Remember Fun? 

Friday, November 13th, 2020

One day, hopefully soon, there will be fun again. Unfortunately, right now, there is not much fun to be had.

“Fun is the act of mastering a problem mentally,”…Mastery right now is out of reach, because the problem — a contagious new virus and the corresponding cascade of nightmares it has wrought — can’t be mastered, only weathered, and weathering an onslaught is the opposite of fun.

That sounds right to me.

The Potato Head of Palencia 

Thursday, November 12th, 2020

If you’re a fan of Monkey Christ, prepare to enjoy this spudface.

An Interview With the Owner of the Sex Shop Next to Four Seasons Landscaping 

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

Over at Slate, Rachelle Hampton is doing essential work. She’s posted an interview with Bernie D’Angelo, owner of the Fantasy Island sex shop next to the suddenly infamous Four Seasons Total Landscaping. Apparently, Fantasy Island is a family business!

Also worth mentioning is this note:

[Editor’s note: The New York Times has reported that the campaign actually always meant to hold the event at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, but the president misunderstood which Four Seasons was hosting when he first tweeted about it.]

There is no earthly reason why the campaign would hold their event at Four Seasons Total Landscaping. I don’t believe this for a single second.

Nestled Betwixt the Adult Bookstore and the Crematorium

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

On Saturday, just before the major news outlets called the presidential election for Joe Biden, the Trump campaign held one of the most bizarre press conferences the world has ever seen. It took place at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia. No, not the fancy worldwide hotel chain, but the landscaping company you’ve never heard of. The hotel even had to clarify:

A tweet reading “To clarify, President Trump’s press conference will NOT be held at Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia. 
It will be held at Four Seasons Total Landscaping— no relation with the hotel.”

Instead, the event took place in the parking lot of a small business near Interstate 95. The content of the event consisted of meritless claims of election irregularities, without any actual evidence. But the location, next to Fantasy Island adult bookstore and across from Delaware Valley Cremation Center? That was simply too perfect, in all its slapdash squalor.

An undustrial parking lot, with a crowd watching Rudy Guiliani speak in front of a garage door

Like nearly everything the Trump campaign has ever done, this event was hastily thrown together with next to no planning. It featured terrible cable management, a campaign sign-plastered garage door as a backdrop and oh yeah, a perennial losing political candidate who also happens to be a convicted sex offender. It was deeply evocative of Trump’s entire inept time in office, and I can only hope it will become the enduring image of his defeat.

I’ve been enjoying this story for three full days now, and it hasn’t gotten old. I’ve speculated on how exactly this all came to pass, and I’ve continued to discover new jokes. You might like this hilarious Zoom backdrop, suitable for meetings of all types. Or perhaps you’d like to see “Four Seasons Total Landscaping” become shorthand for overwhelmingly terribleness in sports. This meme just keeps on giving.

In between laughing fits, I also took some time to consider exactly why this story is such a delight. The key is that for once, the incompetence of the Trump administration isn’t hurting anyone but themselves. There’s no need to be rueful about this, because in just a few short weeks, Donald Trump will be out of office. When he goes, hateful, harmful monsters like Stephen Miller will go with him. That’s a very good thing.

One day soon, I hope I can read an investigative report detailing how these rutabagas wound up at Four Seasons Total Landscaping in the middle of nowhere northeast Philadelphia. For now, however, I will just laugh and laugh.

How Do You Spell Relief? B-I-D-E-N 

Monday, November 9th, 2020

On Saturday, November 7th, all of the major news outlets declared Joe Biden the winner of America’s 2020 presidential election. It was a very good day.

There are many emotions being felt around this country, and the world. For me, the most notable among them is relief. Something distressing has not happened. Soon, something unpleasant (to say the absolute least) will come to an end.

Donald Trump’s Attempted Murder of American Democracy

Friday, November 6th, 2020

It’s been a long week for America, and for the world. Though we’re not through the darkness yet, things are now trending toward an end to the nightmare that is the Trump presidency. As a result, that scared, sad, angry little man made an attempt on the life of American democracy yesterday. Rather than accepting defeat, he’s trying to salt the earth by spreading lies and encouraging discontent and uncertainty. To do this, he spoke from the White House press briefing room last night, spending a quarter hour babbling nonsense, just a string of utter trumpery. His words were so utterly bereft of truth that the networks cut away, rather than allowing his toxic lies to spread. I say bravo.

If you saw any of Trump’s tantrum, you know exactly how pathetic it was. If you missed it, you’re better off. Rather than link to it, you might consider watching a different 15 minute video. In Stephen Colbert’s opening from last night’s Late Show, he does a tremendous job of letting raw emotion express his feelings. It’s well worth a watch, and included this:

We’re not going to show you a second of what that sad, frightened, fraud said tonight. Because it’s poison, and I like you. He can suck silence.

I wish the media had done much more of this during Trump’s rise to power. At the very least, they can start doing it now, as his presidency rapidly wanes.

About five minutes in to Colbert’s video, he quoted the Latin phrase ”Qui tacet, consentire videtur”: Who is silent, gives consent. While Donald Trump should be silenced, the rest of us need to loudly reject the delusions of Donald Trump. That includes Republicans like Mitch McConnell, who had at that point declined to comment. McConnell has seldom been accused of doing the right thing, but now, it’s in his self-interest to put the sanctity of our system above the ego of Donald Trump. Without the position regrettably provided to him by American democracy, McConnell would be nothing. He, and everyone, must reaffirm the belief that the bedrock of American democracy is free and fair elections, and that every vote should be counted.

It’s a very small thing for this site to speak out against Donald Trump’s disgusting attempt at killing American democracy, but I want to be firmly on the record. Donald Trump’s remarks from the White House briefing room last night were unacceptable and must be roundly rejected. Anyone who refuses to say so should be rejected as well.

There are many, many problems in America, and removing Donald Trump isn’t going to fix everything. It is, however, a necessary step to any progress we might hope to make. The best time to oppose Donald Trump was five years ago. The second-best time is today. His horrific actions last night should make that clear to any thinking human.

I’ll Make Popcorn

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

Speaking of asinine content recently spotted in my inbox, today I received an email from AT&T Customer Care. It promoted a “personalized” video, explaining my wireless bill.

An email touting a personalized video to explain a cell phone bill

If I ever require a video that’s over two minutes long to understand my cell phone charges, there’s either something wrong with the design of the bill, or with me. However, for both comedic purposes, and to kill some time while I wait for news on who America’s president next year will be, I did watch the video. It referred to me by my first name, and included actual recent charges from my cell phone account. It was a very, very mildly impressive use of technology. It was also something that no one, and I mean no one, wants. Nevertheless, someone thought it was a good idea to include the text “Enjoy your video!”, and the idea of that really made me laugh.

Read the Room, American Airlines

Wednesday, November 4th, 2020

What do you do the day after perhaps the most contentious election in American history, when the winner of the presidency has yet to be determined? Apparently, if you’re American Airlines, you send out a marketing email entitled “Why our cleaning strategy works”. Said email touts the ability of their cleaning practices to reduce COVID-19 risks on their planes:

An email from American Airlines touting their cleaning practices, for flights you almost certainly shouldn't be taking.”

Even if air travel weren’t something best avoided while a global pandemic is raging, maybe not today, huh, AA?

We Can Do Hard Things

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

When Belle Boggs took her 6-year-old daughter Beatrice on a peaceful march to the polls last Saturday, she never imagined it would end with the police pepper-spraying citizens. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what happened in North Carolina, and it is unconscionable.

Why is this happening? [Beatrice had] demanded to know.

The answer is so dark I’m almost afraid to tell her. It’s happening because some people with power, like police, would rather pepper-spray children, elderly people, and disabled people than wait for them to move. Some people would rather cut the sound to a PA system than hear a faith leader issue a demand for change. And some people would rather arrest peaceful protesters than see them vote.

I am sickened, saddened, and ashamed to live in a country where children were pepper-sprayed as they accompanied their parents to vote. At this, and at so many other despicable acts seen since the misbegotten election of Donald Trump to our nation’s highest office, I am angry almost beyond words. But I also know that we can be better than this. Fortunately, alongside my anger, I also have hope. I firmly believe that one day very soon, we will be better than this.

That starts with ending the nightmare that is the Trump presidency. As you surely know, no matter where you live, it’s election day in America. Like many Americans, I’ve already cast my ballot. If you’re an American who hasn’t yet voted, today is the day. In the 21 states (plus D.C.) that offer same day registration, you can vote today even if you’re not yet registered. Visit and make sure your voice is heard.

Every day, Beatrice Boggs’s kindergarten class recites a mantra: “We can do hard things”. It’s simple, but not simplistic. Humanity can do amazing things, and it’s time for Americans to remember that. We can end the wretchedness and divisiveness of the Trump era, and return to striving for a more perfect union. We can put our terrible present into the past, and awake to a brighter new day.

May the future recognize today as the day we pulled our country back from the edge.

Functional Sculpture 

Monday, November 2nd, 2020

When a train in Rotterdam went out of control, it was saved from a dangerous fall by a whale’s tail.

This doesn’t even look real.

No one was hurt, and presumably, the train will be more easily repaired than if it had plummeted to the ground. Not bad, sculpture. Not bad.