Road to Drunken Anachronisms

Before we had internet memes, we had sayings. Before sayings, we had proverbs. These were things like “a penny saved is a penny earned”, “two wrongs don’t make a right” or “the pen is mightier than the sword”.

The proverb I want to talk about is “a drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts”. Honestly, I don’t remember even 60% of the things I say when I’m drunk, so I can’t tell you if that’s true or not. However, more than once, I’ve been enjoying my coffee and watching Meet The Press on a Sunday morning, and my phone will start blowing up with Facebook alerts because Drunk-Me posted something inappropriate the night before. Reading what I posted is often embarrassing, but admittedly it usually makes me snicker. In those cases, the drunk man’s posts were a fair reflection of the inappropriate thoughts usually contained in my sober mind.

Several months back, I found a bunch of Gene Autry songs in my digital music library. Apparently Drunk-Me is much older than I am, but he’s pretty tech-wise for a man of his advancing years. He’s also not averse to a little digital piracy. Most recently, Drunk-Me bootlegged all 6 Bing Crosby & Bob Hope Road Movies, even Road to Hong Kong from 1962, which doesn’t even have Dorothy Lamour in it. I don’t remember if I was being thorough or if I’m just a jerk.

Drunk-Me is a tech-savvy octogenarian with a rude sense of humor, a completist’s attention to detail and a lax opinion of copyright law. That’s the sort of guy I’d like to have a beer with. In fact, I hope to never have a beer without him. In the road movie of my life, Drunk-Me is the Crosby to my Hope. Or is he the Hope to my Crosby? Are we both Hope? I’m not sure I’m comfortable with this level of introspection.

 

 

Advertisements

A Funny Thing Happened on the Road to Damascus

A few weeks back, I was at a stoplight on the way to work. In my rear view mirror, I saw a normal looking middle aged white man in a plain suburban sedan, methodically and repeatedly picking his nose and eating his boogers.

Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around me. I fell on the ground and heard a voice say, “Great Caeser’s Ghost, why do you still expect the best of your fellow man. This is what they are, a bunch of mouth breathing, booger eating, hairless apes.”

Epiphany!

If you know me at all, you know I’m an optimist. I believe that when confronted with the worst, we rise to the occasion. I believe that despite our often cruel and evil behavior, it’s “the better angels of our nature” (attribute: A. Lincoln) that prevail. But deep down inside, I mean way, way down, I’ve always suspected that humans are a bunch of filthy animals. Racists, homophobes, wife-beaters, “mother rapers, father stabbers, father rapers.” (attribute: A. Guthrie).

Seeing that normal looking man in my rear view eating his boogers was like a secret glimpse into a dark place that I always suspected was there, but never knew for sure. But now, just as surely as Saul was struck blind by God on the road to Damascus, I was given sight on the road to Richardson. There is no hope for mankind. We’ve bombed the innocent, ravaged the climate and nominated Trump. From here on, we get what we deserve. Welcome to the Upside Down.

 

Don’t Vote; Won’t Matter

I am and have always been obsessed with American politics, American presidential politics, doubly so. I’ve read dozens of presidential biographies and autobiographies. I could pick all 44 of them out of a line up and tell you a few interesting facts about each. I’m properly obsessed with the personalities of each and every one of them. I even have a set of presidents made by the Marx toy company in the 60’s. My personal hero is Calvin Coolidge, who is literally the only man Will Rogers ever met and didn’t like.

In past cycles, I’ve posted political blog posts here including my manifesto. However, this election cycle has left me so disgusted that I haven’t said or shared anything outside of the safety of my living room. It’s one of those “if you don’t have anything nice to say” situations. I know sharing my opinions on Facebook won’t change yours and is likely to either hurt your feelings or cause you to say something to hurt mine.

People who drag out the old “lesser of two evils” gripe have always pissed me off. In most election cycles, there are two, or more, extremely qualified candidates who survive the trial by fire of their party’s nominating process. I bitched openly and often about a recent president, but my complaints were about his policies, not his ability or his pedigree. I have had the great fortune, as most of you have, of standing in a voting booth and knowing either option would be a good steward of the presidency and of the country. This year, though, is the first time I’ve had a concern that one of the “two evils” might actually be evil.

This all got me to thinking about why it doesn’t really matter.

The founding fathers will protect us. One of the great things about our constitution is that it created a government that can’t be dominated by a single person or even a single party. We’re built for dysfunction. There are three branches of government with three very separate functions. The primary purpose of each is to either validate the others or prevent the others from growing too powerful. One of the branches, the Congress, is itself divided into two houses made up of elected representatives from all over the country each with their own agenda. The only way Congress can accomplish its one function (to create laws) is for a majority of representatives from each house to agree and then for both houses to agree with each other. What’s even more dysfunctional is that right now, the majority party in control of both houses of Congress, believes most governance should not be done at the federal level.

Your vote is worthless. In case you didn’t already know, you live in a voting district that was created to ensure the victory of a single party in every election. That sentence is true no matter where you live in the country. Yes, your red district used to be blue, and will one day be blue again. By that time, the lines will have been redrawn at least two more times to try and keep it red. Unless you’re drawing out congressional districts, you are powerless in choosing your Congressman. Senators are chosen at a statewide level. State political allegiances change very gradually over decades from red to blue to red to blue. If you’re over forty and live in the South, you’ve watched an entire region of the country go from blue to red, and some of it is now beginning the gradual move back to blue. Unless you live in a state with a small and gullible population, I’m looking at you Montana, your one vote and your opinion won’t accomplish anything. Finally, despite what you may think, Presidents are not elected through popular votes. They are elected by the electoral college. When you vote, you are technically helping select the electors from your Congressional district and state (see above for why that doesn’t matter), and those electors can vote for whomever they darn well please.

Make America The Same Again.  The state of American politics has always, always been just as ugly, dirty and loathsome as it is today. The parties have always vilified each other. Every president has been openly despised and ridiculed by the “other” party. Only during times of national crisis do the branches work together. And even then it’s only ever long enough to start a war. Once fighting commences, they go back to hating each other, unless one party has the decency to secede entirely from the union. Many of our leaders have been deplorable human beings. Our founding fathers sat in a hot room and did the math on the value of a human being who is owned by another human being (spoiler, the solution is 3/4 of a human being). Once, for 140 years, women couldn’t vote at all because men said so. Many of our presidents cheated on their wives, but Warren Harding went so far as to write his mistress letters about his penis and probably fathered a child with her. Richard Nixon’s long national nightmare ended in resignation. The things Bill Clinton did should be restricted to the realm of presidential fan-fic. There were no good old days. This is literally as good as it gets. And nothing you do will change that.

Let’s go back to pretending our differences don’t matter. I have friends… Well, I have Facebook friends, who support Trump or who support Sanders or who support Clinton or who don’t care at all. I like those people. All of them. That’s why, despite my passion, I haven’t ranted long and hard about this disaster of an election year. Do I wish we had better candidates? Yes. Do I wish I could explain why I disagree with your choice and maybe even change your mind with my wicked logic? Of course I do. Do I wish Donald Trump would go away and let someone more experienced, presidential and less divisive take his place? Duh. Do I wish we could cede all governmental power to IBM’s Watson? Yes, yes I do. But it’s not going to happen.

What i’m saying is it’s okay to be passionate, but don’t expect to change the world… and don’t be a dick.

 

Fools’ Names and Fools’ Faces

Jimmy Kimmel is trending on the interwebs because he cried while talking about the killing of Cecil the Lion. (Take a minute to Google Cecil if you need to catch up. I’ll be here when you get back.)

I read an angry thread on Facebook from someone who was super pissed that Jimmy Kimmel cried about a lion, but didn’t cry for… then proceeded to list all the sad things in the world that Jimmy Kimmel must also now be required to cry about. (Side note, some of the items on the list weren’t sad but just political things the poster finds offensive.) The argument is that if Jimmy Kimmel cries about a lion, he must also be required to cry about everything everyone else finds important.

This sort of thing comes up any time the President does ANYTHING. The White House was lit in rainbow colors after the Obergefell v Hodges (marriage equality) ruling from the Supreme Court on June 25. This was followed several days later by angry posts decrying that the White House wasn’t lit in Red, White and Blue for Independence Day. Really? It’s the White House. It’s very existence is a celebration of our Independence. The President doesn’t need to shoot bottle rockets from the roof for us to know he’s not the Queen of England.

The argument here is that you can’t cry about one thing unless you cry about everything. You can’t celebrate one thing unless you celebrate everything. Unless you believe all the things I believe, you mustn’t share your beliefs at all. No!

The world where 7.3 billion people cry in unison because of an undercover Planned Parenthood video isn’t a world I’d want to live in. The world where 196 capitol buildings are lit in the colors of what we all agree to celebrate (bad news Christians, but Christmas probably wouldn’t make the list if we ALL have to agree) isn’t a world I’d want to be part of. The world where we can only discuss the small list of items we all agree to be inoffensive sounds to me like a most offensive world.

I say be passionate about the things your passionate about, don’t care about the things you don’t care about, and stop pretending to be mad all the time about things that probably don’t really bother you at all. Yes, your trumped up (Trumped?) anger got you noticed. Yes, your stupid rant trended. But in the grand scheme, what of value did you bring into the world? Was your opinion worth sharing or did you simply shine a light on your ignorance in a public place?

I’ve been hesitant to share my opinions via Facebook on a range of topics because the commentary that follows is always such a beating. I’ve concealed my passion to avoid your judgement. But you know what? Screw that! Here’s some stuff I’m thinking about:

  • I drove around with a broken turn signal for three months. I changed lanes without signaling dozens of times a day, more than once in full view of a DPS officer. I never got pulled over. For the same offense, Sandra Bland got threatened with a taser, removed from her car and imprisoned for three days. It’s possible to pissed off about that and also support the police.
  • The Confederate battle flag was kept in storage for 90 years after the end of the Civil War. Southern Governors started flying them again in the late 1950s to late 1960s to show their opposition to the Civil Rights movement that was gaining support in the US government. I’m a son of the Confederacy. I’m a rebel. I would drive an orange charger through a “bridge out” sign without hesitation. And I’m telling you that flag doesn’t represent southern pride or rebel spirit. It symbolizes racism. It needed to go away. Suck it.

    general-lee-jumps
    Yeeeeee-haaaa
  • More good guys with guns does not equal fewer bad guys with guns. Open carry does not make for a more peaceful society. We tried that already, it was called the wild west. Am I willing to test your theory? Yes, let’s test it somewhere I don’t live.
  • Your gender identity is your concern. Who you love is no one else’s business. Be who you are. To hell with what anyone else thinks about it. If your neighbor tries to tell you who you’re allowed to love, burn their house down. That’s probably in the Bible. *citation needed
  • Yes, the rich are getting richer at the expense of everyone else. There’s a 90 percent chance this will result in a bloody rebellion, and I’m cool with that.
  • Yes, the planet is getting warmer and ocean levels are rising due in part to man-made climate change. By the time we realize we don’t have to agree about science, it’ll be too late to do anything about it. I’m not cool with that.
  • Okay Republicans, if you’re still with me, this one is important. Donald Trump is a jack ass. Your best bet, if you want to win is Chris Christie. Jeb Bush is your second choice. Jeb would be first if he wasn’t the 3rd of his name, as they say on Game of Thrones. Here’s what’s actually going to happen; Scott Walker will get the GOP nomination and he’ll lose to Hillary Clinton with a final electoral college count of 303 to 235. Walker won’t carry his home state of Wisconsin. Bookmark this and check back in 16 months. I’m almost always right on this stuff.