Skirmishes ahead.

From the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency — which is to say, since the election — I’ve been appalled and puzzled by the tenacity of Republicans who’ve continued to press the case that votes were somehow stolen, blah blah blah.

This is because I am stupid, and also a fool.

It’s pretty obvious what the game is, now. They’re going to use “valid concerns about election integrity” to roll back reforms that have made voting easier for more people. This won’t be possible everywhere; in Michigan in 2018, voters approved, by a wide margin, election reform via constitutional amendment, and once something’s in the state constitution, it’s very difficult to remove it. But other states have GOP legislatures going after voting rights hammer and tongs. Georgia is talking about restricting early voting, favored by Black churches that do “souls to the polls” outreach. There are others.

Needless to say, this is all bolstered by “concerns” about “election irregularities,” i.e. Democrats finding it too easy to vote absentee in a pandemic. Many of these concerns are pure bullshit. Ballots were not mailed unsolicited, at least not in Michigan. (Ballot requests were; I spent a week in October processing them at the now-notorious TCF Center.) The late-night “ballot dump” there was the last batch of last-minute absentee ballots, legally submitted. And so on.

The Detroit News did a really good piece on how Antrim County, an overwhelmingly conservative county in northern Michigan, had a ballot glitch that was caught when the results came in, and had Biden decidedly beating Trump. It was caught, fixed, and double-checked with a hand recount of several thousand ballots. And yet, the county clerk is still opening her email and finding accusations of deep-state blah-blah election chicanery.

Most of you won’t be able to read that story, because it’s paywalled, but here’s a poignant passage:

At the center of the firestorm is a passionate and plainspoken 59-year-old Republican clerk who said she hasn’t taken a vacation since 2008. Guy has faced threats and name-calling. The fallout has left her afraid for the country’s future and altered politically.

“I voted Republican. I’ll never do it again, I don’t think,” Guy said last week. “I just think it’s a changed party.”

Here’s an un-paywalled, condensed version available to the general public.

So this is why we can’t back down from pressing a case against the Capitol rioters, against every dimwitted or sharp-witted legislator who would repeal voting rights, who would try to poison the grassroots. We just can’t. It’s too important:

Last week, lawyers representing the state council of the Service Employees International Union sent a letter to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm requesting a criminal investigation into whether laws were broken when 10 would-be Wisconsin electors sympathetic to Trump met behind closed doors at the state Capitol on Dec. 14 and tried to appoint themselves as the state’s representatives to the electoral college.

The group signed illegitimate certificates of election and sent the fake documents to federal and state officials proclaiming that Trump had won the state’s electoral votes.

…“Some of this is about trying to bring bad actors to account. But the bigger part is trying to make sure we never go through something like this again,” said Jeffrey A. Mandell, a lawyer representing the union. “We have seen an intensification from election to election of how far people are willing to push these issues. And we need it to stop.”

And since the right wing is basically calling for this to happen again, we have to keep pressing it. They’re a minority party now, but they think that entitles them to rule forever. Sorry, no.

Also, fuck Clarence Thomas.

And get well soon, Tiger Woods. But I fear your golf career is over.

Wednesday dead ahead.

Posted at 8:46 am in Current events | 61 Comments
 

Blue Monday.

Another late-arriving Monday blog. Sorry about that. Yesterday I did a hands-and-knees scrub of my kitchen floor, swung by a local demonstration to take a couple of pictures, swung by the lake to ditto, and then came home and made brown rice pancakes for dinner. (Recipe at the link if you’re so inclined. They sound like hippie crap on the page, but dab a little sour cream on, and they’re right tasty.)

Then I watched two episodes of “Freaks and Geeks,” and no, I did not watch “Farrow v. Allen,” sorry.

In my crone years, I have come to the conclusion that not everything happening on the earth requires me to have an opinion about it, and this includes “Farrow v. Allen.” I have read both sides. I have thought about it, probably more than it deserves. And I think both sides are telling at least a somewhat credible story, and one is telling the truth and one is lying, and maybe it’s a mix of both, and anyway: I can’t say who I believe and so I’m tapping out of this one, and spending the next three nights of this thing watching comedies, which is my preference these days. I’m working my way through “30 Rock,” which I only saw in bits and pieces the first time around, and I’m not sure why, but by the middle of season two I’m basically relying on Tina and Alec to be my friends, because I’m so distant from my own, these days.

(I do think Mia Farrow is a bit tetched, however. I’ve known women like that, who have (or adopt) baby after baby, eventually filling their houses with chaos and bowls of half-eaten Cheerios and unflushed toilets. I know for them it’s all about love, but I think it’s possible to be all about love and not be a kid-hoarder. And yes, this has a bearing on my inability to reach a conclusion in the case at hand. Beyond that, I will say no more.)

So, then. The weekend came, the weekend went and now it’s Monday and a thaw is in progress. Big improvement over last Monday, but it means potholes will be opening all over the area. Good thing I have no need to go anywhere but the grocery store! Because that is my life now: I get up, I exercise in my basement, I prepare, serve and clean up after meals, I work, I watch “30 Rock.” If you sense a thin layer of hysteria to that, you’re not correct; it’s more like depression. A walking-around, non-crying, subclinical depression to be sure, but definitely the mid-to-late-winter doldrums.

I picked up a book this weekend that seems to fit the mood. I was returning books to the library (located next to the grocery store, how about that) and stopped to peruse the giveaway rack. Selected “Stoner” by John Williams, which rang a distant bell in my stressed-out brain, like I read about it somewhere, but couldn’t remember where. Turns out I did, but god knows where — apparently it was republished recently, became a huge hit in Europe and has been bouncing around in cult-favorite and movie-option world ever since. It’s not an uplifting story, and is in fact sad and depressing, but it’s so honest and unsparing that I’ve been devouring it.

I’m glad one of you posted this Slate piece in the comments last week, about Limbaugh, and even gladder that you singled out the passage that most hit home with me, in the final graf:

It’s not that everything bad about American politics today can be traced back to Limbaugh. It’s that the sneering, self-pitying, bad-faith style of argument that he perfected is practiced not just by right-wing media, but by many right-wing politicians, too. Every senator who jumps on television at a moment’s notice to whine about cancel culture even as hundreds of thousands of Americans have died of a virus that many on the right had been loath to admit even existed; every representative who exalts baseless conspiracies while railing against stimulus payments for the unemployed; every governor who cares more about owning the libs than about administering his or her state; every local official who seems not just to misunderstand the role of government but to actively resent it: They are all Limbaugh’s children. The mean, self-pitying illogic he mainstreamed is endemic now. The chief ghoul is gone, but the ghoulishness is here to stay.

A-men. OK, conference call in 20 minutes. Let’s let this week unfold, shall we?

Posted at 12:40 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 64 Comments
 

Enjoy hell, asshole.

I learned of Rush Limbaugh fairly early in his career. WGL in Fort Wayne was one of the first stations to pick up his show when he went national. I believe I’d listened for five minutes when I said to myself, “This is a fat guy who cannot score with chicks.”

Nothing against fat guys! Decent fat guys score all the time. Malevolent ones whose lack of Clooneytude has metastasized into a deep hatred of women are the ones who can’t. And while he was able to lure four of them into matrimony, none stuck around for very long. The last two lasted 10 years apiece, but I’d be willing to bet that as his wealth grew, the women in his life maintained separate bedrooms. Like Melania Trump, because she couldn’t stand the sight of the bastard “liked to read.”

I mean, five minutes with that foghorn voice would make me stick a drill in my ear. Rush would eventually lose his own hearing, likely through opiate abuse, which suggests even his own body was sick of carrying his blackened soul around after a while.

So anyway, that’s where it started with me and Limbaugh: The sexism. The racism, the homophobia, the casual bigotry and contempt for anyone who he perceived to be a lib-rull, as he pronounced it — that would come later, but only about 10 minutes later. You gotta give him this: The man was who he was from the beginning, and never really changed. If he had a conscience, if he ever evolved on any issue, if he grew, if his heart softened or expanded in any way, if he discarded one position and took up another, I never saw it. Of course, I didn’t listen to him for very long and had to depend on what was reported about him.

But you didn’t have to listen to him to listen to him. In Indiana, I heard him coming out of my neighbor’s kitchen window, out of cars stopped at lights, in restaurants. God, the restaurants. Alan, when he was a reporter, did a story on the “Rush rooms,” i.e. dedicated rooms in restaurants where they played his show over speakers for those who maybe couldn’t listen at work, but could catch the first or second hour at lunchtime. People only talked during the breaks. The rest of the time these places were like church with the clinking of silverware. Some people came every day.

I have been a fan in my life, a superfan of some, but honestly, I cannot imagine being so wound up with any one entertainer, one writer, one broadcaster, that I would devote this sort of attention to them. But I was never in Rush Limbaugh’s target audience, the people who not only listened to his show, but subscribed to his newsletter, bought his horrible books (even a “history” series, for children), attended his speeches and book signings, all the while looking at the sky or their shoes as the man revealed himself: As a serial bridegroom, a sex tourist, a drug addict, an all-around piece of shit from head to toe, from day one to whenever his last breath rattled his larynx.

Ordinary people, those with decency, stumble in all those ways, too. There’s no crime in multiple divorces (although when they come with NDAs you might want to check yourself), in patronizing sex workers, even in addiction. But you’re supposed to learn from these things. They’re supposed to humble you. If they did, the listening audience never got a sense of it.

It all culminated with that ghastly moment at the last State of the Union, when the worst president in history arranged to have his sex-worker wife hang the nation’s highest civilian honor around his neck, cheapening it forever. By then we all knew cancer was going to take him home sooner rather than later. I viciously hoped he’d live long enough to see Trump lose, and he did, but he was happy to walk in the president’s slime trail to the very end. Game recognize game.

Even Lee Atwater repented on his death bed. I guess we’ll have to see whether Mrs. Limbaugh numero quatro tells us what his final words were.

Alan noted that when people Rush Limbaugh didn’t like died, he’d say they “assumed room temperature.” I guess his corpse has gotten there by now. And the world is an incrementally better place today for his loss.

(This being the third entry of the week, I’m going to take the next couple of days off, unless Trump kicks the bucket, too. Then we’ll open the champagne. See you Monday.)

Posted at 2:34 pm in Current events, Media | 113 Comments
 

My Texas problem.

I have nothing against Texas. I have nothing against any state, really. Each and every state has a collection of terrible and wonderful people, although some of them need to DO BETTER, as the kids say these days. (Looking at you, Idaho. And several others.) Texas is the same as any, but yes, often it makes me weary.

It’s all that yee-haw Texas crap they’re always pulling. Yee-haw, we’re a nation unto ourselves! Yee-haw, we’re ruggedly independent and self-reliant! Yee-haw, let’s secede!

See, I’m old enough to remember the “let ’em freeze in the dark” Texas of the ’70s and ’80s, when they sneered at Michigan residents who were refugeeing to Texas like Okies; the auto industry was on its knees, the weather was awful and they’d heard there were jobs to be had in the oil industry, or the awl bidnis as it’s known down there. Michiganians were called the “black tag people,” as I recall, after the license plate colors of the time. Basically, Texans behaved like Texas-size assholes. I have not forgotten.

Later, when the tables were turned, when the awl bidnis fell on hard times, I don’t recall any of them getting an attitude adjustment. But let’s not be petty. I will be the bigger person here. I will say I am perfectly fine with helping Texas as it suffers through Michigan-like weather it is utterly unprepared for. Only it turns out we cannot help them because the Texas electrical grid is a closed system and why? Because yee-haw Texas, that’s why:

The separation of the Texas grid from the rest of the country has its origins in the evolution of electric utilities early last century. In the decades after Thomas Edison turned on the country’s first power plant in Manhattan in 1882, small generating plants sprouted across Texas, bringing electric light to cities. Later, particularly during the first world war, utilities began to link themselves together. These ties, and the accompanying transmission network, grew further during the second world war, when several Texas utilities joined together to form the Texas Interconnected System, which allowed them to link to the big dams along Texas rivers and also send extra electricity to support the ramped-up factories aiding the war effort.

The Texas Interconnected System — which for a long time was actually operated by two discrete entities, one for northern Texas and one for southern Texas — had another priority: staying out of the reach of federal regulators. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Power Act, which charged the Federal Power Commission with overseeing interstate electricity sales. By not crossing state lines, Texas utilities avoided being subjected to federal rules. “Freedom from federal regulation was a cherished goal — more so because Texas had no regulation until the 1970s,” writes Richard D. Cudahy in a 1995 article, “The Second Battle of the Alamo: The Midnight Connection.” (Self-reliance was also made easier in Texas, especially in the early days, because the state has substantial coal, natural gas and oil resources of its own to fuel power plants.)

I’m told Texas is, in this emergency, getting a helping hand from Mexico, and brothers and sisters, that is hilarious.

I have only really visited Texas once. We drove across part of the panhandle some years back, passing through Amarillo, home of the American Quarter Horse registry. I recall lots of flat landscapes and…not much else. And I visited Houston for a job interview in 2004. It was…fine, I guess, although I was appalled by the local attitude toward fossil fuels. At least three people told me they’d mastered “air-conditioning the outdoors,” explaining how the roof on the baseball stadium was partially closed, then giant A/C ducts turned down on the spectators. Also, there was something in the parks, I forget. (Yes, I believe I’ve told this story before.)

“I don’t really like hot weather all that much,” I offered, weakly.

“Aw, you’ll change your tune after you spend your first Christmas in shorts!” one editor said. Yee-haw, Texas!

But I understand suffering, and I’m sure that single-digit weather in a place that is absolutely not built for it is miserable. Frozen pipes are miserable. Not having heat because of rolling blackouts? Miserable. Dangerous, even. People will die because they lack coping skills, and as I write this, I believe at least two have already perished from CO poisoning, trying to stay warm in a running car.

But I won’t say let ’em freeze in the dark. It’s a new era, and we need one another. But I will not forgive Ted Cruz. You Texans have to fix that one.

Also, stop building houses in reservoirs, you greedy idiots. You get hurricanes! JFC.

As for the actual dark, here in the land of the black-tag people, we got hammered overnight. The drifts were four inches up the back door this morning, and Wendy was super-bummed about that. I shoveled her out a little pee patch, cleared the back steps, failed to get the snow blower to start and left it to Alan, who is doing it now. More on the way, too, on Thursday, although it’ll be a little warmer. But we have insulation and long underwear and snow plows and know not to let a car be your furnace.

We haven’t air-conditioned the outdoors yet. And I prefer our bearded senator.

OK then, here’s the midweek update, a little early. Gotta start putting the DD newsletter together.

Posted at 10:17 am in Current events | 64 Comments
 

Snow day.

Late again, sorry ’bout that. I could tell you I was waiting to drop a link to my story on Mellissa Carone, but in truth, we were watching “Judas and the Black Messiah” on the telly, and also, I am weighted with pandemic February shut-in syndrome, the symptoms of which are extreme inertia and an ability to stay all the way indoors for…two days now.

Also, we are having a snowstorm and I should blow away the two new inches before six more arrive overnight.

Also, I am making tacos tonight. And that’s about all the news from Lake Wobegone.

But please, start by reading about Mellissa. She could use some media skills as she starts her journey toward the Michigan House. I learned that when she is challenged — I believe I asked why she found it so hard to believe that later-counted absentee ballots from a heavily Democratic city simply outnumbered earlier results from the state’s rural areas — she is the sort of person who says, “You’re lying” and calls you fake news and shuts down further contact.

Lordy. But then, with the news from this weekend, well, what else can you say.

I gotta go out and blow dat snow. Thanks for stopping by.

Posted at 2:16 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 22 Comments
 

The flotillas of freedumb.

I keep thinking about the boat parades.

There were several around here that I can recall, and in and around our marina many docked boats flew Trump flags all summer. Part of me can understand why so many Trumpers from that neck of the woods — which is to say, “can afford a boat and a place to run it” — were so stunned by Trump’s loss. The proverbial Pauline Kael effect on the water.

We saw the remnants of a few once or twice when we were out this year, and we all saw the videos. Give them this: They sure looked like the were having fun. It was the Beach Boys formula: Sun + water + friends + air horns + beer + what-have-you = Fun, fun, fun ’til Joe Biden takes the White House awaaaayyy.

I still hear the bewildered, often pouting, comments here and there: But how could Biden have won, when we had huge rallies and boat parades? The idea that some people made up their minds and didn’t feel the need to stand in an airplane hangar for hours listening to the Village People was simply incomprehensible to many Trump supporters. I was plenty enthusiastic about Barack Obama in 2008, and he made a Detroit stop, on Labor Day. Let’s go see the future president, I suggested; as I recall, Alan’s sister was in town, and we all went. By the time we got parked and walked over to Hart Plaza and stood there for-fucking-ever in the hot sun and estimated the bathroom lines and would it be possible to get something to eat with all these people downtown, and, and, all to see him from seemingly miles away — I remember thinking that political speeches without a press credential were simply not worth the trouble, no matter who was speaking.

But that feeling of togetherness you’d get from standing on the deck of your own boat and seeing someone who looks and feels the same way you do in another one, and you’re both blasting “Macho Man” and wearing sunglasses — I could see where that would be powerful.

And it all culminates with the violent sons and daughters of those people ranging through the Capitol, the creepiest ones yelling Naaaaancy. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

So with that transition, a few links, then I’m going downstairs to work out.

Monica Hesse on that creepy call for the Speaker of the House:

Oh, Naaaaaaancy is a very specific scene from a horror movie. Oh, Nancy is what the protagonist hears when she is hiding in a parking garage, or in a stairwell, or crouched under her desk, or pressed flat on the ground in a damp cornfield. Her terror is played out for entertainment, whether that means a narrow escape or a bloody death.

Oh, Naaaaaaancy is said in a singsongy voice. It is the same voice that a child would use to say, Come out, come out, wherever you arrrrre in a backyard game of hide-and-seek tag. It is playful. It is sinister. It says, I am planning to take my time, and it will not be pleasant, and it will not end well for you. The men looking for Pelosi in the Capitol were strolling, not running.

…Some women — and I won’t say all, but I think it is closer to all than none — have heard their own first names called out in this singsong tone. Maybe a woman heard it when the front door clicked open, announcing the homecoming of the boyfriend who hits her sometimes. Or maybe she heard it intoned with flirtation and menace by the unnerving guest at a party; maybe she was hiding in the pantry at the time, concocting her excuse to leave. Or maybe she heard it while lying in bed, eyes wide-open, wishing she hadn’t told the pushy date he could sleep it off on the sofa.

Yup.

Trump was sicker than he, or his handlers, let on last fall:

The people familiar with Mr. Trump’s health said he was found to have lung infiltrates, which occur when the lungs are inflamed and contain substances such as fluid or bacteria. Their presence, especially when a patient is exhibiting other symptoms, can be a sign of an acute case of the disease. They can be easily spotted on an X-ray or scan, when parts of the lungs appear opaque, or white.

Mr. Trump’s blood oxygen level alone was cause for extreme concern, dipping into the 80s, according to the people familiar with his evaluation. The disease is considered severe when the blood oxygen level falls to the low 90s.

More lies. I am so, so surprised.

The Bidens on the White House lawn, embracing V-Day with their dogs. What a strange and unfamiliar sight.

And now, into the weekend of romance, or at least our weird version of it. See you when it’s over.

Posted at 8:28 am in Current events | 60 Comments
 

I remember Larry.

Man, that was hard to watch, wasn’t it?

I’m speaking, of course, of the daylong testimony in the impeachment trial, culminating with the last hour or so, when the videos from inside the Capitol were shown. With the very compelling graphics that demonstrated just how close to the senators and representatives that the mob came, you’d think this would be a slam dunk for the Democrats, but as we all know, it won’t be.

Nevertheless, I found myself almost incandescent with fury watching, and I thought I’d already pegged the needle on this one. Worst of all was the police, the outnumbered, overtaxed, why-the-hell-didn’t-they-get-more-backup police, their panicked voices on the radios. For them to be terrorized by this gang of scraggly-beard, stunted-penis, mouth-breathing, misusing-who-and-whom-and-never-mind-less-and-fewer bunch of terra-cotta-toothed* shitheads? It’s enraging.

And they’re going to vote to acquit. Because they suck so, so hard.

Seriously, though, how could anyone watch that and not believe Trump was the architect of the whole thing? I was almost physically sickened by it, and yet, just a few days ago, the majority leader of the Michigan Senate called this whole event “a hoax.” I wonder if he’s nauseous today. My guess is not.

Then, at the end of the day, Larry Flynt died, and I was moved to tweet. This is the first of a long thread, so if you want the rest, click on it and read it on Twitter:

Obviously he was more than a colorful punchline. His porn could be incredibly gross, but he had a certain guilelessness that I always liked. And he was a legit First Amendment warrior. He made political satire safe for everyone. Gotta respect that.

I can’t wait to see how the defense answers what was laid out today. That’s a reason to get up in the morning.

* Original witticism credited to Brett Butler. Apologies for not doing so sooner.

Posted at 9:11 pm in Current events, Media | 27 Comments
 

Super.

Virtual Vince Lombardi was pretty stupid, no? It reminded me, however, of J.C. Burns’ occasional comments about the computing power necessary to display the virtual line of scrimmage. We could use these powers for good! (The virtual line of scrimmage.) And instead, we use them to dig up a dead coach and make him walk and talk.

Happy Super Bowling, all. It’s now halftime, and all I have to say is this: The Weeknd is no Prince. Or even Katy Perry. And certainly not Lady Gaga. At least it was a break from non-stop holding penalties and uplifting commercials. And the underpants-on-their-head dancers were…different.

Another weekend — a real weekend, with its third E, not this clown howling instantly forgettable music on my TV at the moment — come and gone. It was OK. The cold kept us indoors for much of it, but the errands still have to be run, and they were. It wasn’t so bad — high teens, bright sun, I’ll take it.

Sunday we went to MOCAD, Detroit’s contemporary-art museum, to see a small show of photos by Leni Sinclair, John Sinclair’s ex-wife. She is not a particularly talented photographer, but she had great timing and luck in her relationships and the right-place-right-time thing. The photos are of the counterculture/underground scene in Detroit and Ann Arbor in the ’60s/’70s. It didn’t take long to get through it, so we took a long drive home, including a lap of Belle Isle to look at the ice and watch the kids playing pond hockey.

Like I said, a pretty quiet one.

Anything to recommend you read?

Here’s Margaret Sullivan, the WashPost ombudsman, pointing out the obvious: Jeff Zucker bears a lot of responsibility for Donald Trump.

The Zillow sketch from this week’s SNL. Very funny.

When I get my vaccine, I hope it will be at Ford Field, because that would be a big win for lots of people, which is more than the Lions provide, most weeks.

Weak tea today, but the week ahead yawns. And so am I, at this stupid lopsided game.

Posted at 9:23 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 72 Comments
 

Memes and boxes.

Every so often, perhaps when I’m waiting for a phone call, or I want to pick a scab but I have none on my body, I read comment sections. And sometimes, when I am filled with self-loathing in addition to a scab-picking urge, I also read Facebook comment sections. Consequently, I have developed some thoughts about memes.

Before anyone had ever heard of the world wide web, I first heard meme described as “a viral idea.” That is, those things that pop up overnight, that suddenly everyone is repeating, usually with a “you know, they say…” but you can’t really trace where they came from. When did we all stop sneezing into our hands and start sneezing into our elbows? When did we stop calling the seventh planet from the sun YER-inus when we all grew up calling it Yer-ANUS? Why is every newscaster suddenly pronouncing “negotiate” like a Brit, when we don’t say it that way in American English?

(I had an editor who liked to inventory cartoon memes, visual shorthand that we all understand, somehow: A character wearing a mirror strapped to a headband is a doctor. A body lying on a bench with crosses for eyes is dead. And ask yourself: When have you ever slipped on a banana peel?)

Then “meme” was overtaken by the internet, and now it means “a picture with words on it.” Preferably a picture of a cat. But not always! Some are very funny. I will never get tired of the woman screaming at the cat, and even the distracted boyfriend still dislodges a good gag from time to time. But others…aren’t. Anyway, I see a lot of memes dropped into Facebook comments, many so crude and stupid that I’ve come to the conclusion that memes are like a primitive form of language for some, generally people too stupid to write a simple sentence or think of a halfway creative insult or joke themselves. If I’m looking over a page I have admin privileges on, I will sometimes just delete them willy-nilly, if only to encourage people to have an original thought from time to time.

I should add this doesn’t work.

Change of subject: The news of Marjory Taylor Greene’s formal punishment broke a while ago. It made me think we need to talk about CrossFit. Greene, of course, owned a CrossFit gym — or “box,” as those people call them — in Georgia before she made it to Congress.

Some years ago, the owner of my gym subleased a corner of it to a CrossFit trainer for a while. His clientele all wore short-shorts and tube socks, and made a lot of noise — big roars when they lifted, that sort of thing. I asked a trainer on the regular gym staff what the hell was it with those people. He nearly sprained his eyeballs rolling them and said, “It’s a cult. And they’re assholes.”

The trainer eventually found his own “box” and took his tube-sock people with him. But I started noticing CrossFit stories in the media. One in the Wall Street Journal detailed how CrossFitters often had trouble finding pants that fit, because their quads were so big. Another was about how some CrossFitters get rhabdomyolysis, a potentially serious condition that can damage the kidneys, because they work out so hard. (They had a jokey name for it: Uncle Rhabdo.) And then there were stories about how the founders of the business had launched “the CrossFit Games,” an event people actually paid to watch in arenas and on pay-per-view, in which the contestants…exercise. Wow, how fun.

Now, I should add I’ve known some perfectly lovely people who do CrossFit and swear by it, but I’ve known more who were assholes. What is it about a workout that attracts assholes? Yoga has its constituency, combat sports have theirs, swimming has its own, Zumba/Pilates/powerlifting, etc. What is it about working out in a box that attracts — or produces — Marjory Taylor Greenes? We need to talk about this.

But the weekend is nigh. So let’s enjoy that at the same time. We’re having a snowstorm right now — fat fluffy flakes all night long.

Posted at 8:14 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 58 Comments
 

Guilty, guilty, guilty.

Feared I was going to miss today’s blog. I was reading the New York Times’ long, long, suuuuper loooong tick-tock on the post-election madness leading up to the Capitol riot. Tick-tock is journalism slang for a story that’s told chronologically. It’s also a table-setter, which is slang for a story that lays the table for the meal to come — in this case, impeachment.

I got through the thing — it must have been a million words — and while I’m not sorry I did, it also revived some anger that was starting to fade. For all the talk of how the night of the inauguration was the return to normalcy, it was only step one. Trauma doesn’t just go away like poof, you have to heal, and that takes time. So while the doomscrolling has eased somewhat, along with the midnight anxiety, we’re still pretty fucking far from OK, as Marcellus Wallace would say. And reading that thing took me all the way back:

The week (after the election) was coming to a particularly demoralizing close: In Arizona, the Trump lawyers were preparing to withdraw their main lawsuit as the state tally showed Joseph R. Biden Jr. leading by more than 10,000 votes, against the 191 ballots they had identified for challenge.

As he met with colleagues to discuss strategy, the president’s deputy campaign manager, Justin Clark, was urgently summoned to the Oval Office. Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, was on speaker phone, pressing the president to file a federal suit in Georgia and sharing a conspiracy theory gaining traction in conservative media — that Dominion Systems voting machines had transformed thousands of Trump votes into Biden votes.

Mr. Clark warned that the suit Mr. Giuliani had in mind would be dismissed on procedural grounds. And a state audit was barreling toward a conclusion that the Dominion machines had operated without interference or foul play.

Mr. Giuliani called Mr. Clark a liar, according to people with direct knowledge of the exchange. Mr. Clark called Mr. Giuliani something much worse. And with that, the election-law experts were sidelined in favor of the former New York City mayor, the man who once again was telling the president what he wanted to hear.

This fucking moron. An Axios story is far shorter, but just as alarming, in describing a meeting Dec. 18 that went on for hours. Hours! And it wasn’t a pleasant one:

Flynn went berserk. The former three-star general, whom Trump had fired as his first national security adviser after he was caught lying to the FBI (and later pardoned), stood up and turned from the Resolute Desk to face Herschmann.

“You’re quitting! You’re a quitter! You’re not fighting!” he exploded at the senior adviser. Flynn then turned to the president, and implored: “Sir, we need fighters.”

Herschmann ignored Flynn at first and continued to probe Powell’s pitch with questions about the underlying evidence. “All you do is promise, but never deliver,” he said to her sharply.

Flynn was ranting, seemingly infuriated about anyone challenging Powell, who had represented him in his recent legal battles.

Finally Herschmann had enough. “Why the fuck do you keep standing up and screaming at me?” he shot back at Flynn. “If you want to come over here, come over here. If not, sit your ass down.” Flynn sat back down.

And he’s going to be acquitted, again. A just God would make a chicken nugget stick sideways in his windpipe and let the devil take him, but he’ll probably live to be 92. I can’t stand it.

Serenity now!

Anyway, it’s been a pretty good week so far. Got some work done today, closed my rings, lived another day. I hope you do, too. The hell with that groundhog — we gotta live through this.

Happy Wednesday.

Posted at 9:30 pm in Current events | 41 Comments