-chasing horndog to ever really apply himself to anything so cutting edge.
Hodges continued, “In the June 27 speech Obama whined about opponents, ‘They don’t do anything except…call me names.’ In fact, he calls his critics names.
Unlike Turing's device, which required a room full of electromechanical rotor machines in order to decode secret messages, Dr. Hodges' technology requires only rubber and glue.
First he called them antagonistic do-nothings, then he called them phony scandal-mongers. Obama accuses his opponents of making up scandals. In so doing he confesses he’s a charlatan creating a bogus scandal to divert Americans from the truth. Let reality be the judge – new administration scandals confront us almost daily.”
And where are these daily scandals coming from? Obviously not from Republicans, who have never projected anything at the President and spend most of their time in quiet self-reflection, therefore Obama must be ginning them up himself. Man, that guy's head is a nest of snakes.
“To reveal his trademark passive-aggression in another projection he finally acknowledges anger, ‘They’re [Republicans] not doing anything – and they’re mad.’ Then he adds a powerful image to his confession further describing his fury. Remember, things said in jest are ideal for true super-intel confessions. Obama said, ‘With Secret Service, I always tease them, I’m like a caged bear and sometimes I break loose. And I’m feeling super loose today, so you don’t know what I might do.’” 
Hodges continued, “His terrorizing aggression surfaces more and more. He cannot contain himself nor his attacks. He is increasingly out of control – ‘super loose’ indeed.”
Hm! Okay, then...Obama claims he is a "super loose bear" if I'm applying Dr. Hodges' method properly, the President has just confessed to being a hairy, slutty gay man. Tom Colicchio fans take note.
“Read the tea leaves. The messages from Barack Obama’s super intelligence are utterly terrifying to those of us who understand what he’s saying between the lines.”
I think we'll leave the good doctor here, because reading between the lines of the tea leaves has given me a super headache.