Briefly noted

Cluttered items from an empty mind

Seen elsewhere: “Republicans are making age an issue in the presidential race. They point out that Joe Biden can barely stay incoherent for 15 minutes at a time, while Donald Trump can talk incoherently for hours.”

Seen on Facebook: “Aaron Rodgers made it to four plays. That’s three more than Lincoln.”

Gino Vanelli is coming to the Carnegie Library music hall in Homestead. The commercial says he’s known for such “hits as ‘I Just Wanna Stop.'”

OK, no offense, but now name another one.

(At least in the U.S. He was bigger in Canada.)

Continue reading “Briefly noted”

And just how large is the paint bucket?

More cluttered thoughts from an empty mind

Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about the environmental impact of The Sherwin-Williams Company pouring red paint all over the North Pole?

Google tells me that the surface area of Earth is approximately 197,000,000 square miles, which leads me to believe something like 100,000,000 square miles is being covered by that paint spill.

Maybe it’s a solution to global warming. In which case, instead of red paint, couldn’t they do something more reflective, like silver?

MyFAFO: Mike Lindell of MyPillow has completed the “f-ck around” phase and is now experiencing the “find out” phase, as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:

MyPillow is auctioning off hundreds of pieces of equipment and subleasing manufacturing space after several shopping networks and major retailers took the company’s products off shelves … sewing machines, industrial fabric spreaders, forklifts and even desks and chairs are up for auction.

Continue reading “And just how large is the paint bucket?”

If tin-whistles are made of tin, what do they make fog horns out of?

More cluttered items from my empty mind

SCAM ALERT: I just got an electronic message that was like 10 minutes of repetitive guitar riffs and drum solos.

Yeah. It was another Phishing email.

Garth Brooks talking to Billboard Magazine. I think that’s Crow, Servo and Mike Nelson in the front row. (YouTube)

Garth Brooks is opening a bar in Nashville and says he will not join a conservative boycott of Bud Light.

In a Q&A with Melinda Newman of Billboard magazine, Brooks said his new bar, called Friends in Low Places, will be “a place you feel safe in. I want it to be a place that you feel like there are manners and people love one another … And yes, we’re going to serve every brand of beer. We just are.”

That’s a reference to an ongoing boycott by morons conservatives, who are angry that Bud Light produced a special one-off commemorative can featuring TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, who is transgender.

Kid Rock, a vocal moron conservative, posted a video of himself shooting cases of Bud Light with an automatic rifle, and some bars that cater to bigots and rednecks Republicans have either stopped selling Bud Light, or held promotions where they’ve poured the beer down the drain.

To be clear, however, it’s still OK if you’re not buying Bud Light simply because it’s really crummy beer. As the Pythons said, “it’s like making love in a canoe.”

Continue reading “If tin-whistles are made of tin, what do they make fog horns out of?”

News you can’t use

Supposedly, someone asked Gandhi, ‘What do you think of Western civilization?’ He reportedly replied, ‘I think it would be a good idea.’

If a cluttered desk signifies a cluttered mind, what’s an empty desk signifying? Here are empty items from my cluttered mind:

News item: State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Inquisition) is planning a “special” announcement today, fueling speculation that he intends to run for the U.S. Senate in 2024. Mastriano, who ran for governor of Pennsylvania in 2022, lost in the general election to Josh Shapiro by approximately 800,000 votes.

If Mastriano makes it through a Republican primary for U.S. Senate, he would face incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., a Democrat, who has said he intends to run for a fourth term in 2024.

Oh, Doug. Dan Hicks wrote a campaign song just for you:

How can I miss you when you won’t go away?
Keep telling you day after day
But you won’t listen, you always stay and stay
How can I miss you when you won’t go away?

Doug is a certifiable crackpot, but he’s positively sane compared to Kandiss Taylor, who ran for governor of Georgia last year. (She lost in the Republican primary.)

Taylor has been elected a district chair of the Republican Party in Georgia, and on her podcast, “Jesus, Guns & Babies,” she spent time debunking the “conspiracy” that the world is round.

The world is flat, she explained. The Bible says so. “Globes” are part of a trick being played on young people by liberals, socialists and, I guess, airline pilots.

And she’s not the only Republican candidate to be part of the “flat-earth” movement. Lauren Witzke, who ran for the U.S. Senate from Delaware in 2020 and worked for the Trump campaign in Iowa, also describes herself as a “flat-earther.”

According to a survey by the University of New Hampshire, about 10 percent of Americans believe the Earth is flat.

And — this will shock you, so I hope you’re sitting down — according to the survey, “Trump approvers are more likely … to agree with conspiracy claims that vaccinations implant tracking microchips, the Earth is flat, or NASA astronauts did not land on the Moon; but they are less likely to agree with scientists that the Earth is billions of years old.”

Golly. You don’t say.

The point, and I do have one, is that craziness is not the fringe of the Republican Party. It’s the center of the Republican Party.

And this is what CNN, the New York Times and other major media outlets are trying to normalize. “Let’s go to this diner in a rural small town and talk to the most extreme Trump supporters we can find in an attempt to sympathize with them” is equivalent to, “let’s find the craziest people we can, and make them seem normal.”

Then they expose the rest of us to the craziness over and over and over, until we get used to it: Well, maybe the flat-Earth people have a point.

The crazies are still a minority (for now). Most Americans want legal access to birth control. Most Americans want legal access to abortion. Most Americans want other adult Americans free to marry another adult person, regardless of their sex or gender identity. Most Americans want to be free to read what they want when they want. Most Americans want teachers and parents in charge of the education of our children — not religious kooks.

Why are we letting a tiny minority of fact-deniers dictate to the rest of us?

Because our supposedly “liberal” media insists on letting Republicans pee on our legs, and telling us it’s rain. Here’s the “liberal” MSNBC:

“Why is Ron DeSantis partnering with Elon Musk to launch his 2024 presidential campaign?”

Because they’re both white supremacist jagoffs. There, I saved you a click. It’s really that simple.

One last thing before I change the subject: For years, the media has referred to the Republican Party as the “GOP.” That’s an acronym for “Grand Old Party.”

The nickname began to be used widely after the Civil War, because the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln, and had fought to preserve the Union from segregationists and slave-holders. They were the “Grand Old Party that saved the country.”

Since then — after all, it’s been 150 years — the positions of the two parties have reversed. The Southern segregationists are all in the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party seems to be the one (albeit haphazardly) fighting to save America.

I know this is futile, but let’s knock off the “GOP” nonsense. There is nothing “Grand” about a party that wants to discriminate against women, Black people, immigrants, non-Christians and the LGBTQ community — let alone a party that can’t even agree that the world is round.

“Was there sensimilla in those Powdermilk Biscuits? Heavens, they’re tasty and expeditious.”

And finally: The state of Minnesota is planning to legalize recreational marijuana. I’m trying to imagine Garrison Keillor speaking even slower than he already does.

“Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, my hometown.” (Inhales deeply, holds it.) “Down at the Sidetrack Tap, Ole Olson was … uh … was … wow, do you ever really look at your hands?”

I used to be a serious Keillor fan. In the era before the Internet and podcasts, I used to set a timer to record his Saturday show if I wasn’t able to listen live. But as he burned through marriages and mistresses, I began to suspect his nice-guy persona was all an act.

And then reports began to circulate through the public radio community that, indeed, indicated he wasn’t nice after all. His newspaper column also became increasingly nasty. The sexual harassment scandal that eventually got him cashiered from Minnesota Public Radio seemed pretty minor in isolation, but it fit a pattern of questionable (or at least arrogant) behavior.

Come to think of it, if anyone could use a little weed to mellow out and relax, maybe it’s him. Someone get a bag of weed to the Chatterbox Cafe and run down to Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery for Doritos and Twinkies.

P.S.: The Gandhi quote is baloney. According to the Quote Investigator website, it can be traced to a 1967 documentary called “The Italians,” but that didn’t air until 29 years after Gandhi died, and there’s no evidence linking it to Gandhi before then.

Got a feelin’ the sun will be gone, the day will be long and blue

If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is an empty desk the sign of? Here are some cluttered items from an empty mind.

Today’s trivia question: I’ve recently heard three different instrumental versions of this song on the radio—on WZUM (1550/101.1) and Eric O’Brien’s “Smooth, Relaxing & Easy,” which airs Saturdays on WRCT and Tube City Online Radio, following my show.

If you’re a child of the 1970s or ’80s, you probably know the tune. But can you recognize it from the seldom-heard lyrics? Here they are:

Got a feelin’ it’s all over now
All over now, we’re through
And tomorrow I’ll be lonesome,
Remembering you.
Got a feelin’ the sun will be gone
The day will be long and blue
And tomorrow I’ll be cryin’
Remembering you.
There’s a faraway look in your eye
When you try to pretend to me,
That everything is the same as it used to be.
I see it’s all over now—
All over now, we’re through,
And tomorrow I’ll be startin’
Remembering you.

Do you recognize the tune? Answer at the end of this column.

Continue reading “Got a feelin’ the sun will be gone, the day will be long and blue”

Every day is an endless train, but I ride it to the end of the line

Cluttered items from an empty mind:

Yesterday, I wrote that despite its creator’s increasingly unhinged social media and YouTube commentary, I hadn’t noticed any overt political content sneaking into the comic strip “Dilbert.”

Well, I generally was reading the comic strips only on Saturdays and Sundays. Apparently I’ve missed a lot. According to media critic David Bauder, writing for The Associated Press, “Dilbert” has been treading in tin-foil hat territory for a while:

In a Sept. 2 “Dilbert” strip, a boss said that traditional performance reviews would be replaced by a “wokeness” score. When an employee complained that could be subjective, the boss said, “That’ll cost you two points off your wokeness score, bigot.”

In an August strip, the boss said the company was getting into the “pandemic prevention market” and creating demand by unleashing a deadly virus.

A Black employee featured in an Oct. 20 strip noted that his boss ignored his actual accomplishments to recommend him for a job for which he was not qualified. The employee backed down when told it would be a big jump in pay.

Mike Peterson, who blogs about comic strips at an industry website, The Daily Cartoonist (and for whom I used to occasionally work), told Bauder that “Dilbert” seemed to have run out of jokes about office and Internet culture, adding, “The strip jumped the shark.”

Yipes. Sounds like it jumped the shark, flew over the dock and landed in the tiki bar.

Trivia Question: Scott Adams’ “Dilbert” wasn’t the first widely distributed cartoon character named “Dilbert.” A character named “Dilbert” was used by the U.S. Navy during World War II in safety cartoons aimed at novice pilots.

What was his aviation-related last name?

Answer at the end.

Continue reading “Every day is an endless train, but I ride it to the end of the line”

Shocked, I am shocked!

If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what’s an empty desk mean? Empty items from a cluttered mind:

Well, I, for one, find it hard to believe that there could be anything unsavory about the creators of “Rick & Morty,” a show about a sociopathic alcoholic sex addict who abuses his grandchildren.

Hey, and I say that as someone who likes “Rick & Morty.” When I ruptured three discs in my back five years ago, and was in tremendous pain for months, binge-watching “Rick & Morty” was one of the things that actually lifted my spirits.

I think the show has brilliantly poked fun at cliches from science-fiction movies and TV. I also appreciate the show’s willingness to explore really toxic, unhealthy family relationships. (I enjoyed “BoJack Horseman” for the same reasons, even though I sometimes got to the end of an episode and had to take a break for a while.)

Continue reading “Shocked, I am shocked!”

Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?

If you heard Saturday’s show (repeated Sunday afternoon) you heard a bunch of soundbites from Bert and Ernie of “Sesame Street.” (As opposed to Bert and Ernie of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”)

I don’t mean to disillusion you, but they weren’t in the studio with me — the magic of radio! theater of the mind! — and they also weren’t exclusive to me. Not hardly. They were part of a video series that Elle Magazine has created called “Song Association,” in which celebrities are given a vocabulary word, and then have 10 seconds to think of a song that includes the word.

You can view Bert and Ernie’s entire appearance on YouTube (it’s actually a load of fun — they also sang “If I Had $1,000,000” by Barenaked Ladies, as well as “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman) and check out the other celebrity videos at the hashtag #SongAssociation. Billie Eilish, Adam Lambert, Olivia Rodrigo and Meghan Trainor have all participated in the long-running series.

Continue reading “Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?”

If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, what’s an empty desk?

Artist’s depiction of Jay Thurber, hard at work. (1906 New York Zoological Society photo, Library of Congress collection)

The late Phil Musick referred to them as “some things I think I think.” I call them “empty items from a cluttered mind”:

Today is “Wear a Hoodie to Work” Day, in honor of John Fetterman, who is being sworn into office as a U.S. senator at 12 noon.

In response, Republicans and Dr. Oz have declared today “bring crudites to work day.”

If Ben Garrison is going to war with Scott Adams, my biggest question is: “How much popcorn should I make?”

Adams is the cartoonist behind the comic strip “Dilbert,” while Garrison is a political cartoonist whose work has been widely shared on the Internet.

Continue reading “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, what’s an empty desk?”