Dookie Speculation

To further my reputation as the most eminent thinker on this blog collective, I humbly submit the following informal hypotheses. Content warning: feces, of course.

Random thoughts from last night. Old folks sometimes have terrible dookie stink. It’s kinda sickly sweet garbagey like a dumpster of rotting fruit. Unfortunate.

That’s me in just a few years, so I wonder. Why? And I came up with two possible answers, which could be tested by a scientist with the facilities and inclination. (Or maybe the answer is already known? Whatever, I finish my thoughts.)

The Fresh Trash Hypothesis: The aged digestive system cannot handle food as effectively, meaning the stool has more under-digested components. They smell stronger because they’re not as chemically burned up / denatured.

The Shitbarf Hypothesis: In honor of the prolific graffiti tagger of Seattle, Shitbarf… esquire? Anyhow, I think the gatekeeping of the digestive tract breaks down.

Fluids meant for the stomach end up in the esophagus or duodenum, those meant for the duodenum end up in the small intestine, etc. So basically, old folks could be passing some amount of fresh bile.

I am not googling the answer. Not curious enough yet. Maybe when I’m olda.

I just hope I never get like the person who stinkbombed the “Rapid Ride” bus when it first started in my town. For some reason, one of those busses ended up smelling hella rank, only becoming bearable several months later.

It smelled like one of those Europeans that used to eat mummies went on to become a mummy that was fed to a cruise ship on platters of norovirus shrimp, and the bus was used to ferry passengers to the hospital, with several dying en route.

Dookie. I don’t like it.

Just Go Ahead Now


Some weeks ago, I was at work and the radio chanced to play “Two Princes” by Spin Doctors. I was in a silly mood and felt the kitsch, was amused by the thing as I went about my labors. Some time after that, I was at home, remembering the song and vaguely recalling the video. My judgment skewed by the afterglow of that moment, I looked it up on youtube.

At work I only heard a bit and at low volume. At home with headphones on, the band in front of me? Something else.

I didn’t last a minute. That song is pisschristing horribad. It is the Abyss, and when you gaze too long, it tips its hat and says “milady.” It shivered my fucking timbers, matey.

Since then, I occasionally have moments when I think about it. It’s tempting to view the song as emblematic of something terrible in the American character at the time.

Grunge was a thing, and it had lessons for the masses. People can’t subsist on music about dancing and fucking. There’s more to life than that, and sometimes it’s best expressed with unpleasant nonsense words and guitar feedback.

But some people took the wrong lessons from that, decided Seattle = cool, expensive coffee, big sweaters, shitty facial hair. Two Princes was the dawn of the Starbucks playlist.

That part of our culture is what I like to call NPR liberalism. It’s about being just progressive enough to feel good about yourself and refusing to look with any depth at the class war, racism, misogyny, and cisheterofascism underlying this whole shitshow.

NPR liberals aren’t always bad people. A lot of them are swell, just obnoxiously blind to important shit.

They give at the church but never look at what the church does with that money outside the congregation. No matter how many times you tell them, yes, your church really is exporting violent homophobia, they will forget that shit like a goldfish.

They’re the moms that misgender you constantly because they will never in their hearts acknowledge your identity. They’re contrite when caught, but will never change because their cutesy memories of how they saw you as a child? More important to them than your real mental and physical health as an adult.

They just can’t remember anything that isn’t somehow nice or cute or reassuring. The extent to which they can remember what the big bad republicans are up to is only the extent to which it can be put back in a box with a sassy soundbite, put on a mug, put on a sweater.

NPR liberals have faith in the “blue wave” and the forward trajectory of history. Just wait, you don’t have to be loud. Go with the flow, have fun.

Two Princes is like “Don’t Worry Be Happy” for white people, but eh, maybe Don’t Worry Be Happy was the Don’t Worry Be Happy for white people. I think Chuck D said something about that once.

So the song puts me in mind of that strain of thought in the USA, and of how prevalent it was in my high school, in media of the ’90s. The dualism of our country then was the liberal sense you should be nice to people, with the anti-PC-flavored chuckles from the bros on the other side. Dharma and Greg were walking hand in hand, apple pie, yellow ribbons and A-10 warthogs.

Because the NPR liberal is committed to making nice, they never offered any opposition to the advance of American fascism. The belly piercing girls and darwin fish boys from my school grew up to be the moms and dads telling you family is more important than politics when you get pissed at grandpa Bruce and baby Braden for chatting holocaust denialism at Thanksgiving.

It’s tempting to look at the dopey grin and scragglebeard on that dude, at the floppy flaps on his shitty hat, to hear the Walmart-friendly “alternative” hootenanny jam, and to see that as emblematic of the blind eye people turn to keep things nice, reassuring, simple, peaceful.

It’s tempting, but surely just overblown nonsense. Mental vomit in response to the overwhelming saccharine smell.

So if you want to call me baby, just go ahead now.


Google is Evil and I Hate Them

Youtube recommendations. It’s bad enough the comment sections are eye-scorching shit pits. You can ignore that by not scrolling down. But due to the wide aspect ratio of most monitors, you will see the recommendations in the sidebar. And thanks to their fucking algorithms, if you watch almost anything it will recommend fascist propaganda. They’ve personally turned swaths of the youngest generations into a brigade of Hitler youth.

For my purposes, I just want ONE FUCKING THING from them. When I say I’m not interested in a channel, STOP FUCKING SHOWING ME THAT CHANNEL YOU GODDAMN FUCKHOLES. I’m not saying, “ooh, gosh, not interested at the mome, but maybe I’ll turn into a nazi in the next ten minutes, so feel free to show me that later.”

I’m saying nuke that shit. If I had the option to annihilate other people’s channels with a button, if I had a button that would force a nazi channel’s creator to be hauled out of their house, beaten and smothered in goose shit, I’d push that button too.

I want ONE basic courtesy out of the dominant video platform on the internet, run by a company that used to say “don’t be evil.” I want the ability to truly block literally genocidal literal fascists from my computer screen. If I had children, I’d want to shield them from the same, without having to install third party extensions.

Google, burn in hell you fucking shite.

-I should clarify, there’s a reason I don’t use browser extensions to block the sidebar altogether. If I didn’t, google would build a profile of me that says “anything goes,” which would gradually skew fascist no matter what I did. I have been able to tease the interface into giving me far fewer fascist videos than when I watched atheist shit, but some channels are just plagued.


Cancel Your Netflix

I just cancelled Netflix. It’s a good time to do it. A) They don’t have anything good on. The recent seasons of their coolest shows were either disappointing or incoherent because they were trying to bump up the edge. B) They’re promoting a new original show that is an eating-disorder-triggering fatphobic pile of trash. It’s called “Insatiable” and that link goes to a response article by a fat activist.

Anyhow, if you care about any fat people or people of any size who have eating disorders, cancel your Netflix and list that as the reason why. I’ll be your best friend forever if you do. Automatic banning for anyone who drops health trolling or whatabouts in my comments. Fuck diet industry propaganda, and fuck body policing fascism in the form of conventional wisdom.

I’m Hella OK

It occurs to me, in light of the comment on my latest bird article, some might imagine me depressed. Worry not, dear readers. I’m not. I only ever feel bad to the extent that it would be reasonable to feel bad in any given situation, and my situation is not as bad as many other blogadores y blogadoras on this internet. (Especially on The Orbit. Support The Orbit y’all.) I’ve got that depressive realism, but without the clinical depression, it’s just a pretentious arty flavor in my thought.

The world is rough and keeps getting rougher. And as a quiet cat in the corner with eyes open, you can see the fires burning with clarity. I didn’t call the exact date of the subprime mortgage collapse. But I was that impoverished minimum wage fucko on the bus, looking at ads for home ownership none of us could afford, wondering how long it would be before predatory lending on that scale had consequences.

It’s grim, but through it all I just don’t feel as bad as I could. Seeing people around that have it worse than I do, getting to know some of them personally, I know what mental health is. My mind heals well. I’m probably the poorest person on this network, but aside from that source of stress, I’m one of the most fortunate in the neurochemical department.

When I talk about some grim stuff, I don’t need reassurance. I’m hella OK. Just waxing lyrical.

Thoughts on ABC Freeform’s “Cloak and Dagger”

ABC made a TV show off Marvel’s comic “Cloak & Dagger,” and shit it out onto their new streaming service called “Freeform.” The concept was and is problematic (black teen boy with powers of dark hungry void, white teen girl with magical powers of light), but the execution – even in the comic days – was pretty progressive, humanist, not shabby.

The show could be better, could be worse. The kids are alright. One thing sucked tremendous though: It ended in zombies. Really boring shitty nonsense zombies. Can we be done with zombies yet? I heard Walking Dead has flushed all its good will with fans straight down the terlet. Can that be done? Can everything zombie be done?

The worst thing though? ABC Freeform. The only things of any interest at all on there are Cloak & Dagger and re-runs of The Nanny. I kid, I kid, I mean, I could watch Paul Blart on there too, what am I complaining about? Everybody cancel your streaming services of choice and hit it up.

It Ends Sitting in a Car, Thinking About Birds

I had a long day. It could have been worse. In a stressful moment I was rude to someone I didn’t want to be rude to. Mega-retail on an understaffed, hot Sunday. I remembered to take some Excedrin two hours in and that helped.

In the early morning (later as well), we had an unusually high amount of homeless people looking to steal, or just negotiating some of the innumerable crises that make up their lives (I deal with the phone crises), or some combination of the two. Some Sundays the early part of the day can be dead as doornails, hours with just a few people wandering through. When it’s like today, my feet get beat down. I hope I helped some people.

Some cell phone companies decided to run promotions where you trade in an active cell phone for a deal on a new expensive phone, and chumps on the hustle think they can get a burner and flip that in a day. I try to tell ’em to read the terms of those deals more closely, because cell phone minutes aren’t returnable and they could be out forty bucks for nothing.

The company has a problem with staffing the store on weekends. When people are new, it’s easy to get them to work whatever hours you want. But when they get a little experience, they realize weekends are hell, and restrict themselves to weekdays. So Tha Man has been busting moves and leaning on people to open their availability, cutting hours all over the place. Other companies have been doing the same enough that Oregon was crafting legislation to make it illegal to force retail and grocery proles to work on-call or not at all.

All that’s to say the photo section guy has been reduced to one day a week, and only shows up if he feels like it. The rest of us aren’t as trained as we’re meant to be and have other responsibilities, so it’s a rolling train wreck over there. But I still have to go over and help people with it. One of these days I might figure out how to use the SD card slot on the new kiosks. It’s kinda funny watching a place go to hell.

There’s a weird banana toy thing with a hole in the side, someone left on a counter. It’s got drifts of uncanny powder all around it. What is that stuff? No one wants to clean it up and we’re all non-verbally daring each other to see how many days or weeks we can leave it there. It’s right in front of the drop box for customers sending out film to be developed, and that process takes a little over a week. If we have the resolve, someone could see that banana-thing as they send out the film and again when they come to pick it up.

It wasn’t even the hottest day in recent memory, but for some reason people were feeling it. Back to school shopping, or trying to hump the last days of the summer for all they’re worth, they cram into the place. Meanwhile, our own summerhumpers skip work and leave us even more understaffed than Tha Man’s hijinks have. Lines thirty deep. Stuff like that.

The babies were feeling it worse than usual. The stereotype of retail, I think, is of hating children because you hear them crying all the time. That doesn’t have to be true. I take on board the education I’ve had in recent years about ableism and children’s rights, think about the kid’s perspective. Plus they usually are not as jumped-up as the stories tell. But today they were upset. Zombie-walking with sweat-rimmed cheekbones, falling on the ground squalling. May you have better times tomorrow, babies.

I usually see our security guys, but today they were not to be found. I don’t know why, but the place really took advantage and got weird. There was a white dude slapping a belt in his hands as he walked around. A middle-aged couple almost jovially having a domestic dispute at 90 decibels while they strolled up and down every aisle. I noticed the man had a bizarrely formed earlobe. I used to feel upset about deformity and mutilation as a kid, but I see so much of it every day now that it’s helped me to be less ableist. Still some residual feeling a type of way about it.

While the couple was throwing out that massive wall of sound, a customer and I were trying to finish a transaction and having trouble thinking. She was pretty mad about it, but I tried to quell that by being casual. I said, y’know, people gotta keep life interesting somehow. We can watch drama on TV, some people feel the need to live it. Is it bad?

With overflow business from the understaffed front end of the store, I spent a lot more time than usual at the cash register. That helped my feet get less busted than usual, but I was still wiped out enough to need some rest at the end of my shift. I was waiting for my ride to finish some shopping of her own, drifting in and out of consciousness. I realized it was taking over an hour and went to check on her, helped finish that up and get out the door.

She’s borrowing her sister’s car while she waits to get her own fixed next week, and as payment for that, she had to get groceries for her. The sister is a chatty cathy, so when she brought the bags into the condo, my ride disappeared on me for several minutes. Five? Ten? Fifteen? I couldn’t tell, waiting in that clean new borrowed car in a suburban residential parking lot, surrounded by low buildings and tall trees.

When we first showed up, Steller’s Jays were running up and down rooftops and flitting through dense tree boughs. I heard more of them than I saw, and they were joined in the shuffle by several northern flickers (and another type of woodpecker I didn’t get a good look at). Eventually they all took off for higher treetops, leaving the ground level to a solitary junco.

There was one tall tree I could see well and it had tons of birds in it, like a bird apartment building. I couldn’t see them all at once, but I could see many go in and fewer come out, and hear lots of bird calls. The jays, the flickers, birds too small at that distance to identify. May have been chestnut backed and/or black capped chickadees, goldfinches, red breasted nuthatches, and more.

Among the calls, I heard notes that sounded like the chime of a cuckoo clock, and wondered if it could be a cuckoo. No, the cuckoos here surely have different calls from the European ones of infamy. But it put me in mind of my feels about brood parasitism again.

I was wondering why brood parasitism is selected for, why it is advantageous enough to stick around after it comes into being by whatever odd fluke. (In the comments on my brood parasite article, Icthyic linked to a scientific paper on the evolution of the trait. I’d forgotten that.) Anyhow, it occurred to me cuckoos are not just saving labor energy by non-parenting. They are also hobbling the competition.

In order to have their chicks raised by another species, that species must naturally serve food edible to the parasite. To avoid poisoned chicks, the adults have to be eating the same thing, so they’re competitors. A competitor for food that is being run ragged by your offspring is easier to beat in a race for resources.

I felt clever-ish, despite the fact I probably heard Richard Attenborough say the same shit at some point in time and just forgot about it. But why do I think about brood parasites like this? Last time I wrote about it, I had seen one in person. This time, it was just a random thought.

Since time immemorial, the cuckoo has been a symbol for the sexual paranoia of demented patriarchs. It’s seen a resurgence in the form of the alt-reich’s fetish porn-inspired cries of “cuck.” So it’s in the air. But it occurred to me, is this personal?

My father married my mother when she was already pregnant with my sister from another man. That baby grew up to be dangerous, exhausting, life-ruining. Antisocial Personality Disorder is rough. But then, so is being biracial in a house full of white people. I wish her well (for her own sake as well as the unfortunate people in her life), though I never want to see her again. Most likely, this background has nothing to do with any of my thoughts, waiting in that car. It just felt important to mention. So I’m mentioning it.


“Fuck Batman”

When said by a justice-minded critic looking at the implied meanings behind a story of a white cishet patriarch beating up poor people with no due process, whose enemies are mostly ableist caricatures: Cool.

When said by an edgelord Robin reboot with blood spattered across his chin before he kills seven dudes in an alley: Not great.

The always lovely and amusing SungWon Cho has this take: