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Alex Baer

Wherefore Thy Sting, Sweet November?

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Those firm rubber mallets come closest, so far -- the ones over there, with the wooden handles and the black, hard rubber heads.  The bamboo cutting boards aren't bad, but they're brittle and splinter too easily under heavy loads.

Pounds per square inch of pressure, deflection energies, angles of attack -- all these have to be taken into consideration, and a lot more.

See, like many Americans, and an increasing number of observers eyeing our system from other countries, I'm looking for something -- anything -- to make the political pain in my head stop.  However, I would like to leave something like a smoldering tree stump inside my shirt collar, where my old head used to be -- you know, something that might yet grow back in the transformative Spring, after the numbing kindness of Fall, after the hibernation and healing of Winter.  It has been a simmering, killing cruelty, this inflamed, and inflammatory, Summer political season.

I don't want my head and its troublesome political thoughts to be gone forever, understand.  I'd like the possibility of it budding back out later on, in March sometime, for example, or April, when even the floor of a burnt and scalded forest might be expected to leaf out and live again.

Meanwhile, I expect to quash the pain, and stem the rumblings from my brain stem.  I'd like the higher executive functions to go on vacation, like higher executives everywhere.  Thing is:  Most hard surfaces, I've learned so far, have no shades of gray -- they can either kill you outright, if you launch your head at them, like those steam radiators having elaborate floral metallurgy designed in, or like those mammoth, exposed cross-beams in the attic of old mansions and belfries, or they do nothing at all, like these spindly four-by-fours.

Note:  Don't try this at home.  As a trained professional, I've worked up, over time, through the primaries, to the point where no four-by-four could cause me more than a passing yawn.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 August 2016 15:54 Read more...

Pray for Change - R'amen!

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This space is usually filled, I know, with a torrent of disgust and effluvia based on the disgusting torrent of effluvia erupting daily in the U.S. and in the world at large.

However, today we will focus on something less than our usual 12-million-calorie bounty of an engorged, buffet-table cornucopia with strap-on bib.  We will instead take a light meal, and a little water.  And an electric hot pot, or some Sterno.  (Think Ramen.  More on that in a sec.)

The U.S. has announced it will end our little experiment in finance, sociology, psychology, and basic competence, with federal private prison operations.  The for-hire pens are not big money savers, they're more dangerous than those operated by the public sector, plus, the food stinks to the point of prisoners rebelling.

Cost-cutting, one presumes, is most easily accomplished by the reduction of guards (and their paychecks and benefits, if any), and by weaning prisoners off their high-end, fancy-schmancy, toast-and-hot-water meals.

It appears the ancient adage is true:  Things will change when it gets bad enough. And so it now has, on the outside, as we close down private-enterprise prisons.  It's changing on the inside, too, where prisoners have increasingly switched from tobacco products as a unit of prison currency, to packets of Ramen noodles instead -- because the food's better than they get, and it's needed to supplement both the small portions and lousy quality of the meals which do happen to come their way.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2016 17:10 Read more...

Home of the Knave, Brand of the Tweet

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It's taken us all longer that it should have to arrive at the obvious:  Trump was never running, Trump never wanted the job, and we've all been conned in a fashion no one ever thought possible.

It would be like learning the whole point of NASA's moon missions was to test out if the place really was made of cheese, and, if so, to keep it from the Russians, at least until we had global dairy prices locked down.

Only a green-cheese maniac would think of using the American presidential race as a con game and a self-promotion tour -- and so, a maniac did.  And has.  We've all been had.

Look at the wreckage, all the carnage, the shredded landscape -- and that's just around each of the new, daily-dozen of the dim-witted, ham-handed, face-palmed Trumping pronouncements.  Smoldering craters, everywhere.

Back at the beginning, what did we know, we electoral chumps?  We rode the primary Tilt-o-Whirl, like good little citizens, playing the Important Adult Business game, not realizing we were being played at the deepest possible levels.  We were playing Crazy Eights -- or Tipsy Twenty-Twos, whatever, based on your candidate count -- with the Berserk Chimp Gang, just as they wanted, sure.

Only thing was, the rest of the Chimp Gang was rifling through our cars in the parking lots, and our homes, and our bank accounts, while we were wondering why The Big Player was stalling.  (After all, even for Trump, how tough is it to answer the question, "Got any fours?")

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 August 2016 19:05 Read more...

Scratching While Shooting the Magic 8-Ball

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In pool, having the cue ball leave the table -- jumping a bumper or plunging down a pocket-hole -- is a scratch.  Most people play as if it's not a big deal, that it's just the end of your turn.  You don't get to keep shooting.

However, in most forms of a game of 8-ball, if you scratch while shooting the 8, and pocket that 8-ball -- well, that's an instant loss.  Game over.

And that thought gives me no rest.  White American votes (for the most part) are the cue ball on this green-felt-topped, slate table-top game of politics, and The Trumpster is the 8-ball if ever there was one.

Come Voting Day:  Dump enough votes in the side slot while getting Trump in the Oval Pocket, and it's Game Over.

Easy as Trump playing pocket pool with the populace.

Yet, so simple, a child could figure it out:  Don't scratch while shooting the 8.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 August 2016 18:22 Read more...

No Prisoners, No Apologies, No Rules

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No matter how many toys, gadgets, and gizmos we create, we're still batting zero in social evolution.  Mostly.  (We can talk about one exception, later on.)

Considering the number of apologies we've received from the banksters who nearly collapsed the world economy with their charlatan scams and bottomless greed.  My count still stands at Precisely None, in both the Forced and Unforced categories.

Same can be said for quickie payday loan companies and self-financed car lots who routinely gouge customers at 30% interest rates, or more.  Same can be said for the Martin Shreklis of the world, who believe a 4,000% or 5,000% price hike on a drug is good for everyone, including consumers.

Same goes for the then-new, Neo-Con con-artists who decided on decimating a cradle of civilization in search of nonexistent WMDs.  A million dead, more injured, a few trillion dollars more in debt to no good purpose -- I'm still naive enough to want some sort of basic apology for this, as a start, as a prelude to real change.

Last Updated on Sunday, 21 August 2016 19:59 Read more...

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