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Saturday, Jul 23rd

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Welcome to “The Other Side”

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A note to Mike Malloy at MikeMalloy.com:

I noticed during the 2015/2016 television season that characters could say … shit, along with the shit-esque variations: Bull and horse. Oh … and asshole. You can say those on TV now. But I'll be dead and stuffed into an urn on the mantle long before anyone can say fuck on AM radio.

I've sent you about 180 “moments” over the last ten years and not once have I been able to write precisely what I meant to say. But you know exactly what I'm talking about. You've spent your entire career skating along the edge of what the Federal Communications Commission will allow on the air.

Fuckers.

And so we must use … euphemisms … in order to avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in “indecency” fines.

From my dictionary:

Euphemism: Noun. The substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.

It is indescribably frustrating, when facing the wreckage the Republican party has wrought since Reagan affably strolled into office, to substitute mild, indirect, or vague expressions for … the truth. I hate euphemisms. The only reason I've used them in the past was to keep elderly relatives from ramping up their blood pressure in faux outrage and then stroking out. And, of course, to avoid the fines.

Our conversations became infantilized. Years and years ago, my then wife upbraided me for “my language” I used around our daughter. So I … watched my language. Months of studiously avoiding “bad” words finally became a habit. I “talked good.”

I was in a meeting with an idiot who was rationalizing the gutting of my budget. “You did so well last time,” he said, “Let's see what you can do with half the budget.”

I stood up enraged and called him … a poop-head.

We looked at each other in stunned silence. Then he started to laugh. I had to leave the office because there was no way to recover after calling someone … a poop-head.

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Doubt Remover

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The story of our combative, snake-oiled times:  There are antidotes, and there are antidotes.

Well, we also have vaccines to help us skirt -- or brace for -- the worst of what the world can chuck at us.  There are all sorts of ways to avoid focus on one thing and pull attention onto another, as flashy magicians, petty pick-pockets, and pokerfaced charlatans all know.

But there are always ingenious methods to pull us back from permanently swallowing The Really Big Lies, too:  truth serum, hypnotic therapy, anti-psychotic medications, cult deprogramming methodologies, and so on.  Sometimes, even logic comes bubbling up to the surface in the drowning and airless front lines of public thought and reason, but not often.

Usually, we ask fire to fight fire, and ramp up to meet the lathering blather of the moment.  But, really, we are free to choose our own weapons in any exchange of ideas, or in any attempt to highlight the utter nonsense of arguments presented to us as reasoned and reasonable notions.

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  • Yes:  The arrow chosen from the quiver depends on the nature of the foe, as well as the nature of the archer.  The nature of tool selection also depends upon the archer being somewhat conscious:   Back-fires seldom start themselves in helpful spots, no more than games of pin-the-tail-on-the-non-denominational-animal help locate murderers.
  • Circumstances hardly ever favor long-term extremes of any kind.  (That all things in moderation quote you may have been fed along the path of life is not only a preface to healthy living precepts by our founders -- it's a principle of the universe, and is supported by that noticeable bulge in the bell curve of nearly any measure.)

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Troll Models

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It may be the early Egyptians built the pyramids not with blocks, tackles, or roller logs, or even long-speculated minerals with anti-gravity properties.  They could have been hupped together by really, really strong coffee.

Although I admit the anti-gravity thing would be a nice touch, and would also help keep this season's ant parade from finding my triple-espresso mocha-supremo extra-grande within six seconds of touchdown of my free, attached, limited-edition, celebrity-signature model hand-truck-beverage-holder, up to the computer station, where it gets strapped in like tanks of liquid oxygen near the thruster ports.

Sometimes, you ride the caffeine rocket, and other times, it rides you. And, if you are interested in almost everything in Life, then it's sheer suicide to light the fuse without an onboard gyroscope and working directional fins.  (I speak from experience here.)

Anyhow, this is also how I started my morning's idle musing, pondering the concept of the role models being provided in our times, and then I wound up reading about a study of resilience in humans, then another about a test to indicate fragility and frailness...

... then, thinking back to that other article again, as I have been off and on, about the previous decades being about the celebrity of Production versus the celebrity of Consumption which we have now...

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Another Fine Week

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It's been a heckuva week or so for Science lately:  Watching as black holes merged, observing gravitational ripples and waves, proving correct more of Einstein's theories...

That was just for openers.  We also learned that electrons in the metal graphene can behave like a liquid -- a real first -- and that the explanation for the Yellowstone supervolcano may need to be revised.

Plus, it also looks like Earth might have been formed by the collision of two early bodies -- and, for good measure,  hundreds more galaxies have been discovered playing peekaboo behind our own Milky Way.

There have been major scientific downsides recently as well:

  • An Indian man is believed to be the first person killed by a meteorite;
  • The European Space Agency says after 60 hours of operation after a jarring landing,  it's now bidding farewell to its Philae comet lander after no response; and
  • An Alaska woman says her 6-year-old Happy Meal refuses to decompose.
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Snuffed 'n' Stuffed

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After a scan of the majestic shoreline called humanity on some days, it's no wonder some of us swing around and paddle back out to sea, sometimes at great speed, perhaps harboring hunches we were simply all at sea to begin with, or, maybe, that we hadn't put in enough time yet, practicing the Dead Man's Float.

On our deregulated, tea-bagged, and GOP-sandbagged beaches,  there are seldom enough lifeguards handy, especially when you really need one -- like when your muscles tense up, you feel the undertow pulling you down, and panic sets in, just from a fleeting second's accidental  consideration of "Trump" and "launch codes" in the same thought.

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(A Dead Man's Float, by the way, might be two scoops of jalapeno ice cream in a blend of chili pepper vodka, hot sauce, Pepto Bismol [the original neon pink stuff], Tabasco sauce, and garnished with a Carolina Reaper -- the world's hottest pepper, so says Guinness.

They are expensive, these things, at $45,000 per throw, but it helps to remember that the cost of a funeral is included in the successful completion of legal paperwork required by anybody ordering one.)

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Of Beasts & Burdens

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"It's not every day that you see a nation's leader not only fall on his sword, but, then, take the time to pick up a pike, mount it securely to the wall, back up, and then charge into the tip of that sharpened spear as well, and at full speed" said a well-known and respected host during an equally recognizable organization's news discussion program.

And this was only the beginning of the program.  Even more ladles of steaming, chunky, even luxurious, honesty were being promised, in the run-down of guests and topics for discussion.  The tape was never aired, of course, for a host of obvious reasons, and some oblique ones, too.

However, I got hold of this program after it was copied and sent around to me, and some others, by virtue of long-time friendships among the technical staff of a certain news group.  You'd know the organization in an instant if you looked at the tape and saw the set, but I no longer have the tape, not that anyone believes me.

I burned it, because of what else I saw, and what I knew it meant.

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Apps, Ops, Oopses

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Today, we'll take a rest break from the Sham- (I mean) CAMpaign Trail of Shame, Pain, and Champagne, where psychotic breaks from traditional Reality are the unexceptional rule.

It's difficult to believe, all right -- here we are, standing around, and we're NOT talking about the latest app to put everything Candidate Braindrool says on your Facebook's speed-dial-Insta-Twitter-Text-Mail-Fax-Forwarding option!

So, it's Trump and Bernie in New Hampshire.  Sure thing.  How's the family?  Looks like snow...

Meanwhile:  Take a look around, remember this moment, take a pic with your phone, and grab a bite of delicious, hot, fresh-baked French Toast Sticks from one of the other gadgets on your MetroDataDream 300 (TM) utility belt -- the one with your choice of bacon or sausage, ejected like a coin changer from the device, which also doubles as a blueprint scanner, alarm clock, Belgian-waffle-maker, and is a portable, multi-track, music-video recording studio and personal life raft and Armageddon bunker.

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Speaking of utility belts, does anyone know why everyone is trying, I guess, to be Batman, Batwoman, BatPerson, and/or just plain Bats?

For years now, everywhere I go, people are all dressed in black, sporting black sunglasses, driving all-black cars, with all blacked-out windows, beneath black-and-blue skies.

  • Is this an attempt at way-coolness, or just a prickly path of intimidation and push-back, a way of blocking out views into your vehicle, of carving out a piece of privacy for yourself in this increasingly public and un-private world?
  • Is this a cult thing, or is it all about maintaining a New Mexico standard for non-melting dashboards, even in the shimmering, blistering heat of a North Dakota winter?

Perhaps blackened-out windows are just one way to ensure and guarantee car wrecks, and, thereby, guaranteeing free, periodic replacement vehicles after pileups, with the new ones partially subsidized by those of us who are able to actually see through all our vehicle windows, especially at night, or during driving-unfriendly, driving rainstorms?

No matter.  Onward.  Back to Un-Politics.

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So, to repeat somewhat:  Here we are, refusing to examine the operational flow of Perfectly Chowder-headed Notions and Totally Horrid Ideas in the Mass Republican Lemming March and Evident Psychosis Parade of Quixotic Candidates for the Worst Job in the World -- the one with one of the Better Perk-Allure Quotients.

It's a good question, possibly:  Why would we abandon so many opportunities for up-to-date fulfillment and enlightenment, via the news, and. therefore, avoid lightening our terrifying loads of obsession to microscopically-focused network blabbery, simply to absorb important, broad-scale logic and facts regarding our next national -- and world -- leader?

Well, heck.  Here, in the World Nobody Invented Yet We All Somehow Have Anyway, apps always give way to ops -- photo ops, ops plans, black ops.  Probably, somewhere, there are even Ops ops, which might be, well -- I dunno -- ops plans for Medical Operations, perhaps, to be performed by the Republican charitable group [sorry for the oxymoron there] called Doctors Without Consciences or Hippocratic Oaths, now on station in war-torn [enter name of One Percenter estate or Armed Takeover Group Site here].

Well, we must calm ourselves in this tricky interim period, now that we're down to a desperate, vapor-thin nine month timeframe margin now -- which is, holy cats, only a month and a quarter in dog months, and, like, 28 or 32 hours in fruit fly time!  Even less in Sparkly Thing Land!

I know, I know -- it's a pivotal, and yet, traumatic time, with Ben "Got Anything I Can Cut Up Around Here, Like Common Sense?" Carson sliding away, and Rand "Was I Really Here?" Paul down the tubes, Mike "I Feel I Can, I Feel I Can" Huckabee off in the spin-out ditch, and all the other wannabes piled up in assorted heaps of Perrys, Walkers, Jindals, Grahams, Patakis, and Santorums, all struggling to break loose with vast Containment Buildings and Cooling Towers of Nuclear Crazy in their ready reserves...

Tragic, they probably all feel, not being able to stay in the race longer, scoop up more money, name recognition, and more Secret Service Stardust, with their Little Champ 5000 Campaign Loot-Scoopers.

[place commercial here]

...that's right!  The first Campaign Treasure-Scrubber for Deep Dark Anonymous Money!

[There's a model for Foreign or Domestic, owing to the up-sizing of foreign currency bills the size of beach towels, in relation to our standard-size BingoBux].

The Treasure-Scrubber lifts, sifts, separates, stacks, and bales hundred-dollar bills, or other large-format, bathmat-sized currency, while creating convincing, IRS- and FEC-approved donation receipts, randomly using names from any phonebook in our nation or any other!

Plus, if I'm not mistaken, and you act in the next 10 minutes, you can get a free Adjustable Intern Selector, and, on top of that, a free Slush Fund Exchanger, to help provide maximum campaigning flexibility for business and pleasure, the time-honored GOP way!

And now, back to Crystal Reeder with more Trauma 2016 election coverage!

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OK, commercial's over.  We can get on with business again, now that the money-go-round cash maw has been stuffed and sated, for a couple of minutes, anyway...

... and so, fellow Americans, we will work through this difficult time together, and help one another through news and information which has very little to do with politics:  Cute! Little! Animals!

Yes, there are other animals in the Earthly Bestiary than Politicus Absurdus, Campaignus Ridiculus, Speechus Maximus, and Runnus Amokus.  Here are a few headlining samples:

  • A sea lion was found asleep in San Diego restaurant;
  • A 600-pound pig became an accidental polling-place crasher in Pelham, New Hampshire;
  • A mouse-catching cat, Felix, living at the Huddersfield train station in England, was promoted to management for good works, and given a reflective vest, name badge, her own cat door in ticket barriers, and many Facebook fans;
  • A goat in India was arrested for trespassing (as was its owner) after jumping a fence and grazing in a judge's garden, and not for the first time -- both are now free on bail;
  • 18 elephants will be flown from Africa to America in a Boeing 747 and sent to 3 zoos;
  • In a Glasgow animal rescue shelter, a dog-sized rabbit, named Atlas, is seeking a home;
  • Lemur sunbathes in meditative poses at British zoo, is named Dalai Lemur.
  • ...and, a 3-clawed lobster was caught in Herring Cove, off Novia Scotia.  They named him Baba.
(Lost opportunity, there -- could've named him Trey, or Tres, Claude.)

Rounding things out, we also have tales in stock, for immediate delivery, of an albino turtle found on an Australian beach... a study which shows wolves howl in dialect... two new discoveries of giant-mouthed, plankton-eating fish... and, a 23-year-old Florida man being arrested for throwing a 3-and-a-half-foot-long alligator into a Wendy's drive-through window.

  • True thing. Please place this item into the True Thing Kevlar-Lined Satchel, along with all the other crazy True Things you've heard which have happened in Florida -- Land Without Effective Medications or Societal Behavior-Braking.  Thank you!

We've also learned this week that some bears in Helsinki are coming out of hibernation early, owing to the mild winter... that robot cats can be creepy, or not... and that a hedgehog was trapped in a potato chip wrapper for a number of hours before being rescued by two members of the Pickles Hedgehog Rescue in Cheddar, England.  The rescued hedgehog has been named Crispian.

While we're in the neighborhood, of both potatoes and England, a radio listener there says he eats 40 bags of potato chips a week to help bolster the sagging market in crisps there... while, perhaps on the same mission, a "Mr. Crisp" potato-ship sandwich shop has opened in Keighley, England, following the lead of a shop in Belfast.

Finally, Andrew Taylor of England says he's lost 28 pounds on the all-potato diet, and vows to stay with it for a full year.  He adds he's sleeping better than ever and his concentration is "off the scale."  Yes, he is seeing a doctor to keep tabs on his health, but there's no word on who may be keeping tabs on the doctor.

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Back to animals again for a moment, and a bit further back, to yesterday's head-scratcher about people spending loads of money for football games and parties:

A California theme park has offered an alternative take on the Super Bowl, employing its 7-year-old, two-toed sloth, Chewy, to mug for the Sloth Bowl on YouTube.

  • True thing. Please place this item into the True Thing Kevlar-Lined Satchel, along with all the other crazy True Things you've heard which have happened in California -- Land Without Effective Medications or Societal Behavior-Braking. Thank you!

And, speaking of Captain Crazypants, passengers -- as we re-enter political airspace, you should remain seated and strait-jacketed, please -- I am still thinking about the amount of money spent on things-Super Bowl...  money which might be spent on other things.

I mean, five million dollars for a 30-second commercial?  Hello?

Or, how about more than 52-hundred bucks for one seat at the game?

Yes, well -- it's the sliding-scale notion of economics:  If you don't own the scale, then every move is a slide for your life.  Like the edible gold showing up on pizzas, cakes, ice cream, and now, probably, on diamond-encrusted, sterling silver crab cakes.

But, if you think that's nuts, how about the guy -- Justin Kerrigan -- who spent $21,000 on four Super Bowl tickets, and figures his trip to the game and back will cost him about $30,000 in all?

Oops -- Small Detail: He hasn't told his wife.

Oops, again -- Big surprise: He was interviewed on TV, at the airport, and told the reporter, in apparent deadpan seriousness, that he would appreciate it if the reporter not tell his wife.

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen -- get ready to party, because.... I think we just found our next Republican Presidential Candidate!

It's Justin... Justin Time!


Resources:

RoboCat:  http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160129-are-these-robot-cats-cute-or-creepy-watch-this-and-decide

Dumbo Air: http://metro.co.uk/2016/02/08/18-wild-elephants-to-be-captured-and-flown-to-a-zoo-in-boeing-747-5668645/

Feeling chipper again: http://metro.co.uk/2012/11/01/hedgehog-crispian-saved-from-crisp-packet-in-dramatic-3-5-hour-six-man-rescue-in-weston-super-mare-somerset-611807/

Tix trix: http://metro.co.uk/2016/02/08/denver-broncos-fan-spends-21000-on-superbowl-tickets-and-doesnt-tell-his-wife-5669151/

Bonus: P. J. O'Rourke is a Republican, but he's still funny in a good way, sometimes. Here is a link to his top-of-mind summary of the 2016 campaign so far, which is sure to offend almost everyone: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35521558

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