Wednesday, May 27, 2020

4594 One Good Thing



Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.

The virus isn’t all bad.  It may get rid of the worst president in history, the one guy who combines the charm of Gaddafi, the nepotism of Peron, the racial views of Jefferson Davis, the religious tolerance of Hitler and the appetites and fashion sense of Louis XIV.

But there’s also a glimmer of hope already showing.

We can more easily identify crazy people. Not only that, but we can actually call them what they are. Out loud. In Print. On social media.

This may even reduce the incidents of mass shootings.  After all, if we could label people as nuts, we might have foreseen Columbine and many of the other copies that followed.

We might have spotted Tara Reade before her mouth ranneth over.

We might have caught the games that caused all those prematurely ending 737 flights. (Needless cost-cutting is a side effect of crazy debt levels.)

Now, we’ll be able to decide and act when Mr. Get Your Dog Off My Lawn acts up.  Is he dangerously off his rocker, or is he just tired of picking up the messes your Pomeranian leaves behind?
What better freedom can a freedom-loving population like ours can we invent than the freedom to identify and either avoid or curtail crazy persons?  Of course, we can abuse that freedom just as we have others.  But at least when you see the moron with no mask in church you can move to another pew.



NOTES FROM ALL OVER:

(WESTRADAMUS HALL, NEW ROSES, PA) -- Scientists at the research building here at the Secret Mountainside Hideaway report progress on their prototype Crazy Detector. “We have shrunk it down to the size of a Mini Cooper,” said a spokesman. “We hope to make it small and light enough for easy portability,” he added.

(JAMAICA, QUEENS) -- With New York loosening virus-inspired restrictions, the mighty Long Island Railroad says it plans to add capacity for the expected onrush of renewed commuters.  That’s going to add to new crowding at Penn Station, where half the trains are generally late and the other half canceled.

(NEW YORK) -- The agency that runs the LIRR also runs Metro-North, another award winning laggard. But at least the people of Westchester and farther north will have an absolutely beautiful landmark terminal in which to contract the virus. Thank you, Mrs. Onassis and Mr. Vanderbilt.

(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- Six Flags plans to reopen its Frontier City theme park June 5th.  Don’t be there if you can.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ® 
Any questions? wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2020

Monday, May 25, 2020

4593 Plodcasts



Get one of these for your basement and you, too can become a podcast star.  Available at Gimbels, EJ Korvette, Radio Shack and other fine stores.

They’re too long.  They’re too late. Most have no adult supervision and why do you listen?

Do you remember the cartoon with two dogs sitting at a computer and one says to the other, “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.”? Now they do.  Every computer has a camera. But it doesn’t matter if you’re a dog.  Someone will listen.  Every computer now has a microphone.

Dogwhistles abound on the internet (no longer capitalized in the punctuation of the peasantry.) Anyone can post.

What’s you’re pleasure?  The candidacy for Grand Poohbah of the Glorious Knights of the Kentucky Klan?  Or the leader of the “Bring Back the Soviet Union” consortium of West Leningrad, FL?

How about 20 or 25 minutes of This Day in Lithuanian History. Or the Wolfgang Puck method of heat-free cooking? Or how to get the sauce off the ceiling when your pressure cooker explodes?

Some podcasts take on the trappings of a CNN or MSNBC or Fox News Gabfest.  Would you like half an hour of some washed up never-was comedian with a chorus of yea-sayers selling the do-it-yourself Reiki Massage Course?

A close relative suggested that these posts get supplemented with a podcast.  Do you really want to hear an old guy blabbing on about Jerry Sandusky or entropy the haunted bars of central Pennsylvania or the good old days of the New York City Folk Scare?

I thought not.

These posts started as a podcast -- part of a larger radio presentation. They ran to fill a two and a half minute segment with nothing else available.  Can you imagine if they lasted 15 minutes?  It was my segment and any longer than 500 words would have put me to sleep at the microphone.

Podcasts -- or Plodcasts -- are a waste of your time and the efforts of their writers, producers, speakers and the bandwidth of your internet connection.

Oh, but don’t they add to the depth of reporting?  Sometimes.  But three times or -- heaven forbid -- FIVE times a week? Nah. It’s just aural packing peanuts. And when you spill the packing peanuts on the floor, where you have to chase them, and you reach into the box that held them, there’s a crumb of interest -- if that.

Of course, in the days of forced home incarceration, some of us have a lot of time to waste.  After all, how many closets can you rearrange in a week?  You really don’t want to paint the living room. You can’t shoot at targets indoors without a permit.  And you can’t practice your high jump in rooms of average ceiling height.

So sure. Go find out what happened in Lithuania on this day in 1745.  Or watch cam girls or cam boys (don’t let your spouse see the American Express bill.) Or maybe (shudder) read a book. Even better, take a 20 minute nap. Make a phone call. Have a conversation with the person from whom you hide the credit card bill.

NOTES FROM ALL OVER:

This just in…
(UNDISCLOSED LOCATION) -- The almost universally unknown podcast distributor 4Forty4 has signed Larry King to a $5 million contract to do a regular one hour celebrity interview show. This was first reported by Variety.

(NEW YORK) -- Joe Rogan, possible king of all podcasters, is taking his pod to Spotify. Rogan’s 1,000 podcasts have collected 24 million clicks.  The closest runners up? The next thousand down the list have collected a total of 24 clicks.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any Questions? Wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2020

Friday, May 22, 2020

4592 You Broke it, You Bought it



The Flag Code, federal law since 1942, directs that American flags in this condition be “destroyed with dignity, “preferably by burning.”

That breakage aphorism hangs on the walls and from the ceilings of many a china shop.  It is directed at the bulls, at least the ones with some form of currency.

With unemployment at its current trump-induced level, few of us are bulls, people expecting a rising stock market. Nor do we have much cash.  But we have in fact broken it.  We broke it by allowing an antiquated electoral system to overrule the peoples’ vote and putting into office a president with no policies, no scruples, no sense of right and wrong… who sees no difference between the world as it is and the world from which deep staters and space aliens plant notions in such parts of his brain that actually work.

Part of it is the handiwork of the lunatic right and the angry whites. But part of it also is the work of the so-called loyal opposition which nominated the second most repelling candidate in electoral history. Hillary makes Nixon look good. trump makes Nixon look saintly.  Well, maybe not saintly, but a lot better than we thought of him at the time. Makes you long for a third rate burglary and secret tape recordings with erased gaps of, oh, say, 18 minutes.

So with three million more votes than trump, Hillary should be president, right?  Wrong.  That’s because the in-place status of the electoral college makes the real decision about who takes the oath of office.  And because its members are politicians coated in sleaze -- please forgive the redundancy -- what we get is … what we got.  Three million votes were not enough.  Miserable as she may be, Mrs. Clinton should have been the one standing there before the (photoshopped) largest inaugural crowd in history.  Not because she’d have been the first woman US President.  Not because of the weasel deals that have been the hallmark of her too-long political career, but simply because she’s not our current “wartime President.

The most important lesson trump has taught most of us has fallen on deaf ears: Don’t let him happen to you. Again.


NOTES FROM ALL OVER:

(NEWBURGH, NY) -- A lot of movies and cheap channel TV shows have been shot in New York’s Hudson Valley recently.  But that lucrative business has fallen off to near zero. The same is true of acting, directing and craft union scabs who usually film their low budget crap in Canada.

(GAFFNEY, SC) -- Red’s Watering Hole in this tiniest of tiny towns is closed for the duration.  When open, the entire population of Smyrna can fit inside with room to spare. If a 46th person needs watering, Red’s has a nice lawn where you can sit. Will Red’s reopen someday?  No one’s saying. If not, there’s always the Coal Yard Lounge nearby.

(CHICAGO) -- This beleaguered city has lost one of its great tourist attractions. Lake Michigan has become so clean you no longer can walk on it when it’s not frozen.

(BOSTON) -- Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have changed their plea to “guilty” in the college admissions scandal. They are said to have paid half a million dollars to the University of Southern California to admit their daughters as members of the rowing team.  Their jail sentences will be measured in months.  There’s a $150,000 fine and the two girls will have to take their online classes sharing a Compaq laptop which runs the 1985 version of Windows with a dial-up connection.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any Questions? wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2020

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

4591 The Old Dope Peddler



Tom Lehrer wrote a song about the old dope peddler. In part: When the shades of night are falling
Comes a fellow everyone knows
It's the old dope peddler
Spreading joy wherever he goes

Tom is a retired math professor who moon-lit as a singer-songwriter. He was born on April 9, 1928 which makes him 92 years old.  And a lot has happened to that neighborhood scourge.  The Old Dope Peddler is sitting in an office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC 37188.

He’s hawking a drug that can cause hallucinations.  If that happens to him, no one will notice.  But it also can cause serious heart conditions.  And if that happens, everyone will know it.  And it’ll be “the biggest heart attack of any president…” (Subject clutches chest. Cannot complete the sentence.)

Someone call 911.

It’s supposed to be used only in formal medical studies or administered in hospitals to patients with Yellow Fever or Malaria.  It works on Yellow Fever. Does it work on Orange Fever?

This stuff is called Hydroxychloroquine. It’s hard to spell. It’s hard to say. It’s hard to tell how much of an investment in the manufacturer trump has.  But the occasionally reliable website Business Insider says it’s a small stake, worth about one thousand dollars.  If enough robots ask for and receive prescriptions, the price will probably rise, shortages -- real and fictional -- will be manufactured and the cheap stock will become a best seller.  For a short time.

He gives the kids free samples
Because he knows full well
That today's young innocent faces
Will be tomorrow's clientele
Here's a cure for all your troubles
Here's an end to all distress
It's the old dope peddler
With his powdered ha-happiness

NOTES FROM ALL OVER

(NewRoses, PA) -- a local recipient of trump’s welfare check for $1200 a pop received a follow up letter from the IRS. It was printed on White House paper and there was trump thanking the guy for accepting the check. How nice.

(New York) -- A federal judge ruled that trump’s children can be prosecuted for participating in a pyramid scheme.  No problem. Attorney General Barr and the John Roberts Chorale will likely overturn the decision.

TODAY’S QUOTE
“As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” --H.L. Mencken 

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any Questions?  Send to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2020

Monday, May 18, 2020

Who Owns the Government?


Henry Kissinger once said “Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.”

Who owns the government? 

Good question. We used to. Not any more. 

 It's owned by a cabal of politicians who tell us what we can do, where and with whom.  Its men and women who have rigged the voting system to all but guarantee their jobs, with the aid and comfort of a judiciary which is supposed to protect the rest of us and an executive branch that at the moment runs roughshod over everything we thought we knew about America. 

All of this is funded by a group of enormously rich and powerful men and women who keep the machinery running without thought of its eventual cost and its eventual end.

The government is government by a gentlemen's agreement in which most people are so frightened about putting a meal on the table that they ignore everything including the corruption, misfeasance and malfeasance or just don't care as long as the lights go on, the water runs and they can pay the rent or the mortgage and have an occasional gourmet meal at Sonic or KFC.

A subset is run by a small knot of people who have destroyed the meaning of freedom by claiming they are the archetype of freedom... they are free to freeload while practicing anarchy or trying to.  

They are free to graze their cattle on government land, rent free.  They are free to use human waste to fertilize crops in violation of local sanitation laws.

They see white people as the “master race,” except for those they see as only marginally or technically white -- like many Jews, Italians, Spaniards, Russians, Greeks and others who don’t look like they stepped out of a Visit Stuttgart travel poster.  

We know what happens when someone declares a “master race.” We know that our dictator-in-waiting believes that there are some “very good people” among the neo-nazis, the klansmen and their imitators and wannabes.

But it’s not just racism.  It’s economicism, too, although that’s often a cover for racial bigotry.  

The days of, by and for the people are long gone.  If they ever really existed.

NOTES FROM ALL OVER:

(NEW YORK) -- The major networks and the widely watched cable news channels carried President Obama’s speech to the high school class of 2020. Even Fox News channel and its entertainment affiliates.  Don’t you wish you could have been a fly on trump’s wall when that happened?

(CHICAGO) -- President Obama gave two speeches Saturday. The earlier one was to graduates of historically black colleges.  Here’s the “pull quote” from that one: “More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing.” 

(JAMAICA ESTATES, NY) -- President trump, old white guy, is a minority in his home community of Jamaica Estates, population 18,000. No wonder he fled.

(LANSING, MI) -- Libertarian presidential hopeful Justin Amash has backed out of the election.  That was fast.  Just not fast enough.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any Questions? Wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR who is nominally and technically white 2020.


Friday, May 15, 2020

4589 Laryngitis Stalks The Voice of America



Radio transmission towers run the gamut from majestic to sinister to plug ugly.  This one emits so much energy, if you live near it, you can’t turn your lights or your washing machine off even if they’re unplugged.

The Voice of America is this country’s government owned and run news channel.  Its website is easy to find and easy to read.  It’s radio waves are hard to pick up in this country because they’re on the shortwave bands but you can Listen on line.  In several languages.

The VOA is not a government public relations arm, it is a legitimate and respected news source.  President trump is trying to change that. He wants it to be his personal Al Ahram, Al Jazzira, Radio Moscow or something Hugo Chavez dreamed up.

Here’s an average headline from the VOA homepage: “Truckers Hit Road Bumps During Pandemic.”

Here’s how trump’s VOA would write it: “Road Conditions Improving, trump says.”  Somewhere in the first couple of paragraphs, you’d read “President Donald J. trump told a meeting of Republican members of the House ‘we’re making great progress. Great progress in opening up some of those blue state roads that were screwed up by Obama loyalists.’”

Here’s another from the VOA: 
WHO says Coronavirus May Be Permanent.

The trump version: “Wuhan Health Organization says virus may be permanent; trump says we’re taming it. We’ll get rid of it entirely by election day.” Somewhere in the story would be “Those yodelers in Geneva don’t know anything about America. Anything. Their brains have turned to Swiss Cheese.”

One more from the VOA: “Steps to Open Economy Vary by Country.”

trump version: “USA Leads the World in Restarting the Economy.” Don’t believe the lying Democrats when they say we’re behind Germany, the Czech Republic and Uganda.”

One of the steps in building a dictatorship is seizing control of the major media outlets.  And where to start?  Well, if you already own the VOA, move your pawn into the Executive Suite and up his rank to Rook, but not all the way up to Queen.

The Voice of America has almost 30 powerful transmission sites broadcasting in 27 languages.  Do we want this in the hands of a politician? Any politician? Or political appointees, no matter how qualified.

NOTES FROM ALL OVER:

(NEW YORK) -- The best thing about reading Andy Borowitz in the New Yorker Magazine is that you don’t have to. The punchline always is in the title.

(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI is investigating US Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) seeking information on stock trades possibly based on insider information.  Burr has stepped down as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The FBI wants to know if he sold stocks before they tanked when the rest of the country learned of the Coronavirus.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions? wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2020




Wednesday, May 13, 2020

4588 A Visit to the Entropics


This post contains material that some people may find offensive. Reader discretion is advised.

We’re seeing entropy, the gradual reorganization of what we know at the elemental level.  Some of the devout believe the “end times” are at hand. They’ve been saying that for centuries. They may not be entirely wrong.  

Book that cruise to the Entropics.  You may never again see a swaying palm tree, an authentic Hula dancer or a championship surfer disintegrate like a Chuppa glass at a Jewish wedding.

But it’s not the will and whim of some guy in the sky. It’s a fact of physics. Reorganization does not mean the hand of some deity is teaching us a lesson. It’s just nature doing what nature does. Things wind down.

A good example:  A campfire -- or, for that matter -- an insurance fire at your virus-bankrupt restaurant.  If left to its own devices, the campfire will burn itself out.  The insurance fire may or may not.  It could set the rest of the block afire.  But that’s another story for another day.

Chaos theory teaches us by using the example of a burning cigarette in an ashtray. It shows a stem of smoke rising. The stem expands into a cloud and eventually seems to disappear.  But it doesn’t. It blends into the atmosphere. It transforms, probably back into its component parts. You can’t see it afterward. But it’s still there.

Is there social entropy?  In a sense yes although it’s a slow process. The ghetto thug and the redneck thug are examples. We haven’t gotten to the pitchfork, cross burning and looting phase yet.  But it’s not that far off. 

It may be that climate change… an example of something between entropy and chaos… will do us in before we’re all forced back into the cave.

Please remember that “The Flintstones” TV show was a parody of prehistoric times (and Jack Gleason) and not a realistic view of the way things worked at around the time God went on a tear and created this whole mess in six days.

NOTES FROM ALL OVER:

(SAN LUIS OBISPO CA) -- Tara Reade told her ex-husband of “sexual harassment” from Joe Biden in the 1990s.  It’s in their divorce filings. At that point it was personal. And awful. At this time, it can be translated into this: My feelings about my treatment by Joe Biden 30 years ago are more important than defeating trump -- and America’s future in November.

(COMMACK NY) -- The owner of a strip club is suing NY Governor Cuomo because he was forced to shut down during the pandemic.

(SKY CASTLE CA) -- Elan Musk is restarting the Tesla factory and risks going to jail. No worries. The company isn’t all that good about meeting production goals.

(POGO GA) -- “Doctor” Bo Eustace has performed what he says is the first successful engine transplant on a Tesla.  “I gave that pretty baby a nice a Dodge Slant Six from the 70s I’d been rebuilding. Runs like a top.  Good gas mileage but a little noisier than the original.”

(NEW YORK) -- The comic actor Jerry Stiller has died at age 92. He was best known in recent years from a supporting role on the TV show “Seinfeld.” Earlier, he and his wife Anne Meara were a star-level comedy act.  

TODAY’S QUOTE:
“Stiller and Meara are the best Mr. and Mrs. Comedy duo since Burns and Allen.”  -- George Burns

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ® 
Any questions? wesrichards@gmail.com 
© WJR 2020


4594 One Good Thing

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home. The virus isn’t all bad.  It may get rid of the worst president in history, the o...